The taste of aluminum foil
I want you to close your eyes, just for a moment.
Think back to a time when you took a bite of kebab or a block of chocolate only to find yourself eating aluminium foil. It’s an integral part of making the food. Without it half your kebab would still be on the toastie machine and the chocolate would be melting through the paper wrapper into your backpack. It’s strange and metallic on the tongue and you probably spit it out. But whether you like it or not: it doesn’t go away. It’s still there at the edge of your food – holding it together.
Life’s a bit like that I think. It surrounds our art, gives it shape and gets inside it. In its raw form it can be uncomfortable, too hot, or beautiful in a way that’s difficult to explain. When I’m talking to people about the process of making new work I often remind them to do research about who’s making work that’s related in some way. Not just here in Queensland, but around the world. To find out what they like, what they don’t like, and how their ideas connect to what has happened in the past. This kind of research will give you a lot. In the end though the shape of the work is often formed by the things at its edge – by life.
Last week I had the pleasure of being an official “writer” at the amazing Queensland Young Women’s Forum. The event brought speakers, workshop leaders and musicians together with 50 young women from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to share ideas, discuss problems and find solutions. We heard from leaders in the corporate world, community organisations, media and others such as Magistrate Jacqui Payne and self-titled “banana doctor” Mumbi Njoroge. We discussed our own lives, debated our ideas of family and politics and picked up tips on everything from money management to boxing. I came away completely inspired by the uniqueness of each person’s experience. These were not archetypes – they were human beings. And many of them were crafting the world around them in the same way as I would craft a sentence. If you’d like to experience the stories I heard and tips I gleaned for yourselves, check the daily review. And don’t stop there – join the conversation. I can’t think of a better inspiration for my work or my life in general.
Newsletter image by Außerirdische Aind Gesund, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.