- Excited to be presenting a workshop on “Getting started on social media” for the AASRN with Tom Cho next Monday night (16 Feb 2015). It has already proven to be good fun and highly educational for me because I’ve never worked with Tom on this kind of thing before. We google-doc’d and Prezi’d together throughout the last week, and it was a very good experience.I’ve never used Prezi before – EVER – so learning about the new app was useful. I have had a few bad experiences with Prezi (that nausea everyone talks about) and wasn’t sure about it. Now that I’ve played with it a bit more, though, I think it has huge potential and people just need to rein in their enthusiasm about any given presentation’s visual mobility!We’re hoping that this session, focussed on helping Asian Australian communities to engage via social media, will be the first in a series of activist/lobbying/outreach events that will get Asian Australian research, topics, and debates out into the broader public sphere. These kinds of processes should also create conversations and further networks within Asian Australian groups that will generate more cultural and political activity. And, to me, this is always a good thing.
- The second gig is at ACMI in Federation Square and I’m chairing an amazing panel of Asian Australian creative talent. “Growing up Chinese in Australia” (TUES 24 Feb 2015) is part of the China Up Close festival, and features William Yang, Annette Shun Wah, Benjamin Law, and Juliana Qian. After the panel is the Melbourne premiere screening of Yang’s Blood Links. I have fan-girled these people for varying amounts of time, in different ways, and being able to participate in the event is just dreamy.
My buddy, Rodney, who is quite the afficionado of Australian crime fiction, had mentioned it to me and I was immediately taken with the idea of a Vietnamese Australian detective in 1990s Sydney.
It took me till 2013 to read The Old School (thanks, @oanh_1), and I included it as part of my AWW 2013 listing. The impending publication of Newton’s second novel with the same lead character – Nhu “Ned” Kelly – spurred me to get a hold of the first. I inhaled the book, with its fast-paced narrative and tough, adeptly attuned characterisations. Then I eagerly awaited the second.
Beams Falling sat on a library shelf one weekend, tempting me with its new-bookish allure. I snatched it up immediately.
As kids, our family loved the Big Pineapple. We loved going there ourselves, and we took just about every single visitor there as well. Our photo albums are peppered with now-faded shots of various clan members. Complete with big sunglasses and perms. Everything about our trips there signalled excitement, visitors, and happy tension. Childhood’s salad days before we could see past the fibreglass and merchandising.
When I try to think about what it was exactly that we were drawn to, I’m left somewhat empty-handed. I remember the old advertisements on TV that featured ridiculously tall parfaits (that I never had) and the Macadamia Nut Train.
On a recent trip to Queensland, we stopped by the Big Pineapple for old times’ sake. To see it as it is today, and scotch the rumours that we’d all heard that it had been taken away.
It was there. The photo for this post was taken there in September 2014. Surrounding it were grassy, cracked car-parks, rundown novelty stalls, and overgrown pineapple patches. There was an odd little zoo further down the block. Everything felt a little defeated and sad.
We left thinking we didn’t need to go back to the Big Pineapple any more.
This post isn’t about real soup. Let me get that out of the way. Won ton soup is one of my all-time favourites, though, so I thought I’d treat you to this delicious photo.
It’s a potentially messy round-up of recent things that have happened, seeing as I haven’t written anything since April.
Those of you who pay attention to everything I’m doing (yes, so many of you) will notice that everything old is new again. I’ve swapped back to the blog template that I was using a couple of years ago. It feels cosy, and I like it. It makes me think of chocolate.
This week’s been a good one for writing and profile satisfaction. When I’m blogging away after a day’s work, when the kids are asleep or on the weekend (such as now, on a Saturday night, at almost 11pm…), I often ask myself why. Not in the sense that I think it’s pointless, because I don’t, but whether I’m investing time in activities that are more obligatory than enjoyable.
Best intentions and all. Life’s totally overtaken my blogging schedule.
I started a new job at a new institution recently, and my new commute is 3 hours a day. While I thought this would mean OMG so much writing time, it has not come to pass. On a swaying bus, the best ‘work’ I can do is checking emails + tweeting from my various accounts (AASRN and Research Whisperer, mostly).
I’m keeping this here as a placeholder until things settle down. I’ve started dozens of posts, but never saw them through. Poised over the keyboard, thinking I needed to write something insightful and worthwhile shunting out into the world, I usually balk.
So, if you’re looking at this blog because you’ve found me via one of the hats I wear, here are some shortcuts for finding the kind of stuff you might be interested in:
- Asian Australian stuff
- Reviews (screen culture, books, cafes/restaurants, events)
- Home stories
- My writing
Meanwhile, as I’ve been saying for about five years, I need to start shedding some roles…
S. had been cutting steel and welding in between the school and kindy drop-offs for months. Finally, in September, four point-of-lay hens and four chicks came to roost.
