Monday, February 27, 2006

I Heart Doof

Just got back from a weekend away at a bush party called Regrowth. It's a combined psytrance dance party and tree planting event, three hour's drive away at the most amazing location. It's kind of at the edge of a pointy bit (not the correct geographical terminology, I'm sure) jutting out into a huge valley. If you stand in the one spot and spin in a circle and for almost 360 you see nothing but sweeping valley views and rolling hills. No sign of mankind at all for as far as you can see.

We got there at about 9pm on Saturday night and the centre piece on the dance floor was best I've seen. Huge UV string artworks all around the perimeter, the DJ booth a pyramid with psychedelic projections on it (at one point someone had a camera that projected real-time images of the party onto the pyramid), and four totem like poles in the middle (pictured) which, in the heat of the following day, became a mist shower to cool us down. Above it all were colourful banners and streamers billowing in the breeze. Very pretty stuff. Needless to say, the sound system was awesome.

Partied all night, partied on into the day, planted a few trees... interesting experience when you're in full flight party mode, and you've just wandered up without thinking about shoes, and at first you ignore the few spiky bits in the grass and dirt, and before you know it you've made your way into some really heavy nettle and there's no way out but to finish planting the trees you have... at one point I inherited a garbage bin full of mulch and became Mulch Boy, following the calls for "Mulch!" all over the damn place... My feet were really hurting but I had to keep lugging this goddamn bin full of mulch over this vicious ground, the stony parts of which were incredibly hot. All for these scrawny little damn treelets. It was a LOT more painful than I could have expected, and I really started to resent those who had declined the chance to help out and were still dancing away to some amazing music under the mist maker. Bastards. Why hadn't I told my inner hippie to shut the fuck up? Funny thing was that when our friend came around earlier, nursing the little sappling, in the addled mess that was my mind, I initially thought he was offering us a gift, which is why I said "Sure, why not?" just before he said "You want to plants some trees?" I'll have to ask The Dreaded One if she thought the same.

Anyway, it got to a point where I had planted my trees and distributed as much mulch as I could - the hole diggers and tree-putter-inners weren't going fast enough and I had to put shoes on because the nettles and hot ground were too much. I couldn't believe how far up the hill we had all moved, and there was a lot more prickly ground to cover to get back to my shoes, and no other way to do it but do it. I swear it was worse than walking over a field of broken glass and hot coals; a lesser man would have cried the tears of a baby. Wimp.

I still have bristly things in my feet. Those little trees had better grow up into a the kind of dense forest that will make Mulch Boy proud.

I suspect The Dreaded One and I were the only ones who had not thought to bring shoes to the planting. Some people even had gloves and sun protection... at least we made the right decision in leaving our glasses of wine back at the dance floor and not taking them to the planting. "Oh darling - do me a favour and put down that tree and top me up will you? Feeling rather parched, what with all rugged outdoors stuff and whatnot."

The rest of the day was just a perfect doof day. Honestly, looking around at everyone dancing to such gorgeous music and laughing with each other whilst surrounded by such stunning natural beauty, I just felt sorry for people who haven't experienced this kind of thing. I hadn't wanted to go initially, but The Dreaded One had been looking forward to it because it's our birthdays, so I went thinking that it was going to pull me out of my mood, and man, it did that. Sure, you have to put in the effort to get there, and getting back can be a drag, and you get dirty and the car gets dusty, and it can be a pain in the arse if you look at the negatives, but they're just part of what is, overall, a magical experience.

We decided we were not going to straighten up enough for the drive back, so we found a good site and set the tent up, me whining like a bitch because I would have been perfectly fine in the car, but ooh noo, The Princess wanted a bed with sheets and and pillows and so we had to set up the royal marquee (she doesn't read the blog, so I can say such things with no threat of reprisal). Thing was, of course, that she was right; sleeping in the car is a form of sleep depriving- torture, sleeping stretched out in our little tent is 5 star luxury by comparison.

