â€œMemory Makes Usâ€ A Prose Experiment
Kate Pullinger is conducting a literary adventure in Brisbane, and she needs your help.
Memory Makes Us is a collaborative multimedia project that puts the award-winning Canadian author in the hot seat, writing live before an online (and offline!) audience. Think about it â€“ every incorrecâ€™t apostrophe and mispspelled misspelled word will be published around the globe faster than a blazing backspace.
Itâ€™s all just the latest venture from the Institute for the Future of the Book, a literary â€œthink-and-do tankâ€ with independent branches in New York, London and Â Brisbane.
Of course, every good story needs raw material, which is why Brisbanites are being asked to donate a memory to the project. You can offer text, images or video from your own life. Those memories will then be woven into the project during a live writing event.
â€œThe theme of memory is very rich,â€ says Pullinger. â€œLost memories, forgotten memories, memories that surface unbidden when triggered by the smell of someoneâ€™s perfume, the sound of heels crossing a floorâ€¦â€
I caught up with Kate at the State Library of Queensland, her bookish abode for the next week.
CD: Have you done this before?
Kate: No, I havenâ€™t! But Iâ€™ve done live writing projects beforeâ€¦ I think thereâ€™s something about writing thatâ€™s performative anyway, and when you do it as a live event obviously more so.
CD: So the computer doesnâ€™t just save the final product; it actually records every little thing you do? Is that nerve-wracking for a writer?
Kate: Thatâ€™s nerve-wracking, absolutely. I just have to hope that I maintain my composure and donâ€™t start typing a whole heap of swear wordsâ€¦ I was up worrying about that last night…
CD: In a collaborative project such as this, who do you consider the real author?
Kate: Itâ€™s a big, participatory piece of work, but I think the thing you do need is to give it a narrative voice. That turns it from a mish-mash to some kind of unified text.
CD: How do you do that?
Kate: Ask me at the end of the day on Tuesday! Itâ€™s not going to have a beginning and middle and end. Itâ€™s going to have middles.
CD: Are creative writing courses in general keeping pace with new technologies?
Kate: In general, no. I think itâ€™s criminal. Itâ€™s a disservice to students. There are vast numbers of opportunities for writers, for new ways of thinking about storytelling, text, and writing… Iâ€™m an optimist.
CD: What advice do you have for writers trying to move into these experimental fields? The channels donâ€™t really exist yet, do they?
Kate: No. Look at whatâ€™s out there; think about social media and how you can connect with readers. But you donâ€™t have to become a technologist or a web designer. There are plenty of technologists and web designers around.
What: Live writing by Kate Pullinger
Where: State Library of Queensland
When: Tuesday, 9th July
Website: Submit a memory here!