Twitterbots, digital poetry and (not editing) my novel

This week just been I moved house (and got sick, thanks Rob/Garth!). I also, finally, got to announce that I’ll be an invited artist at the 2018 National Young Writers Festival. I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. Work has been stressful; I was covering for another staff member for three weeks, while doing my own job as well, and I just kind of fell apart. Last week I pitched to the 2018 Digital Writers Festival and sent a poem away for possible publication, so I’m getting better. That being said, I haven’t done anything to my novel for two weeks now.

Last year I created the interface for David Thomas Henry Wright’s Page & Powe, a work that was later shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards. My PhD is in electronic literature and I’ve worked hard to create some kind of name for myself in this field. I was also co-chairperson of WA Poets Inc and I coordinated the 2012 and 2013 WA Poetry Festival. Now I’m trying to establish myself as a fiction writer and, sometimes, it feels like I’m doing too much.

As well as my novel, I’m currently working on a digital poem called “this is what depression feels like”.  The work intentionally limits interactivity. Once the viewer has chosen to start the poem, the words print one at a time. The speed of the poem is controlled in order to represent of the lack of control people with mental illness have over their thoughts. Parts of this poem speed up rapidly to represent the quick succession of negative thoughts during a panic attack.

I started the work last year (just look at the date stamp on that tweet) and pitched it to NYWF earlier this year. Now I have to finish it. I also want to finish the first draft of my novel and a twitterbot called “the voice of WA Poetry”, which will be a conglomerate of voices of WA poets. Separate to these creative endeavours, I have a quickly growing list of things to do for work.

I think I’ve struggled with the novel because it’s such a slow process. There’s a lot of isolation involved before I can share the work. I’ve found the positive side of splitting my focus (and being overworked) is having other things I can share and invest time in.

If you want your voice included in the twitterbot project, you can download the instructions HERE.