The Great Plains: A peak at my next novel out November 2014.

 A sneak peak at the cover of my new novel. The Great Plains will be published November 2014. I'm really excited about this work. As part of the research for the book I toured Texas and Oklahoma on a research trip last year. My mum came with me to help out with the note-taking as I [...]

By | July 25th, 2014|A WRITERS LIFE, Inspiration|0 Comments

The Western Front Diaries

July 1st 1916 marked the first day of the Battle of the Somme in World War I. There have been numerous works written on The Great War and with anniversaries coming thick and fast over the next few years one of the more evocative reads is Jonathan King's The Western Front Diaries. This is a grand book. Using [...]

By | July 1st, 2014|Inspiration|0 Comments

The Agony & the Ecstasy – Art in literature

The Agony & The Ecstasy of Stone’s Michelangelo Biographical novels of artists abound, but perhaps the most famous is Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy about one of the most famous artists of all time, Michelangelo.   Stone took much of his material from nearly 500 letters attributed to Michelangelo, which had never before [...]

By | June 17th, 2014|A WRITERS LIFE, Inspiration, Opinion|0 Comments

The Sigh of the Moor – Viewing history through art in The Moor’s Last Sigh.

In The Moor’s Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie tells the complicated, epic, nearly mythic story of Moraes Zogoiby, known as "the Moor," and the last of a fictional family descended from Vasco de Gama and the last Muslim king of Spain. Much of Moraes’ story revolves around his mother Aurora, a complex character and in many [...]

By | May 15th, 2014|Inspiration|0 Comments

Soldier Boy, the youngest Anzac

Some stories are so amazing that they deserve to spoken of time and again. So it is with Soldier Boy the celebrated true story of Jim Martin the youngest Anzac. Written by Anthony Hill and first published in 2001 it won the NSW Premier's Award (Ethel Turner Prize) the year of publication and has since [...]

By | May 7th, 2014|Inspiration, Patriotism|0 Comments

Art in Literature: The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray as a Mirror on Wilde’s Society  In the late Victorian era during which Oscar Wilde wrote, bourgeois society had begun ascribing moral values to its art, believing art should be used to provide the masses social education and moral enlightenment (think Charles Dickens). Wilde and many of his contemporaries rebelled against that idea, looking to untether art from any moral responsibility through the aestheticism movement, which believed art had no purpose at all. One of Wilde’s most famous works, and his only published novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is often  seen as a direct condemnation of—or perhaps a sort of parody of—the idea of art as moral. As you may remember, the main conceit of the story is that Dorian Gray, an attractive and  hedonistic young man, remains young and beautiful despite his appetites, while his portrait  ages and grows more grotesque with every act of debauchery. Where Victorian society wanted art to provide a moral lesson to the viewer, Dorian’s portrait  does the opposite for Dorian himself, providing him with all the excuse he needs to follow his  desires wherever they lead him without any consequence. And society was certainly scandalized by this! Some British reviewers at the time even went so far as to insist that Wilde be prosecuted  on moral grounds. But seen with modern eyes, it becomes a little more challenging to see whether Wilde succeeded in his goal of proving that art should have no purpose. Dorian does, in fact, get his just desserts in the end, when he stabs the portrait and is later found, stabbed, and hideously grotesque and aged, suggesting that even Wilde couldn’t let him get away with all his dirty deeds without some comeuppance. In fact, for many, the novel is a tale of the price of vanity and hedonism; rather than, as Wilde said, a work of art with no purpose. Where’s the truth? Perhaps somewhere in between. The painter in the novel, Basil, declares that art should be  “unconscious, ideal, and remote.” Yet his own painting of Dorian is anything but, both because of its mystical powers, but also because of the way Basil idolizes his subject. Because these are so contrary to the aesthetic ideal, some see the portrait of Dorian Gray as something of a cautionary tale, as in: this is the price you pay for insisting that art has a moral lesson. Whatever the meaning, The Picture of Dorian Gray remains one of the most well known and oft-read pieces of literature that revolve around a work of art. Where do you think Dorian Gray lies on the moral spectrum? Cautionary tale of vanity and vice or a purposeless work of art? I’d love to hear your theories in the comments.  

By | April 22nd, 2014|A WRITERS LIFE, Inspiration|0 Comments

Jack & the Easter bunny

It was the rabbits that made me realise it was Easter. Nicole and I were out on one of the cultivations hooking the utility up to the fuel trailer when I saw them. It was last Thursday night and I must admit with the moon still full I was a bit nervy. You see earlier [...]

By | April 21st, 2014|COUNTRY LIFE, Inspiration, MOTHER NATURE|0 Comments

The Great War- The war to end all wars.

The German invasion of France in August 1914 saw millions of soldiers digging two lines of zig-zagging trenches that stretched for five hundred miles across Europe, from the North Sea to Switzerland. These trenches would remain virtually unchanged until the war ended four years later. The area between the opposing forces was known as ‘No [...]

By | April 2nd, 2014|Inspiration, Opinion, Patriotism|0 Comments

Jennifer Smart on Home and Away and that first novel…

Meet Jennifer Smart, ex-Home & Away assistant director and scriptwriter. Jennifer's first novel The Wardrobe Girl is out now and she dropped by to share her thoughts on writing that first book... " 'Write what you know’, is the very sound advice offered to aspiring writers on the subject of their first novel. I guess [...]

By | March 26th, 2014|A WRITERS LIFE, Inspiration|0 Comments

The Dog Blog-He’s Just Not That Into You Jill…

It’s been a torrid week. Firstly still no rain, secondly we switched dog biscuit brands with ordinary results. I keep telling the two-legged’s, don’t let some shop-keeper tell you what I like. I know what I like. I’ve always been a two hat dog at the least, anything under and it doesn’t make the grade. [...]

By | March 24th, 2014|A WRITERS LIFE, Inspiration, MOTHER NATURE, Opinion|0 Comments
Load More Posts