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Last Cat On Mars and Jay Present: Handy Quotations From Even Handier Writers – #1 Thea Astley

Hello friends. An occasional series which fulfills my need to quote quotations and to help my little friend, Dr On Mars, create setups to illustrate them.

One of my favourite (and, arguably, one of Australia’s most underrated and underappreciated writers in a broader, appreciated-by-the-reading-public sense) is Thea Astley (1925-2004) (winner of awards left, right and centre, including four Miles Franklins), so who better than to kick it off.

I had the unique privilege of meeting Thea many years ago at the Queensland Writers Festival – she was an extremely generous and kind person, and also hilarious. And she loved jazz. Mmmm, jazz …

Read Thea’s stuff as soon as you can – don’t leave the Earth without it ringing in your memory. I highly recommend Reaching Tin River, Drylands, The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, Beachmasters, Coda, Vanishing Points, A Kindness Cup – well, really, anything she wrote – just get it and read it. You will have no regrets.

You can buy some of her titles from UQP, Penguin, and Allen & Unwin, and also look for secondhand copies through ebay, or other re-sellers like Fishpond

You can also read a very excellent biography of Thea, Thea Astley – Inventing Her Own Weatherby Karen Lamb, published by one of my publishers, UQP.

Meanwhile, if you’re a writer, or fancy yourself to be so, take notice of the following quotation – live the dream, don’t procrastinate – life is short – how many other cliches can I fit on the head of a pin with all those angels?

Thea Astley quotation: Trying to carve out a good sentence. There's little else to do. I might as well give myself up to that.


How to be less Sedentary and More Standy-ary with a StandStand

Hey there grasshoppers.

Here’s something good to consider. Writers and others – those who work in the veal-fattening pens (thanks, Douglas Coupland) of city high-rises, for instance – spend a lot of time seated and thinking, or eating, or reflecting, or eating, or sometimes even writing.

However, it’s a really good idea to stand – quite a lot, in fact. So a while back, I bought a StandStand. It was a Kickstarter project from Luke Leafgren, an inventor and Harvard academic, and was very successful. The StandStand is a portable flat-pack in bamboo or birch that transforms your desk or table into a standing desk for your laptop, or even tablet. You can take it anywhere – mine travels around the house and veranda regularly, depending on what I’m writing and how much light I need to stay happy.

Currently, Luke is in the midst of a new Kickstarter project for the StandStandGrand, a bigger two-tier standing desk that you can see at Kickstarter (go via the main StandStand website so this link remains viable once the Kickstarter campaign is over). The campaign ends soon, so if you’re interested in it, now’s the time to make a decision. Or if you can’t afford the new Grand version, consider the lovely StandStand. Here’s mine with the help of a few close friends:

StandStand portable desk with laptop