Monday, August 26, 2013


For no reason I can adequately explain, people trusted me with their children this past month.


First, I made my annual pilgrimage to my old alma mater at Curtin University, where I gave my annual lecture on web publishing to my annual audience of bemused second and third year students. It's always an absolute joy to head back to the old lady-- some of my happiest years were spent at that University, and wandering along the paths past familiar landmarks, ambling down familiar hallways, and joking and laughing with future-bright students just gives my spirit a steroid pump. One day, I want to tutor there properly. I want to fuck up a whole new generation just like me :)

Then, for the first time ever, I was invited to speak as part of the Children's Book Council Book Week. Thanks to the most excellent Anthony Panegyres, I trundled along to this building:

A large building full of Catholic school girls. Waiting to listen to the author of 'The Corpse-Rat King'. Because the Joker was babysitting their sisters...

Santa Maria Catholic College: a magnificent edifice in Attadale, looking out over the Swan River, where some of the nicest teachers I've ever met herded more than a hundred girls in to listen to me bang on about my writing habits, how I get my ideas, why collecting photos is a writer's dream hobby, and how nothing they learn from algebra teachers will ever help them. I read from two of my stories, forced the girls to complete writing exercises, and generally had the time of my life performing like a monkey in front of three groups of the friendliest, most respectful and downright invested kids I've ever worked with.

Frankly, I could do that sort of thing for a living if they'd let me.

There are rewards to being an author that I never expected when I first started out. I've flown internationally and to four other states of Australia; taught at Clarion South; mentored on behalf of the Australian Horror Writers Association; attended conventions; made friends; read to students in the library of my old High School; and participated in arts projects well beyond the realm of pure 'writing'. It's days like the ones above where I feel connected to a much larger artistic community than just the small circle of writers who make up the Western Australian SF community, and passing that connection on to a circle of new faces is a delight every single time. Some days the bear gets you, but some days the bear is called Pooh and you get to lie in a meadow eating honey sandwiches.

Oh, and, you know: catholic school girls. Gives me an excuse to embed this. Have a laugh on me:

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