Ep13 – Nigel Featherstone Pt1

Nigel Featherstone
Photo: Andrew Sikorski

Ep13…Pt1

That’s right, folks, this is Part 1, of 2.

Nigel Featherstone is an Australian writer whose, powerful new novel, Bodies of Men is to be published by Hachette Australia on the 23rd April – it’s the story of two Australian soldiers who find love on the fringes of the Egyptian desert while World War 2 rages around them.

This book is significant. This story is important. It’s beautifully written. Nigel is the right person to be telling this story at this time.

Great literature and art can sometimes be ahead of its time, yet it acts as the beacon so we can all fix on a common point in the direction we need to go. This book may well be that beacon of how we can further understand each other and learn to live along side others no matter the differences.

When I set out to do this podcast I put sitting down with Nigel to record as one of the big goals for myself. Nigel has been very important to my own creative development since we met in 2014 @ the ACT Writer’s Centre Hardcopy manuscript development program where Nigel was the facilitator and coordinator.

For a couple of years following the program Nigel was a mentor to me, helping me to find ways to create no matter what. Without his involvement, I may not have had the courage to embark on something as crazy as doing this podcast.

In this part of the conversation get spend time on the journey leading up to the writing of Bodies of Men. In Part 2, which is coming out on the 23rd April to coincide with the release of Nigel’s novel, we get deep into the story behind of the story and so much more.

Nigel is a rare character and has a generous artistic soul.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

You can stay up to date with all that’s happening in Nigel’s world here:

BODIES OF MEN, a novel to be published by Hachette Australia on 23 April 2019
– launching in Canberra at 6pm on Thursday 16 May at The Street Theatre

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

Ep10 – Douglas Spafford

Douglas Spafford
@emylou_creative

Ep10.

My guest today on What I Don’t Talk About @ BBQs is professional actor, Douglas Spafford.

He’s had a long and winding journey from Birmingham in the UK through Scotland, the NT, Wagga and now to Sydney and this very day you can find him treading the boards, plying his craft.

During my conversation with Douglas I was reminded of the motto of my high school, St. Clair High in Western Sydney. It was three overlapping C’s, and you know what, I’m not sure if I’d ever committed them to memory then but I certainly can’t remember them now.

Talking to Douglas this logo reappeared in my mind and I found 3 ‘C’ words that really connected to who he is and reflect his own journey.

They are Courage, Confidence, Commitment.

Douglas is in this thing and giving it all he has, and that’s something to be respected and admired.

He’s currently performing as Clotten in The Acting Factory @ Emu Plain’s production of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline which is on until April-7. Entry is by gold coin donation. Find the details here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Acting-Factory-149933181758227/

Without much further ado, let’s raise the curtain on this chat.

Enjoy!

Stay in touch with Douglas, here:

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

 

Ep8 – Frances Chapman

Frances

Ep8.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my guest this week to you, 2018’s Ampersand Prize winner, Frances Chapman.
I’ve had the pleasure to have known Frances for a few years since we first met at a creative writing course @ The Australian Writers Centre in Sydney,
What I admire most about Frances is her work ethic, and make no mistake, she approaches writing like it is a job.
She turns up everyday.
She does the work.
And as a result she’s become an amazing writer of both fiction and non-fiction. All her efforts have culminated in her being awarded The Hardie Grant Egmont Award Ampersand Prize last year for her ‘vibrant’ (their word) debut YA novel, What it Takes.
In our chat today we get stuck right into her journey and her process.
Frances is honest and thoughtful and has all the grit and persistence of someone who’s worked out what it takes to bring her goals and dreams to life.
I can’t express enough how excited I was to get to sit down with Frances to learn more about how she’s become the writer she is.
You’ll love this one.
Check all all that Frances is up to here:

 

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/

What I’m Doing When I’m Doing the Dishes

It’s about the dishes.

But it’s also not about the dishes.

The dishes benefit.

Me, not always so much. Same goes for those around me.

 

There are times when keeping busy, being task-focused and immersing myself in the myth of productivity is all I can do from facing whatever it is I can’t.

(Edit: Whatever it is I haven’t the courage to face)

I might be upset about something.

Chances are I’m caught up in a loop of negative self-talk.

(Edit: I am for sure caught in a web of negative self-talk)

Not every time I’m doing the dishes, though. Sometimes they just need to be done, and not everything fits in the dishwasher.

Let’s take this opportunity to expand the range of what I’m talking about here:

  • General household domestic activities.
  • Putting on washing.
  • Hanging clothes on the line.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Cleaning surface tops.
  • Putting stuff away.

Doing the weekly grocery shop, filling and unpacking the trolley meticulously.

Getting home and putting all my purchases in their proper place, meticulously.

All the while there’s some broken record in my head going over and over and over how hard I have it, how much I have to do, how little appreciation there is for all I do.

It goes on like this and it gets hard to stop.

So, no, I don’t want to talk.

I don’t want to talk because I’m afraid of what I might say.

