Blog #141: I’ve Been One Poor Correspondent

Ok I’m just going to gloss over the fact that with all my good intentions about blogging more regularly, I haven’t actually posted anything for over six months.

The good (?) news is that having just been let back into Brisbane after spending 11 weeks in Melbourne, my wife and I are now in Home Quarantine for the next two weeks, so I should have plenty of time to write!

So what has happened since my last blog? Well in no particular order …

1. The German version of THE THINGS THAT WILL NOT STAND (Dinge, die so nicht bleiben können) has been getting some wonderful reviews and the audio version by the amazing Hörcompany was named “Best Children’s Audio Book 2021”. Such a thrill!

The audio award was due in large part to the great narration provided by the super-talented and very popular Jens Wawrczeck.

“Jens Wawrczeck reads the multi-layered story at first with verve and sparkling humor, later he becomes more and more hesitant. The tightness around the chest and throat that afflicts teenagers with their revelations becomes audible. The result is a listening experience perfectly balanced between lust for life and the burden of life. ” Southgerman newspaper

With Jens at the White Raven Festival in Munich 2010.

2. A new Australia edition of JUST A DOG was released featuring a new look Mr Mosely.

3. I was contacted by FEDERICO STRAGA an Italian singer-songwriter. He sent me a lovely email recently explaining how a few years back he read my book DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL! with his daughter and how he really enjoyed it. He was particularly taken by the James Scobie character who faces the school bully. Scobie explains that he’s not afraid of the bully or anything else any more because after surviving a brain tumour operation, he just has no fear left. Or he “exhausted fear” as it translates in the Italian version. Federico said he liked this concept so much that he wrote a song entitled “I Exhausted Fear”. It became the first single from his record released three years ago. Federico’s fantastic song and video is below. “I hope you will like it and thank you for your inspiration and the good times spent reading the book. A big hug from Italy. Federico” I certainly did like it! As I told Federico, as someone who dreamed of being a singer-songwriter, it was a thrill and an honour to think I played some small part in the creation of his song.

4. My wife and I spent 11 weeks locked down to varying degrees in Melbourne because of Covid travel restrictions. The plus side was we got to spend a lot of time with our gorgeous and amazing grand daughter (2 yrs 2 mths) and new grandson (7 mths). I am now an expert at Duplo.

5. There were only a few actual school visits due to the pandemic but I did make some contact with readers in other ways.

6. I scored some beautiful artwork from my friend, brilliant artist and wonderful picture book creator CAROLINE MAGERL. If you don’t know Caroline’s work, do yourself a favour and checkout some of these titles: Nop; Maya and Cat; Hasel and Rose.

7. I presented via ZOOM at the 2021 Celebrate Reading Conference at the LITERATURE CENTRE in Fremantle WA. Would have loved to have been there in person with the other fabulous authors but this was the next best thing.

8. I invested in some cutting-edge technology.

9. I made all these stuffed potatoes. And consumed quite a few of them.

10. I took these random shots while in Melbourne.

11. I read some great books.

12. My wife and I devoured these delicious pies from the Blackbutt Bakery QLD!

13. Ok, I feel I might be scratching around for ideas now …

Hoping to get stuck into some serious writing soon.

Cheers
Michael

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Blog #1 May 2021: If I could turn back time …

I can not believe it’s MAY already and this is my FIRST blog of the year! Oh well, as I’ve no doubt said before, the best laid plans of Mike and men …

My biggest news book-wise is that the German edition (and audio version) of The Things That Will Not Stand was released in Germany under the title Dinge, die so nicht bleiben können.

I’ve been really thrilled with the wide coverage and lovely reviews it has been receiving.

You can read some of them HERE.

A big thanks to everyone at CARL HANSER VERLAG and HÖRCOMPANY (audio) for their continuing support and their beautiful editions!

It was also wonderful to be interviewed and do readings via Zoom recently with Claudia from the Internationale Jugendbibliothek about THE THINGS THAT WILL NOT STAND as part of the Munich Book Show – junior.

We had 5 classes of grade 8/9s tuning in for the session. Thankfully it was in English and all went smoothly. A big thank you to everyone who made that possible.

In other news, my ’21 in 21′ READING CHALLENGE is going well and for the first time ever I’m actually ahead of schedule with 14 books already done and dusted.

There’s quite a variety of books here all of which I have enjoyed reading.

A bunch of the other things that have occurred in the first 4 months of 2021 are summarised pictorially below and since they are obviously self-explanatory I won’t bore you with any extraneous comments.

