On Overland: The Boycott Israel 19

On the Overland blog today, my piece on the Boycott Israel 19 argues why everyone in Melbourne who supports the right to demonstrate needs to defend the 19 of us that were arrested on July 1 and to make the next BDS action on July 29 even bigger:

On Friday 1 July, 19 pro-Palestinian activists, including me, were arrested in Melbourne’s CBD for opposing Max Brenner, a chocolate store that sends care packages to some of the most brutal sections of the Israeli army. The arrests show just how far defenders of Israel will go to silence dissent. Furthermore, police intimidating and violently attacking a protest in Melbourne sets a dangerous precedent for anyone wanting to demonstrate in Victoria.

Read more…

Elsewhere on the web…

Today, my words have stretched their tentacles to elsewhere on the web, outside of this mere blog. So whilst I work on some other pieces, if you’re looking to read something by yours truly, I’m happy to point you in the right direction.

At Write Anything, with new location and new design, where I write regularly, I have a piece on how I approach plotting novels titled ‘Advice from an unsuccessful plotter’:

I hope you all don’t think we’re experts here at Write Anything. If you do, I think I’m about to break the façade. We’re all just writers like you with things to teach you probably because we’ve only just learnt those things ourselves.

But for me, the game is up when it comes to plotting. I write this post with about five unfinished novels under my belt. There’s hope for perhaps three of them at most, but it’s going to take some serious work.

I don’t really have a worked out way of plotting that’s universal. Certainly, I’ve had much more success with short fiction, which is usually based around one or two ideas, and it’s often written on the fly.

When it comes to novels though, I pile a few more ideas on, perhaps use a couple of subplots to try and keep my swaying tower of dung from teetering over in a heap, but it always seems to fall down somewhere or in one case, the tower stands tall, it’s just not a very convincing tower. There are bits missing inside.

Read more…

And over at Socialist Alternative, I report on last Saturday’s rally calling for children out of detention outside Broadmeadows Detention Centre:

In October last year Chris Bowen, the Minister for Immigration responsible for locking up innocent people for the crime of seeking asylum, made a promise. He said all children would be out of detention by June 2011, a promise that Kevin Rudd made when he was elected in 2007. But despite Labor making the same promise twice, and its latest deadline having passed, there are still over 300 children in detention.

No asylum seeker should be detained under the cruel policy of mandatory detention, but it is particularly abhorrent that children are detained, especially as the Gillard government pats itself on the back pretending that to shown some kind of compassion.

Read more…

Linkshout: Oppose Israel's attack on the pro-Palestinian flotilla

LinkshoutIf you’ve been living under a rock, you might have missed the latest major development in Israel’s barbaric crimes against the Palestinian people and its supporters. A flotilla of boats with unarmed pro-Palestinian peace activists carrying dangerous and abhorrent things such as food, medical supplies and toys were hijacked in act of piracy by Israeli Navy and Military where at least 19 have been massacred and even more injured.

The latest crime needs to be outrightly condemned as yet another barbarous and indefensible action from the Israeli state, hell-bent on doing anything it can to stop support for people they want to starve in the open air prison that is Gaza. This is an outrageous attack on unarmed civilians and the media coverage, whilst trying to find any glimmer of something to defend the Israelis with, can’t help but reveal the callous actions the Zionist state have undertaken that will continue to drive support for the apartheid state away.

But I am not able to express everything as well as other bloggers closer to the action or on top of developments as they happen.

Antony Loewenstein is a master at posting frequent snippets from the world’s media on the Israel/Palestine issue and is covering the latest attack on the flotilla.

Lenin’s Tomb has also posted frequently and will no doubt cover the solidarity actions in Britain today.

From the Arab world, The Angry Arab News Service will cover the developments with snippets, wit and graphic imagery.

From En Passant, John Passant says “we are all Palestinians now.”

