Meet the Author: Lucy Desoto

LUCY’S TOP WRITING TIP:  Always maintain back-up copies on a separate hard drive. Give your editor’s advice due consideration and defer to them. Enjoy what you write by pursuing your ideas like a lover pursuing the beloved and if you lose your passion for your subject, refresh the romance by taking a break, a temporary separation while you spend enough time elsewhere forgetting the reasons why you’re bored, irritated or otherwise over it. Above all, respect yourself by honouring your muse. Check out her website at

Lucy Desoto was raised in Sydney’s Western suburbs in the 1960s and ’70s and graduated with the Higher School Certificate in 1977 from Sydney’s Fort Street High School. After suspending studies for a Bachelor of Arts in 1979, she went on to become went on to become the editor of the Sydney University Union Recorder while writing songs and playing in inner city pubs in The Living Daylights, her first band. Inspired by the song, Lucy took a walk on the wild side, playing the blues and rock music in bands with various line-ups around the country throughout the 1980s and throughout her life so far. Lucy returned to Sydney University in 1997 and graduated with a first class honours degree in Media Arts in 2000. In 2002, she was awarded a Commonwealth stipend to undertake a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her doctoral thesis focused on the modes and influence of unofficial cultural practice in Australian history. In 2007 the production component of her doctoral work, a documentary film titled, Rock ’n’ Roll Outlaw, was invited to screen at The Melbourne International Film Festival to wide acclaim. The film was dedicated to her partner of 22 years, an Australian rock musician of renown, the late Pete Wells who died in 2006. Lucy  with her band, The Handsome Devils continued to play in inner city bars and pubs in Sydney until her decision to re-locate to Alice Springs in 2013, where she wrote the book Australia Rocks, her first commercially published work.


Why do you write? Like a composer or any artist, for me the creative process gives life its meaning and like a mountaineer or a marathon runner, I enjoy the challenge. Writing is an immersive experience, so I think, like most people who write, you have to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own company so you can get to that place where you’re just working in the moment, forgetting the time and just spinning a yarn for yourself, and maybe to share with others.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I don’t know what I’d be doing otherwise. Maybe I’d be a statistic in a mental health ward. There’s an old Zen Buddhist saying, goes something like “fetching water, chopping wood”. To me it doesn’t matter what you’re doing – whether it’s writing or serving in a bar or washing cars or traveling the world in a rock band, the simple things in life are the main things to be doing well and the rest will follow – basic self-respect, care for others, cook, clean, work, play, sleep…enlightenment.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Time. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I spent a lot of time researching and writing material that was never published, but if you have the capacity for working without an eye on any particular outcome, and a willingness to develop the virtue of patience, then while you use your obstacle to write, then your toughest obstacle to becoming published passes of itself.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Deep listening. Australian Indigenous writer Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann speaks of deep listening as a way of being that is similar to a state of contemplation. In her language, the term is “dadirri”. From what I understand, that’s a big part of human perception, the way to wholeness, and through being able to listen deeply to the silence within, you can gain access to a kind of gateway to soulfulness. That’s where you can begin to listen to your muse. As an adult, that essentially is the best, most comfortable and rewarding place to be, but that’s just me.

—the worst? Poverty. Living below the breadline is no fun, and being forced to do time working for a pittance is hard on your mental health. Australian writers and artists are among the least valued in the world. It’s a disgrace, but these days it’s part of the national agenda. Being a true Australian means you’ll cast your vote for living in an economy rather than a society. Now more than ever we’re encouraged to celebrate and support a lack of imagination, narrow-mindedness and shallow voracity as a matter of national policy and pride. Corporate culture is pitiless infection.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’m not sure I understand this question because I could be wrong but I think the assumption is that there’s something in particular that I could do in the past, and that would adjust things so that the present would be different, and not just different, but better. If I were starting out as a writer now, how would I benefit from hindsight by doing something differently? And my answer to that is, the whole process is so organic that if you did something differently it would all be different – not necessarily better, but not the same as it is. I don’t think I’d do anything differently because it is what it is.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I wish someone had told me a beautiful secret, full of rich insights and practical advice that I could simply adopt as a way of life that would make everything feel like an effortless ecstatic dream, while in reality I became healthier, wealthier and wiser with each passing day. I didn’t really set out to become an author, to be honest. I enjoy writing and I enjoy the research process but I didn’t give a thought to ‘becoming an author’. I just followed the shape of the book project as it emerged from day to day and now there’s a lovely book that I wrote, and I’m very happy I did it, because it seems a lot of people are very pleased with the result.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Life is mainly froth and bubble/Two things stand like stone.