As for MY WRITING, I must admit that I’ve had a bit of a hiatus of late, but soon I hope to get back to the YA novel I’ve now been working on for some time.

Also I’ve been fiddling around with some possible picture book texts and in 2022 I’ve been reliably informed that a certain rabbit will make a reappearance, so all is not LOST!

Of course it goes without saying (although I’m going to say it anyway) that THE VERY BEST THING that’s happened this year is that my wife and I became grandparents for the second time when we welcomed into the world our first grandson Harlan.

And what a brilliant, perfect little guy he is!

Cheers

Michael

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Blog #20 2020: In which I raise my second face.

Well it’s been over a month since my wife and I completed our two week hotel quarantine and I have to say I think we have adjusted very well to outside life.

For example, Adriana is no longer spending hours weeping at the front door waiting for our meals to be delivered and I’m proud to say that I have finally reverted to wearing pants on a semi-regular basis.

So that means apart from the odd hiccough here and there, life at the Bauer Haus has pretty much returned to normal.

However I now have a much more important issue I wish to discuss with you.

Namely this: BEING MISQUOTED.

If you are ever tempted to Google the following – “Michael Gerard Bauer” quote – and then click on IMAGES you will come across some posters with quotes attributed to me.

(Oh and by the way, I should point out here that if at any time you actually do find yourself tempted to Google those words, it might be wise to first sit down and try to work out exactly where, when and how your life went so terribly wrong.)

Anyway, the main two quotes attributed to me that appear on a range of sites are these:

Lovely aren’t they? And WISE!

But you see the thing is I’VE NEVER SAID EITHER OF THEM!

As far as I can figure out the drawing quote is by French artist Gerard Bauer (1947 – ) and the voice quote is a by French writer, journalist and essayist Gerard Bauer (1888 – 1967) but on just about every quote site I get credited with them!

And it doesn’t end there.

NOW it seems things I’ve never said are being re-quoted in weird places like in this article in The Times of India of all places.

Voice dubbing is a sophisticated task — Australian author Michael Gerard Bauer wrote that voice is a second face — and it involves getting various nuances of speech right. It amplifies the effect of the actions and emotions being portrayed on the screen, and many popular actors have had their lines spoken by studio talent.

NO, I DIDN’T!

Although I must admit of all the things I haven’t said (and believe me when I tell you there have been plenty!) The voice is a second face is probably my favourite.

Maybe I should just tweak it a little and claim copyright?

“THE FACE IS A SECOND VOICE.”

You heard it here first!

It is a little depressing though. After all, I’ve had 16 books of various kinds published, I’ve written a couple of things for newspapers and I’ve been interviewed on various occasions in magazines and online, so you’d hope just by sheer chance and weight of numbers I might have strung together a line or two of my own words that were actually worth quoting.

But I’ve never really had much luck with quotes.

For example here are all the quotes that have been posted by people on my Good Reads Author Page.

Michael Gerard Bauer quotes Showing 1-7 of 7

1. “Twelve days will be heaps of time. You don’t want to over-rehearse these things, otherwise you lose that rough edge”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel.

Yes ok, that is from that book. But why that particular line? Without context it doesn’t even make sense. And there are thousands of better lines than that. Really!

2. “He’s not just a dog, he’s a member of the family”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Just a Dog.

Wrong. This appears nowhere in the book. \It’s just some cliché someone has taken from a blurb or review somewhere that someone else has written.

3. “I’m just letting you know that these stories I’m writing are not going to be about a superhero TV kind of dog. Our dog Mister Mosely. And they will all be true. Even the ones that I wish weren’t.”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Just a Dog.

Yes it’s a quote from the book BUT there’s some crucial words left out in the middle so it doesn’t read properly or make much sense. This is how it should go with the missing words re-instated.

“I’m just letting you know that these stories I’m writing are not going to be about a superhero TV kind of dog. They’re not. They’re going to be about a normal, everyday dog. Our dog Mister Mosely. And they will all be true. Even the ones that I wish weren’t.”

4. “Pick”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Don’t Call Me Ishmael.

WTF??????? No idea what this means. Your guess is as good as mine. Although I checked and the word ‘pick’ does appear in the book in various forms. 15 times in fact. Maybe I should be more picky with my picks?

5. “Faulkner’s Fried Food and Funeral Parlour. You die – we fry.”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs.

YES FINALLY! I’ll pay that. Happy to have that quote included. See how witty and darkly hilarious I can be if I put my mind to it!

6. “No man is an island entire to himself”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs.

Wrong. Used in the book but it’s a quote from poet John Donne not me.

