MARGI’S TOP WRITING TIP: I studied writing in the early ’80s in Melbourne. I don’t remember much about what I studied, but I do remember one of the teachers – an author himself – stating, `a writer is a person who writes’. That always stuck with me, because basically that`s what it comes down to: fronting up and putting the words down on the page.
Margi Gibb was born in the Victorian high country. She is a singer, songwriter, visual artist, adventurer, survivor, writer and educator. An earlier version of her memoir Kissed by a Deer was written as the creative product of her PhD. It is her first full-length work of non-fiction. Margi currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she works as a learning advisor for an international college. Find Margi on Facebook.
Why do you write? I`m a storyteller and stories beckon to be told, so writing is one of those things I feel compelled to do. In a way stories are all we have to help us understand and make sense out of life. I love sharing a good story.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I`ve always written in some form or another so it`s difficult to imagine not doing it, but I also like to paint, sing and play guitar. If I`m doing not doing one them, then I`m doing the other. I love all forms of creative practice.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I`m very fortunate: I`m not one of those writers who struggled to find a publisher. I intuitively and intellectually knew where to send my manuscript – the toughest part was summoning the courage to send it.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The best aspect of my writing life is the creative engagement with the text. I love working with the words on the page: they demand absolute concentration – so writing becomes a form of meditation for me: a way of finding stillness.
—the worst? The physical pain of sitting for long, long, hours: writing requires a great deal of physical and mental energy.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I`m not sure if I`d do anything differently. I would have liked to have started to write books when I was younger, but the reality is my first book took a long time to incubate. I don’t believe in forcing a story, you have to let it grow and develop organically.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Buy a good chair because you’re going to need it. Seriously if you are about to embark on a long writing journey you need to ensure you have everything in place that looks after you physically, because when we write we tend to forget the body and spend a lot of time in our heads.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? `Take it like a writer’: be prepared to write – rewrite and edit, edit, edit.
Kissed by a Deer
Prepare to be swept away by a story that is intimate, true, and utterly compelling. Margi Gibb’s much-loved father dies and, with her immediate family largely gone, her life is changed irrevocably. Immersing herself more deeply in art and music, she travels to America to study the sacred art of the mandala, exploring the wisdom traditions of Indigenous Indian peoples in the process. Then after a serendipitous encounter back in Australia she travels to Dharamsala to care for children in an after-school program at a Tibetan women’s handicraft cooperative. Her underlying passion is to initiate guitar lessons for Tibetan refugees. What follows is unexpected. Margi’s developing bonds with two very different Tibetan men, Tenzin and Yonten, change her life in complex and enduring ways.
Eventually she journeys to Tibet. Kissed by a Deer is a book about East and West. It is a passionate quest for the personal and intellectual truth that only comes through lived experience. Gibb’s story gives us amazing places, and wonderful characters, people we come to love and care about despite their failings. In its pages, wisdom searchingly finds its humble roots in the connections of heart, imagination and mind; in the midst of the act of living.