Tag Archives: publishing

Whose Story are You Telling?

10478216_897380713609499_4540340778360193946_nMemory can be a fickle business and everyone will have their own version of history, depending on their age, gender, where they sit amongst siblings in age, and the way they feel within a family. In my family of two brothers and one sister, one event from our childhood will have four different versions of the ‘truth’.

So who does your story belong to when you’re writing your family history? Should you consult your siblings, or any other members of the family before you put something out there in the public forum?

There is no right or wrong answer and I’m sure we could have a great debate about it.

Last week, when I was at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, I had the pleasure of listening to many writers about their writing of memoirs. One panel, ‘The Secret Lives of Mothers and Fathers’, had Kate Grenville, Ramona Koval and Barrie Cassidy. Each one of them has written about their parents and the secrets that many families might hide.

Ramona believes that Bloodhound: Searching For My Father is her story to tell, despite her sister not wanting to know the truth when a DNA test showed that they are half sisters. From hearing her speak, you could tell that she would have been like a dog with a bone (pun intended) in her search for answers. Kate Grenville, One Life: My Mother’s Story, on the other hand believes that family stories belong to everyone and that the writer needs to respect this when sharing the story.

As you can tell, this topic had both women polarized. Barrie on the other hand had consulted with his siblings and they all felt that the story needed to be told. Maybe it depends on what secrets are being shared. Either way, out of respect for anyone who might be connected to your story, you should let them know about what you’re doing and maybe let them be involved in the process. You might also find that they will add value to the story by putting forward their own memories, experiences and opinions.

Thanks to the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, I have a few more books on my ‘to read’ list now …

Funding Your Art

1622117_10203588843912759_2232670102899058624_nIf you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about the cuts to Arts funding in the latest budget. If you aren’t making art, then maybe you don’t care. But you should because even if you aren’t making art, you are enjoying it. All art forms are important for the soul of this beautiful country.

My writer brain doesn’t need too much help with the mathematics of the latest cuts and what they will mean for writers, artists and performers. Not only will it mean that many of the usual grants will not be offered (bad for the artist), it means that the community won’t have the pleasure of seeing new projects come to life (bad for you).

Take a look at the latest cuts to Australia Council grants:


If artists can’t fund their projects, how will they grow and improve on their craft? Imagine the books, paintings, performances that might never see the light of day. We need to realise how important this is for the future of our society in cultural terms.

You might think, So what?

Why is art so important? We need cures for cancer, world poverty and global warming. Yes, we do. But artists tell stories and stories help us to make sense of the world, help us broaden our experience and understanding and allow us to think more creatively, which in turn helps us to discover solutions to problems that need this creative thinking.

The biographer and journalist, Walter Isaacson, said that science can give us empirical facts and try to tie them together with theories, but it’s the humanists and the artists who turn them into narratives with moral, emotional and spiritual meanings: art gives meaning to the theories of science.

Art is also escapism, pleasure and connection with each other.

So what can we do about it? Politics has a lot to do with it, so don’t vote for the wrong people. But it’s also about the community supporting the arts in different ways: buy books (real ones), go to galleries and buy artwork, go to the movies (don’t buy pirate movies in Bali), go to a live theatre performance.

Crowd funding is becoming a fantastic way for people to get their project off the ground. Maybe this is the arts funding of the future?

The community needs to be aware of the importance of making art for the future of our cultural existence. Without it we are dull, non-dimensional beings. We might cure cancer but our world will be colourless.