7. “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
― Michael Gerard Bauer, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs.

Wrong. Used in the book but it’s a quote by Voltaire (I think) not me.

So just to recap, of the 7 quotes attributed to me: 3 are totally wrong, 1 doesn’t make any sense because it’s just one word, 1 is inaccurate, 1 lacks context, which leaves only 1 legitimate worthwhile quote.

I from 7. Not a great strike rate.

Of course in the past I have also been slanderously misquoted by author colleague (both terms really need to be fact-checked) Richard Newsome.

Just to balance the ledger, here’s a quote from Richard that I’ve heard him repeat on countless occasions.

So that’s my little whinge about being misquoted done. I suppose there are worse things in the world that can happen to you.

But still, your own words are important. After all as I’ve said on many occasions, the voice is a second face.

And you can quote me one that!

Cheers
Michael

And if I can just leave you with something I really did say recently. It’s about the launch of my book THE THINGS THAT WILL NOT STAND in Germany in January 2021 by Carl Hanser Verlag.

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Blog #19 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY THE LAST (14)

7:45 am: All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go …

Time to say goodbye to our constant companions – the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge …

… and to good old ROOM 1406 – our home away from home this last fortnight.

We made it to the end. WELL DONE US!

A big and heartfelt THANK YOU to the management and staff of the BRISBANE MARRIOTT along with the men and women of the Army and the Qld Police Force all of whom were friendly and helpful and took great care of us.

Thanks too to everyone who took the time to read any of my quarantine ramblings and thanks especially for the comments and feedback. Writing the BLOG and reading the responses really helped make the 14 days so much more bearable for both of us.

Well it’s been a strange, trying, testing and at times hilarious adventure and there’s only one person in the world I’d want to do it with – and I did.

14 days isolated in close quarters together and not a single cross word. Although I did have my earphones on for lengthy periods of time so …

ANYWAY we’re back at out little abode now and we agree totally with Dorothy’s sentiments – THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Cheers
Michael and Adriana

PS: And look what was waiting for me when I got home. The beautiful CHINESE language edition of THE RUNNING MAN published by Guomai Culture & Media Co Ltd China.

This is now the 7th overseas publication for the book. The others are Germany, USA, France, Italy, Sth Korea and the Netherlands. Never dreamed things like this were possible back in 2000 when I resigned from my teaching position to have a go at writing what would be my first novel. So happy that I stuck with it and saw it through. It was eventually published in Australia in 2004.

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Blog #18 2020: DAY THIRTEEN

DAY THIRTEEN – unlucky for some. But not for us because it’s our last full day of hotel quarantine!

So how did we spend the day? Well, I’m glad you asked.

~ We woke up. Had a cup of tea. Face-timed with our daughter and grand-cutie in Melbourne. Checked emails and social media and the News. Watched some ABC Morning Breakfast. Ard did some washing. I had a shower.

~ And then BREAKFAST ARRIVED. YAY!

Continental breakfast today.

~ After that we did some reading. Ard also did sudoku. And then Ard and I competed in the HOTEL CHAMPIONSHIP LONG-DISTANCE BASKETBALL-SHOT CHALLENGE.

Ard missing YET AGAIN. Although she did eventually run out the winner 7 – 2. (Her effort however was clouded in controversy due to foot-faults and performance-enhancing-drug issues.)

~ In order to recuperate from that grueling burst of exercise we wound down by watching the final two episodes of the mystery/crime series THE HEAD on SBS on Demand.

And then LUNCH ARRIVED. YAY!

Beef salad etc

~ Following lunch and a cup of coffee and some more reading Ard started to get a little restless and agitated and complained she was sick of the sight of my face all the time so …

~ After that, things were a little tense.

Me: Hey Ard, you know how the killing of a father is called patricide; is there a word for the killing of a husband?

Ard: Justifiable homicide?

Hahahahahahaha! She is such a joker!

~ Anyway Ard then started on her aerobics routine and with Little Richard screaming “Lucille!” at me I started work on some of TODAY’S BLOG.

~ Firstly, I did the what would sadly be the last QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY.

THE MIGHTY QLD REDS – Rugby Union

(Strangely enough I didn’t ever see a BRONCOS CITYCAT. But after their season this year it probably burnt to the waterline or sank.)

~ Then I did the last HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY.

And because it has provided us with much pleasure, variety, distraction and beauty, as well as a convenient place to hang washing during our quarantine, the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Thursday Oct 29th just had to be …

OUR BIG WINDOW TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD!

Some people might think you’re a pane, but we love you (Boom! Tish!)

