Letter to my long distance love

Dear Sydney,

Why you gotta do me like this?!

As of now, there are virtually no COVID-19 restrictions in Perth again. (Though I’m keeping a clean mask in my bag just in case.) But my heart is heavy because there’s a hard interstate border separating us and I don’t know when it might come down.

I love you, Sydney. Well, I love certain people in you. But you’re pretty cool too. Apart from worshipping the worst football code ever invented. 😉

When I was last with you at the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 certainly existed in the world, yet it seemed so far away from us in Australia. Now it’s you that seems a world away. My last attempt to get back to you was thwarted by a lockdown in Perth. Now it’s you that’s in lockdown. 😦

I look at the daily new case numbers, the images of people who seem to be packing beaches and shops for no apparent reason when they’re supposed to be at home, and I wonder when it’ll all end.

And to be honest, I’m mad because it feels like this could’ve been avoided (or at least closer to being resolved by now) had the state not backed itself into an ideological corner — but I digress.

Mostly I’m just sad and I miss you, my darling Sydney. And I really hope to see you again soon. ❤

Love,

Your mate in the wild west.

P.S. I went a bit nuts topping up my Opal card last time so to cut a long story short, I also really need to get to you and ride some trains or something. 😛

Amateur poetry readings in lockdown

Much of Australia has recently been in, or are still in, lockdown — including me in Perth. I was directed to work from home on Monday (it’s now Sunday again as I write this) when initial restrictions were reintroduced. And I managed to get a masked gym session in just before Premier Mark McGowan called an 8pm press conference (never a good sign) to announce that Perth and Peel would enter a four-day lockdown. Which we’re now out of, albeit with some restrictions in place.

Sydney, on the other hand, is still in the middle of their lockdown. 😦 That city owns a piece of my heart, so I decided to read To Sydney, a poem by Louise Mack, for LibriVox.

Listen to Short Poetry Collection 217 on LibriVox.

My oral interpretation of The West by Francis S. Borton is also in that collection, which is made up of 44 poems read by various volunteers.

12 months of whatever this is… and counting

I started this blog about a year ago, not really knowing what it was trying to be… and I’m pretty sure I’m still just talking crap most of the time. I don’t follow any of the “rules” of blogging, like maintaining a consistent schedule or focusing on a niche (unless I’m the niche, haha). But I’m enjoying what I’m doing so I’ll continue. Lucky you, dear reader. 😛

We’re also coming to the midway point of the calendar year, so I thought I’d preview/tease the second half.

For the past few years, people have asked me burning questions like, “How’s your writing going?” and “When can I read your book?” and I can now finally say the answer to the latter is…

Well, actually, I don’t have a release date yet. We’re thinking a few weeks before Christmas — I’ll update y’all in due course. I’ve decided to go with independent publishing for reasons I’ll talk about another time, but I’m very comfortable with my decision.

But there’s still a lot to think about. Like marketing. Different formats. Who to thank in the acknowledgements. The idea of talking about myself while suppressing the desire to faint. Getting a new Mental Health Care Plan from my doctor so I can cry to a psychologist about what an imposter I am for thinking I can write and publish a book.

Just kidding. Mostly.

It’s all a bit nerve-racking but also super exciting. Hopefully some of the people who have asked about my book go on to actually buy the book. No one owes me anything, of course. But I would very much appreciate it. 😉

Living in a teetotal paradise

Recently, I got an email from the Dry July Foundation — as I’d previously donated to them — inviting me to step up and take the Dry July challenge myself this year.

Dry July is a fundraiser in which participants give up alcohol for a month to raise money for services for people affected by cancer.

All well and good, except that… I don’t drink alcohol. And I suspect I’ll have trouble getting anyone to sponsor me to do exactly what I do every day of the year.

But in a country where drinking has traditionally been part of the culture, I’ve been asked plenty of questions about this over the years. So to summarise…

No, I’m not a recovering alcoholic.

No, it’s not against my religion.

Yes, I get “Asian flush” if I drink.

Yes, maybe I’d be less anxious if I drank. And maybe I’d be worse. Regardless, I’m not going to.

No, I don’t care if you drink in front of me. (Though if I get the sense you’re about to do something regrettable, I might just leave before I have to witness it.)

I did used to drink a bit. Like one or two drinks if I went out or something. Mostly to fit in, and mostly sweet things that didn’t really taste like alcohol.

A few years ago, I came to the conclusion that fitting in is overrated, and if anyone has an issue with me opting not to drink — there are some folks out there who take it really personally for some reason — then that’s their problem.

So yeah. You do you, and I’ll do me. 🙂

Now, if by chance anyone would actually donate money to see me live my normal life, let me know. 😉

My speaking voice and Henry Newbolt

Those who know me in person know I don’t really say much. Which means hearing my speaking voice is a genuine rarity. 😀

But I recently joined LibriVox, where volunteers from around the world record audio versions of public domain texts. For funsies, I decided to take part in LibriVox’s Weekly Poetry project, which on this occasion consisted of 25 readers recording a Henry Newbolt poem.

Listen to Outward Bound by Sir Henry Newbolt at LibriVox.

I’m number 16 😉 — but you should totally check out how everyone else interpreted the same poem.

Obviously I sound different in a conversation than I do when reciting a poem. Or do I? Who even knows? 😛

Anyway, this and any future recordings I might do for LibriVox can be found on my LibriVox page.

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