Australian Writers’ Centre 18 December 2014- Many Writing Courses, Online and On-demand Courses & New Harry Potter & Misheard song lyrics competition & Much More
Can you believe that it’s only one week until Christmas? And that means (besides all the usual festive things) that 2014 is drawing to a close. So, how has yours been?
Did you have any creative goals this year? Or perhaps you’ve filled the year with business writing. Maybe the longest thing you wrote was a shopping list, but you’ve read an impressive number of books. Did you write a novel? Do NaNoWriMo? Start a blog, or publish an article?
Even if you didn’t achieve some (or all) of the things you set out to do, it’s important not to let it affect your plans for 2015. For me personally, it’s been another giant-sized year, revamping our website in January, launching our top-rating podcast in March, conferences in the States, welcoming some fab new staff, launching new online and on-demand courses, speaking engagements pretty much everywhere and bouncing between Sydney and Melbourne a LOT.
So let me reposition this sprig of mistletoe and kiss goodbye to 2014. We’re going to take next Thursday off (we hear there’s something happening), so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a happy new you!
Ho ho ho
Learn with us in January and February
Summer lovin’, happened so fast… And you’ll be amazed at how fast you can be skilled up in your subject of choice this summer. Combined with the new year, it’s the perfect time to get started on your goals for 2015. We have a range of classroom and online courses in plenty of topics to suit your interests!
Follow the links below, or if you’re unsure, contact our friendly team (AEDST business hours) to find out more!
As the old saying goes, a gift is worth a thousand words. Actually, that might not be it. Anyway, with just a week until Christmas, get an Australian Writers’ Centre gift voucher. You can choose a dollar amount or you can purchase for a specific course. (And it’s okay, we can always switch it if your recipient decides on a different course!)
Vouchers can be redeemed for classroom courses, online courses or our new on-demand courses.
Q: (Carol singing) A: Oh, wonder who that could be at this time? Sounds a bit like carol singers. Q: (Carol singing) A: Okay, this is awkward. Why are you standing there with a bluetooth speaker playing carols? Q: Shhhh, I don’t want anyone else to know that I’m here while I ask you this week’s question… A: You know we print these, right? They’re on our blog too… Q: Shhhh. Yes yes, but I have some unrequited questions and it seemed only best to hold up giant cards with them written on them, just like the guy from Love Actually. A: Who now kills zombies on The Walking Dead. Q: Yeah, that guy. (Click.) Okay then, music off. What I want to know is actually related to Christmas Carols. I was hoping you could shed some light on some of the wording used in them. None of them make a lot of sense. A: Sure, and seeing as most were written in the 1800s, they aren’t going to have quite the same vocab as we use today. They are fascinating ‘time capsules’ of the English language though, and– Q: Just to interrupt, if I had a time capsule, I’d travel into the future – to the year 2015, just like they did in Back to the Future II. I wonder what the year 2015 will REALLY be like. Flying cars… hmmm. A: You’re thinking of a “time machine”, not a time capsule. Q: Oh yes. Sorry, carry on. A: Okay, well most carols are a throwback from a time of harking and heralding, dashing and prancing. People thought nothing of running to the window in their kerchief and throwing open the sash. These days they’d probably just tweet “omg crzy noiz at wndw – totes clatter, lol. @santa dat u? #christmaseve #fml #hohoho” Q: Hashtag funny. I have a neighbour called Carol. And you’re right, she’s always prancing and dashing, she’s also a bit of a vixen, and hey, a little dopey too. Oh wait, that’s dwarves. Anyway, I’m going to hold up these cards with lines from famous carols and you’re going to act as translator. Okay? A: Sure thing. Actually, you may as well turn that music back on if we’re going to go full Andrew Lincoln. Q: Ooookay. First one: “Deck the halls with boughs of holly.” Is this like an outdoor deck, summer BBQ Christmas theme? A: Close, but no electronic cigar. Deck is simply to decorate, and bough is a branch – so they were going all in on the decking that year – must have been a sale on holly. Q: Yes, I’m still thinking they’re on their way to Mardi Gras, donning their gay apparel. And what about, same song, “fa la la la la, la la la la”? A: That’s where the song writer got lazy. Q: And what’s a Yule tide? Is it good for surfers? Should we move our towel further up the beach? A: Well it’s just one word, “Yuletide” – or “Yule time”, and it was a pagan festival from around the 15th century, morphing and merging into Christmas. So we’ve got a few different celebrations happening at once, all historically scattered across December or January, but eventually settling on December 25th. Q: But they were trolling an ancient Yuletide carol? Sounds nasty (or like someone reading YouTube comments). A: Troll means all sorts of nasty things these days, but back two hundred years ago, it was to sing loud and clear. Q: Okay, what about “bells on bobtail ring” from Jingle Bells? A: Well, we’re talking about that one horse that is pulling the open sleigh. No, he’s not named Bob, but his tail has been decoratively tied