This week we talk to artist Jen Saunders about her short story ‘Infinity Loops’. This story appears in Landmarks, the latest anthology curated by Spineless Wonders. During this interview we discover Jen’s favourite Australian landscape, who inspires her writing and what inspired her mirco-lit, ‘Infinity Loops.’
Tell us about a landmark that is significant to you
There are a couple of landmarks significant to me (I can’t choose!) but they are both mountains. One is Coolangatta (or Cullunghutti) Mountain near Shoalhaven Heads on the coast near where I live and the other is Broughton Head (or The Wedding Cake) just near my place at Broger’s Creek. Whenever I drive home from a Sydney trip and see Coolangatta’s big dome rising up from the river flats, I get a huge sensation of relief and affection. Broughton Head, unlike Coolangatta, is a weird rocky outcrop that sticks up between the coast and Kangaroo Valley. When I see it from the coast, or from inland, I know exactly where my place is in relation to it. I guess I like long distance views!
What inspired you to write ‘Infinity Loops’?
I’m pretty slow to process information and ideas. Stuff needs to swim around in my head for quite a while before I can communicate it in a way I’m happy with. Writing – or soundscapes, song-writing, visual art – is a way of expressing something of that long and rather nebulous activity.
How do you find the experience of writing to a theme?
I love writing to a theme. I find it helpful to have something that hooks into all the threads of ideas I have in my mind and which then pulls out a response or a new combination of ideas.
Describe your writing space
Generally I write standing up at my laptop, looking out on plants, a paddock and bush. I don’t produce anything well if other people are around, so I time creative output for when I’ll be alone. In between those times I scribble ideas on bits of paper and hope I don’t lose them.
Tell us about a writer or work that has inspired you as a writer
I love the dry but deeply emotional experience of reading Annie Proulx and I like the way she writes about men. I’m also a big fan of James Baldwin’s fierce and articulate sensibility.
Jen Saunders works in sound, music, words and visual arts. Her work focuses mainly on the local histories of her home – the South Coast of NSW. In 1999 she published her first book of poetry Translations (Passionfruit Press) and in May 2002 launched In A Night House (PressPress). In 2001 Jen was runner-up in the national short story competition – the Budawang Circle of Excellence Awards – with her story Raoul Forth. She has had work published in the journals Imago and Hecate. In 2002 and 2003 Saunders published a quarterly local arts and writing magazine called Squidink and she has been participating in readings, performances and arts events since the 1990s. Her soundscapes, visual arts and writing draw on the intersections of Indigenous and colonial histories and particularly investigate concepts of naming, communication, memory and unseen inhabitants/traces in landscape.
Feature image via Pexels.com