From Harpymarx:

And the BBC, so much for unbiased and impartiality, interviews former Israeli commandos who spout the line along with a naval officer who defends storming the flotilla (why did they have to storm it in the first place? Nothing whatsoever about the mission of the flotilla, or the war crimes and acts of terrorism committed against the Palestinians in Gaza. Instead Mark Thompson (Director-General) capitulates time and time again to the pro-Zionist lobby.

I will add more tomorrow as news develops and bloggers get a chance to catch up to the media.

Tomorrow there are protests and speak outs all over Australian capital cities to show solidarity with the Palestinians and the activists attacked. RSVP to the Facebook event and invite your friends.

Linkshout: May 13

LinkshoutLink collection posts aren’t anything particularly new. I feel slightly guilty as it really is heavily based on Lisa Dempster’s ‘linktown’ posts. Think of my ‘linkshouts’ as me standing on the street corner of the blogosphere and shouting out what I think worth’s reading on current issues and debates around the web.

Jessica Au tackles the question of originality at Spike, the Meanjin blog which answers some of my own questions or poses them more clearly, especially in light of trying find someone who will published My Boss Sucks despite it rehashing certain themes.

Anna Barnes reviews Emily Maguire’s new book Your Skirt’s Too Short at Killings, the Kill Your Darlings blog. It’s a modern book on feminism and women’s sexuality which seems to be an update of her previous book, Princesses and Pornstars which I’m reading at the moment.

On The Guardian Books Blog, Stuart Evans ‘What’s Happened to political fiction?’ but what’s missing in his answer is how someone’s approach to political fiction is based on the political context. James Campbell then speaks to Tariq Ali about how he has turned to fiction in a period where struggle is at a low.

Ryan Paine asks some pertinent questions about the ethics of publishing and argues that young people in the field are naturally conscious of social justice issues and this reflects choices they make in both the production and consumption of literature and published material. I don’t really have too many answers myself but it is worth thinking about.

One of the major political questions in the world at the moment is the British elections, the hung parliament, coalitions and the stability of those in power. Whilst we now know a fucking conservative is the Prime Minster, Lenin’s Tomb raises the controversial argument that a stable government is not necessarily a good thing in the context of all parties wanting to carry out cuts.

Of course, the other major question is Greece and the European debt crisis. There’s numerous stuff around the media to link to, but I won’t link to everything. Are there rules with these link things? Can I link to things that aren’t blogs? I’d like to link to a blog post on Greece but I haven’t read anything that good. Ben Hillier on Socialist Alternative though looks at it from a socialist perspective.

Have a read of those. I’d also remind you to read (and perhaps comment) on my post regarding Margaret Atwood breaking the cultural boycott of Israel; and to attend the rally for same-sex marriage rights if you’re able to get to an Australian capital city this Saturday – Ian McKellen is speaking at the Melbourne rally and there’s more info at Equal Love.

I’m also working on a piece around the questions of political fiction, whether or not they are powerful enough to convince people of a world view, inspire people to action or in the end, change the world. I’m still discussing and thinking it over so I’ll be happy if I get it up sometime next week.

Blog in Review: What's in store for 2010?

I’ve been setting yearly writing goals or resolutions for a few years now and more recently monthly goals, finally tacking one blogging goal a month onto the end of those. But now, at the start of 2010, I’m considering what I want to achieve with the blog this year.

Macbook keyboardObviously, I want to continue to write interesting and useful posts that help me by writing them as much as they interest and help readers by reading them, and this will mean hopefully more visits, more comments and more subscribers.

But I’m a bit confused as to how to go about setting goals for 2010 in regards to blogging. I mean, the focus and priority of this blog can change rapidly and so goals can mean little in a few months. So I think the idea is to be broad and open.

The Blog Herald has an excellent post regarding their blogging goals.

As opposed to other blogs, this blog isn’t around to earn money, but more as an outlet to express my thoughts, progress and gain feedback and start conversations around those ideas. It’s also a means to raise my profile as a writer that might help me in the future when I’m published.

