All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


1 Comment

The dinner party of my dreams!

The fifth day of the 15 Day Blog Challenge asks if you could have a dinner party with any five people, who would they be? But because today is Thursday, I have decided to share thirteen people whom I would love to have over for an epic (and I’m sure, incredibly enjoyable) dinner party!

Dinner Party

1. Serena Ryder

I’ve been an uber-fan of Serena Ryder since first hearing her perform at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in 2005. Her music has assisted me through breakdowns, breakups and breakthroughs; it gave me solace during my time on the streets and has provided me with countless moments of happiness and inspiration. Having witnessed her wit and raconteuring skills during live performances, I would definitely wish to spend a few hours in her company at a dinner party.

2. Charles de Lint

Like the music of Serena Ryder, de Lint’s writing has been a source of companionship, inspiration and hope for longer than I’d care to remember. Even before you take into account my love of his work, his skills as a musician, storyteller and folklorist would score an invite to the dinner party of my dreams.

3. Joss Whedon

C’mon, who wouldn’t want this creative genius at their dinner party?

4. Marius Romme

5. Sandra Escher

Marius Romme and Sandra Escher are the people responsible for the Hearing Voices Movement. Not only would their inclusion on the guest list provide people with the opportunity to learn about this most stereotyped of issues, but their presence would make my own people exceedingly happy!

6. Karen Gillan

I haven’t included Karen just because she’s super-beautiful. I’ve included her because (a) Meadhbh has a bit of a crush on her and (b)  she hails from Inverness. Thus, whilst Meadhbh swoons all over her, I could share anecdotes of this great city whilst sharing a slice of chocolate gateaux.

7. Rory Macdonald

8. Calum Macdonald

Rory and Calum Macdonald, two brothers from the Isle of Lewis, are the founding members and songwriters of the greatest band in the known universe; Runrig. Like Serena Ryder, Runrig’s music has been the soundtrack to some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that without their music, I would probably be a dead man.

9. David Tennant

C’mon, who wouldn’t invite the hottest man in the world to their dinner party?

10. Lauren Rosewarne

Lauren Rosewarne is an Australian writer and academic. Her regular column on The Conversation, which focuses on issues prevalent in popular culture, is intelligent, inspired, hilarious and poignant. All attributes that could turn any dinner party into the most memorable of evenings.

11. Dr. Russ Harris

Dr. Russ Harris is not just a super-practitioner of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but a successful stand-up comedian. Thus, his invite would not only help people with their emotional strife but provide them with a few belly laughs in the process.

12. Tim Burton

Given my interest in film-making, if I were to throw the dinner party of my dreams there would need to be at least one director on the guest list. As Alfred Hitchcock is deceased, and thus sadly unable to attend, Tim Burton would easily be my second choice because of his incredible style and imagination.

13. Mark Schwan

An odd choice, I’ll grant you, but considering One Tree Hill (which he created) saved my life, I would very much like the chance to thank him – as well as bombard him with questions about my most favourite of guilty pleasures.

One Tree Hill

(Some of) the cast of One Tree Hill

 


3 Comments

Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who’

Way back in 1997, when I was but a rather geeky high school student, I wrote an epic essay as part of my A-Level coursework analysing the somewhat dubious history of female representation in the television series Doctor Who. Although it was written in a mere 60 minutes the night before it was due, my rather rampant knowledge of the subject matter combined with the passionate voice with which I wrote, earned my essay an A+ and helped me scrape a pass in Media Studies.

Today, this essay exists only in the cobweb gathering files of the British Educational System, but the gist of the essay was basically: female representation in Doctor Who, with a few minor exceptions, has been pretty abhorrent since the shows innception. This needs to change!

Fortunately, since the shows revival in 2005, females characters have had a much better time than they did twenty to fifty years ago. Although far from perfect, it is a plesant change to have female character who actually do something beyond flashing a bit of leg or fuelling a variety of ‘spot the knickers’ drinking games.

Unfortunately, this change has not extended behind the scenes, as Mathilda Gregory recently wrote about in The Guardian:

“On Saturday, Doctor Who returns, kicking off the second part of the seventh series with a James-Bond inspired episode that sees the Doctor and Clara whizzing round London on a motorbike. Which is exciting if you like interesting drama with witty banter and thoughtful concepts. But less exciting if you like interesting dramas that include women on their writing teams.

