Platform 16 – Digital Edition

I should leave this post for tomorrow, but I’m excited, so you get it now. Apologies for those who follow via email and have had their in-boxes spammed. One day I will be a consistent blogger … but today is not that day.

I’ve mentioned Platform before: our somewhat anti-literary, literary magazine, commissioned by the amazing Bruno Lettieri, sponsored by Victoria University, devoted to an ethos of established, community and emerging writers gracing the pages of the same magazine. This issue is a special one. Created by an editorial team of Professional Writing and Editing TAFE and Higher Education Communications students, designed by Beata Cranswick’s Advanced Diploma Students, featuring the well-known Baby Guerrilla art that graces the main entrance of VU’s Footscray Park campus, it is our first-ever themed issue: education!

We tackle education in and out of the classroom. We write about the teachers that inspired us, the teachers that frightened us and the teachers that said nothing at all. We write about, I think, the importance of education in how it shapes us to become the writers we are now, its challenges and pressures, the memories it leaves behind. At a time when universities are suffering tremendous financial cuts, to a point where getting funding for a publication like Platform isn’t as simple as it should be, I think this issue is a much-needed reminder of why education matters.

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Words matter, but what about the packaging?

Excuse me for a moment, blog, while I hold conversation with the students who come after me.

Sherryl Clark asked me to write this after I expressed sadness at the lack of interest this year in Desktop Publishing and Publishing Studio classes. I am sad. This conversation happened at the launch of Platform 16, my first project credit as managing editor, a project that could not have happened without studying Publishing Studio the previous year. This post is something of a fusion of last year’s Rotunda speech, my Information Session speeches, my Litfest talk and the presentation I gave to this year’s Editing 2 students. It seems to be something I say a lot, but it also seems to be something in need of saying.

This might sound a little strange, given that I’m a novelist and short fiction writer by inclination. I’ve just finished the third draft of my novel, a project I’ve been working on for months, and by hook or crook will I see this thing published. Yes, I got a lot out of Advanced Fiction and Short Story. I’m learning a lot from Michelle in Advanced Non Fiction. My writing has improved no end by throwing myself into as many writing classes as I could squeeze into my schedule, and I don’t regret that for an instant: I know I wouldn’t have the ability to completely redraft a novel three times (and counting) without having studied Advanced Fic with Tracey. The novel I am writing today wouldn’t exist in its current shape without Myths and Symbols or Scriptwriting.

The classes I got the most from, though? The classes that have made me as a professional-to-be?

Desktop Publishing, Publishing Studio, Editing 2.

I know. They’re not about words.

They’re about liberation.

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Platform 16 launch / Silence, please!

Hi, blog. Long time, no see. Yes, I’ve been busy and crazy. That’s pretty much status normal.

For anyone who is local (Melbourne, Australia): on Thursday night at the Helen Garner Rotunda we will be launching Platform 16, our education-themed bumper edition of local Australian writing featuring community, emerging and established writers. (What’s Platform? Check out issue 15 here!) For no more than the cost of entry, you get to enjoy Helen Garner in conversation with the fabulous Bruno Lettieri, the best literary crowd in Melbourne and pick up a free copy of a magazine that features (in no particular order) the works of Sherryl Clark, Myron Lysenko, Raimond Gaita, John Marsden and Kristin Henry among many talented community, academic, established and emerging writers the world should know. (And a piece or two by yours truly.) The editorial team have worked long and hard on this project, and we’re very excited to celebrate its emergence into the world.

Interested? Download the flyer and drop Bruno Lettieri an email. I assure you, a great night will be had – it’s Rotunda’s big 60 and we mean to party!

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The price of being out: emotional authenticity and storytelling

This is a story, I think, that every queer person will know.

I’m telling it because I met a man who bought my book, started reading it and told me at the following day’s Rotunda that I’d used a lot of words he hadn’t seen before, but I’d given him a lot of new things to think about.

That comment has made me think about how I do what I do in a new light (which will become a post to follow).

But first I want to tell a story, just in case there’s someone in the world who hasn’t heard it.

It goes like this. You meet someone new. Because I’m doing more and more things with Rotunda and Vic Uni, this is happening to me more and more often: I’m having to develop actual social skills (ye gods). I’m having to talk to strangers. I’m having to put myself out there and be vulnerable as a person, as a part of a group, as a creative, as a writer. I’m starting to be connected in small ways to a larger community of people, and as a person who survived the monster dimensions through regarding any social connection as a potential threat and consequently best avoided, this is both amazing, challenging and a credit to two psychologists and the new-found amazing people in my life who are so encouraging, supportive, kind and engaged.

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Rotunda in the West and other adventures in story

I wrote a piece about last Saturday’s Highlands Rotunda near Yea, which has been posted on Facebook: Rotunda went to the lush highlands.

(PDF format here!)

To place this piece in context, I need to explain two things.

The first: Bruno Lettieri. His passion is developing the capacity for story, and by extension the growth, development and community found in story, in others. Not literature, necessarily – I wouldn’t say he’s about literature at all. He’s not about technical polish. He’s about artistic and creative expression, most often in words. He’s about the power in that expression to transform lives. Bruno is, I think, about the most important human force extant: story.

He, with the support and sponsorship of Victoria University’s Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing (TAFE) department, is the commissioning and founding editor of Platform magazine and the organiser, promoter and spokesperson of Rotunda in the West. I’ve spoken about Platform‘s unique ethos before – the combination of community, emerging and established writers gracing the page of a free magazine that goes out to schools, libraries, community centres and many other western suburbs locations. Any local writer must know him as a vibrant bundle of enthusiasm driven by the need to help, nurture, sponsor and encourage the people he finds.

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