Monday, November 29, 2010

School's out!

Holidays. What a sweet, sweet word. I'm so pleased about this word that I am sitting here at my computer, sighing happily (and you thought they only did that in badly-written novels, right?). To celebrate, I want to share with you three things that have made me merry over the last couple of weeks, when I needed to think about things other than essays and deadlines...

Something to enjoy: Beautiful Christmas music for free from Noisetrade. I have to thank this excellent friend for reminding me to revisit this cool site. There's always a bunch of great music available, and it's a wonderful way to get to know new artists without purchasing music you're not yet sure you'll like. Anyway, I've downloaded three albums so far -- Sara Groves (O Holy Night Tour Live), High Street Hymns (Christmas and Advent Sampler), plus The Argyle Project (Christmas) -- and I'm loving them all.

Something to encourage: I have a feeling Josh Harris's Dug Down Deep keeps popping up in my blog posts. I know I've certainly mentioned it before, and I know I've been reading it for a long time. But it's good stuff and I'm really relishing this back-to-the-basics examination of theology -- the beliefs about God that really, really matter. Anyway, this video is not only a cool introduction to the book; it's also a thought-provoking look at the concept of theology. And, apart from all that entirely, it's just a very awesome video and I wish I'd made it.

Something to entertain: This is pure, joyful stupidity. Before watching, you need to be familiar with the Trol lol lol man of youtube glory. So if you're not, watch this first. Then, enjoy this absolutely excellent mashup: Captain Kirk deals with a strange alien culture. SO GOOD.

What internet thingummys have been adding trololols to your life lately?

* * * * *

Jessica -- yes! Cool mail is so much fun :)

Asea -- wow; you are VERY FUN to receive packages from! And, strictly speaking, I should email you this thought, but I've been loving Tove Jansson's little stories. They're so evocative of a land I don't know. And they're creatively inspiring, too -- I'm reminded that not everything has to be turned into a full-blown story. Some characters and ideas can remain as small story-seeds, short pieces on their own.

Samantha R -- I know! So creative!

Bonnie -- so lovely to receive your comment! <3

Mitanika -- absolutely! Unexpected parcels are one of the best things ever.

Katie -- me, too. I think I need to write a story about the billycarting nun.

Mothercare -- too true. xx

Chantel -- the privilege was definitely mine! You have been such a welcome part of this journey! And yes, you did send something for the final issue. Hopefully it will reach your mailbox soon :). xx

Monday, November 22, 2010

How did it happen...

...that I am privileged to know the world's loveliest, kindest, and most creative people? I can only assume it is God's generous grace.

Today I found a bright red package in my mailbox -- completely unexpected -- which had travelled 'cross land and sea. I spent a jolly hour relishing in the kindness and fun of a kindred spirit whom I have never met but whom I count among my good friends.

The lovely package included:

Handwritten words of news and encouragement...

The dignified grey hair of Mr. Clooney...

Gentlemen in amazing headwear posing with unique instruments (possibly friends of this guy)...

Pirate guinea pigs with peg legs! (I'd like to meet this dude)...

Enchanting artwork on brown paper...

An amazing scarf of vibrant stripes...

After Shakespeare Mints...

Billy-karting nuns...

Luscious reading material...

And heartwarming-ness.

A book I was reading today said something about "a gift so thoughtful it almost hurt". It seems apt. Thank you so much, friend, for all your excellence.

Now to do a few more odd jobs before bed and then to settle down with A Winter Book (the evening is appropriately cool and cloudy for just such reading material).

* * * * *


Mothercare -- I'm happy, too, that the ground didn't open up and swallow that post office!

Rebecca Simon -- ah, memories :). Hey, I just realised that Whatsoever is how we know each other, isn't it? So many friends through the pages of that little publication!

Samantha R -- yes, it's strange closing this chapter of my life. But it makes perfect sense knowing that it's in God's timing. I wouldn't be able to do it otherwise. :)

Asea -- honestly, we really need to start The Adults' Colouring-In Society. There's a lot of us out there. PS. This post is all about you :).

Caitlin -- yes, a happy relief!

Abbie -- likewise, thank you for your faithfulness to encourage, pray for, and write for this magazine! You've been such a blessing (I don't think you realise how much).

Eweight -- I got a comment from you while you're overseasssss!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A decade(ish) of faith and fellowship and flaws:

Today, quietly and with very bad webcam photos, I'm bidding adieu to Whatsoever Magazine, the publication I've been editing and producing with the help of family and friends near and far for over ten years. As I explained in last issue's editorial, the realisation that WM's era was coming to a close dawned slowly and gently. I prayed about it for a long time and came to see -- without any great thunderbolt but with a quiet sense of knowing -- that it was time to finish.