Because season seven of Doctor Who will feature no female scribes at all. Not in the bombastic dinosaurs and cowboys episodes that aired last year, and not in any of the new episodes we’re about to receive. In fact, Doctor Who hasn’t aired an episode written by a woman since 2008, 60 episodes ago. There hasn’t been a single female-penned episode in the Moffat era, and in all the time since the show was rebooted in 2005 only one, Helen Raynor, has ever written for the show.

Isn’t that is a pretty terrible record for a flagship TV programme?”

One female writer in the last seven years. ONE!? There are no words to properly describe how disgraceful this is, especially given the vast array of tremendous female writers working within the television and film industry. Given that the writers seem to have difficulty writing three-dimensional female characters, it’s time to shatter the current sexism and let women take control of the TARDIS…but who?

In this first of two Doctor Who inspired Thursday Thirteen posts, I look at some of the female writers I believe should be writing for this television institution.

Thirteen female writers I’d like to see work on ‘Doctor Who

JLC Doctor Who

~ in no particular order ~

1. Felicia Day
Although best known as an actress (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Eureka, Supernatural, Dollhouse), Felicia Day is also the creator, writer and star of the magnificent Web TV show The Guild – for which she has won numerous awards for writing. This writing talent, coupled with her apparent love of genre television, makes her the perfect fit for a writing job on Doctor Who.

2. Jane Espenson
I have long admired Jane Espenson as one of the best writers in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. She wrote some of my favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Earshot, Triangle, Superstar, Conversations with Dead People) and one of my favourite episodes of Angel (Guise will be Guise). She co-created the Syfy series Warehouse 13 and has written for other seminal genre series, such as: Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones. All of this – in addition to her work on Doctor Who’s sister series Torchwood – means the question isn’t should she write for Doctor Who but why hasn’t she written for Doctor Who?

3.  Lena Dunham
Okay, this is the first of two odd choices on this list, but bare with me. Whatever your feeling toward the television show Girls (personally, I think it’s brilliant) you cannot deny what an exceptional writer Lena Dunham is. Although the genre of Girls is about as far removed from Doctor Who as you can get, she has already proved her ability to write terrific dialogue and characters, earning an Emmy nomination along the way, which is all I need to one-day hope to see a Lena Dunham scripted episode of my favourite television series.

4. Isobelle Carmody
Isobelle Carmody is one of the leading names in fantasy writing. She began work on the Obernewtyn Chronicles at the age of fourteen and since then has won numerous awards and international acclaim for her writing. As Neil Gaiman – another prolific writer of fantasy – has been given the opportunity to write for Doctor Who, I see no reason (unless she doesn’t want to, of course) why a writer of Carmody’s calibre shouldn’t be given the same opportunity. I for one, would cherish the chance to have her write for the show.

5. Abi Morgan
Doctor Who would be lucky to have a writer of Abi Morgan’s calibre working for the show. Over the last fifteen years, Abi Morgan has proven herself time-and-again to be one of the greatest writers currently working in British stage and screen. Her credits include the screenplays for the television dramas Sex Traffic, Tsunami: The Aftermath, Royal Wedding and Birdsong. For film, she wrote the screenplay for Brick Lane (adapted from the novel by Monica Ali) as well as multi-award winning films The Iron Lady and Shame. Most recently, she has earned acclaim for her BBC television series The Hour, set in the world of 1950s current affairs television.

6. Lucy Watkins
Although you may not immediately recognise the name, Lucy Watkins has been a considerable force in genre television writing for many years. Since co-creating and writing the cult classic Hex in 2004, Lucy Watkins has gone on to write for Merlin, Demons and Sugar Rush, consistently proving her writing skills within the medium of television.

7. Jessica Hynes
Having guest-starred in three episodes, Jessica Hynes has already accrued experience within the world of Doctor Who. This, in conjunction with her exceptional writing work on the television series SpacedLizzie and Sarah, Asylum and Learners, makes her a wonderful fit for the world(s) of The Doctor.

8. Amber Benson
Although perhaps best known for her role as Tara Maclay in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amber Benson is also the acclaimed author of several novels and graphic novels as well as the writer and director of two feature films; Chance and Loves, Liars and Lunatics. A resume that reveals her to be more-than-capable of writing for Doctor Who.