We danced some more, the party thinned, we helped the guys with a little packing, they offered us food, we talked and then returned to the tent. The music kept going for a while, then the night fell quiet, the kind of empty quiet you just don't hear in the city. So peaceful.

Doof does good things for the soul. Less good for the soles.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Wisdom Of Grumpy

That last post was a little bizarre. I wonder if the comments conversation will continue. I think the word 'boobs' was the most frequently used, which was unexpected to say the least.

I got a letter today in response to my recent column (two posts below) Effectively, this guy was late to a job interview, sat in the waiting room reading the column in the mag, then decided that I was making a good point and that he was sick of working for the man, and to hell with it all he'll just walk out. He just left without telling them and spent the day wandering around town in bare feet and now never wants to work again. He said, "I'm sick of being a sheep and bending over to be fisted, then kissing the hand that feeds me."

Like... I wasn't making a point. How... he read a very silly column by someone who calls themself 'Grumpy' and made a reasonably large life decision based on that. And he thanked me. Whoa. Too big.

And I thought threatening to kill a fluffy penguin called Owen unless people talked to me was retarded.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chirping For Mercy

Aaaaaawwwww... isn't he the cutest damn thing you ever saw? The way he's just standing there being so fluffy, going "Brrrr" and keeping himself warm by thinking about what it must be like for tropical penguins who can lie on sandy beaches sipping gin and tonics... but not until they're all grown up and of legal age n' shit, but still, he can just feel that tropical sun beating down, can hear those steel drums, feel that warm summer breeze gently ruffling his feathers, hear the chink of the ice cubes in his glass as the waves roll and hiss onto the sundrenched sand. Look at his little squinty eyes... really - have you ever seen anything more adorable in your life?

The point is, not enough of you are leaving comments. I want more comment action, and if I don't see it immediately, this little guy gets it. I am not fucking about here. You leave here without leaving a comment and I'm going to start with his wings... or whatever they are. Those flipperry wingy things on the side. I will do him slowly and painfully and it will be on your shoulders. I will make this little fucker scream for mercy... squawk for mercy? I don't know. Do they chirp? They're some kinda bird, surely they chirp... but is it possible to chirp for mercy? Bah. Whatever. I'll have the bastard mooing for mercy. By the time I've finished with him he'll be speaking Swahili. "Noo, noo, missuh Quick, prease don bend mah flippery wingy things no more. Dey good people. Dey don mean to upset you fo' not leavin' none comments." And then I'm going to get really angry because nothing pisses me off more than a penguin who uses double negatives in a bad Swahili accent.

Anyway. Your choice. Leave comments and the bird lives to see his old age in the tropics. Leave without saying anything... and yeah, no more mister nice guy. No more mooing Swahili penguin with flippery wingy things.

At the time of posting, my counter is at 10032. Arms are folded. Foot is tapping. Comments please...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Update On The Twat Of The Year Award

I decided not to go with the arrogant approach with the new mag. I called and was very polite (obviously) and the ed was very nice and it appears that I will get the column as well as commissioned arts writing, reviews, interviews etc. Yay me! Yay them! Yay being nice! It's all still got to happen, of course, but this is very good news.

And the new new editor of the mag in Queensland I write a column for wrote this morning to say they really like my Grumpy column and can I send a few extras to cover while I'm away. And this guy has asked me to write a story for the mag he works for. Fuck, man, I just feel so loved.

All positive vibes, much needed too. Below is my most recent column for the mag I'm about to leave. I've not been overly confident of late.

