Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Jo doing what she does best.

Into the second week of the trip and loving it. This morning at Historic Wollombi, it is a bit nippy, so the crew have expressed their intentions for the day.

Attendances at talks have been better than expected so with some media coverage, we should improve as we go.
Wednesday morning we are at the ABC Bookshop at 11am. Thursday morning at 10 we are at ABC Radio Northwest at the Country Music Capital, Tamworth, to talk to the on air Book Club, and at Readers' Companion at Armidale on Thursday afternoon, 4pm. More later!

Chloe, keen to go hunting.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Channeling Grandma.

Mornings, I’m equipped for a sojourn to the brook,
With fold-up seat and a jolly good book.
But ‘fore I leave the inside,
Ready for the outside,
Is my hat and my bag and my brolly on a hook.

Madly rehearsing Sarabande for the Batemans Bay Writers Festival where we (Paul Baker and Sarah Leaver and me), will be plying live Muzak for the cognoscenti. I know it's a big word, but it is late at night here and I have had a nice glass of Pinot Gris.

Thanks you Tess for encouraging we scribblers to aspire to higher things. .

Monday, 18 May 2015

Wings ‘n things.

I’m an angel, she shouted, her eyes flashing blue. 
She’s flying! she’s flying! we all shouted too. 
But then little Willy, 
Said ‘don’t be so silly, 
They're stuck to her back with some cheap super glue!’ 

Thank you again Tess for stimulating the writer in us, and for the comments that show us you are interested.

Now for something that has blown me away. This letter arrived from my publisher a few days ago.

From: Shamini [mailto:shamini@classic-jojo.com] Sent: Thursday, 14 May 2015 3:29 PM
To: staffordray@optusnet.com.au
Subject: 'Cull' to be presented to 'Books at MIFF 2015'
Hi Stafford, This is Shamini from JoJo Publishing, just emailing to let you know that we've entered your book into 'Books at MIFF 2015'. This is an annual event at the Melbourne International Film Festival which allows publishers, producers, film financiers and agents to network and pitch film ideas to each other. This year we were allowed to enter 5 of our best books, and yours was chosen from our range of titles to be pitched to the 'Books at MIFF' for the opportunity to be selected for their films rights catalogue and pitching sessions on the day. Please feel free to read the attached documentation as that will undoubtedly answer some of the questions you may have about this process. I will certainly keep you informed if your book is selected and let you know what the process will be from there.
With kind regards,

If it goes no further, this has been huge for me and I thank my friends who continued to believe in me and kept me writing.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Caught in the act

They said it won’t go on TV
Or Rupert’s news rag on page three.
“We’ll just show the torso”,
They said, but showed more, so
Now, everyone knows that it’s me!

I know, I know, it's an old one, but I can dream! Thanks again Tess for yet another opportunity to play with words.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The death penalty.

At thirteen, my son was introduced to Heroin by trusted adults. That one act was enough to ruin his young life and thus began almost half a century of grief for his family and his friends and a sadness we will carry to our graves.

This week we saw the execution of two people who had organised others to smuggle enough Heroin into this country to ruin many more young lives.
But both of those men changed while in prison to become leaders in constructive ways that offered other prisoners a role model. That loss was only one of many Indonesia will suffer.

We all saw the grief and disbelief on faces of innocent mothers, fathers and siblings as the executions were carried to their grisly end. But that pain was not matched in Australian media by depictions of pain suffered by thousands of Heroin users, as they slowly destroy their lives and degrade the lives of people who care about them.

The plight of Heroin users was the excuse for the executions, but if we demand an 'eye for an eye', as Gandhi said, that just means we will have a lot of blind people. There is no value in a contest to see who suffers the most. This is not about difference, this is about inclusion. If we widen our scope to include the loved ones of all people in jails and detention around the world we see a compelling oneness. All their loved ones grieve for them, the perpetrators just as much as the victims.

But the death penalty adds a dimension that is more cruel to the survivors than it is to those executed. The death penalty destroys that one emotion that keeps us going against all odds, and that is hope.

Pic: courtesy Daily News.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Not nice.

I feel like a real lucky feller
With her, but I really must tell ‘er:
It’s really insane
To walk in the rain
With me, and not share the umbrella!

Four Greens in the lower house! It isn't enough, but it is a start. For those who are not Australian, we had a state election with the winner having a mandate to lease our electricity delivery infrastructure to Private Interests for 99 years.
OK, but if that must be, lets not force people who choose to generate their own electricity and are off the grid to pay as if they were. Ie, if you cut the wires to your house, you are totally responsible for your own electricity supply and do not pay anything to an electricity supplier. If we do not preclude that now, we pay for 99 years for something we do not receive nor want- about 90 years longer than Big Coal can survive.

Thank you Tess and to RAD for his evocative photo prompt.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Do they think we are completely stupid?

This is the Great Artesian Basin that provides good quality water to farms that are lucky enough to lie over it. This aquifer is replenished from rainfall as far away as Papua New Guinea, and more locally in the Pilliga Scrub.
Coal seams exist within the aquifer, with porous rock above and below the coal.
So, why would anyone be willing to jeopardise this crucial and forever source of water by drilling and fraccing coal seams that are integral to it?.
Gas seeping through the aquifer itself will infiltrate, as gas does, the whole strata.
Toxic chemicals used in fraccing can also move through the aquifer, with the potential of rendering it useless as a water source forever. Forever is a long time.

Now I quote Martin Ferguson, ex Labor politician, now working for the coal and gas industries says: "By threatening to kill the Santos Pilliga project, Luke Foley (Opposition Leader) is sending  a very clear message that he doesn't care about jobs or energy security for NSW."

So, he is saying; for immediate mining jobs, we should be willing to sacrifice this priceless water source. He does not say anything about alternatives in less sensitive areas, or stranded assets, not to mention jobs in green energy. Our governments at all levels seem hell bent on denying climate change and pursuing dirty energy!

Meanwhile, take a look at this from Naomi Klein. (you might need to copy and paste)