In with the new

Market Nang KwakI’m one of those people who can walk into a office, sit down at a desk and start working. Only months later will it occur to me that if I re-positioned the desk, I could more easily get at my files and avoid catching the glare on my computer screen. Having noticed this much, I might also figure that a stack of in-trays and some portable drawers would go a long way toward taming the mountains of paper on my desk. I might look further and realise the entire office badly needed de-cluttering, at which point I would pull out all stops to get it sorted out.

(True story. Happened to me in my current workplace. Time between sitting down at the desk and realising we needed a serious de-clutter was 18 months.)

The point is I’m usually too busy doing stuff to notice how it all looks. Plus I’m used to making do, having worked in the community sector for over 20 years, seven of those in developing countries. Yet when I do take the time to raise my head, I often end up wishing I done so much earlier.

As with the office, so it is with the blog. I established this blog in May 2006, just prior to the launch of my first novel Behind the Night Bazaar, and with the exception of minor changes to the header and the addition of a few widgets and a new page or two, I’ve done little to change the appearance or layout.

But I was recently inspired by my partner Andrew Nette, who unlike me spent considerable time and energy designing his blog Pulp Curry before he launched into using it. I realised the way people scan blogs has changed. Page tabs are in, for example. Scrolling is out. Fonts come in and out of fashion. People look for quick ways to like or share what they read.

So for the first time in five years, I’ve re-decorated. Gone is the Kubrik theme and in its place a fabulous WordPress theme called Twenty Eleven. How much more now could that be?

I still have a bit of work to do on the content, but that will have to wait until after I finish the first draft of the next Jayne Keeney novel, currently about two-thirds complete. But I now know what happens in the story (hooray!) and I’ve got a title. I’ve never had a title so far from completion before. Hope it’s not a bad sign…

The new header image is from a photo I took in a clothes market in Nakhon Si Thammarat town in April this year. It’s part of a shrine, suspended from a pole amid the clothes racks, and features a figure of the nang kwak or beckoning lady, a talisman used in Thailand to usher in business or wealth. In herbal medicine form, leaves from a plant of the same name were traditionally used as a love charm.

Nang kwak figures are blessed by monks or shamans and need to be maintained with daily prayers and offerings. The offerings featured in the header image include bottles of super-sweet red Mirinda soft drink, palm sugar, bracelets and a wreath of jasmine – you can see the red ribbon of the wreath looped over the nang kwak‘s arm.

Whether the nang kwak will augur in wealth and love via this blog remains to be seen. But I hope you enjoy the new look.

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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