Look, I don’t mind admitting that I was a bit scared to interview Meaghan Wilson Anastasios because she is so incredibly clever, but oh my, we had the best chat!
Listen in here:
I do find the thought of me being scary strangely appealing, particularly when I’m attempting to strong-arm the 6’3” son into putting the milk back in the fridge when he’s finished with it 🤬.
But my chat with the brilliant Allison Tait from The Australian Writers’ Centre was anything but scary. It ended up being an extended literary therapy session, with her coaxing out of me the rationale and process behind my writing. It’s always hugely rewarding speaking with people who really know their stuff. And Allison is one of the best. If you’re interested is listening in, the podcast can be accessed in the link.
If you’re me, it’s my trusty notepad.
Yes, I do resort to Siri note-taking when I’m driving and have a brainwave I want to record before it dissolves from my often distracted consciousness. Flashes of inspiration disappear so quickly between mundane, day-to-day concerns like making sure the backyard chicken is fed and the fridge contains at least one bottle of milk that resembles something other than sour yoghurt.
But Siri, God love her, has her limitations, thanks to the whole voice-to-text thing. From one of my recent attempts: ‘Mother over daughters dress, pinching at waste as she is eating hors d’oeuvres.’
I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what that was meant to mean. My latest book contains no mention of mothers or dresses, with not an hors d’oeuvres to be seen.
Pen to paper is so much more reliable. What do you think? Do I need to give up my occasionally old fashioned ways? I don’t go so far as writing my manuscript longhand. That’s what the laptop’s for. But for notes and ideas on the go, I just can’t ignore pen and paper.
What do you make of this? A couple of Christmases ago, I’d just packed the manuscript for The Honourable Thief off to @macmillanaus. The day for the giving of gifts arrived, and my husband gave me this box. Not just any box, though. Applied to the front was a picture of Achilles’ shield. And inside was something so beautiful and poignant, it made me weep. You see, Andrew had tracked down an Ancient Greek coin and had it set as a pendant. But it wasn’t just any coin. In The Honourable Thief, Benedict Hitchens is given a pendant by his wife, Karina. The coin in she used was from Kremaste, and was minted in the 4th century BC. As the story progresses, the pendant becomes deeply significant to Benedict. And it was this that Andrew replicated for me. The exact, same coin. Yes, he is the best husband in the world. And, no, you can’t have him. 😁😊❤️
God, I love this. Laying down the bones of my next novel. Next step being the shuffling around of Post-It notes to work out pacing, and plot reveals. The. Best. Fun. And for those of you who’ve asked whether I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants writer, or a nail-the-story-down-before-starting type of writer… well, this probably answers your question.
This little gem could have been written yesterday, right? Nah. Try a thousand years ago.
If more of us listened to the lessons history has to teach us, the world would be a far better place than it is today.
Witness for the prosecution – a fine embodiment right here of why I love my job so danged much. I was fishing around, doing research for my next novel, when I stumbled on the story, and – most importantly – the words, of the poet, warrior, philosopher, and Talmudic scholar, Samuel Ha’Nagid. He rose to the position of Vizier in the court of Sultan Badis ibn Habus, founder of the stunning architectural confection that is the Alhambra in Granada. Yes, The names tell the story – Samuel was Jewish, and a leader of his community. He also led the Sultan’s army. A Muslim army. That’s not a typo. Not to mention, his poems and writing are shatteringly powerful. Yet he’s all but lost to most of us. Have any of you heard of him before now?
So many powerful voices lost through time. We really need to start listening to them.
Where should I be right now, rather than in a very, very chillsome Melbourne?
And if you post a shot of a sunny beach somewhere, I will murder you.
Was attempting to write, but the synapses seized up, so I’ve resorted to Masterchef reruns and a faux fur rug on the comfy couch in front of the TV in an attempt to warm myself in front of the flaming Masterchef logo each cut to the ad break.
Not working. ☹️🥶⛄️❄️
Well, that whole “The Pacific in the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill” thing is the gift that just keeps on giving. Now, the script I co-wrote has bagged a nomination from the Australian Writers’ Guild for documentary or factual series. Not too shabby at all. Looking forward to the party, win or lose.
Well, yesterday was the anniversary of that magnificent day in July when I was fortunate enough to land this spectacular human being. We were married in a turret of a Crusader castle overlooking the Aegean in the Turkish town of Bodrum… for the history buffs amongst you, Bodrum was the ancient city of Halikarnassos and home to Mausolus’ tomb – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. So there was that – definitely something worth celebrating.
Then, there’s that little something about a book release – it was high time we officially toasted The Emerald Tablet and all who sail in her.
Common theme emerging – yes, Turkey. So where to go, other than our absolute go-to purveyor of the most exquisite contemporary Turkish cuisine this side of the Galata Tower. TulumParrner restaurant – the brainchild of genius chef, and all-round good guy, Coskun Uysal. Sublime.
Thank you, Coskun. You’re my hero. Plus, you have raki. Win-win. Mmm. Aslan süt… aka. ‘Lion’s milk’.
If you find yourself in Melbourne and want to see how exciting contemporary Turkish cuisine can be (not a kebab to be seen!), you HAVE to pay this place a visit. As raved about by Nigella Lawson on her last visit to the city.
Brooklyn the Bookworm aka. Bookish Brooklyn is a brilliant woman who knows and loves books (no surprises there). So it was a huge thrill to chat with her about all things Emerald Tablet. The best thing about speaking with people like her who have engaged so closely with my stories is that they come up with questions that really make me think about why I do what I do.
Thing is, after I’ve finished up with the research and plotting of my novels, the actual writing part of it just flows quite naturally, and the characters evolve and develop in my imagination. Quite often, where they end up surprises me. It might sound peculiar, but it really is as if they’re driving their own destiny. Brooklyn Tayla makes me stop and consider that evolution, and what I discover about my characters – and myself – in the process is a revelation.
Anyways, enough blathering from me. If you’re interested in reading more, you’ll find our interview on the link to Brooklyn’s blog… Interview with Meaghan Wilson Anastasios
July 10, 2019
Forget where I’d LIKE to write. The question they should ask is where I actually end up writing. Where I’d LIKE to be writing is in my book-lined study, on my antique French oak partners’ desk.
Instead, I’m beside the ball pit at Lollipops indoor playground, supervising my completely fabulous daughter and niece as they bounce from one well-padded piece of gym equipment to another. To fully put you in the picture, insert the ear-splitting shrieks of the pre-teen set and persistent throbbing of boy-band music that makes my fingernails curl and forces me to accept the fact that I am fast advancing towards grumpy old lady stage of life.
Yet, here I am with my laptop. Because once I start writing, everything else fades away. I’ve become very adept at adapting my writing to prevailing conditions. Once I’m in the zone, even the noises that pass as music 🎶 in places like this fade to black.
Now, where are my children??!! 😬