Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

 

We learnt about the Finnish concept of Sisu – a mental toughness that kicks in when all else is exhausted – on a walking tour of Helsinki, with icy winds and snow whipping around my hubby’s unprotected ears.

(He wasn’t listening when I told him to pack a beanie and gloves, so the blizzard on arrival was a shock to his system. He’d joked on the plane ride over that it would be a balmy 24 degrees. And it was – on the Fahrenheit scale.)

While I was doing a fair impression of the Michelin Man in puffer, gortex jacket and four layers of clothes, hardy locals were showing we Aussies just how soft we really are – by stripping down to their budgie smugglers for a quick dip in the ice-trapped local pool.  

Respect, my Finnish friends. Man, you are tough. But I guess that comes with the territory when you live in a country where the mercury rarely pushes above 15 degrees. Where only five million people became legendary throughout the world for standing alone in the Winter War against overwhelming Russian forces – and surviving. That’s sisu.

 

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

Now that I’m home again, home again, jiggety jig, I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced while away.

 


Time with loved ones is more precious when travelling, the juxtaposition of familiar and unfamiliar giving each day a special edge.

No wonder the Dalai Lama exhorts us to step away from the everyday: ‘Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.’

This year, it was Helsinki. Where I am glad to have discovered a new word to live by.

For when the going gets tough. Sisu.

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Find Your Treasure 2018 CBCA Shortlist Announcement

Find Your Treasure: CBCA 2018

Lovers of children’s literature, don’t miss this star-studded event: the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s short list announcement for the 2018 Book of the Year Awards.

I’ll be there, along with a treasure chest of local authors and illustrators who’ve featured on CBCA Book of the Year Award short lists over the years.

Along with Michael Gerard Bauer and Lucia Masciullo, I’ll be sharing what being short listed has meant to my life and career.

And I’ll hanging out to hear the official announcement of the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Short List by local literary luminaries Nick Earls, Isobelle Carmody, Gary Crew, Tania Cox, Jill Morris and Caroline Magerl.

To register, please click the following link and I’ll see you there!

Official CBCA Book of the Year Awards Short List Announcement 2018 Registration, Tue, 27/03/2018 at 10:00 am | Eventbrite

 

 

Redlands library 2
Please join me @ Redlands, if only for an hour – would love to see you there!
coming up with ideas

Back-handing the beagle at Story Arts Festival Ipswich (photos courtesy of Aspire Photographics)

It’s been more jam-packed than Proust’s rememberances. Bigger than Rapunzel’s shampoo bill. Longer than Pinocchio’s nose if they’d ever made lying an Olympic sport.

Yes, it’s been Book Week. Man, I love it, but each year it just keeps getting bigger.

Ostensibly a 7-day celebration of children’s literature in August, CBCA’s Book Week has grown like Topsy into the busiest term of the year for writers, illustrators and those unsung heroes of all things literary, the wonderful teachers and librarians who tirelessly promote reading and writing in our schools.

Group with casperI started Author Visits for Book Week back in July and just finished my last one yesterday – that’s a couple of dozen schools and a couple of thousand kids who’ve met me, my books and my dog in the last couple of months.

(Yes, Huggy usually manages to put in an appearance on power point; he is, after all, a most inspiring character!)

And that’s what it’s all about: getting kids enthused about reading and writing. Putting books in their hands that open their minds, spark their imaginations and make them think.

It’s a fun gig, one I’m

HHH on trial in the Old Courthouse SAFI
HHH on trial at the Old Courthouse Ipswich, Story Arts Festival ’17  

 lucky to have.

But now it’s time to rest the voice, plant the birkis firmly on the floor under the desk and get back to finishing my next book (which will give me something new to talk about next year!)

 

Reading Centre Book Week launch 2017

The Reading Centre, Book Week launch 2017

to-do-2Forget New Year resolutions, February is when it gets real, people.

School is back, Uni beckons, the heat is unrelenting, but the holidays are definitely over.

I’ve finally found the courage to peek at the scales through a gap in my fingers (damn you trifle!) and have nancy-ganzed my loins for some big jobs ahead.

