Sunday, February 07, 2010

Baggage: Imminent

KJ Bishop wrote of what her story, 'Vision Splendid', means to her, did to her, and her apprehension at its forthcoming release.

Usually, by the time a story is released into the wild, I've broken up with it. I tend to lose interest once it's out of my hands and out of my power to tinker with. When it has moved through the tenses from "writing" to "written". Past tense for the writer, now present tense for the reader, and what the reader does with the story is a relationship that I, the writer, have no business meddling in.

This works pretty well for me. Criticism doesn't matter so much when you're not still in love with the story.

It would appear that even after prancing around Patagonia for a month, which was sufficient to kick pretty much everything out of my head, 'Acception' and I haven't had enough time apart. Not that I was ever in love with it; it's "complicated".

And I’m still nervous, perhaps because I’ve been told what to think about cultural baggage by academia and the media, so that it was difficult to put a whole bunch of very educated people’s opinions aside and tell the story I wanted to tell; and there was always the terror of clumsily saying something I shouldn’t, or not saying something I should, and that terror is now echoing on, probably quite irrationally, now that I can’t make any more changes.

Kirsten says it better than I, and with less waffle. Except I would take out 'nervous' and replace it with 'fucking terrified'. You could say that I say a lot on this blog, but my statements generally only relate to me in a purely personal manner. Through this story I have said something that remains personal, but passes judgment on a great many other people. It says something I don't always agree with, but have yet to doubt. It must be important to me, for me to fear it so. Important enough that I don't want to have any part in the discussion at all, yet care too much what people will think of it.

But the story is written, and so it will be said. I challenge myself to stand by it.


Vision Splendid — K.J. Bishop
Telescope — Jack Dann
Hive of Glass — Kaaron Warren
Kunmanara – Somebody Somebody — Yaritji Green
Manifest Destiny — Janeen Webb
Albert & Victoria/Slow Dreams — Lucy Sussex
Macreadie v The Love Machine — Jennifer Fallon
A Pearling Tale — Maxine McArthur
Acception — Tessa Kum
An Ear for Home — Laura E. Goodin
Home Turf — Deborah Biancotti
Archives, space, shame, love — Monica Carroll
Welcome, farewell — Simon Brown

Of Baggage Gillian says;'s a speculative fiction anthology that examines the stories and other cultural baggage that migrants have brought with us to Australia over the last 200 odd years...If you think Australian culture is all about neighbours and mateship, you may find Baggage distressing.

What I know of my fellow contributors, and knowing Gillian, I don't imagine this will be an easy, leisurely anthology, and despite my apprehension, I'm looking forward to holding it in my hands. Because I feared it, it was difficult, and because it was difficult, it was worth doing. That's enough to be proud of. On a purely personal level.

There is an electronic uncorrected proof of the anthology available for review, for those of you interested there is more information here.


  1. I have nothing intelligent to say on the subject matter (other than an inane congratulations on another successful publication, but that seems a little trite for the kind of depth of experience you're discussing here, so....),

    but I got your postcard, and I felt such a surge of love and joy that for a long moment my entire being was wrapped up in thoughts of, "I love Tessa. Maybe I will move to Australia and we'll be BFF."

    Thank you for sending it to me. :)

  2. Aw, you're most welcome, girl! I'm glad it made it to you.

  3. I can stand by Acception for you, if it would help. It really does rock.