Being full of bold dreams and an even bolder imagination, I wanted the final issue to be incredible -- smart, relevant, encouraging, faith-filled, and absolutely 100% typo-free. Well, life got in the way and publication of this supposedly scintillating final issue got pushed back and back and back until -- quite possibly -- subscribers may simply have imagined the magazine was swallowed up by a hungry earth. I began to doubt that the issue would ever reach subscribers. Even today, as I spoke to my sister before heading out to deliver bags of golden envelope to the post office, I confessed my fear that a meteorite might wipe out the post office before I'd had a chance to post off the magazines. But I got there, and the post office was intact, and as far as I know, it's stayed that way since this morning. The final issue is in the post -- and yes, there's a typo. There might be more.

Being an analytical soul, it's hard for me not to think that the drama-laden story behind this final issue's s-l-o-w crawl into print is a kind of symbol for the lesson I've been learning during this entire experience: that this isn't about me, or my dreams, or my imagination, or my reputation, or even my hopes. It's God all the way. And His focus isn't on how heavy the paperstock is, or whether the printing was a little off this issue, or if this amount of white space if aesthetically pleasing. His focus is on the fantastical-but-true message of His saving grace, evident in the bloody death and the shining resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what really matters.

So a huge thank you to those who joined me in caring about that message, and who guided me gently back on track when I forgot that it was what's important. Thank you to all who wrote and prayed and encouraged and shared. And an especially huge thanks to my family who listened patiently to editorial woes, offered invaluable feedback, proofread, allowed me to monopolise the computer until I had one of my own, and took this seriously, even though the whole thing was the lounge-room equivalent of a backyard operation. I'm so thankful.

* * * * *


Mitanika -- Oh hooray! I'm so glad the post provided some distraction. How is your NaNo going? I'm still disappointed I couldn't take part this year. Please, will someone change NaNoWriMo to July or something?? Ah, I will put Tigerheart on my reading list. Thank you so much for the rec!

Simplythis -- Imma let you come and use my brand new Connector Pen markers I bought! Colouring in dates!! And thank you for reminding me about The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. That's just the sort of thing I'll loooove dipping into in my break. I -- think I am -- looking forward to watching your bug clip.

Samantha R -- I could quite possibly live entirely off naan bread.

Bethany -- I can actually see the Andrea-resemblance, too! Normally I'd never think we look alike but there you go.

Mothercare -- I'll tell them to stop bugging me. *snort* Oh, and re. the colouring pictures -- the images I shared were from his actual artworks, but the colouring book includes B&W line drawings based on those artworks.

Rebecca Simon -- New babies are so exciting! :D Oh yes, do let me know next time you're in Brisbane! Ack, 24 hours is a flying visit. Wow. I owe you an email!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

PS. Some Charley Harper image-spam:

Since my goofy picture of my new colouring book fails to truly introduce you to the loveliness of Charley Harper's artwork, here's a little bit of picture spam. Enjoy the bold lines, huge blocks of colour, and modernist shapes. It's such cheerful stuff!

[All found via Google Images]

Imma let you finish but...

Yo, my peeps! This post goes out to my supreme homey Mitanika, who specially requested a little procrastination action on the internets while she avoids the black looming deadline of the crazy crazy world that is NaNoWriMo!

[Okay, cease random Kanye-style voice; resume Danielle voice]

This post is indeed dedicated to a friend, a friend who is more heroic than I am because she's currently swimming through the vast ocean of terrifying waters that is the quest to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. She requested some distraction and, since I -- being in the final two weeks of uni for the year -- have a profound respect for procrastination, I am more willing to comply. However, that simple fact also means this blog post will be the most spontaneous and least-thought-out of my blogging history. It will also likely be:

a) very boring -- because I've used up all my words writing essays, and
b) very hyperactive -- because I'm tired, and the tireder I get, the sillier I get.

