Slinkies digital editor, Aleesha Paz asks TINA GAUDRY, some indepth questions about her writing, her aspirations and her wardrobe. To grab a copy of ‘Intersections’ by Tina Gaudrey, just click the Slinkies cover below.
1. Tell us about your writing process. (Do you start sparse and widen out, or do you write down every possible association and cut back? Do you research the subject matter you are writing about? is it pure intuition?) Take us through an example if you want.
When I write short stories I usually begin with the title, or a small sliver of a sentence, and branch off from there. I find that plots present themselves to me in unexpected ways, through associations I would never have made if I had been trying to find them. I mull over these fragments for days, even weeks, before starting my first draft. I’m a very lazy writer. I attack drafts in sporadic fits of passion, then completely lose interest and have to wait patiently for my next attack. I’m not sure that “process” really describes my style.
2. What inspired you to write ‘Intersections’?
In my final semester at uni, I began working simultaneously on two three-part short story collections. One was based on eccentric local characters in Brisbane, and the other was ‘Intersections.’ I had become fascinated with multi-faceted narratives and the idea that a story is never truly complete, because writers need to be selective with perspectives. I wanted to challenge this concept in a way that brought new meaning to different characters, that highlighted their differences and also unified them. A very sudden car crash seemed to be the best scenario to portray this. Each male protagonist is at different stages in life, and appear to be unconnected. However, the narratives together show that they have plenty in common – a misunderstanding of circumstance, distorted reality, and the same white-knuckled grip on the magic worlds they have created for themselves. The setting of a rural town fair also reflects this misconstrued reality. The blinding sensations help a whole community to disappear in its magic and forget their worlds, at least for an afternoon. I wanted readers to come away from ‘Intersections’ questioning their own states of distortion, as well as the notion of blame.
3. What do you do if you haven’t written anything in a while and you want to get started again? Could you share your favourite writing exercise with our readers?
Oddly enough, I find that making up spoken word poetry or freestyle rapping to my cat is a great (and often hilariously awful) way to unclog my writers’ block. The impermanence of it allows me to shed inhibitions and untangle my thoughts. Cats make a wonderful audience. They have the same unrelenting stare as a real crowd, without the pressure of them actually knowing what on earth you’re rambling about. Even if they are secretly judging you, you will never know it. Sometimes I get a line of pure gold just from mucking around like this. Most of the time it ends in facepalms and many pats.
4. If you could only read stories written by one author for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
Margaret Atwood. I only started reading her work a couple of years ago, but it has had an enormous influence on my writing ever since I turned those first pages of ‘Oryx and Crake.’ She is simply phenomenal. In ‘Blind Assassin’ she writes that “all stories are about wolves.” Nothing could be truer for me. I try to keep this in mind every time I write. I have little quotes like this tacked to the pin-board above my writing desk, and this is always the one I glance at first when I am struggling. I would do anything to possess her talent.
Usually a frown. I’m bound to wrinkle prematurely.
6. How do you think about the role of writing in your life? Is it your job, pastime, etc?
That blinking cursor and I, we don’t get along very well. I like to think of writing as a sideline lover I could never wholly devote myself to, but could also never leave. We fight a lot, and I would never show them off to my friends, but temptation keeps drawing me back late at night, usually after too much wine.
Tina Gaudry has a BFA in Creative Writing from Queensland University of Technology. This year she won second prize for an FAW National Literary Award and was Highly Commended for the SLQ Young Writers Prize. ‘Intersections’ is her debut short story publication.