Welcome to my blog!

Why Jacaranda you ask? In case you are reading this the other side of the world and are not sure, Jacaranda is the name of a beautiful tree, which blooms around Oct/Nov, mostly in the Eastern states of Australia. Its flowers are the most exquisite shade of blue-purple, the nearest comparison probably being hyacinth blue, so who could not be inspired to write by such a spiritual colour? When the jacarandas start to blossom, you know it's exam time, but you also know that Christmas is just around the corner. It is said that if a jacaranda flower falls on your head as you walk underneath a tree, good fortune is sure to follow, so guess who did a lot of walking under jacaranda trees! Watch this space for changing images of this lovely tree!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's in a title?

Today I viewed an exhibition of photographs entitled Up the Cross , at the Historic Houses Trust of NSW Museum of Sydney with a friend. This exhibition displayed the work of two then young photographers, who took explicit and very human photographs of Sydney's infamous Kings Cross during the decadent decades of the 60s' and 70s'. One of the photographers, who has since passed away, was the son-in-law of a friend of my friend. His widow wanted his work to be immortalised in history.

Among the many photographs and exhibits was the original letter from the publishers of a book about these two artists' works, in which it was stated the original title Poking about the Cross was too racy and suggestive (although by today's standards I think that was a relatively mild double entendre). The book was subsequently published under the title Kings Cross Sydney: A Personal Look at the Cross (from a marketing point of view not nearly so intriguing, and sounds positively dull to me, belying its contents). The book has been reprinted for sale.

However, it did make me think about titles of books. I am more than happy with the title I have come up with for my book and do not think it will cause any controversy but will attract readers. For the moment, it must remain a secret, but I do have some questions to pose, and must check this out with the tutors on my MA in Professional Writing.

- How does one secure copyright on a title of a book not yet completed?
- How long does the copyright on a title of a book last?
I am thinking, in particular, here of Charles Cumming's recent bestseller Typhoon, which was also the title of a much earlier novel by Joseph Conrad .

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dorjee Sun

Do you know Djoree Sun?. Before I even heard him speak, when he delivered the key note address at the recent Asia Education Foundation National Summit in Sydney, which I was privileged to attend, his name alone spoke to me of an unusual person. When I googled his name I learnt it is of Tibetan origin and means 'thunderbolt'. And that is exactly what he is, although he has been variously described as 'international dreamer', 'a social entrepreneur', 'one of the nation's youngest achievers', 'a carbon-trading entrepreneur' and so on.

As soon as he began to speak I realised he was the instigator behind the documentary The Burning Season, which, among other issues, brought the plight of the orangutans to the world's attention.

His many achievements are too numerous to mention here, but listening to him speak confirmed my zeal, that, as writers, whether of screen, theatre, fiction, non-fiction, we can also focus our audiences' attention on 'things that need fixing', and that no subject matter is too hard or too dangerous to tackle.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Have you ever had a 'Mr Bean' day Part 3?

Still in the National Gallery of Victoria (see previous two postings) I paid for my ticket to see the exhibition by Australian scultptor Ron Mueck (Warning - his site contains nudity). When I totted up the restaurant bill and the entry fee to the exhibition I could have had the exhibition special - a 2-course meal plus a glass of wine and entry to the exhibition for less than what I had so far paid. However, it was all worth it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Have you ever had a 'Mr Bean' day Part 2?

Still on the same tram (see previous posting) I suddenly espied the National Gallery of Victoria and on impulse, wishing my new-found friend a speedy goodbye, I decided to alight there and then, as there was an exhibition on which I wanted to see - and heh - it would be nice and cool in there!

By this time I was feeling decidedly peckish, but after viewing the rather tired-looking paninis and recycled quiches in the cafe on the ground floor of the gallery, I headed for the other cafe/bistro 'with garden view', which, too late I realised, was the rather swish, expensive restaurant option. However, no-one seemed to turn a blind eye at my attire (see previous posting) although my eyes practically did a somersault when I saw the prices.