So consider yourself fairly warned before I present to you a random list of life's latest.
  1. I am currently being haunted by spiders and cockroaches, which makes me feel both sick and stalked. It must just be their season of bliss, because they're appearing everywhere and around every corner. I've actually killed two huge spiders myself (this was not fun) and -- get this -- was woken yesterday morning at 6.30 by a cockroach crawling down my arm. *choke* I am a big fan of the environment, but I am definitely going to be calling the pest control man.
  2. I've tripped over my own shoes today (twice) and the hem of my dress (once) because I am that cool. The dress-hem-tripping incident was directly in front of someone, too.
  3. I think I saved someone's life today. Okay, I didn't save their life, but I did save their blood sugar levels. A bright blonde Irish girl came to the door selling energy savings. We got talking (about spiders, snakes, and cockroaches no less; see what I mean about them haunting me?) and she suddenly asked, "Do you have any fizzy drink?" I didn't, and she must have felt silly because she went on to explain that she'd been walking around the neighbourhood, had not had breakfast, and felt quite faint. We then proceeded to bond over some Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate, the only legitimate energy food source I had to hand.
  4. Both of my sisters are having babies. I'm not sure if you all knew that. Yay! (I slipped that one sneakily into my random list).
  5. Every day lately, parcels have been arriving on my doorstep, but it's kind of agonising because my mother is doing Christmas shopping and gets all the mail sent here. There is a stack of parcels (nine; I counted) just sitting there, tantalisingly.
  6. However, I've been doing some Christmas ordering of my own, so some of the parcels have been ones I can open, and it's fun. I bought myself a little end-of-school present -- a Charley Harper colouring book. If anyone tells you big girls can't colour in, don't believe them. I am so excited.
  7. Thursday night is do-the-groceries-buy-dinner-and-rent-a-movie-night around here. The movie didn't happen because papers on Prince Caspian and relativism were calling out for the Red Editorial Pen of Doom, but the dinner did happen: Madras beef, rice, and naan bread. So very, very good.
Here you are, Mitanika -- a post all of your own! I hope it helps you procrastinate just a wee bit more; it certainly helped me to do so. Love!

PS everyone. Soon I'm going to be on holidays. Holidays. Holidays. HOLIDAYS. What books should I put on my holiday reading list?

Monday, November 15, 2010

We have a winnerrrrrr!

And the winner of the Christmas giveaway is Amy, who said her favourite thing about Christmas is 'getting together with family from far and wide' and 'making presents for family and friends'.

Yay, Amy! I'm so excited! It was super fun putting all the names in the hat and -- confession -- I was actually nervous when it came to pulling out the winning slip of paper. Amy, email me your mailing address [daniellecentral AT gmail DOT com] and I'll pop your parcel in the mail for you. If I don't hear from you within a week, I'll do a redraw.

Thank you everyone for playing along. I hope this'll be the first giveaway of many. They make me all smiley!

* * * * *


Katie -- hooray on all three counts! Thanks for your warming comment :).

Samantha -- thank you! The poem is a long-time favourite.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I keep forgetting to tell you guys that I finally created that tumblelog for sharing pictures:

The blog title and url are both from an e.e.cummings poem:
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
PS. Three and a half more hours to enter el Christmas giveaway!

* * * * *


Mothercare -- I hope I get to go see it at the movies with you :).

Katie -- did you like it?

Rachael -- me, too!

Mitanika -- I totally get this!! Oh, and Reepicheep was quite adorable in Prince Caspian, which I was glad about because I dearly loved him in Dawntreader (the one book I remembered him from). Oh yes, do re-read the books, and tell me what you think! PS. I love long blog comments.I had no idea you read The Eagle of the Ninth because of my recommendation. That makes me all bouncy!

The First Rose -- did you know the Dawntreader scenes were shot in my very own town?? I went to see THE Dawntreader while filming was going on and it was amazing! Makes me so very excited for the film release.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's finally here!

I've honestly never anticipated a movie's release more than this one. The Eagle of the Ninth is one of my favourite books ever, so it was with mingled delight and terror that I first heard it was being adapted into a film. What if they completely destroy it? What if they make people hate the story and then never pick up the book? What would Rosemary Sutcliff think?

Film production on this one has to be the slowest ever and I've been lurking the internet for ages in hope of a trailer (I was even trawling for info yesterday). Then tonight, an excellent friend (thank you so much, Mitanika/L!) pointed me to the first glimpse. Exciting!

Yes, I'm sorry; Marcus is played by Channing Tatum. And it looks like they've changed the story up a bit (if you read the book -- and you must -- then you'll recognise what's different), but it appears they've left intact what makes this tale powerful: the challenging dynamics of the tenuous friendship between slave and master, woven into a sort of mental and spiritual coming-of-age. And you can't go wrong with Romans, some Donald Sutherland, and a bit of Jamie Bell.

I'm looking forward to seeing this one (and I'm going to start a re-read of the story in celebration).

I love Lucy

For one of my final essays this semester, the task is to write a literary analysis of a fantasy story containing a strong spiritual element. I've chosen Prince Caspian, a book I haven't read since I was a small girl. I finished my re-read a couple of days ago and found a fresh appreciation for the things I hadn't paid as much attention to as an eight-year-old. Of course, all the old feelings of adventure and possibility were there -- as well as that 'I-wish-Peter-were-my-big-brother' kind of feeling. But I also noticed things that I hadn't noticed before, or, if I had, I've certainly forgotten them since.

