Archive for January, 2010

Another Belated Update (23rd December, 2009)

Happy Christmas, everyone!

I thought today might be the last opportunity I have to update this, my writing journey ramble-blog, since it’s been so difficult to find a spare moment lying around during the busyness of the season and, since also, I leave for my trip to Israel pretty much as soon as the new year begins. After that there’s Waicon (where I’m cosplaying Nami from Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. If that didn’t make any sense to you at all, please don’t worry!) and then, before you know it, it’s February. If I have access to a hotel computer or an internet café or something in Israel, I will try to blog/communicate something whilst abroad; we’ll see …

Right. Well, (haha, yes! It is very good to ‘write well’, isn’t it? Heheh …)

Please excuse me. I’m slightly insane and an idiot.

Right. Well, since I last wrote, THINGS HAVE BEEN CRAZY! I finished my zine just in time for the launch of dotdotdash issue 2: Ugly. I called it Of Teabags and Tadpoles, and it’s chock-full of haiku, haiku and more haiku. There’s even a haiku story in it. If you’re not already sick of haiku from hearing me rave and moan about them all the time, you might like the zine. I’m going to try very hard to post a preview of the zine below this entry. If all goes successfully, you will be able to read a snippet from The Tragic Tale Of The Lady Who Could Only Speak Using Haiku. I hope you like it. Oh, and it’s definitely not autobiographical! I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was writing about myself – certainly not! Me? Obsessed with haiku? Never! (Editor’s Note: Denial.) Unable to escape? Pah … don’t make me chortle excessively until the pain is so bad a rib pops out! I’m fine! (Editor’s Note: If you are reading this, please send help. I have issues. It may already be too late for me.)

Anyway, yes: I wrote another zine. If you would like one, they cost $4. You can either buy them from The Perth Zine Collective if you find them at the weekend markets somewhere outside PICA (Or so I’m led to believe …) or from me somehow. If you’re interested, we can talk. Message me.

And while I’m on the topic of zines, it wouldn’t be right for me to promote my own without giving mention to a few others that I really like. Without trying to be (inevitably) biased here, I want to say that you simply must get a hold of A Zine about Monsters with Babies Hugging Them: Melodica Zine 1. It’s printed in full-colour and has juicy illustrations from emerging artist Mel Pearce that are bound to delight or tickle the fancy of any fan of monsters, or babies, or babies hugging monsters. Oh, and while you’re at it, I hear Justin Pearce’s I Hate The Bird is also a riveting read! Come with the author on a journey of soul-searching in which he digs deep and explores fear, love, hatred, and revenge – a bargain at only $2 a copy. Then there’s The Reason for Eleanor’s Miserable Childhood, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Tan. You might already know her as the writer and illustrator of Instructions for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse In Rhyming Couplets, a fantastic zine which is just that. Eleanor’s Miserable Childhood is about – well, I won’t spoil it for you! You’ll just have to read it yourselves. All I will do here is nod in agreement with Pat Johnson’s observation about Tan’s illustrative talent when she said a few months ago, ‘It’s amazing how the careful placement of two dots determines Eleanor’s expressions.’

And while I’m still on the topic of zines, if you live in the Perth area, please do pay The Perth Zine Collective a visit. They have such wonderful goodies on sale; Andrei Buters’ Dead By 30, Anna Dunnill’s Okay Ampersand … I could go on, but I can’t remember everything. I just know that when I had the opportunity to peruse the tasty collection The PZC were purveying outside the bookshop I work in last week, I wished I had lots of dollars in my pockets. There were so many beautiful zines … oh!

And they were also stocking dotdotdash. The. Best.

Enough about zines. (Editor’s Note: For now …)

Mel and I were given the opportunity to help out at the dotdotdash launch on the 12th of December. If you weren’t there, you missed out on a cozy evening of couches, Naama’s Wonderful Homemade Tahini, readings, cute commissioned creations from seamstress Bo Ra and just fabulous music from the likes of Li’l Leonie Lionheart, Namoowolf Downs, Triangles, Reverse Engine Ear , and Apriry Ly. Mel and I had a great time. The pretty coloured lanterns swaying above our heads in the warm breeze made us nostalgic for a night in Darwin, putting us in the perfect mood to sketch/haiku for dotdotdash donations! Oh, and editor Elizabeth Tan asked me to read my creative non-fiction piece Green Ants on the stage, which was awesome to do, if a little nerve-wracking and personal since it’s about a memory of me at approx. ten years old and being self-conscious about various body features. When she was introducing me, Liz said some things that will stick with me forever – some of the kindest words anyone’s ever said to me about my writing. Truth was, I felt so incredibly touched by what she said that I would rather have tottered off the stage and had a little cry instead of reading about my tummy and face, but I’d promised her … so I read.

