Outside the bent metal blinds, a mouse-like Corolla sat parked in the driveway. The streetlights shone off its maroon paint, and the sky behind it was lavender. On its roof a sign read in bold blue letters, ‘FLIENDSHIP DRIVING INSTRUCTOR’—except for the L, black in a yellow square, and the P, red in white. What the hell was Fliendship? A play on the fact that there isn’t an el sound in Japanese, so all Asians can only say ar? Winston had told me he was going to pick me up, so I reckoned this was his ride. I left my… [Read more]
At a Meanjin launch event at the State Library of Victoria, Mark Pesce spoke on the themes developed in his Summer Meanjin essay, The Last Days of Reality. He was very good. Have a listen here.
I tend to read mainly for research, and that means reading in clusters, not just books about the topic, but books around the topic too. I’m working on a profile for Nick Kyrgios, so there are a lot of books on tennis, which (like cricket and baseball) seems to produce good writing for some reason. Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open is excellent, it was co-written with the Pulitzer-prize winning memoirist J.R. Moehringer. It’s very honest, and driven by a rare emotional dynamic, not dissimilar to Krygios’s own. Agassi hates tennis, but feels somehow chained to it, and compelled to achieve in spite… [Read more]
Margot met Robert on a Wednesday night toward the end of her fall semester. Some called it ‘autumn’, but Margot called it fall, because she thought it was a good time to fall for someone. She often had thoughts like this, and wondered, did it mean she was a genius? She was working behind the concession stand at the artsy movie theatre downtown, trying to get the vomit out of the carpet and longing for the day they would let her work AT the concession stand, rather than being forced to stay in the shadows behind it. Robert walked up… [Read more]
Here’s an excellent gift idea for your Christmas shopping list: a year’s worth of fine Australian writing. Purchase a gift subscription to Meanjin before 15 December to ensure delivery of the Summer issue in time for Christmas. To purchase a print gift subscription, follow the prompts here and select ‘Change Shipping Address’ on the ‘Confirm Order’ page.
I pull the fitted sheet tight, smoothing out the wrinkles from the restless night before. If there’s a flat sheet I draw that across, knowing it will still be tucked firm on one side but loose on this side, the one that I’ve slumped out of. I grab the edge of the quilt and lay it flat. I smooth the corners, tuck the top sheet into the bottom left hand corner, and fold the top corner over the quilt. Or quilts. They are all different beds, but I still make them the same way. Or sometimes I’m only getting up… [Read more]
Not a week goes by without an analogue Samaritan telling me, or the world in general, to get off screens. Confession: right now, I’m staring at a screen, about to write on staring at screens. This confession is important, as it makes it clear that I’ll not feign disinterest or indifference. When it comes to ‘screen time’, I have a dog in this fight. As the author of Distraction, I have argued for a more mature relationship to technology—one that recognises the risks, but also the benefits, of digital devices. Mobile phones are not magical liberators, but nor are they… [Read more]
My maternal grandmother, the last of my grandparents, celebrated her 85th birthday yesterday. I watch on a video screen as she eats her breakfast long-life noodles. The boiled egg left whole: an embryo, the universe, the beginning and the end. I surprise myself by thinking and speaking in Hokkien. I don’t speak this language to anyone else. I have not spoken in this tongue since the last time I saw her, months ago, in Singapore. My grandmother has dementia. She asks me why I am not there. I tell her I am working. Work is always a valid excuse. Work… [Read more]
What they learned Labyrinth Brood INVERT is fascinated by this, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. INVERT has started folding in on itself—like someone inspecting a carbuncle on their inner thigh—to examine the thing. Who is responsible for it? Did the hivemind manifest it so we could all build a home in its corpse? Is it a hairball that this culture spit up and proceeded to feed on? Is it a bioweapon of the mind? INVERT has been draining its fluid; been pulling it apart. INVERT has been healing it; been reverting it to a natural state; leaving… [Read more]
Sadly departed in the past week, historian Ken Inglis wrote this appraisal of the ABC for Meanjin in 2003 (Vol62/2) to mark the broadcaster’s 70th anniversary…