Tag Archives: Melbourne Fringe Festival

what are the odds, girl?!

It’s been an…’interesting’ start to the week, and yes, by ‘interesting’, I mean ‘slightly challenging’. For the most part, productive in a healthy way – I got proofs for a poem that will soon be out in the wild, and fretted over whether the scanner I had access to was doing a good enough job of photocopying/scanning marked-up pages so that the folks responsible for rendering the text for the journal could read!

That’s the good stuff to have anxiety over – I don’t want to be difficult to work with, so was worried I was being too demanding by wanting my poem to appear on the page like it should…look, anxiety doesn’t listen to humans trying to be reasonable with their brains!).

I also found out late last week that an application I submitted for an emerging producer programme through Melbourne Fringe was unsuccessful…which is hard, but that stuff happens. I personally think that in the interview, I should have discussed my personal creative practice more than I actually did – which, in hindsight sucks, but it’s helped me come up with a few ideas of how I might be able to play with recitation and performance of my poems and as well as exploring mental health (and illness), I’ve started to look at one poem in particular that I can perform/recite/experiment-like-hell with in terms of chronic physiological pain.

So some folks might know that I’m a bitter, failed musicologist. In order to get to that stage, I was a music undergrad at Melbourne Uni, when they still had double degrees covered under HECS, and the Victorian College of the Arts (the joke goes) is where the folks with actual talent went. I incurred overuse injury to both arms as a result of several years of practice without taking proper breaks in high school. Activities like writing or typing for long periods of time can also bring on the pain, or even shit beds. It recently flared up at the start of the year after pulling a muscle in my neck, and the pain in my supposedly good shoulder…UGH. Let’s just say that it was agony trying to wipe one’s arse regardless of what hand you favour

This is a very, very long introduction to my coincidental choice of zine to review, though the drink not so much – I can’t sleep, so thought I’d read the following zine by Rachael Wenona Guy, a Castlemaine-based artist. In yet more coincidences, Guy is the partner of a poet with Marfen syndrome – me and Ben (of Melbourne Spoken Word fame) were gushing about Andy’s work, some of which I’d come across in an anthology called Shaping the Fractured Self, edited and selected by Heather Taylor Johnson, which is supposed to be a chronicle of work by people whose lives are affected by chronic pain or illness. I didn’t enjoy most of the anthology, and it pains me to admit that but hopefully it’s for valid reasons. The choices made as to what poems were featured needed introductory essays – many of which couldn’t be read independent of these explanations. Having said that, Andy Jackson’s poems in the book were freaking fantastic – you had a picture immediately in your head as you read his words, and it made you feel srs feels. There were a few other authors who stood out – and sadly few examples of repetitive strain injury (which I don’t have – overuse injury is a lesser beast) and mental illnesses.

zine: Girl: poems on childhood & Eulogy (photo-essay) by Rachael Wenona Guy (2016)

drink: Magic Rock Brewing (UK)  ‘Salty Kiss’ gooseberry gose (330mL can, 4.1% ABV)

Ooooh, I think I like the Red Duck gooseberry gose better, gasp! though this Magic Rock one is probably a better example of the style? It’s bang-on with the half-salt, half-sour, whereas the Red Duck one was juicier and just a tad sweeter, and much less salty. This one feels like it has more of the sea in it (it does have sea buckthorn listed as an ingredient).

I don’t remember how or why I bought Rachael’s zine, but it was still in the envelope I’d received it in when I found it last month, after very slowly starting to sort and unpack drafts of poems, and medical evidence of hospitalisations. It’s the sort of zine that you want to read when you’re alone, and it’s very late and dead quiet, while your beloved pet sleeps on next to you, on your bed.

A few images wouldn’t leave me alone, as happens with good poetry – I liked the poems ‘Portrait’, about how the person (in the poem), her father is drawing, and she mentions something about drawing a baby’s hand. I loved ‘Robe’ because it reminded me of growing up in England (weirdly enough…!), and the following line from ‘Girl in a Tree’ which again summons memories of my own childhood in London:

(…) The girl surveys her home — it

is ordinary, yet it is everything.

Isn’t it a magical time, when this feels so true, for us?

