Month: November 2013

I Carry a Lot of Scars.

To peruse my bookshelf is to peruse my soul. There is no balance here, no sense of purpose or harmony amongst the chaos. I am utterly unable to throw out or give away books and so here they rest, their spines a montage of my fleeting or prolonged passions and flights of fancy. Some of these books have travelled through countries with me, their spines cracked and their pages torn, a physical embodiment of my journeys. Others have spent years in storage, their pages gathering dust, lonely and unread until the day I pulled them out and breathed life back into them. I love all my books as friends; they have each had an effect on me through knowing them. The ideas they contain become a memory, staying with me for moments, months or a lifetime. There is one book on my shelf, however, that single-handedly changed the course of my life forever. Koh Chang, Thailand. As Thomas Carlyle said: The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity. Alex Garland’s The Beach prompted …

A Literary Christmas.

I have a confession to make. I love Christmas. No, I mean, I really ADORE it. It is far and away my favourite holiday. I prefer it a thousand times to my birthday. I love the crappy Christmas carols, the cheap tinsel, the hoards of people who shove their way frantically through the stores as though there is the slightest possibility that shops will run out of chocolates, booze and cheap toys. I often whinge with the best of them about the insanity of these holidays. I don’t want to seem like the odd one out. It’s only November! I say. Why are there decorations in the shops already? Why are they playing Christmas carols and selling plastic Christmas trees and pumping out fruit mince pies so the entire shopping complex smells like the inside of Santa’s workshop?  Secretly, I revel in it. This year, as you probably know, I don’t have access to the thousands of dollars that are usually spent on this mother of all holidays. In fact, I don’t have any money at all. I told friends I wasn’t putting up a …

Chasing Dreams.

Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a crazy yet creative week over here in Paperbook Land. Blogging has unfortunately fallen by the wayside a little bit, so I thought I would take a sec to fill you in on what’s been going on. This time of year seems to move at warp speed, doesn’t it. Last time I looked up it was mid-September and I was struggling to move house, suddenly it’s almost December and I have more projects on than hours in a day. I’m sure you can all relate – what with Christmas carols and looming holidays and end of year sales and impending visits from all sorts of family members both close and estranged, it’s a hectic time of year for everyone. I highly recommend taking an hour to yourself each day to relax and read a book. Who has time for that?? I can hear you screech. I guess it’s about making the time rather than trying to find it. Anyway. Here’s what’s been happening in my little corner of the globe. …

Submissions for The Culture Issue.

Would you like to have your work published by an online creative poetry? Would you like to share your work with the world? As you know, the hours are counting down for close of submissions for the final issue of The Paperbook Collective for 2013. IT’S THE FINAL ISSUE FOR 2013! YOU SHOULD BE A PART OF IT! I am seeking: Poetry Book Reviews Flash Fiction Short Stories Creative Non-Fiction Personal Essays Artwork Photography  And anything and everything else under the creative sun. Here is the submission form for your convenience: Submission Form_The Paperbook Collective Email your submissions through to: jayde.ashe@hotmail.com Get involved with our creative magazine. 

Letters From Steinbeck.

Letter writing is nothing if not a lost art. In an age of tweeting, tumblr-ing, updating statuses and texting, when was the last time you sat down and wrote an honest to goodness letter? The last I have any memory of writing was when I was in boarding school, and my mother and I would write to each other. I wish I still had those letters, I can only imagine that they would have become a beautiful memento in years to come. Prior to that, my friends and I in Primary School were avid letter writers. We wrote to one another constantly, speaking of school, love, life and our friendships, which were subject to constant adjustment. In keeping with A Month of Steinbeck, I thought I would share some of the letters written by John. His style and tone in letter writing is different to the one captured in his novels, but it is fascinating and brilliant and bound to make you reach for the pen and ink.  ______________________________________________ John Steinbeck to his former room-mate and …

Write What You Know.

