Amongst the paintings of carlingford girl, Johanna Ng, we launched NOT PERFECT, my translations of 60 Chinese poems. Johanna is the artist whose work is featured on the book cover. Her new works are in a seemingly different style, though you can see the same fluidity of her brush strokes in both, each a remarkable tonal study.
Me and Photographer William Yang Ross Macleay, me and Artist Johanna Ng
My book is now available at Abbey’s in York Street Sydney and Dymocks at Neutral Bay
As the use of my right hand diminishes, peeling potatoes is out of the question. Today I picked a bunch of garlic chives from the garden and cooked a bowl of Royal Blue potatoes with them, in the microwave.
I cut the chives with a pair of left handed shears and placed the washed and pricked potatoes on them. Covered with a kitchen paper towel and microwaved on hi for 5mins. Put a little butter on top and sprinkle with salt.
The potatoes were soft enough to cut and eaten with one hand.
It’s drizzling and I am sure I am not the only one worried about the sale for National Breast Cancer Foundation. It will go on regardless of weather as the sales areas are undercover. Anyway, the weather bureau’s forecast is for 1mm of rain; fingers crossed that it would mean nothing to garden lovers.
I have donated 36 cutting grown plants in 6 inch pots and a bunch of fig cuttings to Lane Cove but this morning I found a pot of abutilon in flower and decided to take that to the sale this morning; every bit helps.
There is also a ceramic hanger I made with Spanish Moss trailing from it; I’ll take that as well.
I bought that orchid you see on top right of the picture from The Huge Plant sale last year as a loose rooted plant and mounted it on a board. Look what it’s done for my $2 investment – yes, there are bargains to be had. Hope to see you there – if you are in Sydney, please spread the word.
If people would judge a book by its cover I think I have a bestseller . My friend and publisher Ross Macleay has designed this cover using elements contributed by two other friends and former calligraphy students, Ang Kok Peng and Johanna Ng. Inside the covers are my translations of 60 classical Chinese poems, imperfect despite the best effort of my friend and editor, Jan Parkin. I enjoy writing but loath editing and rewrites but Jan made me review every word and subsequently rewrote almost every translation.
When I can find the energy I will make the book available online as an ebook. I am also donating copies to libraries. A limited number of copies are available for sale in Sydney at Dymocks Neutral Bay ( email@example.com ) and Abbey’s Bookshop in York Street, Sydney.
I must now get back into the garden and finish my memoir.
When my publisher, Ross Macleay of the North Bank Institute of Independent Studies spoke to me regarding the cover design of my poetry book, I said let’s keep it simple: just a title and my name will do. As it happened, it was not so simple.
First, the book title. I had just come home from hearing The Idea of North sing Tim Minchin’s song, Not Perfect and thought it perfect for a title…it’s not perfect, but it’s mine. So many have attempted to translate classical Chinese poems and none, including mine, have been perfect and none will ever be. That’s why we keep trying.
Ross did not share with me then what he thought of the title, but he suggested the addition of a subtitle: how would you describe the book? he said. I replied: one poet’s translation of 60 Chinese poems. And so it was.
Shouldn’t there be some Chinese on the cover? he asked. I suggested we add my Chinese name and ask Ang Kok Peng to write the word poetry in Chinese calligraphy. Ang was my student when I was a volunteer tutor at MOSAIC multicultural centre. After completing my introductory course in standard script, he had gone on to study the running script. Ang agreed to do it as a favour as my hand can no longer hold a brush. Another former student Johanna Ng, an artist who created two paintings inspired by my translations graciously agreed to let us play with them and use any part we choose. Ross wrote a blurb for the back cover and designed numerous versions with those elements.
In the end we used parts of several version and arrived at this design:
The book will go to the printers once Jan Parkin our eagle-eyed editor and proof reader gives a final nod.
Johanna has invited me to launch my book at the opening of her exhibition at the gallery in Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney.
I believe it is rare to see orchids with conjoined flowers and I did not even notice this one when I picked it up from the shopping centre until I brought it home. No labels and I didn’t ask, presuming it is a cymbidium hybrid.
I do not know if it is likely to repeat the performance so I am posting it here in case it never happens again!