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I write, am i a writer or an artist?


14 September 2014

Guest Blogger: Matt Blackwood

I write. For some people this makes me a writer. I also write in forms beyond the book or eBook. For others this makes me an artist.

For thirty years Janos worked at a cement factory and came home with 900 a week after tax and nose bleeds. Now as he stared at Australian Standards glass, Janos dreamt of fences made from sausages.

I try not to focus on titles and other people’s perceptions because for me it’s all about the work. It’s work that I take seriously and strive to be better at. I read to learn, I experience to feel and I absorb as much as I can to imbue sincerity in everything I create. My journey into Locative Literature began from having difficulty in finding traditional publishers for my longer forms of writing. These ‘Nos’ forced me into thinking about alternative forms of writing and publishing. This led to the concept of stories being experienced in the places where these stores are set via affordable formats. I then began exploring the possibilities and challenges that these different publishing forms presented, as well as developing the unique approaches to writing that is required and the practical considerations that exist when presenting work in public spaces.

Betty exhaled and braced herself for the walk up Elizabeth. For six hours a day, five days a week Betty palmed, fisted and elbowed the tension from Sprite-white bodies. Frustration from bosses lived in the shoulders. Missed opportunities lived in the feet.

I have written ever since my mother forced me to write a diary. I was nine and she was a single parent and we sold our Australian dream to fund skipping from continent to continent on two round-the-world tickets. The graphite labour was presumably to help me remember the sights and sounds of a dozen cultures, and although the entries began as a single line of “It was very good,” within a year I managed to observe and articulate what I experienced to write several pages every day.

A stench of zombies. A smear of lawyers. Kano wondered what the collective noun was for a collective of nouns. With silver fingers he wrote ‘nuance’ in his sketchbook.

I still write everyday as I have things on my mind. Some of these stories will continue to be presented in non-traditional forms such as Post-it notes or embossed labelling tape, and others are designed to be experienced as black text on a white page. The important thing for me is to have something sincere to say in the appropriate publishing form. And in case you’re wondering, ‘No’ is still one of the most dangerous words you can utter in my direction. It always will be.

To explore more possibilities of Locative Literature, join Matt when he comes to Adelaide in October 2014 as Access2Arts’ Artist in Residence. He will be presenting a series of workshops exploring Locative Literature. For more information on how to be a part of them, check out the EVENTS page for more details.

Matt Blackwood  writes short stories, slightly longer short stories, and stories so long they think they’re too cool to hang around with the shorties. His fiction and non-fiction has been published and won awards and he has received several grants and commissions for his Locative Literature projects. Matt has been an invited guest at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Castlemaine State Festival, National Young Writers’ Festival and if book: Australia.