City Muse

Dear readers,

Once again, I’m sitting in my parents’ spare room, suitcase packed, Melbourne-bound. For some reason I feel nervous, as if I’ve never done this before. For today’s post, I thought I’d share a little something I wrote the first time I moved to Melbourne.

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Is there beauty in a skyline, a city’s fractured spine?

Trampled, photographed, built and destroyed, all by little people with hard heads, or hats.

You can’t own a city, but you still want a piece.

It’s my city. Our city. Not your city.

You’re never alone. You’re always alone. Too small, but filling too much space.

It’s hard to stay but harder to leave. It’s got you now, the city.

Maybe it owns you.

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Thank you so much for reading.

Yours,

Tamara Drazic

Multilingual Poetry Event in Iceland

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I had one of the most humbling experiences of my life. March 21st is the day of many things–World Poetry Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the final day of Nordic Multilingual Month. To celebrate this special day, Booktowns and Gullkistan got together to create Margmálaljóðakvöldi,  a multilingual poetry event in Hveragerði.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent Australia at the event, and read two of my own poems. I was extremely nervous, and my voice was a little shaky, but I had such a great time sharing my work. The energy in the space was incredible. There were people from Iran, Syria, Finland, France, Sweden, Iceland (obviously), and more, all there to read poetry in their native languages, and to celebrate art and cultural diversity.

You could really feel the love and warmth emanating from the readers and the listeners the whole night, and as we shared our work, we were all reminded of how beautiful human beings can be. The art museum, Listasafn Árnesinga, was the perfect setting, with thought-provoking modern art as a backdrop to the event.

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The Gullkistan family

It was such a heart-warming, nerve-wracking, and beautiful experience, and I am so grateful to Gullkistan and Booktowns for putting it together. It’s definitely an experience that I will always remember. Each reader was gifted a different book of Icelandic poetry, and I received a beautiful hardcover that is completely handwritten. It has quickly become one of my favourite things.

As always, thank you so much for reading.

All the best,

Tamara

(The pictures were sent to me by Kristveig Halldórsdóttir)

Spinebind Issue #4 Released

Hi everyone,

Wow, it has been a busy week, but as always, totally worth it. Issue #4 of Spinebind Magazine went out into the world today, and I feel like a mother waving good-bye to her child on the first day of school. I’ve done my job, it’s now out of my hands, and if I find a spelling mistake, there’s not much I can do about it. Scary stuff.

Today has been packed with final proofreading, final final proofreading, uploading, trying to figure out why it’s not uploading, re-uploading, blogging, and emailing emailing emailing. I’ve also just finished a couple of hours of freelance writing work, and a quick Pilates session. I definitely need to make good use of this productive mood. I’m forever trying to figure out a way to make it last for longer than a day or two!

Anyway, for now I think I’m going to give myself a break with a cup of tea, away from my email inbox. Then, hopefully still in a productive mood, I’m going to sit down and write some more.

If you’re interested in purchasing a print copy of Spinebind, follow the link below:

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1225672

If you’re a bit of a minimalist who doesn’t want any extra stuff, you can download the PDF for free here: issue-4

I hope everyone is having a great and productive day!

All the best,

Tamara

From the Vault – Childhood Poetry

Hi everyone,

A little while ago I was looking to see if I could find some of my old poetry, and I remembered a website that I used when I was 11 and 12 years old. It’s called Allpoetry, and it’s a place where people write and post their work, enter competitions, win points, etc. It’s kind of like Facebook but for poets. I was a bit of an odd kid, I know. I miraculously remembered my username (it’s too embarrassing to share), and reset my password. Now I have access to 22 poems that I wrote in the 7th grade. I spent way too long reading over them, getting nostalgic, and messaging the people who always commented to thank them for encouraging me, and to tell them what I’m up to now. Most of all though, I got a good laugh; my old poems are absolutely, awfully hilarious. It’s interesting to see how I grew in the year between age 11 and 12, and how my writing style matured. I thought I’d share a few of them with you so we can laugh about them together.

11 years old:

Happiness

The sun beams down and lifts my soul,
covering up the big black hole.
It brings warmth and laughter to you and me
and makes us feel so light and free.

Love is sometimes good and bad,
when you love someone other than your Mum and Dad.
Love is something that occupies your heart,
And when it ends, it’s just the start.

Sometimes love takes away your sight,
and all you can see is a beautiful light.
Coming straight from the sky,
Making you feel like you can fly.

Flying free like a bee that goes buzz,
but you have limited time like everyone does.
So insure your life with happiness and laughter,
and live very happily ever after.

Oh wow, how insightful (face palm)! It gets worse…

Here It Goes Again!

“Meow” Crash! Bang! “Oops!”
“Oh not again Puss In Boots!”
Squirming on the floor were my beloved pet eels,
The fish tank however was head over heels!

My cat has tried to eat them up,
considering the fish tank his personal cup.
He drinks from it looking nice and sweet,
but really he’s slurping a forbidden treat.

Even though he’s so naughty and bad,
when I’m angry with him, he looks sad.
I pick him up and cuddle him,
I see the knots, he needs a trim.

“Meow!” Scratch! “Oh the pain!”
It’s happening all over again.

Pet eels… really?

Here’s one I wrote the following year, when I was 12:

Mosaic

My life is like a flower mosaic.
Every day, representing every new
brightly colored tile.

Every day tells a different story.
Every tile shows a different picture.

My life story, told by art.
My secrets hidden underneath the tiles.

Surrounded by my family,
gazing at me with very proud eyes.

