Finally received word of my masters result- which looks like a pass with no amendments! Am really relieved about this and looking forward to starting afresh with the doctorate at the University of Western Sydney.
I received an invitation today from Casula Powerhouse to participate in “Writing Asia” as part of the Sydney Writers Festival. It is an all Vietnamese-Australian panel looking at first generation and second generation issues which promises to be interesting.
I also got a residency at Glenfern, a historical house in East St Kilda courtesy of the Victorian Writers Centre.
It really suits me to be able to have a couple of days dedicated to writing in a different space.
Peril number 6 “Passing failing” has been released. It is an asian-australian arts and culture on line magazine that I have the privilege of working with a number of talented people on. Check it out at www.peril.com.au
Issue 7 is looking for contributors and for once Peril can pay people thanks to the generosity of the Australian Arts Council. Again check it out at www.peril.com.au
Peril had incorporated in September and got it’s first grant from the Australia council of the arts!
Peril is also helping out the casula powerhouse with it’s writing Asia program. Very happy about this peril is growing wings! Also I got into the doctorate at uws. I’ll be working with nicholas jose and gail jones on my next project. This is subject to me getting a masters which I’ve been told will be at the end of january. The other shore has had kathleen look over it and it’s looking good so I am hopeful for it. The new year is looking busy…
I have been writing productively at my weekly residency at Footscray Community Arts Centre. Which may be why I haven’t been blogging at all! For my birthday I was given a book “Writing from the inside Out” which talks about writer’s block as something to work with rather than something to get over. I also read Jane Smiley’s 13 ways to read a novel which has sections on how to write a novel. What I took away from the craft section of the book was her guidance on editing, how often you have to smooth out the climax and restructure with an eye on pacing during the redrafting process. Which is what I’m doing now with my new novel “The Other Shore”. I also handed in my masters thesis which has really set me free. Being aware of a supervisor or a publisher reading my work makes me constipated creatively I think. I like writing because you do it in the privacy of your own mind. Having said that my next public outing is at the Melbourne International Arts Festival from Oct 22-25 as part of the Go Show in Footscray. I will be workshopping “I could be you” the commissioned play by White Whale Theatre with Diana Nguyen and Ai Diem Le as my actors as part of a series of community experiences in the west.
Silence has been resurrected with a replacement actress but only for one week June 4-8. La Mama itself is in a precarious state and trying to raise $30,000 in three days to put down a deposit on the building they reside in. Please donate money if you can.
Silence has been cancelled- Ai Diem Le was seriously injured in a car crash and we can’t replace her in time.
On retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh for seven days and it is a wonderful experience breathing in and out with 400 people. There are dharma talks every day conducted by Thay himself. What I have taken from these talks have moved me so much. That my grandparents and parents are in every cell of my body and I can write to them (three of my grandparents are deceased). That craving is at the root of my desire to shop and drink and being mindful is one way of stopping these cravings. I finally understand manas the concept of ego roughly translated which stops us from reaching nirvana and the pure land the realm of no self. The four practices of diligence and the four noble truths I am absorbing into my psychology practice and I have vowed to try and be more mindful every day. Every breath is a miracle, life is a miracle and present moment is a wonderful moment. The pure land is right here right now.
I have been trying to plan ahead with my creative endeavours and have discovered to my amazement that I’m booked up till mid next year. The residency takes up the remainder of 2008 and the “Return” project the first half of 2009 a project initiated by Caitlin Nunn for the Big West festival 2009 for her Phd. Myself and other Vietnamese-Australian artists will be devising artistic works responding to multi generational interviews about “Vietnamese-ness” and “Australian-ness”.
Finally the Melbourne City Sangha (for lack of a better name so far) has met and trying to establish a regular pattern of meeting on Sunday afternoons. We are Thich Nhat Hanh followers so to speak, and meditate with the Melbourne Zen group for an hour then meet separately to discuss the dharma through readings in the second hour. We met last Sunday and I was moved almost to tears during reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings- I felt it had been so long since I had engaged in the practice truly (it’s been a year since I was in Vietnam). The most poignant thing I took away from the dharma discussion that afternoon was to smile at my negative habit energies. When I do this, it provides a shift in me and again almost makes me cry although whether with joy, relief or release of sorrow it’s hard to tell.