Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

It's the silly season again. This time last year, Toby wasn't walking. How time has passed.

Before I get onto the 'What I've been up to' part of this blog entry, I'm going to throw in an idea that Min came across the other day and which, I think, is lovely.

I don't know what it's like in your family but in mine, in the past, Christmas has tended to be, well, rather stressy. There's a lot of lead up to 'The Big Day' and a lot of planning and panic and pressure and, from time to time, Christmas itself has become more of a chore than a celebration; desperately trying to cram everything in to the one little window of time.

Not this year though - Min read somewhere that the best way to deal with Christmas is to engage in a little 'mental shift' and to think of it not as one single day on which everything must be perfect, but to think of it as a season - a couple of weeks of relaxing, family, cooking, shopping, and taking it easy. This takes the pressure off, and makes the whole thing fun. We've been thinking of things from this perspective and, I have to say, it's turning out to be one of the most lovely festive seasons I can recall.

So, anyway, what have I been up to since I saw you all last?

Well, for the most part, and aside from a little administrative work this last week, I've been having a holiday from, well, life.

A couple of weeks ago, with all my teaching for the year done, my marks submitted and my admin up to date, Min and Toby and I came across to Perth to stay with my Mum and Dad for a few weeks, and to attend the wedding of an old friend of ours.

The wedding itself was on Rottnest Island, which is one of my favourite places in the world - it's a little daggy, rather run down, the accomodation is basic and they gouge every possible cent out of you while you're there ($6 cucumber, anyone?), but it has the most beautiful beaches, no television reception, no cars or internet, and within 10 minutes of getting off the ferry, you can feel the rest of the world slipping away. It's a lovely thing, and just the ticket after a fairly full-on year of work and family. Mum and Dad came over with us and had some much enjoyed 'Toby time'. We swum at The Basin, ate at the bakery, and generally caught up on sleep and reading.

And our friend's wedding was lovely, too.

Then back to Perth for a combination of pre-christmas prep, family catch ups, planning some home renovations for when we return to Canberra in a couple of weeks and, for me, starting the wheels in motion for a special edition of a scholarly journal which I've been asked to guest-edit for late next year.

This is pretty exciting, actually. The journal is a U.K. based, online publication called Write4Children, and has a really nice broad approach to the scholarship of children's writing, encompassing both theory and practice. I'm curating a special Australasian Edition, and have had some very interesting and exciting abstracts submitted. At the moment I'm considering how to form up and shape the edition in terms of threads and ideas, and then when I get back in January I'll be getting onto the selected writers, chasing up the finished pieces, organising the peer review process, then copy and proof editing. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm very excited to think that at the end of it there'll be a really solid and permanent contribution to scholarship, and one which I had a big hand in putting together.

I'm also champing at the bit to get back so that I can start writing again. This year I have some big plans. Hopefully.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. Right now it's about 35 degrees outside here in Perth, whereas back home it was snowing a couple of days ago in Yass, which is about 45 minutes up the road from our house. I think I'd rather be here, though the forecast for Christmas is for 38 degrees, and that'll really test things out.

In any case, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas with your families. I'll be back for a New Year's Post some time in the next week or so, probably once we're back home again.

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