5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Blog or do tax. It was an easy decision. Here are five things I’m loving at this moment in time.

1. Being Amongst an Incredible  Community of Kids’ Authors

Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival Authors 2010
Pic thanks to John Danalis.

Children’s and Young Adult Publishing is a truly great corner of the world in which to work and play. I just returned from Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival where I hung out with a bunch of cool, creative humans – Gus Gordon, James Roy, Deborah Abela, John Danalis, Michael Wagner, Ruben Meerman, Jackie French, Ghostboy and P.D. Martin. Lots of fun dinners, funny bus rides and successful book signings and sessions. I find children’s authors to, invariably, be supportive, funny, loose, creative, intelligent, free-spirited and community-minded people and I’m super-proud to hang out with these cats and others in the industry. Below, I’m riding a ‘Green Machine’ that we discovered some kids riding in Mackay. We asked if we could go for a spin and they ‘fessed up their wheels.

Pic thanks to John Danalis

2. Jumping Castle Art
Today I donned a yellow zebra striped suit and hit ‘The Cell‘ by Brook Andrew, a giant jumping castle artwork at The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation space in Paddington, Sydney.

Pic by Amber Melody

3. Proactive But Conscious Web Use

Pic by Thirsty in LA on Flickr.com

I’m trying to use the web as a tool rather than letting it be my master. When the web takes over I get twitchy, fragmented in my thinking and I waste crazy amounts of time surfing around for mindless stuff. Recently I did a week-long web diet. One hour of email responses per day. No surfing. It’s led to a ten-fold increase in my quality of life. I now refuse to get sucked into the vortex. I use the web rather than it using me. For inspiration, check out these interesting links:
Zen and the Art of Twitter: 4 Tips for Productive Tweeting at Mashable
20 Strategies to Defeat the Urge to do Useless Tasks on the Zen Habits Blog

4. Room to Read and Camp Quality

Back: Sarah Charles, Linly Goh, Susanne Gervay, Deborah Abela, Ian Mclean
Front: Gus Gordon and Tristan Bancks.
Photo thanks to
Susanne Gervay.

I’m involved with two really cool organisations: Camp Quality and Room to Read. CQ uses giggle-power to get kids with cancer smiling and R2R empowers and funds local communities in the developing world to build libraries, schools and to support girls’ education.

This week I met and interviewed an amazing 13-year-old cancer survivor, Sinead, and her mum, Pauline, at the CQ national conference, as well as Steve, the main camp leader. Their stories were happy-making and inspiring. It felt so good to be in a room of people who dedicate their lives to kindness and doing positive work.

The Room to Read Sydney Chapter meeting saw the launch of Zak the Yak With Books on His Back, John Wood‘s (RtoR founder) brand new children’s book. Deb Abela read the book to a rapt crowd. I’ll be launching Zak in Brisbane with a ton of fun games and quizzes for kids:

Wednesday 25 August
Coaldrakes at The Barracks
Petrie Tce, top of Caxton Street
4 – 4.45pm

At the Sydney Meeting I also shared my Top Ten Room to Read Actions For Kids and Teens, a call to action for first-world children and teenagers to reach out a hand to their peers in developing countries by giving them the gift of books and education. I’ll post the top ten here soon!

5. Being Here Now

Tristan Bancks throwing frisbee on beach. Pic by Amber Melody

Right now my life is the best it has been in years. Finally, I’m letting go and being present right here, right now. I’m no-mind guy, refusing to let chronic thinking strangle my life. I work pretty hard, writing, managing my biz and speaking about kid’s lit. And when I’m not working I often find myself thinking about it, non-stop, every moment – in the shower, when I’m driving, eating, sleeping. But not anymore. I’m working on the idea that, ‘You are the space between your thoughts’ and it’s working. I’m alive. Sweet justice.


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