I loved how Lewis' depiction of Aslan made me ponder the aspects of God's character that I have a tendency to forget. I loved the undercurrent of conversation about keeping faith even when one cannot see God at work. Most of all, though, I loved Lucy and her example of steadfast, childlike, accepting faith.

Lucy gazed up into the large wise face.
'Welcome, child,' Aslan said.
'Aslan,' said Lucy, 'you're bigger.'
'That is because you are older, little one,' answered he.
'Not because you are?'
'I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'

I am so thankful that He is always enough.

* * * * *


Asea -- I definitely will post more about classes, then, even if just for you! I get terribly excited about these things, but I tend to imagine they will bore everyone else.

Julia -- it's a very cool thing to meet others who are similarly afflicted with this madness :).

All who've entered the giveaway -- thank you for your entries! It's putting me in quite the Christmassy mood. If you haven't entered yet, there's still time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hey hey it's a Christmas giveaway...

Last night, before going to bed, I wished earnestly that I could send gifts to every single one of the cool people I know, near and far because mail is just the best, and mail with presents is even more fun. Before I fell asleep, I came up with the next best thing: a giveaway! Of course, this is a gift for just one person, but it could be any one of you (ooh, mystery and suspense!).

Because Christmas is coming -- and faster and faster -- this giveaway is all about that joyful celebration of Jesus' birth. The parcel will include a copy of Wendy Brigg's Heartfelt Christmas (beautiful angels and lovehearts and Christmassy joy to stitch), a Bronwyn Hayes stitchery panel ready for you to embroider (and full of visions of sugarplums!), a pack of my favourite brand of needles (Piecemakers), and a handmade button-embellished heart to hang in your home. Sorry kids, but the threads are not included (I just thought they were pretty and wanted them in the pictures, okay?).

Here are the giveaway rules:

1) leave a comment with your name and what you love most about Christmas.
2) feel free to enter whether you're a regular reader or just passing through.
3) I will ship anywhere in the world, so even if you're from Antarctica...
4) entries close midnight next Sunday 14th November, AEST.

I'm so excited I'm so excited I'm so excited!

* * * * *


Mothercare -- :D

Samantha R -- I'll drink to that! :)

Mitanika -- you've pretty much hit the nail on the head as to why I dream of working in a bookstore.

Kirstyb -- glad you enjoyed!

HCH -- yay! So nice to hear from you :).
I'm sure you've had a lot of similar revelations when it comes to being a Christian and an artist?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dory, and the value of writer's events:

I spent today at The Word Writers Fair, sitting in on author panels and workshops and mingling with writers from as far afield as Adelaide, Sydney, and New Zealand (dedication, peoples). One of my favourite paths of writer's events is the opportunity to hear the stories of authors' paths to publication. Everything has a different story to tell, but they all leave me with the same sense of possibility and of hope -- and also the reminder that usually it's the hard work, not the raw talent, that makes the difference between lonely scribbler and published author.

It was very cool to meet two of my classmates, women who are taking the same creative writing classes, as well as two girls who reminded me just how very high-octane fourteen year-olds can be (hi, Abby and Xanthea!). Their enthusiasm was catching, and they mingled merrily with the adults at the event. I also discovered that Christian writers might just be the friendliest; I'd never before been to a writer's event where so many people boldly introduced themselves and struck up random conversations. That was pretty great.

I didn't learn any world-shaking insider tips that blew my mind -- nor did I meet a publisher who wanted to fall at my feet and worship whatever words drip from my golden pen of wonder (judge thou not my writerly fantasy) -- but I found that an entire day immersed in a discussion of words and word-making worked its old enchantment. I came home more inspired than ever before to be a Christian woman who writes fiction (and writes it well, I hope, someday) rather than a woman who writes Christian fiction. The Christian worldview doesn't need to be wedged into whatever we do. Rather, if a healthy worldview is present in the writer, it will be present in the words.

Most of all, I walked away reminded that the best writer's philosophy is something similar to that of Finding Nemo's Dory: Just keep swimming. If I keep swimming, it makes sense that -- eventually -- I'm going to get somewhere.

(Excuse me now, please. I'm going to investigate my Fair showbag and my free books. Also, did I mention there are licorice allsorts?)

* * * * *


Staish -- seriously. It's been two years (well, two years of study. Officially it'll be two years in April. Remember I started at a weird intake time and took that Summer semester?).

