Blog narrative

‘Yet the clock is time, and time is lost, is bankrupt before it begins’—from Owls do Cry, Janet Frame.

Recently I made two early blog posts private.

Many times I have gone to do this but never have. When I taught blogging I would tell my students that the blog itself formed an overall narrative. Mine certainly does. From 22-year-old bookseller living in Coffs Harbour to Dr Meyer the published author, a Melburnian and a frequent traveller, now 30.

baby blogger

Baby blogger, 2008, in Tiergarten, Berlin.

There was something about those early posts (the naivete, the openness, the enthusiasm perhaps all part of it) that made people champion me. I’m amazed when I look at the comments (on such cringe-worthy posts). It seems I even taught Emilie Zoey Baker what a meme was. The writing really was shocking, though. More so, I have changed and I can’t help feeling embarrassed at some of the earlier ‘personal’ posts, and well, poems. And so I might prune a little, here and there, from now on. I feel guilty about it. As though it’s dishonest.

But the narrative has spread out, to my published reviews, articles and stories, and the books I’ve now edited and written. Not to mention on social media, where ‘personal’ and even experimental expression continues. I’ll keep reflecting on the broader narrative (and journey) here. LiteraryMinded will always, in some shape or form, be my home on the internet.

Angela Meyer

Older, wiser (?), more filtered.

I just turned 30, while at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali. A satisfying, literary-minded way to spend my birthday. I was on a panel about short stories on the day, with Nic Low and Dias Novita Wuri, chaired by Lisa Dempster. The audience was so engaged, and afterwards I was chatting with some teenagers who said they’d been reading stories from Captives aloud to one another. It’s always cool when someone tells you they’ve been reading your work, but I hadn’t previously realised these (often dark) stories would resonate with teenagers. It was great to meet them, and a special shout out to Julia. This is for you:

cumberbatchglasses

G and I spent the afternoon of my birthday at Bali Bird Park, absorbing sounds and colours; feeling the weight of parrots and hornbills on our arms, shoulders, and heads, and holding iguanas.

iguana

There are some photos and other commentary from the festival on my Facebook page, and on Instagram. I most enjoyed Michael Cathcart’s interview with Can Xue, the avant-garde Chinese writer:

‘You experiment to know how big your spiritual tension can be and how high you can scale the heights of art.’

This shift, though, from being firm about never deleting old blog posts to deciding it’s OK, reflects a wider shift that’s been happening in my life. I’ve noticed it since I got back from overseas, and since Captives was published. Questions have been raised (mostly internally) that relate to values I’ve always held, and I’ll find that something I always firmly believed (so much so that it had shaped who I was) has entered some slipstream, and then I watch it float away. How strange, I’ve found myself thinking. How strange to find that you have changed so much. To know you could change so fundamentally.

What’s still present in me, from the early blog days? The enthusiasm, definitely. The mad crushes on books and people. The dark bits. The wanting to go deeper. The desire to write fiction. The commitment, though the focus has shifted to different projects. The need for balance. Unfortunately, the self-consciousness. But it’s gotten much better. I set my mind to doing things and I do them. I am capable. I am most definitely grown up.

I will miss my 20s. The last five years in particular have been incredible, despite a few rough patches. One thing I’ll miss is the fact that people are forgiving of you when you’re young. And your achievements seem larger. People are proud; they nurture you. But my writing is in a good place (I’ve made it into Best Australian Stories for the first time, out November), and I’ve had a few work experiences since my doctorate that have made me realise what I do and don’t want to do. And I want to have kids and other life stuff like that. The 30s will be different, but I’m certain they’ll still involve writing, reading, love, travel, and whisky. And that’s enough.

whisky

5 thoughts on “Blog narrative

  1. Happy birthday Angela. Turning 30 is a significant milestone. I still remember way back when I turned 30 and had a sort of epiphany, which was, simply, that this was who I was. That is, that some of the dreams and expectations I had weren’t going to happen because they weren’t me, and I was cool with that. I don’t mean in a resigned way, in a sense that I’d stop trying things, but that I knew the sorts of things I’d try and those I wouldn’t. IF that makes any sense at all. (BTW my son turned 30 this year. He is still a child to me, but every now and then I make myself realise that no, he really is a man, a grown-up, and yet, yes, he is still my child!)

    Ubud sounds great. I’ve heard some of Michael’s interviews this week but missed some too because of busy-ness, and enjoyed them, as I pretty much always do with his interviews.

    • Thanks so much, Sue. And thanks for sharing your epiphany, I know exactly what you mean by that. This is who I am. Yep.

      Michael did a good job, because he made her accessible, though I must admit at times I longed for some more intellectual qs (like about modernism). I’ve got two collections of her translated short fiction coming—looking forward to them!

  2. Wonderful post Angela! It’s strange for someone, like me, in their fifties to read your post. Of course I still have the prose and poetry I wrote in my twenties but I don’t keep a journal and there was no such thing as a blog that I can go back to and review like you have just done!

    • Hi Debbie, thanks for reading. I’m a serial chronicler! I kept diaries since I was 8 years old, but stopped around the time I started blogging. I write thoughts now straight into my phone notes. It’s quite unorganised. And I take a LOT of photos. I think it’s genetic, or learned, as my Dad always took photos and video and my Oma kept extensive diaries. I do like having a record, because I don’t have a great memory. But some of the deeper stuff I save for fiction…

      • You see! It’s in the DNA. I take a lot of photos too! I go crazy on twitter! My grandmother was a photographer and my father used to sketch. I use my blog more as a means to work things out rather than a record. I’m not a journal person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s