30 January, 2010

for Henry Rogers b. 1892, Bristol

during a 2008 workshop with Ross Clarke in which we wrote poems using objects associated with a person, where the arrangement of objects would show how we felt about that person.

my grandfather’s house,Waitui,
on Parker Street -
shells collected over several visits
scattered by the door,
bucket and spade still sandy,
the Hillman Hunter, rusted.
Inside, barley sugars by his bed for a treat
books tipping over on the shelves
and a whiskey glass by his chair,
empty now.

microfiction - 100 words

long stretch

As she sat on the couch watching her medical drama, he swept through like a whirlwind. She heard “… going for a run,” as he passed in a blur. His itchy feet were pounding down the road before she could even respond.

He felt the whip of the wind and heard conversations buzz as he moved along at increasing speed. Chasing dreams, his heart beat the bass while his pumping limbs thrashed out a furious rhythm.

He ran to escape her slothfulness, but in the end – when her measured doses of arsenic finally kicked in – he lay perfectly still.

poetry on saturday

28 January, 2010

librarything is my new thing

just started Estelle Pinney's House on the Hill - set in Townsville. Fabulous characters so far, and check this from page 27: In the early 1920s Townsville was a melange of graceful stone architecture, wandering suburbs, jerry-built stores, balconied hotels and a sweeping waterfront called the Strand. The town was a mosaic of colours and creeds and down the long main street the torrid air was rich with a cacaphony of different tongues.

Also has luscious descriptions of frangipanis and the monsoon.
I shall have to add a new collection to my librarything, maybe 'Townsville literature' ?

Warren mentioned David Williamson's play/screenplay Travelling North as another story featuring the wet season. I remember seeing the film some years ago.
Which books have you read featuring Townsville or NQ, and particularly with rich visual descriptions? Tell me!

And yes, I will be incorporating librarything into reading promotion for our staff. Looking forward to the day we upgrade to the Spydus version that can incorporate LT.

27 January, 2010

frantic wet wednesday - librarydayinthelife 3

I got to work dry, but then mid-morning it started bucketing down and didn't let up until dark. I had left my umbrella in the car. Hmm.
I was on an Information Services shift until 1pm. Talked with a wonderful 90 year-old lady about her war service in Scotland where she worked on Spitfires! She was keen to book for a beginner's computer class as her son had recently given her his old model.
Another lady wanted to borrow any Janet Evanovich novels we had because she'd read her first and it made her 'laugh out loud in bed'. We had a couple on the shelf, and I reserved others because she's a popular author and the rest were out.
Another lady rang to find further information on edelweiss flowers. They are an alpine flower, quite rare, growing in Italy (among other European countries). I gathered this information from a number of authoritive websites, and the response delighted her because it fitted in with what she remembered of stories her Italian mother had told her when she was small. She is now writing a chapbook of poems, in Italian, and wanted to feature the edelweiss.

I fielded a couple of enquiries from circ staff who noted that renewals were being dated at 6 weeks instead of four, something I corrected in our Spydus loan policies area.

I discussed the coming roster with Robin, and really have to get it out tomorrow.

Tried to access our new intranet site but am locked out - emails flying back and forth now.

James made me envious when he showed off his new Kindle DX (??) complete with ancient dictionary which values precision in word use. We discussed LibraryThing over lunch, and discovered a mutual admiration for Wodehouse.

More information service tomorrow, and ....

25 January, 2010

working from home - librarydayinthelife 2

I have a day's leave, and I had some great things planned like heading up to The Strand but I've been rained in. I rescued the clothes dripping on the line and stuck them in the dryer. They were well rinsed.

Then, onto work. I set up a meeting for Friday, checked emails and forwarded one from Civica on. I started working on the next fortnightly roster on the weekend and am now inking it in. We have rather a few too many staff unavailable and on leave again, plus some at meetings (including me for two days in the first week - one for our new team that will focus on kpis, and the other is a collection development workshop for which I'll be banking an RDO). The interesting thing here is the opportunity to help shape the direction of the service.

Our fortnightly roster covers three branches and twenty-five staff. Shifts are usually three or four hours and we're introducing virtual information service into that. Some staff can work across three branches, others one or two. Some people's usual work is more portable than others (my huge black bag is my portable office but my laptop is rather too heavy so I usually hotdesk). If someone is in a particular branch for children's programs, or computer classes or meetings, if I need them for IS that day I have to try to roster them on at that branch so that we don't have too many staff travelling between branches unnecessarily.

Tomorrow is the public holiday for Australia Day and the only work-related thing I may be doing is reading a book. I've just finished Boori Monty Pryor's Maybe Tomorrow (he's a North Queenslander).

Right now I have to finish off the review I'm writing on Sue Lawson's After for CMIS Focus on Fiction. Deadlines!

