Between the lines – taking a break to be able to read and write more

This has been a better week. Taking some time out last week was well worth it. I’ll admit to still being tired but not like I was last week. I was, to be frank, wiped out by the time the weekend came around.

This week has been slow but I’ve been more productive. I had a particularly good night of revising the draft of my introduction on Thursday. For a while in the mid to late afternoon I was worried I might not settle to the page and then, in a rush, I did. It was great.

I must get back to that page soon because there is still a (frightening) lot of work to do. However, in the spirit of recognising that I’ve been pushing too hard for too long, I took Friday night off to catch up with a friend and take in a movie.

We saw The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael, 2015) at Somerville. I enjoyed the movie. It featured a misanthropic God, his downtrodden wife and his daughter who dreams of a kinder world. It was irreverent, surreal and thoroughly enjoyable.

Somerville and tea

I suspect that I’ve mentioned the Somerville before. If you don’t know Perth (and as I’ve found out recently, even if you do) you might not have heard of the Somerville. It is an outdoor cinema at UWA. The Perth International Arts Festival presents a season of films there (and at the Pines at ECU) every summer.

Going to the Somerville is always lovely. Even on the nights when the films are not particularly to my taste.*

An outside movie on a balmy summer evening in the company of good friends goes a long way towards giving me joy. On evenings when I choose to go alone, I find it is a great place for reflection, getting some notes on the page and then having some time out. Because I know the time out is definitely coming I end up staying on-task pretty well.

The Somerville was packed, brimming with happy movie goers enjoying a picnic ahead of the screening. (And some who were not so happy because finding a seat – even on the grass – got to be a challenge.)

The resident kookaburras were also happy. The picnics made for a delightful smörgåsbord that they couldn’t resist. The murmur of hundreds of picnickers chatting over their dinners was punctuated by laughter and the occasional scream as morsels were snatched from forks. It seems that food being between plate and mouth makes for an easier target.

So long as you weren’t one of the ‘swooped’, the swooping made for some light entertainment. (I should note that this activity is not limited to the Somerville and the ‘burras make good use of the outside dining at other places on campus.)

Two kookaburras at the Somerville
Plotting the next heist
Kookaburra perched on lighting rig at Somerville
All he surveys

There has also been some pretty serious café writing with many pots of tea and the occasional LLB.

This weekend alone has featured Bread in Common, Natural Light Photography Gallery Café, Matilda Bay Tea Rooms (which may have changed name…) and Little Way. There was Tiamo as well as the UWA Club during the week … I don’t know what it is about writing in cafés but it really does work for me. A lot.

The promise of reading

Progress towards the revisions has meant that there wasn’t the reading that I had been doing last week. That aside, there was a moment when a colleague asked me about what I had been reading and I was excited to be able to reel of the titles of not one but two books-for-fun and have a quick chat in the tea room.

It had been too long since I’d been able to pull a couple of purely recreational titles out and talk about being a reader.

I also caught Spare Parts Puppet Theatre‘s version of Margaret Wild’s Miss Lily’s Fabulous Feather Boa. that gave me a chance to talk a picture books, reading AND puppets with some of my favourite young people. All of which was joyous.

I’m not sure what I’m going to read this week. With the Perth Writers’ Festival – and its attendant flurry of book purchases – on the horizon I expect I should prioritise one of last year’s purchases that I haven’t quite made it to yet. Due to my appalling lack of control in such bookshopping situations, I have a fair selection from which to choose.

I’m deliberately scheduling some reading-for-fun as part of my conscious carving up of time. (It ties into one of those beautiful planning sheets I am so fond of.)

There is also some more Keats to read this week. I’ve been dipping in and out of his work since watching Bright Star. I haven’t quite fallen in love with him yet. Perhaps that will come. I’ll let you know next time we meet.

There is also a book about sorting through clutter. For now, I’m going to head to my (blissfully air-conditioned) desk at uni and the delights of connecting Derrida and Foucault, et al with medieval fashion and gender studies. I am loving this part of the work but I need to get it done and move on soon.

OWC Poetical Works of John Keats and Banish Clutter Forever by Sheila Chandra
On my list for this week

*I found Zentropa (Lars von Trier, 1991) harrowing, for example, but it was still a great night. A Mongolian Tale (Fei Xie, 1996) and Departures (Yôjirô Takita, 2008) are among my all time favourites.



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