Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stumbling Over the Finishing Line

So I've been a little quiet of late. That's largely due to the usual end-of-semester marking frenzy, and also a trip to Sydney last weekend.

But, that's not what I'm here to talk about. I've got bigger news.

About an hour ago, I FINALLY FINISHED MY NEXT BOOK!

Thank God.

Sure, when I started it, my plan was for it to take six months (it's only 55,000 words, after all, how long can that take?) and it's ended up taking almost bang on eighteen. And during that time it's felt like a complete monkey on my back.

But now, it's done. And I've got a nice warm pile of paper, hot off the printers, sitting here on the table beside me, just waiting for me to launch into it with a red pen, and start slicing the crap (of which there is an abundance) out of it.

This, for those of you who've been silly enough to hang around here for the last year and a half, is my action / adventure book. It's different to all my other stuff. It's faster paced. Sillier. And has been a lot of fun to write. It's also intended to be the first of a series of (probably) four or five books. Which means that I'm really going to have to speed up my output a little, I suspect.

It's a strange feeling, finishing the first draft. There's an odd mixture of elation and relief, in equal parts. I've now got this big blank(ish) space looming in front of me, which I can fill with all sorts of other projects and ideas. I'll be able to sleep at night without worrying about this book possibly never being completed. And, of course, I've got to start editing it, now, which is where the fun really starts. Particularly for a book that's been written in as many fits and starts as this one.

Still, it's done. And soon, I might need some proofreaders. 13 - 16 year old guys with a penchant for action would be ideal.

Volunteers, anyone?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh where, oh where did the last decade go?

So I turned 39 last Saturday. I've been meaning t0 put this post up ever since, but - and this pretty much sums up the topic of this particular post - I've just plain been too busy. You can see my space filler of a post last week if you want the details*

But, as is the way with these things, I did get a little reflective over the weekend. Not least because I read this column here, by Aussie author and all-round-nice-person Bec Sparrow, hard upon the heels of having a long conversation with Min along the lines of 'what the hell happened to my 30's?'

Because, I'll be honest, I feel as though my 20's lasted about a decade, and my 30's roughly 5 minutes.

Still, when you do some comparative analysis** I think there's a pretty clear answer as to why.

During my 20's I:
  • Rowed Boats
  • Did Triathlons
  • Trained for rowing and triathlons.
  • Taught
  • Had relationships which lasted no longer than 6 months.
  • Sailed on a tall ship twice a year.
  • (Towards the end) wrote 1 book.
And that's about it, really. Now, let's look at the intervening 9(ish) years.

During my 30's I:
  • Wrote a book
  • Changed career
  • Moved interstate
  • Wrote another book
  • Moved back interstate
  • Got engaged
  • Wrote another book
  • Started a PhD
  • Wrote another book
  • Maintained a touring schedule which kept me away from home roughly 3 months out of every year.
  • Wrote another book
  • Got married
  • Bought an old run down house
  • Renovated old run down house
  • Finished PhD
  • Went to Antarctica
  • Wrote another book
  • Moved interstate.
  • Wrote another book
  • Bought another house
  • Sold renovated house
  • Wrote another book
  • Changed career (again)
  • Gave up touring schedule
  • Became a father
  • Wrote another book.
So, all things considered, I'm not overly surprised that I feel as though I missed a few years there. I've been - as has been mentioned on this blog a few times - rather busy.

It's really funny, though - I can remember being a teenager and wondering what my life would be like when I was 30. It's safe to say that I was pretty much incorrect on all counts. Now I'm 39, in the third year of my current career, and working incredibly hard to build up my research and academic profile. My writing career is ticking along nicely enough, even if I'm not getting nearly the writing time I'd like. And my family - both my immediate and extended family - continues to be the absolute joy of my life.***

Which is not a bad way to have spent a decade, in my opinion.

Even if I can't remember most of it...

* Nothing's changed...
** And let's face it, I'm a literary studies academic. Comparative analysis is what it's all about.
*** On that, I also became an uncle again last weekend. Birthday. Unclehood. A good weekend...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just to Clarify...

...I'm not dead. Nor in a coma. Just horribly, horribly, horribly busy.

Last week I got to the point where I had so much stuff on my plate that I got a bit, well, I guess 'paralysed' is probably the best way to describe it. For a couple of days there, I felt like I was going backwards with just about everything, with the result that a lot of things got pretty much dropped from my agenda. Like blogging, for example.

But I'm slowly getting back on top of things again now - my marking is - touch wood - almost done* I've only got four more lectures and one more class to deliver, and that's my teaching finished for the semester. Then I've got another insane amount of marking to get through, but such is life... I've got a book chapter and a conference paper to get written before the 10th of June, when I head off to Perth for three weeks work at the Fremantle Children's Literature Centre. Most of the papers for the journal I'm editing have come in, and so I'm in the process of chasing up peer reviewers for them. Three weeks ago, Melina Marchetta came and worked with our students at UC, and was *fantastic*. Last week we hosted Easter lunch for our extended Canberra family - all 11 of them - in our backyard. We also dyed eggs, using traditional wax and dyes, which was great fun. I'll admit that I watched most of the Royal Wedding, but went to bed before they went driving in Prince Charles' Aston Martin, which was probably the most interesting part of the whole thing. Toby is sleeping through the nights. Last night I cooked rosemary smoked ribs in the Weber. This morning I got to ride a nice little pony named Woody, and together we did some lovely canter transitions, and also trotted in spirals, which was a lot of fun. While I was doing that, Obama was announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden. I'm not unhappy about the fact that he's been chased down, but the degree of enthusiasm in some of the celebrations are making me slightly uncomfortable. I've never liked the idea of retribution as a cause for celebration. Not for anyone. Even Bin Laden.

Phew.

So, that's about that.

I'm hoping to have life more or less back under control by the end of this week, and so I'll hopefully have the energy to put a bit of time and thought into some decent blog posts.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

*this despite my stupid bloody version of MS Word for Mac freezing up randomly every couple of hours, and forcing me to lose up to 40 minutes of work at a time**
** Yes, I know about saving my work as I go. But, you know, sometimes you just forget. And those are almost inevetably the ones where my machine decides to give me the wheel of death...

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