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January 15th, 2007

The Monday.

The Aurealis Award piece is done now. Regular blogging to pick up.

The response is shaping up to be pretty much the same as last year, which I am sure will come as a shock. Some people like it, some people don't. There's a thread beginning on Ben Payne's (benpayne) blog about it, again. There are some differences, naturally. Personally, I find it interesting to note the divides in people who dig it, and don't, particularly along the lines of professional backgrounds and citizenship in the world and particular groupings within Australia. I should probably just stay out of the online conversations about it, and maybe I will from now on. Really, if you disagree with it, write a critical piece and argue on the basis of the authors and their work. Despite what people think, it's not about me, so getting upset about me does nothing interesting. The only thing that is of interest is what you can and cannot say about the work of authors.

On Saturday I was down at the Opera Quay with A and S and I was walking past the Writers Walk. The walk is basically a series of round plaques, rather like sewer lids, but bronze, and which follow the path down to the Opera House. For some reason I find them fascinating. I remember when J and A (and A and A) were out a while back, I pointed them out, and we stood around and asked what exactly Jack London, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain had to do with Australian literature. It's not much, obviously. Twain wrote about Australia during one of his lecture tours, which is chronicled in Following the Equator, where he covered a lot of different countries down on this side of the world (if I remember right, a much smaller 'Australian' only version of the book has been released--it's just the two hundred pages ripped out of the aforementioned book, I think). Still, I find the inclusion of these authors, who never wrote about Australia, really, not in any way that isn't just a small pocket of their overall work--I find it fascinating that they were given a big bronze disk on the Writers Walk. It is almost as if the person in charge of it cannot find enough authors within the country to line a five minute walk. So he ends up going to internationally famous authors, the figures who fall into the cannon of English Literature, and the Writers Walk ends up as curious piece where a bunch of Australian authors are totally overshadowed by the figures such as Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling.

Nothing in it, I suppose, but it fascinates me so, as a truth about the local view.

Skin

Do people remember Shelley Jackson's 'Skin', a short story in which 2096 people each have a word tattooed on them?

From this time on, participants will be known as "words". They are not understood as carriers or agents of the words they bear, but as their embodiments. As a result, injuries to the printed text, such as dermabrasion, laser surgery, tattoo cover work or the loss of body parts, will not be considered to alter the work. Only the death of words effaces them from the text. As words die the story will change; when the last word dies the story will also have died. The author will make every effort to attend the funerals of her words.


There's a google map on her site, showing where the words are. Fascinating stuff.

I wish I had come up with this idea, and that I had been well known enough, really, to have an audience who would willingly have my words tattooed on them. I doubt I could get one volunteer to have a word tattooed on them.

I am currently designing my experimental fiction courses, hence my interest in Jackson's 'Skin', again. I am thinking of creating a piece that involves magic markers and using them to write your own autobiography on your own body. Should be fun, if it works out. Guess I'll find out later in the week, when I'm running the workshop. Could fall flat on its ass.