It's the Gertrude St studio show tonight at 200 Gertrude St Fitzroy. My friend Masato has the Studio 12 exhibition space. The studio show is always a rather large affair, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and it's almost impossible to see the artwork, but I think I shall attend anyway.
I'm hoping that this weekend will be the final one for working on the essay. Next weekend I plan to insert the pictures, fiddle with the bibliography, change the title several times, update the abstract so that it fits with what I've actually written.
Last night I rewrote the opening section, although this has been the part I've liked the most. Problem was that it didn't really fit with what I said in the body of the essay. I've been struggling with it for weeks, and then once I'd rewritten it, I realised that it now made a lot more sense. The opening section really belongs to an entirely different essay.
So, two more weekends and it's over. And then what will I do (besides stressing about whether it's going to be accepted or whether I'll be asked to do major rewrites)? What will I write about on the blog? Dunno. These are things I've yet to find answers for.
I've pretty much decided not to apply for the Varuna residency thing (that the HQ finalists are "invited" to put in a folio for.) For a start, I don't have a body of work I'm happy with, I don't have a project I'm working towards as I'm still at the "working at my craft" stage. (I'm at the safety-scissors-and-clag stage of "working at my craft", in all honesty.) Additionally, you have to become a member of Varuna to apply, which is fifty-five bucks, and you need two letters of recommendation from people with "connections to the literary world". So all in all, it sounds like a lot of effort for a very slim chance of getting anywhere. Plus I don't know when I'd be able to take up the three month residency anyway. And do I really want to spend three weeks locked away by myself in the Blue Mountains with nothing but a laptop for company?
I've been reading an excellent book - Youth , by J.M. Coetzee about a young South African man who has moved to England to become a poet. I read Disgrace a couple of years ago and didn't really enjoy it, finding its tone quite cold and removed. Youth's main character (presumably a portrait of the author) has a similar cold, removedness, but because you are allowed inside his head you end up empathising with his failings (although he is quite frustrating at times, and quite cruel.) It's an interesting discussion on writing and the influences that shape a writer.
Next I'm going to read "Bride Stripped Bare" because someone has lent it to me, and because I've bagged it on numerous occasions without having actually looked at it. I like to be informed in my bagging.
It's the work experience boy's last day today. He's here from one of the universities; doing a work placement is part of their course requirements. So he's been in three days a week for a month, doing the most horribly boring jobs, but remaining remarkably cheerful throughout. He's been entertaining, too, telling us stories about his mother's regular botox treatments and cosmetic surgery. "She always has a reason for why she has to have it" he told us "She'll say that she's having trouble breathing and then she'll come back with a whole new nose."
Yesterday the Big Boss brought over an envelope and thanked him for his help and told him she had a letter of recommendation for him. After she left, the work experience boy started to open it. He said "Wouldn't it be great if I opened this and ten thousand dollars fell out?" I said "If that happens, I'm going to push you over, grab the cash, and run for the door." He continued to open the letter. "It's like when you get a card from your auntie and you're just hoping there's cash in there. But you just know there won't be."
And then a cheque fell out. Not for ten grand, I suspect, but a cheque none the less. "Oh my God." he said "I don't believe it. I got paid. This has never happened before."
There is a screening tonight of an animated documentary called It's Like That. It's been created by a group called the Southern Ladies Animation Group (or SLAG for short.) They are a group of thirteen independent femal animators.
It's Like That is based on the voice recordings of three kids in one of Australia's detention centres. It's on at RMIT Capitol Theatre at 7:30 this evening and it's free (although they would appreciate a gold coin donation.) It's only 7 minutes long, so you could squeeze it between your other engagements.
I've been to the last four or five of these and they are always excellent and lots of fun. It's a first come, first seated arrangement this year and as it is always immensely popular it's worth turning up early.
And finally, I'm going to be looking after the animation section of Sleepy Brain for the time being, so if you know of any interesting animations or animators that would be good to talk about or two, let me know.
Had a kind of shock realisation yesterday afternoon that the intro to my essay doesn't really relate to anything that follows in the main body. Also realised that this is basically what the Sensei has, in his gentle way, been suggesting everytime I visit him to read over a draft. I could just change the opening, I guess, so that it is a better reflection of what the essay is actually about, but the opening is one of the few parts I'm happy with.
I'm having troubles keeping to the word limit, too. It's already about 150 words over and I've just received some comments from my other supervisor, RB, who suggests certain points need drawing out. She's quite right, but I'm not sure how I'm going to do it without removing other sections.
The main problem, really, is that I'm ceasing to care about it. I just want it completed and emailed. It's difficult to keep up the momentum over three months. I can't imagine how people go about sustaining interest in a PHd topic over the course of several years.