Tag Archives: Rabbit Poetry Journal

sip as you play along

beer: Bridge Road Brewers (Beechworth, VIC) ‘Magical Christmas Unicorn’ vanilla ice cream ale (330mL, 7% ABV)

zine: Widget: women in development, games + everything tech! by various contributors

I promised myself this year that I’d get better at self-promotion and to be honest, I’m doing a lot of cool shit, and I’m still struggling a lot with this. My mood disorder doesn’t help with this.

I submitted a proposal to be a speaker at this year’s Freeplay Festival, and as thrilled as I am to be taking part, there is a small voice at the back of everything in my head telling me that it’s a fluke, I’m not worth it, people won’t be interested etc. which is ridiculous because the organisers of the festival certainly wouldn’t feel that way – they’ve chosen the participants for a reason.

It could also be tied up in the fact that I’m not a professional in the games industry – never have been, never will be (unless I get a full-time job writing game narratives or game crit/reviews and such) – my chosen craft is writing, one I’m only starting to feel comfortable in.

I imagine impostor syndrome and its related iterations is one of the reasons zines like Widget exist: on the cover is a (white) woman with a rockabilly-50s-style scarf, holding up what looks like a Nintendo 64 control (what do Playstation controls look like? it’s definitely not an XBox one). The first few pages already – and rightfully – claim trans-inclusivity and the importance of women-only spaces…but so far, there’s nothing about women of colour. I don’t think this is deliberate, but ouch.

That’s pretty much been my life the last fortnight – wincing and second-guessing whether I’ve been oversensitive about the racial identity issues. But! there are the also those moments where meeting up with a mate who gets it at your fave nerd hangout and smashing dumplings next door then venturing to another craft beer hangout to make up intricate backstories for poop on the run emblazoning Omnipollo beer bottles! Chix-‘n’-beer is totally a thing!

Having lamented the lack of persons-of-colour direct rep in Widget, there’s some ace basic, super-useful info about looking after oneself, with or without a mood disorder – some super-compassionate stuff!

Of course it now makes sense why I chose a beer with ‘unicorn’ in the name, which incidentally is mentioned (just the unicorn bit, not the beer! though its consumption is generally perceived as masculine earlier in the zine). At first, there’s no vanilla creaminess at all…am starting to wonder if my seared salmon sushi bowl lunch thing has warped my palate. As the beer warms, it does get those teasing hints of vanilla! I remember when this was out in kegs and I chased a few beer places to try and snaffle a pint, but it was not to be – unicorns of any form don’t linger around long! I even drank it out of a schooner glass, rather than straight out of the bottle. I was briefly seeing a dudebro-in-disguise who tried to buy bottles of this particular beer for me, but they got smashed up in transit. It didn’t occur to him that I might have better supply network intel.

Thankfully, this female-identifying beer nerd is single and in possession of her/their own unicorns – yes, plural. I feel a bit weird drinking a not-dark beer when the nights are getting delightfully chilly, but it’s been a great, subtle dessertish beer.

Oh! Self-promo! If you’re in Melbourne, come on down to Freeplay! I’ll be chatting with Rory Green (like srsly they matched me with another poet who is writing poems to the first 151 glories on the Pokedex! and they’ve got a poem in Rabbit’s ‘Queer’ issue! it’s like I have a Sydney twin?!). We’re going to talk about our creative practice and the role playing games can have on one’s mental health and creativity generally. Teaser: it’s a win-win sitch!

I’ll also be leading a zine workshop a few days before the conference bit of the festival, and will be using boardgames and gamebooks for some inspiration as we get zine-making. I’m stoked because straight after, I get to go to Louis’ workshop on ‘bespoke’ controllers, then head to the Rabbit ‘Queer’ issue launch as part of the inaugural Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival.

 

***in case you need the reminder, my definition of ‘woman/women’ includes female-identifying humans of all types, colours, creeds. So should yours! <3

 

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unseeded, seething

I don’t really know that there’s a way to mince words or say it politely, but white creatives really need to get over themselves and their self-importance.

