It’s Lockdown 3.0 here in Greater Melbourne, and as we conclude our first week of Stage 4 restrictions, COVID-19 is once again messing with my creative output. I know I’m not alone. And I know quarantine impacts different people in different ways. I’m grateful that, in spite of the daily escalation of ‘what the actual…?’ 2020 is puking around the world, I’m in reasonably good spirits and rolling with the corona challenges as best I can. Melbourne, we’ve got this ❤
One thing that has changed though, is my focus. I’m spending as much time at my keyboard as in pre-Covid times, but it seems a good chunk of that time I’ll catch myself staring into space for extended periods. I couldn’t even tell you where I go…except it’s nowhere interesting. Longer-length projects have been pushed aside in favour of short-form and experimental pieces—particularly poetry, one of my favourite things to fiddle with. Yet these works have been yielding some interesting results, with some being accepted for publication, and other pieces being collated for Disturbia, a collection of poetry I hope to publish next year.
You can catch my experimental free verse poem The Consciousness of Teddy Bears in the latest issue of Writers Victoria’s The Victorian Writer magazine. It was inspired by the early days of COVID-19, when we were confined to our homes for the first time. I began jotting down my observations and emotions under the hashtag #coronomausings, and The Consciousness of Teddy Bears was the result. I was thrilled when it was picked up by The Victorian Writer, and even more chuffed when I saw the table of contents I’m sharing—so many amazing writers I admire and respect!
I also had a pitch accepted by Melbourne – City of Literature, and was commissioned as one of the contributing writers for a series of wildlife postcards featuring fauna endemic to Victoria, to be distributed to an international audience. If you know me well, you won’t be surprised to hear my pitch was for the Southern Blue-ringed Octopus (cephalopod fangirl, here). The postcard series is currently in the editing process, and I’m excited to see the complete set of postcards, especially the image that accompanies the poem I wrote for my beloved Blue-ring.
I also submitted a poem to the Frankston Arts Centre’s Stories at the End of the Line anthology, which will be a historic book collecting together the writing of numerous local scribes across diverse creative forms, capturing the emotion of our times, as we explore coronavirus through our own unique lens and experience. My piece The Butterfly Effect is a dark little number, so fingers crossed it makes the cut based on the intended audience…. I’ll keep you posted!
In other news, I was interviewed for the 2020 Australian Spec Fic Snapshot, and you can read my answers here. The Australian SF Snapshot Project comes round every few years, and is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse with ‘who’s who in the zoo’ in the Antipodean speculative fiction community, and what everyone’s been working on over the past few years.
It was fun to reflect on the dreams I was chasing in my 2016 Snapshot interview, which you can read here. I did manage to make one major tick off my writerly bucket list between then and now, which was to secure a great publisher for my fantasy novel Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean (thank you IFWG Publishing Australia).
Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean was written for the young and young-at-heart, so if you love a shipload of scary sea monsters with your middle grade adventures, this one’s for thrill-seeking readers of all ages (recommended 10+). Isolation narration for maximum exhilaration! You can grab your copy from all good bookstores, or order in paperback or eBook online here.
Well, that’s all on the writing frontier for now, friends. Stay safe and stay well, and—above all—be kind to yourself and to others. Oh, and if you’re looking for a peak isolation-distraction activity, why not do what I did and organise one of your bookshelves by spine colour. Feel the rainbow! 😊
(Disclaimer: I understand if the sight of this may cause unprecedented anxiety and stress in some. Trust me, my other bookcase is strictly genre/author!)
Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days ❤