My goals for 2014 were simple and ambitious - to be published more, to get closer to seeing one of my scripts on screen and to become a better writer. I was also looking for reasons to travel. Social media was a constant companion but I needed to get out more.
And how did it end?
I won the chance to have my blog published. So I dragged everything worth putting in to a book (short stories, tweet yarns, brain dumps) off my blog for editing and you can read about the fairly chaotic* progress I made with that process here.
Just when I was seeing daylight, I pounced on an opportunity to pitch a TV script and get a chance to knock it into shape with professionals ... and was overjoyed when I was selected for that too.
* If someone said to you, those magic words... 'hey, want to publish your blog?' - is it ready for that?
If I knew then what I know now, would I have done it differently? Probably not, it would still be the same methodology that goes into all my writing.
No, no, nooooo, no.
Here's some dot points of extracts, links and snippets of my year ....it was a good year.
Building on the short yarns I had been telling in short series of tweets during 2013, I decided to plan a bigger tweetyarn for January 26th. Why this particular day?
One idea and a humble story would go on to see me part of a whole new series of work. I was now being referred to as an innovator because I was the first Indigenous writer to attempt ad libbed stories via Twitter. I was really more interested in being known as 'a writer' so I was caught up in other people's perceptions. As if writing wasn't hard enough.
26 January is officially 'Australia Day'.I am Aboriginal.Where I come from, we celebrate 'Survival Day'.— Siv Parker (@SivParker) January 25, 2014Others prefer 'Invasion Day'.
I revamped my brand: digital technologies for an ancient culture.
|Thanks to @RhiannaPatrick for this great promo!|
Maisie May, the tweet yarn is storified here
And was published with a short story - "Epilogue to Maisie May' - in the new anthology Writing Black: New Indigenous writing from Australia iTunes free download
So I'll tell you a story.
Where I come from, we say our voices are on the wind. Old people told me this, so it must be true.
I had gone home for a funeral. Very old, this one now, she had another name, but across the district we all knew her as Aunty Maisie May.
Extract 'Maisie May' #tweetyarn
Guardian Australia ~~I won a spot on the Diversity Writers' Workshop, Sydney
My Guardian Profile is here
Most popular blog posts of 2014
My Review of the 5-part documentary series 'Outside Chance' is here
We all know Aboriginal men are locked up at higher rates, and over represented in every jail in Australia. But if you were serious about arresting the warehousing of Aboriginal men, you’d want to know ‘why’?
Reflections ... the Emerging Writers Festival Melbourne 2014 ...
...back yourself, the power of twitter, the art of the short story, screenwriting masterclass, who can write black characters and the perils of being online.
"Beyond Unaipon: looks at the development of the Australian Indigenous literary sector, with a new generation of writers exploring new genres and forms."
It used to be big and where I come from, we still call it the wireless. Take Johnny Cash for example, if you need convincing. Two sounds as a young boy he heard at night - a distant train across the flat, and songs out of a bakelite box.
That's what you hear in those Johnny Cash songs - the driving, unstoppable, rhythmic steel of a wide gauge freight train, with a well timed warning blast, transformed into song that pierced the darkness. Radio, it still excites me. And I'll be on it, this Saturday night.
- I was invited for an Bush Telegraph interview: Aboriginal Contribution to the pastoral industry and was very proud to see my grandfather's photo posted to the ABC Radio National website.
The Aboriginal station workers; the domestics, the shearers and the drovers, all made an incalculable and significant contribution to Australia's prosperity.
They were not fully compensated for their labour, and they were working on lands that they had been dispossessed of.
- The interview was followed up by another interview discussing Stolen Wages.
At the end of the day, out would come the tins of tobacco. The blocks of tobacco would be carved, and the shards turn to splinters when rubbed together between two work ready palms.
The air would fill with the hollow pop of lips smacking on a pipe, and clouds of white smoke coating the deep, lush sounds of a radio playing softly in the night.
- Tweet survey ...
#AskTwitter Non-Indigenous journalist refers to Indigenous Australians as 'blackfellas' Please~ RT = this is NOT okay Fave = this is okay
— Siv Parker (@SivParker) June 19, 2014
My first memory of hearing black in reference to me is not a happy one.
- Byron Bay Writers Festival live tweeting scrapbook
September ~ October
- I was inspired and motivated after attending the two-day Bacon Factory Films Production Line Indigenous Filmmakers Masterclass, SLQ Brisbane.
With Ivan Sen, Kelrick Martin, Stephen McGregor, Ramanh Allam & Kyas Sherriff
Kelrick Martin, Director: Indigenous screen projects: all about relationships & reputation." #ProductionLine pic.twitter.com/Y5zbxYNSQV
— Siv Parker (@SivParker) October 15, 2014
- I was thrilled to learn that my blog was a joint winner of the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival Blog to Book Challenge announcement.
- First stage - strip 44 blog posts from my blog for editing. My blog looks like a community store after a cyclone alert - most shelves are empty. But I created a new page to document the process here
- I was invited to the Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow Sydney - Storytelling in the Garden for a reading of my short story ‘Honey’ with illustrations from Sam Wallman.
I could tell his moods best by his silhouette in a dark street. He only had two speeds, alert or evasive.
Drawings to accompany Siv Parker's reading of her excellent short story 'Honey' at the NSW Writer's Centre
Unwind to some illustrated readings from up-and-coming writers in our Indigenous mentorship program. Held in the Writers’ Centre garden with visual accompaniment provided by some of Sydney’s best comic illustrators.
For more of Walkley Nominated illustrator Sam Wallman’s work please take a look at his website here
And in case you missed it, read the Serco story that created a buzz recently with illustrations by Sam Wallman: At work inside our detention centres: a guard’s story
- My review of the 3-part documentary series SBS/NITV TV Event ~~ First Contact
Assessment of Episode 1: First Contact is must see TV. The personal testimonials have been compelling viewing. The 'event' - the staging with all the additional resources - has created a safe place for people to talk about painful issues.I'm interested in taking the conversation further.
- Was delighted to accept an invitation to travel to Melbourne... Live story telling: Above All Human Conference
... using new mediums for writing I launched myself as Australia's first Indigenous digital writer. Rather than limiting it has boosted my creativity into new genres; as well as leading to collaborations that are now across the globe. None of this would have been possible if I had stuck to the path of the traditional publishing industry rather than look for a way to do more - not only write and publish, but be the change I want to see: Indigenous people truly being in charge of their own self determination.
- And I finished 2014 with the most exciting news of all - after submitting a synopsis and a draft script, I was selected for screenwriting mentorship with Screenworks Project Break Through to complete a 6-part narrative comedy
“@Screenworks_Aus Congratulations to successful applicants for Project Break Through program http://t.co/IVwwIzaTl0” pic.twitter.com/u1YCD8YSYq
— Siv Parker (@SivParker) December 18, 2014