The last fortnight has been rough in terms of microaggressions, and it’s not at all healthy to do it, but I can’t stop thinking about whether things would be easier for me if my name was easier to spell. Despite this, I went to see Black Panther at the Coburg Drive-In with one of my fave humans (who happens to be a white boy, gasp!). Hopefully, we’ll get to collaborate on some cool creative shit.

Lately, there are times when I feel myself talking too much about my creative work, or not enough if at all, and I know a lot of this is due to a current environment where it’s still looked at as a curiosity of an activity to engage in (it’s not impostor syndrome if deep down you’re still worried about your right to create at all). I don’t know if I want to be that clueless person at a social gathering that does nothing to learn about the others around them, that doesn’t exercise their curiosity about other humans because it’s not healthy. Though I definitely envy that type of dull stubbornness.

zine: UNCEDED

‘unceded’ is depressing – tracts of imperial Anglo law are reproduced and highlight dispossession of this land’s original inhabitants for finite ‘resources’. The momentary beauty is in a repeated few lines, on the centre fold:

I want to collect your thoughts in my coolamons / We will make madhan with our words to light two fires / Bound together by our stories we dream in refuge

drink: ‘Make Like A Gooseberry’ kettle soured berliner weisse by Red Duck Beer (Ballarat, VIC)

I’m eating last night’s leftover popcorn and really enjoying this can of Berliner weisse with organic gooseberries – I tend to buy cans of beer in pairs if the flavours/combinations sound super-interesting, and this can is way better than the first one I drank (too fast, out of the can). It’s mingled well with the saltiness of the popcorn and isn’t too sour, and the gooseberries taste really fresh?!

It’s cheered me up a loooooot.

So much good stuff is going on, so it makes no sense to feel so awful, but it’s probably because the bad dreams/bad sleep cycle has returned. I’m admittedly not practising good sleep hygiene, with a bunch of other bad habits. But…good things:

  • got proofs for my poem which will appear in Rabbit Poetry’s ‘Queer’ issue
  • my suite of three poems based on specific video games will appear in print in next month’s Writers’ Victoria member mag on the theme of ‘collaboration’ (as part of a ‘Women Writers of Colour’ commission) – I love that the suite of poems is known as the ‘Bar SK Suite’!
  • I’m doing a reading stories at Moreland Library! I get to choose two stories out of Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2 and read them to people! Come along!
  • I’ll be reading my poetry at Hawthorn Library, with two other poets. While quietly terrifying (from a performing self perspective), it will be fun, and it is good to hear poems as read/recited by their authors, because it’s most likely how they imagine the words to sound in their head/off the page! Come along!
  • my cat snuggles up next to me like a stuffed toy under the quilt because autumn is here, and it’s getting plenty snuggly-chilly for the warm-blooded mammals.
  • workshopping and feedback – the humans who do it and give are freaking ace, appreciated and remind me that community does exist in a seemingly solitary pursuit. Thinking of the MSW crew and We Work This Shop, specifically.

Turns out writing this helped cheer me up quite a bit…also, choosing a low ABV beer helped too (’cause alcohol is a CNS depressant – I outwardly admit to being ridic slow to take this on board – please don’t be like me in that respect!). Now to annoy my cat for more snuggles.

I need to remember that writing regularly, keeping up with regular health appointments – this is good for me, even when it doesn’t always feel it. Read, write, edit, repeat. Tea, cats, books. And ace humans (god I miss my Northcote babes Lolly & Danni <3).

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screaming white into the void

This post does discuss mental health/illness in detail that folks may find distressing (regarding self-injury in particular), and reader discretion is advised.

Despite the nihilist-sounding post title, it’s been a good, though exhausting week. I managed to visit Preston Market when it was…not quite fast-and-furious-bargains-shouted-from-all-corners, but may as well have been. I went to get myself a chicken quesadilla (one of my fave ‘treat’ lunches) after picking up PO box mail but had forgotten my key (theatrical groan!), and also had to get to Brunswick to review Bent Bollywood on a very nearly empty petrol tank…

I thought I’d have more time to generally read and write, and have found myself not making regular appointments with my psychiatrist – this is not good. I’m doing pretty well lately (it’s officially over a year now since last ECT sesh, squee!) and that has meant more energy for work-related activities, but emotional labour (yeah yeah, go on, laugh about how wanky it sounds till you realise you’re the one being drained by it) is taking up more of my time than it should…some of my anxieties have even made it into my dreams (again, not a good sign).

