Where the Heck Have I Been?

Updated: Jun 3

It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I have a very good excuse. No lie, I really do! Read on to find out what I’ve been up to…


PhD

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m now a PhD candidate at Federation University in Ballarat. Given the university sector’s current state of affairs, and the fact that I was made redundant from Victoria University, I am fully aware how lucky I am to have this opportunity.


I commenced full-time study in July. My supervisors are wonderful, and I feel I’ve made a great start. As yet, I haven’t been able to visit the campus (shakes fist: damn you Covid-19!); however, I am enjoying the student experience and am loving the research process.


There are times when I catch myself wishing that I had done it years ago, but all things work out exactly as they should (don’t they?).


So far, my research has taken me down many a philosophical rabbit hole and I have to admit that I’ve succumbed to bouts of imposter syndrome on several occasions. However, my desire to achieve this goal is a powerful driving force and those moments of self-doubt usually don’t last very long, thank goodness!


So, I hear you ask, how is the researching going? I’m glad you asked…


Deafening Silence

Several years ago, I was walking through my local shopping complex, in a hurry, as usual, when a glowing advertisement on one of those free-standing, monolithic-type digital signs placed just inside the entrance caught my eye. The text on the screen listed the number of Australian soldiers who had committed suicide since returning from the conflict in Afghanistan. I stopped in my tracks and stood and stared at it because the number was staggeringly high.


Time slowed and I became aware of the dozens of people walking past me. I also became aware of the fact that I was the only one who had stopped to read it. No one else gave it a second glance. I reasoned this was because they were busy, had other things on their mind, or perhaps had simply become blind to the overwhelming amount of advertising pervading their everyday lives. However, I was deeply saddened when I read how many of our ‘diggers’ had taken their own lives—a number greater than the total number of military personnel who had been killed in the actual conflict.


As I stood there reading these tragic figures, I knew I had to write about it. And I did. I wrote a short story called The Roos are Loose that was published by Dixi Books in Open Wounds, a mini collection of my short stories.


I loved writing The Roos are Loose and was more than happy with the story turned out. However, I knew I had only just touched the surface of a deeply complex, and potentially polarising, narrative. I wanted to know more and needed to write more. So, after I completed work on This is Not a Lie, I knew I wanted Deafening Silence to be my second novel and the focus of my PhD research.


The writing and the research are coming along well. and I can’t wait to share the final product with you in the few years.


The Village Views

Apart from Deafening Silence, I’ve been working on a digital writing project called The Village Views. The Village Views is, in fact, a visual novel about life in lockdown, which sprang to life in the wake of my retrenchment and—no surprise here—the endless cycle of lockdowns that were imposed on the people of the city of Melbourne.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the government doing it’s best to protect us from a killer disease, but 260 days, give or take a day or two, in lockdown is enough to make anyone go stir crazy! I hadn’t yet commenced my PhD and felt lost without my weekly writing sessions with my students. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to work on something new.


When I was studying for my master’s degree, I developed a short visual novel called Stained Glass for one of my classes. It was a fun project and I really loved working on a project that had a visual element to it. I wanted to do another visual novel-type project, but something that was a little different. So, I came up the with idea of getting a bunch of writers/creators together to write some flash fiction stories about life in lockdown.


Set in a fictional apartment building, there is a ‘true to life’ element about some of the stories, while others are pure fantasy/fiction. However, all of them make a comment on life in lockdown. What began as a humble little project to fill in a writing void is now in the process of becoming a fully realised project that will ultimately be released as a digital visual novel as well as an E-book.



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