Thursday, June 05, 2008

The classiest of company

Have you seen the latest edition of Meanjin? Just asking, because I'm in it, and I'm completely chuffed about it.

I was nervous at first, because the new editor (Sarsaparillian Sophie Cunningham) has transplanted my blog post about The Lost Dog into hard copy pretty much unchanged, and I wasn't sure about
[a] the informality of the writing in such an esteemed literary arena; and
[b] whether I've flogged a lost dog -- I mean, let's face it, many people do what I did with that book on a daily basis, and get far less attention for it.

But Sophie seems to have her finger on the pulse of things, and she had absolute serendipity with TLD winning a major prize the week before the journal hit the shelves, so I guess my post still has legs after all this time.

And what company I'm in! I wasn't told who else would be in the issue, and I'm so delighted to find myself in the company of people I admire a lot: our own Laura Carroll, writing about Jane Austen (my favorite quote from the whole journal so far: Both films ask the same narrow set of questions about Austen: how did she write as she did about love without being a lover herself? Why didn't she get married? Was she unlovable? Was she sad? (Did she smell?) Was she lonely? Was she ashamed of being single? That bracketed line is pure Lucy Tartan.); Mandy Ord, with a very touching piece of graphic fiction/autobiography about Australian History; Robert Drewe; Geoff Page; Luke Davies; and a terrific piece by Wayne Macauley on independent publishing.

They're only the names I recognise or know; there's plenty more in this issue that I'm working my way through and enjoying thoroughly. And I love the cover of the journal itself, which for my money sits very comfortably in Meanjin's proud lineage of cover art.* It suits the formal yet informal feel of the contents, being hand-drawn and colourful, but utilising a formal gridding of the elements.

So congratulations to Sophie for her first issue, a job well done!

As an Australian Lit graduate, I just can't begin to tell you how chuffed the sight of this issue of the journal makes me feel. There's more on the way, as well, with another favorite literary journal, Heat, for whom I'm substantially changing one of my blog posts to make (I think) a bit more user-friendly. And the latest issue of that journal features Pavlov's Cat... gosh, this all tickles my whiskers immensely. Hooray!

*I'm amused that the version of the cover above (which is on the MUP site) is the older version of the cover, with my real name on it. I chose to change that back to my blog/print/press pseudonym because I made a decision a year or so ago just to do everything under that umbrella. It's not hiding -- it's a refusal to split myself into different parts (high art, low art, online, offline, literary, bloggy). And most people get my real name wrong one way or another (both first and last names), so it's often easier to be Duckie. So the version you'll see on the shelves says Ampersand Duck.


fifi said...

How excitement, and very well deserved too.

Your writing, the "informality" of which makes it so completely engaging, belongs right there where it is for good reason.

I think you overlap many circles of the literary Venn diagram. Well done Duckie.

Georg said...

Fantastic! Well done &D. I am going to have to chase a copy up here in the land-of-no-decent-bookshops.

Another Outspoken Female said...

Congrats! How nice to see the worlds of blogs and literature intersect. Hope the trend continues.

lucy tartan said...

We thought it was excellent how you used your Duck name for this.

David Nichols of Sars and Lorraine Crescent is in there too, he scribed Pip Proud's extraordinary essay.

Janine said...

Congrats and well done, Duckie! Your piece definitely belongs in there - it's a fantastic read :)

Ampersand Duck said...

Heh, I knew I'd miss someone. Sorry, David! And yay for bloggers IRL.

And thanks, everyone. As I said, I'm chuffed. And looking forward to the next issue to see what the next designer writes (it's going to be a regular slot, apparently!).

Zoe said...

I read your copy when I was doing my laundry at yours the other day (my washing machine died peeps, killed by a pair of five year old's undies), and heartily agree with everyone above.

It is magnificent, a wonderful piece of writing. You sell yourself short with this "other people do it all the time" guff. There are few who have your facility to talk about the creative process engagingly.

Well done you.

Mindy said...

Wow, I know someone famous! Congratulations Duckie. More to come I hope.

Bernice said...

Designing a book
Requires great skill,
A good eye for detail,
Ideas that will thrill

A mission for ducks
to fulfil with great flair
and leave in their wake
a design without compare.

genevieve said...

O, richly deserved. I will be buying Meanjin on Monday. Heat will come in my letterbox at some point. And this mighty Blog, of course, iz in my reader.
Feel quite smug about all that good reading to do :-)and dare I say, I'm not surprised a bit. Anyone who had seen the Book Studio exhibition down here (and elsewhere) would have grabbed you for their journal quicksmart.

genevieve said...

Hey, buy it online, Georg.

Ariel said...

I loved that post, so I reckon it deserves to attract a wider (and possibly quite different) audience in print. It looks like a great issue (and I love the cover, too).

Mark Lawrence said...

I haven't seen it yet, but I saw the 'In the next issue' blurb on the Meanjin website and saw your article mentioned. Congratulations, &D! How wonderful for you!

I'm scraping together my coins and saving up for the first issue edited by Sophie Cunningham. And not just because she a blogger, a Sars contributor and great writer and editor, but also because she has the great taste to publish you!