Did Voicebox recording at 3CR last night- and we covered secrets. They are such a warm affirming open group, Mary, Phuong, Ai Diem and Helen- I said I had schizophrenia and they were very accepting of it. We talked about public and private selves and secrets and the stigma involved in keeping certain secrets.
I won’t tell you the secrets of the other girls- you’ll just have to tune in at 6:30pm on Tuesday to find out! I predict the secrets show will play in a month or so from now- we have a bit of a backlog to get through.
Very excited- Silence got a starting grant from melbourne city council! Silence is the project where I, Ai Diem Le and Mong Diep will interview Vietnamese women and tell their stories on stage to unlock the silence around their lives. We interviewed
Ai Diem’s grandmother last night and she had such an amazing story to tell- but I’m not going to document it here- you’re going to have to see the show next September to find out!
And the madness project is growing legs slowly- we’ve decided to concentrate on Vietnamese experiences and transgenerational trauma. A small show possibly with the help of the Buoyancy Foundation.
Just reading Roland Barthes “Writing Degree Zero” for my thesis work and have hit on a concept which resonates for me in my writing at the moment. Barthes talks about style: ” a self sufficient language is evolved which has its roots only in the depths of the author’s personal and secret mythology” (p.10). I’ve been also reading Tori Amos’ biography of sorts “piece by piece” and she draws on archetypes a lot. Getting in touch and making conscious my own mythology can only help my writing process I think. Definitely the shapechanger, transformation incarnated has resonance for me, and more recently the mad woman. I also related to the hungry ghost when I was younger. I’m looking at Brian Castro’s Birds of Passage at the moment- and now I look at it closely it is so well constructed- along theories and a grand design which I am trying to second guess in my critical work. He is distant from madness whilst I am not. I’ve been talking to another artist with bipolar and we’ve shared stories. We are thinking of creating a theatre piece from this- but don’t know the where or the how yet.
I read with horror yesterday that Druscilla Mojewska views in her jaundiced way that creative writing students have nothing to say. As a creative writing student myself I protest! I think that it’s very important to have these courses because it helps students learn how to say things, and gain the support and commitment to their writing that they might require. The stories we tell ourselves and the broader public is very important- it tells us of whom we are or could be in some ways and can reflect society at large. As Carmen Lawrence says and I paraphrase badly- one of the roles of literature is to challenge the status quo and push the envelope. I’m sick of people bashing these courses- they are beneficial. If they complain that it produces work that is bland and too similiar, well I don’t hear people complaining about Tim Winton and MJ Hyland’s work in this way- both graduates of these creative courses.
I think there is a piece in this- but I have to put my thinking cap on and not just have a rant at stupid generalisations…
I’ve been doing some more reading for my thesis and looking at the idea of the madwoman in literature. Writing about madness apart from being a cathartic exercise also requires some reflection on my part. What am I trying to say here? I want to dispose of the myth that madness inspires creativity- I think creativity exists despite madness, and it is only when you are relatively well that you are able to create anything worthwhile. Romanticising madness is a real danger here- since so many literary figures experienced madness. I don’t think there is any meaning to psychotic illnesses- they strike out of the blue- and part of it is accepting that. Then finding meaning in your own life after it has been taken away temporarily is probably part of the healing process. When an author writes about madness and it’s not autobiographical (and even when it is) other meanings can be read into it- such as social commentary. I think I’m still sorting this out in my own mind- and maybe why I’m writing a minor thesis on it.
Have received more inspiration to spin “yolk” out to a full length novel or piece- Scribe publishing contacted me because of it and may be interested in my next project! All the more reason to get your work out there! The lecture at Wollongong went well even though there were only 17 students they had all read the book and engaged with its content with interesting questions.
My creativity has been kickstarted with a weekend away with my postgraduate poetry group at Phillip Island. It’s so nice to be around like minded souls- where we go to the beach and each take our notebooks and write. I’m looking forward to Vietnam now after some trepedation- I want to immerse myself in somewhere else- I know that my writings about vietnam can be very evocative.
I’ve also decided to step down as president of AVYM. I have too much on my plate and I want to prioritise my writing and Phd.