In the spirt of months of denial/re-balancing that seem to have worked their way into the calendar, I’ve declared June to be my month off reading and writing crime fiction. As ‘Crime Fiction Free June’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Febfast, Dry July, Sober October and even Offline October, I decided against trying to turn it into a team fundraising event, simply taking the opportunity to read, write and create something other than crime fiction.
Truth is a month ago I submitted my latest manuscript to my publisher and while I wait to see if they think it has wings, it helps not to think about crime fiction.
So what am I doing with my time, denied access to the genre I love to read and write?
I’m working on an exciting non-fiction project, but if I tell you about that I’ll have to kill you. So I won’t. Yet.
I’ve given a couple of author talks to great audiences, with a gig at the Chelsea Library marking the first time absolutely no one I know from a past life was in attendance. Awesome.
I’ve read Paddy O’Reilly‘s wonderful new novel The Fine Colour of Rust. Also the 1995 memoir Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave, inspired in close proximity by the documentary We Were Here and a piece by Benjamin Law on the Wheeler Centre website. I read Gitana: My Gypsy Life by Gueña Berguer, only to discover it includes a photo of myself aged 17 modelling the 1984 Gown of the Year, designed by Gueña’s late husband Tomás Gasco. A shot from my extremely short-lived stint as a fashion model in the midst of Gueña’s extraordinary life story.
In the past week I’ve lined up the ducks for what I believe will be a highly entertaining panel, bringing the Melbourne Museum together with the Sisters in Crime. All will be revealed on that front soon, too.
I attended a terrific fundraiser to support Graphic Novels! Melbourne! a documentary about local comic book culture produced and directed by Daniel Hayward and my old friend Bernard Caleo, featuring Mandy Ord, Pat Grant, Bruce Mutard and Nicki Greenberg among others. This promises to be an amazing film and I am hanging out for the premier in Not-So-Sober-October.
In my day job, I’ve been travelling around Victoria, from Briagolong to Swan Hill, West Sunshine to Stawell, stopping off at op shops along the way in search of pulp novels for my beloved partner. If you can tell a lot about a place from the kind of novels that end up on the secondhand bookshelves, then I urge lovers of romance to head for Ararat.
In my spare time I’ve been crocheting embellishments for a couple of yarnbombing projects organised through my kid’s school — vicarious wish fulfilment on my part as I’ve fantasised for ages about yarnbombing something.
In between days, but by no means unproductive.
Now if I can just resist the tempting crime fiction in my reading pile for eight more days…