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Friday, 28th August, 2020

Start At The Very Beginning

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain't got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone
I'm a-goin' home
My baby just a-wrote me a letter

Wednesday afternoon, between finishing my first exam in 17 years and heading to my late afternoon tutorial, Jude Smith's newsletter dropped into my inbox. It was perfect timing in so many ways.

Since I abdicated from my social media accounts last week (mostly, kind-of, indefinitely), the newsletters I am signed up to are my windows to the world and connection points for the movers, shakers and shapers in my world. And the arrival of Jude's words really hammered home to me why it was important to get over myself and get these (imperfectly rendered) words out into the world.

This is my only connection point with so many of you now, just as letters were during my teens and early 20's. Back then, they were the sort of letters that gave you writer's cramp, tasted like the back of stamps and made your heart skip a beat when you heard the squeal of the postie's brakes. I guess until yesterday that very salient point completely alluded me. This here in no different in essence to back there. There's just less ink and pain and waiting.

Maybe that's why I prevaricated for almost two months, fussing (and then ignoring) the words in their cute little text boxes in the fabulous interface of MailerLite. I hadn't worked out why it was meaningful for me (I'd already worked out why it was important for my business and why I *should* be doing it...but I have never played very well with any kind of *should*). Now I know it is meaningful if I treat it like I've always treated letter writing.

It also makes me want to deconstruct the entire process of 'getting here' via the Theory of Planned Behaviour but that is probably something for my journal rather than a rambling by-proxy conversation with each of you.

What I can tell you is it has taken more than a decade to get me here but in the last 18 months or so it has become insistent as I have wanted greater freedom from social media without sacrificing my connection to those who support my work (and who, maybe might like to hear from me now and again).

Let's just say, I am glad I'm here now. And I am here (if I am truly honest) because I signed up for Peter Ball's weekly Brain Jar emails and that inspired me to pull my finger out. And when it is time, things just line-up effortlessly (like finding MailerLite and their fabulous free month of premium features). When things come that easily, the only thing left is to hurdle yourself.

While this is not the finishing line -- far from it -- I'm not face-down in the astroturf (am I? I hope not!) wishing I'd just hidden out in the dressing rooms. I was never much of a hurdler even when I was young and fit.

About the only thing I can promise from here on in, is that this will not be your average kind of writer's newsletter because that would mean I would have to leave parts of myself on the periphery and I am at a stage of my life where it is all of me or none of me. I'm done carving myself into easily-consumable socially-acceptable portions. So if you continue to open my missives expect a little psychology, a little tarot, a little publishing, some writing and a little of whatever it is that is sending embers into this corner of the world.

Jodi xxx

With New Eyes and a Stronger Heart

"When nothing new can get in, that's death. When oxygen can't find a way in, you die. But new is scary, and new can be disappointing, and confusing - we had this all figured out, and now we don't."

--Anne Lamott--

For years I struggled with 'having to start again'. It felt like a recursive failure that inevitably I was going to have to face up to, again, because consistency has never been my strongest suit. But that's a hard story to hold against yourself when sometimes consistency isn't easy because of family responsibility or chronic illness. Even the fact that we consider consistency as a linear timeline sets each of us up for a certain kind of failing.

I love the idea that consistency (especially for women) is cyclical, and it comes with high energy and low energy, intense focus and wandering distraction. Sometimes consistency means you serendipitously get lost in a way that brings you full circles and you arrive back at the inception point as a slightly different version of yourself, with new experiences and new fortitude to help you approach this thing (painting, novel, recipe, garden, habit, relationship...) with new eyes and a stronger heart.

Because somewhere, and somehow, this year I gave up the burden of 'starting again'. Instead, I've just started. Wherever I find myself. Sometimes that is where I left off. Sometimes it is in a brand new place. And other times, it's a kind of ad-hoc hybrid of something old and something new (all I need now is to weave in something borrowed and something blue!) Sometimes the bits fit together immediately and it is fabulous. And sometimes it tanks.

For the last month or so I've been trying to enact a brilliant new plan to engage with writing again: to return to the old way of a writer's date on a Saturday morning.

I started doing this in late 2017 as a way to feel my way back into the disrupted narrative of my first birthpunk novella (this was long before she had a name or a deadline for publication through the creation of The JAR Writers' Collective). It was disrupted both as a story and as a project taunting me from arm's reach; the novella was never prepared to give up on me and bugger off to someone else who could give it more time and attention that I was able to manage.

Saturday mornings, through that early Spring and into Summer, I went out at 7am. I had a lovely breakfast and even nicer coffee at a local cafe I found tucked away in the backstreets. I mucked around with words for an hour or so with no goal other than to be with them and hopefully leave them in a slightly better state when I shut the document down. And the icing on the cake, I left via the florist next door with a bunch of flowers to see me through the rest of the week.

