Copyright - Clancy Tucker (c)
Quote of the day:
"Reality for some people, is broader than it is for
others, because they have looked more,
lived more, read more, experienced more, and thought more."
- GUEST AUTHOR
Today I introduce an emerging Australian writer - Stuart Barnes. Welcome, Stuart. Tell us what makes you tick as a writer.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
Till the age of eighteen I lived in Hobart, Tasmania. There I attended an Anglican church with the poet/librettist Gwen Harwood, one of the first adults to spur my childhood dream of becoming a writer. Another was Liz McQuilkin, my high school English teacher, also a terrific poet. After finishing high school in 1995 I moved to Melbourne, Victoria. Here I graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature & Philosophy and, for a number of years, worked in kitchens & call centres. I started writing seriously about
seven years ago.
WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?
I was a very good reader. A voracious reader. I often carried a book.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I've always been a writer. But for many years & for a couple of reasons – e.g. self-doubt, others' criticisms – I didn't write. How did I become a writer? I overcame my self-doubt, others' criticisms.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The psychotherapeutic benefits.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
A Zulu warrior. A Pharaoh. A Greek god.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Being shortlisted for the 2010 Newcastle Poetry Prize. The poem – 'Caravaggio: A Secret
History in Sonnets' – addressed my rape, which occurred not long after I'd moved to Melbourne, as well as a friendship with an emotionally abusive girl who'd also been raped. The shortlisting, the subsequent anthologising of this poem enabled me to move on from my rape.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Three manuscripts: a full-length book of poetry; a memoir addressing my rape, notions of addiction, & the perils of psychiatry; a crime novel.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
In no particular order: history, poetry, literature, mythology, music, film, photography,
botany, zoology, anatomy, psychology, psychiatry, sex etc.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write about the things that inspire me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Write what you want to write. Don't be deterred by self-doubt, by criticism, by rejection.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Occasionally. Walking, swimming & meditating all unwind the mind.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
0800–1200, 1400–1600, 1700–2100.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
My desk. But I'm happy writing elsewhere: in bed, on the couch, by the Yarra, by the sea, in a park, on public transport etc.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
That early morning fully formed sentence.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
For her acrobatic control of language, her ability to compel numerous readers to return to her novels (in particular, The Secret History), & her utter disinterest in the "industry", Donna Tartt. Similarly, Paul Murray, her male counterpart.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER
RECEIVED FROM A READER?
'Really good! Send to TLS or Rialto. Mention my name' (in an email from a major UK poet who'd read three of my poems).
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
'In what sense is this poetry? The essence of the genre is rhythm;the [sic] use of syllables to
create regular and/or irregular metre to fit the subject of the poem. I have
stood on my head to establish some kind of rhythmic pattern here. I'm damned if
I can see any. What I do see is the indisciplined use of language with little logic in the punctuation or vese [sic] stucture [sic]. Is this a question of "the king's new clothes" or is what I learn't [sic] at school and uni no longer applicable?'
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS
THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes. Many of my experiences – as well as of those of friends, family etc. – go into my writing.
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
CQUniversity's Bauhinia Literary Award for Poetry, 2009.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
At the time I was very much a new/emerging writer (in some ways I still am). Winning the Bauhinia Literary Award – & in the same year being shortlisted for The Newcastle Poetry Prize – increased my confidence, raised my profile, made me feel as though I was on the right path, so to speak. The prize money, which enabled me to buy more books, was the icing on the cake.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Editing, reading, ageing, family & friends.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Waking before dawn, eating breakfast & reading for an hour in bed, writing till lunch with friends, more writing, a late afternoon nap, more writing, dinner at home, more writing, an episode of The Golden Girls before bed.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Presently I'm moving to the sea, where I'll continue to write, & study screenwriting online.
Stuart's contact details:
PASH capsule (as Editor): http://www.facebook.com/pashcapsule
Clancy's comment: Thanks, Stuart. I envy your move to the sea. Dip your toes in the water for me. - CT
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