Guest blogger – Hawaiian artist Rick Daddario

Guest blogger – Hawaiian artist Rick Daddario

Guest blogger – Hawaiian artist Rick Daddario

Today I would like to introduce you to a wonderfully creative blogger Rick Daddario who resides in Hawaii (lucky him 🙂 ). He is a visual artist, photographer and poet who blogs at 19 Planets Art Blog.

His work ranges from drawings, watercolours, acrylics, sketches, mixed media, digital drawings and paintings, digital mixed media collage, photographs and altered photographs, haiku and haiga ( ie., combination of image and haiku), mail art or postal art.

I am a big fan of his blog and find his work calming and meditative, with a focus on seasonal changes, nature, observation and simplicity. His blog is like a resting place next to a clear, serene pond with beautiful water lilies for company.

I asked Rick my usual two questions for guest bloggers:

Why do you blog? What do you like best about blogging?

Here is Rick’s response:

Rick Daddario

Why do you blog?

Until you asked, I don’t think I’d really asked myself this question. Maybe the answer to the follow up question will help?

What do you like best about blogging?


Ten things I like best about blogging:

Liking something best is hard – because one day (one moment) it might be one thing and the next day it’s two other things. So ten things I like about blogging:

1. Most artists I know like to see/understand how people respond to their work. I’m like that. Blogging helps me to know how people respond to my work without the stress of “showing” – as in a Gallery setting or selling, although I like to do both of these at times too. Blogging allows me to show my art; Visual Art (maybe I should include flash writing too) to people related to my field as well as those interested in what I do. Knowing I have a place where people can find and look at my work is one of the things I like about blogging.

2. I also like the interaction that can occur. Something I do may excite someone else to do something of his or her own. I like that. Seeing what others do can have the same effect on me. I like that kind of exchange.

3. There is also the idea of connecting around the planet. Being in contact with people from all over this planet appeals to me. Maybe it’s the sense that we are all one, that is most often reinforced through this connection, that I like. May be it’s the sense that the world is a big and amazing place with a lot of different points of views and ways of seeing/living on earth that excites me about this connecting. Connections – yeah, I like that about blogging.

4. Seeing my work outside of the environment where it is created helps me to take a more critical look at what I’m doing. Blogging is one of the ways I can do this.

5. Blogging is an easily approachable structure that facilitates collaboration. I like working on collaborative works and/or projects. By blogging I can often pick and choose projects and collaborators for future work – or others can pick and choose me if what I do appeals to them. I like when someone approaches me with ideas and possibilities in this way.

6. I also like when people ask questions. Sometimes responding to a question is a good way for me to know myself – what I think, or how I might do something. It helps me to explore my world – my knowledge, thoughts, work process etc. I often find out what I actually think when I respond to a comment. I like that.

7. I also like when people tell me what my work brings up for them, what it makes them think of – a memory, or an idea, or something they’ve thought of because of what they see in my work – how my work might connect to them.

8. Eventually (soon I hope – which I’ve been saying for a long time) I’d like to link my blog up to what I’m thinking of as an Access Gallery – a way I can post work in different formats for affordable purchase. I’d like to integrate my blog into part of that process although not as a predominant component because I don’t want to get trapped into making what I think might sell. I like this idea and the web and blogging seem to me to be an easy and informal way of approaching this.

9. I think blogging also helps me stay on track creating. I find what I like to do and I do that. My interests change, as long as I keep going where my interest is, I know I’ll want to keep exploring my creating process. The blog allows me to do this in my own way because I’m not required to blog under a predetermined condition or constraint. I like that freedom. Free to be myself – blogging allows me to do that.

10. Yeah, too, I think I have found some great friends through blogging, as well as co-workers, collaborators, peers – and teachers – and those who can teach me too. Blogging allows me to see that there are a lot of terrific people in the world – I like that.

I’m sure there are more things I like about blogging. As soon as I think I’ve said the main things I like best, I seem to think of something else I like about blogging. As you know, I am quite capable of rambling on and on until I get to some place or thing that I like. It seems to me the reason I blog is somewhere within these things I like about blogging. When blogging is no longer fun, I’ll probably stop blogging. Oh, yeah, another thing I like about blogging – it’s fun.

May be that’s the reason I blog – it’s fun.