into a “bob” knot for the occasion (think “bob” haircut but with more horse’s rear end involved) – they probably tied it up specially (a bit like how dressage riders braid horses’ tails) because they heard they were going to be featured in a song that day. Q: Cattle lowing? A: They’re mooing in a deep way. Clearly they’re all about that bass, ‘bout that bass, no treble. Q: Same song. A manger? A: It’s like a manager, but with less authority to fire people and more straw. It’s actually a feeding trough for animals. We have known plenty of managers who have closely resembled mangers though. Q: Verily? A: It means truly. Q: Tidings of great joy? Not “timings” surely. A: No, in this case, tidings means “news” or “information”. Q: Okay, what about “This year to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special” A: That’s from Wham’s “Last Christmas” and it means that last Christmas George Michael (who wrote and produced the song) expressed love for another, but on Boxing Day, that person regifted it before heading off to the mall for up to 75% off bullet blenders. So this year, they’re going to be better at choosing. Q: I think George Michael was thinking about donning gay apparel when he wrote that. A: Quite possibly. So, are we done? Q: One more, and I cheated – it’s not a Christmas carol, but it is FROM A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. What does “Bah, Humbug!” mean? A: First, a “humbug” is like a fraud or something untrustworthy. And, yes, we mainly associate it with Ebenezer Scrooge. People can say it to someone – calling them a fraud – or can be referring to Christmas as the “humbug”. Its use has expanded beyond Christmas to generally mean your rejection of something. Q: Isn’t a humbug also a type of sweet? A: Yes, so technically you could cry out “Bah, humbug!” if you got that in your Christmas pudding. Q: And on that cherry note (see what I did there?), a happy Christmas to all. A: And to all, a good night.
Got a Q&A topic you’d like us to tackle? Send us an email!
That’s gotta suck each year, right? Well, here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, if you can email us and prove that you do indeed share a birthday with Christmas, we’ll send the first responder a gift – just to show that WE didn’t forget you on YOUR special day!
Simply reply to this email and attach some sort of picture that will confirm it. No photoshopping nonsense allowed! (And happy birthday!)
Last week’s competition winner
Last week we asked you to take the typo “Gingerbread Santa’s” and make it all better with a sentence to make it work. Congrats to Denise for her entry:
“Gingerbread Santa’s hat was inadvertently left out of the cookie cutter so he looks like a sunburnt snowman.”
You’ve won a copy of Stateless by Alan Gold and Mike Jones. This week’s Christmas competition is down a little further!
Featured course: From underpants to the undead…
Online course in Writing Books for Children and Young Adults Kicks off for five weeks from 12 January. Learn anywhere, takes only 2-3 hours a week!
If you have a desire to set teen imaginations on fire with Young Adult fiction, OR if you love mischievous and adventurous children’s fiction for ages 8-12, then this course will show you how.
Learn how to narrow down your voice, appeal to a certain age group and nail your story! Kids can be some of the harshest critics, and these days other things compete for their attention. So, let us show you how to keep them turning those pages by creating clever characters and surprising plots…!
Who hasn’t misheard a lyric and made up their own words, right? (In fact Christmas Carols get it a lot, isn’t that right Round John Virgin!) And there’s a name for it: Mondegreens.
They are created by a person listening to a poem or a song usually and being not sure of the lyric, so makes up something that sounds similar. “Mondegreen” itself is one: from a mishearing of “and laid him on the green” as “and Lady Mondegreen”.
Other famous ones include “excuse me while I kiss this guy” (kiss the sky) from Jimi Hendrix or “I’ve got shoes, they’re made of plywood” from Grease!
Over Christmas, if you think of a great mondegreen (existing or invented by you), drop us a line. We’d love to hear some from well known recent songs! And the one we like the best will win a copy of The Prophecy of Beesby R.S. Pateman. Reply to this email with SONG as the subject title and you’ve got all the way through until 11:44pm on Monday 5 January 2015! That’s like, next year!
Webpick: NORAD Santa tracker
NORAD is usually busy tracking far less colourful and jolly things, but once a year it keeps an eye on Santa’s whereabouts to ensure every house is visited on Christmas Eve.
There’s plenty to do while you’re waiting for it to go live next Wednesday evening too, making it the perfect procrastination tool for writers!
The final word:
(And on that anti-spending note, take a look at some great courses to spend your time on in 2015! Don’t be a Grinch, kick those writing goals this coming year!)
Upcoming course dates
Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE Week beginning Monday 5 January 2015 for five weeks
Online course: Travel Writing with Sue White – NEW DATE Week beginning Monday 5 January 2015 for five weeks
All of the plays posted on "The Brainpan" are the original work of the blog's main author, Randy Ford, and may not be reproduced, in any form, without the author's permission. You may reach the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.