One of the many best things about this job is getting to meet and listen to writers you admire. I have just come down from a cloud of Sydney Writers Festival events which stimulated, nourished, and confused me. Yes, confused. It is still a big overwhelming event and can be alienating. I have been thinking about the piece i wrote a couple of years ago, what with the EWF being on this weekend. Much of it still rings true. There is a conversational intimacy to smaller festivals which Sydney lacks. But it is a delight to be a part of it nonetheless, and the more I go to these things the more friends I have – people I think of as friends, rather than “contacts.” The other great thing about SWF is that my mum, dad, auntie, brother, fairy godmother and publisher all come to my panels, which makes me feel like i have a cheer squad. Thanks, all of you.
Sydney Harbour, with the help of Gail Jones, drove me back to Slessor, which drove me to the all-kinds-of-wonderful australian poetry library, which has accompanied me back into poems. After some months of denying i still wrote them, it feels shaky and awkward, but also clean, liberating, to take time to play in that illogical space.
I can’t go to the EWF any more, because i’ve emerged, which is nothing to regret, but still – thinking of the enthusiasm of that festival makes me want to be a part of it. I’m glad it exists. I’m officially “developing” now – whatever that means. I suppose it means leaving behind a lot of the emerging-writer anxiety about getting published, and crawling up the gentler slope of mid-career aspirations, such as getting paid and working out how to gather my emotional and financial resources to leap into another book. I am trying out innovative ways of doing that. You might have noticed there’s a support button on the sidebar now. I’m not going to paywall my podcasts, but I am going to start asking for donations and see how it goes. The button will take you to paypal, but don’t feel like you can’t keep listening for free.
The first part of a three-part podcast will be up later in the week when I have tweaked the recording a little. It’s an exclusive story, sort of. I wrote it for the art house co-op’s fiction project, and it’s an experiment in circular narrative. I will be back shortly with it for real and hopefully details of where it’s floating around in the universe… at this point I’m not even sure the sketchbook made it to the US. But it is good to write things that go out into the world as offerings, detached from the circuit of publication, promotion and pay, and simply try to speak.