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Sunday, April 22, 2007

True confessions of a porn store writer-in-residence (Part I)

[Kids: off overseas again tomorrow for the week. Posting will be sporadic and shitty. Say hi!]

Steve J from Finance & Payroll says I can’t claim my reimbursables until I send in a completion report (clause 17 apparently). Anyway, here it is – my account of my time at the Happy Beaver.
My name is Matthew Parrott. I’m a pretty well known science fiction writer (in local SF circles). I’m pretty well a regular at DownUnderCon in Brisbane every year (except for 2005 when me and Frank and Mike got frozen out when everybody took sides over the Darth Maul origin dispute) and I was once a reserve panelist at MegaEarthCon in Pittsburgh in 2001. My best known works are Adventures of Shevek Hurj on the Time Glacier and Garazor! Shevek Hurj at the Face of Pain. You used to be able to get them through Amazon but they’ve been out of print for a little while now. You can still pick up the odd second hand copy. (They sold quite well in the Rocky Mountain states and there was a great Italian translation (so I’m told).)

But Face of Pain really burnt me out. It was a very personal book and I was going through a lot of emotional pain. My girlfriend of six weeks left me (I was thinking she was going to move in with me) and I lost my iPod on the train to Sydney. I also twisted my ankle rather badly. So when Shevek was being tortured by the An-Harbel commander in the Chamber of Tears on Planet Zaith and he cries out: ‘Oh Earth Alliance why hast thou forsaken me!’ and tears form on his cheeks ‘like cherubic asteroids’, I was really writing straight from the heart and channeling my own inner torment. After that book was finished, I was unable to write (although I had a neato idea for a confrontation between Shevek and his half-twin brother, the evil Angarak, I just couldn’t draw water from the primeval fires of creativity no matter how hard I yanked…).

So I was looking around for some kind of inspiration to fire up the ole mental ion drives and I saw the ad in the Eastern Suburbs Community Messenger for opportunities under your Community Arts Outreach program (or Community! Arts! Outreach! as you insist on calling it; clause 3 I’m told). Anyway I applied under the ‘exciting opportunties for serendipitous cross-cultural pollination.’ I spoke to one of your admin guys, Mark, on the phone (he normally works in Parks & Gardens apparently but Culture, Recreation & Special Needs specially needed him more).

Me: Hi, I’d like to apply for one of those cultural outreach thingies.

Mark: OK, what do you do?

Me: Huh?

Mark: What’s your thing? What do you, you know, have to do with the arts?

Me: The arts? Oh, right, yeah, I’m a science fiction writer.

Mark: And what else are you interested in?

Me: [Long pause]. Porn.

And that was really the start of it. I just couldn’t think of anything else to say. It was either that or TV and if I said TV, he’d ask me what on TV and I’d say Star Trek and Star Wars and Star Gate and we’d be back at square one.

Mark took down my details and promised to call me back. Later that week he called and said the Cultural Affairs Manager was looking at my expression of interest sympathetically. She said that “my concept was promising in its potential transgressiveness and its absurd lack of deference for traditional genre boundaries.” Also they were quite light on for applications this year. I was in!

Next time: boldly going where plenty of men have been before me! Getting into the Happy Beaver…

6 comments:

Rosanna said...

Very interesting! Better luck for next time.

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