Monthly Archives: March 2010

obligation/want

What a busy time it has been.

I have two assessments due in tonight (eek) and then life will begin to feel a little less slanted in the wrong direction.  Soul Survivor kicks off next week, which will be lovely, but I really need to get some thoughts down regarding the creative writing workshop.

The balance/struggle between that which we are obligated to do and that which we want to do is fairly tangiable at the moment.


ocean

The girls and I made an ocean yesterday, full of fish and seaweed.  It is lovely.


red shed

It was hubby’s birthday this week so we went to this gorgeous new discovery of ours called Red Shed Cafe.  Great food in amazing surroundings.  Well worth a visit if you are ever out their way.


moveable sigh

So we all know I love lists and operate with a greater degree of efficiency and enthusiasm when I have a ‘tick the box’ to do list.  So in that same spirit of  compartmentalising and in attempt to retain the original purpose of ‘measured words’, sigh has moved to here.  Come check it out some time – its place where I indulge, explore and suggest!


wilde

One of my brother’s favourite author’s is Oscar Wilde.  He is not one of mine – yet (my brother thinks it’s only a matter of time!).  I have just started re-reading The Picture of Dorian Grey and have been quite surprised.

While we were overseas we did some of the ‘typical’ touristy things, one which included going to Wilde’s grave at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  It felt momentous, but that could have been because of the solemn nature of the line of mourners who were filing past.  If you look closely at the photo you will notice the many lipstick marks of those who have kissed the tomb in reverence to the writer – extraordinary.

While we were in Dublin we took some time to see the amazingly detailed and slightly disturbing monument to Wilde in Merrion Square.

There is certainly a cult-like following of Wilde and his works, which I have never really understood.  However, reading Dorian Gray this time around I am catching glimpse sof why people are so dedicated to, obsessed by, invested in, his work.

From the prologue of the book, written by Wilde, allegedly as a defence against the books critics, comes the following:

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.

To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.

The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.

This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.

They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.

That is all.

I cannot say that I agree with all that Wilde is saying, but then it wasn’t my novel been criticized and threatened with censorship.  In particularly, I don’t agree with the idea/ideal that ‘those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.  They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty’.

In Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (which is one of my favourite books), one of her characters makes the following statement, ‘There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty. But Beauty – unless she is wed to something more meaningful – is always superficial.’ To me this seems like the crux of the issue.  Beauty, or anything else, unless it is cleaved to a greater understanding, a greater good, if you will, then it really is beauty for beauty’s sake.  And I’m not sure that that is enough.  Or is it?


measured words goes global…(not quite, just down the road and up a hill)

The lovely gang at Soul Survivor recently asked me to do a workshop at their annual festival, focusing on creative writing.  While I feel completely under qualified and overwhelmed, I love that they asked and I love that they see value in writing (creatively or otherwise).

I always find that when I am asked to speak anywhere – not that it happens often – it feels like an exercise in self-indulgence.  I seem to always find a way to introduce those things that are occupying my thoughts at that given time.

So with this in mind, the SS gang are likely to get a little glimpse into my struggle to find where beauty ‘fits’ in life and the importance of making time and space to find that which is beautiful.  And of course, how writing plays quite a significant role in that process for me.

Let’s plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will – it’s only action that can make a man [woman].

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

(and I forgot to mention – image from The Folio Society – amazing, amazing, amazing)



book happy

Today is a happy book day…for a few reasons.

Firstly, Popular Penguins have just realised their 75 new titles. The list is certainly different to what I thought it was going to be. I imagined it would be heavy on the Australian authors and that there would be a few more of the ‘traditional’ classics (Austen, Steinbeck, Camus). Instead we have Marx, ‘The Communist Manifesto’, Dante, ‘Inferno’ and much to my absolute delight, Dostoyevsky, ‘Notes from Underground’.
I am involved in a lovely little Book Club which uses the Popular Penguin’s as the reading list, so there was much excitement around the releasing of this list and much discussion already about which will make our short list. Fun times await our little book club!

Secondly, Alberto Moravia. I will admit that I don’t know much about this guy, apart from him being Italian (what else is there to know?) and that my Italian teach highly recommended him. I have checked out a few of his titles and I am keen to delve in. I love discovering new authors and the Book Depository carry a few of Moravia’s, so I think that will be my next purchase. Which leads me straight to…

…thirdly, The Book Depository. If you haven’t discovered this little gem…do it now! It’s basically an Amazon rival, but I have found it to be distinctly cheaper and it is free delivery!! Our most recent choice for book club is ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert, and I was able to get a copy sent to my door for $3.80. Not all the books are so cheap, but many do seem cheaper than Amazon or our local chain bookstore, and free shipping thrown in – it’s not a bad deal. Check it out! (And my friend over at Nurse Pastor Father Husband gets full bragging rights for discovering this and passing on the ‘good news’ of the Depository!)