Wednesday, 29 November 2006


I'm a wee bit busy at the moment, hence lack of posts

book chapter due end December
seminar paper on 14 December

Jane Austen conference is falling apart & needs attention
as does multicampus teaching project, though it's not falling apart thanks to other people working on it much harder than I am

freelance writing thing #1 - way past due
freelance writing thing #2 - no deadline I'm aware of, but having trouble thinking of anything to write

also there is the looking at houses and attempting to buy them, ongoing....our offer on the house in Coburg was rejected. Ed Credit's money not good enough huh. I have seen some interesting possibilities in the old Olympic Village but Dorian is not 100% convinced it's a good place to live. Admittedly the house with a human-sized glass enclosure (lock on the outside) fitted in a corner of one of the bedrooms was a bit on the creepy side. Most of the places we're looking at have been occupied by people who moved there in the 1950s and the rooms are still full of their things. The Coburg house had twenty years' worth of National Geographics piled in one of the bedrooms. All the furniture was 1940s walnut veneer. Somebody should really be going around taking pictures of exactly how such places are furnished for the benefit of historians of the Future. But not me. The real estate agent said photography was expressly forbidden in the place with the bedroom gimp cage - another reason to think "do I really want to live here?" (No.)

I might not be back here to post for a while as I really need to make a big dint in the abovementioned (and I need also to remember what it is that I feel sure I've left off that list) so if you're looking for something not-boring I recommend:

1) Jenny Diski's blog. I've been selfishly keeping this blog to myself but there are some of you who will really appreciate it so I've grudgingly decided to share. And, may I say, mediocre writers rubbish the blogs, but first-class writers just roll up their sleeves and plunge in and show the rest of us how it should be done:

It goes without saying, I suppose, that it ought to be of central importance to a writer how well they write, but should it matter to them how well they are read? Perhaps any failure to understand on the part of the reader is by definition a failure of the writer to write well enough. At any rate, it's a good rule to go by, to assume that your reader is at least as smart, knowledgeable, aware as you. Writing for an imagined reader who doesn't know as much as you do about the world is not just patronising, it is the death of the writing project. In other words, you don't write for the reader, you write for you and hope that if anyone reads it, they'll get it. Always assuming you've done the writing well.

The writing project is a reaching for the edges of your ability to think and to make that thinking coherent to others. It's not a matter of others agreeing with you, or liking what you do. That's their business, not the business of the writer. Writing isn't standing for election, it isn't even wanting to be nominated. And reading isn't about having an easy ride with someone who is just like you and doesn't make things awkward.

Ostrich Thoughts (Biology of the Worst Kind)

From the adamantine to the fluffily ridiculous:

2) This beautiful and satisfyingly extensive collection of internerd cat pix. The link has a distinguished provenance, having come from Bruce Stirling at Wired, via Nabakov in a comment at crazybrave. Stirling made some pointed and insightful sociological-type observation about geek humour, but I am content just to like the pictures. I don't need to understand.


Another Outspoken Female said...

I've always enjoyed Jenny Diski's writing, that little sliver of something psychologically disturbing running through many of her novels. Thanks for the link, though it doesn't marry well with my decision as of 2 hours ago to pare back time spent browsing the blogosphere :)

Kate said...

Glass cage. You reckon someone might have said to the prospective vendor that this might put prospective vendees off.

Sometimes there are advantages to renting (says the girl searching realestate dot com for pet-friendly rentals in Perth under $250 per week, knowing full well she is more likely to be adbucted by aliens then find said rental).

Tim said...

Jenny Diski is great, although I'm yet to read any of her books. I have high expectations.

pk said...

The real estate agent said photography was expressly forbidden in the place with the bedroom gimp cage - another reason to think "do I really want to live here?" (No.)

I'm sure I'm wicked but when I finished laughing after reading that para. I processed it as gimp cage house would be more attractive if only they would let you take pics.

I rented a place years ago that had these huge built-in cages 5 feet off the ground in the back of the garage. Really, really weird. We *think* they (owners or previous tenants) used them for animals of some sort but they could easily be converted to anything from a hydroponics stash to umm..gimp cages. I didn't live there long.

lucy tartan said...

I expressed myself typically poorly there but I do believe in the meaningfulness of parapraxis, and when the agent told me I was not to take photographs I took that on some level to mean there were things in those rooms that they didn't want anybody to record.

Although apart from the cage thing it was just squalid, not particularly weird.