Oz

March 3rd, 2014 | Other Projects

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I can’t believe I’m in Australia. I left frigid snowbound Vermont almost a week ago. Made a quick visit to Savannah GA, where I spoke at the annual Spring Break convention of Sigma Tau Delta, a college English honor society—English Majors Gone Wild.

Then Hol and I flew through Dallas to Brisbane, and from Brisbane to Adelaide. I’d been really dreading the long flight to Australia. I have actually been invited here a couple times before, and always declined because I couldn’t imagine being confined to an airplane seat for 16 or 18 hours. But it turned out to be pretty pleasant. Crossing the International Date Line was confusing, but after two days I’m finally starting to get oriented. It’s summer here, very hot, with a hard relentless sun. It’s strange and magical to be so far from home, on the other side of the planet.

Just now I saw the night sky for the first time. There’s a lot of light pollution so I couldn’t be sure, but I think I saw the Southern Cross. And then across the sky I saw a very familiar yet slightly odd looking bunch of stars…Orion, upside down!

I’ve been at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival where I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. Lovely Australian dykes and cartoonists. Today I did a talk with the puckish and super charming Rabih Alameddine, whose work I am ashamed to say I only recently discovered.

Tomorrow we’re going to go see koalas. Koalas?! As I say, I can’t believe it.

Then, Melbourne. And on to Wellington, for Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival.

15 Responses to “Oz”

  1. freyakat says:

    Hi Alison,

    I too recently discovered the work of Rabih Alameddine after reading one of those NY Times author interviews, this one with
    Amy Tan. I enjoy reading the answers to questions about the interviewee’s favorite undeservedly not-so-well-known authors.

    I especially LOVED “The Hakawati”.

  2. Linda says:

    Wonderful! Are the Topp Twins playing in New Zealand while you are there? Highly recommend!

  3. NLC says:

    Are they taking you to Matamata/Hobbiton while you’re in New Zealand?

    (How’s that for an American tourist-y question?)

    Now repeat after me:

    KA MATE! KA MATE!
    KA ORA! KA ORA!
    TENEI TE TANGATA PU-HURU-HURU
    NANA NEI I TIKI MAI, WHAKAWHITI TE RA!

    P.S. The (envious) astronomy-geek in me can’t help suggesting a couple other visible-only-from-down-under night-sky sights (assuming either you already know these, or can find a friendly astro-savvy Kiwi to help point things out):

    1] The Magellanic Clouds
    (a couple of dwarf galaxies –”the Large” and “the small”–, companions to the Milky Way)

    2] Alpha Centauri
    The closest star to us (well, at least closest that’s visible) aside from the Sun.

    Again, both available only down there.

  4. Reinhilde Brezowsky says:

    Hi Alison, I just read again “The bone people” from Keri Hulme (in german). Will you meet her in Wellington? I appreciate your work and hers too, although it’s very different. Wish you a colourful journey. Reinhilde

  5. Ruth in RI says:

    Orion upside down is all good and fine, but what about the sinks? Does the water run down the drain backwards?

  6. Kate L says:

    I’ve always wanted to see Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth other than our own Sun. They say it (actually a triple star system) looks like “headlights in the sky”. Please let me know if this is true. I swear that there was a song written about Alpha Centauri, although I’ve not been able to find it on the internet machine.
    Are you going to Alpha Centauri?
    On the way to Alpha Centauri. I’ve forgotten the rest.

  7. Janet says:

    Hi Alison – hope you have warm clothes with you as Wellington is unfortunately in full autumn mode as of yesterday – rain and gale-force winds and not so warm. However we Wellingtonians are warm hearted and looking forward to seeing you at the festival.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kate L–Try “If Ships Were Made to Sail” or “We Must Believe in Magic.” Otherwise, this may be something related to the TV series, “Lost in Space,” which depicted a vessel lost on the way to Alpha Centauri. I can imagine children making up a little song about Alpha Centauri based on that–rather like the “Comet, it makes your teeth turn green” version of “Colonel Bogey March.”

  9. Kate L. says:

    Thanks, Anonymous (#8)! I’ve been searching for some variant of Alpha Centauri. I was beginning to wonder if it was something I heard Janeway sing.

  10. rinky says:

    I’m so excited to be coming to see you tonight.

    Have the best, best time while you are here.

  11. Fi says:

    Just home now, after dining with the friends who came with us to hear from you in Melbourne, Alison. Theatre booked out; lesbians for days, including a whole bunch of former baby-Mo kinds, who’ve now grown up into latter day just-post baby boomers (approx my vintage, give-or-take). Whole lotta love and warmth in the place. Great talk; great pictures. What a treat. Thanks.

  12. Kate L says:

    I was going to ask if A.B. saw the massive thunderstorm over Sydney on Wednesday, but then realized that Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne are all about as far from Sydney as Smallville is from Denver. Blimey!

  13. M-H says:

    I believe you met my friend Sal in Adelaide and were generous with her cartooning PhD students. Wellington is my home town, so I hope you enjoy it. But not so much that you forget to come to Sydney at the end of the month.

  14. Elsa says:

    We’re also waiting for you in Auckland!!!!

  15. Night sky envy. Have always wanted to see those other stars, other skies.