This week we talk to Newcastle local Jodi Vial about her piece ‘The Span’ which appears in Landmarks, the latest anthology curated by Spineless Wonders. During this interview we discover Jodi’s favourite Australian landscape, who inspires her writing and what inspired her mirco-lit ‘The Span.’
Tell us about a landmark that is significant to you
My childhood summer holidays were spent at my grandmother’s house, which was literally on the beach at Lennox Head. I am still drawn to long stretches of sand and sea and have found one at Dudley, nearer to home, which reminds me a lot of Lennox. I’m not a brave swimmer but I love walking there all year round. The wilder the ocean is the better.
What inspired you to write ‘The Span’?
I had read Ben Lerner’s novel 10:04 which references Walt Whitman’s poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. I have not read the poem but found it fascinating to consider a time when the Brooklyn Bridge did not exist. A few months later my husband and I were in Circular Quay and walked underneath the enormous pylons of the Harbour Bridge. I spent ages marvelling at the engineering – one pylon alone seemed like a modern-day version of the pyramids. I knew then I wanted to write about the concept of building bridges.
How do you find the experience of writing to a theme?
I really enjoy the focus it allows me. I find I need to let a theme settle in my mind for a few days before I start writing but once I have a general idea where I want it to go it flows quite quickly.
Describe your writing space
I have a round table in the corner of our kitchen/dining/living room which looks out onto a part of our garden and along a path towards our front gate. The table is covered in crayons, colouring books and pictures my children have drawn but I have cleared a space for my laptop and wait until the house is empty to open it up and start typing. I’m often interrupted by cats wanting to come in and out the back door or to sit on the keyboard but sometimes that’s a welcome distraction.
Tell us about a writer or work that has inspired you as a writer
I love short stories. The way they can encompass all the elements of a great story within so few pages inspires me. I particularly enjoy and admire the work of Canadian writer Alice Munro and her ability to capture a sense of place as well as the instantly recognisable emotional lives of women. There is a musicality to her writing that I love.
Jodi Vial is a former newspaper journalist and is currently enrolled as a third-year English major at The University of Newcastle. She lives with her husband, three daughters, one Labrador, two cats and six chickens in the outer suburbs of Newcastle and dreams about living closer to the sea.
Feature image via Unsplash.com