Well gang – in a few short weeks I’ll be traipsing (vaguely) down the 3D stairwell for the last time. For a job I scored by accident, it’s been three and a half years of more fun than I thought I could have at a desk. Funny thing is, when I tell people I’m leaving the first thing they invariably ask is “Why?” I don’t know, I tell them, it’s just time; life is bendy and I have to check out what’s around the corner. The second thing they ask is, “What are you going to do?” I’m going to pray that the god of freelance writing smiles favourably upon me. The third thing they say – without fail – is, “Don’t worry – something will turn up.” Really? Really? How do they know this? I really wanna know where this unshakable optimism comes from, because I want some of it. I want a lot of it now. Being the sorry sack of neuroses that I am at the moment, I’m not at all sure something will turn up. I’m wracked with self-doubt because I don’t know what it is that I do. Do you know how lame that sounds? Flash bar, spunky chick: “So what is it you do, Grumpy?” “Erm, I’m not really sure.” Right now I’m so apprehensive about the future I feel like Woody Allen trapped in the body of, I dunno, Hugh Jackman? Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration... I’m not quite as neurotic as Woody Allen. Nevertheless. I gaze into my crystal ball and I see windscreen washer guy. I’ve replaced lying in bed at night clutching the sheets with white knuckles, staring wide-eyed into the darkness and thinking, “Oh God we’re all going to die” with lying in bed at night clutching the sheets with white knuckles, staring wide-eyed into the darkness and thinking “I don’t know what I do.” Right now, that great Ozzie sentiment, “She’ll be right” never sounded more ridiculous. Will she? How do they know she’ll be right? What if she’s not right? What if they’re wrong? What if I relax my grip on my sheets and stop being so bug-eyed because I think she’ll be right, and she just isn’t?

Still, I’ve never really done the blind optimism thing before. Maybe I should kick my inner Woody Allen in the arse and tell him to fuck off. Maybe, after all, she will be right. Maybe something actually will turn up.

And if not, maybe I’ll see you at the local intersection. “Need your window cleaned?”


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dumb Things To Swear At

A crack in the footpath: "Woopsfuck!"

A mosquito: "Cop that, fucker. Hahaha."

One of those flies that reeeeeally wants to hang out with your face: "Piiiiiss OFF!"

A cutting-in-front-of-you moron in another car when you have all the windows wound up and there's zero chance they're ever going to hear you: "OH THAT'S FUCKING BRILLIANT, YOU ARROGANT SACK OF SHIT. WHERE DID THAT GET YOU? YEAH, LOOK, OOOH - A WHOLE CAR SPACE AHEAD IN TIME. FUCKING FUCKWAD!"

That same fly: "Seriously - fuck off prick."

DJ Sasha when his 'Involver' CD skips and goes nangnangnangnangnangnang: "Gah! Arsehole!"

A dog that barks at you as you leave the shopping centre and makes your sphincter twitch: "Fucking dickhead!"

An elevator that's maybe 15 floors below and just doing what it's been told to do: "Come on come on! I haven't got all fucking day!"

Man who buzz door two week later and say, 'Is there a Luca?': "No fucking Luca!"

I think I need to chill out a bit.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dear Editor...

Someone called Gab said of my previous post that she... could be a he I guess... liked my treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen approach. So fuck it, I've drafted my follow up letter to the arts mag. You reckon this will win them over?

"Dear... oh, your name seems to have slipped my (rather awesome) mind for the time being. Anyway, thing is, been busy taking care of real business , as opposed to gigs like yours that are offering the kind of pocket money I find it difficult not to giggle and point at, and as a result scratching my balls has taken greater priority than dumbing down and packaging my Wilde-esque wit for the benefit of your dull readership.

You'll be thrilled to know, however, that my balls have been sufficiently scratched and I now have the few minutes required to dash off what is for me the mental equivalent of navel lint that you appear to find so mentally challenging and ultimately - once your feeble little mind has convinced itself you have a grasp of - rewarding.

I... *stifles yawn*... trust you will make enough of the fact that I am deeming it (ahem) worthy of my contributing to your pathetic little rag and have attached my latest press shot for the cover of your... presti... your... quaint little publication. (Did I neglect to mention that I am fabulously hot? I assumed you'd heard).

