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About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops as is Book two, The Cloak of Challiver. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

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Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

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Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Sunday, 9 December 2007

When all else fails, keep busy

You know how you get those times when life is full-on and you feel as if you're running uphill to no good effect? Well, that's what the last two weeks have been like for me. A lot of it has been very enjoyable: I figure that if the muse has temporarily abandoned me I might as well enjoy myself. I must admit I waste a lot of time on Facebook, and judging by the site's popularity, so do a great many other people. We compare our scores on a plethora of quizzes, pet and feed each other's imaginary pets, pit our imaginary dragons against each other in races and generally fritter our time away. Delusion reigns! It's a far cry, let me tell you, from the austere daily routine of the monastery I lived in twelve years ago:-) Life is full of amazing contrasts, or at least, this life I'm doing has been so far.

More soberly, I've signed up for a program run by the Job Network, designed to try to get retirees back into the workforce. There is a whole industry out there centred on frequently fruitless activities that purport to help people find employment. I have had several chats with officials; signed an activity agreement; had a brand new résumé drawn up and attended a full-day seminar, which has a series of weekly follow-up ra-ra meetings. It's keeping lots of other people in jobs, even if the chances of my getting one are very remote indeed. In fact, the advice given to me so far is that I have two strikes against me – I'm over 50 and I'm not a local. It's a fact that employers not only prefer younger workers, they tend to give jobs to people they know. Less than 20% of positions are filled by advertising in the newspapers, or so they tell me. So it's the old thing of "not what you know, but whom". Never mind: it's keeping a few pensioners off the streets. The last thing we want is OAPs running riot because they have nothing to do. (Actually if we don't do much it's because we are trying to live on about 50% of the income that is supposed to mark the poverty line in this country, which is why I really truly do need to find work. Wish me luck.)

Nothing to do? I can't believe I just wrote that. Another good-fun time-waster is the start of the Silly Season. I went to my first Christmas luncheon for the year last week, with the Coastal Quills writing group from Millicent. Most of the attendees were from Mount Gambier, though, so that's where the break-up was held, and very nice it was too. The place we went to allows patrons to munch ad lib on the salad bar for only $7, so it didn't break the budget, either.

What's more, as a result of meeting a new friend through Coastal Quills, I've also joined a writers group, aptly named The Write Stuff, here in Mount Gambier. I went to my first meeting on Monday night. It was a cosy little group, just about the right size, to my mind, for sharing ideas and work. One member read out a piece she was working on for comment, and after that we threw in ideas for exercises. There had been "homework" which I hadn't known about. It was to write something with the title Teddy Bears' Picnic.

Now, friends, one of my many completely useless and un-saleable talents is the ability to write doggerel at the drop of a hat, so I did the gist of the song into sonnet form, extempore, in less than ten minutes. (OK, it hasn't the depth or the epigrammatic ending of a proper English sonnet but what do you want in ten minutes?) Later, we did an exercise in which we each wrote down an emotion, an object and a colour on separate pieces of paper, which were mixed into three piles from which we took back one of each. I drew "jealousy", "dictionary" and "turquoise". The result was, of course, more doggerel. I brought the pieces home and did another five minutes work on each one. Sadly, they remain firmly in the sphere of doggerel. Neither verse is ever likely to see light of day unless I share them with you, so bear with me.

Doggerel One: Teddy Bears' Sonnet
If down into the woods thou goest this day
Methinks thou shouldst prepare thyself full well
For great adventures shalt thou there essay
With monster bruins hiding in the dell.
If down into the woods thou goest this day
'Twere best that thou shouldst well accompanied be
Full beauteous are the woods this day, but stay
If thou canst bear it, safe at home with me.
For picnic time for teddy bears it is
See how they shout and play in yonder glen!
But when night falls then homeward they will wend
In parent's care, far from the world of men.
Then teddy bears will all go off to bed
And you as well, my little sleepy head.

Doggerel Two: Three Little Words
We laughed and loved 'neath turquoise skies
But now, alas, it's over.
'Twas jealousy that split us up
And spoilt our field of clover.

Bereft of my true love I thought
That I should write a verse
I wrote a bit of drivel then
I wrote some that was worse.

The dictionary I have scoured
From cover unto cover
To find some words to pen a poem
About my faithless lover.

But words, alas, will never take
This anguish from my head
So I'll put the dictionary away
And have a beer instead.

If you like writing doggerel too, why not put some in your comment? Meantime, I'll get on with being uselessly busy while I await the muse's return. Oh, maybe not entirely useless: sometime in the next couple of weeks I may have a chance to interview one of Australia's most popular fantasy writers for The Specusphere. Watch this space!


Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

Your muse won't be back until 2008. He told me. He's gone off with mine to celebrate Cmas in Father Cmas Land.

Satima Flavell said...

Oh heck. Turn your back on 'em and they go off boozing:-)

Jo said...

The muse has disappeared you say
Well heck, just have a holiday
After the season, you just might
Find once again that you can write.

That was about one minute's worth sorry. See you on Facebook Satima.

jasoni said...

your teddy bear poem is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! heeeheehee!!!

Satima Flavell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Satima Flavell said...

You could be right at that, dear Jo
And so I'd better have a go
At ersatz fun and jollity
Around a plastic Christmas Tree

And to you dear Jason-eye -
Thanks very much for stopping by:-)
I'm glad you liked my teddy-verse
Next time I'll pass around my purse!

Juliet said...

Reading your clever teddy verse
I laughed until I cried, and worse!
A book for littlies you should make
Like Edward Lear or Quentin Blake.

Satima Flavell said...

Alas, poor Quentin and Lear's Ned
Would call down wrath up on my head
If I presumed to steal their thunder
And in their territory to blunder

And do our littlies today
Approve of stories made this way?
Or would they yawn then whinge and mewl
And grizzle "Grandma, that's not cool!"

Jo said...

But surely Paddington and Pooh
Still appeal to me and you
I know these books are selling well
Adults or littlies, who can tell

Adverts now are PB's game
Marmite increasing this hear's fame
Of course in Oz, I understand
Vegemite would be at hand.

Satima Flavell said...

Oh, Winnie was my favourite bear
When I was much less bigger.
I love him and his funny friends
Like Kanga, Roo and Tigger.

But Wol, Eyore and little pig
And Winnie and the others
I've never seen on any scene
With any Mitey brothers.

Satima Flavell said...

Now, if you want to see some really good stuff, go check out this review of Beowulf in verse:

Jo said...

Ain't no way I can make a rhyme
Not for Paddington this time
But if you look at the URL
You'll understand me very well


Hope this comes out OK.

Satima Flavell said...

Gorgeous! Poor old Paddo; in strife as usual.

I've changed your link name - sorry for the confusion. I wasn't sure which of your names you use for what:-)

Jody said...

Ah, the over 50 and wanting to work in an area where you're a transplant. I will soon be in those shoes myself.

Right now while my muse has left, I have twelve years of stuff to go through and sort what is worth moving and what isn't.

Plus we have the task of getting things cleaned up to put the place on the market.

So when all else fails, start planning a major move. It will keep you plenty busy.


Satima Flavell said...

Twelve years? I don't envy you one bit, Jody. I move, on average, about every 2-3 years and even then I have a huge amount of stuff to sort through. Look on the bright side: at least you're moving to somewhere warmer.

A snowbird's verse for you and me:
Isn't it amazing what we accumulate?
Then we decide to go and emigrate.
I'd like to be a Depper pirate
At least I'd have a better climate...

OK, that sucks.I blame the weather. It's still cold here and it's supposed to be summer, dammit!

Jody said...

Every 2-3 years? Oh. My. Gawd. I'm too lazy to move that often. Way too lazy.

The warmer climes bothers me some. In the middle of a hot flash I'm rushing about to find the nearest glacier. No glaciers where we plan on going. Oye.


Satima Flavell said...

Al Gore notwithstanding, when it comes to choosing a habitat for humans, no glaciers is good! Menopause passes: glaciers tend to stay awhile. (Again, Mr Gore notwithstanding...it's all relative:-)

Silly Yak Tales said...

I say you have no fear of boredom and don't need a job if you can get people to bring their pigs to you. Then you can teach their pigs to do the ballet for copious amounts of cash.

I hope that if I ever move again it is someplace small and less wintery.

I also loved your Teddy Bear verse.


Satima Flavell said...

You'd probably like the place where I live, Randi. It does not snow, but gets very cold and wet in winter, or so it seems to me because I am Notnotnot! a winter person. Daytime temperatures would be in the forties or fifties F. (I've forgotten how to measure in F. but they're about 11-17 degrees Celsius.) Nights will occasionally drop below freezing if it doesn't rain.

Summer, OTOH, is very pleasant. It can get into the high 30s Celsius - near the century in F. - but only for a day or two at a time and usually with very low humidity. Mostly it's high twenties - up to about 85 degrees F., I think.

Of course, I am a wimp and have been spoilt by living in Perth, Western Aus for 20 years. It has one of the best climates in the world, albeit rather hot in summer.

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