Julia -- it's the best thing, isn't it? I could probably be an eternal student with very little persuasion.

Mothercare -- well you have passed your dorkiness onto me, because I got all excited reading your comment about covering books with brown paper and decorating them with magazine pictures.

Katie -- it's always surprising -- and even a little embarrassing -- that one can come to love something previously considered dorky or boring. :)

Samantha R -- hee! It makes me grin that many of your reasons for not wanting to go to college fit in with my reasons for liking it. But yes, it's definitely hard to lock myself away from people and study.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

School days, school days, dear old golden rule days.

Oh no! Not for me, not for me.
Call it torture, call it university.
No, arts and crafts is all I need --
I'll take calligraphy and then I'll make a fake degree.
College Kids; Relient K

Bizarro thought of the day: I'm almost at the end of my second year of uni. Four more weeks and then Summer holidays. How did that even happen?

On the one hand, it feels like I only started last week (seriously, where did two years go?). But on the other hand -- the hand that apparently realises I no longer hover over the college style guide triple-checking the formatting of every essay, and which also notices I've stopped being a square and handing in those essays a week early -- it definitely feels like two years. Over halfway!

My uni experience has been kind of different to most peoples' since: a) I'm about twelve years older than your average first year student; and b) my college is in South Australia and I am (mostly) in Queensland. The distance thing has provided its own set of challenges and blessings. There are times when I've wished I could simply ask my lecturer a quick clarifying question rather than having to launch a series of emails which may or may not be answered in time, depending on how techno-savvy the teacher is. I also think it would be both cool and helpful to be able to engage in class discussions and learn from the other students.

However, having done homeschooling for highschool and worked a bit of freelance (both of which taught me that I can quite happily work on my own), it's been ideal for me to be studying distance. It fits well with my learning style, and motivation hasn't been a problem. I definitely do not miss having to do aural presentations (public speaking, even of such a minor kind, is a shadowy lurking terror for me), and I love that I can pause and rewind lectures infinitely, instead of having to rely entirely on hastily-scrawled notes taken in class. Plus, while I'm on the same timeframe as 'regular' uni students (something people don't always get), there is a sense of freedom in not having to rock up to class at a specific time each day. And it's a lot of fun taking a bunch of books and a blanket outside to sit and study under the sun.

I don't like that studying tends to make me measure out my days in terms of semesters and holidays and due dates (I would much rather measure out my life in coffee spoons; thank you, T. S. Eliot) and boy it feels antisocial and self-centred to lock myself away and study when my family is around. But the excellent things abound. I love that, while I'm majoring in creative writing, the fact that I'm studying at a Christian college means there are compulsory theology units, and I basically get to study a whole world of things I would never have picked out for myself. Who knew that philosophy would be so appealing? I love that it's a non-denominational school, and the lecturers range from a wealth of church backgrounds including Baptist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Catholic, and Reformed traditions. I love that one cannot be a pampered, temperamental little wordsmith while studying, but that -- no arguments -- one has to write to deadlines and to guidelines. I have to write stuff I might not want to write, and to do it creatively. There is no time to stroke the muse. One simply has to make the words come out. It's excellent preparation for the writer's life or a freelance career.

I love, too, that being forced to study something (it sounds harsh when it's put like that but I really mean it in quite another way) gives me the opportunity to learn to like something I'd never otherwise care about. My new awareness is that I can love just about anything if I'm made to study it (Mum, remember setting me that term of insects in year 7 or 8? I groaned, but then I became a fanatic. Yes, I'm a nerd). Immersion seems to work that way for me. Someone once told me that the best way to learn to hate literature is to study it at university. So far I'm finding that the opposite is true, and that makes me happy. Oh, and there's so much reading. Yeah.

Okay, I was going to talk about subjects now and subjects future (picking subjects each semester definitely remains my favourite thing) but that'll have to wait because this post got epically long. You can blame it on Annie Laurie. She asked about school.

* * * * *


Katie -- and the Spring days keep getting better and better! Mm, I'm loving this weather.

Samantha -- :D to all of your comments.

Caitlin -- YES! I need to head south to catch up with my family and all the friends in that area -- including you!

Asea -- Paper nerds UNITE!

Staish -- Filing nerds UNITE!

Mothercare -- I love you, too :)

Rebecca Simon -- Hugs right back at you! And yes, I totally recommend Josh Harris' book.

Simplythis -- Ooh, I wish I were more geeky and could help you with this dilemma but I'm normally all like yay Firefox you rule the worrrrrld but... if it eats pictures, I'm not so sure.

Mitanika -- I want to know so much more about this possible going-back-to-school!
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