Sunday, October 14, 2012

Missing inside the action

The problem with not writing on the blog for AGES and AGES and AGES -- but I don't need to tell you how long it's been -- is that I don't know what to do next. Do I try to make up for lost time? Or do I just blithely go on?  Hmmm.

Maybe a little of both.

I finished Henry Lawson (to be published 2013) and this afternoon I came out of the bubble of trying to keep my head in a state of Deep Thinking while I wrote a PhD application. It's all over now bar pressing the button that says SUBMIT because I'm waiting on one letter from an ex-teacher and employer to upload and then I can press SUBMIT. Right now I have given myself permission to not think too deeply again until I get a message saying that my application has been successful. If it hasn't, I will try again next year and just keep those thoughts ticking along in the background a bit. I won't cry too much, there's so much on my list of alternative options.

So let's decompress a bit:

Here I am, covered in cats. This happens nearly every morning unless I have to jump up early to get to the university to teach. I would like to think that I am reading something about bibliographic notions of textual activity, but odds are that I'm reading Georgette Heyer, which is all I had space in my brain to read for the last month or so.

Let's catch up.

I had my exhibition at UNSW Canberra (aka ADFA) which seemed to go well, everyone who popped into it had good things to say, including a few really wonderful comments about how poetry really comes alive when it's actively engaged typographically and up on the wall in front of your eyes.

Then I went to Western Australia, ostensibly wearing my Print Council of Australia committee member hat but also working in bit of a holiday, taking Bumblebee and Colonel Duck with me. We hired a car and did the Epic Nostalgia/Rediscovery/Discovery (depending on your generation) Driving Tour of South-Western WA. From the Saturday to the next Thursday we drove from Perth to Kalgoorlie, then down to Esperence, across to Ravensthorpe and up to Lake King, then wobbled across to Bunbury and then up again to Perth where I donned my PCA hat and got to work.

We stayed in Kalgoorlie a few days and went to the Kalgoorlie Cup (or was it the Coolgardie Cup?) which was cancelled five minutes before the first race but because we were in the Members' Stand (thanks to my Auntie & Uncle) we stayed & partied and afternoon tea'd and had a lovely time with no horses. No end of scandal though, and we did meet a couple of horses at a big fry-up breakfast at one of the stables next day, so that was nice.

If I show you a few snaps you'll get the drift:

The saddest part for Colonel Duck, even though he'd been there before, was thinking about how much of his youth was erased by the Superpit. It covers the whole of what used to be the Golden Mile of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Because I was heading that way, and one of my official duties would be to attend the opening of the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Awards (supported by Little Creatures Brewing), I thought it would be jolly to enter a print, in case it was selected for hanging. Then it would be extra fun to be there. So I entered Discontent, the print I made for the Transit of Venus show earlier in the year.

Well, guess what. It won second prize. And I was told two weeks before we left, and I had to keep it secret (apart from my family, of course). What a task! So going to the opening was even more fun, even thought it was crappy, crappy weather, the worst weather of our whole trip.

Here I am, clutching my Big Bunch of Flowers, next to winner Lucas Ihlein of Big Fag Press with his Big Big Cheque (photo from Lucas's Flickr site). You can see more photos, mostly with me cropped out, at the Fremantle Arts Centre site. I was stoked to see Lucas (and his collaborator Ian Milless) win, because he uses a four-plate litho offset press (the Big Fag), which is only a couple of steps forward from letterpress, so as we both joked on the night, the winner was Obsolete Technology!

First prize is $15,000 and it was acquisitional, and second prize is $5,000 non-acquisitional, but they bought the work anyway, which is marvellous. I have bought myself an iPad with some of the money, and the rest goes back into the Press Pit.

It was wonderful to catch up with family that I haven't seen for years, especially new members who were born or wooed since my last visit. I don't know when I'll get back again, but when I do it will hopefully be the same time of year, which is so much nicer than Summer, with all the roadside wildflowers to boot.

I had a birthday, and a wee party to reconnect with live bodies, and forgot to write 'no presents' on the invite, so I got some lovely presents. You all know who you are, I think you're wonderful.

I've been teaching a bit, not just my art school class, but some childrens' workshops. One was at Canberra Museum & Gallery, for Book Week, and the other was at Belconnen Art Centre, for the school holidays.

These are two of the books made in the latter class, called 'Hey, don't fall into that tunnel... book!', where we made tunnel books and puppets to go with them. Aren't they cool?

OK, I have to pack up now because Best Beloved is cooking a huge curry fest and he needs me to clean up all my gumph. Some of the gumph involves an exhibition I'm helping to curate for the Canberra Bookbinders' Guild that opens on Friday. Here's the invite in case you're interested:

If you can't read it, or access any images, it says Handwritten, Handbound: Canberra Bookbinders and the Canberra Calligraphers Society exhibition, opening Friday night 19 Octoberat 6pm at the Belconnen Art Centre Gallery. It runs to the 11th of November. I'm on the local ABC radio station (666am) that same Friday talking about it at about 4:20 if you want to tune in.

 Can you feel the busy? Boring, isn't it. More cats, that's what we need.

Naughty little muffins, you see the kinds of ways they struggle to get my attention?

Ta ta for now, hopefully not for so long this time.

P.S., a reminder that if you want me to send you one of my e-newsletters, which should come out more regularly than these blogposts, subscribe by clicking here.