Sam van Zweden




Officially A Twat

Quite unlike me to blog twice in the one day, but: after having multiple people tell me just how valuable a Twitter account is for blogging, I’ve now signed up for Twitter.

I’m a Twat.

If you want to follow me, my user name is “lgwabp” (Little Girl… etc, was too big, boo!), you can just hit the “follow me!” button I’ve put in my sidebar on this here fine blog…

This could very well be the beginning of the end…too much social networking in my life!

The ways I reach the people…

Running a blog through WordPress is quite a novel experience. There’s so many nifty things you can do and see at the back end of the blog, like how many posts you’ve made with which tags and in which categories, what links people actually click on while reading your blog, how many people have visited when, and my favourite – what search engine terms people have followed into your blog.

A piece of advice for all you young would-be bloggers out there: when you start a blog, try not to include anything in the title which might be a typo of anything pervy. The word “pen,” for example.

Some search engine terms that I get are really obvious. At least once every day I get a hit or two from a search concerning Nick Cave’s “The Death of Bunny Munro”.

I also daily get hits from search terms containing really interesting uses of the word “pen”:
– “big pens young girls”
– “wife needs big pens”
– “how to get big pens”
– “man who has big pens”

There’s the downright disturbing, “sex with very very young girls”.

Then there’s the searches that are a little more puzzling, like “bed head realism”.

My personal favourite though?

“story: she slept nipple”

Big buckets of LANGUAGE!

I haven’t blogged for a few days. I’m being entirely self-indulgent today, sulking and wallowing in self-pity – I suspect I have the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the hot weather just stresses me the fuck out. Bring on the rains.

Anyway, I am an avid collector of language… Not surprisingly, some of my favourites have come from kids.

“Look Mum, that dog is a crocodile!”

(Kid on tram, looking at raised tram platforms): “They’re boats, those ones! Look at the people on the boats!”
Father: “Boats?”
Kid: “Yes. Anchored to the road.”

(Kid at my work): “Dry white wine? But it’s all wet!”

(My 4 year old neice being a monster, so we say): “what, are you just going to stand there and whine? That’s fine, we’ll watch the movie by ourselves, you can go to bed.”
(she pauses for a while, then as sulkily as possible): “I don’t drink wine.”

…gosh. They just use words so unashamedly!

Lost in Books, much?

I am… entirely, thoroughly, absolutely. And I love it.

Today I came across this blog, “Lost in Books”.

I’ve been on there for about 45 minutes already, and I’ve only just skimmed the surface. I just had to share it – such a huge site, so varied, and offers a lot of inspiration, especially on what to blog about. Very helpful and interesting, also seems to be a great place to connect with like-minded people.

Enjoy, and props to Rebecca from Lost in Books for putting so much work into a fantastic blog!

oh, wheeeeeler!

Dear Wheeler Centre,

You linked me. I love you. You linked my front page, so for those hits looking for the blog they’re actually talking about, it’s here.

“Girl with big pen praises Wheeler Centre”… so glad you noticed!


Literary Tattoos

The mind-alteringly hilarious Melbournian siren otherwise known as Marieke Hardy last week wrote an article on “literary tattoos” for The Age, which you can read here.

“Literary ink,” says Hardy, “is the epitome of the nerds striking back.”

She suggests that tattoos don’t strictly have to be quotations in order to qualify as “literary tats”… I’m not sure if mine would fit into this category, or if my next planned piece of ink will either – something unoriginal (I’ve seen it on someone) yet witty: a set of quotation marks which open on one shoulder blade and close on the other.

While I certainly applaud those who sport quotations, I’d be terrified about putting someone’s words on myself. Some authors have been with me for a very long time – Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, John Marsden, C.S Lewis, Ginsberg, Kerouac… But I’d be so scared of choosing the wrong words, for fear of there being more poignant words I could possibly have printed on the fleshy loveliness that is my body.

“In the end, the only thing that matters is that the words … inspire you on to greater things”

Do you have a tattoo that does this? Do you see another function for having someone else’s words tattoed on your body? Do you agree with it?

time away, time inside, time to think.

The reason I’ve been so quiet for the last week (plus…) is because I’ve been away.

For Christmas, Mum paid for my partner and I to go on a family trip with her and her fiancé… We went to see my brother and sister-in-law in Echuca, spent a few days there, then moved on to Daylesford where we stayed in a little cottage. Despite the usual tension that happens when you spend too much time with family, it was a good week.

Echuca had a great used book store, as did Daylesford.

I left with 3 books. I came back with 7… I exercised a great deal of self-restraint to only come home with four extra books.

