Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today I gave up my website. It was a big decision to let go of something that's been with me for the past 15 years, but it was the right decision. I just don't have the time to spend maintaining and updating it anymore. The site was a vehicle for my photographs taken during my Himalayan treks and it was a lot of work creating each page, uploading the photographs and writing the HTML code. It's much easier to use Flickr - and cheaper. It was costing me about $25.00 a quarter to have an ad-free website with Yahoo. For $50.00 I get a two-year ad-free, unlimited upload account with Flickr, so it makes sense to go with that option.

I first got my website in 1996 with GeoCities and it went through quite a few incarnations on its way to its final form. I started off reviewing books I had read before moving on to showcase my photographs of Australian landscapes, which then morphed into a website of my trekking photographs. Along the way I learned a whole lot about design, good navigation and HTML.

I was able to use all those skills in my professional work, running library workshops teaching other people how to create their own websites. It was enormously satisfying giving people the skills and tools to create their own little corner of cyberspace and it was a part of my job I really loved.

I also really loved nutting out the HTML code I needed to achieve a particular effect on my webpage and going back and scrutinising the code to discover the errors I had made. I loved that sense of achievement seeing the webpage take shape and being able to say, "I did that."

I'm going to miss my website and I do feel a little sad at letting it go but I have to be realistic and I can't write novels and keep up my website. One consolation is that more people may get to see my photographs now that they are on Flickr. So, come on over and have a look at Say G'day while you're there.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A tale is born

Do you, like me, wonder how writers come up the ideas for their stories that they do? As a writer myself, I am often intrigued with what it was that sparked a particular idea for a story. Sometimes I think the process of coming up with a story idea, the backstory to the story if you like, is as interesting as the story itself. So, in case you find the background to a story as fascinating as I do, I'll share how it happens with my writing.
Often, I'll start with a single image that has popped into my head and see where that takes me. My current project is a good example. It began with the image of sand skittering across the road. From there I began thinking about an outback town and some sort of disruptive event. A carnival coming to town, perhaps. Which led to the image of someone watching said carnival leaving, disappearing into the distance and the sand blowing across the road, obliterating its tracks. And that image led to thinking about the Burke and Wills expedition leaving Menindee and that became the genesis of the story I am writing now.
My short story Truth to tell came about as the result of the image of someone scrunching up a letter and flinging it away. There's no letter in the final version of the story, but that image provided the impetus and storyline for the tale.
Other times, I'll have an idea of what I want to write about but can't find the way in. For ages, I've wanted to write a piece that would convey the utter silence I experienced whilst trekking in the Nepalese Himalaya, but just couldn't find the right words. Then at a travel writing course, we were given an exercise where we could write anything we liked, but could not use the word 'adrift'. That immediately suggested a sea, which conjured up the phrase 'sea of silence'. And that gave me the key to the piece. It needs more work, but now I have an image to work around.
Very occasionally, I'll draw inspiration from other writers and stories. Years ago, I read a short story about all the ghosts who haunted the Tower of London, one of whom was Elizabeth the First. I was really tickled by the idea of Elizabeth I in the modern world and decided that would make a good story one day. Thus was my novel born.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

From Wealdstone to Warrandyte

Following on from my earlier post about emigrating from England to Australia, I thought I'd put up these two photographs of where I came from in England and where I ended up in Australia. The first one is a shot of the bustling shops of High Street in Wealdstone. The second is of South Warrandyte's equivilent. Culture shock, much?

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