December 12th, 2006

benpeek

The Australian Summer



The fires have burned out more than 200,000 hectares (495,000 acres) of land and left a pall of smoke over Australia's second largest city [Melbourne].

...

Environment department spokesman Stuart Ord said crews were being stretched by trying to tackle fast-moving fires on several fronts in extreme conditions.

"There is no doubt the fire will hit settlements, the question is which ones?" he said.



From the BBC and the Age.
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benpeek

Tuesday Talk

Today is cold and wet (unlike other parts of Australia) and my mind is all scattered. The sudden changes in weather does that to me and I really wish I could focus for more than five minutes. Anyhow: Instead, I'm going to put a screen filter on all the comments, and invite everyone to ask questions, which I will answer.

So, come at it. Anything goes.
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    the drones - i don't ever want to change
benpeek

Books, Bad Dates, and Five Years Ahead

C.

Yes, but no more. Onwards:

Is your PhD novel different from your other writing? More literary? Better? Less fun? More fun?

Different is a hard thing to qualify, I find. I like to do different things. That means different genres, different forms, and I find that I'm especially given to that in larger projects. Black Sheep is a dystopia. Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth an autobiography. The next novel, Across the Seven Continents of the Underworld will be a weird-fantasy, dark bushranger revenge story. So in that, the PhD Novel (which is called A Year in the City) is a work that embraces that: a mosaic novel build on different genres, mixing them all together, and spitting out a tour through Sydney as I know it. To date, it's possibly the biggest thing I've written, and the one in which I just let everything out in it. It was fun to write. I had a good time, except when I hated it, but I think it's what in keeping for the kind of shit that I write. I guess--it's certainly no more literary than anything else, since I tend not to think, 'Now a literary piece, now not,' but that I said, I do think it's probably the strongest thing I've written to date.

Whatever that counts for.

So what are you into beside whatever you have mentioned on your interest? Just mention whatever comes to your mind.

Bad dates.

No, seriously. I'm writing a book. Well, maybe I'm living a book. It's called One Million Bad Dates. I've got about, like, six left to go, and then I'm done. Take for example the girl I met while I was doing dance classes. I was doing it with a friend of mine, and we were learning to swing dance. All that twirling, all that spinning: it's a bit like being a kid and spinning yourself until you throw up. Anyhow, everyone in the class thought that L and I were dating, and they would constantly make comments about my partner, and her partner, and it made us laugh, so we never said otherwise. But there was a girl there who kept giving me the eye--not that evil eye, but the good eye. I vaguely remembered it. Whenever L wasn't around, this girl would come and talk to me. She had a soft voice. Whenever L returned, she quietly left. I asked myself: What kind of girl tries to pick up someone's partner in a dance class? How wrong is that. And what kind of guy pretends to have a partner and then allows that girl to think that he is in fact cheating on his 'partner' by going out with her? What kind of guy, indeed. L and I must have discussed the moral values of that for five weeks. By the time that we both agreed that fake infidelity was no real crime, the classes were over. I suppose, you know, it would be better if my book actually had dates in them, wouldn't it?

Everyone is a critic.

What do you do for living beside writing, if that's what you do for living?

Tutor English (literature, for those who think it's the language). I'm just a propaganda machine, telling kids how to think. I guess that's education for you.

What's your plans for the next 5 years?

Five years?

Um.

Er.

Five, you say?

Well, a job I liked would be nice. Some money. Decent money. I'd like to see some of the world. I'd like to be able to be in a position that I had audience enough to ensure that what I wrote got published. Meet a nice girl. Get a monkey, perhaps. I've always wanted a flying monkey. Lets blame the Wizard of Oz. Outside that, though, big plans like that aren't my kind of deal. I guess I don't have the frame of mind.


Questions:

Over here you can leave your screened questions, which I will answer. Anything goes. I may or may not answer seriously. It may or may not go until people run out of things to ask.
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