Revelation in the Age of Bigfoot
A Naked Yowie Project Initiative
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Nov 4 - Cheeky Tassie tiger tale
Popular Australian author Toni Jordan is back with a sizzling romantic comedy
Author Toni Jordan.
Picture: Fiona Hamilton
PUBLISHING sensation Toni Jordan has an impish grin, suggesting a lifetime of mischief-making.
It's even conceivable she could morph into her latest character, evolutionary biologist-cum-con artist Ella Canfield, looking equally resplendent in an emerald velvet dress.
Yet it turns out this good-natured Catholic-educated girl has saved all the coquettishness and rascality for her books.
And though her winsome prose comes naturally, it took the former scientist 20 years to discover her talent.
The world caught on quick when her first book Addition was published in 2008.
It is the tale of Grace Lisa Vandenburg, a 35-year-old teacher who counts everything -- her steps, mouthfuls of cake, toothbrush bristles -- to avoid panic attacks.
A love affair offers a reprieve from her obsessive-compulsive disorder, but she almost loses herself in the process.
The book has sold to 15 countries, including North America, the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, and Jordan, 43, is in the enviable position of being able to live off her writing.
But the pressure was on to write another, equally scintillating novel, which proved challenging.
"Because I have this science background and I'm quite obsessed with evolutionary biology, and the non-fiction writing of Amercian biologist Stephen Jay Gould, I thought I'd write this book about these scientists trying to find a mythical creature," Jordan says.
"And then I was at this friend's place for dinner and they introduced me to this guy, who works for Telstra during the day and at night he's a Yowie hunter.
"I thought, this is incredible."
Her first draft was about scientists looking for a Yowie in the Blue Mountains in NSW and Lamington National Park in Queensland "and then it was just so-not working".
She still wanted a hunt to be central to the plot. As part of her research, she dragged a friend down to Wilson's Promontory to camp and then read books on con artists.
"If you put your mind to it, you can con just about anything, the fact that we don't is a reflection of how good 99 per cent of the population is," Jordan says.
Along with tying science to the fading world of the con artist, Jordan aimed to imbue the novel with the sensibility of a 1950s romantic comedy.
"I tried to make the writing a bit more luxurious than Addition. I wanted it to be a bit more textured."
The result is Fall Girl, in which Della Gilmore, the product of a family of con artists, decides to fleece millionaire Daniel Metcalf. He heads the Metcalf Trust, which donates money to offbeat scientific research projects and Ella Canfield (Della) has applied for funds to prove the Tasmanian tiger still exists.
The sexual tension between the couple is threaded through myriad plot twists. Jordan credits her adolescent obsession with boys for her ease writing about sex.
"I was obsessed with boys, and I had no brothers, no brothers' friends, I went to a convent school where there were no boys," she says of her childhood in Brisbane. "Even the sight of one would have my heart fluttering in my chest. I have an entire adolescence of fancy that I can replay at will."
It took her seven years to gain her Bachelor of Science, working in the mail room at the University of Queensland during the day and studying at night.
She went on to work as a research assistant, lab manager and biotech representative travelling the world.
In 1996 she moved with her huband Rob to Melbourne and was working at Pan Pharmaceutical as a marketing manager when the company faced one of the biggest product recalls in Australian medical history in 2003.
"I thought I'd be in that kind of work for ever, but it became so stressful."
She enrolled in RMIT's Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing course in 2004, with the aim of setting up a corporate-writing business.
She took novel writing for fun.
"I didn't think I had a creative bone in my body before writing Addition."
Now a leisurely walk around the Bayside suburbs where she lives qualifies as work.
"Something I've learnt about myself is when you are well into a book it's fine to stay at your desk as long as you like.
"But in those early stages when you trying to figure out who these people are and what they are doing, it's actually not that constructive to be at your desk."
Fall Girl by Toni Jordan, Text Publishing, rrp $32.95
Nov 10 - Creature defies identification
THIS bizarre discovery on Diggers Beach, near Coffs Harbour, has given rise to a host of theories explaining what this creature might be and how it washed ashore.
The animal, roughly two foot long, was found by surfers on Father’s Day, but only now have the photos surfaced.
One of the local men who came across the animal, Peter Atkinson, is at a loss to explain it.
Countless others have also been stumped in making a positive identification.
