30 x 1 minute pieces = 3 hours

…only adds up with much schmoozing and boozing, and Small Room’s A Bridge for Short Attention Spans had plenty of that. It also had plenty of zines and literary magazines on sale, raffle prizes, and free Small Room Issue Ones at the door.

I bought a copy of Ampersand (which I’ll be reviewing soonish), and won a copy of Tristan Clark’s Stick This in Your Memory Hole (Aduki Press). Someone also handed me Windmills, a Deakin uni zine, and ‘Red Den Beauty’ was ftw*; I managed to recite without forgetting/stumbling over/slurring my lines, though standing on a soap box is intimidating when one is in heels, the audience is visible, and there’s no A4 sheet to hide behind.

The rest of the night was readings, readings, readings. One minute was very little time to impress upon an audience, and pieces that succeeded were usually humourous and or well-performed. I say ‘well-performed’ because there was a difference between those who read their writing and those who engaged with both writing and audience. Allison Browning’s piece was not funny at all and rather late in the night, but her acting background helped her work every word.

Thanks to Bryan Whalen for organising a jam-packed**, super fun night. Hopefully we’ll be seeing Small Room No. Two some time soon.

*Red wine, however, was fail; I got red wine down the front of my shirt and had to liberally dab myself with white wine to erase the evidence.

**Why is it packed with jam? This is the weirdest phrase ever.

Advertisements

March 11: What’s happening, Melbourne?

What’s happening? Everything apparently.

Wednesday’s a big day with a book launch, a spoken word night, and a literary magazine event running concurrently. Affirm Press is launching Chris Parkinson’s Peace of Wall: Street Art from East Timor*, Sean M. Whelan’s Babble will have special guests Allison Browning and Anthony O’Sullivan, and RMIT’s Visible Ink is running a fundraiser gig with a mini-market and bands like East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Future Happiness and Owl+Moth.

On Thursday, 13 May, Willow Tales will be catering for the Northsiders and Storytelling, the Southsiders. There will also be the quasi-political intellectual discussion, The Great Firewall of China: Kaiser Kuo on Chinese Internet, Censorship and the West,  happening earlier in the evening at the Wheeler Centre.

rally for same-sex marriage rights is on at the front of the State Library on Saturday. Also, Small Room’s Bryan Whalen has organised a lit journal and art magazine schmooze-fest, A Bridge for Short Attention Spans, at the Brunswick Street Gallery. I’ll be performing alongside folk like Josephine Rowe, Emmett Stinson and Sean M Whelan. It’s gonna be fun in a queasy, butterflies in my stomach kind of way.

Oh, and for those of you who missed out on the Williamstown Literary Festival, you’ll be pleased to know that Duncan Felton is posting about the panels that he went to. His Let’s be frankie post is much more detailed than mine, so it’s worth checking out.

*Correction: Okay, that event was scheduled for Tuesday 11 March. Mega-fail. (Damn, I missed out.)

Review: Small Room Issue One

Here I am, sitting in the car with the engine off and a poster draped over the steering wheel. I’m trying to utilise my time better, you see? It wasn’t a new year’s resolution but a necessity: too many hours wasted at work, getting paid to do nothing, too chicken to blog or go on Facebook. The poster stares back at me: scores of pickled Voldemort heads in a sea of waves. Lakes of text. The font is small, the lines are treacherous; I skate over them and sometimes slip into a different story. This poster magazine is for Art (with a capital ‘A’) and writing. I admire the gnat-sized fiction of Laura Middlebrook —’#1′ is repetitiously yellow and ‘#3’ is a muffled love-guilt—and Daniel Walker but am unmoved by the Patrick Lenton, a leviathan in comparison; I fear that such larger creatures of work cannot survive the manufactured rivers of text, which have orphaned more than just words and phrases, until Chris Somerville’s quiet violence in ‘Most Brilliant White Light’ sustains me the whole way down the page, and everything’s okay again.

For more on Small Room, visit their website here. To win a copy of Small Room’s Issue One, write me up a Strip Scrabble rule here before January 31st.

You will submit to Small Room

 

Image courtesy of smallroom.com.au

Launching its first issue next week at Avid Reader in Brisbane, Small Room is proof that things do get published outside of Melbourne. (Thank dog!) Content will be from writers I heart like Josephine Rowe, Christopher Currie, and Chris Somerville, and will be presented on a fold-up poster.

Yep, Small Room is resurrecting the poster format that was the trademark of Is Not Magazine, a now defunct Melbourne institution (may it rest in peace). According to Small Room editor Bryan Whalen, the Gold Coast team independently came up with the idea; once they realised it had been done before, they caught up with Is Not’s Penny Modra for an interstate exchange. ‘Turns out the projects are similar, but different,’ Bryan explained. ‘Both poster mags, just different ways of going about distribution, folding, execution.’

Out to prove that big is not always better, Small Room publishes small fiction, poetry, and art: fiction under 1000 words, poetry under 1000 stanzas*, and artwork under 100 dpi. I had submitted one of my shorter pieces, and got promptly rejected, but turned the rejection into an information-gathering exercise. I sent the magazine questions like ‘Hey, why do you not like my work?’ and ‘How can you not see the beautiful genius of my words…?’ No, I didn’t ask anything obnoxious like that, but I did ask what they were looking for and whether there were any other literary journals that they dug. 

Bryan sent me a lengthy reply:

…we’re not really a literary journal. We never want to be a journal. We like being a poster. Art is integral to Small Room, as is literature. Thus, each issue will have a new guest designer who, after receiving the stories, will design the issue with in any medium they choose (as long as it remains poster sized). 

He gave a detailed explanation of the selection process. Three editors go through the submissions pile, then ‘Maybes’ are sent out to a circle of acquaintances for extra feedback. 

I suppose what we’re looking for is what we believe is “quality writing;” however, “quality” is obviously subjective. What makes good writing? I’m not certain. Every argument I could put forth, I could just as easily argue against. Perhaps good writing is rife with paradox. I have no idea…

So, what did SR hope to achieve? 

Small Room would like to expose up-and-coming writers to the masses, while also featuring respected talents. Issue One will be sold in art galleries, bookshops and coffee bistros around Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay. We’d like to grow into Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and overseas, but this takes time. Small Room will always be a poster, because the format can vary: eventually we’ll play with themes, folds, designs, etc. Also, we’d like to remain relatively inexpensive, so as to get more posters into more hands.

The next submission deadline will be late March 2010—plenty of time to nab a copy of the first issue, read it, and create an appropriate submission, unless you’re lit-journal rich and reading-time poor like me. Ergh.

*Hang on, that’s not small at all. Crazy kids.