A to Z Challenge – Ready, Set…

By Vita Forest

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

A to Z challenge April 2016

A few days ago, I signed up to the Blogging from A to Z April  2016 Challenge which certainly sounds challenging.  Basically, participants have to do a post a day for the whole of April, with Sundays off for a bit of a breather.  The first post should be about something beginning with A, the second B, and so on, until we reach Z at the end of April…

I have thought of a few topics and plan to write a mixture of Travel-type observation posts, but with the bulk of them being intensive flash-fiction sessions to build my creative writing muscles.  I will give myself a time limit and a topic and produce… something.  There are  few topics for longer works that I might start exploring too.

Apparently, some bloggers have written all their posts already and will just post them in the coming month, but not me I’m afraid.  I have made some rather nice pictures containing the letters of the alphabet, but that is as far as my preparation has gone.  So good luck everybody!  Looking forward to seeing some fine work and discovering new blogs.

It’s really going to be a challenge.  Come along for the ride!

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

This week I have been

Sydney Opera House from the Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

Accentuate the positive

By Vita Forest

Two ways of looking

Two ways of looking

The problem with being involved with any high profile activity is that there are dramas.  As Max said to me, “Whenever you are involved with a drama there is drama.”

Yes, this is even true in the smaller microcosm of a school.  All parties are emotionally invested and this sometimes leads to conflict.  Even with eleven year olds.

So, my colleague and friend Minna and I, have started rehearsals for one of the senior dance groups.  The one that the kids had to audition for.  The one that may be part of a big public performance on an iconic stage.  The one with the prestige.

It’s a sought after gig, but attracts children and parents (and teachers!) with strong ideas.

After coming up with a concept that fits the designated theme, building a story line, starting on some choreography, costume ideas and characters, we have had two rehearsals for our dance-theatre piece.  We were feeling very positive, we thought it was going well.   While a boy with a relatively small part became a scene-stealer, with his risk-taking, enthusiasm and playfulness, a more seasoned performer (she was in it last year) withdrew into herself, and simply went through the motions.  We didn’t think much of it, until yesterday, when the girl’s mother rang the principal of the school to complain…

Apparently there have been tears – there has not been enough dancing – she doesn’t like it!  (This is Week 2 people…)  Luckily our principal supported us, we are lucky that way.  Of course, this has sapped our energy and made us throw up our hands in outrage.  (How dare she be so entitled?  How dare her mother let her be such a diva?  Doesn’t she know about teamwork, patience, resilience?)  This comes after last year drama when a mother tried to redesign my costumes to meet her ten year old son’s fashion needs…  (I said thanks, but no thanks.  He ended up leaving the group and we went on without him).

But after having an internal hissy fit, and a few choice words with Minna, I took a deep breath and thought of some other things…  our satisfaction and excitement about our story, our characters, our music choice.  And remembered the enthusiasm and delight of most of the dancers in the group.  I remembered the many unsolicited “Thank yous” from a lot of the kids, how a bunch of them helped us by getting out equipment unprompted.  I thought of the smiles on their faces, the energy that they have put into these very early rehearsals when it can be so easy to be inhibited and stand-offish.

And I choose to think of that scene-stealing boy, who after Monday’s rehearsal, told his class teacher that it was the funnest thing he had ever done.

That’s what I’m thinking about.

Why is it so easy for the negative to obliterate the positive?

This week

By Vita Forest

 This week I have been

READING The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, but then

WRITING  When should you stop reading?

WATCHING

  •  The Good Wife Season 7.  Alicia and Jason – yay!
  • Ladies Day by Alana Vanentine at the Griffin Theatre.  What can I say – it was amazing. Confronting, intense, moving.  There is nothing quite like sitting in the front row at some intimate live theatre. Very recommended.

MAKING a Japanese-style, concertina-fold, birthday mini-book for my sister – Happy Big Landmark Birthday!

EATING

  • chocolate birthday cake with a vanilla, meringue-like, double-cooked icing made by my Mum… Oh my!
  • blood orange gelato from Gelato Messina in Darkinghurst, as we people-watched after Ladies Day.  Oh my again!

SINGING Dingle Dangle scarecrow with my nephew.

COUNTING how many teeth my class has lost so far this year. Currently our Tooth Tally stands at 16. (None of them mine).

 

When should you stop reading?

By Vita Forest

IMG_4021[1]

So, for a few weeks now I have been reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

The Luminaries… winner of the 2013 Booker Prize,

The Luminaries… set in the goldfields of New Zealand in the 1860s,

The Luminaries… over seven hundred pages long,

The Luminaries… which I am now about halfway through and which I am going to stop reading.

When do you give up on a book?  I used to struggle through, grinding my teeth if I found it excruciating.  Reading on til the bitter end.  Sometimes I still do.  If the book is two hundred pages long.  But this is a brick of a book.  I think if it hasn’t grabbed me yet, it is not going to.  And I’ve given it a goodly chance.  I’ve given it a few weeks of my life, as a pile of books I want to read sit unread on my shelf…

It’s not the length.  (Although that is not helping).  I relish spending as long as possible in certain books.  And sometimes do it again and again (Possession by A.S. Byatt, or WolfHall by Hilary Mantel, The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta).  But the story and the characters have not grabbed me beyond a very limp handshake.  I can let go without feeling loss.  I don’t really care what happens…

I am supposed to be reading it for a bookish meeting you see.  This is the good and bad thing about book clubs.  The good thing – you read books you wouldn’t normally read and discover wonderful authors you may not have come across before – Wallace Stegner, Diane Setterfield, Hilary Mantel.  The bad thing is – you read books you wouldn’t normally read and discover authors you never want to read again (not naming names, but

  • there was a certain book about a certain time travelling stone that involved a lot of very badly written caveman sex…  Yes, there is such a thing.  The girl who suggested it left the country soon after, we like to think it was due to the shame of having picked such a book.
  • And the very bad vampire romance with the main characters with the hilarious names with very bad spelling.  (Actually some of the club loved this one and went on to read the series, peopled with more vampires with mothers who couldn’t spell).

So I guess I will be one of those people who go to a book club without reading the book.  Someone who can add something to the conversation about the book, just not a whole lot.

Not that having read the book always matters.  We had a very spirited and funny book club meeting last night (another book club – you can never belong to too many), where a good portion of the attendees hadn’t read the book (All the Light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr – now make sure you read that one!)

How long do you give a book?

I’m letting this one go.

 

This week

By Vita Forest

image.jpeg

This is week I have been

  • READING The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (not even half way, it’s a hefty tome).
  • WRITING Lil’ green bug
  • HONING ideas for costumes and choreography for the senior dance group at school.
  • WATCHING reruns of The Adventures of Merlin with my daughter Lucy. We love it!
  • VISITING Kiama with Lucy for a mother/daughter weekend away with lots of
  • SWIMMING at two rock pools and two beaches and
  • WALKING around the Kiama Coast Walk to the Little Blowhole (it performed well for us, unlike its bigger relation).