Kindness in another’s trouble/Courage in your own.”

These are the words my father would often recite in a philosophical tone and never with any sense of irony, and with such regularity that they’ve stuck to me like a tattoo on my memory. They were written by the Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon sometime in the 1850s and come from his poem “Ye Wearie Wayfarer”.  I think my grandfather passed the words down to my father, and they’ve now become a familiar part of the family conversation – like an old saying.


australia-rocks  Australia Rocks,

Remembering the Music of the 1950s to 1990s

by Lucy Desoto


Australian rock music has a rich history of performers and bands that have created not just the soundtrack for Australian lives but have also shaped the international music scene. In the early days of the 1950s and ‘60s, Australian rock saw performers like Johnny O’Keefe and The Easybeats. The 1970s saw Cold Chisel and AC/DC, among others, performing to packed halls locally. AC/DC turned this into international success, blasting through three decades of touring and performing. However, it was only in the 1980s and 1990s that Australian rock truly made its mark on the international stage with iconic bands such as Men at Work, Midnight Oil and INXS. Australia Rocks brings the bands and the times to life through unique photographs and evocative text. Written by a rock musician, it also goes beyond the ‘big names’ to highlight the many independent, often lesser-known performers who played such an integral part in shaping the industry, and shines a light on how rock music was not only influenced by global events (the Vietnam War, for example) but also formed part of enormous cultural shifts (the Swinging Sixties, the protest movement, etc.).

From the demure dance halls of the 1950s to the smoke-filled pubs of the 1970s and the packed concerts of the 1990s and beyond, Australia Rocks will have music lovers dusting off their vinyl collection and remembering the good times.

Available now from







Meet the Author: Marina J

Marina J’s top tip for aspiring authors: Write lots.  I’ve been writing a regular blog since 2008, and when I look back at them I smile, mostly in shock, because I write so differently now. Also I don’t write in different coloured paragraphs anymore, which I slightly miss.

img_6712-marinajMarina J teaches women one of the most important skills of all: How to get your fabulous back after upset with him, with her, or with life in general – because your happiness is everything. A relationship expert, best selling author and speaker, she has helped thousands of women around the world live the life they always knew they were meant to be in. She loves to write regularly as a contributor to magazines, newspapers and websites and has been known to do the odd interview on TV and radio. She is married to the love of her life and lives with their daughter by the beach near Sydney. She can be found at


Why do you write? To reach you, sitting like you are right now, wondering how you’re going to get “there”, because I know how determined you are to get “there” and so that’s why I write. Because I want you “there” already too! And I know how to get you there.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? What I’m doing right now – which is helping women turn their power on and get their fabulous BACK after upset with him, with her or with life in general – because life can get a bit bumpy along the way. I coach women around the world and have been for more than a decade.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a decent publisher. Nine days after we launched I walked away from my publisher via a fabulous lawyer.  I wouldn’t be the author of Turn Yourself On if I didn’t stand up for myself. It’s so important to have good people surrounding your book and unfortunately in the beginning, I didn’t.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I actually don’t like being a writer (see below!)

—the worst? Being stuck in a room by myself writing!  Now I’m lovely, don’t get me wrong – but I’m more of a speaker actually. So I’ve written my book as if I’m sitting next to you, which helps me feel that I’m in the room with you when I write, so I don’t get too forlorn.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d self publish right off the bat.  Unless I found a publisher brave enough to keep the energy and tone of my book so as not to make yet another homogenous book (it happens more than you realise) and, who would and could, allot me good PR.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That I didn’t need a publisher; I reached #1 on the Amazon best seller list in the UK and USA without them.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? That when you first write something down, sometimes it will be ‘bang on’. Other times, it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Know then that it’s simply a draft and for most of what you write it will go through several drafts (or many!) as you hone your message. This stops you from beating yourself up and lets the real you come out and play. My film director friend told me this is normal for every script he writes or has seen and as such took a huge weight off my shoulders.


turnyourselfonWhether you’re down in the dumps after a relationship break up, feeling insecure with where you are in life, or just craving a drastic change, it can be difficult to put the wheels in motion.
Turn Yourself On is a practical guide to turning your life around.
A #1 Amazon best-seller in just three hours, Turn Yourself On is the ultimate guide to getting your happiness mojo back after upset with him, her, or just life in general. In the book Marina J shows readers how to:

  • turn on your confidence, sensuality & self-love
  • stop self-sabotaging your own success
  • heal the deep hurt caused by relationship breakdowns
  • get better at asking for (and getting) what you want
  • feel secure with yourself, and learn to put you first
  • become the positive change you need

Filled with relatable examples, practical tools and techniques, Turn Yourself On is an empowering read to help you live with greater happiness. This is your best friend and handbook for life.

