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it’s good to be back


One thing the Japanese aren’t famous for is great coffee. Though I sampled a few that came close to drinkable, I never found a brew that came close to the quality that Melbourne baristas serve up day in day out.

So it was with great pleasure that I reconfirmed my love pact with Market Lane this weekend.

Though I’m quite sure the guys in charge at Market Lane are from outer space, I’m more than happy to turn a blind eye to their plan 9 invasion, for the opportunity to take part in their homage to perfect coffee.… Read more

nozawa snow monkeys

Today was snow monkeys in Nozawa. Nothing at all to do with writing. Just thought you’d like to meet the crew.

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the things they carried

This week I discovered a knack for reading whilst walking. Though a little hazardous (I cross two main roads and a railway on my walk to work) this new talent has effectively doubled my weekly reading allotment.

I’ve also found reading while walking to be a great way to disengage from work. As soon as I open the book and put on the blinkers (with an occasional nod to where I’m headed) the petty concerns of work are jettisoned and I’m soon chin deep in a glorious narrative.

And what more appropriate book to be reading whilst I discovered this talent than Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. An excellent book, one of the best I have read in fact. Here is a sample:

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of human behaviour, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim

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B52 woman

For this week’s coffeebreak challenge I delved into my flickr favourites folder and uncovered this rare colour film beauty from the 1940s.

Having beauty and annihilation so tenderly entwined…it gives me goosebumps!

The usual: write for 10 minutes against the photo and post an excerpt in the comments field below. Unshackle your inner editor and let it pour out like mustard.

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New arrival from the book depository today, Kraken by China Miéville.

There is something odly satisfying about getting books in the mail. Online ordering is so at odds with my impulse purchase habits; I tend to buy books to match my mood at the time, so off the shelf requires far less forward thinking than placing an order and waiting a week.

But what a treat to invest all that anticipation and find a book on your doorstep when you get home. And who could resist a title like Kraken – one word titles make me goey all over. I also have a soft spot for sea monsters (who doesn’t?). Review up on Goodreads soon.

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library time

I had left it a week but today I felt compelled to go visit the State Library of Victoria – often described as a quiet haven within the bustling CBD.

In contrast to the chaotic roar of the city streets, the delicate sounds of the library are a real treat. The silence seems to clarify the ordinary; the crisp sound of a page turning, the creak of the antiquated chairs accepting new readers, the knock of footsteps on the stairs, a muffled cough, sniffle or thought murmur. Against the light fuzz of the city golden echoes shuffle through from adjoining corridors, you catch the thin squeak of doors opening and closing down the halls, the scrape of a book on the leathered tables, and the subterranean rumble of passing trams.

In fact, it is easy to just enjoy the bookish ambience and forget what you are there to do; whether that’s to work, study or just chill out. The place just smells productive, each of the many thousands of books giving off its soft woody odour as they are opened and closed, shelved and re-shelved.

Eventually, I did actually get down to some writing, and two hours later had … Read more

#photos: the dark night

It’s probably something I say every year, but I really can’t remember being this cold. The temperature has really plummeted here in Perth over the last two weeks so much so that for the first time long johns have made an appearance on my winter wardrobe menu.

On the plus side, when it’s cold the air seems to crisp up making for some unique photo opportunities. I took a walk through a nearby park in Subiaco to shoot some of the last remaining remnants of autumn with the Canon 5d MKII.

I must say, even after a year now, the blacks that this camera pushes out still make me go all gooey. I hope they have a similar effect on you. Taken with 50mm f1.8 and 28mm 2.8 Nikkor lenses.

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#writing: couch drafting

This weekend I finally got disciplined and cleared some time to finish a final draft for a looming submission deadline.

Drafting for me seems to require an intense investment of time. A solid draft of about 2000 words will probably take about 4 to 6 hours – and that’s if I don’t lose patience and start a complete re-write.

I don’t know what that says about me as a writer or whether it’s a very effective writing process. The word ‘pedantic’ comes to mind as as each successive draft unfolds.

Anyway, as many writers can probably relate to, the productive writing time didn’t come from where I expected it to. Luckily for the draft, this weekend coincided with a trip to my hairdresser. The one I go to, aptly named The Mens Room, is one of those old fashioned barbers where you just rock up and sit down to wait your turn.

The proprietor of this fine establishment is also the sole hairdresser, hence waiting for a ‘turn’ at The Mens Room can take anywhere between twenty minutes and two hours. No one seems bothered though. The place seems a convenient and pleasurable escape for most of the patrons, … Read more

When all else fails, head to beach

Cottesloe BeachRead more

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