Terri-ann White asks: ‘How often does a new writer blow your mind? Can this still happen when you are doing it as a full-on venture?’
Often it’s not a new writer but someone who is new to me. For example, I was just blown away by The Forrests by Emily Perkins, and now I want to read all of her books. I read a lot of very, very good books, but I’m only ‘blown away’ by the odd one. But yes, though I read and write all day long, I’m not cynical about it yet! I think it helps that I have other cultural interests, ie. film. And I get out to the gym every other day to help clear the cobwebs.
Lia C asks: ‘what is your LEAST favourite (I won’t say worst, though that was my first inclination) book you’ve read in this five years, and why?’
Well, there are many I just didn’t bother finishing. Of the ones I finished I think Brendan Cowell’s How it Feels annoyed me the most. I also disliked The Meowmorphosis—a book that had so much potential as an absurd parody.
Lia C also asks: ‘Let’s talk about the sky. At what time of day is the sky the most beautiful to you?’
Dusk. Definitely. At dawn I’m too busy having nightmares. At dusk, the sky turns peach and apricot, the temperature dips, you pour a glass of wine… The other day, actually, my tram broke down and I had a 20 minute walk into the Melbourne CBD during sunset. Being autumn, too, the leaves were falling. It was spectacular.
Dallas Angguish asks: ‘In ten years time, where do you see yourself? Describe, using as many adjectives as possible (minimum 20).’
I’m in an ancient, mossy stone hut in the Scottish Highlands, sipping golden drams of single malt, tapping out a colourful novel. My fubsy Jack Russell terrier excitedly awaits his dinner. My flushed children and sweet partner are snoozing by the fire, weary from their adventures. Soon we’ll gather for a colossal feast of jolly, stinky cheeses and glossy fruits. Tomorrow we’ll visit cavernous and quiet castles.
(I don’t know if I reached 20 but in a rush now!)
Lily Mae Martin asks: ‘What’s in store for LiteraryMinded?’
More of the same but as I mentioned in the last post (I think?) more videos, and hopefully a change of pace with a move overseas or more publications!
Clementine Ford asks: ‘What’s the most wonderful trivia nugget you know about an author, living or dead?’ and ‘What is one literary quote you love to share with people?’
I like that TS Eliot went around as ‘the Captain’ and would tint his face green ‘to look cadaverous’ (see more here). I also think it’s hilarious that James Joyce was obsessed with farts.
Literary quotes… Everything Oscar Wilde ever wrote. And this one from Albert Camus: ‘Nobody realises that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal – Albert Camus’. There are some gems in Kafka’s diaries, too.
And from Virginia Woolf’s ‘Portraits’:
‘But then I’m one of those people who wants beauty, if it’s only a stone, or a pot – I can’t explain.’
toothsoup asks: During all those years, what was/were your:
1. Favourite event(s)?
Getting a fellowship to stay at Varuna for a week in 2008 would definitely be up there. Seeing Michael Cunningham (who I adore) in Sydney, Melbourne and London is also up there. And one of the best panels I ever chaired was this one on magic at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival with Kim Falconer and Maria Van Daalen. It was so lovely.
2. Most awesome material possession accumulated?
I don’t buy much outside cultural items (books, DVDs). You should see the state of our couch, pillows, etc. Would rather save money for travel than replace those things! But I do have this blue dress from Frocks and Slacks in St Kilda, a 1970s version of a 1940s dress. Polyester. It’s pretty and comfortable and I always get complimented on it. I love it:
There’s also the silver necklace G bought me in New York, moulded from snake vertebrae, and the art deco (well, ’80s revival deco) ring I bought myself in an antique shop in Windsor, near the Queen’s house.
3. Most lol-worthy interview?
Probably the one filmed on the weekend. You’ll see why, soon…
4. Books that you just couldn’t put down?
The Harry Potter series! Started reading it when I was 16. Lately: A Tiger in Eden by Chris Flynn, A Common Loss by Kirsten Tranter and Sweet Old World by Deborah Robertson were all very hard to put down.
5. Books that you just couldn’t finish?
I tried Crime and Punishment when I was about 18 and didn’t finish it. I’d like to try again. I still haven’t finished Ulysses, though I was loving it!
Laurie Steed asks: ‘You meet you from five years ago near where those Peruvian dudes busk on Bourke Street, but it’s you from five years ago. You can’t hear a thing, what with all that pan pipe action, so in the end you invite your younger self to a nondescript dumplings house in Chinatown. What advice do you pass on?’
I’d tell my younger self to keep writing, allow yourself to wallow in the hurt for a while (I was about to go through a break-up) but keep your heart open.
Jennifer Mills asks: ‘Any regrets?’
I always wanted to be one of those people who doesn’t believe in regret. I’ll keep trying at that. I do sort of regret not having the ability to see that some of my writing was bad before I sent it out. And I regret a few blog posts because they weren’t thought through, but then again, that is the nature of a blog. The problem is that people can recall them and quote you out of context! Otherwise, no regrets. So glad I moved to Melbourne.
Genevieve Tucker asks: ‘Bill Murray. Tell us what he will do next, please!’
I’m a fan of the Wes Anderson aesthetic. The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favourite films. So much heart. Here’s what’s next for both Wes and Bill!
Bird With the Golden Seed asks: ‘Classic novel you’ve never read but have been known to nod knowingly about when it’s discussed.’
I would never!
Bird With the Golden Seed also asks: ‘Favourite line from a Bill Murray film?’
‘Back off man, I’m a scientist.’
Here’s some more.
Paige Turner asks: ‘Ultimate procrastination tool?’
Pictures of cute dogs.
Damon Young asks: ‘What’s your favourite carnal moment in a novel?’
I think that’s actually a really personal thing. I blush to think of what it is. But there’s one moment I love in Alex Miller’s Conditions of Faith where the charge of desire passes between two people (a forbidden desire) and then all you know of the ‘act’ is when her husband picks a piece of straw off her clothing afterwards. That would be one of my favourites.
Sorry if I’ve missed anyone’s qs! Thanks all so much for playing. I’ll get to your comments and replies soon. Lit-love x