9. Tina Fey
This is the second of my ‘odd choices’ on this list. Despite her critical acclaim, Tina Fey’s writing work has never strayed into the genre of science-fiction and fantasy. However, as with Lena Dunham (above), I see no reason why this would be a hinderance. She has a perfect grasp of character, dialogue and plot which, when all is said and done, is all one needs to write in any genre. Personally, I think I would have some form of aneurism if Tina Fey were ever to write for Doctor Who. So perhaps it’s best that it will likely never happen! :p

10. Alice Bell
When Alice Bell was twenty-one she wrote the screenplay for acclaimed Australian film Suburban Mayhem. Since then, she has gone on to write for such critically praised television series as The Slap (the adaptation of the Christos Tsiolkas novel), Puberty Blues (the 2012 adaptation of the quintessential coming-of-age novel of the same name) and Spirited (starring British actor/comedian Matt King). With such an impressive body of work, I would be more than happy to see her join Doctor Who’s writing team.

11. Anne Cofell Saunders
Anne Cofell Saunders began her career in television as assistant to the producers of the show 24. She wrote her first episode for this series in 2005 (Day 4: 7pm-8pm) before going on to write for such genre mainstays as Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville and Chuck, consistently proving her knowledge of both the genre and masterful storytelling; the latter being something Doctor Who is (in my opinion) currently lacking.

12. Allison Adler
The fact that she wrote my personal favourite of Chuck is by-the-by, for over the last twenty years Allison Adler has worked extensively in the arena of television, writing and producing for shows ranging from Chuck and Family Guy to Beverly Hills 90210 and Glee. An exceedingly talented and more-than-qualified writer/producer for a show of Doctor Who’s calibre.

13. Dawn French
Before you furrow your eyebrows and proclaim you can’t imagine Dawn French writing for a science-fiction show, may I ask if you ever expected Richard Curtis (writer of comedic fare Love Actually, Notting Hill, The Vicar of Dibley and Four Weddings and a Funeral) to write one of the best Doctor Who episodes since its return in 2005? If a writer can write multi-layered characters, engaging dialogue and interesting stories – as Dawn French can definitely do – they are more than capable of writing for Doctor Who, regardless of what ‘genre’ they are most known for.

What do you think? Should the producers of Doctor Who employ more female writers?
If so, who would you like to see write for the show?


8 Comments

Teaser Tuesday: The Chronicles (and philosophies) of Narnia

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along with Teaser Tuesdays! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not to include spoilers!
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

◊~~~◊~~~◊

I’ve been a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia ever since I was given the set by my Aunt and Uncle as a tenth birthday present, so when I saw The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy gathering dust in my local Lifeline charity shop I knew it would soon be sitting on my bedside table.

As I read through the various essays the urge to revisit Narnia intensified to the point I could no longer resist. Thus, this week I am teasing both books; one of the greatest works of literary fantasy ever written and the essay collection it inspired that explores the philosophies behind the magical world of Narnia.

If you’ve never visited, you really should! :)

The Chronicles of Narnia (by C.S. Lewis)

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy (edited by Gregory Bassham & Jerry L. Walls)

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

◊~~~◊~~~◊

So, what’s everyone else reading at the moment? Go on, give us a tease…


2 Comments

If you were famous, why would you be famous?

In response to my Ask me Anything post, Pride in Madness posed this question:

If you were famous, why would you be famous?

The Dream…

Other than when I’m a tad manic, I’ve never believed (nor wanted) to write a book that catapults me into the realm of world-wide recognition and reward that J.K Rowling or E.L James inhabit, but I’d be lying to say I haven’t dreamed of writing a much-loved series of novels or an opinion-dividing trilogy of erotic fiction.

Ever since I was a child I’ve dreamed of being a writer, of publishing a book that is as loved as Matilda, as genre-defining as Moonheart or as poetic as Greenvoe. A novel that transports readers to another time and place, that touches their heart in ways they never thought possible and inspires them to follow their dreams no matter what anyone thinks of them.

I’ve dreamed of walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on the spine of a book and hoping that someone – anyone – loves that book in the way I cherish Quest for a Kelpie, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Hotel New Hampshire or Thongs.

