Who Owns the Words?

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potty series, was asked by her publisher Barry Kunningham to use just her initials (she made up the K), as he thought boys might be wary of a book written by a woman. Many people assume that Harper Lee is a man, Charlotte Bronte originally published as Currer Bell... Continue Reading →

Apathy in poems and quotes

Many of the wonderful ways that people have captured this most stifling of things: “We've forgotten much. How to struggle, how to rise to dizzy heights and sink to unparalleled depths. We no longer aspire to anything. Even the finer shades of despair are lost to us. We've ceased to be runners. We plod from... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: People watching

I love going to a nearby plaza or sitting in a cafe or on the train and writing about the people I can see. I observe their posture, facial expressions, and actions, and imagine how they are feeling and what they could be thinking. It's a great exercise for practising the connections between physical description... Continue Reading →

Writers: Stop counting your words

Writers' and journalists' pay and sense of achievement is often framed around a word count – and if that's working for you, fine. But writers shouldn't feel that daily-output counts or ideal chapter word counts are important to being a serious and decent writer. Though writing is work and requires commitment and regular practice, it... Continue Reading →

Naomi Shihab Nye – life poems

I love Nye's poetry because of the rich way it brings a new perspective to everyday things and the little things in life, while not shying away from the world's big horrors. Her first poem here is a great example of questioning the smallest things (and making them beautiful through that new way of seeing),... Continue Reading →

Tiny story: The amount of noise art makes

An abstract painting by a man with lots of time was on display at the national gallery and featured in television documentaries. It was heard loud and clear by lots of people: it had the loudness of a million people clapping. A first-world man's installations were featured in textbooks and in the state library. They... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercises: Quick creativity

Creativity is, in essence, new ideas, new ways of seeing things, new combinations of old things. Sometimes when we're writing - articles, novels, stories, songs etc - it can be hard to chill and get into a creative frame of mind. The following super-quick exercises can be helpful in opening you up to new ideas... Continue Reading →

Male lack of sexual self control does not exist

He was so horny, he just couldn't help himself.... yeah right. So we know that the idea of male lack of sexual self control is used to hold up rape culture. We also know that women, on average, get just as horny as men do (though within both those genders and among intersex people there... Continue Reading →

Aja Monet: “privilege is knowing there are parts of this earth occupied for your leisure”

I love how raw, strong, and to-the-point activist poetry usually is. There's no time to beat about the bush, no space to weave pleasantries into the systemic abuse. Aja Monet's poetry is like that. Her book, My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter was published last year. Below, a few snippets from it, followed by her... Continue Reading →

Stress and oppression can hurt or help creativity

  Today is a tough day. I'm dealing with stuff and there's a tight knot in my chest and work is taking twice as long because my concentration is off, to put it mildly. There is worry crying out from behind my head, knocking on my door, demanding attention - but it'll only make things... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: Combating stereotypes

In the story and creative world, there's two fairly obvious things wrong with stereotypes: They tend to reinforce prejudice and discrimination, and reduce the particular group of humans down to just a few elements (but people are complex and aren't just their appearance or intelligence or food choices). They are boring to read and don't... Continue Reading →

Nicanor Parra: “Solid-ground” poetry that is for everyone

“Estados Unidos: el país donde la libertad es una estatua.” (“United States: the country where liberty is a statue”) –Nicanor Parra Nicanor Parra, often described as an "anti-poet", died on Tuesday aged 103.  Parra was a Chilean artist and poet who rejected the formalisms of poetry and abstract, inaccessible, wankiness.  He was direct, blunt, unafraid,... Continue Reading →

Facebook’s latest changes are great for its profits and bad for independent media

Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would continue to de-prioritise shared public content like news, videos, and links and would favour “family and friend” content like personal photos and thoughts. He made out that “meaningful interactions” were at the core of the decision. But that's just thinly-disguised spin. Facebook isn't a social media company. It... Continue Reading →

3 short Adrienne Rich poems for a dose of realistic wood-stained hope

I like how her poems etch out a determined resistance using nature-based and human metaphors that link the personal with the political. Dreamwood In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see or the child’s older self, a poet, a woman dreaming when... Continue Reading →

The most unfashionable words possible

In these times where we are bombarded with bullshit, where news is advertising and advertising is entertainment and our minds have been made into sloth juice by meme-life and quick-fix social media, we have a duty to be unfashionable writers.  In these times where what we read - the food our brain is fed -... Continue Reading →

What to say to men who insist they should be able to say whatever they like to women

“It wouldn't bother me if I was complimented,” men often say when told that their street harassment or their comments on our appearance are a problem. Here's one bad-ass way you can respond. Start with a hypothetical about a friend who was in a traumatic car crash. Hanging out with that friend, we're sensitive to... Continue Reading →

Creativity exercise: photo challenges

A lot of people on social media are doing the 7-day black and white photo challenge, so here are some more creativity-provoking photo challenges to try. After you're done, you could even use them as story prompts or for mini writing exercises (with a vignette for each photo). Note, for these you could do one... Continue Reading →

Like jealousy stains, like the things that calm down hurricanes

Like cream in guitars Like jealousy stains Like the things that calm down hurricanes Like impotent roses Like wrinkles in the sun and goosebumps on the moon Like dreaming elephants and crying tigers Like trains without rails Like bottled meat and smurfed love Like the sound of him painting colourful skeletons Like the colour of... Continue Reading →

Art for sexual diversity

Over the past few months Australians have been subject to a postal poll on whether everyone should have the right to get married, or just male-female couples. In defending sexual diversity, Aussies have created some vibrant and inspiring art - with just a sample of it shared below: Source: ABC Artist: n2o_jo Artist: teganiverson Artist:... Continue Reading →

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