The first paragraph below refers to my poetry tour of Texas in April 2006 – a momentous experience for me, which I'm still processing. I had posts here about it, mixed up with posts about my here-and-now life, then discovered I can have separate blogs at the same profile, so the posts recording my Texas journey are now at Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Texas Poetry Tour
A year has gone by. It's National Poetry Month again in the U.S., and Austin is gearing up for this year's International Poetry Festival. A Brisbane poet called Bob Mud is sleeping in MY room at Neil and Dorsey's house and using MY laptop! (Well, really Neil and Dorsey's of course.) In fact we are keeping in touch via that machine, just to add to my nostalgia. Braver than me, he is also driving one of Neil's cars. He tells me he has already met Roger and Clive who are back there this year, and jammed to music with them at Vinny's.
Meanwhile this blog has languished many months, due to other literary activities.
The aforementioned Clive invited me to join MySpace so as to hear his music there. It was mainly a networking place for musos, he told me, but he didn't see why it shouldn't work for a poet too. I didn't think I would use MySpace more than minimally, but I soon took to it and now I have a personal profile there, another for material on magick and energy in response to people asking me to mentor them, and yet another which hosts an ever-growing group of haiku writers. By now MySpace is full of poets, artists, witches, healers, and just about anything else you can think of. Early on I was invited to join Crone Circle, through which I met a number of vibrant and inspiring older women. My very latest MySpace friend is my 15-year-old god-daughter who lives in Melbourne and just joined up yesterday.
I created Rosemary's Readers, a Yahoo! group for people who want to read my new poems. When I first came back from Austin, poems were pouring out of me. They still are most of the time, but there have been some interruptions to the flow.
Shortly before my Texas trip, Andrew and I joined a memoir writing group that meets monthly in Byron Bay. They're great people, and having to produce something each time has been good for us. Otherwise, I don't think our memoirs would get written at all! Andrew's doing family stuff for his kids and grandchildren; mine is more about the magickal aspects of my life, as so many people have said I should write that story.
Thom the World Poet,the instigator of my Texas trip, came to Australia in August 2006, and did poetry performances and workshops in Queensland, Melbourne and the "rainbow region" of New South Wales, where I and others of his old cronies live. I helped organise this part of his tour and had another whirlwind of performances with Thom and other poets.
This led to starting a weekly writers' workshop at my local Neighbourhood Centre. It's now full up, with 13 participants, and we have a waiting list for a second one. Its heaps of fun and nurtures me as well as everyone else.
In November I participated in NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. For anyone who doesn't yet know about this, it began with a group of friends in California deciding they would each write a novel in a month just for the heck of it and making a little website to support themselves. It grew almost as fast as MySpace, and I was one of over 75,000 people all around the world who did it in 2006. The aim is to write 50,000 words of a new novel during November. It was crazy and fun and exhausting and exhilarating. It wasn't judged on literary merit or anything – anyone who made 50,000 words by the deadline was a winner. I actually got 62,818 words in 41 chapters. I now have a first draft which is better than I thought it would be but would need a LOT of work to become publishable. I was going to edit it and market it from January to October, mainly for the practice – but so far not much has happened. Andrew is the only person who has been allowed to read it. He said, "Yes it's very well written – it's just that it's so boring." I burst out laughing, but afterwards couldn't bring myself to go on with the wretched thing.
Copies of my book, posted home from Texas by the cheapest and therefore slowest means, finally arrived in December. We had a local book launch which went very well. I abandoned plans for something more grandiose in Melbourne, as it was a limited edition in the first place and not so very many books came home from Texas.
My husband Andrew's novel, an environmental fairy story for 8-11-year-olds (but loved by all ages) has just been published and is being very well received. The cover artist, Tom Giffin, a young Californian, visited Australia a few weeks ago, came and had lunch with us, and presented us with the original painting. It's a beautiful picture with Mt Warning in the background, as the story is set locally.
I'm starting to submit poems to literary magazines and have had a few accepted already. I'm working towards a new collection, whilst wondering whether to do a second (local) edition of "Secret Leopard".
So that's pretty much our year in writing. I'll come back later to the completion of my Texas saga!