I’ll snap for sure.

I’ll whinge.

I’ll be all like poor little old me and I hate being like that.

I know my thoughts aren’t rational, aren’t right. But I can’t get my thinking all ironed out inside, so whatever I say it will come out all muddled and I’ll be misunderstood.

Please, just leave me alone.

But don’t leave me alone.

I want to be on my own.

But I need to know you want me around.

Confused?

Join the club.

Somehow this stuff bottlenecks around Friday evenings if I’ve let it get out of control.

I’ve written off whole weekends by my inability to get outside of my own head.

Not so much the last year or two, though I’m prone to the odd afternoon, or maybe even day of intense self-loathing mixed with an overwhelming sense of importance all tied together with feeling completely ignored and unseen as I move about my day to day life.

So, I do the dishes.

I pour my energy and my focus into being productive.

Getting stuff done.

Showing others, no matter how badly I feel, I can still do, still function, still be a man and keep my domain together.

Sometimes, I just do the dishes because they need to be done.

Good luck figuring out which reason is which if you ever catch me elbow deep in suds at a sink!

When the Zombie Hoards Come for Us

I’m not overly obsessed by zombies. I haven’t watched a single episode of The Walking Dead.

I appreciate the importance a film like Night of the living Dead has in the lexicon of the horror genre, though I’m not drawn to watch it over and over again.notld.jpg

I do, though, get a thrill out of is a good end-of-days yarn.

An all-consuming virus.

An out of control contagion.

When apes rise up or, in this case what happens when a swell of zombie hoards climb out of the earth and begin to hunt us, one by one.

And here’s why:

I want to know if I would survive.

Would I make it to the place of sanctuary, a second eden, where we are safe, at least for now, from the clutches of the living dead?

Would I have what it takes to make it?

And in thinking about this it gives me space to contemplate the broader question Do I have what it takes?

Am I a winner or a loser?

Am I a survivor or am I fodder for the mindless, gorging masses?

Am I worthy or unworthy?

Am I special or, you know, not?

Tales of survival fascinate me.

Whether from the zombie apocalypse or as one of the lucky few who followed Gene Hackman to the stern in The Poseidon Adventure.

the-poseidon-adventure-posterWould I align myself with the right people?

Would I make the right decisions under enormous emotional strain?

Would the other survivors see enough value in me not to:

  1. leave me behind
  2. kill me
  3. eat me

I think really what the coming of the zombie hoards represent for me is questions of self-worth, self-acceptance and the yearning to know what I am capable of when all I have to rely on is who I truly am.

As if this this is these scenarios where these values are tested

They are tested every minute of every day.

Each time I step out into the world, each time I interact with someone, each time I am called on to intervene in a situation.

I am questioned. I am tested.

Whether or not I have the infrastructure capable of dealing with the myriad of challenges that come my way is always under the spotlight.

Because while it’s not the zombie hoards breathing down the back of my neck, my own expectations are.

It’s not everyone else judging me, it’s myself.

I want to be tested and not found wanting.

I want to know I’ll make it, that I have what it takes to survive.

Yet I’m leaving validation for this to others, not trusting myself.

This realisation sits heavily on me. I know better than to engage in the tyrannies of what I should do or how I should feel.

I simply must believe all I’ve done to get here and know I have what it takes to keep going.

Whatever the test.

Whatever it takes.

I think we all have it within ourselves.

I’m going to go from here believing I do to.

On Certainty

certainty

I’m never certain.

There’s always another perspective to consider.

Another option to weight up.

There is no black or white, right or wrong, good or bad.

Life is lived in the third way while I struggle to squeeze round pegs into square holes.

I’m seeking security and safety certainty, solid ground to stand on, and all the time drifting in an in-between state where is there no beginning and no ending, no winning and no losing, only the labels I put on the things and the emotions I feel and how they inform me about the experiences I have.

This is where my life is lived.

This is where I rise and fall, stumble and pick myself up.

This is where I laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh and try to work out why.

May I never be certain.

May I always be searching and learning and discovering.

Ep4 – Gabrielle Bates

Gabrielle
Ep4.Thanks for joining me this week for my chat with visual artist, Gabrielle Bates.

This podcast means a lot to me, and I’m grateful that you’re here.

I love to create. Ideas excite me but ideas alone are not enough. They can be like eating a Mars Bar to deal with my hunger when what I really need is a good meal.

This podcast is my good meal.

It’s helping me have the type of meaningful conversations with people I’ve always wanted to have.

Each time I sit down to record with someone I learn something about them, about me and about our world.

I’ve also learned to check the remaining memory on my digital recorder’s SD card!

What moves us?

What events in our lives have led us to where we are today?

What are the stories we tell ourselves that have shaped how we see our place on this planet?

I like to get into it with people and I hope you enjoy the results.

You can follow all that Gabrielle is up to here:

Thanks to:

Podcast homepage – https://widtaabbqs.home.blog/