It is fun Rick – thank you 🙂

Citrus Fiesta (artist tipota)

Citrus Fiesta (artist tipota)

orange peels ssp by tipota

Citrus Fiesta (tipota)

this is a silkscreen print i did called “orange peels”

and here is my story:

citrus is not just the sweet/sour juicy pungent fruits we all know. it is a color pallette, a pattern to say the least.
to say the most i’d tell you my childhood impressions of the citrus groves along the sunshine parkway in florida, where my family would drive every year at christmas holiday when i was a child, and we’d stop at the grove stands and buy bags of navel oranges (a rarity up in the north then) and pink grapefruits. this is all along the last leg of the yearly winter trips to miami to visit my greek grandparents. i am proud of my halfgreek heritage – have you ever met any greek who isn’t? because with every daily greek meal, i mean it, lemons are required, a staple item. my relationship with lemons goes back a long way. ok.

so, the thing about the citrus groves in florida is that the scent of oranges along the highway is like a perfume. it is everywhere, the breeze carries it, the clouds rain it, the ground is saturated with it, the most intoxicating scent a child could hope to imagine, so it was like a magic world of oranges, a place where the sun was a giant lemon, a place where the sidewalks are paved with orange rinds, offered along the way on gingham checked tablecloths blowing in the tangerine breeze were baskets of oranges, clementines, limes, orange popsicles, orange juice, orange soda not to mention lemon and lime aid and grapefruit, sugared. lazy lagoons with waters of citrus nectar, tangelo juice let’s say. i walked along the rows of trees amazed at how splendid the ripe oranges were and how plentiful. delighted in being able to reach and pick one and immediately press it to my nose. but that’s just the beginning, because when i peel the orange, the scent becomes bubblescent, it’s alive, it’s jumping, it stings my eyes, it seeps into my fingers, the juice is hard to keep from dripping when i take that first bite of a freshpicked orange, and we are all in the car and the car smells so sweet of citrus it puts me to sleep like dorothy in the poppy fields. and i dont wash my hands and they get sticky with orange sugars and finally someone hands me a napkin but its too late, the orange perfume is sealed into my hands. so i fold them and put my head over them and lean toward the window and when i wake up, we are pulling into grandmother’s driveway. the joys of citrus.

and even that is still the beginning because citrus as design motif and as art has also crossed my path many times. and gabrielle told you the story about my lemon tree. my grandmother often told me about the lemon groves on her home island of Kos. she described these lemons as being three times bigger than the lemons around here and sweet-tasting. it made me think, gabe, after i learned about your lemonade tree, that her childhood memories of sweet lemons may have actually been lemonade tree lemons, or a similar, related lemon tree.

my screen print “orange peels” was one of many citrus-based art things i have done. but it kind of tells the story, the peels left after the orange is eaten, still have the same fresh bright scent. later, they make the compost smell nicer. the day i did this piece, i was sitting after breakfast wondering what i’d do with this silkscreen project i had and looked over across the table and saw the orange peels designing themselves into a cool almost abstract image, so voila’, i did this print. you will notice, that yes, there is the color pink haha in there. i couldnt resist. selma knows what i mean.

and that’s it, over and out.


tipota is a professional artist from Cape Code, Massachusetts, USA, who blogs her very own unique style of poetry, art and original music at spaces between trees.

thanks tipota 🙂


Guest Blogger – beeblue

Guest Blogger – beeblue

Today I would like to introduce you to a blogger from Australia – beeblue, who blogs ‘life, or something like it, in poetry and photos’ over here. She is also known as bluebee (just to confuse us).

bluebee or not bluebee, that is the question. (sorry – couldn’t resist 🙂 ).

She is a very talented poet (rumoured to have an aunty famous for poetry – I wonder who it could be?), unafraid to dredge the deepest waters for material. Her poetry will make you laugh, make you cry and make you wish you could write better.

Beeblue also posts lovely photographs of trips to places like New York and makes us all very jealous – haha. Now without further ado, the wonderful beeblue will answer my usual two little questions.

Why do you blog?

I started my blog mainly as a way of relieving stress and to balance out what I consider the left-brained nature of my work with a bit of creativity. I’ve dabbled in creative writing on and off over the years and started writing a novel two years ago but don’t really have the necessary time to devote to it given my work and personal commitments. Writing poetry is less time-consuming but it satisfies that need for a creative outlet and helps me to focus on articulating some pre-occupations.

What do you like best about blogging?

