All the love

What makes two people in a long-term loving relationship decide to let others in? For every couple, the reasons will be entirely different. For my ex-partner and myself, who explored the option of non-monogamy towards the end of our relationship, the reasons were varied. What I’m fascinated by is the amount of people I know and have encountered since then who are in, or have been in, open relationships. For some, it is definitely about sex – one-time encounters with strangers, fulfilling various hungers; for others it is about exploring a capacity for intimate relationships with more than one person. Here, I will examine non-monogamy as a concept, intertwining the personal, observational, and philosophical, with a consideration of social context. The umbrella term I use is ethical non-monogamy – ethical because there is agreement and communication; there is no deception. I will also mention the more specific concept of polyamory, where intimate connections and commitments are formed with more than one person at a time.

One line I related to in Lee Kofman’s memoir and exploration of non-monogamy The Dangerous Bride, which I read just after my ex and I had made our decision to be ‘open’, is this: ‘All I hoped for was bursts of excitement threaded throughout my life.’ But then, each burst has a morning after.

Read the rest of my essay on non-monogamy in the new journal, Antic.

Burning and pressing

I have not blogged for the longest time since I started LiteraryMinded, in 2007. But I use other forms the way I used to use this, and I write pieces both longer and shorter, both well thought-out (essays) and blasted (mini reviews or moments on Instagram or Twitter).

Like this essay about literary bisexuality for Killings.

Like pieces I have coming up in Antic and Overland.

And then sketches in my notebook. Bad poems in my phone notes.

And I’ve just started oil painting.

I read slower, now, outside of work. I read a lot for work. Reading carries different pressures than it used to, when I was reviewing a lot. I don’t have to finish everything. But there is the weight of knowing the time and effort that goes into writing a manuscript. Outside of work, I read for pleasure and for projects – for research, to be immersed, to be read myself, to be cracked open. My boyfriend reads to me sometimes. Currently William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow. He has a beautiful, masculine, Australian voice. Maxwell was fiction editor at The New Yorker for a nuts amount of years. He published John Cheever, with whom I’ve been having a literary love affair over the past year. Partly because of the topic I explore in the linked essay above. I’m writing more on it. Reading Frank Moorhouse, too. The Edith trilogy. Finally. Though I think I’ll be reading them over a year or three. I used to feel stressed about things like this. You do get calmer over time. Or perhaps you just shift the stress, the sense of urgency, elsewhere.

Killings columnist

I’m delighted to join the Kill Your Darlings team as a Literary Columnist for Killings for the remainder of 2015. My column will be:

Investigations into and explorations of literature and writing: literary places, literary lives and works, literary terms and methods, authors’ obsessions and concerns. Sometimes creative, often personal.

Read more here.

I’ll post links to each piece as they go up.

There’s so much else going on – I can’t even – so have a squiz at the events page and my Facebook page to keep up: workshops, Instagram collectives, Qld Poetry Fest, a Hares & Hyenas reading, and having some poems published…

Also the first book I acquired for Echo is now out in the world. I’m like a glowing (and anxious) mum. I really love working with authors, but also editors, designers, proofreaders, and schedules! Seriously, I love schedules. This job is the perfect fit for me.

And today I got to meet a great Aussie actor because Echo is publishing his autobiography. There’ll be a pic up on Monday on the Echo Facebook page… He gives really good hugs! And I actually quite needed one today, despite all this radness. So that was great.

Hope you are all prosperous and loving and being loved x

Spark, flow, sigh: the erotics of body & mind on Killings


John William Waterhouse’s Mariana in the South, via VictorianWeb


Recently, as we sat around having a few drinks after a book launch, the poet Jennifer Compton asked the question, ‘Do you find writing to be an erotic act?’. My instinctive answer was ‘yes’, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. How did I interpret the question? And why was my answer so sure?

Find out over at Killings.

Projects and publications, plus an opportunity for online writers

It’s been a while since I updated, so I’ll shove it all in one post. First of all, Happy New Year! 2014 was an incredible year for me, though it started out rocky (I was unemployed for about two months). The highlights were finishing my doctorate, publishing Captives, and having a story included in Best Australian Stories 2014.

