On ‘A Personal History of Attention’

My piece with Michelle Lynn Dyrness, ‘A Personal History of Attention’, has been published in Vol. 1 No. 3 of Firmament, Sublunary Editions’ print journal. Michelle did the images, I did the words.

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.

If this sounds like your thing, do order a copy, subscribe to Sublunary or check out their backlog.

On ‘The Dead Man Did Bad Things’ and ‘Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back)’

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.

There is little left to say.

Read The Dead Man Did Bad Things.

Read Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back).

With thanks, as always, to Saudamini.

On ‘Who Needs Anything Anymore?’

Singapore Air Force flying over Western Australia, 11 April 2020

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.

Comment on 3:AM

I have resigned as co-editor-in-chief of 3:AM and ended my association with the magazine.

This was not an easy decision; 3:AM has been very, very good to me. I have worked with talented and passionate writers and publishers from around the world – some I now have the privilege of calling friends. I have interviewed authors I have long admired. Also, a number of publishing opportunities have come my way as a direct result of connections I have made through the magazine. My time at 3:AM has taught me much and was also a lot of fun.

3:AM is a passion project for everyone involved – no money changes hands in any direction. The masthead is filled with people who want to promote the discussion of a certain brand of literature and philosophy, and very often those who wrote for us enjoyed the creative freedom the site afforded them – to write about subjects they were passionate about in a form that did not make sense elsewhere. Usually my criteria for accepting a piece was: Is this 3:AM enough? The hard work that has been put into it simply cannot be quantified, and investing in something in this way makes it especially difficult to leave behind. I joined the team not as an academic or even as a “writer” at the time, but primarily as a reader. As such, the fact that we were publishing for an audience of, ultimately, passionate readers was always at the forefront of my own decision making at the journal.

Recent events have left me sad, angry and distressed – especially because none of it was something I was able to influence despite my role at the magazine. I don’t believe we responded sensibly as a collective to any of the criticisms levelled at us, and I also don’t think we addressed our audience when and how we needed to. I did my utmost to ensure that 3:AM was a respectable, authoritative and unique platform – this is how it was when I joined and I wish I could say this is how it was when I left.

I wish Andrew and the team all the best as they work to re-establish 3:AM.

On 3:AM + one or two other things

3:AM MagazineThought it was about time I put in writing here that I have joined the mighty 3:AM Magazine as a reviews/nonfiction editor, working closely with my good buddy K. Thomas Kahn.

Been a reader of the journal, sometime contributor and an admirer of the current editorial team (Andrew Gallix, David Winters and Richard Marshall to begin with) as well as former editors (Susan Tomaselli and Darran Anderson) and their contribution to the vast galaxy of literature for some time. Needless to say, being part of it is a thrill and an honour.

(My call for submissions.)

The thing that I’ve already found pleasantly surprising is the connections made — from reading somebody’s writing, from working on that writing together, from the sharing and discussion of ideas, from a simple message in my inbox; connections with people who, frankly, I’m unlikely to have interacted with otherwise.

Maybe this is me finding out that that’s what literature is about too.