What a fabulous weekend we had. Three days of wandering round Albany playing tourist, eating and drinking at our leisure, and generally getting away from all the troubles and tribulations of being full-time writah dahlings :)
Big highlight was Whaleworld: the former Albany Whaling Station, which has been turned into a whaling museum, in ways which have to be experienced to be believed. Interactive dioramas, multimedia displays, a 3D cinema... the Luscious One and I spent about 5 hours there and walked away with a hatful of souvenirs. The place was just amazing.
And on the souvenir front, this happy little fat man is now the proud owner of some fossilised ferns, a fossil lamonite, a section of whale tooth and another of deer antler, and happy of happies, a book about Arthur Philip, governor of the Botany Bay Colony, that I picked up in a museum entirely NOT dedicated to anything remotely oceanic! And they say being a nerd never pays :)
We're going back. We're taking the kids. Albany is just too cool.
I SHALL FWEE BWIAN!!
Went and saw The Passion of The Christ today, with Luscious Lyn. Hmm, what to say? Even as an athiest the story of Christ interests me. After all, this is one of the major mythological signposts of Western Civilisation, so even from a purely anthropological standpoint (ie: why on earth do people BELIEVE this stuff?) it fascinates me. So it's a task of some note that director Mel Gibson has managed to make the last 12 hours of Christ's life so damn boring.
The Passion suffers tremendously for being made by a director so in love with his subject matter that he sacrifices his filmic instincts in order to give us as faithful a rendition of biblical writings as he can. I had really hoped to be given an insight into Jesus the man, from someone who has a devout understanding of his own faith. Instead I was given a succession of poster-like images laid end upon end, as if Gibson is hoping to portray truth through endless dioramas rather than an examination of characters in conflict. There are moments of brilliance. Gibson is too good a director to abandon his instincts entirely. The scourging is possibly the most horrific scene I've ever seen on film, to the point where I (a jaded and cynical filmgoer all too aware of the filmic process) found myself wanting to leap to my feet and shout "For pity's sake, stop!", but they're few and far between in what stands in my mind as a brave film-making experiment and heartfelt expression of belief, but ultimately a failure as a motion picture.
Pity, because I was REALLY looking forward to it. It did prompt a long and wide-ranging talk between Luscious and I on our different beliefs (put broadly: she does, I don't) and so in that sense it was a successful creation, but it's just not a very good film.
Oh, and I didn't find it anti-semitic at all. Just thought I'd mention that, seeing it seems to get mentioned a lot in regards to this movie. It didn't feel likeGibson was laying the blame at the feet of the Jews, rather that he was just trying to be faithful to the source text.
The shortlists for this year's Australian SF "Ditmar" Awards were announced this weekend. I was slighty disappointed not to see my name amongst the short story lists, although a lot of my good friends got guernseys, which is always cool to see. I was, however, blown away to see that I've been nominated for the William J. Atheling Award for Review or Criticism (Say THAT in one breath!) for my reviewing work at Ideomancer. I was even happier because I hadn't thought to nominate myself, so a whole bunch of people have obviously been to the site, and read my stuff while they were there. It's a bit wanky to say it, but this time it's true: just being nominated is reward enough. Actually winning the gong (I don't stand a snowball's...) would be astonishing.
GOOD WITH THE BAD
Had a mixed result from recent submissions today. Borderlands have rejected one story, but bought The Imprisonment of Marianne, a story set in 1920s Dublin, involving a ghost, a prison cell, a teenage girl, and a bargain struck. They want it to appear in their 4th issue, pending a minor rewrite of the ending. This is my 3rd sale to them: they're turning into a nice little market for me.
I also received a critique of Jaracara's Kiss from good friend and uber-excellent writer Stephen Dedman in the e-mail. Well, I asked for honne (honest truth) instead of tatamae (false truth that pleases the ear), and boy, did I get it. There's a gulf in class between Stephen and myself, and after I stopped crying I was really appreciative of the glimpse into how a writer of his class thinks. There's a lot of work to be done!
Pirates of the Caribbean came into the shop two days early. Woohoo! Picked it up today while we were out at the flicks, and I can't wait until friday when we have all the kids together so we can watch it as a family. I just have to search the house to make sure there are enough bandannas to go round, savvy?
HANGING ON THE TELEPHONE
Had a pleasant surprise tonight. Lyn's youngest, Blakey-boy, is 9, and has a slight speech impediment. He has his first session of speech therapy tomorrow, so Luscious Lyn rang him (he's at his Dad's at the moment) to let him know we're thinking of him. And the B-Boy asked to speak to me! We chatted for a couple of minutes and I got to tell him about the cool prezzie we picked up for him in Albany. I love Lyn's kids, but I'm always very conscious not to try to usurp their Dad's place: I love being their friend and their Stepdad-in-all-but-the-bit-of-paper, and I'm just stoked beyond belief when they show me they love me too. Happy little fat man dancing.
NEXT ON THE AGENDA...
Got through most of last week's tasks, so I'm mostly happy with how the week went. Particularly happy with progress on the novel. A few personal things to get through, which wouldn't interest you at all, but writing-wise, the week ahead promises:
Line editing two of Lyn's stories: The Memory of Breathing and Return to Civvy Street. These are two damn good stories. Look for them when they inevitably make their way to a magazine near you. They're going to knock your socks off. Talented gal, my Lyn.
1 draft each of Mikal, Father Renoir's Hands, and Love Me Electric. Getting closer to going out.
Reading my new Arthur Philip book. Lots of luvverly research for Nouvelle Hollande.
Preparing the map and timeline of La Perouse's voyage for the novel.
Critiquing all this month's stories for the KSP group next weekend, and a couple for the Online Writer's Workshop so I can post a new story.
That should keep me going...