Saturday, August 1, 2015

Naked Truth

On the 29th August I will be reading, naked, at the QPF. I have to admit I am a little nervous about this. I have a really fraught relationship to my body. On one hand I believe that our narrow cultural views on beauty are really problematic. I truly believe that all bodies are beautiful. All bodies are sexual. All bodies have their own charm. But when it comes to my own body I am still that teenaged girl who stopped eating and dropped from a size 16 to a size 8 over one very lean Christmas holiday period. I remained thin for several years and yet I never thought I was thin. Looking in the mirror I still saw the old me, even when I was transformed. Our brains do that to us. They deceive us. The weight piled back on slowly and now I am back to the same insecure fat girl that I once was.

Last year I participated in the midwinter nude swim in Tasmania. It was incredibly liberating. I felt powerful taking off my clothes in a room full of similarly naked bodies. Everyone was different. There were old women and young girls, paunchy men and skinny men. The man undressing beside me took off his false leg to hop into the water. I stood there naked and proud. This is me, unadorned and there will be no judgements made.

In the adrenaline rush after the rather freezing plunge I vowed to buy a bikini because exposing my body is the single most transgressive act I could perform. I am fat. Very fat. My thighs rub, my breasts sag. I am all cellulite. I am double chinned. I want to love all my generous flesh and yet whenever I am down, insecure, having trouble writing, the first thing I attack is my own body. My head-voice talks to me about my own ugliness. I really struggle to look at myself in the mirror. I went into Myers and David jones and looked at the bikinis several times but I never even took one into the change rooms to try it on.  Clothed and in the city I had lost my nerve.

I loved the rush of running naked with so many varied bodies. I wish I could comfortably stand naked in a crowd under normal circumstances, but unfortunately I have been brainwashed by every movie I have ever seen, every add that has shouted at me from a billboard or out of the pages of a magazine. The media tells me I am a freak. No one like me deserves to be photographed is what the magazine models tell me.  I struggle to maintain my confidence in my own beauty. I would prefer invisibility to walking around in my own flesh.

I agreed to read poetry naked as a kind of protest. I really want to be proud of my body. I really want to be able to show my thick flesh to the world and stand up and say, this is beautiful. I am beautiful. But as the days creep towards the 29th I find I am nervous, frightened, full of insecurities. I wish I had started exercising, dieting, dropping the kilos months and months ago.

I didn't. I have spent the year promoting two books and dieting fell by the wayside. The people who come to see me will see me as I am, unfit but healthy, pasty-white, gone to seed, fleshful.

I am sure that on the night the adrenaline will kick in yet again. I am sure I will emerge from that room feeling powerful, feeling like I have achieved something life-changing by standing up naked in front of a crowd. Reading my work without artifice. Me and the words. Here we are. Take us as we come.

Still, I am looking forward to the 30th August when I feel happy to have been naked without the terror of a naked reading looming in my near future. Till then I will spend the month struggling with my self-esteem, worrying about my looks, trying to come to terms with who I am.  I suspect this is a struggle that most of us have every day when we face the mirror naked, put on clothes and walk out into the world. I am going to read poetry naked because I know you struggle to feel beautiful too. I think you are all beautiful. When I stand up unhidden I am standing up for every woman who reached for a diet book or refused desert. I am standing up for all those young women who starve themselves and the others who feel terrible whenever they see a photograph of themselves posted on Facebook. I am standing naked because even if I can't convince myself to really believe it, I am beautiful. We are beautiful and sexy too. All of us. You and me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Festival time

Hi everyone.

I am about to hit the ground running with events and workshops and I thought I should let you all know where I will be and when in case you want to come along and join me.

Saturday August 1st : Beetween the Sheets full day workshop 9.30-3.30 at the Beerwah Library, 25 Peachester St, Beerwah

Tuesday August 4th 6.30pm : Mary Ryan's New Farm book club where I all be talking about Eating My Grandmother, my newly released poetry book.

Thursday August 6th 1.30-3.30: Writing Your Novel in a Year half day workshop Byron Bay Writers Festival

Friday 7th August 12.00 - 12.45 : In Conversation with David Vann at Byron Bay Writers Festival

Friday 7th August 4.15-5.00  Poetry Inspiration or Perspiration at Byron Bay Writers Festival

Saturday 8th August 4.00-5.00 Dangerously Poetic prize awards and reading from Eating My Grandmother at Byron Bay Writers Festival, Lone Goat Gallery at Byron Bay Library, Lawson Street

Saturday 8th August 7.30-10pm Byron Theatre Jonson Street: Liner Notes: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours at Byron Bay Writer's Festival.

Sunday 9th August 12.15-1pm: Grief and Creativity Byron Bay Writer's Festival

Sunday 9th August 2.15 - 3pm: Romance, Escapism or Relationship Hotline at Byron Bay Writers Festival

Sunday 23rd August 10am: Morning Read at Melbourne Writers Festival

Sunday 23rd August 1-2pm: Classified - Lit VS Genre at Melbourne Writers Festival

Sunday 23rd August 4-5pm: Dubious Consent at Melbourne Writers Festival

Monday 24th August 6pm: In conversation with S. J. Watson @ Avid Reader Bookshop

Saturday 29th August 3pm: LAUNCH Eating My Grandmother at the Judith Wright Centre Brisbane for Qld Poetry Festival

Saturday 29th August 8pm: Reading naked from Holly White at the Judith Wright Centre for Qld Poetry Festival  (NUDE UP! SERIOUSLY NAKED POETS)

Sunday 30th August 12 midday: Short Form Bookclub at Judith Wright Centre for Qld Poetry Festival

Tuesday September 1st 7pm: Avid Reader Australian Bookclub will be discussing Eating My Grandmother with me

Saturday September 5th 1pm: Sexy Times at Brisbane Writers Festival

Saturday September 5th 8pm: Letter to my Older Self - Brisbane Writers Festival

Sunday September 6th 10am: Home Grown Heroes - Brisbane Writers Festival

Sunday September 6th 2.45: Re(a)d Box Reading - Brisbane Writers Festival

Wednesday October 7th 7pm: Avid Reader's Open Bookclub will discuss Eating My Grandmother with me.

