Friday, August 24, 2007

Home from Port Arthur

Just home from my night at Port Arthur.

Well what a crazy week. It was kicked off with my night in the Parsonage, a vacant building with nothing but a locked piano and steep staircase; two things I did not want to hear from in the middle of the night. As it was I remained awake listening to every little noise outside my door. It was a wet and windy night and the house certainly let me know it. But I managed to tough it out and am quite proud of the fact that I have endured the night in full at each of the ten sites.

If this spiel is sounding familiar it’s probably because I finished the week doing interviews with ABC radio all over the country. News of my adventures hit the right channels and I was inundated. Most of the interviews took place in my car on the side of the road, juggling my mobile phone as the trucks went by. Some of these interviews went smoother than others, but I am doing my best to sound sharp, articulate and just interesting I guess.

The Bush Telegraph, Radio National, is now producing a show on the project which is really exciting. Stay tune for details on that.

Other news is that one my ghost poems recently won the ‘open poetry’ category of the Bauhinia Literary Awards. So a big ‘yay’ on that one! It’s encouraging to know the work is being received well already.

Now if you would like to hear me read I am performing as part of National Poetry Week at the Bush Inn Hotel, Geelong, Sept 8, 2-5pm. Alongside Diane Fahey, Katherine Gallagher and Susan Russell.

I am in Port Fairy the following day (Sept 9) reading at the Ex Libris Book Fair: Victoria Hotel Dining Room, 12.30-2.30 with Paul Mitchell and James Griffin among others.

But keep in touch because I have a lot more to tell you, news on upcoming plays with Melb Writers theatre, Defector Art and Short and Sweet.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Port Arthur

Here it is people.
I don’t want to do it but I have to do it.

Nine months into it, nine haunted sites down, and with 72 poems written, it has all finally lead to this: a night at Australia’s no. 1 haunted location, Port Arthur.

It’s been one hell of a great adventure but let me share a few things I have discovered along the way.

1. It is possible to feel incredibly lucky/privileged and sick with nerves at the same time. (Something I learnt one night amid the moonlit ruins of Norfolk Island.)

2. You are allowed to pass through an airport metal detector while eating a chicken salad. (as long as your fork is plastic!)

3. A hearse can get pretty uncomfortable.

4. Good ideas/poems come from sheer hard work. Even when you are sure you are out of good ideas/poems.

But let’s talk about Port Arthur. Of course we all know it was a hell-on-earth convict settlement back in the 1800s, a place of unimaginable cruelty. Now it is a hive for tourists and ghost hunters, with ghost tours being conducted every night. Reports of paranormal activity are legion, and people are scared witless as they are taken through buildings such as the Commandant’s Cottage, Jetty Cottage and Tower Cottage.

I am staying the night in one of Port Arthur’s most ‘haunted’ : the Parsonage.

Weird activity associated with this building includes, moaning noises, bright lights, the smell of rotting flesh, knocking noises, footsteps, ghostly figures ie. a little girl and the ‘lady in blue’.

All right… starting to scare myself now! But read more about what I’m in for at the links below. And wish me luck!