I’m very interested in the way people distil their view of the world through their unique manipulation of language. And the fact that people from almost (almost) any global demographic can exchange views and debate on almost any subject is remarkable – it provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with talented and interesting people we would never otherwise meet and I’ve learnt a lot from my experiences with the good, the bad and the downright weird ;-). And the whole meme aspect just blows my mind, too. But what I love most of all is seeing the humour and resilience shine through people’s writing when the subtext indicates that they are struggling with some pretty serious issues – it’s instructive and keeps my faith in humanity hanging on by its fingernails, ha, ha.


Thanks beeblue 🙂

Guest blogger – tipota

Guest blogger – tipota


Today I have great pleasure in introducing you to the uniquely talented and wonderful blogger tipota – proprietor of spaces between trees. Her real identity will remain a secret but I can tell you that she is an innovative and experimental artist (visual, sound), writer and genius to boot! Her blog contains poetry, story fragments, ideas and her distinctive audio/visual podcasts (all composed and produced by tipota). She loves cats and has been known to look after the lost and found felines of her neighbourhood in Cape Cod, USA.

I can also reveal an ‘exclusive’ photo of tipota (above) – haha – one of only 2 in existence on the net, I am told (we are used to her cartoon gravatar, below). This is all very exciting, so let’s get to the questions and answers. Over to the inimitable tipota.


Why do you blog?

Thanks Gabrielle!

it’s always somehow magical to see the pieces ‘publish’. (when placement doesn’t match preview and if something is really way off, i have to figure out the html or rather unlock the secrets of WYSIWYG the automatic thing and try to fix it. or see how it works with a different editor. with options of which editor to use, new or old one – the actions work differently from one to the other. so it’s kind of like stardust collects into a solid image and view when it comes up. even if it comes up wrong) (and then it also can look different with different browsers, or color settings, or resolutions but that doesn’t bother me – i think that may be a bothersome thing for picky upscale brand names with cross-marketing on commercial websites). I’m not able to be quite picky enough with the basic template, and then as things go forward, the new editor will become the old one and a newer new one will take its place, etc. better if they kept them all and just numbered them because each upgrade both wins some and lose some.

and also the message. i had an idea for that when i first started. i started because a friend of mine was entertaining the public with her blog for the newspaper, she was an art teacher who left the trade to ‘pursue her own art’ – the blog was about all sorts of things but always had this sharp witty perspective. it was good too, because as a local teacher in the public schools many people knew her and followed her postings. she wrote outside the box about politics, animals, art, the vision in everyday experience. but the format only allowed text, no images. i got to reading and commenting and it was so much fun i thought about doing one in the wider world.

when i decided to start spaces between trees (sbt), i only knew about the text. honestly. i was way behind the average person in exposure to online cultures. i was only using the computer for design when friends were getting into chat rooms. and people were chatting about chat rooms and i was clueless ha ha. one friend had become an administrator on this math and science message board. she got so addicted that it was painful when her computer went out for over a week. blogs also were starting to circulate among people i knew.

it was when changes to copyright law were sneaking through our systems and controversies over that were forming coalitions that i started the blog. i was doing my bit. senator kennedy was alive then, and being that i was a ‘constituent’ who had been a delegate once, he answered my letters personally, thanked me for material to argue the point. he wrote that he hadn’t known the practices around selling original artwork to companies who would then use it in manufacturing of housewares, giftwares, paper products, textiles, furnishings, ceramics you name it including book and media jacket covers. and if it was successful, every other company in the world doing the same product would do a knock-off, the offshore reduced price/quality. the industries would squeeze every drop out of a winning pattern. it would trickle from the designer upscale down to walmart, and get clunkier along the way. it would take a long time to die. you’d be buying ivy patterned curtains with matching napkins for the next 4 years until it finally went away. the artists were tearing their hair out wondering when the public wold ever get sick of buying this crap trying to create new things, and the salesmen were trying to revamp whatever sold most or predict a blockbuster while the manufacturers were scrambling to put together mass production and there were always limitations. the law allowed already that a small 10% difference was within the realm of acceptable, enough to bypass copyright infringement, wink wink. this, i had written him, even without these proposed changes.

