CHALKING UP A ‘SELFIE’ IN AUSTRALIA

Monday morning is here and I’m off to my small business course. What a weekend though!

I received a call late Friday afternoon offering me a casual, one-day job on Satuday replacing a late cancellation as a polling official for a local booth in the Australian Federal election. With a 7:30am starting time, and a full day which includes counting the ballots lodged at our particular polling booth after 6.00pm, I got home at 10:30pm to find that Australia had voted for a change. I often say that a change is as good as a holiday – but I don’t think it is going to apply in this case.

I managed to fall out of bed at a reasonable hour on Sunday morning, drive my artist friend an hour up the Pacific Highway to Robina on the Gold Coast, and catch a train to South Brisbane… all with the aim of attending the last day of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival 2013.

As I am in the formative stages of starting my own digital publishing business (Pipi Publishing & Author Services), I was particularly interested in attending the opinion piece on digital publishing “Gloves Off: What Writers Really Think About Digital” which was largely carried by John Birmingham’s insights from a career as a writer, on-line book club compere and reviewer with the distinctly named www.cheeseburgergothic.com.

That’s got to count as devotion to the research cause, especially when one is in the business of creating a business that helps indi-authors ‘spread the word’ in the e-publishing department. [More shall be said about this as I progress through writing the business plan.]

Not being quite sure of the protocol regarding taking my souvenir ‘Byron Bay Writers’ Festival’ stainless steel water bottle to an interstate festival, I threw caution to the wind and filled it with filtered water, which turned out to be a good thing for countering the effects of a sultry spring day in the city. The commonly held belief on the east coast of Australia is that the mild winter with the warmest July temperatures on record and warm spring experienced so far is a foretaste of a “stinking hot” summer to come.

At least the free afternoon events were inside… From within the Queensland State Library’s ‘Red Box’ space, the Brisbane chapter of ‘Sisters in Crime’ had a spectacular backdrop: a panoramic elevated view of the river city of my high school and university years… sunlight glinting in a myriad of golden facets from highrise building glass, cyclists flitting along the riverside cycleway beneath the familiar spaghetti of the south east freeway, with leisure craft and ferries crisscrossing the brown foreground waterway). I am only sorry that my camera battery was not up to the task as I had depleted it earlier in the day. By 4;00pm it wasn’t the only thing that needed a recharge!

Katherine Howell, Sylvia Loader, Leigh Scott and Elizabeth Emanuel shared successive readings from short fiction pieces as a prelude to Meg Vann (CEO of the Brisbane Writers Centre) announcing the winners of a ‘Murder in the Library’ themed writing competition.  Meg by this stage had donned a long yellow scarf emblazoned with the words “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS” and explained that many of the visiting high school students had responded to the mocked-up crime scene by wanting to lie within the taped outline of the ‘body’ and take a ‘selfie’ on their mobile phones. Kids these days!

We soon retired to the Writers Centre rooms for some celebratory wine and cheese, and I got to network with some Sunshine Coast authors who I’d met last month at the Byron Writer’s Festival. (And yes – I did get out my snazzy stainless steel water bottle!)

What a weekend – politics, digital media and crime… On the way back to the Gold Coast I sat back and dropped my sunglasses on as the blazing disk of sun sank over the hills and the lights of the suburbs between Brisbane and the Gold Coast came on on contemplated the drabble I’d started writing while listening to my sisters in crime…

CHALKING UP A ‘SELFIE’

My 2013 political campaign memories are of ‘the selfie’.  When our last Prime Minister felt the need to explain away a shaving nick gusher by tweeting a morning ‘selfie’, the media coverage thereafter was of Kevin taking ‘selfies’ with supporters.
Meanwhile in his hometown, year 8 and 9 students were nominating their ‘best in class’ then looking on enviously as their peer-elected writer got to lie down within the embracing chalk outline of a mocked up crime scene, mobile phone ready to capture themselves as ‘victim’.
CSI has a lot to answer for, but I reckon the blood-thinners did it.

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