22 November 2008

Heavens Above

When we’re in Hobart, we stay in a lovely old mansion called Ednam House. It’s filled with antiques, heavy drapes and something that I’ve never seen but my pounding heart tells me is there. To avoid looking into nothing and seeing something, I lose myself in the intricate details of the fittings… like this chandelier in the Augusta suite.

Red Bubble

19 November 2008


It's been a really busy time at the nine to five and I feel like I'm running out of words. Today however, there was a small reprieve... a 700 to 800 word article has morphed into a table with just a headline and an intro, saving me anything up to 600 words.

It was tempting, I must admit, to blow it all in a phone call to Bear (my best friend who uses at least three times as many words as me); or waste it on random lyric generation as Georgie and I made dinner. But I think I'll get better mileage out of writing rather than speaking. At least here I can monitor the number of words I use (120 to here) and maybe save just enough so I don't go to bed speechless.

When I first started out as a copywriter, I found myself at odds with the writer's need to have thing 'just so'. If I wasn't working with a black Artline 210 on an A3 pad of bond paper, all I could think about was not having a black Artline and a pad of the starchy bond. If it was too noisy I grumbled, if it was too quiet I turned my music up. The writer in me was a wanker and I have very, very little time for wankers.

But then one day I read about a legendary copywriter named David Abbott. He was the man behind the award-winning print campaign for The Economist (which I think inspired the brilliant bush-shelter campaign for the Financial Review) and he said that to write these ads he needed to draw up a page of perfectly ruled 10 x 3 boxes with (if I recall correctly) a particular red pen before he could begin. (293 words)

Now when it comes to copywriting, I am not a hair on David Abbott's little finger; but he changed the relationship between me and the writer forever. In just a few words he made it OK for me to have a ritual around my work, and that needing one didn't make me a precious little tosser.

I don't need bond paper anymore and I could write in a thunderstorm (like the one happening outside right now), but still I can't think straight without an Artline in my hand. (381 words)

Now if I finish now, I'll have just enough words for two minutes of pointless chatter with George before turning out the light. Nigh night. (413)

14 November 2008

For God sake, Mr Sandman... bring me a bloody dream

So what does a girl do when she can't sleep? She takes a picture of herself not sleeping and posts it on her blog of course. I mean, where else am I going to be at 4.28 in the morning?

It's been a really busy week and my nine to five has become my eight to eight; although come to think of it, it's never really was a nine to five.

For a while now it's been my 9.30 to 6.30 but that doesn't sound as compact as 'nine to five'. Before that it was eight to five but that's much too early to be poetic and frankly the traffic is just awful at that hour. Before that I had a different job and I I caught the bus to work... that was hell on earth regardless of the time. I didn't like my job much either so if I could have billed them for the time I spent traveling to and from their hall of shame in a dirty yellow rust bucket, I would've.

Anyway, it's 15 minutes until my alarm goes off... maybe I should turn it off so it doesn't wake the sleeping George. Or maybe I could be devious and let it go because then he'll make me a lovely coffee. Hmmm... I now have 13 minutes to weigh up the pros and cons...

So back to my busy week... I'm on holidays soon and while I'm away I'm going to phase out the use of the word 'yes' and replace it with something like 'Sure I can do that! It will take [insert time] to write and I can do it on [insert day]'. It's longer, I know (and probably won't fit on a sticky note) but I'm done with long days and sleepless nights... and I look terrible at this hour!

Postscript: I didn't realise my alarm clock is four minutes fast so when I heard my alarm bleating at 5.11 I bolted into the bedroom to turn it off before it woke George. I needn't have worried though... he could sleep through anything. Even my sleepless night.

11 November 2008

If I had one hundred wishes...

... I'd make everyday as special as it was today.

10 November 2008

Tick, tick, tock goes the birthday clock...

In one hour and one minute it will be my birthday.

As I write this, Georgie is locked away wrapping my presents. He pokes his head out the door when I laugh at the telly and I dare myself to sneak a look at what might be in there.