Dispense with the effusive gratitude because really, sweetie, it makes my skin crawl. Just do what has to be done to make this happen.

Regards, of sorts,


Your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"And The Winner Of The Twat Of The Year Award Goes Tooooo..."

Me: Huh? What's that?

Computer: It's an email message in your 'save as draft' folder.

Me: But it's to that arts magazine I was pestering about contributing to. I had them interested in a regular humorous column. I sent something else to them the other day to see if they were still interested. I can't remember where we were at with that.

Computer: The answer is probably in that email. Why don't you open it?

Me: (opening draft email) Doo dee doo de doo. Tum tee tumtumtum... Oh no...

Computer: Wassup? Bad news?

Me: Oh crap. Why am I so stupid? God I can't believe I did this.

Computer: Whatwhatwhat? Tell me tell me tell me. The suspense is killing me.

Me: Fucking twat. They gave me the green light. They gave me their rates. They asked what the first column was going to be about...

Computer: That's great news, dude. Congrats. You should look really happy - not like you've just dropped a load in your panties.

Me: The email is dated November 28. My reply is, "Thanks Caroline. That's great. I'll..."

Computer: Whoa. Dude. That's all? You didn't finish writing the email?

Me: No. That's it. That's all. I obviously got distracted with work that day, then I told my employers I was quitting, then I went on a road trip, and I totally forgot about it.

Computer: Total bummer, man. That's really got to suck arse. Hehehe... man, you should see the look on your face. Classic.

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Do You Actually Know Who I Am?"

I can't believe I really said that phrase on Friday night. In a club. To a really famous DJ. A guy called Groove Terminator.

Before I started working for the mag, I was in a club one night and a guy asked me if I was a DJ. If I'm in a certain mood I'll often make stuff up just to see what happens, and although I told him I wasn't a DJ, I wondered what could have happened if I had answered yes. I asked him why he had asked and apparently his friend was convinced that I was Groove Terminator. His friend must have been off his head because I don't look like GT at all. Especially not after the swimming pool/chlorine incident that turned my hair green.

Later on I kept thinking about this, and what could have happened if I had says yes, I am GT. I started writing a story about it called Being Groove Terminator in which I got myself into all sorts of trouble by impersonating GT, someone in the club pointing out that GT was here, the whole club having mass delusion that I was GT and requesting that I do a set... The story goes totally leftfield and I actually become GT. The people in the story are all real life characters, Like The Dreaded One, the guy who asked the question who became a friend in the end etc. I wrote an installment a week and got myself into more and more trouble and just didn't know where I was going with it. It was a fun way to write, and the story - when it finally came out - was popular (at least in the local clubbing scene).

But before it came out, I was telling my hairdresser friend about it and how I was doing it in installments (at the time I was actually sending it out with a corporate newsletter thing... Just started with a few lines and got longer due to popular demand). Anyway, the hairdresser asked if she could be put in the story, so I said yeah sure, and put her in the next installment. She also said her boyfriend worked in the same studio as GT and did I want her to pass on the story when it was finished. Again I said yeah sure.

The story finished at around 5,000 words and I gave it to the hairdresser and forgot about it.

Then one night I was sitting at the computer writing and the phone rang. There was a guy on the line who was still sort of chuckling and there were other people in the background laughing. Turns out the caller was Nigel Tucker, Groove Terminator's manager. He said they were all laughing at the story and could they put it up on GT's website. I said yeah sure.

Maybe a year after that I got the job at the magazine and through the year went along to the Dance Music Awards. I literally bumped into GT and thought fuck it, I'll introduce myself. He remembered the story and said it was very funny... Quite flattering because he is a very funny guy. And I don't know, I just like that story because of its series of coincidences. It just felt like a complete and rounded story all stemming from that one random enquiry.

