Thursday, 28 June 2007

hawkesbury artisan trail

Yesterday I visited the Hawkesbury on a "famil" or familiarisation. It was to experience the Hawkesbury Artisan Trail. The small group of journalists was supposed to have flown on a seaplane from Rose Bay to a stretch of river not far from St Albans - it would have only taken about 45 minutes. While the rain had cleared overnight there was too much wind to fly.

The first stop was the
St Albans Gallery where we met three artists: Suzie Startin - the owner and a potter; Victoria Peel - a painter; and Lucy Child - a printer who specialises in lino.

After learning about their work, we sat outside, wrapped in blankets, drinking hot tea and eating Suzie's homemade cakes. The ginger cake was still warm.

The next stop was Kurrajong and
Sassafras Creek Restaurant & Gallery for lunch. The cafe, which was opened about seven years ago, offers views towards Sydney.

Next stop was to meet an artist who is renowned for her detailed botanical paintings. Elaine Musgrave owns and runs Fernbrook Garden & Botanical Art Gallery, displaying many of her works as well as crafts from local artists. The actual gallery is in a restored tin shed cum cottage (pictured) which is at the entrance to a sprawling 12-acre woodland garden. Her husband is a horticulturalist. The grounds feature a mini rainforest, and given the recent rain we got to see a waterfall.

The last stop was to visit the studio of Greg Hansell, who has been a finalist in some of the big name art prizes. Gentle and mild-mannered Greg was to give us an art lesson. He set up a still life of strawberries and let us use his "earth" pastels. Greg creates them himself, sourcing coloured rocks in areas such as Terrigal and Bateman's Bay.

The property was a Victorian house painted in duck egg blue with a rambling garden that included rose bushes and orange trees. His studio was an old shed and much of the original property had been maintained.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

early morning

After a three-week weather-induced hiatus, the sky was beaming blue and the recent drifts of sand had been raked back to the lush, golden lawn of Bondi Beach. It was good to be back.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

sono un'appassionata di Italia 500

Roughly translated, that's Italian for "I'm a fan of Italia 500". It's a fun place to learn. Giacomo, the owner, gives out practise CDs he's compiled at the end of each class. On them you can hear him lighting cigarettes, sucking on the burning paper and exhaling the fumes. The classes are far from boring. One lesson we learnt how to conjugate the word "fottere".

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

on the bus

I'm thoroughly enjoying my latest read: The Best Australian Poems 2006 Edited by Dororthy Porter (Black Inc). It's another Sydney Writers' Festival purchase. A few times I've dropped the book in my lap on the bus and penned a few lines about last year's trip to New York. I wrote one poem about a stay at the legendary The Hotel Chelsea. It tags itself as a “rest stop for rare individuals”. It’s one of those places where rock ‘n’ roll types walk around the lobby in black skinny jeans and a hat-wearing artist paints behind an easel near the front desk. The corridors are filled with artworks of residents – many people are lucky enough to live there – and each room is decorated with quirky touches. William Burroughs wrote The Naked Lunch there, Leonard Cohen wrote songs about it and Sid Vicious allegedly killed Nancy Spungen in one of its rooms. Other writers to have lived or stayed at the Chelsea include: Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Sam Shepard, Vladimir Nabokov, Arthur Miller and Arthur C Clarke. It’s a real New York kind of place.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

best australian stories

I got inspired to start writing short stories again after attending “Best Australian Stories” as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Saturday 2 June, 2007. One of the most enjoyable books I read while completing my Bachelor of Arts was Frank Moorhouses’s The Americans, Baby - although I should probably re-read it before making such claims. But after hearing him speak, I'm pretty confident it would still be a good book. Carmel Bird and Cate Kennedy also read a work each. (The crowd seemed impressed when they heard that Cate Kennedy had been published last year in the short story writer's Holy Grail: The New Yorker). After the readings, they discussed the state of the short story market and avenues for getting them published. A few options were mentioned, such as Jacket and Heat - I had remembered that title from my undergrad days: the founding editor Ivor Indyk was one of my English Literature tutors.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

so you want to be an author?

I had planned to write about the events I attended at Sydney Writers’ Festival last week. But, as technology would have it, the laptop got a virus and has been getting serviced. The info was too good not to share with any other prospective writers, so here goes:

One of the events I attended was on Friday 1 June, 2007 and hosted by Jeremy Fisher, executive director of the
Australian Society of Authors: "So You Want To Be An Author?". Here’s a few sobering points he made about the chances of getting published.
* Book price components:
40% bookseller discount
10% profit
9% printer
12.5% editing
12% shipping
6.5% warehousing
10% royalty
* $11,000 is the average income for authors
* Most first novels sell less than 1000 copies
* In 2006, 95 million books were sold in Australia of which 0.73% were literary books (or 258,197 copies).

Saturday, 9 June 2007


Why "daily imprint"? I decided on the name after visiting last weekend's Sydney Writers' Festival. Specifically it was after the session entitled "The Best Job In The World?" (Sunday, June 3, 2007) where international publishers discussed their roles and the state of the publishing industry. The word "imprint" was bandied around a lot and I realised I hadn't heard it used much in general conversation. So as any good journalist does, I consulted The Macquarie Dictionary when I got home.
1. a mark made by pressure; a figure impressed or printed on something.
2. any impression or impressed effect.
3. Bibliography information printed at the foot or back of the titlepage of a book indicating the name of the publisher, usually supplemented with the place and date of publication.
7. to fix firmly in the mind, memory, etc.
So you get the idea - I want to leave a mark. As for the "daily" part - I'll do my best.
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