weddings, parties, anything

My big brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to ask me to do a reading during their wedding ceremony last night. We joked about me pulling the reading from my own book, but there’s nothing really wedding appropriate in TBIB at all, plus I’m conscious about being that person.

Instead, I read a wonderful passage from Louis de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, a subtle shout out to my family’s Greek heritage. I love the book, and, as I said in my introduction to the reading, ‘it is a beautiful story of love and war and Mussolini and syphilis, so perfectly apt for a wedding.’ Here is what I read (affixed to the back of a copy of TBIB because everyone loves a good self-promotional jape.)

“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day… For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” – Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

As for the rest of the wedding, I danced as if no one was watching which made all the people who were watching laugh.




Keeping up with the…Everyones

A couple of weeks ago I locked myself in a beach house, tried to finish the first draft of manuscript 2, had an existential crisis, wrote about it and today it is in edition 501 of The Big Issue. Because write what you know…

The Big Issue is one of my favourite magazines and every time I buy it I have the most interesting conversations with the vendors. It is such an important magazine and does so much to promote empowerment, self-esteem and opportunity.

adventures (in Bacchus Marsh)

This Saturday afternoon I’m super excited to be talking at the Lerderderg Library in Bacchus Marsh about my various travels and how these influenced writing The Bit In Between. Joining me is Anthony McGrath talking about his fly-fishing adventures in the Amazon. If you love both quaint explorations of the benefits of travel to the artistic muse and/or fly-fishing, why not come?! More info here.

all the Claires

I send myself emails all the time: reminders, shopping lists, ideas for stories or manuscripts or choice bits of conversation I’ve overheard. Sometimes I even send myself emails to remind myself to respond to an email I have just read, which is something I need to do now because the internet has ruined my memory-thingamy. So it took me several befuddled minutes to work out why, a few weeks back, I emailed myself a long self-addressed correspondence that I had no recollection of writing. Turns out there are many Claire Varleys in this world. Ego placed back into box.

Other Claire Varley – for this is how I refer to her in conversation so as not to sound like either a nut job or royal – was happily going about her business on Twitter when suddenly she started getting linked to tweets about my book. At this stage I wasn’t on the Twitter-beast so any Claire Varley’ll do, right? She ignored it for a while and then when it wouldn’t quit, wondered what to do about it. She contacted me, thereby doubling the number of Claire Varleys currently emailing my account, and we caught up to both ponder this conundrum and stare into the infinite abyss that opens up before you when you realise you are neither unique nor special.

Mostly, we chatted about who gets to be Claire Varley. Clearly we both do. It’s not really a prize, seeing as we’ve both been Claire Varley since birth, and unless one of us does something really demented or shameful it’s not much of a curse either. Undoubtably there are many other Claire Varleys out there and perhaps one day I shall organise a convention or some such. A Festival of Claires or Varley-palooza. The UN could declare an International Day for us. It’d be great, and long overdue.

Because Other Claire Varley is a savvy journalism student, she knew a story when she was one. She’s written about the whole thing here. (Just for everyone’s reference, in response to her question ‘Would the real Claire Varley please stand up?’, clearly I am the real Claire Varley because if I start to think otherwise I will no longer exist. Nietzsche et al etc etc)

Name checked by Readings in the Guardian!

The good people at Readings were kind enough to include me in this list of Aussie women writers you should read right now. This is pretty much my summer reading list, with the exception of my own book which, after the editing process, I am sick of reading.

Fun fact: Tomorrow night myself and fellow list includee Lucy Treloar are taking part in the Wheeler Centres ‘Next Big Thing‘, alongside non-list includees Rafael SW and Luke Beesley.


Thus far, I’ve spent a majority of 2015 tearing my hair out and hiding inside the refrigerator (ie, finishing The Bit In Between and starting book 2). October is officially ‘Not-Writing-Book-2-Month’ because I need some time to grow back my hair, lower my fridge-induced cholesterol and see if there is any sanity left somewhere in the back of my mental cupboards. I’ve been trying to write other things and Seizure was lovely enough to publish one of them. Love the artwork by Sam Paine. Much better than the sad-faced stick figures I would have provided.

Another lovely review

I’m so happy when people tell me the book left them wanting to discuss it with others, like in Terry’s review. I would like to clarify the Cinderella story he speaks of: my book was indeed picked out of the slush pile after submitting it to Pan Macmillan’s Manuscript Monday. The agent etc came after. And all up, I’d sent it to eight other publishers before Pan Mac swept me off my feet. So a fairly prolonged Cinderella story.