six unrelated things

April 22nd, 2011 | Category: things


TV shows often depict one step in emergency resuscitation as an almighty punch in the chest. I have this exact feeling – in a figurative sense – with my children from time to time. This week I read essays they have recently written, one on constitutional law, and the other on Yeats and modernism, and felt that bang, that thump into consciousness: these children are adults, articulate, independent and so smart. The shock is repeated from time to time in the whiplash fast forward effect of their growing up. When did that happen? It’s one of those things you know and understand, and at the same time, cannot quite believe.


‘Six Impossible Things’ was shortlisted for the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Award for older readers – YAY! – with ‘Graffiti Moon’ by Cath Crowley, ‘The Piper’s Son’ by Melina Marchetta, ‘About a Girl’ by Joanne Horniman, ‘The Midnight Zoo’ by Sonya Hartnett and ‘The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher’ by Doug MacLeod. I am really thrilled, and have once again had the weird sensation of feeling happy for Dan, (my protagonist). I do know he’s a character, not a person, but that is the way it feels.


Toffee glass is always a good idea – it looks beautiful, eating toffee reminds you of being a kid, and it’s so easy to make. We had a birthday here recently and I made a plum and fig and hazelnut and dark chocolate cake with toffee glass.

Put one cup of castor sugar and one quarter of a cup of water in a saucepan. Stir over low heat to dissolve sugar. Turn heat up to medium – high enough for rapid bubbling – and stop stirring. Let it bubble away for about four or five minutes, till it turns golden and smells like toffee. Pour onto a foil lined baking tray and spread quickly with a knife. Cool. Break into shards.


Walking with the old doggie takes forever these days, so you get to stop to look at stuff like this –

and this – for a long time…

I love the secret signs that are plastered all over the place; they remind me of ‘Down Below the Street’, from Sesame Street.


I preserved some lemons. We had lemons, because of the rain, unlike last year. One of my favourite ingredients for middle eastern dishes. Apparently delayed gratification is good for us. And you can’t eat these for a month, because that’s how long the preserving takes. Strange fact of preserving: you go through all the palaver of sterilising the jars, but then you jam the lemons in with your (washed, but not sterile) hands. Squeezing them down to release juice is part of the deal: you can’t just tip them in. And into the jar goes (washed, but not sterile) lemons, cinamon, cloves, fennel seeds, bay leaves. And salt – who knows how clean that is? I know it’s a preserving agent, but who’s to say rats haven’t just had a party on it before it’s packed?


Sad, sad news – even for distant fans, Gerard Smith, TV On The Radio bassist, died on Wednesday. I’m linking a song, Killer Crane, because I’m guessing musicians might like to be remembered for the music they made, and this clip has some nice photo montage material of the band. The idea of someone dying of lung cancer at the age of 36 is heartbreaking.

14 responses to “six unrelated things”

  1. Belinda says:

    You have so described my feeling when reading young people’s essays and when looking at street art. I also am incredibly pleased for Dan!! Thank you for writing.

    • fiona says:

      Thanks, Belinda. Haven’t those years raced by? Everyone said they would – why didn’t I listen? It seems such a short time ago that our small boys were separated in class for being such incorrigible chatters and jokers. Glad they still are. Looking forward to hearing how things went in Bulgaria.

  2. Sally Rippin says:

    Beautiful reflections on life and intriguing photography. It’s your wonderfully quirky take on life and they way you describe it so impossibly well that shines through in SIP. Congratulations again on a very deserved shortlisting. I’m happy for Dan but RAPT for you!

    • fiona says:

      Thanks so much, Sally – and I just read that ‘Billie B Brown: The Secret Message’ is on the list of 50 Books You Can’t Put Down! Fantastic news!X

  3. Diem says:

    It is such a cliffhanger.

  4. Diem says:

    I finished it a few days ago. I loved the last line and I cried a few times and you won’t see it coming. At. All.

  5. Eliza says:

    Hey Fiona,
    I finsished reading ‘six imposible things’, and i abosoloutley loved it. I sat up till 1:30am just to finish it! Can’t wait to read another one of your novels soon!

    Love Eliza <333

    • fiona says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Eliza – thanks for dropping in! I’d better get my skates on and finish the next one!

  6. Matt says:

    Hi Fiona,

    I’m the person that won ‘Six Impossible Things’ at The Albury Library Museum from Albury High, Year 7. I thoroughly enjoyed your book. I have also written the pilot script for my (hopefully successful) TV series. I have also been surfing YouTube looking for an ‘Always Greener’ episode written by you. Or Home and Away, I LOVE Home and Away (and have you written an episode for Home and Away lately)??

    Anyway, I thought I’d just pop in and let you know.
    Cheers, Matt

    • fiona says:

      Hi Matt, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you liked ‘Six Impossible Things’ – and I very much enjoyed visiting Albury (for the first time) in September. I was writing Home and Away in 2008 and 2009, so it’s been a little while now. It’s great to hear you enjoy it; it was certainly fun to write. ‘Always Greener’ was even further back – 2002/2003, I didn’t even know it was on YouTube, so I obviously don’t spend enough time on the net! Have a look for an episode called ‘Cause and Effect’, if there is a title search function. Good luck with the TV writing!

      • Matt says:

        Hey Fiona,

        I watched ‘Cause and Effect’ on YouTube. I loved it. It would be awesome if you had a copy of the script. I’d love to read it. Do you have a copy?


        • fiona says:

          Matt – I can’t believe it – this message got lost under my mouse mat (okay, it didn’t really, but I’ve somehow managed not to answer it, for which a thousand apologies!) Writers don’t own the copyright for work they do on TV shows, so your best bet is to get in touch with the producer listed on the credits of a show you’d like to get a script for. Write them a note to say you are studying screenwriting, and if they have spare copies, you might be lucky…

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