That is one of the most highly contested, controversial pieces of advice a writer can be given. That and don’t make you sentences too long. This latter piece of advice was given to me by my university lecturer on a recent assignment, in a unit laughingly entitled ‘Introduction to Writing. She marked me down for using ‘run-on’ sentences. Actually deducted marks for this apparent literary faux pas. In response, I would like to turn her attention to the following sentence. Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara.  That’s a long sentence if I’ve ever seen one. I wonder if she would mark Jack Kerouac down for his inability to properly punctuate? Anyway, this little rant is beside the point. Back to that old faithful — write what you know. Everyone has different opinions on this seemingly innocuous …

The Culture Issue – FOUR DAYS LEFT!

I am planning on writing a longer post about this tomorrow, but right now the sun is shining, the cider is cold and Saturday afternoon is beckoning. There is only FOUR DAYS LEFT to get your submissions in for the December Issue of The Paperbook Collective! Get writing, get drawing, get photographing. Get ready to share something about your little piece of the world with the rest of the world. This theme can be interpreted very broadly people, don’t feel bogged down or bound by the fact that this issue has a theme. Think of it as a chance to push yourself, to explore beyond the normal confines of your usual style. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write fiction or poetry, I would love to see some stories based in your home town or your state, or even your country for that matter. I would love to see some poetry that links back to something about your culture, or some poetry that is synonymous with a particular culture. Doesn’t have to be your culture. Just …

NaNoWriMo, NovNov and A Month of Steinbeck.

Hands up who’s doing NaNoWriMo? Wow, good on you. Now, hands up who signed up for NaNoWriMo and is yet to write a word? Oops, is it just me? That’s embarrassing. I have used every excuse in the book so far, much to my own disgust. The only thing that is preventing a total shame spiral is the fact that my ‘novel’ of sorts already has 40,000 words to its name. But that’s not really the point, is it. How is everyone else going with NaNoWriMo? If you’re not doing as well as you hoped, feel free to compare yourself to my hopeless attempt and thus feel better about yourself. If you have kept up with NaNo, I send you a huge congrats and a couple of enthusiastic virtual high fives. If you have only managed to write 100 words, but you are thrilled with those 100, then count yourself a success. You’re doing great. If you have yet to write a word, join me in a commiseration glass of wine. There, that feels better, …

A Good Education.

I grew up in isolation. Not torturous isolation, no, nothing like that. It was an isolation that was common of the time, an isolation constructed of distance and space and interminable roads to nowhere. We lived on a tiny hobby farm perched precariously on a bitumen snake of a highway, the house looking down over rolling hills that bore no signs of human life, save for the glinting wire fences that divided them. The closest town was only eight kilometres along the highway, but it was an afterthought of a town that had slowly lost its reason for being. Nevertheless, we rarely left its confines as we believed it had everything we could possibly need. We spent long hot summer days baking ourselves at the local pool or river layers of skin peeling off as one sunburn began before the last had faded. We ran barefoot through the dried grass of our scorched paddocks, the thought of snakes nothing but a dull warning in the back of our minds. We relied on the old wives …

Keep an eye on it.

There is all sorts of cool shit happening out in the blogosphere. You only need to log onto your WordPress Reader in the morning to be inundated with endless amounts of wonderful new ideas and initiatives. I thought I would take a moment to share with you the ones I know about, and hopefully you will do the same. So here is what I have been keeping an eye on, in between university and publishing new issues of The Paperbook Collective.  ________________________________________ wePoets Show It. Who: wePoets Show It. Where: WordPress ~ wePoets Show It.                Facebook ~ We Poets Show It. What: An interactive online community designed to showcase writers, poets, artists, published books and photography. They have a really cool rotation of themes and posts on their blog, make sure you swing by and take a look. ________________________________________ First Round’s On Us.  Who: Sahm King (and contributors). Where: WordPress ~ Books by Sahm King et al.               Smashwords ~ First Round’s On Us.       …