Thursday October 8th 9.30am: Avid Reader's Daylight Bookclub will discuss Eating My Grandmother.

...after which I will be having a little lie down.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Do books live in particular places?

I am trying to slowly refocus on my manuscript. It is a rough sketchy first draft of a thing. I finished it last year. It was hard to write and particularly unpleasant even as manuscripts go (and they are so often unpleasant). I wrote it down in Tasmania, in a poet's shack on the water in a place called Southport. The southernmost pub in Australia is in Southport.

I have printed this draft out and had it spiral bound. I intend to read it right through and see where I am with it. Only problem is I am finding it difficult to focus on the book. I keep wanting to go back to Tasmania. I keep wanting to walk out of my door and onto the frosty sand.

I long for Tasmania like you might long for a family member who is away. After a few weeks of feeling this longing, I am beginning to think that my absent family member is the manuscript alone. Perhaps this book didn't travel back to Queensland with me. Perhaps this book is still living in Tasmania. What if I can only settle into it if I go back to that shack in Southport?

These are irrational thoughts, but maybe there is something to it. Maybe something of a place you are working in infuses itself in the work itself. Maybe certain books can only be written in certain places.  I would be interested to hear if other writers feel the same way about this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Women's Erotica

On radio last night I was asked if there was a stigma about writing erotic fiction.  I gave an answer but I am very uncomfortable about it and need to think this through.

My answer was yes. I said that there is a term that is used; women's erotica which marginalises erotic writers as something that is just for women. I went on to say that it used to be a boys club of erotic writers and that it was only the intellectuals who were often male who wrote it and published it and distributed it in small print runs in an underground way.

My discomfort comes from the idea that erotic writing for and by women is somehow less than that kabal of male writers who used to be the kings of the form. This idea must be snuffed out. Firstly the idea that eros is a lesser form is insane. Erotic writing is such a powerful form - so powerful that it is often banned.  Erotic writing is also a form that can and should be enjoyed by any gender.  Just because you don't have a vagina does not mean you can't read work that describes vaginas. In fact doesn't it make vagina-centric work all the more titillating if you don't have one? You get to glimpse an area of life that you have little working knowledge of. Female arousal is something that many people have only a passing knowledge of. Even many females do not understand or even experience it. Why should 'women's erotica' be a term that lessens a work?

I don't use the term because it is often used to single out more escapist works and books that focus on romantic eros.  I am not really that interested in romance. I like my sex separated from romantic entanglements for the most part. I like my sex pure.

Still I am both uncomfortable with the term 'women's erotica' and also uncomfortable with my discomfort about the term.  Women's erotica should be a term that refers to some powerful, transgressive, challenging and smart writing. At this moment in our history it is used to differentiate erotic writing that tickles rather than punches.  I prefer a full force punch of sexual pleasure that challenges the status quo. I wish that was a form that we called women's erotica but alas it is not.   Please feel free to continue this conversation with me. I would love your thoughts.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Upcoming events

Taking a deep breath before plunging in to the promotion of The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine. Right around Australia I will be hanging around, banging on about erotic literature and the power of sex. Please join me along the way.

Thursday 30th April Avid Reader Bookshop - In Conversation with John Birmingham at the launch of Holly White

Monday 4th May Better Read than Dead - In Conversation with Benjamin Law at the Sydney launch of Holly White!product/prd15/3793180691/book-launch%3A-krissy-kneen-with-benjamin-law

Thursday 7th May Riverbend Bookshop - A conversation with Ashley Hay about the importance of erotic fiction

Thursday 14th May Readings Carlton - In conversation with Christos Tsiolkas at the Melbourne Launch of Holly White

Thursday 21st May  Sydney Writers Festival Quickies and Corsets with Lee Koffman, Marie-Morgan Le Moel and chair Jane Caro,com_events/Itemid,124/agid,4520/task,view_detail/

Friday 22nd May Sydney Writers Festival Secrets from the Bookshop with Evie Wyld and Brook Davis.,com_events/Itemid,124/agid,4508/task,view_detail/

Saturday 23rd May Sydney Writers Festival Writers on Writers: Musings in the City with Amit Chaudhuri and Patti Miller,com_events/Itemid,124/agid,4508/task,view_detail/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book Trailer

Sure, it is not exactly safe to play this book trailer at full volume in most workplaces but as I am working in my pyjamas in my lounge room I am happy to crank it up.  Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I already get a bit of traffic from people seating for DIY vibrators or true sex stories but I am so looking forward to claiming a few new key word search terms when my book The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine hits the shelves.

Here. I'll add some in for you.

Sex Machines
Wilhelm Reich
Orgone energy
ORAC (The acronym for Reich's Orgone Energy Accumulator and also the computer from Blakes 7.  Coincidence? I think not)
Sexual UFOs
Blue glowing vagina.
Eye in the arse.
secret pornography
atomic orgy

So many many more. If you find this intriguing, here is a link to a preview to my book which will be released on April 22nd.