Writing in 2015. Praise and Pity.

As I have done in years past, I thought I’d pen a summary of my writing, and the things I wrote about writing, and the things I have said about writing over the last dozen months. Now, self-praise…


2015 was a year of good things. Chadwick and I released two new books. First, there was REDWOOD, our horror comic with a broken heart…

Redwood_Interiors

Second, there was RAG DOLL, our picture book about love and death, of which we are quite proud…

Ragdoll_Cover

I was fortunate enough to be a speaker at Inkers and Thinkers, an interdisciplinary comics symposium that boasted Pat Grant as keynote speaker. My presentation at the event, titled Millennial Prophecies and Alternate Realities, can be heard here. I was also a guest at Continuum 11 in Melbourne and was able to co-host a workshop on writing comics with horror maestro Jason Franks.

I have continued as the Managing Editor of the australiancomicsjournal.com and have been particularly thrilled to feature the superlative work of Ben Kooyman and Amy Maynard again this year.

As for my non-fiction writing and journalism, here are the links for my most widely read pieces of last year, as well as those that rushed headlong into obscurity but of which I am still rather fond regardless:

Australian Comics Journal

As the Managing Editor of the ACJ, here are my own key pieces from last year.

A Most Unpleasant Revelation, my review of the Ledger Award-winning Mr. Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye by Tim Molloy.

#takedown: confrontation and empathy. I reviewed #takedown by David Blumenstein, and also interviewed the author.

Rock and Paper: past and future in NEOMAD, my feature article about the series, and I also interviewed the creator Sutu.

Review: Villawood by Safdar Ahmed. I also interviewed the author.

I also do a regular segment on Radio Adelaide’s Arts Breakfast programme, reviewing and discussing works of note.

– I reviewed and discussed the anthology Fly the Colour Fantastica.

– I reviewed and discussed #takedown by David Blumenstein.

– I reviewed and discussed the NEOMAD series by Sutu.

– I reviewed and discussed the Walkley Award-winning webcomic Villawood, by Safdar Ahmed.

Hopscotch Friday

Last year I began to write and review for the pop culture site Hopscotch Friday.

Not Yet Born Again: Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor, my review of last year’s Marilyn Manson album.

Who Watches the Watchmen? Go Set A Watchman & Ragtime, my op-ed about how the passing of E.L. Doctorow, and his best book Ragtime, went less noted than it should have due to the hype surrounding Go Set a Watchman.

– I wrote about Star Wars too much, on the generational nature of this franchise’s brand-loyalty, the madness of George Lucas and the much-maligned prequel trilogy.

The Force Awakens: The Garbage will Do, my review of the beloved but problematic new Star Wars film.

Oh, I also have some exciting Hopscotch related news for 2016. Details coming soon.

Just Salvos

I have written op-eds on issues of human rights and equality for Just Salvos, The Salvation Army’s social justice unit.

Lesser Evils and Stopping the Boats, my piece on how political rhetoric exploits the global refugee crisis and masks human rights abuses.

Civil Disobedience and Children in Detention, my interview with Craig Farrell: human rights activist, minister and spokesperson for the Love Makes a Way campaign.

No Exceptions – Cultural Difference and Common Humanity, my op-ed on former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s bizarre statements regarding the refugee crisis in Europe.

That was the self-praise. Now, the self-pity.

2015 was a year of good things but it was not an easy year. There was more ambition than targets. Deadlines slipped past. Opportunities weren’t grasped. There were pitches unanswered and pitches rejected. I watched two magazine projects I was involved with fall over. A typo got past the proofreading (you have no understanding of the deep, stirring rage I continue to harbour for this event). I’ve hurt a lot from sitting at the desk and wondered about life outside in the daylight. After all, the body of work linked here represents late nights and weekends. This work is produced in the time outside my day job as a copywriter. And comics are hard too. Chad and I are tired. Pity.

These type of summaries, filled with praise and pity, can often feel fairly self-serving. Typically they are. The reality for emerging writers is that no one will sell your work but yourself. The majority of writers do what they do out of passion and obsession, and the work rarely receives reward or applause. Nor should there be some sort of participation medal either. No one asked writers to become writers. We chose this, and in this new year, I will continue to choose it.

There is the self-praise and self-pity for 2015. Much like the last year, those things are over with. Now, scripts are being drafted. Project are being prepped. Exciting new publications are in development. There is ink. And graphite. A blank page.

There is a story, a big one, still to tell.

This is 2016.

 

A

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