Friday, 17 October 2008

a day in the life of tiara, 42 degrees down undah...

been so long, so much has happened in the past few weeks, don't know where to start..

since my last entry, i've gone back to the old habit of being Tiara again, filling every waking moment of the day with an activity or another. all the solitude and tranquility has settled, and suddenly i'm finding myself thinking, gosh i haven't much time left here, i wanna do things! i still want to get going on that writing project, want to paint, must see the west coast of tassie, have to get going with my vocal lessons, so much to do and so little time!

the writing has been my biggest block so far, as i couldn't seem to actually get going!
Danielle Wood at the Uni got me to read a book which i think been the most insightful thing i've read throughout my career as a producer and actor, a book called "the writer's journey" - up til then, i didn't realize that there was a structure, method, recipe to successful
storytelling. we talked about this writing project of mine, and i promised to devour the book as quickly as i could so we could met and talk about it further.
Danielle Wood, author of Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales For Girls

a few days after that, i walked in to the Tasmanian writer's center and met Chris Gallagher, an amazing woman who runs this place that provides all the help and support to get writers off the ground and started. i watched her run about the place sorting me out with books and reading material, information on writing and poetry workshops, book readings etc, and wondered why is it we don't have people like this back at home, who LOVE what they do, and are happy to support and help in any way. this is after all the job they chose to do, so why not enjoy it, and look at it as a way you can enrich or even just touch other people's lives. i imagine that if we had enough people who looked at their jobs as an opportunity and a way of being blessed to be in a position to help, our film and arts industry would be a million miles away from what is is right now.

anyway, now i have "the writer's journey", and Robert Mckee's "Story" and a book on writing an autobiography to try and devour over the remaining month of my stay. great.

what i've found to be so enriching and fulfilling about this place has been that even though it's a small city with a very moderate pulse in the way of arts activities and hype,
it's been rich in a different sense, an inspiring, from-within sense, if that means anything to you.
i have been fortunate enough to be here whilst the Tasmanian Living Writers week was going on, and this was a hive of activity from workshops where writers talk about their writing journeys, the royal botanical gardens had a delightful event called "poet-tree" where they featured poetry by tasmania's young up-and-coming poets, cleverly placed in between trees and plants at the gardens, and people would take a wander around and read and admire the beautiful flowers in the first days of spring, and just lie on the grass and think about the words and just dream. no rush, no hurry, take your own sweet time and dream. i enjoyed walking around the book fairs especially the one at the atrium of the gorgeous henry jones art hotel
next door to our apartment, meeting with the local writing community, soaking up the buzz and just BEING.

i guess this feeling of an opportunity to live so carefree and more importantly, completely incognito, is a luxury most of you reading this can't make out why it's such a big deal, but coming from a life of being watched, looked at, recognized, photographed (with and without consent) studied, sometimes judged every day, this really is a liberating change. and i'm soaking up every bit of that sunshine whilst i can, for i know my life will change again come mid november when i finally go back to my old life again. not that i have any complaints about
my "old" life, i have much more to be thankful for and have achieved much more than i set out to or dreamed of doing.

back to tassie's wonderful and inspiring arts scene. the most interesting part of the city for me is no longer the cbd or the shopping district, or north hobart which is considered the "cosmopolitan" part of the city, but where i find my nirvana is salamanca place which is famous for its regular saturday 'salamanca market' - a whole street of beautiful 19th century sandstone buildings which used to be warehouses. you can do your own reading on salamanca place here: a lot of my free time in hobart is spent in this vicinity-i shop for groceries here at the salamanca fresh fruit market (and i haven't gone grocery shopping for a good many years of my life, this is a nice new feeling..), there is a square here called salamanca square that houses my favorite bookshop, the hobart bookshop, and a great bakery that's maybe the only place to get any kind of food at 2am(not that i do that anymore, but its nice to know if i get locked out of the house for whatever reason, i will not go hungry!). there are some lovely lanes you can walk through to wander through shops and companies that are art-related in some way or another-art galleries, a film company, and the peacock theatre.

this is digressing a little but i'm having a think about how the arts scene here
is so vibrant and alive because of the way it is supported by a whole bunch of people at the department of heritage and arts here, who are themselves keen and passionate about the arts and interested in playing a role in facilitating access to the arts and opportunities in the arts. you walk into this government-run department, and the last thing you see are tired faces of people who don't really want this job or are thinking everyday about why they are sitting in that chair in the first place. i see people who walk with a bounce in their
step, which tell me immediately that this person is working with a purpose and is there because he fels his job can make a difference to someone's life or career at least. i don't think i have seen very many people walking around in suits, hardly any at all actually, come to think of it. and i like that, because if you were an artist who's come to talk to someone you want to feel welcome and that there is a feeling of openness and wanting to support and certainly not to patronize or belittle anyone. their websites for a start are warm and inviting, and show the department and certainly the ministry and the government's support for the arts community here, and you can check this out at your leisure:

well back to salamanca. i spend a fair few sunny spring afternoons wandering along the little lanes, wondering about the history and what tales the stones in the ground might tell if i sat around long enough. there are two interesting lanes i have wandered along, kelly's steps
which leads to a flight of steps, built in 1839 by the adventurer James Kelly to connect Salamanca Place with Battery Point. another favorite lane of mine is wooby's lane, named after a Mr. John Wooby, (a convicted housebreaker who was sentenced to 14 years transportation and arrived in Hobart in 1837) who owned a goodies stall located near the end of the lane in the 1870s. He was married to another convict, Ann McNally, who had been convicted of stealing potatoes and sentenced to 7years.

in Wooby's lane is one of the most vibrant eating spots in Hobart, the Mezethes Greek restaurant. in a little alley just next to the greek restaurant though, i found who now is my first formal art teacher, Peter Barraclough. i'd been hoping to learn to paint whilst i'm here, because i know i would never make the time otherwise back home, and i looked up a list of Tassie's foremost artists, peter was the first person i looked up, and decided i'd drop in and offer myself as his apprentice! how about that. i think i quite surprised the old man, he wasn't quite sure what i was about at first i'm sure, but he was wonderful enough to take me under his wing, have me hang about his studio and watch him work, and has since taught me from scratch about watercolor and oil painting! this is what i do a couple of days a week, and i'm loving it! watching a master painter at work,and having him talk me through the whole process of why he does things a certain way, why he uses a certain brush or tool, watching him set up his work space from scratch and watch him tidy up and rearrange his tools for the next day, is art school 101 at its absolute preciousness, if you ask me. peter gets me to actually try out what we're learning about for the day by actually getting "down and dirty" - no, not in THAT sense, i mean LITERALLY DOWN AND DIRTY with paint on your hands, face and clothes, and having a real feel for the tools and really just HAVING A GO which i have enjoyed immensely. i can't believe sometimes that he wants me to go ahead and paint up a corner of something he started. peter tells me, just DO IT. if you think you've messed up, it's okay, FIX IT. and more importantly, what i've found so liberating about our lessons is, he reminds me time and time again, that there are guidelines and methods you need to know to start with, but once you've got your canvas in front of you, YOU'RE IN CHARGE, and YOU MAKE THE RULES. just like your acting, he says, the script may be written a certain way, but ultimately its YOU who makes it your own.

if i gave you an idea of what kind of a day i have had, you might get a picture of where all this new writing energy is gushing from. 10.30am - 1.30pm painting with peter barraclough. then i rushed off, half an hour late for an appointment with Ishtar Darvell, my osteopath (she's my body mechanic that will hopefully have me in top gear for rehearsals in december!), then i grabbed Effendi and dragged him along to meet Ahimsa at the Satyananda Yoga centre in St John's Avenue at 2.30. Ahimsa had given a creative writing retreat during Living Writers' Week using yoga and meditation as a way of getting creativity to flow, and this really intrigued me. I missed out on the retreat but was fortunate enough to meet Ahimsa at a yoga demonstration she gave at the Tulip Festival on the first day of Spring at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and i begged her to give me a one-on-one class. well, today it was a two-on-one class since i'd roped Effendi in. I think that session we had today, prompted by my earlier liberating experience of just going for it at my session with Peter, is what just opened the floodgates for me and thats why i'm gushing...all over the place, but i'm doing what all creative people need to do and just GOIN' WIT THE FLOW, BABEH!!!! We worked on yoga postures and visualizations and some meditation, and when our minds were clear, went straight into our own brainstorming using mind maps, and just writing whatever came to our minds at the time which was pretty amazing. i could see my hand writing non stop and so fast i could barely even think quickly enough. fantastic! Now my day didn't end there, that would have been too easy. this is Ahimsa with me in our session today.
I had one last appointment for the day, and this was to meet Danielle Woods at the University. I'm running 20 minutes late for her now, after trying to squeeze so much into this one day. But i was all fired up and my creative juices were so overflowing and we had a really good chat about my story idea and where i might take it, and how i can apply the principles of The Writer's Journey to my story etc etc. Now, i'm sitting at my study desk and i can't stop writing... i love it.

I'm thinking of how lucky i am to be here and have all this opportunities present themselves... and these people have no idea who i am from Adam, they were just happy to support my craving to learn. What a wonderful idea it's been to just up and go to Tassie, and to just immerse myself in the wonderment of being in a foreign place, to open up and allow myself to be affected by the culture and the life here.

You won't guess what the tagline for Hobart's City Council's campaign is - "The way life should be", indicating that living in Hobart is as good as it gets. And i for one can vouch for the truth i have found in that.

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