Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year's Resolution... (plus chickens, bikes and...other stuff)

I'm going to blog every week this year. Without exception. Except, obviously, for most of January...

Actually, I've been wanting to blog since the start of January – have had all sorts of things lined up to write about, but for some reason every time I start I get oddly ‘blocked’. Still, it doesn't matter, we're here now, and that's what's important.

So, first things first, Happy (very belated) New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely break, and my sincere wish for you all is that unlike me, you haven't had to go back to work yet.

This, by nature, is going to be something of a ‘newsy infodump’ of a post – so feel free to skip over it and come back next week if you wish.

Item 1 on the agenda: because this is a writing blog, after all, and because I know that you're all terribly interested in my desk, here's a link to the fantastic blog of Tristan Bancks (who, unlike other bloggers I could name, actually updates regularly) and the contribution he asked me to do for his ‘the writer's studio’ series of posts. I've always really enjoyed these particular columns on Tristan's blog – it's fascinating the multitude of environments and methods by which writers and artists and other creative people all accomplish similar goals. And, of course, it was lovely to be invited to be part of it.

Item 2: (and moving away from writing now, and into family news) we have chickens! For a few years now Imogen and I have talked about getting some chooks for the yard, but for various reasons (slightly insane dog, lack of chicken coop etc…) we have put off doing anything about it. Late last year, though, while wandering around at the fantastic Murrumbateman field day, we spotted these beautifully designed mobile chicken runs, and that (combined with the fact that our previously-mentioned dog had knee surgery last year and is no longer nearly as mobile as she used to be) inspired us to get our poultry acts together. So last week we picked up our 4 ‘girls’ (I use the quote marks there because, to be honest, there's about a 20% chance that at least one of them will turn out to be a rooster and then, soon after, dinner...) who are now happily scratching around in the yard. Their names (because I'm sure you all want to know) are Charlotte, Spot, Hedwig and Rosie Primrose. 100 points for anyone who can spot the theme…

Charlotte (or, Lottie - as she likes to be known)

L-R: Spot, Hedwig and Rosie Primrose

Item 3: just in case you're interested. Later this year I'll be turning 40 (Shock! Horror! (And, to be honest, parental amazement, I suspect))* by that point I would like to be just a little bit fitter than I am at the moment and so Toby and I, inspired by my sister's bicycle-powered lifestyle in Holland, have set ourselves up and started cycling into work/daycare every morning. There are lots of birds, playgrounds to explore, things to look at, creeks and lakes and, of course, singing. And I'm quite certain that riding along pulling an extra 30 odd kilos of boy, bags, and child seat on my already heavy bike is probably going to do my fitness ambitions no harm at all. One of these mornings, I'll take my camera along and post some pictures of the ride. In the meantime, here we are, arriving home after ride on a 34 degree, windy afternoon...


Item 4: 2012. It's going to be a very big, and busy year for me this year – semester starts again in just a couple of weeks, and then it will be into the usual breakneck world of teaching. In June I'm convening the biennial ACLAR conference here in Canberra (with my friend Shaun Tan and the incredible Professors Clare Bradford and Kerry Mallan as our keynote speakers) the organisation of which should make the first half of this year particularly ‘interesting’. After that, our little family are off for a three-week holiday in Vietnam and Indonesia, at least one week of which will be spent on a beach with my sister, her husband, their 3 girls, my parents, and an assortment of other friends and relatives. I've also got the 2nd of my ‘Hunter’ books to get written, and my fantastic new agent and I will no doubt get to work on finding a home for the 1st one.

Plus, as promised, weekly blog posts here :-)

So, anyway–that's pretty much everything happening in my world, at the moment. From next week I'll try and get back to some more regular and focused blog posts. Welcome back to Musings… for 2012, everyone.

*I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologise for the overuse of parenthesis in this post, and particularly for the awful nested example indicated here. (I know this bugs some people...)

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