27 February 2008
My immediate thought was no. Reading has to have words printed on a page. Then I thought of Shaun Tan's The Arrival, which has no words, but is definitely read.
But you don't read a painting in a gallery. Do you?
You do read:
Wikipedia says: Reading is the cognitive process of deriving meaning from written or printed text. I am not so sure.
23 February 2008
It shouldn't be a war. Language and story should work together. But people don't seem to want to let them, and so they fight.
But if you have a look at the kind of books that win the Miles Franklin and the Booker, it seems pretty clear that the literati don't agree. Literature needs to be dense, beautiful and obfuscating.
I love beautiful language. Writers like Margaret Atwood (pre-Oryx & Crake), Jorge Louis-Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And of course the beautiful-language YA writers Ursula Dubosarsky, Margo Lanagan and David Almond. But as well as having a truly magical control over language, all these writers also know how to tell a cracking good story.
Making stories is an art. It's difficult and complex and there are rules and structures, and if you don't want to stick to those rules and structures, then fine, but you'd better have a damn good reason. In my four years of studying creative writing at Uni, not one class mentioned the importance of structure, except of course, for my screenwriting class.
But that doesn't mean they can't be art, too. There is often more thought, care, craft, put into an episode of The West Wing, Six Feet Under or Veronica Mars, than into a feature film of the kind that our intellectual elite favour.
Yes. There is bad chicklit. And bad fantasy novels. And books like The Da Vinci Code.
But here's a revalation: there's a lot of bad books, full stop. Some of them have won prestigious literary awards.
You will judge a book by its cover - everyone does. I certainly do. But I try not to judge books by what section of the bookshop they are shelved in*.
Send in the peacekeepers! End the war! Give story a chance.
13 February 2008
O ZOMBIE! my Zombie! our fearful trip is done;
Our bodies weather'd every whack, the brains we sought are nom nom nom;
Our lunch is near, the bells I hear, the people all screaming,
While follow eyes the zombie reel, our onslaught grim and daring:
But O brains! brains! brains!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my dinner lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
(the rest is here)
09 February 2008
There's been much Debate amongst the troops about whether we like
Candidates as gaming consoles (Hillary is the well-funded and experienced Xbox 360,
Candidates as D&D characters.
Candidates as Muppets (thanks, Snazzy!)
This is a really useful website that has a QUIZ to match your priorities against the candidates'. Environment and Education make me squarely on the
08 February 2008
Skanky Teen Girl #2: Huh?
STG #1: Twilight? It's Stephanie Meyer? It's the BOMB.
STG #2: Books? Yuck?
STG #1: No, I know that, you know, teachers say you fall in love with a character in a book? And I'm all like gross? That's so dumb? But I swear, chapter one of Twilight and I just... you just... he's so...
STG #2: Shut up. Let's go to Supré .