Gosh I liked reading your comments. They were lovely and hilarious and kind and gentle and powerful and clever. I did have a clear favourite, but I have to give some runner-up prizes too because there were other truly excellent comments and everyone should read stuff always. And of course I wish everyone could have prizes, but I’m a writer and the sad fact about writers is that they make almost no money with which to buy prizes.
The winner of the 4-year Going Down Swinging subscription is … Erin Marie.
When I was fourteen I was going to be an author. I was the only person I knew who was writing a novel, and even though it was basically a fantastical re-hashing of what was going on in my life I knew that I was Going. Somewhere. I went to a writer’s camp in the Bunya Mountains where it was cold and rainy and we huddled around a pot-bellied stove and I showed a famous author an excerpt of my story in the hopes that he would say I was a prodigy and send my story to his publisher immediately.
When I was sixteen I was convinced that I was a poet. I spent a lot of time writing poetry about boys I was in love with, and sometimes about things that were going on in the world. I would lay on my bed and recall half-remembered fragments of dreams, mix them with creative metaphors and write them on a bright green legal notepad in the middle of the night. I showed my poems to select few people and posted them on a terrible blog in the hopes that people would think that I was deep and moody.
When I was twenty-two I started playing the guitar and putting my poems to music. For a little while I thought I was a songwriter, and all the intense experiences I had would be set to music. On stormy nights I would sit on the wrap-around veranda of the old Queenslander in Red Hill in which I lived and strum softly so as not to annoy the neighbours. I played my songs at people in the hopes that they would like them and say that I was talented and cool.
When I was twenty-six I became a lawyer and started writing advices and legal documents. I knew then that I was a Real Lawyer and that was what all my previous writing passion was all about. I spent hours in my windowless office crafting documents that people would want to read, even though they were about personal injury litigation. I asked staff in the office to ‘proof read’ my work in the hopes that they would tell me that I was a Real Lawyer and good at my job.
When I was twenty-eight I broke up with my fiancé, quit my job and moved to Melbourne to study my Masters. When writing my first essay I decided that academia was my calling because it meant I got to write long essays and argue at the same time and lecturers didn’t mind so much if I used descriptive prose from time to time. I would sit at my dining room table under a blanket with a cup of tea and look at the trees swishing in the wind outside whilst I came up with articulate and novel ways to argue old issues. I asked for feedback from my lecturers in the hopes that they would tell me that I was brilliant and should do a PhD.
When I was thirty I got promoted and was asked to appear in court on an issue that had never been argued before. As I drafted written submissions and prepared to get up in court to argue I decided that this was the kind of writer I was meant to be – one who wrote in preparation to speak. I stayed back at work until well after dark carefully choosing words that were persuasive but objective crafting submissions that would win the argument and impress the judge. I called a barrister I knew to discuss my approach in the hopes that he would tell me that I’d hit the nail on the head and should consider a career change to the bar.
Now I’m thirty-two. I’m about to start a new job but I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes I sit down to write short little bits of prose that seem to come out nicely. Sometimes I write a poem and it makes me feel good. Sometimes I sit down at the piano and a chorus and bridge and verse comes out. Sometimes I write legal advices that make a difference to how my organisation does things. Sometimes I write academic journal articles about things I care about. Sometimes I write legal submissions that win cases and get praised by judges.
I’m not being dishonest when I say ‘I’m a writer’. I write, therefore I am a writer.
How come, then, it feels so much like a lie?
I’m also going to send Digital Download copies of Going Down Swinging issue #34 to:
Look, Anna, let me be honest with you.
I’m desperately in love with my postman. I have been for years. I really don’t know who or what a ‘Going Down Swinging’ is, but anything that forces the postman to come to my house more often is what I need right now.
I really think that with just a few more visits he will realise that he loves me just as much as I adore him. I’m really struggling to find the time to send letters to myself.
Things in the world I like, in order:
2. Words put together in the right order to make sentences I like.
3. Free shit.
4. Free shit.
5. Entering completions (I once won a vibrator, ahem, shoulder massager but you already know that)
So pick me, and hit my top five.
Unless you have a spare vibrator- I’m happy to have that in lieu.
But don’t pick me if I will be so jealous of the beautiful writing that I will stalled forevermore. I don’t want it that bad.*
*does not apply to vibrators
the only ‘going down singing’ I have ever heard of is when fall out boy sung it regarding some messed up love affair or other with a very catchy beat. regardless, I am socially awkward and a major introvert so if it involves reading, in a quiet room, with snoring dogs and no one disturbing me for hours, I am totally in. or something. as long as someone can dial me pizza and some hot chips so I don’t have to exit the batcave then we are totally cool.
Sarah van der Wal
Lucky that I found you,
Lucky that I drowned in you,
Floundering in a sea, I cannot float.
The minute that you entered me,
I entered you
And I was lost in you.
The sum, the best, the all of me
Was lost in the nothing of you.
And still you say, in that same way,
I am Lucky
If I drowned in you.
Thanks for making me laugh and feel stuff.
Emails comin’ atcha!