Sales site:

Meet the Author: JR Poulter

JR’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read what you write aloud to yourself or to another person whose opinion you respect and who respects you.  You’ll pick up breaks in flow, narrative gaps or inconsistencies better, and see more clearly where to build on or delete, character development  points, mood builders, scene setters etc that way more effectively.

Muza Ulasowski and JR Poulter with a selection of Word Wings picture books.

JR Poulter once worked in a circus. This definitely qualifies her to write for children! She has been published in Australia, UK and USA, having more than 30 children’s and education books with mainstream publishers, has won major awards, including Children’s Choice, New Zealand, as well as digital editions in UK, Europe and USA. More books are due for release shortly. J.R. loves teaching children the fun to be had with words whether in poetry or prose and doing  dramatised book readings.  She created a picture book in collaboration with Craig Smith, for an enthusiastic, participatory  audience for the Lockyer Festival. She writes novels [including YA], award-winning literary poetry, short stories  and creates photography and artwork under JR McRae. Her greatest adventure, under both writing names, consists of global collaborations with more than 50 illustrators, book designers and translators across 22 countries.




Why do you write? It’s a lifelong habit – too late to break now, besides I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t. The girl can’t help it! Poetry and prose have always fascinated me. I read anything I could get my hands on. If there were no books, I read the dictionary!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Mmmmm – a full-time artist/photographer perhaps; maybe an actress, jeweller, sculptor – something creative.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? The cost of posting off manuscripts when we had a literal handful of kids to feed, clothe etc etc.  This dates me…. I started writing in the days before  publishers would let you email submissions!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The joy of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and seeing what emerges – I love discovering the tale as it happens, discovering what’s next for this character, this situation… and collaborating, I love collaborating with illustrators and book designers because this adds another whole world of creativity to a plain text – it adds a universe to it!

An illustrator takes a hold of your story and they see the story’s universe. If the story family is sitting at the kitchen table, the illustrator will be the unseen guest, wandering round the kitchen, looking out the back window to see what’s there – paddock, distant mountains, back alley, neighbour’s fence – they’ll amble upstairs and look out the bedroom window to see what’s up the street; they’ll go downstairs and explore the yard, get to know the pets etc etc etc

—the worst? The editing, the databases to be filled in, the whole marketing and promo thing…

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’m not sure … if you have the time and money, you can hobnob at all the international conferences, launches and social goings on but then that robs you of the essential ‘stand and stare’ precursor to writing time doesn’t it.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I can’t say I ever set out to be an author, it was as unavoidable as growing up is inevitable. Writing from as early as I can remember, I didn’t have family support. Their focus was on sport. My mother didn’t like what I wrote but her discouraging comments didn’t work. It had the opposite effect, so I’m kind of glad I had that ‘reverse’ motivation!

What to beware of: The fine print!

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write, write, write then write some more – never let a day slip by without writing!


Word Wings Publishing consists of the creative energies of more than 50 amazingly talented folk in more than 20 countries doing what they do best – creating beautiful illustrated books! Word Wings believes words are the wings that give imagination flight, that allow us to soar into the realms where dreams become possibilities, and possibilities become realities. This, essentially, is education – the opening of eyes to see and seize opportunities. Words entertain, liberate and educate and images give to words vivid visual impetus. As head of Word Wings, J.R. brings years of experience as a senior educator, reviewer, librarian and associate lecturer in English expression. She writes all the teacher notes and activity sheets to accompany the books.


