Going Down Swinging #38

My short story ‘A quiet afternoon on the bay’ is part of this year’s collection in Going Down Swinging #38.

I remember the first copy of GDS I bought back when I was young, wide-eyed and recently moved away for university. I thought it was the absolute beez-kneez and – a bit like a wanker – was so inspired I filled in all the blank spaces around the poems and stories with words of my own. Then I clutched it to my chest, much like Gollum or a cast member from The never-ending story, and whispered, dramatically, ‘one day, you will be miiiiii-iiine.’

It took 13 years, but I got there. So when my copy arrives in the mail next week I suppose the only thing to do is to extract it carefully, pull it to my bosom, and whisper, dramatically, ‘I told you, you will be miiiii-iiiine’, then lurch-scurry back into my eery cave-dungeon for another decade or so.

a tale of two Irans

Kill Your Darlings was the first literary journal I ever read. I found out about it at the Emerging Writers Festival, early 20s and still constantly dazzled by the big city lights of Melbourne. I remember being delightfully scandalised by the name – so EDGY, so FRESH, so MELBOURNE – and scribbled it in my notebook alongside Going Down Swinging and a couple of others. I remember someone (embarrassingly, the bit I remember is not who) saying that their greatest advice was for emerging writers to be brave enough to call themselves writers – in the present tense and not in terms of something they would one day somehow become – so I made a pledge to call myself a writer from that point forward, and to pitch to every single one of those journals. Kill Your Darlings, by dint of its name, was my goal post, and boy did I miss those posts. Off the left boot and into the bleachers type misses…

But eventually, around the time my first book was published and after years of wonky kicks, I made it, and I was about as proud as you’d imagine of someone with my level of goal-oriented anxiety. Which makes it very bittersweet to see my name once more on the contents page, this time in KYD’s final print edition as it moves onto bigger and better things online.

My piece ‘A Tale of Two Irans’ was written in the process of researching manuscript 2 (which I promise to one day finish writing. One magical faraway day…) It’s about the expectations and assumptions we bring with us when we travel, and how these are inevitably smashed into a thousand pieces as we are reminded once more that humans are humans are humans, and that people are not their governments and governments aren’t always their people.

Thank you print-version KYD for being such a stellar publication and for fostering so many new and wonderful Australian voices. See you on the interwebs.


Haiku Book Reviews – part 9

Capital by John Lanchester
Funny, insightful,
one of those great books other
authors love-envy.

The Secret Son by Jenny Ackland
A curious and
sprawling story of secrets,
history and what ifs.

The Mule’s Foal by Fotini Epanomitis
Myth and legend wound
around family memory,
a stark village tale.

The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman
A one-night-can’t-put-

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
on motherhood, family,
gender and being.

My Place by Sally Morgan
This is the book that
everyone should reflect on
at ‘Australia’ day.

Something Fresh by P.G Wodehouse
Oh! PG Wodehouse,
where have you been all my life?
Could not put this down.

Antarctica by Gabrielle Walker
An intimate mix
of science, history, epic,
and discovery.

Mawson by Peter Fitzsimons
A long hard slog of
a journey into madness,
ice and history.

In Bed with Douglas Mawson by Craig Cormick
I came for Mawson
and stayed for Cormick’s insight,
portraits and funnies.

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett
I mean, it’s like an
iceberg, right? So much happening
below the surface.

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
Unassuming and rare,
this book delighted
and devastated me.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Her short stories are
whole and perfect, each one a
novel of its own

Shiver by Nikki Gemmell
A vibrant aching
story of ice and love and
vast immensity.

Ida by Alison Evans
Pulling you in page
by page, a clever take on
the pathways of life.

More than this by Patrick Ness
I walked into a
streetlamp because I couldn’t
stop reading this book.

The First Year by Gen Gannon
Clever and witty,
a stay-awake-late-reading
brilliant kind of book.