Every emotion, a different petal.
of the flower mosaic.

But the flower mosaic,
the work of art, is not finished yet,
as a tile is added every day of my life.
Causing it to grow and
grow.

 

I hope you had a good laugh reading my 11 and 12 year old poetry. I’m so glad that I have these to look back on, and to remind me where I came from. I wonder where the next 8 years will take me.

Thanks for reading,

Yours truly,

Tamara Drazic

 

 

My First Reading at a Literary Salon

Hello Everybody!

I apologise for being so absent lately; it’s week 10 of the university semester and I am well and truly in over my head. Something exciting did happen last Thursday though… I did my first ever reading at a literary salon. I was chosen to read three of my poems to a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Menagerie in Kelvin Grove. I felt the nerves all day, and no matter what I did, my poems wouldn’t stop playing on repeat in my head. I tried to read, but my brain-voice reciting my poetry drowned out Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Not even music could shut the poems up.

When it finally came to the evening, I had been at uni all day, and my nerves had kind of exhausted themselves. My house mates came to watch, and the other readers were my colleagues from my uni class, so the atmosphere was so comforting and familiar. It was a great experience, and although I flinched at the sound of my voice through the microphone at first, by the third line I felt just fine. I will be sure to share the link to the YouTube video as soon as it comes out.

As you may know, I’m going on a little trip to Melbourne on Wednesday, so I’ll definitely be posting about my time there.

Until then,

Yours truly,

Tamara Drazic

P.S. Submissions for Issue#2 of Spinebind magazine close in 6 days.

Writing Quote of the Day – Chekov

My lectures at university are full of great quotes by famous writers, and I always copy them into my note book so furiously that my hand starts to cramp. There’s so much to be learned from them, and the way that these writers word things always sheds light on a new aspect of the craft that I haven’t yet thought about, or fully understood. I thought I might start a little Quote of the Day series, in which I’ll share with you my favourite of the many writing-related quotes I’ve come across, either in a lecture or in my own research. Today in class my lecturer shared this great quote by the Russian writer, Chekov:

I’m not interested in answers, I’m interested in questions.

This quote accompanied a part of the lecture that discussed novels as expansion devices. They don’t have to have the answers to everything, but they should raise questions, and discuss them. In my lecturer’s words, they should expand the universe. Literature is a part of an ever-flowing discourse, and I find it so exhilarating that, as writers, we can have our say.

I hope you enjoyed this,

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

It’s Launched

Hi everyone,

After spending all day yesterday planning, budgeting and designing, I have launched the website for my new literary magazine, SpinebindI am so overwhelmed by the positive responses that it has gotten so far. I have had many messages from people excited to submit, and also many from people who are willing to help me make this dream a reality. I can already see the community-building effects of starting this magazine, and it’s amazing. I started receiving submissions just hours after launching the magazine, and I’ve been in contact with people from the other side of the world who are interested in getting involved, whether it be submitting or even helping financially.

I spent today designing the front cover of the first issue, and learning how to use the publishing software that will allow people to read it in a flip book format once the first issue is released. There are so many things to learn but I’m enjoying every little bit of it.

It’s crazy for me to think that an idea that has been sitting in my head for years is finally out in the world. I was a little nervous to share it with my writing group at first, because I was afraid that they might think that I think I’m better than them in some way. Of course this magazine has nothing to do with status or ego, but I was so worried that people wouldn’t get it. On sharing it with my writing group however, I was blown away by the positive responses. They were so excited and supportive, and have been helping me immensely with getting the word out. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people.

I am so thankful to absolutely everyone who is helping me with this project, even if it is just a word of encouragement. I will be taking submissions for the first issue from now up until the 20th of February. If you are interested, head on over to the Submissions tab.

I feel like shouting “Thank you” from the rooftops.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic

Starting my own Literary Magazine?

Good morning/afternoon/evening!

Every year, the Christmas holidays are a time for me to read, write and submit like crazy before the new year starts up. It’s like my years start in March and end in November, and the months of December through to February are for me to catch up on all the things that I meant to do, and didn’t. These Christmas holidays I have been frantically submitting to literary magazines while searching for other writerly/editorial jobs that I could be qualified for. As you can imagine, the job hunt hasn’t been very fruitful.

Instead, somehow the internet world took me from my original search,
“junior editorial jobs Brisbane”, all the way to “starting your own literary magazine”. Ever since I was about thirteen, it has been a dream of mine to be the editor of my own magazine, but I researched myself out of trying it because of the saturated, dying market. Today I decided to stop letting money and possibility of failure stop me from trying something that could be fun and exciting. A kind of new years resolution.

So today is the first day of planning. I am going to work really hard at this and try to produce a high quality online magazine full of the things I love most – short stories, poetry, extracts of long form prose, personal essays, and one or two opinion pieces per issue.

This magazine will be aimed at new, not necessarily young, writers, and I’m going to try my hardest to pay my writers at least a very small amount to start off with. I want to show them that their work is valuable and valued, even though I won’t be able to pay market rates. I know that this will most definitely cost me money rather than make me money, but it’s a passion project and at this point I really don’t care. I’ll make money elsewhere.

This is my project for twenty sixteen, and I am so excited about it. Hopefully by next year, I’ll have a couple of issues out and can give you all an update on what I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made, and the fun and stressful times I’ve had. I’m diving in.

I hope that this post has motivated someone to just go ahead and try something a little crazy. It’s the new year, after all.

Thanks for reading, as always!

Tamara Drazic