Publishing website: under construction




Meet the Author: Patrick Holland

Patrick’s top tip for aspiring authors: Write about the first time you really hurt someone. That will knock the conviction that you’re a wonderful misunderstood genius out of you. Then you’ll be on your way.


patrick-holland300-image-581x445Patrick Holland is the award-winning author of The Source of the Sound, The Mary Smokes Boys, Riding the Trains in Japan and The Darkest Little Room. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Find out more at:



Why do you write? I think if you boiled it back to its essence, the answer would be because there is something healing – restorative – about the creative act. With luck and discipline, you can discover beauty and order in chaos.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I would be a farmer and a composer. I still aim to become a composer one day. I’ve composed a few little pieces. And I’d have land and run cattle. Or else I’d be a hairdresser. All the girls at my hairdresser’s seem to have a wonderful, carefree life day to day.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? To be honest I never had any difficulty. The first few things I sent out were recognised by prizes and were published by default. The difficulty isn’t getting published, it’s making your work really worthwhile. Emerging authors being so focused as they are on publication baffles me – with that focus you’re almost certain to become a creature of the market. And the novelty of seeing your name in print will quickly wear off. Write what you most want to read. Then try to shape it even more to your own desires. None of us are all that unique, you’ll still find an audience, and you’ll have your authenticity intact.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? That I get to use my imagination daily, always trying to discover something more strange and beautiful and true than yesterday.

—the worst? The many years of watching your friends buy new cars, houses etc, while you, in the world’s terms, languish.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Pay less attention to what other people thought I was doing, and more about what I thought.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I’m glad I was never told the truth. If a writer truly knew how hard it was going to be at the outset, I doubt they’d start.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Hemingway’s from the intro the The First Forty-Nine Stories

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.

Writing isn’t violin playing or calculus. You can’t just practice and study and get good at it. You need first hand experiences of life, and the more, and more varied, the better for a writer.



Patrick Holland

The last bushrangers in Australian history, James and Patrick Kenniff, were at the height at their horse thieving operation at the turn of the 20th century. In One, troops cannot pull the Kenniff Gang out of the ranges and plains of Western Queensland – the brothers know the
terrain too well, and the locals are sympathetic to their escapades. When a policeman and a station manager go out on patrol from tiny Upper Warrego Station and disappear, Sergeant Nixon makes it his mission to pursue the gang, especially, Jim Kenniff, who becomes for him
an emblem of the violence that resides in the heart of the country.

It asks what right one man has to impose his will on another, and whether the written law can ever answer the law of the heart.

One is available here.




Meet the Author/illustrator: Lance Balchin

New happy Lance

Lance’s top creative tip: Experience is everything! I have tried to do as much as possible in this life, experience as wide a slice of this world as I can. Everything you do and every conversation you have will form part of the worlds that you create in your writing.

Lance Balchin studied photography at the University of Tasmania and went on to complete a Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. Lance has worked as a head chef, co-owned a media production company, worked in fashion photography and fine art portraiture, and taught adult photography and film making. Lance was mentored by many of the original pioneers of the emerging Melbourne gonzo arts scene. The influences of Tom Waits, George Orwell, Patti Smith and Bukowski have always led his writing and image making. Lance is based in Brisbane.


Why do you write? I think that I write, illustrate and take photographs for the same reason; to communicate the way in which I see the world around me to others. The visual arts and literature are ways of performing to an audience and I love the idea that that audience could be anywhere and that my illustrative and written performance might move them and create an invisible connection between me and them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d work in community law. I finished a law degree at the same time as getting the first publishing deal with Five Mile Press and have been too busy working on the Mechanica series to take it any further. I’d only be interested in working within my community to help people to whom the legal system offers little chance of substantive justice. I grew up in the working class suburb of Collingwood in the late ’70s and saw the importance of community action and support organisations.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Realising that what I had was a book. I’d finished a dozen illustrations and was thinking about exhibiting them in a gallery but then realised I could build a narrative around them. I was very lucky to find Karen Tayleur at Five Mile who has supported and helped develop the concept ever since.

How involved have you been in the development of your book? I have done all the illustrations and writing for the books. The team at Five Mile helped polish the graphic design. I’ve also developed a range of video and online content to help support the books.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? At the moment it is the ability to work seven days a week on the books. I love getting up ridiculously early (at 2am) and working through the morning. The best thing about my writing life is the writing I suppose; love the process.

—the worst? Honestly, nothing. I love what I do and getting the chance to do it leaves me no room to complain about any aspect of my writing and illustration life.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Nothing. I would do exactly what I have done up until now. Writing for me came at the right time. Finishing law gave me the discipline to tackle longer projects and my background in the visual arts gave me a way of making images that would get my book noticed. I think all the elements that have gone into making Mechanica were the product of 46 years and couldn’t have come earlier.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? It’s all so new to me still so I can’t say I know enough to want to change anything. As a children’s author I’m competing with an exciting and engaging world of digital entertainment, I knew that when I decided to put he book together. While it is hard to get many children to put down their iPad to read a book, I think that authors can still produce books that cut through all the noise to create worlds that children love to explore. I hope I’m doing that with the Mechanica series.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? There’s a song called ‘Work‘ by John Cale and Lou Reed that is about Andy Warhol. “It’s work, the most important thing is work…’ For me creating anything involves work – thousands and thousands of hours of work; most of which goes nowhere. You just have to keep going and write, illustrate or photograph something every day to progress forward.




