Sunday, August 28, 2011

My writing week: Issue 35, year 4

Hi all,

I wrote every day last week. That’s a huge change from recent weeks. But it was all for an article I am writing on gardening for Divine. As the article does not have any fabulous quotes from great interviewees, and does not impart any startling information, its style was all the more important. I ended up writing something a bit more whimsical then my usual writing.

Divine recruitment 

Divine online magazine have started a recruitment campaign for Victorian writers with disabilities. The articles you write should have a disability element. I have enjoyed writing for them, and hope to continue to do so.

Still not writing any fiction

Then will I have a good fiction writing week? I haven’t had one in months. Too busy trying to duck the shit life has been throwing at me over the past couple of years.

The pessimist in me is yelling, why the bother. You will probably just start getting into a fiction writing groove and then a gigantic wombat will crap all over you. My optimism is still on an extended holiday. Last I heard, it had been disappeared somewhere in Afghanistan.

But, hopefully this week I can make a start on a fiction writing routine.

99c seems to be the price for ebooks

I have not checked the top 100 Kindle bestsellers since the end of April. This is what I found then:
Fifty-two of the ebooks were $2.99 or less, with 28 at 99c and 12 at $2.99. Twelve were $9.99. There were none priced at $12.99.

When I just checked, only four Kindle ebooks were $2.99. Four were also $1.99, but a whopping 41 were 99c. Twenty were priced between $3 and $7.98. Six were $7.99 and only 22 were more than $8. So 99c is increasingly its lead on a race to the bottom.

And remember, free ebooks have a separate bestseller list. If trends from last year have continued, free ebooks would now probably make up 100 per cent of a combined kindle bestseller list.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My writing week: Issue 34, year 4

Hi all,

I have been debating whether to post anything about my latest health concern. People who still read my blog – which is supposed to be about writing - must be getting sick of me telling them about my latest illness. I know I am. But I have previously felt obliged to mention the illnesses because of the effect they had on my writing, especially my motivation.

Another reason for not mentioning this latest illness is the stigma of it being a lifestyle illness that can be avoided getting off your fat lazy bum. For the past twelve years I have swum three kilometres, three times a week. I lift weights three times a week. I have a set of exercises (push-ups, sit-ups and dumbbell exercises) that I do four times a week. I walk everywhere, including to the main shopping area of Wangaratta (a 5km round trip) four times a week. I also spend a lot of time gardening. But I still was diagnosed as a diabetic a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately exercise couldn’t change my genes; diabetes runs through my family.

An initial blood test a year and a half ago showed my blood sugar was up. At the time I was more concerned with my father’s failing health and my cataract surgery. I made a few changes to my diet and hoped the blood sugar would fall, but the pessimist (realist) in me knew I probably had diabetes. I finally got around to a second blood test a couple of weeks ago.

The unfairness of the illness and its implications only hit home last Monday when I endured a diabetes education session at the local hospital. Since then I have had to test my blood sugar four times a day. My mood has changed according to the rises, plateaus and falls of my blood sugar. I have been experiencing a lot of anger: I really reckon ulcerative colitis and asthma were enough to cope with.

The diagnosis does explain why I have been so tired over the past months. My writing motivation has been shot for months. In other aspects of life I have just seemed to be going through the motions. And the pessimist in me continues to whisper: what next?
So I did absolutely no writing last week.

My challenge now is to try rise above my blood sugar count, outrun my dashes to the toilet and inhale some motivation to write.

Graham Clements.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My writing week: Issue 33, year 4

Hi all,
I am trying to direct my thoughts towards my next article for Divine magazine. So far I just have a general theme on how gardening can affect the way a person thinks. It may end up being mainly from my perspective, because I am yet to find any local potential interviewees. Hopefully my thoughts and a bit of research on horticultural therapy will be result in an entertaining and worthwhile read.

I reckon that if everyone did a bit of gardening the world would be a better place.

Need an Apostrophe?

I saw a cartoon in the Age last week referring to a debate about the lack of an apostrophe in much of the paraphernalia for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. I am “occasionally” a sloppy punctuator so I went back to see if I had put an apostrophe in the festival’s name in a previous post. I had, but I made the festival exclusive to one writer by labelling it the Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

The festival and I am not alone in misplacing apostrophes. A local pet shop opened with the symmetrical Craig’s Critter’s. After a few months the second apostrophe was painted over. Last week I noticed they had repainted the store and its sign now says Craigs Critters.

My Writing

I am still not doing much writing. I only made time to add a few words to a short story last week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My writing week: Issue 32, Year 4

Hi all,

Disabilities in Science Fiction.

I have a new article up on Divine about characters with disabilities in science fiction. The ending of the article has changed since its original posting as some emails about last minute revisions went astray.

Rise of the Apes

I saw the prequel to Planet of the Apes on the weekend. I wasn’t expecting it to be very good, especially after Tim Burton’s unneeded remake of the classic original, but it surprised me. It is probably the best science fiction movie since Inception (I know that is not saying much as their have been very few reasonable science fiction movies in the past year or so).

I was expecting the plot to revolve around trained apes revolting, happily the plot was much more original. A scientist’s experiments on apes, with a drug that he hopes will cure brain disorders, has unforeseen consequences (and no, the apes are not let out by a bunch of radical greenies).

The main scientist’s father, played by John Lithgow, has Alzheimer’s. Lithgow’s performance reminded me of some of the sad behaviour of my father who had dementia. If I had seen the movie before I submitted my article about characters with disabilities in science fiction, I would have included him as someone who had an intellectual disability.

The special effects are the best I have seen since District 9. The apes were computer generated and for most of the movie look real. But don’t go to see Rise of the Apes for its special effects, see it for its better than B-grade script.

David Hicks being Ripped Off?

If you haven’t heard, the Commonwealth Director of Public Persecutions has decided to try and take David Hicks’ royalties from his autobiographical Guantanamo: My Journey. I would assume the DPP would also be after any advance Hicks received. I read in the Age that the book has sold 30,000 copies and Hicks has received around $10,000. That works out to be about 33cents a copy. Something is very wrong here. He should have received at least $70,000 at 6-10 percent of the $30 - $50 selling price.

For the record: I have read Guantanamo. It reinforced what I had read in the AGE and seen and heard on the ABC. David Hicks was and never planned to be a terrorist. He never assisted terrorists. He was more a na├»ve adventurer who became a victim of John Howard’s attempts to appease George W. Bush.

My Writing

I did a bit of writing of a short story.