24 January, 2010

wet season

mt stuart in the rain
on a night like this everyone stood in their doorways, looking out, looking up. the pregnant clouds were dumping swimming pools-worth of rain straight down. puddles were forming around houses, lakes too. people stuck their hands out in it, their faces, some even danced about. eventually, with more of the same, each person closed his door and headed for bed. each lay there, smiling inwardly, listening to the rhythm on his roof. one thought of her clothes still on the line, getting an extra rinsing.

on a day like this she walked through the clumps of eucalyptus gums, past the paperbarks and crocodile infested waters. she marvelled at baby koalas, patted grey kangaroos, and stood in awe of the mud-covered water buffalo as he emerged from his pond. what she most enjoyed on her morning visit to Billabong Sanctuary was the sultry rain that fell, the plump, warm drops that drizzled down, later, as she enjoyed tea on the open verandah the steady shower turned to a bucketing that sent people rushing for cover. the red-tailed black cockatoo had his crest slicked down with the rain. his attempts to fluff his crest back up were futile. glorious rain!

23 January, 2010

librarydayinthelife 1

I'm no. 61 on the list of librarians from various countries participating in round 4 of Librarydayinthelife - where a collection of librarians shout out about their day/week in the library.
I'm Alison and I'm an Information Services Librarian at a public library service in north Queensland. I graduated from Charles Sturt University in April '09 and started my professional job search.
I started out as an assistant in a primary school library in central Queensland, created wordbox4writers, while on the Fraser Coast, and am now in my element as ISL in NQ.
If Librarydayinthelife had been on last week I would have written about the mammoth job of weeding stack NF and stack REF. The week ahead promises a lot of information service with our fabulous public. Welcome to a week in the life of a librarian. Check out the wiki for links to other librarians' days and weeks.

22 January, 2010


CMIS Fiction Focus (print and online)
Slice: Juicy Moments from my Impossible Life by Steven Herrick, 2010 at CMIS Resource Bank
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham, 2010 at CMIS Resource Bank
The Worst Thing She Ever Did by Alice Kuipers, 2010 at CMIS Resource Bank
Rebel by R.J. Anderson, 2010 at CMIS Resource Bank
The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin, 2010 at CMIS Resource Bank
After by Sue Lawson, 2010, available online at CMIS Resource Bank
End of the Alphabet by Fleur Beale, 2010, available online at CMIS Resource Bank

M/C Reviews: Words 
Australia Dances: Creating Australian Dance 1945-1965 by Allan Brissenden and Keith Glennon, 2010, available online at M/C Reviews

Allen and Unwin Teachers Reviews
The Winds of Heaven by Judith Clarke, 2009, available online
Mouse Noses on Toast by Daren King, 2007, available online

Writing Queensland, QWC
The Runes of Odin by Ben Julien, issue 164, July 2007, p20.

VATE Newsletter
The Peach Season by Debra Oswald, no. 4, September 2007.
The Tattooed Flower: A Memoir by Suzy Zail, no. 4, September 2007.
The Secrets of Eromanga by Sheryl Gwyther, no. 3, June 2007.
The Legacy of Odin by Ben Julien, no. 3, June 2007.

API Review of Books, Curtin University of Technology, W.A.
No Place Like Home: Australian stories by young writers aged 8-21 years, edited by Sonja Dechian, Jenni Devereaux, Heather Millar and Eva Sallis, issue 44, July 2006.

Aussie Reviews
Platypus Deep by Jill Morris, June 2006. Available online
Bertie and the Bear by Pamela Allen, April 2006. Available online

01 January, 2010

tropical summer mood

the strand on sunday 27 december
north queensland's wet season began on christmas night and it's been quite unlike anything i've experienced. almost immediately, and certainly after a week of night rain, i felt that the weather was actually a character in this story we live. it has substance enough to be a character, more correctly i should say it provides an incredible sense of atmosphere or setting - it is full with passion and outbursts of frangipani blossoms.

frangipanis blooming at the strand

my attention has particularly been on rainfall as i have been pool-sitting for friends and have been careful to keep the level just so. the record-breaking torrential rain of Wednesday night/Thursday morning (206.8mm - Townsville's wettest December day) was described as a deluge, and yes, it filled that pool up well. required a few bomb dives to get it down a little for the next deluge.

it's been a while since i've lived in a place with weather. weather so pervading that it can be described in innumerable ways and can provide direction for people's lives. toowoomba had the fog that descended and made people huddle close. no such thing as central heating, we had a kerosene heater that we would huddle around, first to roast our backs and then our fronts.
dalby just had 'hot weather' - nothing atmospheric about it. maryborough's weather was so mild that we forgot all about seasons. winter was a few days of wearing an extra layer (it was really nothing after having experienced toowoomba's weather). both myall creek and mary river flooded while i was in those towns, and those were certainly events, but not annual.

now to townsville where the wet season is something anticipated, discussed, warned about, but must be experienced. the vibrancy and deluge of this tropical atmosphere immediately led me to question who has written about this season, this atmosphere, this northern summer mood?
i remembered thea astley and had heard of ian townsend. i have borrowed affection from our library and am seeking out astley's hunting the wild pineapple, it's raining in mango, girl with a monkey for their north queensland settings. i want to feel how they convey this incredible atmosphere. affection has a tag line: 'there is no cure'. that could be said for becoming a north queenslander, and certainly a townsvillian. there is no cure. i love it here.

can anyone recommend other stories with NQ, particularly Townsville as a setting, particularly with the atmosphere used to effect?