they give any manufacturer who licenses art and pays royalties a ripe chance to opt for the ‘orphan-trade’ instead. easy to do since the network of freelancers are clamoring for work. everything and anything could be claimed ‘orphaned’ if it is sold for reproduction rights under a company’s label, or by a ‘work-for-hire’ contract, and it could be converted to a dozen different things, produced and sold by truckloads before whomever owns the copyright ever finds out. alas, he informed me that much of the push for change had to do with the internet, and not so much with the use of art in and on products. but that he could see how a new ruling would affect these areas. there are thousands of artists who do this kind of work. because they cant find a living wage with their own. and the pay is good. anyway, because of this, and because of my friend’s newspaper blog, i decided i needed to see what it was about. i really didnt have much intro to begin with. and then i found out how wonderful it was to experiment and have this new fascination. i have to admit it was a whole other ballgame when i first started. learning a new field really, and that is inspiring. gingatao left the first ever comment on my blog. i’d had it there for several months and just kept exploring with it, had not either commented anywhere or received any comment, had taken a few months off and gone away, and when i came back, there it was. great surprise! it was really great!

in the time between clicking the “Publish” button and when the “Post is Published” sign comes up, there’s a part of me that is aware of related things like printing presses, grinding out everything from fliers to fine art reproductions. the ‘analog’ camera and complex chemical processing, etc. and earlier ‘posting’ communication practices were in deep contrast to the internet where there is no limited edition concept, as well as multiple formats and the ability to do several tasks at once so a post can include diverse elements. and you dont need to sort out fonts or make color separations. you dont ink anything or press the plates. all in all i think i do sbt because it’s really fun. but if i just said that, the answer would be really too short

What do you like best about blogging?

it has worldwide connectivity, and people do have the right and do pay to keep upgraded etc and contract the server/connection, it is a powerful tool, and collectively it is more informative than any other kind of medium imo, in a way that is direct and multifaceted.

important for me is the flexibility, that i can use different forms, writing, video, photos, art, music, etc. it’s really a wonderful environment – the enrichment it offers on so many levels.

communication, basically. and because of it, i come to know creatively talented people like you! i enjoy comments that spur me on to think differently about something. that is very rewarding. and i enjoy reading and commenting other blogs, keeps it moving. i see it as an important medium not yet fully defined and so has more unknown possibilities. which is a great place to be.


thanks tipota for that fascinating response 🙂

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Martin Hodges (photo by Speckly Woo)

Guest Blogger – Martin Hodges

Today I would like to introduce you to UK writer, poet and editor Martin Hodges who blogs at Square Sunshine – ‘thoughts and observations of a grandfather’. Martin writes humorous and moving stories and poetry about life, with a keen eye for detail and a poet’s flair for language.

Martin is also the co-founder, along with Clare Kirwan, of Poetry-24, an online journal of news-related poetry. The journal has only been going for about 6 months but has already established a reputation as a place for fantastic poetry from different countries around the world, on a huge array of topical and often hard hitting subjects. They are always looking for new contributors, so if you a poet please consider submitting to Poetry-24. I love to read my news in the poetry format ;).

I asked Martin a couple of questions about blogging and he was kind enough to respond.

Why do you blog?

When I told a friend that I was thinking of starting a blog, he said, “Be careful, it can be addictive.” He was right, to an extent, and for me, blogging has been a habit-forming activity. Habits of the positive variety.

Because I’m basically a lazy/easily distracted writer, I need to adopt a structured approach, if I’m ever going to get my thoughts and observations written down. I’m not a natural note-maker, but blogging encourages me to jot down ideas and experiences in bite-sized chunks, and for me, this has one distinct advantage over traditional pen and notepad. My posts (or expanded notes) actually take on a life of their own, and that can often be a satisfying conclusion to the creative process in itself.

After a couple of false starts, I launched Square Sunshine with the intention of posting about my experiences as a new grandfather, in the way I wrote my 80s newspaper column, about being a new parent. Remember, how I said I’m easily distracted? As with the column, Square Sunshine quickly evolved into a platform for a whole range of musings and experiments. Although ‘what it is to be a grandfather’ has remained fairly central, I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful and unexpected voyage of discovery into the realms of photography and poetry.

What do you like most about blogging?

I guess this leads neatly into what I like most about blogging. There are many things, not least the social aspect. It’s a bit clichéd, but I have been introduced to some fascinating individuals and, in turn, the stories of their day-to-day lives, hopes, achievements and creative expression. And, if anyone doubts that people in virtual communities don’t really experience human interaction, they’re wrong. I’ve laughed out loud, wept, and even grieved in response to what I’ve seen and read. Confirmation that well written diaries can be powerful and, sometimes, life-changing documents.

I enjoy the kind of freedom Square Sunshine offers me to get creative. But it’s also a window to worlds beyond my own, and the inevitable richness of the cultural exchanges that ensue.