Two months away from the work-in-progress has allowed me to see it with fresh eyes. I’ve fixed the most glaring flaws and am back in the rhythm with a writing schedule that will see the manuscript done and dusted by the end of the month – go me!

romancing-the-stars-gold-coastFebruary is also when school visits and book events kickstart – first cab off the rank is Romancing the Stars at the Gold Coast on Friday 17 February.

You can take a shot at speed-dating a roomful of authors and illustrators – it’s seriously fun, so please come along if you can to support Book Links (Qld) – the Centre for Children’s Literature.

Click here to check out the lineup of talent and book your slot on the night. Would love to see you there!

Nawwww, who’s a good boy?

Posted: February 3, 2017 in Writing
8th-bday

It’s my birthday – I’m 8 today!

Dear Dog Park humans,

I may only understand about fifteen spoken words, but I know what you’ve been saying about me:

That Huggy is fat. And lazy. And probably depressed.

Well, I have news for you people: I HAVE A THYROID CONDITION.

Yes, that’s right. I am officially one sick puppy.

And I had to all but expire and break out in lesions before anyone figured it out.

Sheesh.

Lucky my mummy disobeyed the pool boy (she lets him sleep in her bed, but in the things that matter, she’s the boss).

He said don’t waste your money on any expensive blood tests. But she said that I’m worth it (and I am).

happy-huggy

Me on drugs – thank you thyroxine!

After only two weeks of twice-daily vegemite licks (with some tiny pellet in it that I can’t be bothered spitting out), I’m a new beagle.

I’ve dropped two kilos and five years! I can do backflips again when Mummy puts on her togs.

Even the pool boy is happy. He says we can amortise the cost of the vet fees and drugs over the extra five years I’ve been granted. (A month ago he thought I wouldn’t make eight, but today I proved him wrong – Happy Birthday to me!)

He also says that I’m a good boy, a very good boy – and yes I am.

[If you want to see just how much my humans have always loved me – click on this link Confessions of a dog owner | Christine Bongers]

big-lit-quiz-2

Winner of Cutest Selfie of the Year – Michael Gerard Bauer!

The inaugural Big Lit Quiz, courtesy of Book Links Queensland, was a fun way to wrap up a fabulous year of work-related events. (No, our Writers’ Bloc team didn’t win against all those impressive Teacher-Librarians, and no, work is not over for the year, I do still have a middle-grade novel to finish, but hey, who doesn’t?)

big-lit-quiz-1

Big Lit Quiz Writers’ Bloc team with Samantha Wheeler, Michael Gerard Bauer & Richard Newsome

Rifling through my calendar reminded me of how little I’ve blogged lately, so here’s a quick catch-up on some year highlights including:

Eight weeks in schools, at Festivals and in book shops, running workshops, promoting my books, and championing all the good stuff about reading, writing and literature…

in-conversation-with-catherine-jinks

In Conversation with Catherine Jinks

Enjoying not one, not two, but three In Conversations:

with wonderful Australian writers Catherine Jinks and Melina Marchetta (who has a brilliant new crime novel out Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil – get it for Xmas!)

and American YA superstar David Levithan…

And what a pleasure it was to see my brilliant mentor, first reader and former publisher Leonie Tyle win CBCA Queensland’s Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for Distinguished Services to Children’s Literature during this year’s Book Week celebrations…

leonie-tyle-dame-annabelle-rankin-award

With Leonie Tyle, 2016 winner of Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for Services to Children’s Literature

Finally, we ended the year on a high note with the youngest of our four children graduating high school! That’s twelve years of schooling done and dusted for him and 21 years straight of being a school mum over for me.

Not that it will make much difference on the ground – early bird bookings for author visits are coming in from schools as far afield as Mareeba and Herberton in the far north to all points south, so expect to see me still hanging around the school yard next year. 🙂

Now, where was I before this unaccustomed urge to blog took over … oh yes, of course, the unfinished middle-grade novel!

Clearly now is the write time to wish you all a fabulous festive season – see you on the other side!