I need to share some recent happiness. You’ll be getting to see more of me in print in the coming months! Today I received the news that I have been shortlisted for the Page Seventeen short story competition, which means my story ‘Mentioning Ben’ will be published in Issue 6 (November). This also coincided with my first request to read some of my writing at a launch. I plan to banish those nerves that are completely bodily and give me a wavery voice and red cheeks, despite the fact that I am willing to read out loud. The full shortlist is not yet online, but it will be up in around a week I’m told by the editor Tiggy Johnson.
The launch will be on Saturday November 8 at the Queen of Tarts Cafe, 1710 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave, from 2:30 pm. I’m told this is ‘out in the sticks’, which probably means it will be quite a pleasant Saturday outing. If you would like to pre-order a copy, see the website for details, or email me (angelina_gia (at) hotmail (dot) com) as I can email you the pre-order form where copies are a cheap $15, as opposed to $19.95 retail. Page Seventeen is an annual journal showcasing emerging Australian writers, and gets hundreds of entries.
‘Mentioning Ben’ was inspired by some of the relationships of my parents’ friends, who in mid-life seem to be breaking up and often forming new connections. The story is centred around a lunch when a visiting friend and her new partner (a paleontologist) are in town. The protagonist experiences feelings of loss for the man who was practically an Uncle, who she can’t help but remember in this man’s place, but she acknowledges the complexities of relationship break-ups. It is a snapshot story, it feeds from observations, and it utilises concepts of natural history (as tied to paleontology) to round out the present moment. I really hope you will buy the journal and have a read.
In other news, I have had my interview with the wonderful short story writer Cate Kennedy accepted for Southerly (Australia’s oldest literary journal), which is also out in November (I’ll keep you posted) and I would like to get to the launch in Sydney (at a UTS conference). If anyone wants to drop by too and catch up with me I would love to see you.
I also have fiction upcoming in a brand new journal Sketch, and the editor Nicole Taylor is also kindly doing an emerging writer profile on me. This journal is based in Melbourne and a launch party will also be occuring (and I will again combat the shaky hands syndrome). I’ll keep you posted on dates (become a fan on my Facebook page and I’ll create it as an event).
In other news – two of the writers I wrote about for The Best Unpublished Books (1, 2 & 3) have had recent successes. I’m not going to blow the lid yet because I’ll do a follow-up post at some stage, but keep an eye out for the shortlist for the QLD Premier’s Awards, and also a YA release from Scribe mid-2009… I’m SO excited for them!
If my current life sounds really wonderful, you’re right. This year I feel a little bit like I have been floating outside my body. But everyone around me knows I write every day, and work hard. It took two years of rejections before I got anything published. I still don’t get paid for much of what I do – but the compulsion to write is undeniable. I’m contantly inspired. The tease of a brewing story at the edges of my consciousness, then the beautiful release of a draft. Then many, many hours of shaping, forming, rewriting, and having lightbulb moments of elements that will come together. Some pieces never work. Some work almost immediately due to fully-formed image-sequences in my head combined with something I feel innately exiting into the prose as themes, metaphors or structures. But often I am this…

And like Edvard Munch I am not very good at drawing hands, but the brushstrokes are instinctual. Sometimes there are later additions, even accidents. Sometimes canvasses are stripped bare. Sometimes I repaint the same one because I am afraid of losing something.

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