Passion in life is reward enough: success is optional

The past two years have been the best I can remember.

Typewriter, words, printed | more on

I have consummated my passion for France and my passion for writing in one 24 month period. First I ran away to France for six months. Then I applied for the professional writing course of my dreams. Then I got in! I’m more than halfway through and I never want it to end. This story was first published in the February/March issue of The Victorian WriterDavid Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, once said:

people who live with passion start out with an especially intense desire to complete themselves. Continue reading

Ocean swim at Lorne Pier-to-Pub an unlikely cure

A classic DIY tale of fixing something that’s been broken.

An edited version of this story first appeared as ‘Not Drowning, Waving’ in The Big Issue in December 2016.

Goggles for ocean swim | More on


On the second Saturday of every new year, the waters around Lorne heave and churn like a deep fryer of boiling oil with a wire basket-load of chips tossed onto its surface. People pay money to be one of those chips.

The Lorne Pier-to-Pub is the world’s biggest ocean swim race with entries now capped at 5000.

The race has been going for thirty-six years. Organisers introduced a ballot system after 2008, when all available places sold out on the first day of registration.

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All Hail Asphaltia – Goddess of the Road

It was only when I heard the talk back caller announce that she was a white witch that I gave the radio my full attention.

Asphaltia in her Glass Temple
Asphaltia in her Glass Temple

Transfixed, I listened to her sing the praises of her car parking goddess Asphaltia, who never failed to provide her with a parking spot whenever called upon to do so. The only proviso was that the Benefactress must be thanked, and that the lucky recipient of Her bounty must attribute the procurement of the parking space to Her, and not to Luck.  To do otherwise would be considered ungrateful, and the driver an unworthy candidate for future good parking deeds.

The unbridled enthusiasm of the caller transcended the airwaves, and found its way into this cynical heart.  I resolved to give it a try next time I went shopping.  And lo!  It came to pass.  Not just once, but again and again.  And never once did I fail to thank Asphaltia for her intervention.  Buoyed by my success, I shared the secret with my children. Continue reading

DIY woman chats to our favourite Australian author – Graeme Simsion

Former IT specialist and current best-selling author of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion is on a roll: we talk to the soon-to-be screenwriter, sometime film producer, bon vivant and half of the hottest literary duo since Simone de Beauvoir and whatshisname.

DIY woman Elizabeth Quinn with author Graeme Simsion
DIY woman with author Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion and his wife Anne Buist (author of recently-released psychological thriller Medea’s Curse) are currently on the literary festival circuit from Dubai all the way to UK and beyond, but he still found time for a chinwag with DIY Woman:

Legend has it that your original intention was to write a screenplay and you were advised to first write a best-seller, which you did. Damn it Graeme, is it really that simple?

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Fame on Tap

Don’t just do it – broadcast it! Here is a story I wrote for The Big Issue about the fourth greatest achievement of my life so far:

Donald, Debbie and Gene

It was in my early teens that I discovered Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, and began my love affair with all things tap.  After seeing Singin’ in the Rain, I dreamed of tap dancing over furniture and up walls with my two leading men, leaving behind a bewildered Debbie Reynolds in my wake.

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