Honestly, there was nothing not to like about it (even leaving the house at 7am was easy because my body clock had shifted to dawn wakings). For the life of me, I'm not sure why I stopped, but I remember my favourite waitresses one by one left and went to work somewhere else. Maybe that was why?

A writing date is really the last thing left in my arsenal of solo kickstarts, having failed dramatically at binge writing earlier this year because there is something about the Birthpunk Universe that refuses to ever truly let me be. And I've felt the ever-growing insistent tug to return since I started uni. I may have failed at bingeing like the old days, but gratefully it is not my only hack.

And so last weekend, I took myself out for a writing date. I spent the days leading up to Saturday actually looking forward to going out. My sleep schedule had shifted back to early mornings. Hooray! I was primed to be up and out the house early enough to justify snagging a Saturday morning table for a few hours.

It worked (even though I tried at the very last moment to sabotage the entire set-up by being unwilling to choose a new cafe for these mornings. *sigh*).

In the end it didn't have to be new. Sometimes the old and known are better.

I came home from Hallowed Grounds with New Words. New Very Bad Words but that's okay. If nothing else, first drafts are full of small windows of inspired, incredible writing with the rest of the space filled with dross. I managed not to get tangled in the hurdle of myself and hopefully this weekend I'll get out again and the weekend after that, and so forth, until more time opens up during the week for writing.

While there won't be a new birthpunk title this year, something new is on the cusp of release and I look forward to sharing it when next we meet in this space.

Dorothy's Slippers

Did you know...

...the iconic ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz are actually silver slippers in the book?

I had no idea that the only shoes I've ever coveted were a fiction in and of themselves.

Summer Brennan in High Heel writes:

"Perhaps the most famous pairs of shoes of the last century were themselves the stuff of cinema fairy tales and their function a deus ex machina. They are the ruby slippers from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, worn by the 16-year-old Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. Now a part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of American History, the beloved costume heels are so popular among visitors that the carpet in front of the display case has been replaced multiple times due to heavy traffic.

In the L. Frank Baum fantasy novel on which the film was based, Dorothy is given silver slippers, like The Grimms' Cinderella on the first night of the ball...It was allegedly screen writer Noel Langely's idea to make the slippers of rubies (or rather, red sequins) to take best advantage of the film's Technicolour production.

Dorothy Gale may have escaped the fairy tale pain price that would normally accompany wearing shoes like the ruby slippers, but not so Judy Garland."

It is interesting to note two other things aboutThe Wizard of Oz (as gleaned from cutting it up for poetry in the month of July). Firstly, Glinda sits on a ruby throne, so I guess the ruby slippers are not too far removed from that. And secondly, the infamous tornadoes which rip through Kansas are cyclones in the book. Hanging out on storm chaser websites suggests that cyclone was colloquially and erroneously used in the early part of the 20th century--and absolutely incorrectly used in The Wizard of Oz.

The Starling Requiem

Every writer has their own metrics for success. One of mine has been to have written something that would inspire fan art.

During lockdown, I decided to start doing Adult Storytime via Facebook live. A quick survey of friends drove my cyberpunk revolution novelette The Starling Requiem to the top of the list of preferred stories to share.

And that's how Anikó, as rendered by our friend, Toni, came into existence. Does it looks like Anikó? I honestly have no idea what any of my characters look like, so perhaps I can ask you: does this marry with your visual interpretation of Anikó?

If you've read (or listened along) you will recognise the infamous scarf. If you'd like to know a little more of the infamous scarf you can down load a copy here or search out my (personal) Facebook for the mulit-part reading.

And follow Toni's incredible art on Instagram.


Anikó has a new life as an author, supported for a year by a meager grant. By day, she writes the novel the Government commissioned. By night, she writes a novel the Government would never endorse. To stave  off loneliness and hunger, she joins a study mapping the neural pathways of narratives, and it is there, in the Science Partition, she meets the enigmatic and paranoid E. When E goes missing, Anikó is forced to walk the liminal space between her old life and new to find him. The search unearths cutting-edge, pre-revolution technology that promises both resurrection and revolt in the real and imagined worlds.

Read Now
here and beyond


I've just finished watching


and listening to

Simon Kindt's Close Up // Dark

and reading

The Overstory by Richard Powers

and always loving

Letters From the Hedge

and beyond

From the final chapter of The Daily Breath for 2020

Alchemy By Oracle (2)

#2  (22/08/20)

Text: Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes

British Pain Square 177 Iced Cupcake

Via The Daily Breath

The Booktress

Margary Street, Brisbane

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