Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sequel to In-human finished, and other news.

The sequel to In-human is finished!!!! It is called How much a human body contains, and I love this novel very, very much.  It was actually finished quite a while back but I am a bad, bad blogger. It took ten years to write and the last year of writing was extremely full on. At one stage I took to listening to Abba while working, so as to help reduce the intensity of the task. It’s told in the voice of the antagonist of In-human, Coralee. Part of the reason this novel took so long to write was my aversion to her. I did not want to be with her, and then after a few years something changed. I got why she was the way she was.

While I had this initial difficulty of liking Coralee the person,  I loved her voice right off. My writing became less sparse. Semi-colons began appearing, and with them long sentences. I wrote in the past tense, and this gave a strong but soft ending to the verbs. (And yes, the oxford comma has become an addiction!) I totally LOVE the sound of this novel, and the story itself surpasses any expectations I might’ve had, which is really none: I do not even expect to finish. I just do, but at the same time there is a subtle desire for the novel to both sound good and be intriguing in plot.  And to look splendid, of course. I wouldn’t want it to smell bad either…

I have started the third novel (it is a trilogy) but have taken to painting instead. A few illustrations for the new novel are done but I have begun another, quite large project. I will talk about this later on in the blog. Strangely, I have not been able to read any novels since finishing but am reading a hell of a lot of philosophy. I am still looking for a publisher, and really hope I can get this one in print and share with an audience. It does make a difference to the story when it is read by people other than myself.

How much a human body contains was, for me, much more confronting to read than In-human. This has been one of the most common descriptions about In-human – how confronting it is; never something I set out to do, and not something I actually really feel myself. I suppose the themes of body and death, sex and god are in some way still taboo. Maybe this alone will make How much a human body contains hard to get published but also I think my style of writing is a bit unusual. Readers know this from In-human, and this took eight years to get published!

Last week I went to the Marina Abramovic exhibition at Mona. In one of her exhibits she quoted John Cage as saying that if people were attracted to his work he left the project to move on to another. I think unfamiliarity can create aversion. I know with my paintings there are ones I just hate; I put my paintbrush down in disgust. But I’ve worked out to leave them alone, and over the next few days I keep going back for a quick look, which slowly gets longer and more appreciative. They generally become my favourites. A similar response happened with Coralee as narrator: I stuck around and the aversion became attraction. I don’t think readers in publishing houses would take this kind of time to get to know a novel. Sooo….painting it is for a while.

On to other news: two things you might like to purchase: a poetry book and a cd.

The poetry book actually came out in 2013 and I should have posted about it then but as already mentioned, blogging is not something I seem to rush to do. I actually get kinda nervous posting. Anyway, this is a STUNNING book: very beautifully designed, nice thick paper, illustrated in gorgeous colour. There are poems from ten very talented poets. Gee, one of them is me. There are four of my poems and ten of my paintings. It’s called Poems 10 poets 31 poems 3900 words. Here is an image of the cover (it is a collage of some of my abstract paintings shown in the collection):

The project was initiated and brought to fruition by Tom Lester, and the book was designed by Martina Mueller. If you would like a copy you can contact me.

The cd was launched end of July. It’s called Discretions and is by experimental musicians Clinton Green and Barnaby Oliver. I love this cd. I listened to it relentlessly at the start of the year. Every hearing I painted a cover with crayon and often ink. There is a limited edition of thirty cds, each with an individual cover (my painting) and thirty randomly ordered tracks. Another beautiful object that I’ve been blessed to be a part of making. Here is one of the covers:

And this is a link to Clinton’s website This showcases Australian experimental music, and you can buy cd from here.

Clinton is a very close friend. He has worked as an experimental musician for many, many years and what he has achieved critically and as growth as an artist is truly inspirational. One of the projects he is a part of at the moment is Moe Chee, a collaboration between him as sound maker and dancer Chun-liang Liu. I have only seen performances on dvd but if you ever get the chance…

The cd was a long wished for chance to collaborate. I hope another one comes up one day. I really like the mingling of different art forms. It was also an opportunity to develop a skill with crayon, and SO began my next big project: painting a tarot pack. I began painting tarot a few years back but could not see how it would work. I was painting oil on canvas, quite big, and so it was expensive, and thinking how I would store 78 paintings just did my head in. So, crayon on paper! I have done half the Major Arcana as of today. Only 67 paintings to go. Being a novelist I enjoy a large creative job.

I like this medium very, very much and am still learning what I can do with it. It is also forcing me to develop my drawing skills. I plan to write a book to accompany the pack, so it will be a culmination of two things I love doing: painting and writing.

It all goes back to my first memory as a really little kid, maybe two, looking at a book and knowing this is what I would make one day. It was a picture book. Up until I started illustrating In-human, I always thought it was being a writer, and then I realized it was the two together, word and image, that I wanted to do.

Here are some tarot images. Death, The Tower, The High Priestess and The Lovers:

Maybe I will talk more about this project in another post, and I could post some more extracts from the latest novel....