Thanks for the memories …

The video is even better if you make your own motor-boat noises as it plays.

~ Then I took a break, watched some TV and did some packing. Ard had a shower and read and then …

DINNER ARRIVED. YAY!

Butter Chicken

~ So now as our final night in quarantine draws to a close, it’s time for an episode of The Good Fight, a bit of reading and an early night.

Just as soon as I finish off these SURPLUS SNACKS.

Cheers
Michael

Purple, Green and Blue. The STORY BRIDGE turning it on for our last night.
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Blog #17 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY TWELVE

Hi All

In response to a ground swell of public opinion today I’m going to start the blog with the REGULAR FEATURES.

So first up it’s the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY.

And as a special treat we have TWO for the price of one!

Next we have the crowd favourite, the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Wednesday Oct 28th and it’s …

the SUITCASE STORAGE BENCH WITH BONUS HIDDEN STORAGE DRAW UNDERNEATH!

And now a real treat for all you BASKETBALL FANS.

Yes that’s right. In order to stop Ard going completely insane I have used my natural creativity and my MacGuyver-like skills and fashioned an incredibly detailed and realistic minature basketball and basketball hoop out of raw materials that I found lying around the hotel room!

I can almost hear the gasps of amazement from here but I assure you I’m telling the truth.

Once I had everything in place I let Ard out of the bathroom and she immediately displayed her mad and silky skills drawing comparisons to the great Lauren Jackson.

“Ard, compared to the great Lauren Jackson you really suck.”

Eventually I had to ban Ard from playing altogether for constantly hanging off the basket despite repeated warnings. (It’s a very dangerous practice especially when everything’s made of paper.)

And speaking of SILKY SKILLS

I’d like to see LeBron do that!

Cheers
Michael

(Dessert below is from yesterday’s menu.}

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Blog #16 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY ELEVEN

GOOD NEWS! Our Covid Test results came back and both Ard and I were NEGATIVE.

Woohoo! That means we should be heading home on Friday morning around 8.00 am.

In other startling news, Ard threatened me with a pair of scissors and demanded I let her cut my hair so she could have “something to do to fill in the time. Or else!”

It seemed like a reasonable request.

In the end I think she did great job. But I’ll let you be the judge …

All right, enough of this frivolity. “Where are the REGULAR FEATURES?” I hear you cry.

Ok then. First up is the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY!

And for the first time we have a special reader request. So this one’s especially for new arrival QUARANTEAM MEMBER SEAN isolating just above us on level 15.

I give you ..

THE MIGHTY BRISBANE ROAR – Football

And the HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Tuesday Oct 27th is …

The AMPLE CUPBOARDS WITH AUTOMATIC INTERIOR MOOD LIGHTING!

Yes, they are all GUCCI t-shirts!

Nothing much else to report today except that we watched Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Equal parts Shocking, Embarrassing, Hilarious, Insightful, Cruel and Ridiculous.

Cheers
Michael

R.I.P. the budding ponytail. I coulda been Willy Nelson!
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Blog #15 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY TEN

Well today was the BIG DAY – Covid-19 Testing Day!

All we were told was that we would be tested some time between 9 and 5. So after an early morning fresh air break from 8.30 to 9.OO we returned to our room and waited.

While we were there, we passed the time by, well … waiting.

The testers finally arrived in full protective gear at around 1.30pm and set up a chair outside our door for the procedure – which was one swab of the back of the mouth and then a cotton bud up each nostril for a count of five seconds.

Because I’m a gentleman (and just in case there was any chance of danger) I let Ard go first. We both survived. The whole thing was quick and a bit uncomfortable and unnerving but not too bad.

My main worry was that with my nose they might lose a cotton bud up there or perhaps dislodge some wayward piece of Lego lost from my childhood.

There was one negative consequence of having our Covid-19 test today.

No that’s not a convertible bra. That’s our face masks drying out after being washed.

And the reason they’re being washed is because we won’t need them again till we leave. And the reason for that is because after testing we now can’t leave the room at all even for a fresh air break.

That’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in TOTAL LOCKDOWN for us.

On the whole I think we’ll cope pretty well although Ard has started watching Shawshank Redemption on repeat and has just ordered a poster of Raquel Welsh and a rock hammer on eBay.

OK REGULAR FEATURES time!

First the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

THE MIGHTY BRISBANE HEAT – Twenty20 Cricket

And everybody’s favourite, the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Monday Oct 26th is …

THE APPRORIATELY ELEVATED BATHROOM TAP!

