Friday, May 27, 2011

Creative inspiration..

Today was spent attending the Reading Matters; conference, and I'd quite forgotten how amazing it is. It's events like these that remind me how awesome it is to be working in the children's / young adults literature industry, and how awesome it is to live in Melbourne.

I also spent some of the evening attending the Artists Party at the Emerging Writers' Festival. Again - awesome to be living in Melbourne.

It's certainly these things that I'll be missing most when I move to Japan. However, I'm also feeling a healthy injection of inspiration to get myself in gear where it comes to my own creative work. Part of the reason I quit my last job was because it was such a drain on my creative energy, and I need to get back into the zone. The isolation of Japan will be good for this, and the experience of being in a new place will also be an impetus for creating new landscapes in my writing.

I'm also becoming ridiculously aware of my age, and seeing so many bright young things who are already past the "emerging" status of their art makes me feel, frankly, embarrassed that I haven't achieved enough with my life so far.

So, I promise myself this: I will use my time in Japan productively. If I can't find fulfilling work that will stimulate my career, then I will use my time to write all the stories, all the songs, and all the rhymes that are currently waiting to be committed to paper. I will return to Australia with a catalogue that is long through every passion ranging - of ballads, songs and snatches, and weepy lullabies.

My year in Japan will be the much-needed sabbatical that I've been promising myself for the last two years.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There's a whisper down the line at 11:39...

Yes, it's official. Well, by official, I mean unofficial. We're going to Kishigawa in the Wakayama Prefecture.

S was contacted via Facebook (of all places!) by her predecessor last Thursday, and we're now very excited. We're also pretty lucky, as it seems that nobody else has been contacted yet, and until it's confirmed with the consulate, it's still unofficial.

So, I did a brief search on Kishigawa. On the negative side, it's rural, and has a small population, which could make things difficult for me to find other English-speaking people, let alone find paid work!

But on the plus side, it's only 2 hours away from Osaka by train, and fairly close to Kansai Airport. There's regular swing dancing in Osaka, which will keep me in practice. As it's rural, living costs will be lower. It's in a farming district, and they have a produce market - which means fresh vegetables (apparently that can be a luxury in some parts of Japan).

And, best of all? The local railway station has a very special stationmaster...

Just as well I'm a cat person... :)

Friday, May 20, 2011


Two days ago, we found out where we're going to be sent. However, I'm currently at the Sydney Writer's Festival, and too busy to blog at length. Will blog about it at length when I get back to Melbourne on Sunday...

Until then, Google "Kishigawa, Wakayama"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

...but enough navel-gazing!


Okay, fair point. You'll hear no more emo blathering for the moment; there's work to be done!

Ten things I need to do in the next four months.

10. Work. A lot. Save money. It will very likely come in handy.

9. Cease and desist from acquiring any further possessions. This means clothes, accessories, and especially books.

8. Start learning the Japanese language. I've already started using Mango Languages via a local public library's website, and it's quite good.

7. Start throwing things out that I absolutely don't need. That means magazines, posters, clothes with holes in them, and other various random crap that I have all over my room.

6. Read as many of my books as I can. They weigh too much to have all of them sent over.

5. Practise packing. This will give me a sense of how much I can fit into my bags, and how much stuff I'm going to have left over to sell / throw out / donate to charity.

4. Take the time to enjoy the things I love most about Melbourne and Australia. Go to the Melbourne Film Festival in August. Visit a few dance exchanges (there's one in Hobart and in Canberra in July and August). Attend some literary events.

3. Sell all my worldly possessions that I'm not taking to Japan. Of course, there'll be various books ephemera of personal value, which I'll put into storage, but it'll be minimal.

2. Donate everything I can't sell to charity. (Unless they don't want it, but considering that pretty much all my furniture is just over two years old, that's unlikely).

1. Send one box of stuff to Japan just before I leave. Everything that I will probably need, but won't fit in my luggage.

Sounds like a plan! What did I miss?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Amusement Park Emotions

Well, as you may have guessed, last week was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. But then again, if I'd been completely cool about it, I'd probably have been somewhat deluded.

The thing about roller-coasters, though, is that as terrifying as they are, once you let yourself remember that you'll be fine in the end, then you can focus more on enjoying the thrill of the ride. And the same applies to this trip to Japan. Yes, it's true that I'll be taking some risks, but it's not going to kill me.

Well, not unless we have to live next to a failing nuclear power plant situated on an active fault line.

This evening I attended an author talk with Meg Rosoff, who is visiting Melbourne at the moment, and one thing she said in particular struck me:

"If you have a safety net, you tend to jump into it."

And when I look back in my life so far, the times I've thrived most is when I've moved out of my comfort zone. There was no real "safety net". I needed to keep myself active and switched on, otherwise I was going to crash and burn. Which I certainly did, emotionally, a number of times, and most notably when I finally decided to move back to Melbourne.

And so, almost exactly five years since I first left Melbourne to live in Darwin, I'll be flying out to Japan. I've bought my one-way ticket today, and it's non-refundable.