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There is a pall of rather apocalyptic-smelling smoke over the house today. The school across the street is burning off and little packets of ash keep landing on my shoulders like dandruff. Like many things from my childhood which have been banned everywhere else, the burning of rubbish still happens in country SA. I was worried about leaving the lawlessness of the Territory behind, so am pleased to find that rural libertarianism is alive and well and I don’t have to be too nostalgic for it.

The smoke is finding its way into the book I’m writing. Today I am somehow psychologically capable of admitting I’m writing it. I work on the porch when it is sunny and when I can find the time between things that pay, which are very few at present. I can’t seem to work when I am Working, or Work when I am working. Anyway worrying about money is deadening, so I am stopping. Yesterday I added up some pages and found I was about halfway through the very rough, handwritten draft of this new book-like thing. Despite steady labours this has come upon me suddenly and now I am seized by the unhealthy delusion that I am Making Progress. Given the subject matter, I should know better. I am going to be coy about this one and not tell you anything else yet. It is too unusual.

What I can tell you is that I will be at Byron Bay Writer’s Festival next week talking about Gone! I seem to be in lots of events so check out the program if you are lucky enough to be going.

I am also on television this week. How twentieth-century! But internet television, so very contemporary. It was recorded early one morning at the Sydney Writers Festival, and even though radio is far more flattering, it is a good interview, as far as I remember.

Anyway I must get back to the delusion before I turn against it and start feeding it page by page into the flames.


  1. wrote:

    I just read your s/listed story for the 2009 Manchester s/story prize and loved it. Much better than the one that won 🙂
    Good luck with the new book-like thing.
    Best wishes,

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  2. jenjen wrote:

    Nuala, you are too kind! That story, Prospect, is also available as a podcast. I’m going to have a good look around your blog now. Thanks for visiting!

    Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  3. wrote:

    Just listened to it – great stuff, you have a v gentle reading style. I love your accent.

    I’ve written stories set in the USA, the UK etc, with v particular voices, but read them in my own accent (Irish). I’ve heard Clare Wigfall put on accents, and other writers (not always sucessfully) and wonder about that whole thing about voice/accent etc. when reading.

    I like fiction that goes outside itself (its writer’s self?). A lot of Irish fiction is monotonous because it is about farms, unhappy families etc. I love a bit of diversity – sparky, interesting writing.

    OK, I’m rambling a bit.
    It would never stop me writing about places I’m not from, anyway.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  4. jenjen wrote:

    Thanks for your comments Nuala. If I had an Irish accent I doubt I’d ever use another!

    As a reader I like diversity too, and particularly admire writers who can pull off magical and surreal worlds. It can be tricky to give characters their own voice without over-emphasising their difference. I have wondered if any US readers find that story weirdly Australian.

    Monday, August 1, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink