A New Digital Residency Begins in Tasmania

At first, the idea of being the next digital resident worried me, and not just because I have Jennifer Mills’ big shoes to fill. Like a lot of writers, I feel ambiguous about the benefits of digital world.

I’m disconcerted by how the satisfying absorption I feel when writing or reading a book is shredded by the skatty distractions (and waiting for retweety rewards) that can take over my mind in the digital space; how there can exist a cliquey atmosphere that seems as difficult to overcome as any champagne coterie; how so much of the discourse takes on the polar characteristics of cheerleading or executions.

But then then I started to feel better about it. Because I figured that if this is what bothers me, then this is the kind of territory my residency should cover.

To begin with, I’ve launched a facebook group to facilitate collaborations between isolated Tasmanian writers and mainlanders – or just writers and writers, wherever you happen to be. It’s over at https://www.facebook.com/groups/762467497109921/. I find the best way to overcome personal barriers is by working together, and I’d like to facilitate as many of these relationships as possible. So sign up and describe your writing interests, and perhaps you’ll find someone – or I can help you find someone – to collaborate with.

It would be great if some of these projects could be finished by the end of the residency; a short poem, say, or piece of flash fiction. That way we could share them at a live readings event. But the timeline isn’t that crucial, and it might be better for you to schedule a project for September or October.

I’ll also be tweeting from the #rocur account over at @digitalwir, if you want to follow my thoughts. This Friday August 1st at 3pm, there will be a live twitter q&a where you can ask me questions about my writing or the residency more generally. Or bushwalking in Tasmania. Or my chooks.

If I don’t get any questions, then I’m quite content to ask them of you instead. I’ll pinch some from old Paris Review interviews.


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