Thursday, 29 January 2004

sore back today. anticipating lying in bed for most of the day, reading margaret atwood, possibly watching interview with the vampire and drinking cups of tea.

sounds good.

i am also going to singapore in march! yay! me and my lovely friend catherine and my lovely goddaughter imogen. then i will meet my dad and brother there and the three of us will go to kuala lumpur while catherine and imi head off to the uk for a couple of months.

it's kind of exciting, having a goddaughter. i'm not sure what my responsibilities really involve, but if it includes traipsing around singapore and generally having fun, then i'm all for it.

Wednesday, 14 January 2004

okay then. my thesis. you really want to know?

it is in two parts, a 15000 word creative piece and a 15000 word critical piece.

The critical is looking at the state of writing by young Asian Australian women who were born or who grew up in Australia and asking why there seems to be a need to write migration/diaspora/Amy Tan-type narratives. i'm trying to work out why these women don't write about what it's like for their own generations, living in australia as Asian Australians, why they have to tell the stories of their grandmothers and travelling back to the 'homeland'. and why, given all this migration over many years, is there not more writing about people with 'mixed parentage' (i still haven't worked out a non-cringeworthy way of saying that), ie half Asian, half Australian (as opposed to Australian-born Asian). i look at three novels in particular, which have started to move away from this problematic kind of narrative, but which are still steeped in it nonetheless. and i come up with no answers of course.

The creative is not meant to be an answer to the critical, but is meant to sit alongside it as a companion piece (keeps it company on cold nights, etc). it is in two halves, the first about a half-Chinese half-Australian guy and his life in Sydney, how he is perceived by his peers, problems he has with his father, problems he has with being half-Chinese (feeling it isn't an issue for him but other people make it an issue). The second half is about a half-Chinese half-Australian woman (best friends with the guy in the first half) and sets up an Amy Tan style story that is then thwarted (ha! take that!), and moves off into her dealing with her career, being sent to Singapore to write an article for her magazine because she is the resident Asian on staff, working out how she feels about that... or not.

it doesn't sound very compelling when i put it down like this, but it's all about ambivalence anyway so perhaps i can afford to be a little...ambivalent.

does that help?

Monday, 12 January 2004

i may have an ending for my story. i wandered back into it yesterday and had great satisfaction in cutting about 1000 words from the ending. just - chop! it was very liberating and i felt better about it straight away. it was one of those wussy, too-neat, hollywood-esque endings that had no depth, no room for interpretation and in fact probably contradicted my whole argument.

so now we're leaving it with no resolution. no satisfaction. millions of readers thwarted. ;)

Friday, 9 January 2004

okay now i feel intimidated.

academics all around me! i had a month off my thesis to, well, do nothing, and now as i'm trying to leap back into the fray i'm finding it harder than ever. brett is getting stuck into phd mode and getting all excited about all sorts of things and i...wish i was that excited about it. i think i came to this degree from the wrong angle, from wanting to write fiction rather than having a burning desire to foist my intellectual prowess on the world. so to speak.

next time (and despite what i say, i'm pretty sure there will be a next time) i'm not going to embark on one of these mammoth projects without being passionate about it. it's just too hard to muster the energy or enthusiasm to finish the thesis. but i do have to say, after all this time, i'm getting to the point where i can talk about it and actually argue a point and make people think that it's, well, interesting.

sounds like a pretty basic thing, but it's a bit of a breakthrough, quite frankly.