If I could choose how I could be famous, being an author would be it, for it’s one of my oldest dreams.

The Reality…

But the reality is it’s unlikely I will ever achieve fame as a writer or, in complete honesty, anything.

If I were to become famous it would most likely be for another reason entirely. Something much quieter, much smaller, than anything most would consider worthy of world-wide fame.

Perhaps it would be for being an advocate for those members of society that the all-powerful middle class has deemed unworthy of having a voice; the mentally ill, the homeless, the poverty-stricken, the victims of abuse (both female and male). Perhaps for being someone who never gave up on his beliefs regardless of the perils he faced along the way. Perhaps for being someone who did whatever he could to help those less fortunate than himself, no matter the cost.

In many respects this fame would be preferred over that of being a writer.

For who wouldn’t want to be famous for helping the lives of others?


Leave a comment

Charles de Lint, Writer of My Heart

“We’re all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on. Not forever, perhaps, but for a time. It’s a kind of immortality, I suppose, bounded by limits, it’s true, but then so’s everything.”

Over the last three weeks I’ve been highlighting the three authors who fill my heart with joy. Beginning with Roald Dahl, whom I was introduced to in my childhood, I moved onto George Mackay Brown, a poet whose words filled my backpacking years with wonder. Today, we have one of the founding figures (alongside Terri Windling and John Crowley) of my favourite genre: urban fantasy.

It was Deborah who introduced me to the world of wonder and magic that is Charles de Lint. During one of our many late night hostel conversations his name was dropped as an author I should look out for, and given our similar tastes, look out for him I did.

Late one afternoon I popped into a charity shop in Inverness and happened upon a copy of Memory and Dream for fifty pence. From the very beginning I was hooked, and have been ever since. For years I trawled second-hand bookstores, eBay and charity shops as I worked toward building a complete collection of his bibliography – and if it weren’t for the breakdown, I would have succeeded.

This event cost me this collection, along with everything else, but his words have remained in my soul ever since.

So today I present to you the magic of Charles de Lint; my favourite author of all time.


~ 8 ~
The Little Country

For some reason it took me months to read this book after picking it up in a second-hand bookstore in Flinders Street. A stand alone novel taking place in Cornwall and – along with several other de Lint books – starring a female character (Janey Little) that I fell head over heels for. I went into this book blind (there was no blurb on my copy) and, after a slow start, grew to absolutely cherish and adore the story, which combines two of my favourite things in the world; books and folk music.

“Why did men worship in churches, locking themselves away in the dark, when the world lay beyond its doors in all its real glory?”

~ 7 ~
The Onion Girl

One of the few de Lint books I love/hate in equal measure (and anyone who knows me, knows how much I cherish this reaction). For the first time de Lint told Jilly Copporcorn’s story – a character who had flitted in and out of almost all the Newford novels written to this point. A story involving child abuse, recovery, art, dreaming and the past coming back to haunt us.

Although filled with interesting ideas and beautiful imagery, there was something about this book that rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve read it four times now and each time the reaction is the same. No matter how much I love it (for Jilly is one of the great Newford characters) there is something off that I’ve never been able to put my finger on. Perhaps one day I will.

But don’t let my love/hate relationship with this book put you off. As with all de Lint, it is a magical read full of beautiful characters, interesting ideas and magical description.

“People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your subconscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.”

~ 6 ~
Someplace to be Flying

As with all de Lint books this is about the people and their strengths, rather than the underlying magic of the fantasy world the author has created. Combining crow girls, photojournalists, Animal People, imminent danger and an awkward romance this was the last de Lint book that I read, a few weeks before I became homeless in 2009.

“When we understand each other’s stories, we understand everything a little better–even ourselves.”

~ 5 ~
Widdershins

November 2006, my 28th birthday.

Wrapped in shiny paper and carried across the world by my parents was a first edition hardback copy of, at the time, de Lint’s most recent work. It was birthday present from my brother (thank you) and I guarded it with my life until the great sell off of Addy’s possessions, when it became resident of the Grub Street bookstore in Melbourne.

