Saturday, May 17, 2008

And Now the Novel...

Both autobiographies have gone back to their authors, one for approval of a slight reorganisation, and the other for revision. They both seem quite happy with the prospect. This leaves me 'free' to prepare for the Editorial Program at Varuna, the week after next. I'm working through the mystery novel, which is very good, looking for its chinks and uneasy moves. So far no rabbits have leapt out of the hat, but there's still a week to go, and I've only read it once quickly. Being a plot junkie, of course I raced through it to find out what happened. So now it's time for a more leisurely read.

Frank has been around a couple of times this week after visiting his Mum in hospital. She is improving well. The very large minestrone has diminished considerably and the venison burgundy, which was better this time around, is down to one serve. We also ate at Frank's on Wednesday, goulash and quince, delicious, but not together. Karen Martini's recipe book has been put to good use. Her rhubarb with lemon zest and vanilla is very tasty indeed.

We've done a lot of booking for a minor opera binge. This Sunday, it's the Victorian Opera with Alice Through the Looking Glass. More anon. Two contemporary Australian works, a 17th century one and the Beethoven. What a feast!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Several tales

Most of the last week has been spent beavering away on the two autobiographies. Both are of moderate length, so I've been working on both in parallel. One has a publisher, the other does not, so the one with a publishing brief is further along the track. Both are very enjoyable to work on.

Diversions have occurred in the form of a production of Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale. It seemed a pity to miss a musical performance just around the corner at the Convent, and it turned out to be well performed and played. The band, in 'period' costume, were excellent, and the actors did a great job with a piece which is neither an opera nor a drama. Rather a play with music, perhaps. Congratulations to all concerned for a very good piece of theatre, or whatever it was. It was in the old chapel, now stripped of religious bric-a-brac, but still looking a bit chapel-like.

John Hooker's wake, at the Kent Hotel in Carlton, was a sad occasion, though there was a strong feeling that it was the sort of occasion which John would have wanted, and that his passing was also as he would have wanted: swift. A slideshow of scenes from his life, including many other people, living and dead, brought back different memories for all in the room, and the speeches were very moving.

The books have turned up for the judging for the Indigenous section of the Victorian Premier's Awards. There are 21 entries, which is a far cry from the 150+ in the non-fiction. It is a lot more manageable, especially as a number of them are children's picture books. A third of the entries are from Magabala Books, who have obviously been busy, but none are books with which I have any connection. I've already started reading them, which will be a pleasure, and actually helpful for the two autobiographies I'm working on.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Finito (almost)

Phew! I've come to the end of this phase of the art biography, all 200 000 words of it, plus endless endnotes. The captions are done, the contents are done and it's all ready to go off to the publishers. I hope it's all right as I've been working on it for nearly the last six months. It seems to be in good shape after final checks over the last week, which is why I have gone quiet.

Not much else has happened so I'll be pleased to return my attention to the Broome autobiography and a second volume of another autobiography which has turned up in the meantime. Also the Varuna editors' workshop is coming up at the end of the month and the books for the Victorian Premier's Awards arrive in about a week. The administrator rang today to let me know what the entries are for the Indigenous award and there are no conflicts of interest. The entries sound interesting, though compared with the non-fiction award something like 20 entries will be a doddle in the park.

We have a meeting tomorrow about the research project, so I need to pull my finger out about that too. Other events of the week included Frank's mother going to hospital after a fall at home and the death of erstwhile Penguin publisher, John Hooker: wake to follow next Saturday.