Saturday, 30 August 2014

Getting Published

I am excited enough that that evil Pointer Sisters song is gonna get stuck in my head as an earworm.  My first ever short story is so fresh off the digital, non-existent printing press that its digital non-existent ink is still wet.  My story Colour Wheel appears in the latest Spring 2014 issue, #7, of Tincture Journal. Tincture is an e-reader-only publication, featuring delectables of the essay, fiction and poetry variety.

This is the second piece I've had published in Tincture.  The first was in its inaugural issue, an essay loosely about science and ... well, the inability to dance, I guess. 

Colour Wheel is described by Tincture's editor, Daniel Young, as either dystopia or utopia, most likely the latter.  Which is just how I like my stories to end - with the next beginning in sight, phoenixes rising from the congealed poo of ground-down societies, and easy on the Hollywood violins.

I had fun writing that story.  It is a fictionalised, stylised feel of what I would like to see humans become in the next step in our evolutionary future. The story is about a woman who finds herself living amongst a group of people in Melbourne's Federation Square after the Shutdown.  The planes have stopped, and so has the internet, and society has collapsed.  But then after that come the Colours ...

Chuffed I am, because fiction comes harder to me than nonfiction.  Chuffed like Puffing Billy, tooting his way round the mountain.


If you want a copy for your good self, 8 Aussie bucks will get you your very own.  You can buy it from Tincture's site, Tomely, Kobo or Amazon.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

What's It About?

If someone tells you they've read a book or seen a movie and you've just got to get onto it, what's the first thing you generally want to know?  It's usually, "What's it about?" right?  Or, if you're a bit of a sneery, picky literary snob like me, who would only touch a Sidney Sheldon novel if it was a choice between that and the Herald Sun (Melbourne's most popular newspaper, headed up by His Antichristness, Rupert Murdoch), you'd ask, "What is the genre?  What are its philosophical themes?"

But then I'm a bit of a wanker. 

The thing about "What's it about?" is that what you will get as a response is a synopsis.  And synopses are really rather boring.  So you could say when it comes to Six Feet Under, for example, "Oh, it's a series set in a funeral home, and all of the characters are a little flawed, and each episode explores death, and we don't do that in our culture still because that, my friend, is a culture that disallows anything - anything - to die, or stop, or slow, or speed up, or go up, or go down, because how the hell do you fit that shit into the spreadsheet?"

Okay.  So you've digressed a bit there, to be honest, but if you left out all that political stuff you still would have a synopses of my favourite TV series ever ever ever that wouldn't even come close to describing the mood of it, of how it makes you think and how it makes you feel.  The synopsis is like the skin of the orange.  It gives you an idea, sure, of what the contents are, but you can't really eat it.  Well, you can, but ew, gungy, yuk.

"What's it about?" is sort of akin to "So, what do you do?" only way less excruciating.  I really hate that "What do you do?" question.  It's based on the faulty premise that what we do for pay is what we most love.  But if you said, "So, what do you love?" to someone at a dinner party as your opening question after introductions, that'd sour the conversation as quickly as the cream coating the spuds, right?

"So, what do you do?" is a tedious opening question that should be banned the world over.  It's particularly lazy.  And yes, I understand that it is an entry point, where further questions should be asked, but often it's more like a closed door.  Especially with so many of us as cubicle dwellers.  I mean, where does the convo go after you've told someone you're a shipping clerk?

Even the interesting answers to "What do you do?" are still the orange skin on the orange.  For example, someone could answer interestingly, "Oh, I'm a musician, and I run a sort of spiritual group," but that won't indicate the freshness of the juice.  Going on that sort of information, people might come away thinking that that Charles Manson chap at the dinner party was a jolly interesting bloke.

Small talk is probably why my ideal dinner party would be a themed philosophical one where small talk is not allowed.  Where the first question that must be asked is, "So, what do you love?"  Now, that would be a dinner party I reckon I wouldn't be too adverse to going to.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Like a Fish in the Ocean

Meditation is like being a fish in the ocean.  When you swim in the same environment all day, by dint of that familiarity you don't even really see the water.

Some days, your mind is clear and all you see for miles around you is space, coral and plankton and the occasional fish.

Other days, there's a turtle coming right up to you, so wonderful that you want to engage and interact with this beautiful creature.

Public domain pic by tpsdave


Other days, there's entire schools of small and large fish and the occasional shark, swimming too close for comfort.  In bad months, you're being chased by sharks daily, and hiding to recuperate the rest of the time.

If those fish, coral and plankton are thoughts, meditation is training yourself to be in the ocean without seeing them.  Just for a bit.

Swimming, in space, and the thoughts swim past, but you don't grab onto them.  You just let them be, and let them go.  For just a little bit, you're reminding yourself of what it is to be the ocean.  Just for a little bit.

Public domain pic by Skitterphoto

About Me

I'm Sue. I'm a writer and a thinker, and I veer from whining to exulting about a mishmash of topics on this blog ~ from creativity to the future to spirituality to health issues. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome/pyroluria for the past 14 years so there's a bit of whining.

I also venture into the territory of pondering God on here, though I have never known what that/she is, and I know now even less than I did before. I'm even cool with there being no god at all. I find fundamentalists in whatever part of life to be ultra tiresome. I once would have called myself a Christian but I have never held to any kind of organised religion. I think religion is really ultimately about story.

But then, I tend to think everything is about story.

I hold the belief that one day scientists and mystics will meet in the centre of the room and kiss each other, and discover they have been exploring the same thing all along.

Please feel free to drop me a line at susieq777@dodo.com.au or share your thoughts in the comments.

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