Simpsons did itAnother highlight was reworking a chapter of my thesis and having it included in this book: The Simpsons Did It! Postmodernity in Yellow (eds Martin Tschiggerl and Thomas Walach-Brinek). I wrote about Lisa Simpson as a nonconformist, the prominent voice of the show’s critiques of dominant consumer society (while being complicit to it, as the show is). If you’re interested, it’s available on Amazon. I’m looking forward to my copy arriving on the 4:30 autogyro.

I was also delighted to contribute recently to The Lifted Brow: Digital 15;2, with two new flash stories: ‘Close Like This’ (set in a strange underground bar) and ‘The Washington Irving Hotel’ (set in an abandoned hotel I saw in Granada).

Soon I’ll be contributing to a cool online project, Dear Everybody Collective, where artists and writers collaborate back and forth and the results are published on Instagram. I’ve really enjoyed following so far, particularly the collab between Rose Jurd and Melinda Bufton. Follow and scroll back here.

Speaking of online projects, I’ve decided to release the current short story I’m working on, plus a couple of new flash pieces and perhaps some audio in a package on Gumroad, to try something different rather than publishing new work through literary magazines. Of course I’ll continue to do that, I just like the idea of having a button here where people can always find new work from me, if they’re interested. Perhaps at some point I’ll release an extract of my novel-in-progress, or even digitise one of my workshops. What do you think? Editing is important so Daniel Young (of Tincture Journal) is on board to help me curate and polish the pieces. If you’d like to find out when I’ve released anything this way, add your email here (it won’t be too often/spammy).

And now the opportunity: I’ve been invited to be a judge for the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, which awards $5000 over a year to a writer who will produce 50 pieces (roughly one per week). There is more info here. There has been some criticism of the prize, namely that it’s not enough money per piece of work. These criticisms come from  writers whose work is valued (financially) at a professional rate (as it should be) but I just want to take a minute to describe my own reaction to first hearing about the grant, and explain why I support it.

First of all, I thought it was generous, as it’s a personal donation made by a writer and teacher who has produced great volumes of online writing (mainly for interest, innovation and pleasure), so knows what it takes. Secondly, in my experience over seven and a half years of blogging, there were times when I wondered why something like this didn’t exist. Before and after writing for Crikey, for example (who only paid for a short while, by the way, when it was in the budget), I certainly would have applied for it. I was writing two posts per week for no immediate financial gain (though peripheral opportunities arose), and had a strong readership.

I experimented with advertising and it was never lucrative, though I know some people make it work. There are many types of blogs (ie. literary, experimental etc.) that would never attract advertising. Also, having ads on your blog requires admin work, or for some bloggers even requires you to (arguably) compromise your content with ‘sponsored’ posts on particular subjects. While this grant ‘sponsors’ a writer, the entire concept for the posts will be the author’s own, and there will be no editorial intervention.

People who are professional freelance writers are paid more than $100 for a piece (although many publications in print and online still only pay around that, I know because I’ve written for them), so I can see why some might have an issue with this grant. But those writers have put in the hard yards and are on a different tier, I think they can acknowledge that this grant is just not for them. Who is it for? There is a massive ‘blogosphere’ (and social media-sphere) of all kinds of writers (creative, critical, personal, you name it) who put a lot of time into their online writing, and who do it for love, and this is who this grant is for. They will already have a strong concept, and they will already write regularly. Off the top of my head I think about two of the blogs that inspired me at the beginning: Christopher Currie’s ‘Furious Horses‘ (the 365 stories project) and Krissy Kneen’s ‘Furious Vaginas‘. These blogs were updated with regularity and were a kind of discipline for the writers (and they have both gone on to be traditionally published authors) as well as being unique, stimulating and entertaining for the reader. I’m sure there are other writers like this to uncover, who will be excited to have their work acknowledged and financially supported. And I’m looking forward to discovering a range of voices and ideas as a judge of the Thiel Grant. Again, click here if you’d like to learn more or apply.