Posts Tagged "Kev Howlett"

Bye 2015, Hello 2016!

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Busybird | 0 comments

birdsunThis is the final Busybird blog for the year! Busybird will be closing from 5.00pm Friday, 18th December, and reopening 9.00am, Monday, 4 January 2016.


Just like that the sun is setting on 2015, and it’s about now that we get contemplative. How did we fare this year?

At the start of any new year, we’re just about always optimistic. Even if we’re coming off a shocking year (or perhaps especially when we’re coming off a shocking year), we think, This year will be better. Or perhaps we’ve been waiting for a break in our lives, either personally or professionally. Then it’s case of, This year will be the one. Or you might have specific resolutions to quit smoking (always a popular one), to get healthier, to find love, etc., that are meant to start with the new year.

But the reality is nobody really knows how things will turn out. You can plan, you can think positively and/or constructively, you can try to action it into reality, or you can just wish it upon a falling star, but who knows what life has in store for you?

Health’s fragile, the world grows ever-more violent, and – perhaps most insidiously (although some may disagree) – our lives have become so frenetic, that we don’t always appreciate what’s right in front of us, instead focusing on what we don’t have, rather than enjoying and cherishing what we do have.

So as 2015 comes to a close, it’s great to look forward. Plan for the future. Aim high. Lift those aspirations and strive for greatness – whatever your particular greatness might be. Don’t hold back. Keep life in perspective, stay realistic, but nurture those dreams, because while some may consider them a whimsy or a luxury, dreams are our lifeblood. Without them, what is life, but just something we navigate?

Most of all, though, and arguably most important, don’t be afraid to slow down. Your life might be hectic. That might be all you know, and you might claim you just don’t know how to stop. Maybe that’s true. But that sort of frenzy is unhealthy – not only for ourselves (physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually), but in regards to how it impacts every facet of our lives, whether it’s our relationships, our work, or our outlook.

Learn to pause. Force yourself to take a respite every now and then. Insist it of yourself.

And remember what matters most.

If you search deep within yourself, you’ll know what that is.

From everybody at Busybird Publishing, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.

    With Love,

    The Busybird Teamoscarwithsock
    Blaise van Hecke
    Kev Howlett
    Les Zigomanis
    Melissa Cleeman

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The Launch of Joffa: Isn’t That Life?

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Busybird | 0 comments

Joffa: Isn't That Life?Tomorrow night, we’re launching our newest book, the autobiography Joffa: Isn’t That Life?

When we first had Joffa into Busybird last year and pitched to him that he should write an autobiography, he expressed several concerns. Firstly, he was worried people would think he was grandstanding.

One thing you discover when you talk to Joffa, though, is that he’s modest, he’s not afraid to poke fun at himself, and he is also selfless – on top of his work with the homeless, he volunteers for several charities, and gives time to make benefit appearances. He has fun in the Collingwood Cheer Squad, but it’s all part of the showmanship of supporting your team. Nothing about Joffa involves grandstanding.

Joffa was also worried about his writing. He admitted he might be shaky on grammar and punctuation, and that he was okay writing short passages (e.g. a page of two), but more than that and he was prone to repetition.

Some might laugh at that, but it’s important for writers to know their strengths and weaknesses. We have dealt with authors who think they’re infallible, are closed to editing, and ultimately their work never realises its potential. To get the best out of your writing, you need to be challenged to think outside your parameters.

When Joffa began turning in chapters, he proved he underrated his writing – it’s evocative, sometimes almost poetic, conjuring strong visuals, whilst keeping the storytelling emotive. We had to clean up some punctuation, grammar, and repetition, but that’s standard with any edit. He was also receptive to areas of the book he had to work on, and some structural reshuffling we performed. He was an editor’s dream as an author.

Once a first draft of the book was completed, it went back and forth between us and Joffa until everybody was happy with it. Joffa produced a compelling read and had the courage to bare himself publically. It’s a good lesson in the virtue of sharing your story – stories touch people, and can have a positive impact on their lives. Joffa’s story promotes a strong message: despite adversity, despite anything you go through, you can make something of your life, and you can do so and develop compassion, empathy, and graciousness.

Joffa himself has come through an abusive upbringing and teenage homelessness, and his daughter has epilepsy, but he’s never played the victim of circumstance, and he hasn’t – as others might have – gone off the rails. If you have a preconception of Joffa that borders on negative, or is maybe even a little derisive, just talk to him for a few minutes and you’ll reshape your impressions.

A big thank you to all the Pozible contributors who pledged money to help make the book a reality. A book is an expensive endeavour: editing, layout, design, promotion, distribution – it all adds up. Busybird Publishing is a boutique micropublisher, and we’re grateful for all the help.

A thank you, too, to wife-and-husband team, Blaise van Hecke and Kev Howlett, owners of Busybird Publishing, Blaise for all her tireless work behind the scenes getting the book going and coordinating the work in putting it and the launch together, Kev for the design of the cover and his ideas throughout; senior editor Melissa Cleeman for her meticulous editing, organising the launch, and her media work to get the book out there; and assistant editors, Rebecca Courtney, Shevon Higgins, Johanna Boutros, Joey To, Lisa Roberts, Isabella Gilmore and, again, Blaise, for their editing on the book and shaping it into what it is; and Tom O’Conell for his tireless proofreading.

Here are the details for the launch:

    7.00pm – 9.00pm
    Thursday, 11th June

    Bella Union
    54 Victoria Street
    Carlton 3053

If you’re intending on coming and haven’t RVSPed, please RVSP immediately, as you’ll need to have your name on the door. So call us on (03) 9434 6365 or drop Melissa an email.


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