Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Discworld Author Dies

In the latest copy of Writers Forum - May issue, I was initially excited to see a picture of my old friend adorning the pages, but after reading the first paragraph I quickly discovered with a deep sense of sadness, Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away. My first thought was how could such an iconic author slip away so silently after having such a bold and infectious effect on so many readers? Surely he was up there on par with authors like Bryce Courtney and Joan Collins who both had wide publicity following their deaths.

My first experience of reading Terry Pratchett books was by introduction when a fellow student in my writing for young adults class, spoke with such enthusiasm and deep attachment for his love and amazement of this author.

As I had never read or even heard of Terry Pratchett before then, I was left intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about with his story-telling, and hence the first book I selected and read was The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents, and as introductions go, we hit it off like two-old room-mates, sharing the same kind of humor and apparent love for furry felines.

So forgive me for a second as I'm suddenly thrown into bereavement for a fellow I scarcely knew, but had however fallen in love with through the pages filled with street-cats, rodents and Nome's who temporarily took residence in my imagination that was expanded and fulfilled by such a dutiful storyteller as Pratchett.

It must be eight or nine years since I last read a Pratchett novel, it was like an addiction where I just couldn't get enough of his feverish tales, searching bookstores like Collins and Angus and Robertson for titles in my new fave genre of Young Adult Fiction.

Met with such an inviting line-up, I could barely make a choice; I mean really - what could top the Amazing Maurice? But there it was the first book of Nomes, Truckers, and if I hadn't already been transported to worlds containing uncanny mischievous characters, here I was thrown into the lives of Grimma, Masklin and Gurder who met my acquaintance with admiration, hope and loss that would lead me to believe there is more than just humankind trying to make a difference in their lives.

So it would seem an end of an era to the infamous Discworld series, but on a brighter note, it has reignited my interest in the vast array of novels I still haven't yet immersed myself in. So now it would seem my reading list has just got bigger; thanks Terry, you were truly amazing.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Melbourne Literally

There was never a question that my weekend in Melbourne would not include a visit or two to some favorite book stores. Yes, it was a well planned journey, one that had me write a list of 'Goodread' titles I've been in pursuit of - some for a while, while others are new additions to an ever growing wish list that seems to constantly get richer.

So here's a little preview of some books I actually purchased; some of which were not even on a list.

So firstly, you've probably already recognised my most favorite actor from the Good Wife, Alan Cummings. Since the May episode of the ABC's Book Club, I have fallen deeper in love with this wonderful man and his enduring candid humour, so any wonder when I saw a copy of his memoir Not my father's son, there was no question whether I should buy it or not.

Of course The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad has been patiently awaiting my purchase, a fixture for some time on my list of want to reads. And so now I am going to have to quickly read my way through The Rosie Project - which by the way has me totally intrigued - in order to fulfill this burning desire to read my new stash.

But wait, what will be first? There is another contender I haven't told you about yet, an unexpected addition to my reading slush pile, that's right, a book that came left field, throwing itself under my nose as I searched the Hill of Content bookstore counter tops for anything that might grab my fancy. Mind you, the last time I did this in the very same book store, a copy of Women of Letters, Between Us by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire took me by surprise, having me turning pages filled with letters written by ladies like Cate Kennedy and Stella Young. Sadly Stella is no longer with us, but she did leave an ever lasting memory of an intelligent, witty lady who left me in stitches.

So what was so interesting I here you say that I felt so compelled in buying this latest installment to fill my personal library? Well I hope it won't disappoint, as the title says it all, The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller. I feel this book could've been written by me, as I have a list of my own after all, perhaps my list is a little less ambitious than Andy's, whose includes a lot of classics like Moby Dick which by the way could also be another want-to-read of mine...oh, see what I mean, books! There's no stopping me.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Our next Generation

So it seems our kids are taking this world by storm in the Humanitarian stakes and I think it's a great thing.

Recently in an issue of the Sunday Herald-Sun Style magazine, I learned about five inspiring young Aussie kids who all believe there is a place for everyone in this world to help improve the quality of life of those less fortunate than ourselves.

From being 7-year-old fundraisers, volunteers and political activists (that's right political activists), to a 12-year-old not-for-profit entrepreneur and a 14-year-old author, these kids all follow a common theme and that is they have wanted to make a difference in other's lives enough that they have lead us adults by the hand, walking us through their endeavors to see their ideas become reality.

We have to ask ourselves, why have we left it up to our younger generation to take the bull by the horns so to speak? Why have we made it our kids responsibility to take action on such issues you'd expect a well informed adult to otherwise address? Are our lives that busy that our kids are the only ones left with enough time on their hands or the only ones who have the inclination to take action, to make a change?

Fundraiser - Lennon age 7 (picture compliments of www.news.com.au) to link to full story, click on post heading

How many times have we seen or heard the plight to help end homelessness? Come on think! That's right The big Sleep-out, or Vinnies CEO Sleep-out, where community members and leaders rough it for a winters night out in the elements with only a sheet of cardboard for their bed, a cup-of-soup and a warm drink before the sun comes up; their efforts not only raise much needed funds but more importantly raise awareness to help stop this growing trend that's taking place on our very own doorstep.

(picture compliments of www.news.com.au)
Twelve-year-old Cassidy started her very own Not-for-profit charity called Hawksbury's Helping Hands, after witnessing a homeless man looking through a bin for food. Her plight started small, serving hot soup tp small number of local homeless people and since has grown with 15 volunteers now on board, providing more than 77,000 meals since 2011.

In my own local community we have what's called the 'Soup-bus,' where on specific nights of the week the bus provides a warm dinner to the needy, it also provides a warm heart from the volunteers (who by the way are lined-up, so to speak, on a waiting list to help), who listen and talk to these people, helping their lives stay connected with society, even if it is only in some small way.

So kudos to our kids, we have everything to be proud of knowing our future generation have soul, that they have a selfless view on society and not only recognise issues surrounding our everyday lives including poverty, homelessness, starvation, lack of education and climate-change, but they have what it takes to step-up and make a change.

I'll leave you with one thought. Tonight when you're rugged up in the heated luxury of your own home enjoying a cooked dinner with family you can share the days events with, laugh with; when you climb into your cosy bed of fresh smelling sheets and fluffy pillows, of warm blankets and Doona's, consider what it would be like to spend just one night out in the elements of a wet, freezing winter's night. Consider having no bedding to sleep with, no shelter, no protection, no safety, no food or drink to stop the hunger, no-one to comfort or reassure you.
Consider what we can do to help and then thank our lucky stars we have our kids looking after the worlds future in making it a better place to live in; then believe that we are the lucky country as Donald Horne once said.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A breath of fresh air!

Here's to new beginnings!  

Over the coming weeks I will be giving the old blog 'Writers-fix' a bit of a face-lift.  As you may have noticed it is now titled 'Writer's and Reader's-fix, incorporating now a bigger emphasis on reviewing reads of both favorite and possibly not so favorite books I have and endeavor to indulge in.  

My writing exploits will remain the same, updating you on techniques, comps, tips and my latest achievements.  


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