Thanks Martin 🙂

Guest blogger – The Querulous Squirrel

Guest blogger – The Querulous Squirrel

The Querulous Squirrel

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my all time favourite bloggers who I go way back with in the blogosphere – The Querulous Squirrel – a writer in the USA who is, and I quote myself:

‘An intriguing little fluffball this one. A critter not to be messed with. So many dark and dangerous traps to be found in her neck of the woods. This little squirrel madly gathers little nuggets of delight from all around, hides them in assorted places, and retrieves them when she needs to create a delectable feast of flash fiction.’

The squirrel has branched out since I described her way back then and she now blogs a varied selection of non-fiction stories (including familial stories about the holocaust), along with her fantastic flash fiction (she is queen flash fictioneer), and regular updates on the Japanese nuclear disaster and nuclear issues in general. I would describe her writing as thought provoking, entertaining, often dark but never dull.

I asked the squirrel a couple of questions before she goes into her annual hibernation 😉 :

Why do you blog?

I blog as second best to being a really, successful published writer which had always been my goal. I am learning as I get old to settle for less and that doesn’t mean giving up on your hopes altogether, as long as it is enjoyable

What do you love most about blogging?

What I love most is the interaction with fellow bloggers. I also like that I can change my tone, depending on my mood: short flash fiction sometimes and serious essays about nuclear disasters at other times – all things I care about.


Thanks squirrel – have some nuts and a good sleep (and keep on blogging)

ps. You must take the squirrel seriously – she has the license to practice:

Writer’s License to Practice

All material covered under Massachusetts Poetic and Fictioneers’ License #007,
a subsidiary of the Intergalactic Poetic and Fictioneers’ Union.
(The Querulous Squirrel)

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Guest Blogger – Graham Nunn

Today I would like to introduce you to Brisbane based poet Graham Nunn of blog Another Lost Shark. Graham is an award winning poet with numerous published collections; he is also the co-founder of legendary spoken word event Speedpoets.

He would have to take out the award for most energetic person around and is involved in so many poetry-related events that I can’t name them all. If you haven’t read his blog, you are missing out on top-notch poetry (especially haiku) and commentary on many things poetry and musical. He is also a huge Bob Dylan fan (what more can I say).

Graham kindly answered my usual two questions (before he flies out to the USA for a holiday).

Why do you blog?


For me I subscribe to the theory that if you are going to call yourself a writer, then you have to write. Another Lost Shark provides a ready made space for this writing and the necessary kick to make sure it is regular. All things permitting, I write every day. Of course, every day looks and feels different and this influences what I write. On those sacred days when there is space and silence, I tend to write poetry. There are other days when my head is buzzing with music, so on those days, I tend to give myself over to the sounds. I also like to post details about local events and other happenings. Then there are times when I feel the need to reach out, so in those times I like to knock out a few questions and shoot them off to one of the many amazing writers I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. It all seems to balance itself out and hopefully it keeps the site vibrant.

And of course there is the community aspect… writers like to have an audience and I am no different. Another Lost Shark has provided an amazing platform for me over the last few years and has helped me connect with many people, who I may otherwise have never had the privilege of meeting. A great example of this is the fund raising I was able to do during the floods. In just over two weeks, I was able to sell in excess of 100 books and raise over $2000. The blogosphere is an amazing space!

What do you like most about blogging?

At the end of a day, I love knowing that I have a reason to sit down and write. It helps me filter through the debris of the day; helps me to relax, open my mind and make the move into a more creative mind space. In fact, I would say the space it creates is somewhat meditative. When I don’t get the chance to sit and write, I am always a little more irritable the next day.


Thanks Graham 🙂 and bon voyage

Guest Blogger – Tracey Sargent from Quiet Paws

Guest Blogger – Tracey Sargent from Quiet Paws

Today I would like to introduce you to my blogging friend and writer Tracey Sargent from ‘Quiet Paws … treading softly on the world’ blog.

Tracey Sargent

Tracey’s blog is a calm, peaceful corner of the world filled with little gems to take the edge off this frantic, chaotic and often angry world we live in. She sometimes provides virtual coffee and cake, which is a real treat 😉

Follow this link to stopover at her place.

She lives in my old home town of Brisbane and ‘likes dreaming of almost impossible things, imagining delicious possibilities and weaving words into a tapestry of fiction. The rest of my time is spent laughing, shopping for vintage clothes (especially dresses), befriending lovely people, cuddling my dog, capturing photos, baking sweets, watching movies, spending time with a good book, and loving my husband.’