In preparation for the chickens’ arrival, I’d bought Keith Graves’ Chicken Big when I spied it in a bookstore.
It sat for weeks in the cupboard. Things were moving slowly on the chicken palazzo front.
When we finally broke it out and read it to the kids, it was love at first sight: peals of laughter; reading it cover to cover repeatedly and literally (there are cartoons on the back cover); imitations of the characters over breakfast; and fragments of text as family code.
It is a book that’s a lot of fun. It’s a classic story about not belonging, and trying to find one’s community. Even if that community is kind of nuts, and thick, and…well, you have to read this book. I’m sniggering to myself just thinking about some of the phrasing and images.
Well, this probably comes as no surprise to those of you who follow me on Twitter, but I will be taking part in AWW 2014.
I’ve been tweeting about enjoying hardcopy books again, after finding myself juggling three paperbacks in my reading hours.
They are all books written by Australian women authors, and include crime fiction and memoir/autobiography. They will probably be reviewed during AWW 2014, as this newly created page flags.
What am I reading at the moment?
- PM Newton’s The Old School
- Michelle Lee’s Banana Girl
- Michelle Dicinoski’s Ghost Wife
It’s purely by accident that I’ve ended up in the midst of this fab constellation of writers/books.
1. I finally got into Old School (which I’ve been meaning to read for YEARS, as @oanh_1 will testify…) because I saw that Newton’s second book about Detective ‘Ned’ (Nhu) Kelly was coming out soon.
2. Dicinoski’s book was gifted to me by the author herself after we had a great, energising chat (our first meeting!). I couldn’t resist having a peek at the first few pages and was immediately engaged by the prose and my own Brisbane nostalgia.
3. Lee’s book was a discovery during one of my frantic Xmas bookshopping blitzes. I hadn’t heard anything about this book, but was immediately sucked in by the fact that it was by an Asian Australian woman who lives in Melbourne. Also: the title.
It’s probably an apt time to cut’n paste a reminder about what the AWW challenges are about:
The 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female,
Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only. (Suggestions for what makes a good review can be found here.)
The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2014. You can sign up at any time.
I will (again) be attempting the Franklin (10 read, 6 reviewed), and I’m not opting for particular genres this time. Given my predilections, and initial momentum, I suspect it’ll be heavy on crime/thriller and memoir.
Hope you’ll consider signing up as well, and joining in what has grown into a bustling, chatty, and very supportive community!
My previous AWW sign-up posts:
So, I failed again.
I keep signing up, though, so don’t fault my consistency.
For AWW 2013, I had signed up for the Franklin challenge, which meant reading 10 books and reviewing 6 (if one was intending to review, which I did).
I had decided to have a focus on fantasy/horror for this challenge, but wandered off that trail quite early. I tend towards crime fic, and am a fan of Young, so it’s not surprising that I had to read Antidote to Murder. I’d heard so about Savage’s books that I had to try one for myself, and Gardiner’s trilogy is one I’ve been wanting to read ever since I heard about them.
I started well. In fact, I started better than I thought I would. I read Lister and Chan within a month, and felt I was ahead. Each came from the genres I had said I’d focus on.
Chuffed from this, I managed to then let the challenge down by not keeping an eye on the year as it – again – sped past.
Before I knew it, we’d hit November and I was three reviews short and had three more books to go.
I didn’t hold much hope for getting more books read, but I did want to get two more review done, given I’d read the books and all. One of the reviews was for a trilogy of YA novels, which I’d considered splitting into three reviews but thought that might be a bit sneaky (not to mention a lame and transparent attempt to complete the challenge without attending to the spirit of the reviews…).
My final completed book and review list is:
- Dionne Lister. Shadows of the Realm. –> my review
- Queenie Chan. The Dreaming series. –> my review
- Felicity Young. Antidote to Murder. –> my review
- Angela Savage, Behind the Night Bazaar –> my review
- Kelly Gardiner, Ocean without End (Swashbuckler! series)
- Kelly Gardiner, The Pirate’s Revenge (Swashbuckler! series)
- Kelly Gardiner, The Silver Swan (Swashbuckler! series) –> my review of the trilogy
Am I signing up for AWW 2014, which is now officially open?
I’m not sure yet. Truly. It seems a bit pathetic to keep signing up for a reading challenge that I then never complete.
The thing that makes me want to sign up and participate, though, is that AWW is a great community (on Twitter and in blogging circles). It’s companionable to be part of the challenge, even when I know my feet are dragging and I’m not in any danger of completing it.
Watch this space…!