Regular readers will be chortling into their coffee to hear that Ms TN has been yet again ruefully contemplating her total inability to control any aspect of her writing life. Viz: yet again, or still, I am wallowing in the slough of overcommitment. (And that's even with putting Teh Novel aside for a couple of weeks to - cue hollow laughter - "clear the desk". Also, I got stuck.) I suspect that the Melbourne Writers Festival, where I had several sessions to prepare, was the straw that broke the camel's back; but I have been writing reviews in other places too. Perhaps you'll forgive me for prioritising reviews for which I actually get paid; but the truth is also that I think it's quite good for me as a critic to pay the kind of attention that reviewing poetry demands. And it is. But it also quite demanding.
Anyway, for those interested: I reviewed the three books shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Poetry Awards: John Kinsella's Armour (which I liked very much); Michelle Cahill's Vishvarupa (which I also enjoyed) and John Mateer's Southern Barbarians (where I had a few questions). (Scroll down for the reviews). This week I am writing my monthly blog review for Overland, and pondering my quarterly column, which is due soon. And I'm also writing up an interview for another publication. And beginning the publicity for my novel, Black Spring, which is due out on October 1 from Walker Books, and which seems to involve other kinds of blogging. Yes, the literary world is throwing out its siren lures and seducing me.
I have been seeing some theatre, all the same, and am plotting to see more. Doku Rai at North Melbourne Arts House was astounding, fascinating theatre: the anarchy and theatrical invention we expect from Black Lung, but with an extra political edge brought by the East Timorese companies Galaxy and Liurai Fo’er. I'm hoping to get a chance to think through this experience. I went to see Eifman Ballet's Anna Karenina, which is kind of brilliant imperial kitsch that seduces with the passion and rigor of its performance and theatricality. And, to answer some people who have asked, I have yet to see Top Girls, but do you think I'd miss Caryl Churchill? And I'm hoping to get to Optic Nerve's Pale Blue Dot, the latest in the Helium season at the Malthouse.
My inbox is flooded with invitations, especially as Fringe looms over the horizon, and I regretfully will not get to see most of them. I'm still not sure how to sustain this blog, but so far I'm clinging on with my fingernails. In moments of stress, I just visit this essential website. You should too.