These essays are part of the series A Year of Carte Blanche and Other Chimeras, commissioned by my impossible friend Daniela Cascella who is guest editor at MAP. I told D that lockdowns and an indefinite pandemic were killing my lit vibe, and she invited me to write about this. The crux of the essays, then, is really: reading for pleasure is great > finding delight or the richness of life in reading is even better > but it only gets you so far.
They were hard essays to write but it seemed important to write through – write into – the moment. If nothing else, I think I have done that.
Both essays feature original images made by my good friend and frequent collaborator Michelle Lynn Dyrness – it always feels like a little bit of magic to have her work respond to and accompany mine.
This is a real thrill for me for a few reasons – firstly, it’s my first piece in a print journal (!) for a long, long time. How good is paper.
Secondly, it’s always great to work with Josh and the crew at Sublunary who are performing small press miracles.
Thirdly, I really, really like this one as it was the first official collaborative piece Michelle and I did together – we also, with Kyle Coma-Thompson, made a postcard which Sublunary printed off and dispersed, but that came together in other ways. For this, we bounced prose and images back and forth till we had something we felt coalesced into a single piece worth your attention. Since then, we have done more work together, all of which I pray sees the light of day.
The pandemic continues, we are in lockdown and the Dead Man stays dead. As I write this, the state government of Victoria tells the residents of my state we cannot enter. I cannot leave my home without a mask; I cannot go beyond a 5km radius. Calasso died today. It is 2021.
I have published a piece on Medium titled Who Needs Anything Anymore? — about writing, reading and technology during the pandemic. This piece has existed in various incarnations for almost 12 months now, and, maybe tellingly, no where has been especially interested in publishing it. But I really wanted it out of my head and removed from my writing path, so it was either here or Medium.
Now, I’m clearly 5-6 years late to Medium, and trawling through the stories it looks like it’s overrun with bitcoin, wellness and conspiracy theory content. Possibly I’ll regret putting it there, but I’m curious to see if it finds any sort of audience. We’re all online more than ever, but online publishing feels increasingly like shouting into the void — also sort of the point of the piece.
Very pleased to be able to say that my piece Untitled (The Dead Man’s Mother) has been published in the March 2021 edition of RIC Journal (we hardly know what year it is, and neither does the Dead Man).
With thanks and gratitude to S for giving continued life to the Dead Man.
My poem Untitled (Daydream of the Dead Man) has been published in the September 2020 edition of the extraordinary RIC Journal. The Dead Man feeds stray cats and daydreams about escaping all of this – like the rest of us.
Give to your rowdy boys doves for pets No, a couple of glittering peacocks