 

 

life-life balance

It could be PMDD symptoms, or that I haven’t made time to see my psychiatrist in two months, but lately it’s been harder to leave the day’s work behind and properly relax. I’m struggling to finish reading novels (which isn’t usually something that happens?!), and been writing a lot more, and depression symptoms have been more just stop, sit, and NAP, or anxiety symptoms mean it’s harder to fall asleep, and harder to get up because once I’m out of bed, my brain won’t switch off. The nap, thankfully, helped loads.

It’s difficult to reinforce boundaries around being too busy because I haven’t been this functional in nearly two decades. I’ve stayed up late for a bit – on purpose…brew a big mug of tea, read a zine (that doesn’t have pieces of mine!) for sheer enjoyment, but keep making excuses. So while my ‘heart’ is asking why the hell am I so exhausted, what my head is actually saying is the reasons:

  • I submitted a suite of three poems inspired by indie computer games as part of a ‘Women Writers of Colour’ commission on the theme ‘collaboration’ which should appear in the Writers’ Victoria membership mag next month…? Am thinking of working on a few more and compiling them into a separate zine at the end of this year
  • becoming a Women’s Melbourne Network committee member hasn’t felt like work, and in forgetting this, I also neglect that commuting takes up a lot of energy! duh me! Also, Janet Mock knows our bookclub meeting took place and thrilled does not begin to describe <3
  • I pitched and submitted work to a few publications that last year would have been too terrifying to even contemplate reading (no, really, just read that last sentence. Yes, I’m not-normiesplaining)…I feel like no one talks about these sorts of things when you’re reemerging back into life (or emerging into life for the first time with arms wide open)
  • am gathering reading material for some more formal reading/casual teaching arrangements, and can’t find my sodding most recent passport (my older ones are pretty funny!) which is a nightmare for trying to get current police checks (for the record, I’m British and have indefinite permanent residency in Australia)
  • have completed a fifth of a planned chapbook of poems on the private psychiatric ward patient experience (it’ll mainly be funny, honest, or rather, I hope)
  • I’m a reader for an online mag called Syntax and Salt, and their next issue is devoted to poetry so I’m excited because so far, I’ve been reading short fiction!
  • am signed on as a producer for my friend Creatrix Tiara‘s queer-lady-magician extravaganza of a show! It’s going to be on as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 😀

Okay, now I get why I took an extended siesta and missed out on a joint beer collab launch at one of my fave drinking holes (Bar SK, case you’re wondering)! Crying.

Let’s get down to business.

zine: ‘Hook Up’ volume 1 by Anthony Nocera

There’s a few snippets from (gay) hook-up apps, and then narrative from the writer about his interactions and memories of meet-ups. No holds barred, etc. but quite funny and oddly touching – no pun intended! I mean touching in that way sexual contact can make people be intimate towards one another for a short amount of time before they float off into their lives. There’s also a bit from/about Helen Razer on the whole marriage equality sitch. I wish I could remember when I bought this…it was definitely before the above was even on the table in parliament…or was it? The narrator also explains that he/they told the people he/they were hooking up with that he/they were most likely going to be writing about the interactions/meet-ups! It’s got interesting cut-up collage illustrations throughout, and it’s a bright blue, neon pink that makes me think it’s done on a risograph press? It’s also restricted to persons aged 18+.

beverage: Bright Chocolate (choc factory in Bright, Victoria) cacao tea

Nearly a year ago, I froze my arse off in the name of research for Froth, and went home with some sweet goodies from the Bright chocolate factory, which also had this ‘tea’ from the disposed cacao husks. I’m probably not selling it, but it’s divine, and really smooth the same way good chocolate is!

music: ‘Dead Start Program’ by John Tejada

I still buy CDs, and I really want this one. It turns out that I’m still a minimal techno tragic. It has a lot of what I liked about an earlier album of his, ‘Logic Memory Center’, and yes, it does hurt to have to use American English spelling (joke…but I do misspell type them in first go!). I find minimal techno’s repetition comforting and puts me in a frame of mind to better concentrate.

I do feel a lot better and more rested now. My cat having settled nearby on my bed, pretending to sleep but glancing over every so often also helps.