Writing when you are hot

Would the person who invented global warming please switch it off?

Here in South Australia we have had a warm summer – no, make that an extremely HOT summer. Adelaide is the capital city of our state and today it recorded its twelfth day over 40C (104F) for the summer, eclipsing the previous record of 11 days set 117 years ago. And the forecast for tomorrow is 42C, extending the new record even further. While the next few days after that promise to be a little cooler, we still have 17 days of summer left.

While the city temperatures have been very high this summer, the large rural town where I live – Murray Bridge – is usually a few degrees hotter again. Every summer we expect at least three or four days in the region of 45C (113F) or even higher. On days like that one simply avoids going outside unless it is absolutely necessary. By way of extreme contrast, the following day it can plummet to about 20C (68F) with a strong southerly cool breeze off the Southern Ocean.

You get used to it…

…or move to Tasmania, New Zealand or Alaska.

Getting the energy and motivation to write on such extreme weather days can be a challenge but one I relish. It means I have an excuse to bunker down in my office… and write – or read. I have a small air conditioner in the office, but it really is not up to the task of cooling the whole room. It’s okay if I aim it directly at me. So last week we invited an air conditioning consultant in to assess what we could do to improve the situation. I haven’t ordered a new split system yet, but I will do so soon.

It may be too late for this summer – there is a 4 week delay in installation – but the heating capacity of the unit will be great on those chilly, nose-biting frosty mornings we get here in winter.

And then there’s always next summer.

UPDATE: 14th February – the cooler weather has arrived as promised by the weather bureau, and so has the rain. We’ve had over 70mm in the last 24 hours. Considering that our average for February is only 15, and our annual average 344mm, this is a significant weather event.


Melbourne Writers’ Festival 2013

The Melbourne Writers’ Festival starts next week. I can’t make it this year but some of my readers might be able to get there. You can access all the details here. I’ve never attended this particular festival, but looking at the programme it seems like a very interesting time in store for everyone who attends. There is an excellent line up of writers attending from many parts of the world. There is a charge for some sessions, but looking through the list of free events I’d say that there is something in that long list for everyone.

I must try to get to it sometime in the next few years. The same applies to the Sydney Writers Festival, and I missed all of the sessions of this year’s Adelaide Writer’s Week. Roll on March 2014. In the meantime I plan to attend several local regional festivals here in South Australia.

Good writing.

Adelaide Writers’ Week March 2010

Tom Keneally opening Adelaide Writers' Week 2010

Tom Keneally opening Adelaide Writers' Week 2010

Last week I attended three days of the six day Adelaide Writers’ Week. This is an important and integral part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts held every two years. This festival attracts readers and writers from all over Australia, as well as a glittering gathering of international writers who come as guest speakers. Each day starts at 9:30am and runs until 6pm so it is quite a marathon effort for organisers and attendees as well. The sessions are all free (except for several evening sessions in the Town Hall). The sessions vary from panel discussions on writing, reading and literature through to book launches and meet-the-author opportunities.

Three large marquees are set up in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens a five minute walk from the CBD. The East Tent and the West Tent host sessions concurrently while the Book Tent is housed in another tent in between. This shop features books written only by authors present on the programme. All authors are available for book signings too.

2010 Writers' Week, Pioneer Women's Memorial Gardens, Adelaide

2010 Writers' Week, Pioneer Women's Memorial Gardens, Adelaide

On the first day of the festival there was a special session to announce the winners of the Festival Awards for Literature. This was done by the Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann. In all there are ten awards ranging from plays, children’s books, non-fiction to unpublished manuscripts. The cash awards are very generous and I applaud the state government for supporting our writers in this way. May it continue.

Premier Mike Rann at Adelaide Writers' Week 2010

Premier Mike Rann at Adelaide Writers' Week 2010

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