Writers Who Blog

2013-05-28 09.04.53I went to a session at Sydney Writers’ Festival  about writers who blog last week. The session was facilitated by Angela Meyer of Literary Minded and featured Lorraine Elliot of Not Quite Nigella , Mark Forsyth of The Inky Fool and Tara Moss. A very impressive lot! I had bookmarked a recipe by Not Quite Nigella a while ago, and on the weekend I finally got around to making it. Big success!

As well as providing culinary inspiration, the speakers made some really interesting points about blogging.  Both Tara and Lorraine agreed that you have to blog about what you’re authentically interested in, without worrying about the word count. Their blogs are very different, but I think both of them have a really healthy dose of passion, and that’s what readers respond to. Blogs are a great means of self expression, for putting your opinions into the world, saying what you want to say, and starting a discussion, without the traditional moderation of print journalism.

The world wide web is a vast place, (there are over 60 million blogs on WordPress alone), and as daunting as that sounds, Mark reminded us that , as bloggers, that is your demographic. There are billions of people who use the internet, and the people who are interested in what you’re writing about will  find you. And it is you that they’re interested in. The panellists discussed what makes a good blog, and while it’s an unwritten rule (actually it is probably written somewhere) that content is key, the thing the writers agreed on was that it was the writer’s voice that made a blog successful. Lorraine says that she tends to read the blogs of people she’d like to sit down and have a cup of tea with. I totally agree, whether it’s because they’re funny, share my point of view, challenge my point of view, or have a way with words or images, I reckon I’d like to have a cuppa with most of the bloggers whose stuff I regularly read.

I love writers’ festivals, but it always feels as if there is a pretty massive gap between people like me and the writers themselves. All the people who sat on the blogging  panel are extremely talented, published writers, and it’s nice to hear them talk about a medium that everyone can engage in, without a publishing deal. The blogosphere is  unmoderated, immediate and intimate, and I’m a pretty confirmed fan.

I’m going to go and make a cuppa and have a browse.

Toys

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I was flipping through the internet this morning, I had found a photo and I wanted to see where it was from originally, I was sure there must be story behind it. It turned out that the image, from Feature Shoot, came from  Gabriele Galimberti’s project Toy Stories which documents children from around the world with their toys. The images made me stop – they are both playful and heartbreaking, and it’s impossible to ignore the differnt circumstances the kids are growing up in. Galimberti says “at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play.” Continue reading

Racism, relationships

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I’ve never had think much about racism. I’m a white person who went to a school that was predominantly white in a country town that was predominantly white. In primary school we would have multicultural days when we’d bring in plates of dahl and fried rice and wear an approximation of a sari. When I was twelve my family went on holiday to Phuket. I read in the tourist brochure that Thai people had beautiful smiles and if you smiled at them they would always smile back. Experiments proved this to be true and I decided they must be lovely people. In high school I had a friend from Sri Lanka and one from Singapore, but I never thought much about their race.

When I first moved to Sydney I caught a bus with a new friend from the city to Surry Hills. Soon after we got on a woman started screaming that there were too many fucking foreigners in Australia. The bus driver didn’t say anything and she kept going. My friend and I sat quietly, pinned down partly by her rage and partly by our uncertainty. What could we do? It wasn’t until after we jumped off that we shook our heads over her raw anger, over the ferocity of the attack, over the little girl in a pram and her mother who bore the brunt of it. I felt sickened by my silence. It felt like cowardice. It felt like complicity.

Continue reading

Being sad

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Ah me, I’ve been having a bit of a hard day today. The kind of day no amount of chocolate or tea or hugs can really fix. The kind of day where you can’t stop crying and nothing seems good and you ache all over. I have an essay due on Monday, but when I tried reading the texts I’m using, the words didn’t make sense, like my brain has put up a solid wall so nothing can get through, like those words are just fingernails scraping the the inside of my skull.

It’s a good day. It’s just not sinking in. It’s one of those sunny Autumn days, it’s cold in the house, but I’ve been sitting in a big easy chair with my feet on the window and they’re warm. A Miner bird came up and perched on the window ledge and examined them very carefully with his shiny, yellow rimmed eyes, he’s probably never seen seen the soles of a human being’s feet before. Continue reading

Smile!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, Polish tobacco farmers near Windsor Locks, Connecticut (LOC)

I had kind of a hard day today so I thought I’d share something nice. This is Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, tobacco farmers in Connecticut in 1940. The photo is from the Library of Congress.  Try looking at their faces and not feeling just a bit better about life.

Take Me to the Sea

Ryan Kenny

Oh my, I love this photo. It makes me miss summer badly. Ryan Kenny is an Australian photographer who has done shoots for i-D and Oyster, among many other high profile gigs, and you should definitely check out his dreamy photo diary. It’s Nice That writes “Ryan Kenny smashes up anti-girl power theories with his trusty camera that basically turns every girl it fires a shot at into a hilarious, roll-up smoking, rock diving, water fight starting, firework lighting girl.” Actually, I think it might be that Ryan just hangs out with fun people, because those are all things that girls actually are without being photographed, but there you go.