I've met GT a few times since then and we've chatted and it's all quite normal. But I hadn't seen him in maybe 12 months (think he's based in LA now), and there he was in the club the other night, so I decided to say hello. He said "Hello mate, how are you?" with a friendly smile, and we started to chat. But neurotic Quick took over and I convinced myself that he he was being polite and pretending he knew who I was while going through his memory trying to think of who the hell I might be. Hell, I do that all the time. So I stopped mid-sentence at one point to say, "Do you actually know who I am?"

He laughed and said yes of course, and I must have sounded like the world's biggest twat. It didn't come out at all like it was meant to.

My advice - under no circumstances should the phrase "Do you actually know who I am?" be said, no matter what the intention. Some phrases have powers far too strong for us mere mortals.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Valentine's Day Is Killing Romance

Each week in the mag we run a debate. One week argues one side, the next week argues the Otherside. The curent topic is 'Valentine's Day Is Keeping Romance Alive.' I am arguing the case against...

(Some of you may recognise the opening, but hell, why not use the day to day moments that would otherwise be lost?)

Sitting at the edge of the harbour soaking up the kind of clear summer day that only Sydney can serve up – as well as soaking up a fair amount of un-oaked chardonnay – the conversation turned to funerals and the kind of send off we are going to give each other.

“Funerals are a bloody great waste of money, aren’t they?” I observed, apropos of nothing at all.

My girlfriend didn’t bat an eyelid; she’s quite used to this sort of thing. “So if I go first, what kind of funeral are you going to give me?” she asked.

“Dunno. Nothing fancy. Hadn’t really given it much thought.”

“You’re not going to do anything nice? Just put me in a cardboard box and dispose of me?”

“Well what kind of funeral do you want me to organise for you?”

“I want you to put in the effort and come up with something nice.”

Hmm. I put in the effort and eventually came up with a doof in her favourite doof location. A kind of death doof with fire twirlers and mushrooms and friends stomping in the dust... She seemed pleased with this, so I asked about my funeral. “I did you,” I told her, “now you do me.”

“You do your own funeral,” she told me. “You were originally going to put me in a cardboard box. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a cardboard box for you.”

“Can it be a nude funeral?” I asked hopefully.

“You want to be buried in the nude? Okay.”

“Yeah, but I want all the guests to be in the nude too.”

She gave me The Look. “Weirdo.”

“And on pogo sticks. Nude and on pogo sticks and I will be a happy corpse-in-a-box.”

The Look was accompanied by a slow shake of the head. “You really are quite peculiar.”

My mind frequently leaps about like a cane toad with a fire cracker up its bum, which was why the funeral conversation lead me to other ‘special occasions’ that are overrated, like Valentine's Day. Nay, Valentine’s Day is not just overrated, it’s a bona fide crime against romance. It’s got its talons around romance’s throat and it’s not letting go; it’s choking the life out of it.

Last week’s writer made the point that modern life is too busy and no one has time to be truly romantic; that Valentine’s Day “is the one day where husbands can make up for a year of neglect and wives can be swept off their feet all over again…”

Trouble is, that’s not real romance. It’s many things - token romance, guilt romance, get-it-over-and-done-with romance - but it’s not real romance.

I do agree with last week’s writer that our lives are full and that it’s difficult to find the time and energy for seemingly frivolous things like romance, but the answer to that is not to designate a date in the calendar and pretend for a day that we’re romantic. The answer is to stop being so fucking lazy.

Sure, it’s a push-button, remote-control, instant-gratification world that we cram full of clutter, useless information and gym memberships, a world in which we sure don’t feel lazy because we’re so goddamn busy. Problem is, we’re keeping ourselves busy with unimportant stuff at the expense of the good stuff.

We love a fad diet, don’t we? Fad diets pop up every now and then, they appear to make sense, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and makes another obnoxious American rich. But just as suddenly as it appeared, the fad diet disappears again because in spite of what we want to believe, the old fashioned rules of diet and fitness hold true; food is fuel, exercise burns up as much fuel as your body requires. Consuming fuel + sitting on arse = Fat City.