Lance Balchin


At the end of the 22nd century, the environment has collapsed, species have become extinct and the land can no longer support nature…
Drone armies, engineered by humans, have fought one another across the east and west, but during these battles, many became damaged and lost contact with their handlers.
In an effort to overcome the species loss, robotics designers created Mechapets, complex robots that were crafted to resemble Earth’s lost but most exquisite insects and birds. The Mechapets were kept in sanctuaries and zoos for the public to enjoy, but it wasn’t long before some of the insects and birds escaped and began colonising lands, where they encountered some of the lost military drones.
The Mechapets, now known as Mechanica evolved at a startling rate, increasingly becoming dangerous hunting machines. Battles were fought against the ruthless species of Mechanica, who threatened human existence.
Protagonist Liberty Crisp has grown up surrounded by Mechanica. She has intimate knowledge of these robots, having learned about them from her parents, both scientists, and being taught by expert, Reginald P. Prescott. However, when the Steel Wall Defence System collapses on Saraswati, Liberty’s island home, it’s up to her to save its human inhabitants from almost certain destruction by the Mechanica.
Mechanica is a dystopian tale for our times, appealing to us to live more sustainably and with a greater appreciation for our precious resources.

It is available from

And here’s the link to the trailer…


Meet the Illustrator: Heather Charlton

I’m delighted today to introduce one of my fellow Wild Eyed Press picture book creators, Heather Charlton.

I asked Heather to tell me a little about herself…

!cid_57BE901D-63AC-47B7-91EC-F6A58CE4DC5B@homeA long time ago my father found me struggling to begin a primary school art construction project. To encourage a bit of resourcefulness he said: “Make something out of nothing and you will be all right.” His words motivated me to find a different way to make things work, and while I successfully completed the construction, I did not follow my father’s footsteps into an engineering career. Instead, I eventually undertook studies in fine art and have since enjoyed a creative journey in both business and pleasure.
Among various endeavours including raising my family,  part of my work life involved running my own floristry business, a commercial art studio and  more recently the management of a remote Indigenous Art Centre.
I enjoy the art-making process.  Ideas  for projects come from everywhere, and I scribble thoughts down quickly.  I have written and illustrated several stories for children, have one picture book published and other works are in progress.
Now, so many years later, my father’s words stay with me and I’m still making something  out of ‘nothing’ to bring ideas to life. And I’m still all right.

Find out more about Heather on her website



What’s the best aspect of your artistic life? Having the opportunity to spend time working with something I enjoy, and seeing the creative process through to becoming an actual product.
How do you approach an illustration project? If the work is a book, I read the manuscript several times to get the feel of the story. If necessary I research the subject matter/characters, then read again. I make  small quick sketches as ideas emerge as some of these may be useful later.  When working on a book, I rarely make illustrations in order,  often choosing the simpler ones first  as a ‘warm up’.  As the first and last pages are cornerstones to a picture book  I  like to leave them until most of the other works are complete.
What are you working on at the moment? I am  making preliminary drawings which will become paintings for a new children’s picture book.
Are there any areas of art that you still find challenging? Making art can be both exciting and challenging, but I find experimenting with use of  new media is sometimes outside the comfort zone.  This is good however, as trying new tools can produce surprising outcomes.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a publisher
What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator? I am interested in many forms of creative pursuit, however ideally I would be sitting on a beach somewhere above the 26th parallel with pen in hand as my best-selling story unfolds, while a long line of publishers queue in the dunes.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an illustrator? To join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Challenge yourself and keep trying .  If it doesn’t work the first time, take a break then try to look at the problem from a new angle.
What’s your top tip for aspiring illustrators? Buy the cookbook – ‘A hundred and one ways with mince’.


Wild-Eyed-Press_Mama-and-Hug_030416_front-coverMama and Hug

Written by Aleesah Darlison

Illustrated by Heather Charlton

Published by Wild Eyed Press, 2016

When Hug first climbs out of his mother’s pouch it is spring, deep in the Australian bush. The trees are in blossom and new green growth is everywhere. As Hug grows, the season changes to the sharp dry crackle of summer. One day danger comes to the bush and Mama must flee to protect her baby, Hug. Aleesah Darlison’s tender story of a koala and her joey is delicately illustrated by Heather Charlton. Buy the book here.


