Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Academia has begun

Well - if nothing else, yesterday was an interesting experience. I learnt pretty much nothing from my orientation course that was of any real use. We had a tour of a building that I will rarely if ever visit again.

The look in at an empty ceramics class allowed me to come up with a description of the smell, taste and texture of the air, plus the general atmosphere which could be useful. Same goes for the look in at an empty drama student rehearsal room. The corridors were straight out of Nightmare on Elm St - enclosed concrete tunnels with exposed metal pipes and air conditioning ducts. The whole complex is a labyrinth of tunnels encased in way too much concrete, metal and glass. A brick feature is stunning in its contrast as was the huge bark painting.

The library was disappointing as was the staff there. During a demonstration of how the databases worked, I had to step in to fix a frozen computer as no-one else knew what to do and the demo was about to be prematurely cut off. After fixing it, I was disappointed that there wasn't a lot more to see anyway. We could have had an early lunch! Instead we sat through another 20 minutes of inept examples and got to lunch late.

My classmates (As I'm an external student I use the word loosely) are an amazing group of the most unlikely sorts imaginable. We have a girl completing her final year of high school so she can only be 17 or so. Another who only finished last year so add a year. 90% are between 20 and 30. Most of those are below 25. 18 students turned up for the orientation out of an allocated 40. 20 internal students and 20 external students (I think). Only four externals turned up for the tour - perhaps they knew something I didn't.

An amazing mix of backgrounds were represented, high school students, university students, checkout chicks, pharmacists, English teachers (one retired and one not), psychologists (one practising, one not), a man recovering from a brain tumour, another IT person like myself and barmaids and waitresses. (I think - I forget every ones occupation but the range was incredible for a group so young).

I started to become worried when it came to expressing why we had chosen to do the course. Too many of the younger participants, who enjoyed writing creatively, were there without much idea of why - they were just there as they were offered a spot. I'm expecting a high drop out number as the course progresses. The fact that very few seem to have much life experience is also a warning sign. We incorporate what we experience into our writing to make it richer and fuller. If you haven't experienced a lot then wouldn't you tend to copy a little more. I realise that there are plenty of good young authors out there but the bunch I met yesterday concern me. Hopefully they will prove me wrong.

So I got into work early yesterday as I'd forgotten my paperwork. I then went straight into town - an horrendous drive of nearly an hour in peak hour traffic. Eventually found a car park near the admin building and paid my fees without hassle. I then had to find another, long term, car park closer to the Arts Academy building - almost a full hour before I had to be there. I should have known then that the day wasn't going to be the one of splendour and awakening I thought it was going to be right then and there :(

Now I sit and wait for the arrival of my books and the beginning of my external school year. Apparently there will be an assignment each week and it should take up around 10 - 14 hours of my time each week.

Let the fun begin!!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm back

WOW - the previous post was back on the 1st of November 07. Best part of three months has past and there's been a lot of proverbial water under the bridge since then.

I have three new story ideas on the go: all of them in the very early formative stages but for the longest time there, I had no ideas and no desire to write. That is finally turning around.

And just as well - I have been accepted into the Adelaide Centre for Arts to take part in studying for an Advanced Diploma of Art (Professional Writing). WooHoo!!!!! I have four years ahead of me of writing in an educational environment. In short it will be forcing me to write outside of my comfort zones, giving me deadlines and overall, encouraging me to write full time.

Over the past three months, my wife and I have begun to save our marriage (still lots of work to go but things are definitely looking up), the eldest daughter has decided to move out (next weekend) , I have sustained numerous injuries through sport - currently recovering from a grade 2 hamstring tear - plus Xmas, etc, etc.

I have lost family members and friends to different forms of cancer and had one cousin killed in Iraq. It has been an intense few months.

My updates will be sporadic over the next few weeks but as I get into the diploma, I will update more regularly. You can follow my progress through this blog and I will continue to update everyone on my progress as a writer.


My first fiction piece - "Wake-up Call" is being published in - This link won't be fully active until the release of the 10th anniversary edition due in Feb 08. It's only a small piece - sent in as a drabble (exactly 100 words) but I now have something under my name archived in the Australian National Museum, which is a big thing for me.

Orientation for the diploma is Tuesday the 29th of Jan - next week. If you don't hear from me beforehand then I'll post how it goes then.

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable festive season with lots of acceptances from publishers the world over.

Keep on writing!