In the same way it just doesn’t work to neglect the one you’re supposed to love all year and ‘make up for it’ with a token gesture on a designated day.

Valentine's Day is turning us into unimaginative, romantically flaccid, drones. Valentine's Day whispers sweet nothing in our ear all year long. “Do nothing,” VD whispers. “Don’t worry about being spontaneously romantic. Don’t act on that urge to show your love on a whim, wait for me, leave it until February 14 and behave like all the other romantically flaccid drones.”

The true romantics understand this. We are hard at work all year round. We’re the ones keeping romance alive, not this fraud of a day that steals all the glory. We are the ones upholding the noble tradition of true romance. True romance is being original. Romance is not a fistful of roses on February 14; romance is taking her to lunch on a whim on a nondescript Sunday. Romance is gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes while the sunlight skips and twinkles on the water... and planning the details of each other's funeral.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Luka And The Invisible Light Shoes

In the previous post I referred to an analogy that a writer friend made about writing being like robbing a bank. Sometimes with humorous observation pieces it's more like someone else robbing the bank and handing you the loot.

This will be my next Acid Tongue column. It happened to me today. I love it when people do dumb shit. The light shoe lady was in and out of the shop for ages and was quite funny, in a really annoying way, but the column has to be a max of 400ish words, so here tis. Hope you enjoy...

I appeared to have a bit of a credibility problem over the weekend. Someone started buzzing my front door at 4am. I ignored it for as long as I could, but they were so persistent that I thought there was a faint chance that it was someone I knew and not a confused piss-head neighbour. "Is that Luka?" came the unsure query through the handset. I don’t know, maybe I'm too fussy but I just think if you’re buzzing someone’s door at 4am you’d better be fucking sure you’ve got the right number. No it's not Luka, I told them, wrong number. "But I was after Luka." No Luka, go away. "Oh... No Luka?" What part of ‘No Luka’ was he not understanding? There is no Luka, I insisted, do not buzz this number again or I will come down there and make your fingers broken. Then later in the day a woman wandered into the shop I work in on the weekends wanting to look at the shoes we have with the lights built in that flash when you walk. Umm... wot? I assured her that we have some wacky shoes, but none with lights in them that flash when you walk. "My brother, he work in shop next door, he tell me you have shoes with lights that flash when you walk. I want to see these shoes." She had a stupid half-smile of expectation on her face as she looked around the shop. I told her, really, we don’t have any flashing light shoes - why would I lie about such a thing? She brushed by me and homed in on all the shoes that looked like they might possibly have flashy lights built into them. Whatever. I left her to it. After a while she gave up and left, only to return with her brother from the shop next door. He stood at the door and pointed towards the rear of the shop as though that was where we keep the shoes with the flashing lights in them. She marched back in, determined to get to the bottom of this and continued to look for these non-existent flashing light shoes. Like... if I had such shoes in stock, and someone came in and wanted to buy them, why would I hide them? Why the hell did she believe her brother – who was either living in a fantasy world or (more likely) sending her on a wild goose chase to get her out of his hair for a bit – over me?

Fuck me you humans can be weird.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Cosmic Harmony

I told a writer friend today that I was thinking of attempting a novel again, and he said something that quite amused me (he is one of the funniest writers I know - fresh, subversive and always coming up with the unexpected). He said something like, "Wow. I wouldn't have the staying power to write a novel. Magazine articles are like robbing banks - you get in, you take what you need, and you get out as fast as you can."


Some years ago I was determined to be a novelist. I wrote a couple of full length manuscripts and sent them off to every slush pile in town. On two separate occassions I received calls from the head honchos of large publishers. One was Hodder & Stoughton, the other was Random Century (now House, I think, although I could have that back to front).

