When I’m happy I notice things around me.

And:

I like the boring as it’s only when you are bored that you can see.

—Julian Opie in a Q&A and The Guardian. I always think it’s interesting when artists acknowledge mood (or mental health, or period pain) and the way it affects their practice. I feel we don’t do this much, maybe because of romantic “muse descending” clichés?

That old question ‘must I always know nothing?’ no longer haunts, but consoles. Because the day I stop feeling like a beginner might be the day I know it’s time to put down the pen.

—Novelist Charlotte Wood in SMH. I had the luck of hearing her speak at an event for AGNSW’s The Lady & The Unicorn exhibition (one of her books mentions the tapestries) and I remember thinking she had a really interesting take on doubt and the importance of making peace with it. I’m sure a lot of visual artists face this too.

Newcastle Short Story Award

I’ve been shortlisted for the 2018 Newcastle Short Story Award. My story Red Belly will be published in the award anthology later in the year.

If you want to know something funny, a few days before I found out I was a finalist, I filed a magazine story on art prizes and the role they play in the art world. The basic point was not to take them too seriously, but I’m still going to take Michael Zavros’ advice to NAVA members to heart:

Peer assessment is really valuable in my opinion. Prizes where the work is considered by a curator or guest judge for pre-selection before the final means that a) someone has actually seen it and b) thought it worthy or interesting.

So my sincerest thanks to the Hunter Writers Centre and judges Ryan O’Neill and Isabelle Li.

Summer good times

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When I was editing Art Collector magazine, the January issue always meant crazy times. So many stories and pic requests and photo shoots and balls in the air.

This year, as a freelancer, I have to say I loved working on the special summer issue and it was an absolute pleasure to contribute pieces on Kushana Bush, Monica Rohan, Yhonnie Scarce, Deb Mansfield and Noel McKenna.

And, of course, I love the Patricia Piccinini cover! I can’t wait to get Brisbane to see Curious Affection.