The Female Face of War

By | Life | 2 Comments

“He’s afraid now that I will remember the wrong thing. That I will tell it not the way I’m supposed to,” says a woman in Svetlana Alexievich’s book about Soviet women’s experience of fighting in World War II, ‘War’s Unwomanly Face’. It applies to women’s experience of conflict and war everywhere, though: Once women stop being victims, and become combatants, physically, or psychologically, they are met with unease. Women are silenced on the topic of war, by men and women, and also by the traditions and genres of journalism, history and publishing. “We usually think of wars as something that men…

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Heroic Storytelling

By | Events, Storytelling, Workshops | 4 Comments

When I was ten, my class spent a year learning about the Vikings. I nominated myself to be the village Bard and wrote my first novel, ‘The Greatest Honour of All’, about a young Viking girl who is killed in heroic battle and given a chieftain’s burial in a ship set on fire and pushed out to sea. It started strongly, but became stuck in the middle– now I realise I was having the usual problems with the notoriously difficult second act – and then jumped abruptly to my big ending where the burning ship holding the corpse of my heroine was…

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Thumbs up to Mary – and Lilith

By | Life | No Comments

Mothers Day is complicated for me, because my son is non verbal, and has severe autism, and so a special occasion without presents for him, or cake, or a party, would have no meaning in his world. I’m very happy to make these things happen on days like Christmas, or his birthday, but not for myself. That would heighten the sense of the absurd that already hangs about ‘mothers day’ for me like the faint whiff of a chemical air freshener that I can’t quite separate from the perfume of fresh flowers. It’s manufactured to a certain extent, and then, on the other…

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This is my Reward

By | Life | No Comments

I think about The Hero’s Journey and Structure a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I love working with and thinking about rhythm, patterns and structure in all aspects of life, especially music, daily and yearly rituals and routines (a glass of wine, and planned holidays are essential) – and most of all, storytelling, which is where theory becomes practise for me, as I work to become the best novelist I can be. At present, I’m particularly thinking about The Hero’s Journey in relation to my writing career and the publishing industry, because on June 3rd at Vivid Festival in Sydney I’m going to be presenting…

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Story Structure One Day Workshop: Byron Bay Writers Festival

By | Events, Storytelling | No Comments

You wouldn’t build a house that had no supporting beams, no foundation and no ceiling. Neither can you tell a satisfying story without having certain structural elements in place. This one day workshop will introduce participants to the basic elements of three act structure and help them learn how to identify and strengthen these elements in their own work. Tuesday 1st August, Byron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia For booking and other details, please go to: https://byronwritersfestival.com/whats-on/workshop-laura-bloom/

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The Outsiders

By | Life, Storytelling | 2 Comments

I’ve always felt like an outsider. I was born late, the last of my generation in my large extended family. I was too young to participate in my family’s life while it was all happening, and by the time I reached those milestones of family holidays and celebrations, I often as not did them with just my mother, or by myself. As I grew older I went to schools in other, far flung parts of Sydney – many long bus rides away. The area we lived in – Glebe – was mainly a slum then, and I was a middle class…

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The review a writer dreams of …

By | Storytelling | No Comments

From The Weekend Australian, October 29th, 2016: Some novels owe their relevance to the moment in history defined by their theme and the actors who live the narrative. Others transcend time and place because of the universality of their argument, their characters and the landscape from which the narrative is drawn. Laura Bloom’s superb new novel, The Cleanskin, sits in the latter category and is destined to become a classic of its genre. Substitute the Northern Ireland sequences of this novel with any of today’s war-ravaged battlegrounds, and the secrets that haunt the protagonists could define almost any victim and perpetrator of past…

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I didn’t know I needed a Demitrius Graves

By | Friendship | 10 Comments

GUEST POST: It sounds strange to most people I know. How do you connect with a complete stranger online? Connect in a platonic soul reaching way? With a person two decades younger, male and from a different ethnic background? The internet strips you of all those things our minds are conditioned to separate us by; sex, race, age, socioeconomic … it’s just a made-up handle typing out words to another made-up handle. Maybe you can guess something about the other by the handle they made. Most times not. People create personas that are different from who they are forced to…

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Of pearls, beautiful young men and fine linen: an appreciation of Cheri.

By | Storytelling | 2 Comments

One of my favourite novels is Cheri, by the French author, Colette. It tells the story of a beautiful young man who is cossetted and spoiled by his mistress – in the dominating sense of that word – and lover, Léa, an older woman (although I have just discovered, disturbingly that in the first book she’s 49, just two years older than me). The book opens in Léa’s boudoir, where she is dressing, and Chéri is lounging on her messy bed, naked except for a long string of Léa’s pearls. ‘Give them to me,’ he says, commanding, then pleading, then seductive….

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Friendship, martial arts and Reality TV

By | Friendship | 7 Comments

 “Adults don’t want to watch other people having sex. They want to see someone getting told off in a store!” So said Ronnie from Watch What Crappens, the podcast I listen to after I’ve watched the latest episode of The Real Housewives of New York. Ben had just been theorising about why we love to watch them so: “Because they’re a big part of the population who are otherwise absent from popular culture, maybe?” He said. “Women from 40 – 60 of age with real and interesting lives?” Or, as my friend, the late, great Demetrius Graves said, women who are finally…

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