* I have a friend called Sam. He’s really rad. A few months ago I told him that Vignette Press were looking for art to accompany the text in The Death Mook. His paintings and drawings are often on the macabre side, as his main artistic influences are horror cinema, and surrealist art (and Playboy, perhaps?). I thought one of his pieces would be perfect. Turns out, Vignette Press thought so too! With The Death Mook release date looming, the publisher is giving us all a tantalising sneak-preview. All contributor names are also listed on that page. The launch is on February 26, at Dante’s in Fitzroy (Melbourne). Really hope you can make it.

* Chris Currie is having a ‘sneaky celebrity writer’s month’ over at his awesome story-a-day blog Furious Horses. The writers featured will be Anna Krien, Benjamin Law, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Chris Somerville, Favel Parrett, Josephine Rowe, Krissy Kneen, Michelle Law, Rhianna Boyle, Romy Ash, Ronnie Scott, Thomas Benjamin Guerney, Trent Jamieson and ME! I’ve read most of these guys and they’re top quality so I recommend you have a read, and join in trying to guess who wrote what. Will you be able to pick out mine?

* As we all know, in Melbourne it has been shockingly, disgustingly hot. For most of the past week I haven’t slept, I’ve done barely any reading, and I’ve drank a pool’s worth of water (and a bath’s worth of alcohol). I won’t go too much into all the fun things I’ve been doing with my lovely visitors from the last couple of weekends (I miss them muchly), but I must show everyone how FREAKIN’ close I got to the legend himself – Mr Neil Young:

I got into the D-barrier an hour-and-a-half early. He absolutely rocked, and did classics like ‘Needle and the Damage Done’, ‘Heart of Gold’, and ‘Old Man’. The crowd moved and sang along. Unforgettable. One of my missions as a writer is to find the perfect way to describe the way music makes you feel, especially live, up so close to its creator. I had goosebumps for two hours.

I’ll mention quickly a few highlights from the past two weekends: seeing my best friend’s face and feeling her dance next to me during her favourite band’s set at Big Day Out; getting to talk about real things with my sister; drinking a cocktail called ‘Dirty Harry’ (amazing) with two old friends; watching Robocop at the Astor and then chatting until way after the sun went down; drinking Moet; seeing the ‘Setting the Scene’ exhibition at ACMI and being inspired by movie sets, drawings and models; having conversations with really cool people you’re only just getting to know and relating to each other; discovering a new band; eating the best spring rolls I’ve ever had; watching Ghostbusters for the eight-millionth time with other people who quote along; and having two actual weekends with barely any work and not being too hard on one’s self!

* Express Media wants to give you money to do creative, literary things. Awesome. Check it:

Write in Your Face
Closing date: 24 April, 2009.
Grants (up to $5000) available for projects supporting writing practices by young people.

Express Media is proud to present Write in Your Face, a program devolved to Express Media by the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. Write in Your Face supports emerging forms of writing practice by young writers, or organisations working with young writers. We invite proposals from people who are using language in innovative ways. This may involve writing for zines, e-zines, comics, multimedia, multi-artforms or cross-media works, websites, live performances and spoken word.

Download the application form and Frequently Asked Questions from http://www.expressmedia.org.au/projects.php

* Today, last year, I flew to Europe. I visited twelve countries in a month. Can’t believe it was a year ago! I’ve written a story or two from the experience (eg. The Minimalist and the Lamp in Berlin, published in Sketch), and I have a nonfiction piece which needs looking at again. Here’s me standing where Virginia Woolf once stood:

* Next week I’ll update you with February launch info, and in just over a week you’ll be treated to mine and Gerard‘s dual book/film review of Revolutionary Road. This week – more reviews, photos from Sudeep Lingamneni, and possibly another peek at my inbox…

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