Latest stories

Energy cycles

What do we expect of ourselves in terms of energy, healthiness, wellness, all that sort of thing? It’s part of the modern affliction to be obsessed with everything to do with our bodies, our emotions, our habits. Yet it’s an obsession without obvious scientific guidance. I know, I know, we call have friends who seem confident—”moderation, that’s all it takes” or…

Epitaph as way of life

Without any guiding religion or dogma, committed to rationalism and humanism, you try to orient your life with clear purpose. But it’s not straightforward. At age 60, an impulse led me to throw significant life energy into yearly day-by-day challenges, major or minor. I called it my Big Decade and it was just that, a planned decade of daily obsessions. In some ways, it was my “bucket…

Promote oneself?

Anyone involved with anything creative knows the tension of “selling” oneself and one’s wares. Some creatives are adept at marketing but most aren’t. During my three decades in the corporate sector, I acquired skills in most areas but always struggled with marketing/selling. Ostentation and pushiness are not the attributes of a geek like me. But if you do no…

My reviewing system

When I began reviewing books, films, TV series, and rock albums in the spring of 2019, I had only a vague idea of how to review, how to organize, how to present. I just launched in without expertise and learned by doing. Nearly two years later, Read Listen Watch ticks along and it’s such a bounteous pleasure! For my own benefit, let me summarize what I do. Sourcing culture presents its own…

Road trip racing heart

My 15 Cranes project is astonishingly amateurish, as a glance at the irregular posts on the blog shows. I’m no naturalist, am only a mediocre birder, and don’t have the florid writing stylings that go with the territory of “nature writing.” What’s more, Covid-19 plunged a stake in the heart of my ambitions. Yesterday P and I were scheduled to drive off on a seven…

Gentle & Tusk

Why oh why did I ever turn to a quixotic nonfiction project to definitively narrate the stories of all the global nuclear reactors. I kid you not, it was far more fun to write of geeky Peter Gentle and hulking Mick Tusk, righting wrongs in the financial services arena, in Melbourne, in the early 00s. I dream of them. I’m certain they dream of me. I long to write them back into life. This…

Ignore the reader

Of course one should write for the ideal reader. Of course the reader of my nuclear history book wants a 300-page sweeping, clear, fascinating entertainment. But I’m writing a blockbuster. It’s turning into an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” grand saga. I didn’t plan to write it this way, nor was it clear for a long…

Dictionaries

Our natural vocabularies are a fraction of the words available, so any writer worth her salt consults dictionaries. I certainly had them at my side while writing my two murder mysteries, but that was eons ago, and lately my nonfiction writing has felt more like assembling serviceable slabs of text accompanied by references. So yesterday I dragged out my piddly suite of dictionaries and set them…

Not an activist

Dreaming up the second half of my sixties, I yearned to throw my hat into the ring of climate action. I got arrested eighteen months ago on the streets during what was probably Extinction Rebellion’s most effective week yet in Melbourne. But now all I’m doing is reading climate action words from a billionaire, admittedly a very readable and usefully analytical book. What happened…

Jatbula terror

The Jatbula Trail from Katherine is not, on the face of it, scary. 62 kilometers over five days, no huge ascents, quality pre-booked campsites. At the end of June, when Pam and I help make up a dozen club hikers doing the trail, the dry season will be benign enough to allow a light pack without rain gear or extreme cold gear. Still, still, still … terror mounts in one’s brain. A few years…

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