Now he’s walking into the lounge with a pretty bundle… there are six beautifully wrapped pressies (including three in my favourite Barbie paper). He catches me looking and then grudgingly agrees to rearrange them so I can take a picture.

I love birthdays… especially mine.

09 November 2008

For the last few days I’ve been struggling to think of something to write for the Daily Boop and today I’m beginning to understand why.

Y’see, there’s a certain dishonesty that goes with the job of a copywriter and I’m not talking about hyperbole; I’m talking about the need to write ‘Truman’ copy… copy that paints the picture of a perfect world, where the brand never reflects on past mistakes and immediately, wordlessly disassociates itself with something (or someone) that just doesn’t work.

Now I’m not about to launch into a what’s-wrong-with-advertising monologue because a) it’s Sunday, b) I don’t really care that much, and c) the Daily Boop is about me me me! But I do think that I’ve lost a little of myself in the shiny, happy copy I write in my nine-to-five, and looking back over my posts at the Daily Boop, I can see ‘shiny, happy’ emerging here, too.

So it’s time for some honesty and this means balancing the funny with the profound… starting now.

As I sift through the things I've written over the years, I'm occasionally taken aback by the palpable emotion in some of my earlier work, like in this piece I wrote for my mum for Mothers Day back in 1996. What makes it even more profound is that 12 years later we are all but strangers.

I had been living in Adelaide for about ten months, having left Hobart to pursue my writing career. It was coming up to Mothers Day and I recall being desperately lonely - missing my family and friends, but mostly my Mum. I was also flat broke, so with emotions running high and probably just enough money to buy a postage stamp, I wrote this and sent it to her.

It’s eleven minutes past three on Tuesday the Seventh of May 1996 – nine thousand six hundred and forty-eight days, ten hours and fifty-nine minutes since you gave birth to me.
It’s almost Mothers Days... your twenty seventh Mothers Day, my twenty-seventh Mothers Day… our first apart.
I want to tell you so much and there is so much to tell.
I want to tell you about my first memories of you.
About how I dreaded going a day without hearing your gentle, tender voice and wrapping me in your warm hugs.
I still do.
I remember you sitting on my bed to say goodnight, and how I wouldn't let you go until I’d fallen asleep.
And you stayed.
I remember how special the days were when you’d collect me from school. It was like coming from the mouth of a dragon into the arms of an angel.
I remember the arms I wouldn’t leave after getting a beating from the neighbourhood bully. And I remember the arms that wouldn’t let me go.
I remember waiting for you to collect me from Auntie Colleen’s… just watching the window, waiting for my mum.
Then you’d come and everything would be ok.
I remember the little treasures you’d hide down my bed. Do you remember the book 'You’re a Special Kind of Friend'? Well, you’re my special friend.
I remember how you’d bring me home copies of 'Tracy' and 'Dolly'. And how you’d pull out the bits you thought I shouldn’t read.
And I remember how you’d bring us home Cadbury Snack bars to eat while we watched movies like 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' on Friday nights.
And I remember how jealous I was when you used to tie the girl next door’s hair up because her mum had hurt her hand. You tied mine up too, but you were my Mum.
I remember how you, me and Sasha argued on the way to Lewisham one day. You stopped the car and told us to get out. We wouldn’t. When we did, you drove off, turned around and came straight back. You told us to get in the car. We wouldn’t.
I remember crying because we’d hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you.
I remember the worried Mum that took me off to see Mr Seymour at school. And how she told him that I just wasn’t myself and she just didn’t know what to do.
And the same woman who, not very many years later, dragged me off to the doctor, knowing that something was seriously wrong.
I remember you standing over my hospital bed – neither of us knowing what the hell was happening – and saying, “Do you know that I love you very, very much?”
Well, I love you too. More than you’ll ever know.
When you’re sad I want to cry. When you’re hurt I feel it too. When you’re happy, I’m the happiest girl in the world.
You’re the most precious thing… I could never imagine life without you. And I’d lay down mine right now for you.
And even though we’re so far apart, we’re so close.
If I can be half as loving and nurturing and supporting with my children as you are with me, then they will be the luckiest children alive.
And right now, I’m the luckiest girl.