Widdershins is (allegedly) the last book to feature Newford regular Jilly Copporcorn in a central role. Following on from the events of The Onion Girl (so best read that first) it continues the story of Jilly & Geordie and throws in a potential war between Fairies and Cousins to boot. In all honesty, it is a spectacular piece of writing :)

“What do they say about meeting a bear in the woods? Oh right, you shouldn’t. And to make sure you don’t, you should make a lot of noise so that they will know where you are and keep their distance because, supposedly, they’re as nervous of us as we are of them. Which is all goo, except this bear doesn’t seem the least bit nervous. He’s giving me a look like I’m Goldilocks, ate his porridge, broke his chair, slept in his bed, and now it’s payback time.”

~ 4 ~
Moonheart

After lending this book to my would-be-abuser her only comments upon finishing it were:

(1) It was okay, though I preferred reading The Da Vinci Code (a book she knew I hated with a passion)

and

(2) So this is who you stole the phrase ‘home is where the heart is’ from. I knew you didn’t come up with it by yourself.

After reading one of the founding books of the urban fantasy genre all she could do was use it to attack me (seriously, isn’t ‘home is where the heart is’ one of the most famous quotes ever? How could anyone think I came up with it myself?) and then compare it to one of the most annoying books ever written.

For those who have never read Moonheart I heartily recommend you do. Set in Ottawa during the 1980s it combines antique stores, houses the size of city blocks, wizards, evil forces and a magnificent bikie names Blue. Full of love, mystery, action, and magic, this book has all the makings of modern fantasy that Charles de Lint is so well-known for; in fact, it would be the book I would recommend as an introduction to de Lint’s world.

Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.”

~ 3 ~
Forest of the Heart

One of my favourite times to go shopping in Melbourne was Cup Day. On the first Tuesday of November the entire population of Melbourne crams into the Flemington Racecourse to watch some horses run around a semi-circle. Well, almost the entire population of Melbourne, for shops remain open and thus need to be staffed – so I, driven by social anxiety, can shop in absolute empty bliss.

In 2003, I did just this. I purchased some CDs from JB Hi-Fi, a couple of T-Shirts from Myer and a pair of shoes from Colorado. After buying my girlfriend a present (some boots) I perused Dymocks bookstore and happened upon a brand spanking new de Lint book that I had yet to read: Forest of the Heart.

Combining elements of the Green Man folklore this tightly plotted story may come apart slightly in the last act but I literally fell head over heels in love with one of the female characters that I fear I may never meet anyone so awesome in real life. Some people compare their dates to rom-com actors and Sex in the City one night stands, I compare them to de Lint’s female characters!

“But, even those of us with less extraordinary origins – aren’t we all pieces of those who came before us? We carry the bloodlines of our ancestors and we form our beliefs from what we learn from others as much as from what we experience ourselves. What is important is who we become – despite our origins as much as because of them.”

~ 2 ~
Tapping the Dream Tree

One of the finest short story collections of the 21st century. I cherish almost every syllable of this collection so much that it pains me to not have it at my fingertips. I adore the cover art. I adore the characters. I adore everything about this book. Urban fantasy at its best.

“We end up stumbling our way through the forest, never seeing all the unexpected and wonderful possibilities and potentials because we’re looking for the idea of a tree, instead of appreciating the actual trees in front of us.”

~ 1 ~
Memory and Dream

What can I say about this book that I haven’t already said? I’ve written about it here, and here, and so many times over the last five years that if I were to link to them all I’d be here night clearing the pingbacks from my notifications.

First read in 2001, and on countless times over the last eleven years I couldn’t even estimate a number. This is the benchmark I measure every urban fantasy book I read. It was a major inspiration – along with de Lint’s work in general – for the novel I had begun to plan and whenever any friend asked me to recommend them a de Lint I would never give them this one, because if they hadn’t liked it, our friendship would have ended instantaneously amidst the grandest literary centered argument Australia would ever have seen.

These days, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

“I finally figured out that I’m solitary by nature, but at the same time I know so many people; so many people think they own a piece of me. They shift and move under my skin, like a parade of memories that simply won’t go away. It doesn’t matter where I am, or how alone–I always have such a crowded head.”

~ All quotes © Charles de Lint ~

Previous posts in this series:

Roald Dahl, Champion of the World
George Mackay Brown, A Poet’s Magic

Other posts you may enjoy:

My Life in Books
My Five Favourite Books of All Time