Friday, August 29, 2008

One hour later

USB of Great Suckiness

Dear USB stick,

I did love you.

A friend gave you to me and she had taken great effort to personalise you.

I put a ribbon on your arse so I could find you easily. It was aqua blue and I used to cut the small fraying inches off the end so you would always look glamorous.

You had a Gb of memory, more than enough for my pesky briefcase of writing back up.

I always treated you well, pushing that stupid ‘safely remove your hardware’ button to stop you freaking out.

I fretted over you, often driving back home to make sure you were always with me.

So WHY, WHY?? did you have to kamakaze from my handbag to God knows where? And I say God knows because i'm sure He watched me tear the city apart looking for you.

Where you are not:

  • Under the bar chair at the casino where we drank champagne last night
  • In the car
  • Floating in the Yarra
  • Still plugged into my work pc
  • At the convention centre
  • At the Royal Rose where we had birthday dinner with Freya
  • On the street outside her house
  • Chewed by Oliver
  • On the 5th floor of the car park in the spot by the elevator

I know you did this on purpose. I have any number of crappy lipsticks in my handbag, much the same size as you, that NEVER go astray. After much soul searching, I can only come to the conclusion you are a faithless piece of hardware. My love was enduring and strong – while you just took the chance to leave me behind for greener pastures. I hope you find what you're looking for - mp3s, DivX, .jpgs - all those things I never offered you with my boring pile of .doc files.

I am sorely disappointed in you. I thought you were different.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway....even if you ruin your mascara

It was conference time again for Romance Writers of Australia! Fun fun stuff, with the always inspiring Barbara Samuel, all time favourite Jo Beverley and new favourite Margie Lawson. I had excellent light bulb moments in Anna Campbell's deep POV workshop, and hung on every word of Jennifer Kloester who has to be one of the foremost authorities on my favourite subject - Georgette Heyer.

But I didn't learn as much as I normally do because I was busy stressing about the fact I was MC at the awards night. Wrap me up and call me scatter brain, but I couldn't string a coherent thought together until Sunday morning, and by then it was frankly too late.

When the conference co-ordinator asked me to emcee my first reaction was unadulterated fear. But along with it was the kind of excitement that I know always means I’m on the right track. That bubbling joy and ‘this is going to be fun’ feeling. I really love the awards night, celebrating everyone’s hard work and the beautiful stories they create. We sit there like a big family that hasn’t been together in a year (probably because we haven’t been together in a year) and talk and laugh and generally have the best time. So if I could be a bigger part of it, then all good.

At the end of the day, emceeing is a really simple job. But boy did I plan my little heart out for it. I’d covered for every little thing that could go wrong. Luckily I didn’t need to use any of it, but having it there made me feel better. And after some jitters at the start where my biggest fear was that I’d succumb to ‘little lamb’ voice, I really did have the time of my life. The bubbling joy and the ‘this is going to be fun’ feeling had not let me down.

There was only one little problem I didn’t foresee. Because I’m so unco with mascara and the more makeup I put on the closer to Krusty the Clown I look, I’d asked the lovely Mia Hawkswell to come do my hair and makeup for me. All good. Looking fantastic, made up to the wazoo and feeling glamorous.

And then my crit partner Carolyn Comito won the Emerald. She’s such a talented writer and her manuscript ‘Her Majesty’s Spy’ is absolutely brilliant. I admire her in so many ways. She’s dedicated, she’s focused and she deserves not only this award but the big fat book contracts that should follow. And when I think about much she deserves this and how her two beautiful children and husband are at home waiting to hear how mummy did – of COURSE I start crying. And all that smoky and glamorous eye makeup starts to puddle up.

Then and editor came and plonked herself down next to my other crit partner Chris (who won the prestigious Romance Writers of NZ Clendon Award last week). Without a pitch or query letter in sight, the editor asked Chris to send in whatever work she has. I cried even more because Chris writes books that wrap around you like a warm blanket and we know that, and we’ve known it for years, but it seems now that everyone else is catching up and her future sparkles like a sparkly thing.

So CC's crying, Chris is crying, Keri's crying, Freya was all teary too so what the hell hope did I have?? So I’m dabbing away at my eyes with my napkin (sorry Langham, there’s one you’ll have to turf) and hoping my voice doesn’t warble.

It was a great night and not because it was the first time I was brave enough to get up in front of a hundred and fifty people and be myself, but as the night Carolyn and Chris made me so proud I almost burst out of my little white bustier.