04 November 2008

Boop oop ee doop!

I remember watching Betty Boop cartoons when I was a little girl but it wasn't until my 18th birthday that I received my first piece of genuine Boop memorabilia. This mug was a gift from my best friend Bear and it's one of two pieces that mean the world to me.

The other is a keyring my dad gave me just months before he passed away. It's still carrying my keys and sometimes when I'm driving the little feet catch in my hosiery as if to remind me that it's still there.

There's other ones as well... like the cute Boop tin from my friend Nicola, the quilt my mother in law made from Boop fabric, and the little Boop doll that was a gift from my goddaughter Taylah which hangs on my bedroom door.

But there is one that comes without the usual feeling of affection and it hit me like a brick when I opened a draw in the spare room tonight... the Betty Boop Air Freshener (with natural fragrances apparently). I first saw them in the auto section of Big W and I thought it looked nifty and smelled ok and just because it was Boop (and not because my car stunk) I bought it. That night I hung it in Hugo (our car, so named because 'Hugh goes where we go') and toddled off to bed.

The next morning was a shocker. Hugo smelled SO BAD George and I rode all the way to work with our heads out the windows so we didn't choke. Did I mention the natural fragrances? So we binned the Boop and vowed never EVER to buy another.

A few weeks later I was visiting my sister in Hobart and she and the kids had an early birthday present for me... a set of Betty Boop windscreen shades and a matching Betty Boop Air Freshener. "Oh wow! Wherever do you find these things?" I asked wondrously (but secretly dreading the stink that would permeate my clothes on the way home).

Now this might have been a great anecdote to share when I'm invited to guest speak at a Betty Boop convention (in my dreams), but it didn't end there.

Shortly after I returned from Hobart, a colleague came bounding into my office grinning with excitement, package in hand, and said, "You'll never guess what I found for you in Big W!"

Ya wanna make a bet?

02 November 2008

These are few of my favourite things... (cue music)

In my first post, 'Blogging not Jogging', I said I was going to write about the things that make me happy, so I'll start at the top with this guy... my husband Darren.

He's known by many names: Darrenby, Dazz, Dazzler, Dazza, Dazzafrass, Count von Dazzler, Bedazzler, Dashing, Derwent, Dags, Daggy, Derwie, Virgil, Scarce, Scarcey, Scarcecrow, Rabbit, Bunyip, Bullfrog, Lightning, and Johnny Holmes (although not for the reasons you might think); but I call him George.

I took this photo as he was whipping up a tuna salsa this afternoon, which is a perfect segue into another of my most favourite things: food! I wish I had taken a picture of the salsa because it looked as good as it tasted. We piled it onto tomato and linseed crackers and gobbled it up.

It took about ten minutes from raiding the cupbard to piling the crackers so it's perfect for when your mother in law rings and says she'll be there in ten for lunch. Thankfully mine lives interstate so I didn't have to share the very first Georgie's Tuna Salsa. Here's the recipe... hope you enjoy.

Georgie's Tuna Salsa
Tuna in springwater
Finely chopped tomato, basil and parsley (don't be shy)
Lightly toasted pine nuts
Dash of light mayo
Whisker of wasabi

Combine and serve on your choice or spice- or herb-flavoured crackers.

01 November 2008

Two new words to impress your friends with

Today I added a gadget called 'Daily Sniglets' to the Daily Boop and already I have discovered two new words that ought to be in the dictionary: 'chipfault' and 'ellacelleration'.

Firstly, chipfault. Next time you're at a snazzy do and your chip breaks in the dip, you've found the chipfault... the weak point in the chip where it snaps under the weight of the dip.

Next, ellacelleration. When you're in the elevator and someone steps in and starts hammering on a floor button as if that would get them there faster, that's ellacelleration.

Now, aren't you glad you stopped by the Daily Boop?

You can find Daily Sniglets at the bottom of the page... I would have put it up here on the sidebar but frankly I can't stand showoffs.