So, with that in mind, this is what might be in store for the blog in 2010:

  1. Facebook fan page – I’ve been using Facebook for a while now and post links to my latest blog posts so friends can find out about them. But I’m working on a fan page so anyone can follow my writer ‘persona’ and stay up to date with the blog, as well as other writing-related news, via Facebook.
  2. Alternate colour scheme – I love reading blogs with white text on a black background, and so do many of my readers (or at least you don’t hate it enough to stop reading) but I realise some people would prefer a more traditional black text on white background so looking into a way that people can click a button to switch to a different theme.
  3. Guest posts here and elsewhere – Sometimes more interesting things happen overseas than in Australia (ok, most of the time) so I would like to feature more posts from other bloggers here this year on events overseas. I would also like to post more on other blogs like Write Anything.
  4. Linking and being linked – In the same vain as guest posts, I plan to link more to other bloggers especially when they blog on similar topics as me. It’d be great to expand the conversation out. Hopefully this will encourage linking in the other direction. The Daily (Maybe) is a good example of link-loving.

These are kind of modest goals to go with the usual plan to blog regularly on political events, political debates, how my writing is going, some flash fiction, reviews of whatever I’m reading, watching or listening to and whatever else is swimming in my head.

If you’ve got any tips or thoughts, now’s the time to offer them. So long as you’re friendly and all that. Suggestions to join the Liberal party or to quit writing aren’t the kinds of advice I’m looking for.

NaNoWriMo: Other Bloggers Q&A

Days till NaNoWriMo: 17 (I think)

Apologies for taking so long to post this list. I think reality is slowly coming back, or at least ideas for my novel are coming back.

Anyway, last week I created a question and answer meme/quiz/what-ever-you-call-it about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and how people have done it and do it. I invited other people to copy it and do it on their own blogs and was pleased with the response.

Oh and I offered double points to people who posted action shots and so put their posts in bold. Shower them with extra love.

  1. Write From Karen – Na-No-WHAT-O?
  2. random thoughts – NaNo Tuesday
  3. Sturm und Drang – 26 Days to NaNo: A NaNo Based Meme
  4. EK’s Star Log – NaNoWriMo Q&A (A Blog Meme – Consider Yourself Tagged)
  5. Dirty Blonde – NaNoWriMo Q&A
  6. Writing in Black and White – NaNoWriMo 2
  7. She Thinks Too Much – Yet another NaNo Meme
  8. Clamouring to become visible… – NaNoWriMo Q&A
  9. The Variety Pages – Wildcare: NaNo Meme
  10. we spend all of our lives goin’ out of our minds – NaNoMeMe
  11. omgoldfish – NaNo Meme ^_^
  12. Reality Escapes Her – Art and writing
  13. Merinda’s Meanderings – Nanowrimo meme
  14. Quantum Tea – NaNoWriMo meme
  15. It’s All About Writing – The NaNoWriMo Blog Meme
  16. nandawrites.com – NaNoWriMo Blog Meme
  17. Catherine-Haines.com – NaNoWriMo Q&A
  18. For the Greater Good – And we’re back to the beginning again
  19. Purple Monster – Blog Meme – My Answers
  20. The Forgotten City – NaNoWriMo Q&A

I’m sure there are many others who have done it too but have either forgotten you or not found you. Please leave a comment with your link in the comments section and I’ll update this list as it happens.

Oh and if you haven’t seen it before, feel free to do it to (with a link back to me!) and I’ll you too :-)

What I'm Reading on the Web

I’ve been lacking motivation the last couple of days and we’re slowly going broke because we can’t find a housemate. About the only thing I’ve been doing is keeping up with blogs and the news.

Sometimes I just feel like quoting bits from articles and blog posts I’ve read but that doesn’t really count as blogging.

So, I’ve set up a Shared Items feed via Google Reader so you can follow what I’m reading if you so wish. The latest 4 items are in the sidebar. Enjoy.

Benjamin’s shared items