I chose the watercress soup with gnocci and something or other - at $16 I thought it would be filling. After bringing me some rather nice bread and a perfect pat of unsalted butter, the waiter placed a huge, white, china soup plate, which was more surround than bowl, on the table in front of me. Two miniscule gnocci, each barely the size of my little fingernail, rested on the bottom of the bowl, accompanied by a sprig of watercress and two wafer-thin rolls of that something or other. He then poured the 'watercress puree', which was the colour of the green, green grass of home, from a tiny glass carafe onto the gnocci, as if it were some sacred elixir: the gnocci and their companions dutifully floated to the top of the liquid. I have to say the 'soup' was absolutely delicious although the whole ritual reminded me of the painting Circe Invidiosa by John Waterhouse, particularly when I compared the colour of my soup with the colour of the water in the gallery's garden pond. To my horror, I also discovered that my white top now sported a nice, green grass stain.

You'd think I'd have had the sense to pay up and shut up by now, wouldn't you? But no, my stomach was not satisfied, so instead of just ordering a skinny cap I acquiesced to the waiter's order, well rhetorical question really, to look at the dessert menu. Mango and grapefruit canelloni with yoghurt, lime sorbet and meringues tempted me - now that would surely quell my gastric juices and not be too calorific.

My waiter (yes, he was MY personal waiter by now) placed another huge, white, china, but this time dessert plate, with more surround than dish, in front of me, which acted as a canvas for an absolute work of art, so much so that I had to resist the temptation to take a photo with my I-phone. There were three little (and I mean tiny) morsels of golden-orange mango jelly canneloni, filled with yummy, milky-white yoghurt, and a dollop of sorbet with just a tinge of limewash colour, but whose sweet/sour flavour was like freshly-picked limes caressing my tingling tastebuds. However, where were the meringues and what were those slivers of pink that matched the flamingo pink stripes in my hair (courtesy of my hairdresser) and what were those crumbs of fragrant purple? With each scoop my spoon made all the colours on the plate swirled together until it resembled an artist's palette. (I might add the green smudge on my white top had now been joined by slightly less than artistic streaks of orange, pink and purple.) It finally dawned on me that the slivers of pink on my plate were the grapefruit, the crumbs of fragrant purple were crushed, crystallised violets, and what I thought were droppings of icing sugar were the meringues!

I asked for the bill - yes of course they took AMEX - didn't have the nerve to ask for a senior's discount - no I was not a member of the gallery as I was from Sydney (I thought too that might explain everything to this mild-mannered Melbournian) - and no I had let my NSW Art Gallery membership lapse - 'Tut!Tut!' - otherwise I could have had a reciprocal member's discount.

I think I redeemed myself though by passing my compliments to the chef on the food, especially that dessert.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Have you ever had a 'Mr Bean' day Part 1?

I was in Melbourne a couple of days ago, where, for that city, it was unfashionably very hot and humid. I offered to take my friends' dog for a walk in the morning to save them from having to get up so early before work - an offer which they and the dog leapt at. Somehow I managed to lose my way in the park and after walking round it twice a very tired pooch and myself finally made it home to flop on our respective 'beds'. To cool off, I decided to take myself off to the recently refurbished St Kilda Baths, so I didn't bother to change out of my rather sweaty walking/gym gear, and trundled off to the city on a tram.

I had only just boarded the tram when it braked rather suddenly and I went flying, only to tumble straight into the arms of a complete stranger, dressed in complete contrast to me in a rather nice suit and crisp white shirt. He seemed rather proud of his gallant act to break my fall and after enquiring if I was okay, held out his hand in a greeting: 'What a great way to meet people! I'm Michael.'

Always on the alert for writing material and being influenced by Lori Gottlieb's controversial book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good EnoughI I thought about writing a book entitled: 101 Ways to Meet Someone. So Tip No. 55 - when travelling on public transport, choose someone you like the look of, stage a fall and stumble into their lap.

No need to add, I'm sure, that this book would be for the gander as well as the goose.