Anyway, it was fab to see my friend Maria and have an epic cackle session about modern romance and its…’challenges’, and you’ll soon be able to read my review on BB for Peril. Liminal sent me a copy of their zine because I couldn’t make it to their do, and it’s gorgeous! That PO box key was worth the extra trek!

Oh! Absolutely decimated the aubergine/courgette / eggplant/zucchini stash from my dad’s garden…

Almost nearly forgot to wish my eldest nephew a happy birthday, but thankfully his new bike and hanging out with his mates mean that he’s not thinking too much of his daggy aunt (it’s true, I can’t deny it)! Happy birthday Leon, me and Fance love you!

***

Last year, I went to a zine thing and spent all my spare change (nice one noob!). One of the zines I went home with was called ‘white whine’ by illustrator Sarah Catherine Firth. As the name suggests, a bunch of very first-world whines from first-world women are drawn and coloured in. Given my booze consumption yesterday (went to a beer tasting at Bar SK, then drank a Korean beverage that reminded me of dry sake afterwards at a dumpling-smashing dinner), I decided to stick to brewing up pints of white tea, with elderflower and apricot. I guess if the British are going to do white tea, they have to Englishfy it somehow. The dried apricot pieces are also quite yummy. Such a classy tea-totaller!

Seriously, one of my fave deadline-smashing/writing hardcore things to do is brew mugs of tea, or brew white or green tea weaker than its suggested strength, then let cool down, and add more cold water. Not bad for a $4 organic Brit tea – you stretch out that four buckaroonies! Freelancers/creatives, I see you nodding.

It’s hard to pick a fave panel from the zine, but I’d have to go with the lady saying “My brie is too hard.” because when you’re craving soft cheese and waiting for it to reach that magical temperature, it does feel like forever! Readers of this blog may recall I looooooove cheese, too. Seriously, I chose voluntary electroconvulsive therapy over lithium and refused to take any of the tricyclic antidepressants based on their anti-cheese thang. My life was depressing enough with cheese, how much worse would it be after?! That was a horror I did NOT want to contemplate.

In case you were wondering that my opinion was biased, it turns out that Sarah has been nominated for the Good Stuff people’s choice award over at Frankie, if you want to check out more of Sarah’s work and vote etc., then click on here.

I’ve had a couple of litmag triumphs too – Concrete Queers continue to like the poetry I lovingly fling at them, and accepted a poem of mine called ‘stationary objects’. I’ve been submitting regularly to CQ, and they’ve helped me develop a habit where I write from an emotionally and mentally healthy space, and can edit and rewrite and it doesn’t have to mean my health deteriorating (though please do note that when the poem does appear in their ‘milestones’ issue, it does discuss self-injury – a practice I can honestly say is now in the distant past).

A particular right-wing smegma stain was extremely mean to one of the CQ founders, grrrrr, probably because they won People’s Choice at Vic Premier’s Literary Awards for 2018 – how awesome is that?! Ida was one of the few books I saved for fun reading before bedtime last year, and I remember once finished that it could’ve kept going! Young adult lit is kicking mega-arse these days, and you can still read it as an older adult! No, really – do.

The second triumph is that Rabbit Poetry Journal accepted a poem that genuinely began as a joke-romantic conversation to former lover – it’s now called ‘Coimetrophilia’ and it will appear in the Queer issue 25. Chuffed doesn’t begin to cover how I feel! I hugged my cat/coworker a LOT. A lot of its acceptance is thanks to the Quippings crew who again helped me develop more confidence about being a performer and a writer.

I recently read and discussed Rabbit’s ‘Indigenous’ issue here, for last week’s post. It’s been great to read older issues of litmags lately. When I was really unwell, the sheer amount of talent of the people getting published used to make me feel guilty for not trying harder to write more, submit more, and not be producing better work. I know – it’s not a useful mindset…but depression and anxiety don’t listen to reason? It’s been great that this they have been listening more to me when I say, “no, hang on, it’s bedtime now” or “hey, if you’re feeling crap, drinking booze is not going to help – go cuddle Fance or something.” It’s also been ace that those strategies have been working too.

 

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