We have a lot in common, include a penchant for the inimitable Nicolas Cage, a love of vintage clothes, woodland animals, photography, marine biology and dogs 😉

I asked Tracey the usual questions and here is her response:

Why do you blog?

In the same way that my blog has morphed and evolved over the years, I think the reasons why I blog have also changed.

When I started my blog back in 2006, it was just a place for me to share my writing and random thoughts. Because I tend to over-think and over-analyse my writing (and pretty much everything else), I used blogging as a way to loosen up the words and just write a bit more ‘in the moment’. I also found that blogging was a really great way to introduce a different type of discipline into my creative life, by encouraging me to commit to a regular blogging frequency.

I then dabbled in focussing more on reviews of ‘events’ like movies, live performances, music and books … now that I look back on that period of time, I think I was struggling with not having a defined theme for my blog. I was pretty much writing about anything and everything (and still do). While I still sometimes have my ups and downs with that lack of clear definition, I’ve come to realise that my blog does in fact have a theme – it’s me! I’m the link that runs through each of my posts … at the time it felt like a major blogging crisis, but now it seems so obvious to me.

I’ve had ups and downs on the blog over the years, which has meant that I’ve sometimes struggled to find focus, been baffled by what to write next, and wondered why anyone would be interested in half the stuff I write about … but I’m pretty sure most bloggers face similar challenges. I’m starting to think that overcoming those issues is just a natural part of being a blogger. Nowadays I think I’m much better at recognising the low points and just working through them as best I can.

My latest major blogging transformation probably occurred towards the end of last year when I felt like I’d really hit my stride. I committed to blogging more frequently than I ever had before, and really started to proactively grow and engage with the wonderful community which had formed around my blog. I had fallen utterly and completely head over heels in love with blogging once more.

What do you like most about blogging?

Because there is so much to like about blogging, I had to think extra long and hard on this answer … otherwise I’d keep you reading here all day and night (and who’s got time for that?). So after much deliberation I’ve decided that what I like most basically comes down to two things – diversity and people.

Blogging in isolation is really no fun at all, and it kind of defeats the purpose of putting yourself and your creativity ‘out there’. I think the way to discover true joy from blogging is to open yourself up to the incredible community of bloggers – they are a constant source of inspiration, support and friendship. I suppose because my blog is a bit of a ‘mixed breed’, I similarly tend to seek out and find inspiration from a diverse mix of bloggers. I’m often surprised and delighted by the number of like-minded people that can be found in all manner of unexpected places. I don’t like being defined or constrained by any one label or theme, so I love cutting across those boundaries in the blogs that I read as well.

I feel very fortunate to have ‘met’ such wonderful people through my blog – some people I’ve known since I first started blogging all those years ago, while others I’ve come to know more recently (but for some, it feels like I’ve known them forever).

Blogging is such an important part of my life that it has become like second nature – I get frustrated when I don’t have enough time to post as often as I’d like or visit the blogs that I love to read.

Sometimes when talking to people in ‘the real world’ I forget that not everyone has a blog or understands the many and varied joys of blogging. They have NO idea how much fun they’re missing out on!


Thanks Tracey 🙂

Guest Blogger – Selma in the City

Guest Blogger – Selma in the City

Selma Sargent (Selma in the City)

There’s gold out there in that there blog land and I’ve found me some 🙂

Selma Sargent from the blog Selma in the City (that would be Sydney, Australia) is gold and diamonds and spun sugar and marshmellows all wrapped up in chocolate and fairy dust and … you get the picture.

Her blog is so popular it’s like central station over there. Her readers love her to bits and pieces and would walk over hot coals to help her out of a jam or to kiss her feet.

Selma is a writer by trade (publishers take note) and a blogger by nature and as Molly would say ‘do yourself a favour’ and pop over there for a squiz. Her motto is ‘holding on to hard won hopefulness’ and that is the essence of her lovely writing. She writes the most magical short stories and life tales that take you from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy. She is also as funny as hell – as you will soon realise (p.s read her ‘about me’ on her blog for more laughing) .

