Paper Women

I have been silent for too long
My soft tresses pulled taut
in a bun of compliance
complicit?

These are the opening lines from my poem ‘Hashtag’ which won the Blue Knot Foundation Award in the Hunter Valley Grieve Project in 2018.

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The poem came to mind again when I read about Amanda Firenze’s outstanding project Paper Women and I’m pleased to say ‘Hashtag’ will adorn one of the paper women in her exhibition. I’m ‘outing’ my already published piece but the responses – each of which forms part of a chain of women – are completely anonymous (as stories about violence against women so often need to be). Such a worthy and stunning artistic project.

You can submit anonymously to Amanda’s project here. I urge you to check it out.

Read the poem in full here.

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Chesil Beach

Look at moi! Standing – in my usual awkward pose – “on Chesil Beach”. 

Ian McEwan is my Literary crush so, unsurprisingly, a tear or ten escaped soon after this pic was snapped. I was similarly moved years ago when I discovered I had followed in McEwan’s footsteps when visiting Bruny Island in Tasmania.

I had heard McEwan chose the quiet solace of Bruny over the red carpet of the Golden Globe Awards and I was moved poetically. My [long-winded] article, published in the Bruny News, included this:

 

Missing Ian McEwan

I arrive, seedy, on a blustery grey morning

after swells and white caps and bitter instant granules,

to disembark breathless on this necked island

that has figured wide and mammoth in these late days;

but you have gone

I wanted to show you that I can write

I, too, would evade the Globes.  I’d tramp the bush here,

rather than schmooze down rich red-carpet paths

if I had been invited, if there was a film;

but I’m too late

I’ll try to plant my feet where yours have been

and imagine the words you might have imparted

if I’d arrived last week, if we had met,

if you had read my work and thought highly of me;

if you were here

If I remain quiet and still inside

I might catch faint echoes of McEwan-esque prose

Inspiration might carry on the wind

and land literary fertility at my feet;

because I am here

Then next time you cross to these narrow shores

you will know the paths I have traversed, by my words.

You might have read my work and been impressed

and you might wish you had arrived sooner

when I was here

Atonement? Perhaps.

I have not written anything to commemorate my trip to Chesil Beach. Maybe I will; or perhaps I will hug the thoughts and savour them secretly.

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Scottish Arts

Nice to have a dedicated page on the Scottish Arts Story Awards website.

“Karenlee Thompson grew up in Tasmania, the tiny island state that hangs off the southern tip of Australia and she now lives nomadically, constantly searching for pebbles for her stories, finding them in unexpected places.”

I am enjoying reading about some of the other authors.

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Writing as I Wander

I have been more derelict than usual in my blogging duties but I hope to pick things up in the next few months. For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, a quick update . . . we have spent the past few months in the UK, after our month of downtime in Split, Croatia (which was a dream).

England welcomed me back with a daffodil show to rival anything I could have imagined and we spent five weeks in Northumberland caring for a dog and a cat.

After a week exploring York and a couple of days in Lincoln, we are now in a lovely suburb of London, looking after a little Poochon.

I will endeavour to bring my ramblings back to my writing in the coming months. I have a few projects on the go, the biggest of which is an attempt at rewriting my latest manuscript in the first person, and that is proving to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated.

The travelling has brought forth a burst of fresh creativity resulting in some more short stories to add to my collection (which goes from being complete to incomplete, depending on my mood). I had a recent story published in the Irish Sonder Magazine and a poem destined for another publication (will update soon).

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On a Boat in a French Canal

Well, well, well, I came to my blog to perhaps write something about our fantastic stay in Croatia and realized I had forgotten to post up one from months back in France. We had such a great stay in Narbonne that I’m going to post it now (even if it just for my own future reference) and I will post something on the magnificence that is Split, Croatia, in due course . . . As I post, I remember that WordPress has changed (probably why I abandoned it first time around) and I’m finding it a little difficult so who knows what I will end up with!

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A few years back, I sang ‘On a Boat’ (an R-rated song by ‘Lonely Island’) with a Canadian gynecologist on the top deck of a boat on the Danube. I’m on a boat again – being a little more subdued this time – on a French canal, and it is another great experience.

The Nubian is a stationary boat on the canal in Narbonne, kitted out with all the mod cons but in the surrounds expected aboard a vessel listed on the National Historic Ships.

Amidst the nautical accoutrements of historic sailing are such modern-day luxuries as touch lighting and handy phone charging stations. There’s a full-size Italian shower, coffee machine, egg cooker, microwave, fridge/freezer, and it is a short walk to the indoor food markets and the old town itself. My pics don’t really do it justice so check out their website for yourself.

