Hello everybody! C. Hocking here, newest starlet in the writing game.
I’ve been checking out your stuff online and in the print and first off, great job! You’re doing pretty good! Not much talent but a lot of good raw ideas and textures in your work. But also if you’re ever going to make it in this industry (and it is a damn hard industry, oh my godddd ha ah in this sunburnt laaaaaand) then here are a few pointers that I have compiled in my own personal roller coaster ride to the stars.
It’s mid-March 2012 and I’m sitting in a waiting room and I have the shakes so I’m squeezing my hands between my knees. My parents are sitting on either side of me; I’ve been back at their house for about a week after a few months living alone in a two-bedroom apartment in St Lucia. I’m underweight, my skin looks like crap and I have those horrible yellow-brown blotches on the fingers of my right hand from rolling cigarettes. Continue reading
It was a slight, old woman in a pie shop off the highway who told me who my grandmother was. I barely saw her over the counter but she propped herself up with one foot on the skirting board and pointed at me accusingly.
‘You’re a Kresinger,’ she spat. ‘I have something for you.’ She tried to put what looked like a wood whistle in my palm.
‘No,’ I said. ‘My grandmother was Marie. Passed now, but she’s my grandmother.’
‘Cousin,’ the woman said. ‘That was your grandmother’s cousin.’
I tugged at the traffic all the way back to the city, and quickly found my father — on the back stairs, painting — who denied it. He spilt paint three times on his boot so I went back. The shop owner told me a story, starting with my grandmother’s real name, Pearl:
When we get off the 109 tram, the families in their Sunday sunny-day spring clothes flock to Ikea for meatballs and the promise of home improvement. On the other side of the road, a cul-de-sac is trying to swallow a footbridge inconspicuously with minimal success. Dry, dusty bushland circles the footbridge as the Yarra slithers and wiggles beneath our wooden floorboards like a cheerful Slip ’n Slide in a summer backyard. If it rained for a thousand years and the Yarra rose to meet us, I think, this footbridge would make a fine raft. I imagine sliding down the bend of the Yarra, sliding for years, and the conversations I would have with everyone else crossing the bridge with me when the water rose. I would learn the names of their families and where they went to school. When we finally made it home, we would write postcards to each other, and be friends for the rest of our lives.
A lesson learnt about romanticising the loser/stoner:
I have this distinct memory of being 15 years old and watching Mallrats for the first time. I soon became obsessed. I’d watch the Jay and Silent Bob films almost daily. It wasn’t the college humour or over-used stereotypical stoner jokes that pulled at the strings of my young heart; it was the talkative Jay’s sweet golden tresses. Something about his permanently reddened half-baked eyes, raspy voice, adorably rosy lips and the blonde hair poking out under his black beanie was extremely appealing to me. I became infatuated. I would plaster pictures of a Led Zeppelin-era Robert Plant around my room, watch Dazed and Confused and Lords of Dog Town almost religiously, and try to get my little suburban teen hands on the green substance (which, often times, did not lead to very positive experiences).
This had been Jim’s third girlfriend to my knowledge – Patricia, or Pat, or Patt as she would be discussed. I was surprised it wasn’t Patti. (A Belgian. When she spoke English she sounded Canadian. I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask whether she spoke Dutch, French or German. I think it must have been French, or German, and I wouldn’t even discount Dutch altogether either.) She was a beautiful barn creature with long chestnut hair, big buck teeth that were becoming and non-invasive, and the kind of freckles that go along with being radiant.
Last year, at the annual National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle, I was asked to be an emergency addition to a debating team made up of writers arguing the topic ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ The debate, hosted by the awesome Scissors Paper Pen collective, was designed to unearth the biggest arguments for either staying in smaller towns or leaving them in pursuit of bigger cities when it comes to pursuing a creative career. As we sat there formulating our arguments in the bar at Newcastle’s Great Northern Hotel, our fingers sticky from cider and wedges, I realised that the topic couldn’t have come at a weirder time for me.