Q&A Monday: Louise Swinn 1 Comment

Q&A Monday: Louise Swinn

Louise Swinn. Female. Lives in Melbourne. Co-founder and Editorial Director of Sleepers Publishing. Writer of fiction and nonfiction. Book reviewer. Sits on a bunch of boards and committees. Dedicated, passionate and paid up.

Writing: necessity or luxury?

I write all the time but it’s hardly poetry. Lots of lists, quotes and thoughts and observations. If I couldn’t – if there was some law banning it – it would be murder. So: necessity.

You used to write a blog, and then you stopped. Why? And what does ‘blogging’ mean to you?

It wasn’t a blog in the strictest sense of the word really – it wasn’t chatty or even opinionated; it was just a list of the things I read that morning, with links. I stopped because it started being the case that the only things I was reading every morning were manuscripts (goodbye New Yorker subscription, ug) and also I didn’t know who my audience was – people didn’t comment much after they’d read, so it felt like talking to an empty room. Blogging – I’d like to think it’s a place to express yourself freely and quickly. But imagine if they were really anonymous and unconstrained.

Your short fiction has cropped up in top-notch publications like Meanjin, Best Australian Stories, Overland, New Australian Stories and Cutwater. What’s next for Lou Swinn, fiction writer?

I’m not happy with my writing. I’m not very good at nailing the words the way I want them to be. But I think I am gradually getting better at that, letting fewer soft sentences creep in. I think that today; perhaps tomorrow I’ll think differently… If I can write another couple of short stories that are really good, then if I could write a really knock-out one, that would be good. I used to want to write lots of books – now that I read lots of books I guess I just want to produce a decent sentence or story or one really good book. Sometimes, on the darker days, I think there are too many average books – I don’t want to contribute. I think perhaps all my stories are just one story and I need to find the best way of saying that. Just to write one knock-out story that I am really proud of. Ask me tomorrow and my answer could be quite different.

How goes it down there at Sleepers Publishing? Can you offer us a glimpse inside the sleek machine headed by you and Zoe Dattner?

Oh, Sam – sleek machine?! Haha. A glimpse inside Sleepers? Um, okay – we’re just two hokey girls trying our best to make a godfearin’ livin’ from some publishin’ of the literary variety… We drink lots of tea. We talk about writers and books and words we don’t like (panties) and how annoying the mean people are and how amazing the great people are. We drink more tea and we read and read and read and read and hope for the next great novel. We write grant applications and send out lots of mail. We giggle a lot at silly jokes – that’s kind of important to our business plan. Really, if we weren’t doing Sleepers, we’d be doing comedy or some kind of live entertainment act with snakes and Zoe on banjo.

If you could read anyone’s journal or raid anyone’s hard drive, through whose would you rifle?

Can I do the opposite — can I know less of that kind of stuff about people? I feel as though I’m reading everyone’s diaries all the time already. Don’t you? I sort of feel icky about that kind of thing. I wouldn’t go to a party I wasn’t invited to either – I don’t know why exactly, but it’s just not something I feel comfortable with. All the magic in the universe is contained in the knowing that there are things I can only guess – if I learn them, they lose their power.

The internet: friend or foe? Discuss.

Friend (are you crazy?)! It’s a tool I use hundreds of times a week and it makes so many things quicker. Of course, it has its drawbacks, of course – but then, so does chocolate.

You can punch one person in the schnoz and get away scot free. Who do you clobber?

Sam Newman. And I’d have nunchucks in my fist. Then I’d accidentally body-slam him to the goolies.

You’re an exile, banished to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. You are allowed one book and one album of music (in a solar powered iPod) to last the rest of your days. Any preferences?

Salinger’s Franny and Zooey & Everything But the Girl’s Amplified Heart. We can talk about them sometime you have a few hours.

Have you ever hit a cane toad with a golf club? Could you?

I guess I could if there was a reason good enough. Like, to save the human race or something. But, as a general rule, it’s not something I’d do with any ease, no. I don’t dig them particularly but I am a bit soft for animals and reptiles of the non-human variety.

  • Flatcat

    Totally agree about the word ‘panties’ – have always HATED it!!!

<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> <a href="http://links.idc1998.com/?fp=rWdSlwLO9WqCoC7JlEmzlgY9O6qNFQ64I8evtM4WwQ9lWWoMGPYt%2BGgKMQ3JVF6yemt%2F%2F68FGsuchPvyVifPEg%3D%3D&prvtof=CHGq%2FUyGWZaMD3Ppy6GPKYBgJcjD7aHyGlZ3S8QlWUM%3D&poru=4Or6X7fXUlPcrHY1s6kYCjfXHB%2FhwCF7S2mdR6kpAXR8ySO5tZJqxl142QY3%2Fp2LgGhbArgyyrZHAwPEGzCgww%3D%3D&type=link">Click here to proceed</a>. </body>