This fabulous faucet is today’s winner because as you can see by the above photos YOU CAN FIT A KETTLE EASILY UNDER IT for filling without the use of a crowbar or a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In other words it hasn’t been designed by some sadist.

And to finish off – I give you a MEAL with a VIEW.

Last fresh air break for us.

Cheers
Michael (and Adriana)

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Blog #14 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY NINE

Hi all.

Well it continues to be an action-packed roller-coaster ride of excitement here.

Last night for the AFL GRAND FINAL the Story Bridge was lit up in both Geelong and Richmond colours.

And would you believe, at the very moment I was trying to take the photos, a massive UFO landed on the river and I managed to catch it on film just before it shot vertically into the night sky and vanished with a super-sonic boom.

Probably not something you see every day.

And while we’re speaking of the river, the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

THE MIGHTY QLD FIREBIRDS – NETBALL

Today Ard wisely decided against sewing the sheets together to fashion an escape rope which means that she now has finished all her sewing projects and is therefore at a bit of a loose end.

But the good news for me is it means that finally all her sewing patterns and equipment have disappeared from the CHAISE-LOUNGE/DIVAN/SOFA thingy and I can finally use it!

However …

And …

But all is not lost. I have got my name down on a waiting list and I’m really looking forward to hearing some good news maybe in the day or two.

Ok I can’t delay any longer. I’m worried the tension might become too great from some readers. So here it is – the HOTEL ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

And today’s worthy recipient is …

Yes it’s the DOUBLE PLUG POINT/DOUBLE USB CHARGER COMBO. You can’t have too many charging ports and these beauties are sprinkled liberally around the room.

And finally just to finished off, congratulations to the Lady Broncos NRL team for their third Premiership win in a row and also to the Brisbane Marriott kitchen staff for yet another delicious daily menu.

Cheers (and go the STORM!)
Michael

AND STILL!

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Blog #13 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY EIGHT

Ok in the last blog I cleverly FORESHADOWED (devious writer’s trick) that today some BIG CHANGES WOULD BE HAPPENING.

And LOOK I wasn’t kidding – NEW SHEETS, TOWELS AND BATHROOM STUFF have arrived!

Now the thing is, even though we are staying at a 5 STAR hotel, the 5 STAR service stops just outside our door.

Which means of course that as far as Ard and I are concerned – WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE NEED TO BE!

Therefore not too surprisingly, my HOTEL FEATURE OF THE DAY for Saturday Oct 24th is …

OUR NEWLY MADE KING-SIZE BED.

And apparently, they tell me that now we’ve made our bed, we get to lie in it!

The only worrying side-light to all of this change-over activity is that Ard has now started sewing all the old sheets, pillow cases and towels together end to end.

I suppose I should point out to her that it’s a futile task since we’re 14 floors up and the one big window we have doesn’t even open, but hey, it’s keeping her happy and occupied so every piece of dirty laundry has a silver lining.

And while we’re on the subject of regular blog features, the QLD SPORTING TEAM CITYCAT OF THE DAY is …

The BRISBANE LIONS AFL Team.

Thought it was appropriate to feature the BRISBANE LIONS on this historic day in Australian sport when for the first time in the history of the Game (due to the pandemic) the Big Dance aka the AFL Grand Final will be played at the GABBA right here in Brisbane and not at the MCG in Melbourne. And to celebrate this great occasion, we’ve really turned on the Sunshine State weather for you!

Sadly the mighty Brisbane Lions fell at the semi-final hurdle and therefore possibly missed what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a grand final in their home town. (But I wouldn’t advise whining about it to this year’s Brisbane Broncos NRL team!)

Now, anyone want a closer look at our meals? No? Well here’s today’s BREAKFAST anyway. Neither of us are much into pancakes and ice-cream for breakfast but it was still nice.

On our fresh air break today the walking course was limited to the undercover area around the pool because of the rain. Normally there’s a side section you can walk down as well.

We usually just walk for the whole half hour. In today’s walk, which as you can see was pretty deserted because of the wet weather, Ard managed to lap me consistently every five or six circuits of the pool.

I have no hard proof of course, but its pretty obvious that she’s a drug cheat.

And just to finish off, this photo was among the FACEBOOK MEMORIES that popped up on my page today.

Seems eerily appropriate somehow.

Cheers
Michael

PS: The answers to yesterday’s inter-textual link films were (1) GROUNDHOG DAY (because of the lines from the Sonny and Cher song that plays every time Bill Murray wakes up) and (2) BLADE RUNNER (because of the bucket-list that mentions attack ships off the shoulder of Orion etc)

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