Welcome to what I think is going to become a regular part of Book Birdy, and that is, a weekly check-in where I share my best short and long reads of the week, and do a little self-analysis about what I’ve been writing (apart from this blog).
I hope you enjoy it..
Short Reads Online
One of the most affecting things I read this week was an online article for Harper’s Bazaar from author, Hannah Richell, who this week marked the anniversary of the very sudden death of her husband Matt Richell in a surfing accident. This piece is heart-rending but important.
‘I know now that the pain will never end, because the love I hold for Matt will never end. Both circle back endlessly. There is no joy now without a shadow of bittersweet sorrow…”
Read the full article at HarpersBazaar.com.au
On Mental Illness
When it comes to de-stigmatising mental illness, writer, Anna Spargo Ryan is a warrior. This week, she wrote a piece for The Guardian about the impact anxiety and depression has on her work-life, in what is a surprising and quite uplifting read.
Having a nervous breakdown is a bit like planning and planning and planning for a one woman show and then realising you don’t know how to play any of the instruments. This only occurs to you one instrument at a time. You pick up a tambourine and it turns into a caveman. You blow into a harmonica and ducks fly out of it.
Read the full article here
Gosh I hear the word ‘voice’ thrown around a lot in writing. But not many people stop to explain the idea. Thank goodness, Angela Meyer, has had a good crack at it for Kill Your Darlings .
When the lungs are deeply accessed and a writer sings their truest note, they access not only their own psychology but the varying contexts of its creation.
Read the full article here.
This week I read and reviewed a new Penguin Special – short publications designed specifically for the time poor reader.
In this case it was a novella from Miles Franklin-winning author, Anna Funder.
The Girl with the Dogs is an insightful story about the challenges of entering into middle age. Read my review here.
I’m not sure what’s going on at the moment but a lot of my reading, writing and thinking seems to be revolving around ageing and nostalgia and the challenges of ‘looking back’.
It started with Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World which is a poetic tale about the dangers of longing for a previous place and time (read my interview with Stephanie here) and continued this week with Tegan Bennett Daylight’s Six Bedrooms.
This short story collection focuses on the messiness of life, in particular adolescence and middle age. Bennett Daylight writes in a way that made me feel excited about the potential of words to create meaning beyond the page. It’s brilliant. Please read it. Or at least read my review.
To say that I had a varied week of writing is almost an understatement. In the past week I found myself writing
– answers to interview questions about being an emerging writer
– a synopsis for my WIP (synopsis writing is a special and difficult art. Cudos to those back cover writers. It is not easy)
– revising a short story on which I received some excellent feedback
– writing a memoir piece about a friend’s birthday party
I have not written memoir before and it proved an interesting exercise that raised, for me, many ethical questions.
I doubt I will ever seek to publish this piece. I know it would cause unnecessary hurt to those around me and feels almost like an invasion of their privacy.
But the words are not wasted. I’m sure they’ll pop-up in my fiction at some point.
However, the process did reinforce to me the reasons I have chosen to focus principally on fiction writing.
The fact is – I’m simply not comfortable in exposing my private life to the broader public – and I have renewed admiration for those who are brave enough to do so.
Tell me, have you read or written anything worth sharing this week?