The books I acquired:
1. Minimum of Two, by Tim Winton.
2. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
3. Tales of the Unexpected, by Roald Dahl.
4. Everything I Know About Writing, by John Marsden.

So this is added to my pile of Christmas books.

Other than the new additions to my bookshelf, the time away also gave me some time to read – I got a start on and am now quite a chunk through The Book Thief, and thoroughly enjoying it… Zusack has an amazing way with images.  (My favourite so far – “she had a breath that smelled like Heil Hitler”)… I also got up early and wrote as the sun came up over Echuca…

So what creative liberties has your holiday period given you? Have you acquired books? Pens? Notebooks? Time to yourself?

Listmaker, 2010

I’m in a decidedly list-y mood today… So here’s a few.

I got books for Christmas, then I went out and bought more books using my Christmas money. Then there’s the pile that I’ve had since last Christmas and never started.
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
2. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
3. Emma by Jane Austen
4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. The Best Australian Poems 2009, ed Robert Adamson
6. The Best Australian Stories 2009, ed Delia Falconer
7. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
8. A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
9. Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro
10. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

1. I worked until 9pm. It was actually fun.
2. When we finally went out just after 10pm, it was bucketing rain. No cabs would pick us up for about 15 minutes.
3. We climbed more stairs to the rooftop than I have climbed in the last week.
4. I felt pretty.
5. Nobody knew when midnight really was, and there were at least 5 countdowns just from our roof-gathering.
6. I had a great chat with a man who was an incredibly good lier to strangers. I enjoy doing this too. The lie he’d been using that evening was that he’s a florist. Somebody at a party upstairs asked him to do her wedding.
7. Chris had a harmonica which he does not know how to play, but quite convincingly pretends. When we came down from the roof, people we didn’t know followed him like he was the Pied Piper. It was surreal. People tried to high-five him, but he just kept going.
8. I rose at 6pm.
9. The sky today is the colour of desert wine, and it reminds me of Black Saturday’s sky.

1. When 2009 first happened, we were watching the DaVinci Code on Phillip Island with Danny’s mum. Really big NYE.
2. Danny and I got our first proper place together in St Kilda. Then our second place together in Kew.
3. I started submitting things for publication. I have recently realised I’ll probably really need whatever help school can give me next year in this area.
4. I had 4 different jobs, even though I was unemployed for about 6 months. I am now at a job that I enjoy very very very much.
5. I started a blog. This one right here. Hello.
6. I did not see people as much as I could have. Sorry.
7. I applied for, and got into, RMIT.
8. Danny is going back to school. This year, we will be incredibly cool.

1. Chuck Palahniuk
2. Dance of the Happy Shades Alice Munro
3. We found out that we’re only layers of skin hiding bones
4. Kitty Daisy and Lewis
5. Rowland S Howard
6. Shakespeare Botanical Gardens Melbourne 2009/10
7. Williams Syndrome

1. Box camera, circa 1950
2. Clouds, which are making big rumbling sounds. The sky is orange now.
3. Packaging from Guitar Hero 5
4. Cold coffee which I keep trying to drink before realising it’s cold and a bit too bitter
5. Empty Coopers bottle
6. A note from my boss.

1. Angus and Julia Stone – Wasted
2. Muscles – Ice Cream
3. Rise Against – Kotov Syndrome
4. Brand New – Sowing Season (Yeah)
5. LCD Soundsystem – New York I Love Yo

…but won’t, because it’s a bit lame to wait for the year to change before deciding to do or change something:
1. Lose some weight, be more active! One gym session a week isn’t enough.
2. Stop making excuses and see people
3. Read, until I can read no more. I do this anyway, but it’s good to continue.
4. Speak more, say more.

(note: the orange sky is now flashing. There’s lightning through the clouds, and it feels almost as if I’m on Mars in some crazy cosmic-storm)
1. Go to the gym
2. Pack my bag for our trip to Echuca/Daylesford!
3. Work 6-9.

1. Plastic… Can’t figure that out.
2. Cold bitter coffee

1. Reading this pointlessly long list of lists. Thanks. Happy New Year! Stay safe and happy.


Last week, while I was eating lunch at a cafe, I thought I saw John Marsden. I couldn’t stop looking at him, trying to figure out if it was him or not.

Since my mind was in “famous-person” mode, when a portly white-bearded older gentleman sat down nearby, my mind screamed “SANTA!”

My logic then kicked in and said “no, no Santa,” directing my attention back to Mr Marsden. He scowled at me, looking generally unapproachable, while Santa smiled and winked and looked particularly jolly.

This isn’t right!, I thought. But there’s no denying it – while my John Marsden was questionable, my Santa was definately real!

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