One last thing about dotdotdash – submissions for Issue 3: Home close on the 15th of January, so send something in! Visit the website for details and submission guidelines …

Lastly, Indigo Journal will be celebrating the launch of volume 5 at 6:15pm on Saturday the 27th of February at the Perth Writer’s Festival, and I will be, too! I’m very pleased that my poem ‘Three years later’ will be appearing in the volume (and not just because it’s a paid gig!). The poem means a lot to me as I wrote it about the grief that lingers long after someone special has left us; in my case, my dad. I originally penned it for a Poetry at Pat’s ‘assignment’ as one of my first attempts in the pantoum form and it’s remained one of my personal favourites simply because writing it was a difficult but necessary response for where I was at in my own grieving process. I’m happy that it was picked for publication in Indigo because I know it will be treated with sensitivity and respect.

I’d better get off the computer now because Mel wants to pluck my other eyebrow. It’s quite sadistic. I had to run out to go veggie shopping when she was half-way through (plus I needed a break from the pain!). I combed my fringe over the unplucked brow so that I wouldn’t look permanently surprised …

Wish me luck … (Editor’s Note: SAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEE!)

Thanks again for reading. You are great.
~ Erin ‘Editor’s Note’ Pearce ~

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Eccentric, Stupid and Insanely Last-Minute (19th of November, 2009)

(I wrote this entry in my diary the night after the Writer’s Night at Subiaco Library for Richard Rossiter …)

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Last night went a lot better than I expected it would!

Editor’s Note: The writer pens this in reference to the crisis faced the day before, whereby she decided that the piece she had intended to read for the audience was both too long and just too strange for the evening. In a fit of unprofessional and amateurish panic, she contacted the coordinator to inform her of this the day of the event. The response was, surprisingly, one of patience and unruffled understanding: ‘Just read something you feel comfortable with, Erin, something that you feel represents you as a writer.’ ‘Heheh,’ the writer thought to herself, ‘Something that represents me as a writer. That means I need to read something eccentric, stupid, and insanely last-minute … now where am I going to find something like that …?’ Suffice to say, she was, at this point, joking with her sister about reading from her train journal …

At 5:46pm, Mel and I drive into the City-of-Subiaco-Council-Place Car Park. We miss the (well-hidden) lane through to the library and I have to do a 7-point turn to get back out of the strange gully we find ourselves cornered in …

At 5:48pm, we’re laughing at the sign stuck onto the witch’s hat in a car bay directly outside the rear entrance of the Subiaco Library. It says: PARKING RESERVED FOR ERIN PEARCE (Boy, do I feel all embarrassed and important now!) Right beside my parking space is one for Mr Richard Rossiter, the author and star of tonight’s program. We press a green button beside the door and a man named Peter lets us in (Mel peeks over my shoulder and, reading my typing, asks, ‘How do you know his name was Peter? Erin? How do you know?’ It’s ‘cause his name badge said so, that’s how!). I’m not quite sure what to say since no one has given me a password or a code … so I say, ‘Hello, I’m Erin,’ and Peter smiles and says, ‘Yes. You’re expected.’ I say, ‘Oh, cool. And this is Mel, my sister.’

At 5:50pm, I’m shaking Richard Rossiter’s hand and he’s saying very nice things about My Scallywag Suit, which he read today because he found out that I would be reading tonight. (He tells me he was the fiction editor for Indigo Vol. 3). I feel sheepish because I haven’t read anything of his yet, and he recognises me from the Indigo launch last February. (Perhaps Georgia Richter introduced us?)

But he’s very nice about this. In fact, overall, Richard Rossiter seems to be a genuinely nice and kindly man. At this point, I’m very excited to be involved in his evening … but then I admit to him that I’m actually still not sure what I’m going to read. ‘Oh, Erin!’ he says, sympathetically. I tell him I don’t want to put a dampener on his night or detract from his work … and he says he’s certain I won’t let him down.

