I’m off to Sydney tomorrow night so this could possibly be my last blog post of 2010 (“Awww!”) and in the theme of it being the end of the year and getting all nostalgic and stuff, I thought I’d look back at all the things I achieved this year. I kind of think I did a lot and made a bit of a leap forward.
I think adding spoken word or performance poetry to my repertoire is probably the most significant thing to happen to me this year. In May, after some encouragement from Santo Cazatti, I read for the first time at an open mic night in Brunswick and haven’t looked back.
Over this year, I’ve read at many open mic nights, slams and events around Melbourne, regularly producing new work to perform. It’s paid off because next year I’ll do my first feature poetry performance.
Inspired by my foray into spoken word as well as my regular contribution to #FridayFlash, I started up a new thing, a kind of twitter meme, called #SpokenSunday where each Sunday I got people to record spoken word pieces or readings and post them to Twitter and on the blog.
It was a modest success, thanks mainly to Annie for keeping it ticking, as Sundays got too busy and I fell behind in keeping it running. It’s moving across to the writing blog, Write Anything with me next year.
My first eBook Reader
In September, thanks to my tax return, I bought my first eReader, a Sony Reader Touch. This is significant because eReaders and digital publishing have been probably the most talked about topics in the literature world this year and I wanted to be an early adopter considering I’ve been obsessed with the topic as well. I probably haven’t used it as much as I’d have liked but I bought an Amazon Kindle too that’ll be delivered in January.
The Red Pen – Issue One
In October, I launched the debut issue of my radical zine, The Red Pen, which is full of fiction and poetry from other radicals and was a way for me to get explicitly left-wing fiction out there. The launch with spoken word from some Melbourne’s best radical poets was one of the highlights of my year.
Chinese Whisperings and ‘Somewhere to Pray’
This project consumed up most of my year and I wouldn’t give it up for anything (and I’m led to believe I’m doing it again next year!). Thanks to Jodi Cleghorn for getting me in on this and teaching me so much in terms of writing and editing. ‘Somewhere to Pray’ is my story in the twin anthologies and if you’re allowed to have a favourite story of your own, this would be my one currently. It’s out as an eBook but is coming out in paperback next year too.
Interviewing China Miéville
This would have to take the prize for the most exciting opportunity of the year. When Angela Meyer asked me to do the interview with her at the Melbourne Writers Festival, I think my reply was something like “Fuck yes!” Angela and I got a little under half an hour to quiz China on his work and as could be expected, I asked about how it links with his politics too. This was amazing not only because I consider him the closest to my own style, but also because he’s an incredibly warm and intelligent man.
Launching the Sanity Juxtaposed eBook
I thought this one wasn’t going to happen. Between working out what to put in the thing, editing, proof reading and formatting the eBook, I learnt a lot from the process and am still learning now with the sale of it. I launched it in October and for Kindle this month. Working with Smashwords has been fun and I hope to experiment more with them next year.
50 Stories for Pakistan
I never actually blogged about this when it happened, but at the end of October, Big Bad Media and Greg McQueen launched 50 Stories for Pakistan, a book of short stories to raise money for victims of the floods in Pakistan. I have a little story, ‘Packages to Neighbours’ in there and it’s my first story somewhere in print (other than zines), which is a bit of a milestone.
In November, I won National Novel Writing Month for the second time, working with a story arc paced at around 50,000 words, which isn’t technically a novel but I’m looking forward to rewriting it after I finish that final scene. Writing felt tougher this year but I’m glad to feel like I’m getting better at this novel writing thing.
I don’t think I did too badly this year. I’m still missing finishing that elusive major project like a novel or short story collection but perhaps that can be for next year.