Thoughts on a Sunday morning

It’s almost noon, and I’m sitting outside with my coffee. Cars are driving by, there are ducks flying, and it’s one of the warmest days we’ve had this year so far. I really enjoy slow, lazy mornings like this one.

I figured since I’m not really doing anything productive, I’ll make a little update here about what I’m working at right now.

I posted yesterday about my new collection of poems that I’m editing and finishing, but I’ve got some other stuff in the works as well. I’ve been making an effort to post more chapters of my fantasy novel The Keeping of the Light lately, and with good reason: I’ve written more chapters. I’d been on somewhat of a hiatus from the novel since early last year, and have been focusing on other things. That changed a couple of weeks ago when I started reading over my progress so far.

When I stopped writing last year, my plan was to take a short break from the project to decide a direction for one of the main characters. However, a short break became a long break and that long break turned into a year.

Coming back to the project after all this time, and reading my work up until now, the direction is clear. Honestly I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out.

Now, I’m posting at least a chapter a day until I’m up to my current progress, and then i can finally start posting the new chapters. I’m really looking forward to seeing things how things turn out from here.

On top of that, I’m also prepping another book review, something I’ve only done once so far. Keep an eye out for that.

And hey, look at that: my coffee is gone. Damn. Should I grab my computer and get to work? Should I get another cup? Maybe I should just sit here for another hour and read for a while.

While I’m trying to decide what to do with my day, I hope you enjoy yours, wherever you happen to be.

Happy writing.

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Tim Winton’s “Dirt Music” (a review)

71quu9mnv5lI’m a lover of many things, but music is special.

Music is immediate. Direct. It doesn’t take study to feel music. There is something instinctive about the rhythms and melodies that, even if you can’t sing it, you get it, somehow. That’s what reading Tim Winton’s “Dirt Music” is like.

The story follows Georgie (a former nurse living with her tough guy fisherman boyfriend and his sons) and Lu (a silent musician making a simple living poaching) in Western Australia. The two have a chance meeting and, of course, become involved.

Except it’s not that simple. When I tell people about the novel and they ask “what genre is it?” I always struggle. In its most basic form “Dirt Music” is a love story, but it’s unique because for the majority of the story, Georgie and Lu aren’t even in touch. Instead, we are faced with the personal journeys of each character, and how love and connection with each other changes them in different ways.

The way this book is written is just as important as what is written. Chapters trade off between Georgie and Lu, ranging from weeks worth of time to sparse pages that capture, beautifully, a single moment in shocking detail. Opposing tenses launch us immediately into the mindset of each character, with Georgie’s chapters in past tense and Lu’s in present. It works so well that, on my first read, I didn’t even notice until about a third of the way through.

There’s a real sense of space in “Dirt Music” that permeates both the story and the writing style. We cover hundreds of kilometers, passing through country that is so open it makes you feel small. Brief chapters and short, realistic dialogue result in white space that sometimes engulfs the written word. Like the moments of silence between beats in a song. There’s quite a lot of emptiness in these pages, and that emptiness is important. Like the land, it divides and makes the scope of the novel’s setting all the more real.

And the prose is wonderful. Stark impressions of the landscape. Sensations that thrill and frighten and disturb. At times the writing becomes almost surreal, forgoing concrete reality for something more poetic, more musical. Winton uses the sounds and shapes of words to convey what’s happening and, like all great music, you just get it.

Love. Death. Music. It’s all there, and it’s worth a read. Cheers.

Things on the way.

The subtitle of this blog is “poems, prose and ponderings” and the last part of that subtitle is what I’d like to bring attention to. Between posts of my own work I’m going to periodically post my thoughts about other works that I’ve read. I hesitate to say that these will be reviews, but that’s what I’ll be calling them. You can think of them as my personal impressions.

I may also share my thoughts on writing as a process from time to time. These aren’t intended to be guides – I’m not a published author and writing is not my “job” – but I always find it interesting to hear other peoples’ take on writing and the connection they have with it.

I can’t say whether these ideas will become recurring topics on the site or not. I may change my mind in time and stick to only posting my work, but we’ll see what happens. Cheers.