Your hosts (The Captains) are Eric and Franck and these guys really know their stuff. Communication online was excellent and instructions for arrival perfect (free shuttle from the train station, keylock entry). Every detail in the onboard rooms has been attended to. We were pleasantly surprised by the welcome bottle of wine, with snack biscuits and chocolates. And the breakfast! You could feed yourself for the whole day with the breakfast. Beautiful home-made pastries and jams, fresh juice, the works.

Eric made sure we touched base with an ex-Aussie Rugby player who runs restaurants in Narbonne. In non-covid times, we could have had a hell of a party.

The town of Narbonne is a cornucopia of history and stunning architecture but it was our (far too short) stay on the Nubian that really made for a perfect experience and I just can’t throw enough positivity at this accommodation experience without gushing.

I did miss singing bawdily with the Canadian though.

Onwards I go, gathering grist for the stories, always.

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Christmas . . . The Big Issue

If you’ve never read The Big Issue, do yourself (and others) a favour by going out of your way to grab a copy of this crackin’ Christmas edition.

“[This edition includes] interviews with author Jackie FrenchThe Witches director Robert Zemeckis and electronic dynamos The Avalanches; a gorgeous chopped salad recipe from Bill Granger to brighten any Christmas feast; a hilarious festive farce from writer Karenlee Thompson; and some much-loved teddy bears in The Big Picture.”

You can find out more about The Big Issue here. Look out for a vendor near you and spread some Christmas cheer.

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Hysteria Anthology

What a lovely cover. Pleased to have a little flash fiction piece of mine included.

Hysteria 7 anthology book cover

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Cheers from Bonnie Scotland

With apologies to friends and family who may still be struggling with lockdowns (especially Melbourne, Australia, which has seemed brutal), I thought I should do a small pictorial post on my Scotland adventures.

I have posted pics spasmodically on my personal Facebook feed (please send me a friend request if we are not already connected there) and have been asked why I felt the need to travel at this time. First of all, I want to say that everything in life is a trade. A friend recently posted something along the lines of ‘Choose your Hard’ with a message that everything can be hard, you simply choose which path to take (which hard). 

Whilst many of my friends and acquaintances are happy to hunker down in their homes (or at least, not too traumatized by the thought), surrounded by the familiar – books, DVDs, gardens, nearby walks – I no longer have that opportunity, my Bloke and I having sold or given away everything we own, from the family home down to the very smallest keepsake. We did this – pre-Covid – because it was the only way – coupled with housesitting and helping friends with their projects – that we could afford to travel. We have covered almost every square inch of our home country – by car, rail, train, bus and motorbike – in our youth, so what does one do? One (or two, as it so happens) goes forth into the world.

As we travel, we take very good care of ourselves and we are conscientious of caring for the health and wellbeing of others. Masks, sanitizer, social distancing. Always.

So now, let me tell you about our travels in Scotland . . .

With so few visitors and so little open, we have had country roads and tracks and lochs and hills almost completely to ourselves. We do not eat out and we have never been keen on the pay-a-fortune tourist attractions. So, just imagine how it is for me to be able to wander the grounds of castles and ruins without another soul in sight, to be able to lap up all the history, to touch my trembling hand to centuries old walls. To trek the moors with only my thoughts for company. For a writer, this is bliss!

I’ve peppered some of my favourite photos throughout to stop you getting bored with my ramblings. There’s more on Facebook.

In amongst all this, I was delighted to be shortlisted for the Scottish Arts Trust Story Prize and, although I didn’t make the final three, I felt like a winner amongst some very fine writers. For my writer friends – if you are interested – please check out the award ceremony (this year, a Zoom event) on YouTube.  

I will be even more isolated for a few weeks in the beautiful highland country overlooking a loch. Lots of ‘stuff’ will be written! Keep well everyone. And choose your Hard.

PS – there have been some WordPress changes and I have no idea how to resize pictures.

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Scottish Arts Trust Short Story Award Shortlist 2020

Thank you to Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers for helping me to blow my own trumpet.

FINAL+2020+cover+COMING+SOON+CROP

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Our Inside Voices: Reflections on COVID-19

The weather is looking mighty fine for Brisbane on Sunday 23rd August so, if you are in the area and looking for a fun, safe, event. . . here’s the perfect outing. AndAlso Books are holding an outdoor launch event for this fabulous collection of essays, memoir, poems and short stories.


I am pleased to have my short story ‘Meg and the Margarets’ included. Here’s a little snippet:

I’ve had a shower, she says, and I’m all disinfected.
Why are you disinfected?
She rambles on about stuff I don’t understand but my ears ring when she says COVID-19. So at least now I know it is not quite an army. It’s not a couple either. There are nineteen of these Covids.

I have singled out a few favourites in the collection and will post about them later. In the meantime, here’s the launch deets.

ORLEIGH PARK
West End
(‘Area 3’)
SUNDAY
23 August
10.30 – 12.00

 

 

 

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