I have two poems in my handbag, as well as a copy of ‘No Place Like Home’ (which, by now, I’m 100% convinced that I will not be reading. Earlier on, I said to mum, ‘I’m not reading that story tonight’, and she looked at me and said, ‘Are you sick?’ I had to explain that I wasn’t cancelling the reading … just that story!) I have one more thing in my handbag: my train diary, containing 4 episodes of ‘This Is The Story Of Levi Livewire’

At 5:57pm, Linda’s ushered Mel and I over to the drinks table where we grab some orange juice. Mel disappears into the children’s library to gawk at the beautiful mural by Shaun Tan. I join her.

At 6:09pm I’m talking to Maureen Gibbons and Deb Hunn, and it’s so nice to see them … but now I’m 10 times more nervous than I was before because now there are now recognisable faces in the crowd I’ve been attempting to avoid/ignore/pretend isn’t there.

At 6:13pm I’m in the ladies toilets, pacing while my hands flick dry. I trip over my bag and say, ‘Oh Lord, please help me with this!’ I stare into the mirror and determine that I will read Levi Livewire, despite what I said to Mel minutes earlier (which went something like this: ‘Mel, we’re the youngest people here. There’s no one close to our age. They’re all nice old people. They won’t understand ‘Levi’. This is gonna be bad. This is not gonna go well… I’ll have to read my poetry instead.’)

At 6:15pm The ‘Emerging Writer’ finally emerges from the toilets having psyched herself up with some form of plastic confidence. We take our seats. Richard and I sit in the 2 of 3 plush red chairs at the front of the room, off to the side. I am so nervous I could spew. Everyone looks so clean. What will they think of me?

At 6:35pm Linda makes a really nice little speech about me and my writing life so far. She mentions my Honours, my novel, my being published in Indigo and dotdotdash, and my being selected for FAWWA’s (hypothetical) Young Writer in Residence Program in 2010, and after each thing she mentions all the ladies in the audience give a pleasant little gasp and I hear someone say, ‘Oh, well done!’ (I’m not sure if they’re saying that for me, or for Linda, who’s doing such a good job of hosting! ) Because everyone knows who I am and are all smiling and looking really expectant of me now, my nerves have reached a pinnacle/point/peak so I won’t remember much of what happens next, but … it goes a lot better than I think/thought it will/would …

I walk to the front and say that I’m nervous. I hold up a little book and say, ‘I’m not going to be reading what I thought I would be reading for you tonight. I decided to read from my train diary, from a story I’ve been scribbling on lately called ‘This Is The Story Of Levi Livewire’. Levi is a simple bloke who has a girlfriend named Bryony H. Marker and a brother named Flintley and he lives with his parents John and Alice. I’ll read from episode 4 …’

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When I asked Mel how she thought it all went, she looked happy and said that they all seemed enjoy the reading. There were chuckles after most of my ‘jokes’ and a healthy little round of applause afterwards (and that same lady said, ‘Oh, well done’ again so I knew it was for me!) When I asked her what I said before I read, she said, ‘You basically put it down and said how bad it was gonna be. You need to stop doing that.’

Anyway, (Editor’s Note: Man, this writer is longwinded!) overall it was a lovely evening! Richard read ‘Painting’ from Arrhythmia, a very endearing and bittersweet story. I loved his character, Emily. I wish I could have talked longer but time did not permit. I bought his book – autographed and all! I still can’t believe I unleashed Levi on the public. I had to explain to quite a few people (who thought they were being given a sneak-peek into an upcoming novel, that I was reading from a manuscript or something …) that Levi only existed in my scribbles so far. Deb said she thought I should ‘do something with him’, so did other people who came up to me and patted my arm and were full of sweet compliments and encouragement.

One lady asked, ‘What was your last name, again? So that I can look out for you …’ I told her ‘Pearce’ … and that she should also look out for Mel Pearce (who was standing beside me at the time) – the brilliant budding illustrator and emerging artist. It felt surreal to be introducing ourselves like that. I guess I felt just a little bit famous or important. Maybe it’s a little taste of what it might be like when I eventually launch my first book, whenever that may be …

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This has already been a gigantic entry, so I will keep other writey-news brief:

I ran another Free Haiku Sale last week. It was a lot of fun. I will probably compile my favourite ones in my new zine, which I intend to print in December sometime.

Mel and I collaborated for the dotdotdash DrawRites collective. Our entry ‘Debris’ was accepted for publication!!

I heard back from the John Marsden Prize for Young Writers this morning. While I didn’t win a prize for either of my entries, ‘No Place Like Home’ was among those shortlisted, so I am one happy little lady today! This is the second time Mr Marsden has read my work, although I doubt he would remember (or probably care!). The first time was when I was in year ten and entered a National Youth Week fiction comp. with a story titled ‘Imprisoned Ever After?’ and got into the top ten. (Heheh … why do I write such embarrassing titles?)

dotdotdash is accepting submissions for Issue 3: Home. (What are you waiting for?!) Go to dotdotdash for submission guidelines now!