“It was found on the high water mark and we contacted National Parks, but it appears the animal was washed back out to sea on the next tide,” Mr Atkinson said.
Suggestions have ranged from the credible to the ridiculous.
One strongly supported possibility is that it’s a type of monkey.
Others said it could be a South American sloth.
Yet web searches could not help with a positive identification.
Even the experts at Taronga Zoo were brought in on the case yesterday.
Mr Atkinson confirmed the photos were real and taken on a mobile phone, ruling out an email hoax, through several other credible witnesses.
Late yesterday a more likely explanation came through the office.
Lawrence Orel from the National Parks and Wildlife Service said on first inspection it appeared to be a brush tailed possum.
“The bushy fur on the tail gives it away I think. Possums do get that dark in colour, and it looks as though the fur may have come away from the face, but we’ll wait for positive confirmation from the zoo.”
Obviously, this particular creature was not confused for a Yowie yet this example demonstrates just how people's perceptions and interpretations
of local fauna - in this case a common brushtail possum - can be askew. " Monkey? Sloth?
The follow-up article removes any doubt:
"A parallel was even made to a mysterious creature found in the United States in 2008, known as ‘The
Rather than some new or exotic species, 'The Montauk Monster" was simply a deceased and decomposed racoon.
makes for entertaining reading and is, as such, a popular storytelling technique used by Monster Hunters and authors in order to appeal
to their readers. "Coffs Harbour Critter" sounds a lot more interesting than "Dead possum washes up on shore".
'The Montauk Monster.'
'The Montauk Monster' demystified.
'The Coffs Harbour Critter' comparison with brushtail possums.
Dec 28 - Hiking Fiasco: Stories of successful hikes and epic failures
I started from the 'Falcons Lookout' car park which was familiar to me from the previous weeks failed walk. I decided to take my walking sticks which would help my crap knees as I was a little concerned about anything that mentions 'steep descent'. It was a comfortable walk at the start, high above the gorge but with the odd dark cloud looming nearby. It was quite warm though and I was working up a sweat quite quickly. Actually, getting out of the car got me sweating. At one point I looked to my side and noticed a short furry thing. I was a little startled at first, as I'm constantly on the lookout for rogue Yowies. I'm not sure a Yowie is meant to be one metre tall though. It was actually one of a group of sheep who appeared to have not been shorn since about 1952. This dude was a member of 'Wool Central'. I remember once going to a shearing exhibition (I do get to some wild stuff in my spare time) and hearing from a farmer about the odd sheep that escapes to the hills and when they're found the wool is totally out of control. I'm wondering if this wool clan were escapees. Then again I don't have extensive wool knowledge so it may be normal!
Dec 30 - Australian Bigfoot, G'day Primate
We here in the States have Bigfoot. Indonesia has Orang Pandek. The Japanese have Hibagon. The Himalayans have the Abominable Snowman. Not wanting other countries to make fun of them for not having their own cryptid creature, the Australians have Yowie, a hairy beast with a stupid name that roams the Outback and eats babies. OK, maybe not whole babies. But hairy nonetheless.
Yowie, a independent movie made for less than you’d spend on a Foster’s Lager™ by students at the Griffith University Film School (Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production Program, in case you’re one of those disbelievers), revolves around said creature and a young couple camping out, making out, and freaking out. Here’s the highly-detailed synopsis:
“When James mistakes a friendly bushman for a monstrous Yowie, he shoots him dead. Will he and Vivian’s relationship be strong enough to get them through and escape the Aussie bush?”
God, I hope so.
The trailer for the “movie” doesn’t do much to reinforce the existence of Yowie. Too bad, as watching a young couple argue and scream is about as much fun as my neighbors doing the same thing every f’n night of the week loud enough so I can’t hear the TV and the wisdom it’s trying to impart.
I have yet to see a Sasquatch type movie where the monster doesn’t look like a janitor in a gorilla suit. Even the Jack Links™ beef jerky Bigfoot mascot looks better than all of ’em combined. And hey, tasty jerky!
So yeah, my hopes are running a little on the low side for Yowie. Sorry dude – I just can’t seem to get past your ridiculous name, which just happens to be the same sound my neighbors make when they catch me looking through their bedroom window at night whilst balancing precariously on can of garbage.