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Residency, Day 8

It was a very exhausting day. I woke up late this morning for the Words First group. The cat got into the room and started trying to sit on everyone's laps. It was funny but also very distracting. Going to all these groups and watching the dynamics of their interactions has made me acutely aware of how individuals' personalities are reflected in their writing. It's something I noticed about the writers who come to the KSP -- hearing their writing is like peering into how they are as people. I don't think it's usually quite that transparent, or maybe it's just something I've never really noticed in other writers before. There are definitely writers among my friends who are readable from the writing, but that's one or two folks out of ... the whole lot of you out there, and I'm sure not everyone gets to be a psychopath/stalker/one-handed weapon expert.

Was swindled into buying a chapbook off butch-looking ultra-fem type beat-poetess. Promised I'd come to their next meeting, which coincides with my last day at the Centre.

Checked my email and had five articles to write and two documents to edit. Responded to everyone I'd get it done.

Five minutes later, off to lunch with Salamah. We headed to her lovely suburb, with it's gourmet organic food shops run and manned by real hippies. With a dozen piercings each. And bean balls. I would've sobbed, I really would've. It's now very clear I seem to be living in the part of town with the boring food. Lunch was dreadfully pleasant and lovely, as lunches with an elderly couple filled with stories would be. Met Salamah's wonderful husband Abdullah, who introduced me to his loose leaf tea collection (this is the part where I do sob with joy). Had lapsang souchong, since I've never had that before, and the peculiar smell like the bottom of a wok was fascinating. I have never in my life had tea that tasted so much like the scrapings of the bottom of a wok. Otherwise, it tasted just like very strong Chinese tea.

The bean balls were mildly curried. Tasted strongly of cumin and cloves. The mint bits we saw had no flavour. The lentil, potato and vegetable patties were, as Abdullah put it, "Too organic." The salads Salamah chose (guess which one of us chose the main courses there?) were all splendid. There was a summer salad of lettuce mix, avocado, green and red bell peppers and onions, and a cold cooked broccoli dish that was very tasty. The only dish I chose with any redeeming qualities was this flavourful barley and bean salad. I adore barley -- should make some of this into salad myself when I get home.

Fascinating conversations with Salamah and Abdullah about Indonesia and Malaysia ensue. It is truly fascinating to hear them speak. They've seen so much and are both equally very observant people. Salamah's history as an anthropologist really shows when she's talking about people in particular -- it's a peculiar thing what sorts of studies have been made on groups I'd never have thought would be studied. She even had something to say about children from families that moved around a lot, specifically, those from parents who were diplomats and "oilies".

(Note to self: Next time I'm tempted by some poor organic hippie shop's lentil patties, I must go visit the gourmet shop next door and buy proper quiche.)

I was invited to join Salamah and Abdullah on a trip to the local weir next Tuesday. And then Salamah made me pack home the leftover salads and a pack of homemade fried rice. (I'm being fed!)

Back to the Centre, edited the two things I needed to edit, finished A Foreigner's View of the River just in time to print out the last scene I did for the Thursday Night Group. One of my editors got back to me with a last minute change to one of the documents I did -- Japanese editors continue to amaze me. I am stunned by the sheer politeness of them. They thank me for working hard, even for small jobs, apologize profusely for any small changes that need done, and I end up starting and ending all my emails with "Thank you very much." Printed my reading sample and joined the group.

TNG is a large group with lots of serial writers, so I did a lot of critiquing. There was a marvelous bloke called Murray who appeared to be an archeologist studying aborigine artifacts. He's written a series of shorts on his digs, never showed it to anyone else, and he read one of these. The writing was amazing, very evocative and emotive. Had none of the traps of beginning writers -- it was stunningly polished. Chris the Treasurer immediately offered to see if the KSP could find money to publish it, and I noted that even if the KSP didn't do that, Murray could use the piece he'd just read as a sample chapter towards any sort of submission. I wanted to read more of the work. It was really that intriguing.

Did get to read my own piece eventually. It was well-liked, which did make me happy. Someone pointed out validly that I was overdoing the 'like's, and I really have to poke through this to change all that. Someone else pointed out I seemed to be describing tropical weather in every other thing within the story, in a good way. That the descriptions alone suggest stagnant air and cloying heat. And finally, someone pointed out I was speaking with an Irish accent.

Asked if I had Irish friends. I said I had a very close Irish friend, yes. To which he pointed out that I just pronounced Ireland in a very Irish manner. markfinnCabbit taught me how to say it like he did, once. As for the apparent rest of my supposed Irish accent, I don't know what to say. (I mean, I've heard me being described as American, British and Australian, the last by aforementioned Irish fiend -- Irish is quite something new.)

And my pronunciation is usually horrible too.

Locked up for the night and sat down to what I thought would be a couple hours of online English conversation lessons. Wondered why the links to my classes mysteriously disappeared from the teachers' board and emailed the admins. Admin came back to tell me my classes had been cancelled, they'd tried to call my cell phone, left two messages and were mystified why I never responded. Since I'd arrived at the KSP, I have had my cell phone switched off. I basically forgot to bring my international converter to use my charger, and this means my phone has to be able to conserve energy. Apologized profusely, told them it was all my fault, and booked two hours for tomorrow, since I'm free.

Kind of. I still have five articles due by Saturday and a translation test I need to hand in by Monday to do.

I also have a workshop on Saturday.

Did I mention I have a workshop on Saturday?

And writing. Lots of my own writing.

At least, I'm never idle.

The TNG left me dip and water table biscuits, and nice cheeses. Delightfully sweet of them to.

I currently have a rash that has swollen up both my hands from the wrist to the webbing between my fingers. It itches and makes typing uncomfortable. I've had this for four days. Today, I washed my hands with disinfectant and added disinfectant cream. It seems to help a bit. I suspect it was the washing detergent I accidentally got on my hands when I washed my clothes on Sunday. I've only ever touched every plant on the KSP's grounds. And ate a couple of leaves. (Inner mokie: That's why we don't eat strange plants, Ms. Hunter-Gatherer.) But that was like, ages ago, last week.

It's just got to be the washing detergent.



Nov. 24th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)
butch-looking ultra-fem type beat-poetess

Janet Jackson? :)

Terrifying, isn't she?
Nov. 24th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
Terrifying! You've met? ;)
Nov. 24th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC)
Lyn and I used to attend the Thursday Morning group. I take it you experienced the rare pleasure of Flora? :)

Incidentally, did you meet Natalie Dodd at the group? She's a very ocker woman in her late 30s/early 40s. She's one of us, just starting out: a sale to Ticonderoga Online, plus a couple of others around the traps now, I believe.

Janet's voice.........

Nov. 27th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
I have indeed experienced Flora. And she was indeed very sweet. Sadly, it was her last session with Words First.

I'm not sure if the lady I met there was Natalie Dodd. I'm terrible at names, but there was someone who said her writing of late veered into SF.