Meet the Poet & Speaker: Matt Jackson

Matt’s top tip for authors? Protect the time you set aside for writing with your life. It is so easy to prioritise perceived obligations and the tasks you believe you should be doing ahead of writing because there are times when writing feels like a frivolous activity. Especially when you aren’t happy with what you are writing and when it isn’t being read. However, if I am not writing I don’t feel like I am living the way I want to. I lose my verve. And a life without verve isn’t worth living. So do whatever you need to in order to protect that time you set aside for writing. Let the people close to you know why it is important and put the time in your diary to write before you put anything else in there.

Matt presenting 1Sydney-based Matt Jackson is the founder of Affectors, a TEDx speaker, poet, and sought-after business coach who works with national and global clients. Matt graduated from Melbourne University with BAs in Arts and Commerce and has worked diversely, including in advertising where he translated creative concepts for business people and business concepts for creative people. Now as a poet and speaker he performs to international business, scientific, medical and artistic audiences. Find out more about Matt on Twitter:


Why do you write? My childhood was full of disruption so writing started as a kind of self medication to protect myself from environmental factors that were outside of my control. I write to reflect on events and create an illusion of order that calms me. I remind myself every day of what Jerry Juhl had posted above his desk whilst writing for the Muppet Show: “Not writing is worse.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Making music or performing theatre. Like writing they use language to stimulate the mind and stir the emotions. They delight in sound, pattern and meaning. Through their own language they mimic natural patterns and then violate the audience’s expectation to make a memorable experience. Perhaps this is why I enjoy performing my poetry so much.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Convincing myself that not being published wouldn’t stop me from writing. That took ten years. Originally I wrote because of the way writing affected me. Once I graduated from university I wrote with the goal of being published in mind and I lost the joy. I didn’t write for ten years. When I started again it was because I wanted to feel that joy again. I eventually achieved my goal by no longer pursuing it.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The unexpected moments when my subconscious takes over and it no longer requires effort. The question I get asked most often is, “how long does it take to write a poem”. The answer is very unsatisfying for the person. If I write every day then it will take a very short time and very little effort for me to write something I am proud of. If I don’t write every day then I won’t be able to write something I am proud of no matter how much time and effort I put into it. So the answer, from my experience, is that it takes writing every day in order for me to write a poem in less than an hour that I am proud to perform.

—the worst? That my subconscious never asks for my permission to write about me and often the results are terrifying. The writing that I find most fulfilling and inspiring comes from my subconscious. The process of writing is transformed into an exhilarating experience which is similar to running through a maze in the black of night and knowing that there’s a Minotaur in there with me. The result of the process is that I come face to face with an aspect of myself that I was hiding from for a very long time.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Believe in myself more and accept that rejection from close-minded people is a fortunate occurrence. It is hard to believe in yourself when you are pursuing something different to your school friends, family and peers. You feel unsatisfied when you are trying to fit in and you feel alone when you are doing your own thing. Eventually you realise that the more you do of what you love the more likely you are to end up in the same room with people who believe in you. That takes time to realise.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Playing it safe is a self-imposed death sentence to living the creative life you want to. There were times in my life when I allowed myself to believe in the illusion of security. I wanted to feel safe so I desperately wanted to believe that some jobs offered security in the form of a salary. I studied for those jobs and I worked in those jobs for years until I watched people get walked out of the building as soon as the business was in trouble. Today I find security in the activities that bring me joy and open my mind to new perspectives. There is no activity that offers me these things all the time, but reading and writing do so more than any other activity.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

I do my thing and you do your thing.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you, and I am I,

And if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.

If not, it can’t be helped.

-Fritz Perls


The Age of Affect sml

In The Age of Affect, Matt Jackson, whose clients include Adobe, QBE, CBA and The University of Sydney, explores how business affects people, drawing on decades of experience as a practising artist and owner of two businesses, as well as the experiences of 15 of his peers. Uniquely dispersing 53 poems and stories that bridge the gap between art and commerce, the book covers:

The importance of creating a Culture of Courage
Leading with Authenticity
Discovering Passion and Purpose
The Relationship between Art and Commerce
Understanding Decision Making and Drive
Goal setting & building a Community
Filled with examples and relatable stories, The Age of Affect integrates what we can learn about the art of business and what the business of art can teach us.

The book is available here.