Saturday, April 19, 2014

Swancon Panel: Writing: The Lifestyle

Today, I was on a panel at Swancon about the writing lifestyle. Which, for me as a long short story writer, largely relates to holidays and early morning rises before work. The other panelists were Isobelle Carmody, Anne Bishop, David Luckett, and Cat Sparks.

Being relatively new to the craft,  I felt a little like a minnow in the room beforehand (as I work and don't make a sole living out of stories) but that feeling dissipated quickly due to the friendly, welcoming, and respectful nature of the panelists.

As for habits of the panel: some of us write at cafes (I often do),while others have a strict home routine (which I do too on holidays). What seems important to most is trying to maintain life balance. Writing is, after all, a solitary and consuming and hence, potentially dangerous craft.

Isobelle Carmody has a zest for living and writing. She prefers to write in cafes as the buzz of people makes the craft a little more social. She's quite similar to me in that if she takes herself to a cafe, she knows that she's there for a specific reason and can't fall asleep or be distracted by life or other responsibilities. Before workdays, I also often go for a morning ride and a quick write at a cafe to keep in practice.  I work in a more disciplined fashion during my time off work.

When writing at home and it's fair weather out, Isobelle plays soundtracks of actual rain to keep her in that Gothic writing groove. 

I met Cat Sparks for the first time at the Aurealis Awards in Sydney a couple of years ago and we had a great time, so it felt like a brief reunion of sorts. I felt that Cat, a multiple award winning short story writer, was far too severe on herself during the panel with regards to not having written a completed novel. I think we all need to celebrate every writing achievement and Cat Sparks has achieved plenty in the world of speculative short fiction. We all have goals and ambitions but Cat has been a stalwart over a vast period of time and that's something to rejoice in. 

David Luckett was both dour and philosophical and also quite entertaining as he challenged the whole notion of lifestyle.

Anne Bishop appeared to have great balance within her own life and strongly suggested to all that it wasn't always the case. I admired her open way with the audience. Anne is a disciplined 'home' writer by day. And her healthy lifestyle seems to have helped her in terms of both her writing and life in general.

All panelists were genuine and warm. All love the craft, although David's love was more veiled. I hope the audience got something out of it as I certainly did. 

Book Buying: I bought copious amounts of books (as usual) from Ticonderoga Press and Twelfth Planet Press tables and also the Ann & Jeff VanderMeer anthology of time travel stories: The Time Traveler's Almanac. I have bibliophilic issues...

Currently Reading: Dangerous Women ed George RR Martin & Gardner Dozois, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, which will be followed by The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble and an expository text about Neanderthals: The Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Papagianni & Michael A. Morse.

Happy reading and writing!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Overland Literary Journal 214, Autumn and my latest story "Submerging"

My latest story "Submerging" will be in the pages of Overland Literary Journal 214, Autumn. It'll be launched this evening in Melbourne at what looks like a fab event 'Journal-Palooza 2014'.

There's free wine, hundreds attending and I'd imagine lots of fun to be had. As a Perthite, it's the usual problem of distance but I hope those present have a wonderful time. Don't think you can go wrong with free wine in a great venue. So eat, drink and have a listen to what I'm sure will be some engaging speakers and readers.

If you're a Melbournite or in Melbourne or want to travel to Melbourne or... then here's the link below (hope it works. I'm too young to be a Luddite.):

Just in case it doesn't, here's some of the details

Join us on Wednesday April 9th as four of Australia’s premier literary journals - Kill Your Darlings, Meanjin Quarterly, The Lifted Brow and Overland Literary Journal - launch together for 2014!

I'm proud of "Submerging" and I'm not a writer who normally confesses that. Without giving too much away, I think, or at least hope, that you'll find it highly topical. It's also my shortest story at only 2400 words.

To have a second story in Overland within the space of a few years is a dream for any writer - it's simply a journal flooded with superb material. I look forward to reading not only the other stories by Ben Walter and Kate Hall but also a story inspired from Overland 32 by Roma O'Brien (1965): a 'fancy cut' piece by the wonderful, Josephine Rowe,  And then there's all the usual insightful, courageous and thought provoking articles that make up the literary, political and socio-cultural juggernaut that is Overland.