Thursday, November 12, 2015

Well, hello my pretties

I went fishing but couldn't blog about it cause I was signed out of this account, and was away with only my phone and my phone is terrible for trying to access my internetty things. But so much happened. I got stuck in Bali because of the volcanic ash. I fell in the pool and it is now the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me and that's saying something. I bought some art. One painting for $45 and another for $25 so not so risky. My rescheduled Garuda flight was one of the first out after the airport closed but I didn't go because I was nervous and because Virgin and Jetstar weren't flying. It would have been fine. The plane left and flew and landed on time in Melbourne, but I didn't know that at the time of course.

I had a lot of massages, frozen margaritas and made some new friends, one who is a radio person with RN and won an award for a documentary while she was still stuck (Tues night; I flew home Monday night got back Tues morning.) I taught yesterday and that was hard cause it was an 8.45am start and I was still on Bali time, three hours behind. But it was ok, got it done without too much drama.

Also while away we had to submit a proposal for a whole-school sex ed program, running from Prep to Year 6, for a primary school that we taught at four years ago but who didn't book us afterwards. We (my partner and I) noticed the kids were especially uptight, and didn't relax much at all. This is unusual, even when the kids are uncomfortable or nervous, it only takes half an hour for them to relax. But this didn't happen and it was unique as the only school we've experienced that with. There is one other school that we go to where each year, at the beginning of the program, the kids are really skittish. I found out that a few years ago, maybe 8, maybe 10, two kids were sexually assaulted by a man who'd come into the school and waited in the toilets. So maybe this has become part of the school-yard mythology (but it's real) and makes the kids really weird about sex ed, I don't know.

Anyway, back to the proposal. I think it came up while I was away, so I was trying to read and edit documents, and send back to my partner, who was essentially writing new curriculum for Prep and Year 1/2 program. We got it submitted and the school is REALLY happy. It's great because they specifically want us to go beyond the usual, and talk to the kids in more detail than we usually do about diversity of sexuality and gender issues, also we can introduce a protective behaviours stream which will be really really good. And once one school does it, maybe we can use this experience to get other schools on-board.

The painting I have above, the big one is a girl playing a flute, and she has her eyes shut. To me she looks like she belongs on the east coast of Australia.

I did a workshop with Chigozie Obioma, Nigerian writer whose book The Fishermen was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I had to leave during the break because my own book launch was happening. When I explained that, he was interested, and asked about the book. He said he'd get it at the festival bookshop and read it and I think I may have curtseyed with pleasure and gratitude, but if I didn't really it happened on the inside. And when he signed my copy of The Fishermen, that I'd taken across, he said 'good luck for TSS' and it was really great.

A poodle came to my launch, in the company of Steve, an expat living in Ubud. A woman from Albury, who runs the Dymocks there, came up to me and said she'd been reading my book on the plane on the way over, and was loving it, and could she get in touch to organise an 'author event' up at a winery sometime and I said OH MY GOD I WOULD LOVE TO, HERE'S MY EMAIL ADDRESS AND MY PHONE NUMBER AND YES YES and when I told my publicist she said 'you can just direct those queries to me, you know.' So, still learning.

The book has been getting good reviews, but a couple of shit ones, can't remember if I put that here. But more good than bad, and some of the good ones are really good, so I'm happy. It's had three mentions/reviews in NZ papers.  Three in Aus papers including a really long really positive review in The Australian. It was mentioned by a Melbourne academic in his radio interview on Radio National, in the same breath as Peter Carey's book about Ned Kelly. Mentioned twice in fact, including my name, and it all is making me giddy. I've been asked to do author q&a on one website, who'd given it a great review, and also just recently I submitted a piece for '5 influential books including one from childhood' to go up on another booky website. The book was seen by people at the Bali Airport and one person tweeted me that it was there, in a small selection of Aus Lit (not including, I suspect, her own novel) and another sent me a pic. of it at the airport so really, I couldn't be happier.

Tonight I go for drinks with my publisher who is down from Sydney, and has organised a catch up with all her Melbourne authors. This group includes a big name author, so I'm hoping I get to meet him, and I'm hoping I won't be a suck and go on about how much I loved one of his booksI will report back. He might not even be there.

Have to go now for a big walk. Hope you are all well. Let me know. Sorry I've been neglecting this blog. Sorry I haven't been commenting on yours Alex. Life is busy, and I'm intending to go into lockdown from 1 December, for writing over the summer. But I will be doing limited ablutions. Staying off facebook and twitter, and putting more work into my blog here (more regular updates) and my author website, regular posts there as well.

Happy days all.


sarah toa said...

Hello Melba! So good to hear from you and your busy life!
XXX Sarah

suze2000 said...

Hello! I want to buy your book. Email me? Or PM me, or something?

little hat said...

Are You excited? Are you ever.Crikey that post almost burns with it. Well done.I have an appointment with an agent for some advice and coffee when I get back to Brissie fro Cambodia later this week. I'll look for your book in my local bookshop.

elaine said...

I'm glad I'm in good company with those who LOVED the book.

I told mum she has to read it when she said she is sick of unoriginal novels.

squib said...

That's funny, I bought a picture in Rio when I was 15 and it was a man playing a flute with his eyes closed. Not sure if I brought it with me to the UK. If so, it will be under the house. I got tired of it

Alex said...

I'm glad to hear you made it back to us in one piece. Better safe than sorry.

How embarrassing can falling in a pool really be? Haven't you ever pissed yourself while drunk?

Sounds like you are flat-out (in a good way), and lucky you have a capable work partner and publisher. Are there any audio interviews up yet that I can listen to?

Also, don't worry about not swinging by my place. I haven't been home anyway.

Melba said...

Suze, do I have your email?
Little Hat, that is excellent news, I hope it went well! Let us know!
Oh Elaine, so happy you liked it and thanks for spruiking to your mum.
squib, it's probably a terribly cliched piece, and it's not very good technique wise, but there was just something about it I like.
Alex, emailing you now. There are a few to listen to.

And no, I've never pissed myself while drunk. I have stepped into a pot of stew wearing hand-knitted village socks the pot maker had given me. So there's that. I also (maybe) broke my nose falling over while walking up a mountain in the dark in Japan on NYE years ago. The reason I didn't put my hands out to break the fall was I was holding a bottle of champagne. Not a drop spilled, other than blood that is. Black eyes, grazed nose, so bad.
I'm sure there are other things if I tried to think harder. The falling in the pool. It was like in a movie that's why it was embarrassing/funny. But at least I had my bathers on.

Melba said...

And hi sarah!! xxxx

Melba said...

This is really funny because I've just looked at this post properly and can see that I've breached almost ALL of my usual careful rules, like not mention things that can be traced to my real name, and blah de blah. What an idiot. After ten years of being really careful. It's not that I care about you people knowing my name, it's that I don't want people googling themselves - or even my book - and coming here. So I'm doing some edits.

I must have been jetlagged.

Anyway, someone who was stuck in Ubud came back with Dengue.
It's my birthday soon - ok tomorrow and Clokes has gotten me a super power blender so I can make frozen margaritas. And other healthy fruit/vegie juice thingies.

Have to go to bed, I'm stuffed. I've been in writing lockdown for a whole day. Woke up at about 4.30am and got going. Did my one hour walk at noon. Am tired. Also did a two-day workshop on the weekend, so that was really tiring as well. So. Bye.