Introducing Selma, my favourite yarn spinner and most splendiferous of human beings:


When Gabrielle asked me to do a guest post I was honoured and a little nervous. I mean, here I am a silly little blogger writing my stories with their quirky characters or talking about the vagaries of my life and everyone else’s. Or philosophising. I like to do that. I like to pretend I understand what Hegel and Socrates and Nietzsche were going on about which really is a laugh because everyone who knows me knows my real frame of reference is the world of pop culture. Can one understand the nature of existence by watching Seinfeld reruns or by memorising the skits from Little Britain (I’m the only gay in the village)? Or even by imagining if it is possible in a metaphysical sense to Keep Up With The Kardashians?

I often wonder.

And because I wonder about such things I also wondered if I was a suitable candidate for guest posting. I mean, Gabrielle is a proper poet. She is smart and literary and knows about all sorts of things. And so do her readers. Not that I’m saying that my readers don’t know about such things because they do (and then some) but above all my readers understand my idiosyncratic writing style and continue to forgive me for it, which is a relief, for as we all know eccentricities are not everyone’s cup of tea. And -GASP – sometimes quirkiness is even made fun of.

Come on, you know you’ve done it.

You know you’ve made fun of the fact that whenever Aunt Sadie comes over for dinner her dress with the cornflowers print always smells like mothballs.  And she wears those shoes that squeak when she leans to the left. And she talks about embarrassing things like the mating habits of the great southern crane complete with mating calls and neck undulations. You’ve rolled your eyes at her, haven’t you?

You’ve also laughed your head off, running into the kitchen to chortle behind your colour coded spice rack when you’ve asked Aunt Sadie if she’d like a cocktail and she’s tried to be hip by asking for a mojito but has pronounced it mojeeto instead of that sexy Latino way with the breathy kind of  ‘h’ – moheeto – which can sound all Enrique Iglesias or as if you have a problem with your thyroid.

So I thought when you read this post you might call your local mental health unit and say: ‘We’ve got a live one here’ but then I thought excentricidades de ser condenado which means ‘eccentricities be damned’ in Spanish (see how I linked back to Enrique? Sometimes my train of thought astounds even me. But come on girls – and maybe even some of you guys – who wouldn’t want to link back to Enrique? Know what I’m sayin’? Muy caliente.)

So let’s get to it.

Gabrielle asks the tough questions when she gets you to guest post.


That’s a hard one. I could say it’s because I want to improve as a writer, get a presence on the web, get into a community of writers and so on but that’s not the real reason I blog. I’m going to come out right now. Hold the iPhones. This is a moment of true confession.

It’s all to do with hard ‘g‘ sounds. I am a sucker for a hard ‘g‘, especially a hard og. Can you imagine how deeply satisfying it is for someone who has loved words that end with a hard ‘og‘ all their life to learn of the invention of a BLOG?

I love the sound of frog and log and bog and fog. Often I am all agog. For many years I had vitamin deficiencies from being frequently unable to resist a hot dog and egg nog. There have been times where I have neglected to clean the leaves from my gutters just so I would have the opportunity to unclog. The best thing about Hamlet is the monologue. And I do love a film with a good epilogue. From a polliwog to a cute hedgehog, there’s nothing I love more than a word ending in –og.

I blog, you blog,  we BLOG. My jaw snaps on that hard ‘g‘ with relish. You can be burned by love, you can be bruised by disappointment, you can be chafed by shattered dreams; but you know where you stand with words that end in –og.


One more question to go. Thanks for staying with me.


Well, apart from that double hard ‘GG‘ sound (yeah, the double GG, hard ‘g‘ porn…) it’s the people and the sense of community that develops.

In this high tech world where so much of our life is electronic it is easy to convince ourselves we are emotionally self-sufficient.

But we’re not.

People go on about the Mayans and Nostradamus and even that guy who stands on the corner with the sandwich board saying the world is going to end when the UFOs from Nexus 59zero6 come down to earth but I can tell you that when it comes to prophets or soothsayers or people just telling you like it is, there is only one person who counts.


The one and only.

Barbra Streisand.

People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.

Barbra was right.

Blogging has shown me there are people like me out there. It has made me feel connected in a way I hadn’t expected. It has shown me people can make a difference. It has revealed the incredibly rich vein of creativity and independent thinking that still runs through society. It has shown me that even though we have all this fancy digital paraphernalia at our fingertips we are still trying to do what we’ve always tried to do – communicate.

Because we need people, people.

And that’s the truth.

And without blogging I would definitely have missed out on getting to know some incredible, stupendous, spectacular, astonishing, extraordinary people.

People that I actually might kind of love a little bit.

Now that’s mind-boggling.


