Category Archives: News

Inspiration Bombers

Melbourne singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur Clare Bowditch is the driving force behind the annual Big Hearted Business seminars in which artists are educated in ways of business and business people in the mysteries of creativity. I’ve never attended and can’t this year, (much as I’d like to,) but the concept seems mighty fine to me.

As an author I wish I didn’t have to think about money. Ever. Ideally, my day would be spent dreaming up characters and action. Word flow not cash flow. Places and plots not profit and loss. So any tips that render the money side of existing easier would truly be golden.

It’s a bit of a detour but I’m reminded of when a newspaper asked a fantastic local author what she might do with the windfall from a major literature prize she had just won. The author answered that she would buy a new kettle. That speaks volumes about arts funding in Australia, people.

Starving artists aside, the bodacious Ms Bowditch is gifting even us non-attendees Inspiration Bombs via her BHB website. I was drawn to this one because it features not only words from musician Missy Higgins but the art-in-progress of Ghostpatrol, a combination too good to miss.

Some of the comments that struck a chord with me go to the importance of not second guessing what will appeal to consumers, particularly in the age of cowardly instant feedback via (anti)social media. The wonderful Ms Higgins says:

“It helps to just pull back and go, you know what, I am just going to do what I do and have faith that there’s going to be a market out there for me. The only thing you can do is do your best and do what comes naturally to you and the rest will follow. But it absolutely never works if you try and cater toward a potential fan base.”

She continues: “True originality is not going to be understood straight away. And it’s not going to be understood by a lot of people. If you’re truly creative and truly original then you’re going to have a lot of people feel strongly about it. Either way, you are going to polarise people but that’s the only way to come up with something that’s truly great.”

Like Ms Higgins, I take inspiration from many places. Songs, movies, gardens, wielding of words, visual art and creative people generally. So it put a smile on my face to find a Ghostpatrol on my way to a recent writing course. Here it is for you.

Ghostpatrol in North Melbourne

Ghostpatrol in North Melbourne

Chaos Walking

I’ve just finished reading Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series. Wow.

Cover image: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking trilogy book 1)

Cover image: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking trilogy book 1)

I kept putting off reading The Knife of Letting Never Go, despite the rave reviews or perhaps in spite of them. I read the sample chapter several times but kept finding other books that were clamouring more loudly to climb up my To Read list.

When I did get to the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, I loved it. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Mr Ness has created a universe where men can hear each other’s thoughts, or ‘noise’, along with those of animals. This produces insights that can be comic, moving, tragic or horrific. It’s truly compelling, particularly when we learn women can hear male thoughts but men cannot read female minds. Unsurprisingly, the voices are unique – whether you like the characters or not.

The second book, The Ask and the Answer, didn’t wow me quite as much, although it did its job – setting the foundations for an epic finale. And man, does the third book deliver.

Monsters of Men takes the male-female human-animal-monster themes of the first two books and turns them up to 11. It adds an acute awareness of indigenous dispossession, environmental degradation and the consequences of war. It is a remarkable climax to the trilogy, even managing to introduce a new narrative perspective.

As an author working on creating my own new universe, I doff my cap to Mr Ness. He has set the bar very high indeed.