BlogLiterary musings from your contemporaries
I scan the textbook looking for any flickers of familiarity, of words I might have seen before or words that resemble English in some way. There are a few of those like Sohn, son, Bruder, brother, Mutter, mother. Would the unfamiliar words make more sense if my grandfather had kept his native tongue rather than disown it when he arrived in Australia?read more
Violent Landscapes: Exploring perspectives of gendered violence in ‘An Isolated Incident’ and ‘Big Little Lies’
Women are held responsible for their own safety, after all. More bluntly speaking, women are held responsible for not letting themselves be murdered, assaulted, or otherwise victimised.read more
His name was changed from Pollnow, German, dating back to the eighteenth century, to Peters, assigned with little more than an up and down glance. My grandfather, along with seven other young Jewish refugees, was cautioned against revealing any trace of their foreignness. Assimilation has always been Australia’s policy.read more
In considering only the alphabetic aspects of the postcodes one half of their narrative and poetic potential was potentially being overlooked. Some quick calculations confirmed this, and the need to dig a little deeper.read more
On occasion the threads braid together and present a knot or a node or an answer. Halfway through the 13 September 1967 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly is a promotion for a storytelling game called Postcode, which requires entrants to spin a yarn with postcodes in place of a few key words.read more
In front of the man, in fact almost all around him – scattered on the butchers papered trestle table he sits at, taped and tacked to the three dividing walls arranged in a U suggesting a room, tossed or lost to the floor – are sheets of paper: photocopied, cut and pasted, gridded, plain, scribbled, planes.read more
I open the folder and a frail wisp of paper flies out, caught in the gust. I catch it and read the headline: AUSCHWITZ: TRUTH TOO PAINFUL TO BELIEVE.read more
Her name was Jessie, or Jep, or Jep Jep, or Jeplestein, though certainly not Tinsel, her name before we picked her up shortly after moving to Texas, before Y2K, when people stockpiled water, canned goods and guns at Walmart, preparing for the end.read more
The meat was too many colours, purple and brown and white with fat; it was too large, whole sides of beef, reams of sausages like swollen, pallid intestines. Walking fast down the aisle hoping for something more innocuous at the end was unsuccessful. More meat, chickens, turkeys and ducks this time, frozen and silent.read more
The Acknowledgement of Country can feel like an empty gesture. The practice is supposed to show respect for the traditional custodians of a particular area, but sometimes it feels more like performing a meaningless lip-service that allows for a momentary relief that we are doing ‘the right thing’.read more
Everyone wants to champion change when it’s fronted by a group of sexy young people sipping on soft drink cans, or when it’s confined to a celebration with exotic catering you can brag to your colleagues about sampling.read more
And then, I remember, I groped for one of the books by my side. When it came into vision, I read The Things They Carried, and I held that book, arms straight, high above my head, glancing at it, then looking away, then glancing again, as if it were Medusa, as if it had the power to return me to that private hell, something inescapable, to stone.read more
I’m travelling in England, a place I’ve never before been – I’ve kept mostly, in the past, to places that are cheap and warm, and more obviously, more decidedly different from my home – and people keep telling me it’s surprising that this is my first time here.read more
I’ve always –at least, since I started writing essays, about seven years ago – believed that the essay form has a lot in common with poetry, despite the ostensible differences between them.read more
Every time I finish writing a book a very specific dread descends upon me. Every time I finish writing a book I feel emptied out.
People keep asking me, what are you working on now?
People keep asking me, what’s next for you?
And I still don’t have a proper answer.
Tonight, The Cure performed at the Sydney Opera House. I did not get to go. Instead, like most of my friends—my Facebook world seemed suddenly entirely dead!—I tuned in to a livestream of the band performing.read more
Eliah blames the English teachers for killing the student’s muse, for making it difficult for them to write because they were receiving corrections. I have a different take.read more
My friend Sarah and I ran a creative writing workshop out of a musty classroom in the Western suburbs. We were told that the students had limited English skills. So I spent the two weeks prior texting my aunt for Arabic translations of English and Assyrian words.read more
She has something new to offer.
Can she be new again?
I mean ‘new’ in the sense of reborn.
‘New’ as in alive once more.
Hey Debby, it’s not cute to perpetuate stereotypes about other communities and capitalise on their experiences by opting to tell their stories—so quit it. In recent years, the conversation of who can tell what stories has become more frequent.read more
Another Anzac Day comes on down the pipe. It always feels like the real Australia Day to me. As if some essence of who we are can still be found amid the twisted celebrations and misdirected attacks.read more
Go-betweens like me, born to visibly different immigrant parents, are always being asked where we’re “really” from, and often wondering where we really belong.read more
The question of whose story it is to tell is one that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, especially as lately I’ve been telling more stories about myself and my life.read more
I’ve been thinking a lot about stories, and storytelling lately. I suppose I should — after all, I’m a writer. Aren’t stories my stock in trade?read more
When he asked about work, I told him I was a writer. ‘Ah ye-as,’ he said, and I took this exclamation to mean that the doctor felt there was some correlation between my problems and the general conditions of a writer’s life.read more
I was raised in a house where inconspicuous wards were placed in every room to protect us against the threat of supernatural entities – an evil eye over the front door, rings blessed by priests hanging from boards, statuettes of saints by the windows, and precious stones with reputations for emanating positive vibes were tucked into drawers with our undies and socks.read more
Like most authors, I do almost anything for money, but the thought of engaging with a bunch of young people was cause for anxiety. If it was ever the case that I was once young, the experience was wasted on me. I don’t remember having a youth, and what I do remember about it I try to forget.read more
To summarize violently: the transcendent, essentialist reading of White does him a great disservice. There is no meaningful opposition between the spiritual and the performative in White’s work; his characters perform their meaning, move in their own structures of feeling.read more
Aboriginal writing is different. Not in any innate primitivist sense, it’s just doing different things, following different rules and patterns of relation. It doesn’t follow the straight lines that wittingly or otherwise I’ve learnt, been inculcated into – from inculcāre to tread in with the heel, knowledge as wound.read more
It’s been ubiquitously noted that the publication of Jack Cox’s Dodge Rose in 2016 bucked a number of Auslit publication trends, and some international formal ones. Beginning with the obvious, it was published by Dalkey Archive in the US before being picked up by Text.read more