I met the Hodder guy in a pub in Balmain. I still remember it clearly because his assistant had told me over the phone that this was very unusual because "Bert doesn't meet many unpublished authors". Typically, I was late for the meeting and disorganised and as nervous as hell. I took public transport and caught the wrong bus, changed to the right one, it got caught up in heavy traffic, I got off to walk and and hope to flag a cab down only to eventually see the bus I had been on finally make it through the traffic snarl and disappear into the distance... I eventually made it to the pub in Balmain, carrying my thick manuscript prominently because that was how Bert was going to recognise me. We shook hands and said the things you say, and I realised with a mixture of horror and amusement that I was so nervous that my mouth had dried and my smile had over-stayed its welcome; my top lip was stuck to my dry teeth. I actually had to use my finger to kill the smile. I must have looked totally creepy.

We talked and in the end he said to keep in touch because he was curious to see what my next manuscript was going to be like.

The second meeting was memorable because the publisher and the freelance editor who had recommended the manuscript were both there in a plush office overlooking Lavender Bay, just around from the Milson's Point end of The Harbour Bridge. Stunning view. We sat and talked and one of the things the publisher said was that the voice of the main character was wrong and that teenage boys would not talk or think like that, and "I should know."

That 'I should know' stuck with me because she was in her 50s and obviously believed that having kids of her own meant she knew teenagers inside and out. Erm, hello? Have you been a male teenager? No? Didn't think so. But guess what? I have.

That moment passed without me saying anything, and after a while I felt detatched from the scene because the publisher and editor started talking to each other about the story as though I wasn't there, then they mentioned a couple of incidents in the story, and suddenly the two of them were falling about the place nominating what they thought were the funniest scenes, doing that thing of trying to wave the other's laughter quiet and saying, "No no - what about when Davey helps the girlfriend's mother in the kitchen and he diligently shells all the snow peas..."

It just felt so strange to see other people laughing at my writing, right there in front of me. It was probably the first time I had seen other people laughing at my stuff.

Anyway, I couldn't go back and re-write those stories, I wrote another particularly messy novel - feedback was that it had its moments but that I lacked discipline and focus. In the end I realised that like my friend, I liked robbing literary banks and eventually wasn't too bad at it.

I won a national award for a short story called Remembering Argos, then had a few more stories published in a variety of magazines (I had been shortlisted and published in an anthology before the competition win with a story called The Funniest Man In The World Tells A Funny Story and had had a couple of others published in other anthologies too, so it's not like the win was the start of anything).

Then I largely gave up on fiction. Part of the reason was because after the competition win and having made it into respected magazines and journals, part of me said okay, I've proved my point; I have what it takes. Part of me was tired of the rejection... oh yeah - Argos was rejected for four years. Each time it came back, always accompanied with praise, I'd sit down to re-write, only to make it through the story without changing anything. I'd end up just sending it off again, it was rejected again and again, then out of the blue it won first prize in a national competition attracting more than a thousand entries. Go figure. So yeah, if it sounds like I've had moderate success, you should take a look at the volumes of rejection letters and correspondence I have.

And another reason I gave up on fiction (almost completely) was that I started clubbing and soon after landed a job as an editor and staff writer with a clubbing magazine. Never worked in an office before that, I am untrained and uneducated and have no qualifications. I didn't really know a lot about music or magazines at that stage, and it was just a steep learning curve that chewed up a lot of my energy. It also gave me plenty of opportunity to write silly stuff that amused me, so I had an outlet.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because yesterday as I was walking home, the idea for a novel came to me, and I feel like it's time I gave it another shot. I was wondering how to channel the time and enjoyment I get out of banging out all this blog stuff, and it just came to me. Is there some kind of cosmic harmony in the fact that I decided to quit the magazine, and so soon after I have the urge to tackle a novel again? Who knows.

As with the more ponderous posts on this blog, it's really for me to sort my thoughts out. It's like therapy (which I am in need of sometimes). In fact even the amusing stuff is my therapy. You think I write it for you? Pfft.

But I do hope you enjoy my therapy, whoever you are.

Funny stuff in the next post.

Be nice to each other.