It would be safe to say that I have been immersed into the magical world of children's books since starting an internship at Ford Street Publishing. This Australian independent publishing house has published over 150 titles to date, and is known for its high quality publications and diverse collection of children's and young adult books. When I think about what my favourite books were as a child –Pony Tails, The Rainbow Fish, The Tale of Petter Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, and basically anything by Graeme Base – there seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout – that they all encompass animals in some way.
Animals in literature play a crucial role in expressing common themes throughout the story, and can even create an emotional distance for the reader which enables a story to focus on subject matter that may be too personal or confronting. From the more recent novels, A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Purpose to the much older tales of Moby Dick and Black Beauty, it is clear that the animal genre can capture the imagination of not only a child but also an adult. In saying that, let me introduce you to five more favourite fables for middle-grade readers.
I’ve always wanted to know how academics come to a decision about their research topic? I can only presume their topic has to be something that interests them enough to want to dedicate several months, or even years, to working on. So, what interested me? What would keep me entertained for the next year when undertaking my own 10,000 word creative thesis?
My topic had to revolve around any form of literature (to align with my postgraduate writing and literature degree) so I scanned the book spines on my shelf and pulled out a few that I had remembered intrigued me upon reading them. After umming and ahing between a selection of five texts, I cut them down to two final novels, Goethe’s Faust (1829) and Ellis’s Less Than Zero (1985). Feeling up for a wild challenge, I decided to stick with Ellis’s text and delve into drugs, sex, and violence – theoretically that is.
Writer, Tama Janowitz and Andy Warhol at the Slaves of New York Book Party at Petaluma, 1986. PHOTO: ©PATRICK McMULLAN.
Feature Article by Caitlin Burns
What have you been watching lately? Have you been getting your daily dose of Neighbours or watching the contestants battle it out on MasterChef? Or are you more engrossed with independent dramas such as ABC’s Mystery Road and Jack Irish? Whatever it may be, it would be fair to say that Australian-produced television has exceeded in keeping the nation entertained during eight weeks of meticulous, and often mundane lockdown.
In late March, each Australian state and territory implemented their own social distancing rules and lockdown regulations. Screen practitioners were among the many businesses considered ‘non-essential’, which has now caused over 60 productions to shut down or postpone, including television programs: Back to the Rafters, The Bachelor, Survivor, and Marvel’s action-blockbuster, Shang-Chi.
The halt of homegrown entertainment has led to a loss of over 20,000 jobs, and with no support package available for those working in the arts industry, many are struggling financially and mentally.
Now you may say that that is just a lazy excuse for someone who can't commit, but being the overbearing organiser and life planner that I am, I knew 'going with the flow' would pose a challenge. It didn’t mean I'd let each day pass by without achieving any of my set goals, instead it was more about letting go of the negativity, rejection or hardships associated with something I had set my mind too, essentially pushing me to move on quicker. When I was unsuccessful at a job interview, I accepted it then and there and moved on to the next job application. When a relationship ended and nothing more could be done, I moved on knowing that the unpredicted flow of life would probably see me forming new bonds with others and creating new friendships, which it did. Instead of dwelling on the outcome of a situation I knocked down my perfectionist barriers and succumbed to the universe’s uncertain flow. And it was the best thing I did!
Safety is super important. Always be cautious when walking alone at night and buy pepper spray.
Rideshare Apps are your best friends. Uber and Lyft come in handy as public transport is so unreliable.
It’s much harder to spot celebrities. They’re very good at disguising themselves with caps and oversized sunglasses, blending in with us ordinary folk.
First published as 'Beyond Bollywood' in Intrepid Times
In Mumbai, a multitude of masala films are produced each year mixing crime, romance, action, suspense and comedy into a three hour long film. These Bollywood blockbusters are beacons of hope within Indian society. The lower classes deflect their own economic struggles for the instant pleasure of watching bold and beguiling characters take on the fantastical world around them on a screen bigger than their shanty homes.
The human mind will erode when exposed to the harsh reality of one's guilty conscience.
CREDIT: THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019) A24
Robert Eggers’, The Lighthouse, is a psychological sexually-charged maritime tale that will have you squirming in your seat. Davy Jones’ Locker unleashes hell onto an old lighthouse keeper by the name of Thomas Wake and his clandestine new wickie, Ephraim Winslow, in a film that meshes greek mythology with 1890s America. But screaming sirens and tantalising tentacle creatures are no match for the monsters embedded within the human psyche.
For a bit of fun here is a list of the top 10 subtle differences I've noticed as an Australian living in the United States.
1. Free Refills
Remember when Hungry Jack's used to let you drown your sorrows with unlimited softdrink? Those were the days of sugar highs and diabetes... Well fear not, pretty much every fast food joint in the US will have a soda fountain centre stage.
Don't visit the Hollywood Museum of Death
This maze-like museum is flooding with items surrounding death: coffins, EXTREMELY graphic photographs of crimes undertaken on victims, taxidermy animals, hundreds of skeletons and artwork and letters from serial killers. I'm a fan of horror films so when my friend suggested we visit the Death Museum located on Hollywood Boulevard I was actually really enthusiastic. My excitement quickly turned into regret once we stepped foot inside and walked amongst those eerie artifacts. I certainly felt an unusual presence following me and held onto the cross around my neck. Maybe I was being dramatic but the atmosphere inside is indeed spine-chilling. Definitely do not visit this place if you're squeamish; there were moments where I even felt as though I was going to throw up, especially upon seeing photos of decapitated heads. The price is $17, quite high, probably because they know that no one is going to come back for a second time...
First published in Go World Travel
I had been living in Los Angeles for just under a month before my eldest brother came out to visit me. I wanted to make his 2 weeks in the US worthwhile so in our classic family style we hired a car and took to the road, attempting to visit a number of National Parks along the way.
We were staying in Las Vegas when we made the decision to spend a day exploring one of the largest and driest national parks in the United States, Death Valley National Park - approximately a 2½hr drive from Vegas (or a 4hr drive from Los Angeles). The night before we left to go on this spontaneous adventure we had come up with a brief list of things to see and do, not really knowing what to expect. All we knew was that the original Star Wars films had been shot in a few of the park's locations. And as big fans we had a feeling the day ahead was bound to be exciting.
There is so much to see and do at Death Valley National Park. Incredible volcanic colours are pasted across the landscape, there are stunning views of snow capped mountains, creepy ghost towns to explore, and abundant adventures to undertake; from hiking to sand-boarding.
Although we only had one day it was still worth the trip as we got to see most of the touristy sites - the benefits of going in February. But I’d highly advise spending more than one day, it'll give you time to relax and explore further sections of the park up north. And always go during the winter months - weather for us reached about 25°C (77°F ) which then rose subtly when walking through the canyons.
Here is a list of the best places to see in Death Valley National Park.