Sometimes being in Melbourne makes me feel haunted, like I might run into a younger version of myself at any moment. Being here for a festival, something that is so intellectually expansive, only serves to heighten that feeling—like somehow the fact that there are new possibilities opening up in my mind might make a meeting like that possible. It’s not exactly unpleasant, but it is unsettling.
Because I feel like it’ll be some time before any of this stuff settles enough for me to make sense of it, I’m going to continue with the barely-edited-selection-of-notes format. Here’s some impressions of yesterday’s Emerging Writers’ Festival Town Hall Conference panels.
A selection of tips from Seven Enviable Lines
Emily Maguire: Writing full-time will not necessarily make you a better writer, & it may make you a worse one. You may begin to lose touch with the world—”I don’t believe you need to write what you know, but I do believe you need to know about what you write.”
Christy Dena: “Let others breathe on your baby.”
Ali Alizadeh: Writing is an extension of reading. Writing is always a dialogue with other writing.
Anita Sethi: Sit down, & the inspiration will come. Writing is very hard work. The inspiration is a spark, but the perspiration is so important.
Lawrence Leung: Listen to feedback, but don’t let it rule your life. If you want to write, no one can stop you except you.
A selection of notes from other panels throughout the day
In Writing on Tough Topics, Sydney Smith suggests that exposing oneself by writing about something tough is also a way of making amazing discoveries. I’m reminded of this TEDtalk on vulnerability.
In a session on Structure, Ali Cobby Eckerman says the structure of her writing is often imposed by her Indigenous cultural background. I wonder how much of the way I put stories together comes from cultural structures I’m hardly aware of.
In a session on Cross Platform writing, I am completely fascinated by the gesticular communication of Deaf writer, Asphyxia. So expressive—perhaps more so than any spoken communication can ever be. This is itself cross-platform communication, if you think of the human voice and body as media through which we tell stories.
I love your idea of feeling like you’re haunted in Melbourne (by the possibility of meeting a younger version of yourself). It puts into words a feeling I get when I return there. Clarity!
Glad my words made sense of something you felt too! It’s a very odd feeling, isn’t it?