There is an extraordinary review of The Airways up in the Sydney Review of Books this week by Oliver Reeson. I love their excitement about the book, of course, but I also think it’s just a brilliant piece of writing in itself – on bodies, the gaze and power, and what queer literature can do. So I’m honoured to have prompted it. It is an electric and somewhat uncanny feeling when someone understands what you have done and then is able to articulate it back to you in ways you could not have done yourself. There is a lot that sings in Reeson’s essay, but I particularly love this part:
“Queer literature like this lives because it enters a bloodstream. It is picked up and carried and understood in the body. It doesn’t have to be explicit or educate. It shirks this responsibility.”
Which is, in itself, another kind of responsibility.
From human/ghostly bodies to bodies of water: I’ll be making an appearance at a symposium at Adelaide University called Southern Waters next week, talking about various iterations of the sea that show up in my work (or disappear in it, in the case of Dyschronia). It’s entirely free, and being both online and in person you can attend from anywhere. An amazing lineup of writers, and with music too – it promises to be a wonderful event.
Settling into life on Kuarna yerta is already delightful and deeply restorative. I have a home again, and a real office. The process of renewing a daily writing practice after months of disruption has been challenging and wonderful in equal measure. This past couple of years has given me a new understanding of precarity in its various forms. I wrote a piece for Overland about some of this, about #paythewriters and the work I’ve been doing with the MEAA National Freelance Committee lately. I know there will be more to come on this theme in the year ahead.
Overland is having its annual subscriberthon right now, and the SRB is also seeking donations. Indeed, most of the publications that pay writers to do the work we do need the support of subscribers and donors to sustain themselves. So if you’re in a position to assist, please do. And while you’re at it, join your union!