Thanks Selma 🙂

Guest Blogger – Aletha Kuschan

Guest Blogger – Aletha Kuschan

Today, I am guest posting USA blogger and artist extraordinaire Aletha Kuschan (probably not her real name).

She posts drawings and paintings on her blog, accompanied by artistic pointers on process and the like, as well as snippets of prose and poetry. She is obsessed, oops loves intensely, drawing Koi and they are so splendid that I have grown rather attached to them. She has a secret bunker in which to paint (well that is the story she is telling) and store her booty – much like the underground headquarters in Get Smart.

I have included two of her paintings for your viewing pleasure (is that a fish I spy in those clouds!). Please pop over and have a squiz at her blog over here.

by Aletha Kuschan

I have a couple of questions for Aletha:

Why do you blog?

Before I started writing a blog, before I even knew what a blog was, I bought a black page-a-day diary and made myself write down one or two ideas every day. I figured that over the course of a whole day, I ought to be able to come up with at least one idea. I had to write it articulately enough that I would understand my topic long after the context for it had passed into cob-webbed memories.

Keeping this journal turned out to be great preparation for blogging. I always wrote regularly, sometimes by hand in cursive and sometimes on the computer.  I formatted the computer written entries so that I could print them out and fit them into my day book.

I was faithful to my idea-a-day adventure for several months until practicality and sleep-craving won out. I proved that I could do it – that was the main thing. I think that’s when I first really began being “a writer,” and after reaching that milestone, I became sane again, ratcheted back my project and continued writing “often” or “several times a week” or “almost every day” and got some much needed rest.

Proving to myself that I could do it, though, was a hugely valuable experience. I’d say that for any challenge that you want to set yourself, find a form of it that you can use to measure yourself against – by means of some difficult but do-able goal and then let yourself enjoy both the hard work and the pleasure of success.

What do you like best about blogging?

Certainly “meeting” people from around the world is a great part of blogging. It expands friendship in unimagined ways. Of course, similar things have been around – like the old practice of finding a “pen pal” that was sometimes pursued in schools. However, it’s a whole different world to become “pen pals” with people who can respond to your ideas within hours of you having written to them.

Otherwise, I think what I love most about blogging is the spontaneity. Sometimes I plan posts ahead – occasionally I have a whole program, a “do this/do that” theme that I’ve dreamed up. But typically the writing is off the cuff.

Usually posts relate directly to whatever I’m doing that week in the studio – whether it’s drawing or painting, landscape or still life – or koi, my I’m trying to make them famous koi. So usually I’ve been working in the studio and then in the evening, I post the image to the computer and just start writing using ideas I get while I’m looking at the picture on the screen.  It’s called ekphrasis.  And it’s supposed to be a big deal in rhetoric so I figure it makes my little bloggie very fancy and literary.

And not knowing ahead what I’m going to write appeals to the jazz-loving side of my nature. It’s a bit of improvisation. I may have a vague idea about approach, but don’t know whether it’ll be Stella By Starlight or Body and Soul. What I write just kind of happens. Thus, when a post turns out to be a good one – how fine.  I celebrate having been “in the groove.”  It has a strong element of luck.

Of course the idea-a-day thing hangs in the background. I played my “scales and arpeggios” back before I started blogging.  And I still regularly keep a journal in that old fashioned way your English teacher told you to do.  And email correspondence helps enormously.  I like to have fun when I’m answering email from friends – I find that all these forms of writing teach you your chops.

I still think of myself more as an artist than a writer (isn’t it interesting the mental dialog that goes on in one’s head, and the need to classify oneself, and also to have permission to think of yourself in this way or that).  Nevertheless, I do a lot of writing these days and more and more I see “a writer” when I look in the mirror.  I’m even nervy enough to call myself a “writer” when I meet people.

That’s perhaps the greatest joy in this – the way that blogging has extended my horizons.  It’s like a competitive swimmer who starts running or playing tennis for the benefit of cross-training and afterwards develops a skill and deep love for the new sport.

Like our mutual internet friend, the late, great Paul Squires of the blog gingatao, I have also a special fondness for the sentence. He wrote “Australian sentences.”  I write some “art sentences” and also “koi sentences.” But I’m definitely not ready to tackle that hard diamond of writing the “tweet.”  I will leave it to others to develop that vein in an artistic way.  For me blogging is enough and of course we are all wondering how it will expand into new things.  It’s an on-going venture.

by Aletha Kuschan


Thanks Aletha.