Thanks for your patience and support … you really are cool friends to have!

~ Erin ‘Eccentric, Stupid and Insanely Last-Minute’ Pearce~

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Quieter and Louder (5th November, 2009)

G’day, friends!

I just realised that the last time I wrote one of these was just after the launch of dotdotdash Issue One (Quicksand). I guess this was just because things simultaneously got quieter and louder after then …

Things that make life quieter:
– finishing another draft of the manuscript
– waiting for publishers to contact me re: said manuscript
– posting off a bunch of submissions
– being without internet for a whole fortnight(gasp!)
– changing jobs

Things that make life louder:
– borrowing my brother’s iPod
– that weird high-pitched whinging machinery sound that woke me up 2 hours and 15 minutes earlier than necessary this morning
– writing/collecting snippets of thought/dribble/ponderances/haiku for my next zine-thing
– changing jobs

Since I started work in the city, my daily existence seems to have taken on a whole different colour or shade. Or flavour. It’s exciting. I love being in a bookshop, love being around people who love books; it’s a love-fest, really. And I won some money yesterday in the ‘Melbourne Cup Day Office Sweepstakes’ since my horse came third, which was thumbs-uppy and made me grin a lot, much to the annoyance of my new friend Kylie who actually knew stuff about the races, and was the one who bullied me into entering the sweepstakes in the first place, and whacked me on the bum with a mislabelled Y.A. science fiction novel when she found out.

On my first day in the bookshop, I bought a new journal – I’ve been filling it with scribbles ever since. I’ve set myself the challenge of writing something every time I get on the train to-and-from work. Since I am saving for a trip to Israel in January and need all the money I can get, I’m picking up any work shifts I can get, so I don’t have a lot of time at home at my desk right now. I’m actually feeling quite okay about that, because my manuscript is out of my hands and I’m not currently working on a large project. Interim scribbles are better than nothing at all and perhaps something lovely will come out of them …

I got an exciting email from the dotdotdash editorial team the other day; they want to publish some more of my stuff! I’m really very humbled and thrilled to be involved in the project a second time, especially since the first issue was so breathtakingly wonderful. This time dotdotdash would like my creative non-fiction piece ‘Green Ants’ (which I wrote with the magazine’s theme of ‘Ugly’ in mind), and also a short story which is currently untitled since the dotdotdash folks deemed the old title ‘too juvenile despite, or in spite of, the story itself’. I agree with them wholeheartedly and, frankly, was glad/relieved for their reaction to the title. I just haven’t gotten around to renaming anything yet …

Which reminds me, at the kind recommendation of a certain Deborah Hunn, the folks at Subiaco Library have invited me as an ‘emerging writer’ to read some of my fiction on their ‘Writer’s Night’ this coming Monday evening (9th November, 6pm). Richard Rossiter will be discussing and reading excerpts from his new book Arrhythmia which, I’m told, is a collection of short stories exploring desire and what lies beneath the ‘apparently normal, even mundane, surfaces of people’s lives’. I’m a little daunted by this opportunity to read since I don’t yet consider myself to be an ‘emerging’ writer (or should I? When has one begun to emerge, and when have they actually emerged? Can anyone help me with a definition?) I’ve decided to read from the untitled story I mentioned above, so I hope that it’s not met with blank stares of bewilderment and doesn’t detract from Mr Rossiter’s evening. (If it is met with blank stares of bewilderment and Mr Rossiter gets sad, I may have to learn what it means to be a submerging writer fairly quickly …)

If you are interested in attending the Subiaco Library Writer’s Night for either Richard Rossiter or myself, it’s probably already too late to RSVP. The flyer tells me that ‘numbers are limited’ but if you are still keen, and wish to try your luck, you can phone 9237 9222.

Until next time …
~ Erin ‘Train-Scribbler’ Pearce ~

P.S: THIS FRIDAY at the Rosemount Hotel 459 Bar (459 Fitzgerald St, North Perth), the state final for the Australian Poetry Slam kicks off at 7.30pm. It costs only $5 to get in on the slam-poet action … and you might even find yourself becoming a judge! I’ll hopefully be lending a hand at the dotdotdash zine stall, so I’ll see you there! (see WA Slam Heats for more details …)

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