In my news from the conference, I pitched my book to an editor and was hugely excited/relieved to hear she thought it was an original concept and would love to see some chapters. Woo hoo! Not only that, but she went above and beyond and gave me some ideas on how I could ramp up the conflict. Editors! We loves them! Revisions we loves them less because they make us sweat but if I get a better book from it, i'll roll up my sleeves and do the dirty.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We should've burned stockings not bras

I have SO had enough of pantyhose. I know, I know, all the injustice in the world and I reach boiling point over a layer of sheer something I use to cover my legs. It seems wrong somehow. Shallow. Inconsequential. But I am reserving the kind of loathing for stockings that I usually have for animal cruelty and the girl that comes into work each day with a different fur item on (no, I do NOT care if they were your grandmothers!!!!).
But back to pantyhose. Firstly, they do NOT keep you warm in winter. Not even vaguely. I'm not sure if this was ever used as a selling proposition, but my mother always used to tell me to go put tights on because I'd freeze otherwise. Newsflash Mum - I'm still freezing. Yesterday i stood at the tramstop completely certain I had tucked my skirt into my pants, so cold was the arctic wind up my leg tunnel.
Secondly, what in the history of fashion do we pay so much for for so little return?
  • Monday - buy stockings - ladder stockings by my second coffee
  • Tuesday - buy stockings - rip a massive hole in the butt of them yanking them up. Figure I can get away with this and wear them anyway, even though hole gets bigger as the day progresses
  • Wednesday - Wear a pair I picked up at the Bonds Factory Outlet for 3.95 (marked down from 19.95, which is my only excuse for not hearing the alarm bells). Put stockings on. Think to self 'hmmm, these are a little inflexible." Stockings look lovely on the leg, but unfortunately only cover half my butt. As the day wears on and I make the fatal mistake of walking around, the stockings fall down...
    until I am forced to penguin walk to the toilets before they drop to my ankles.
  • Thursday - figuring there has to be a better way - go to specialised stocking shop and invest in a pair of thicker denier fishnetty numbers. Feel very sexy and urban until I realise my massive calves turn the fishnets into something more akin to a fish trawler. Unsexy. But at least they last the entire day with no mishap.
  • Friday - get smart and wear pants.
Really, 'get smart and wear pants' should have happened on Tuesday - but nobody every said I was a fast learner.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Winter of my Discontent

BLOG: Roooobyn! Come and play with me.
Me: Who is this??
BLOG: It's me, remember? Your blog. I've got pretty butterflies and you are supposed to come and talk complete and utter rubbish about the unco things you do.
Me: I have a blog???

Hey I have a blog!
How could I leave something that's so much fun for such an extended period of time?
I could blame my new job taking every ounce of creative energy I have through its sheer boringness, but that wouldn't be fair, because the more boring the work is, the more hyperactive little writer brain becomes and let me tell you - there is one totally HOT rewrite of my book that's going on at the moment.

But in a nutshell --
I'm back in Melbourne and it feels strange. It's not that I'm pining for Launceston, because well, it's freaking freezing down there and there are only two movies showing at the cinema at any one time, but Melbourne is leaving me less than enchanted too. And I love this place, so I'm waiting impatiently to fall back in love with it. Maybe it's just winter. The winter of my discontent.

Although just last weekend, it was the winter of freaky snowstorms, hair raising driving through mountain ranges and feeding pademelons with apples when T and I celebrated our anniversary by going to Cradle Mountain Lodge. We flew over and hired a little hyandai Getz, that probably would've been fine if we hadn't encountered SNOW on the way there.

At first, climbing over Mt Round, we were all 'oh isn't this the most beautiful thing EVER.' because the snow floated around the car like we were in fairy land. I have never seen anything so beautiful and unexpected. Enchanted, would be a good word to describe me.

Stupid would be another.

Ten kilometres into the hundred kilometre trip I started to get worried. The road was disappearing and icy. I had to drive this tiny crappy car in other people's tracks, my heart beating like a wild thing whenever the tracks disappeared completely or I had to round a sharp corner.

In short it was the most harrowing drive I've ever done. I counted down those kilometres until we got to zero and there was still no lodge in sight.
Road signs LIE!! Who knew?

It was about then that we heard an ominous THUMP THUMP coming from the back side of the car. Flat tire goodness. It's lots of fun changing a tyre in the middle of a snow storm. At least the car was so small you barely needed the jack. TJ is a tyre changing genius.

And I am SO not a snow driving genius. When the tracks disappeared on my side a few kilometres past the flat tyre, I said "to heck with it, i'm going on the wrong side of the road" where the tracks were clear and deep.

Cue on-coming SUV.

I slide (really, the car slid) over to the other side of the road where in trying to slow down and not lose control of the car and land in the ditch - we completely stop. On a hill. Still in the blizzard. SUV couple kindly stop and PUSH us up the hill where I limp the extra few km to the lodge. Up the final tiny hill to the lodge, anyone close by would have heard my gently cajouling the little blue car:
"Come on sweetie, you can do it, come on, a little bit further darling, you know you want to you @#EE#_ hunk of @$U%R" junk!!!"

But here's what we saw when we got there. Pretty and drop dead romantic. Almost worth ditching over a cliff for.

After a few stiff drinks my hands stopped shaking and I was ready to sit by the fire.

We took Lonnie Bear with us, who we caught out frolicking in the snow instead of taking our bags to the room like he was supposed to.

So having been let down by the bear - T had to lug the suitcase up through the snow.

Then it was fun all the way, with wine chilled in the snow, good food and staring aimlessly into a log fire for hours on end.

And by the time I had beaten the pants off Tony TWICE in Scrabble (I have never beaten him before) the snow had melted like it was never there.