Ep 100: Elements 14 – Point. Cassandra Barnett talks to Pip Adam about a Wooden Croaking Frog Percussion Instrument.

First of all, thank you so much for helping us reach 100 episodes. I am very grateful to everyone who has been on the podcast and everyone who has listened. Thank you.

This episode marks the start of our season on Point. Again, I am still working out what I mean by this. I’m interested in the vantage point that we tell our work from. I’ve always called this ‘Point of View’ but I’m slowly wondering about how this term privileges sight. So, in this season I’m interested in ways of breaking this idea a little but to see if I can get at something interesting.

Cassandra Barnett and Frogs

Some of the things we talk about are:

Here’s a link to information about Kiese Laymon’s book Heavy

Here’s a link to information about Black Marks on the White Page edited by Witi IhimaeraTina Makereti

Here’s a link to information about Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me

Here’s a link to Cassandra’s essay ‘Wave, whip, rise, roar: The art of Mata Aho Collective’

Here’s a link to Cassandra’s work in Pantograph Punch

Here’s a link to Claudine Rankine and Beth Loffreda’s essay ‘On Whiteness and The Racial Imaginary’

Exercise:

What languages do you come from? If you’re writing in a different language are there certain useful differences in these two languages that could be utilised as a constraint? Take a bit of time to research your origin languages and write some constraints for an exercise. Then write.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

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Ep 99: Elements 13 – Plot. Ash Davida Jane talks to Pip Adam about ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle and ‘pool party’ by Ash Davida Jane.

In the fifth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Ash Davida Jane about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Ash Davida Jane (Image by Ebony Lamb)

Ash reads both poems at the start of this podcast but you can read ‘Kiss of the Sun’ by Mary Ruefle here https://www.ronnowpoetry.com/contents/ruefle/KissoftheSun.html

And ‘pool party’ is in Ash’s collection How to Live with Mammal is published by VUP

Some of the things we talk about are:

Heather Christle’s The Crying Book

Intan Paramaditha’s choose your own adventure novel The Wandering

Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story

Here is an interview with David Wallace-Wells who wrote The Uninhabitable Earth: A story of the future

Exercise:

Ash and I talk a bit about how much explanation or description or detail you can take out of an imagined world and still keep the reader with you. That is the exercise. Imagine a distant planet or this plant in the future and write it in as few details as possible. Maybe there is one key object or image? Can the senses help?

This episode was recorded at the IIML at Victoria University of Wellington. Applications for the 2022 Writer in Residence are not open. Read about the Writer in Residence here

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

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Ep 98: Elements 12 – Place. Richard Larsen talks to Pip Adam about the first Glass Vaults’ album ‘Glass’.

In this bonus ‘Place’ episode of Elements, I talk to Richard Larsen about the first Glass Vaults album ‘Glass’ as a way to talk about place and music in place.

Some of the things we talk about are:

We talk a lot about one of Richard’s projects Glass Vaults. Glass Vaults are Richard Larsen, Bevan Smith, Rowan Pierce + friends.

Bevan makes music as Aspen, Introverted Dancefloor and Signer. Signer has been releasing editions of his Isolated Dreams series of EPs onto Bandcamp at an impressively steady clip, since kicking off the low key project in October 2020. You can listen to Signer’s ‘Isolated Dreams EP07’ here: https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/18545/Listen-To-Signers-Isolated-Dreams-EP07.utr

Rowan Pierce is multi award winning artist who produces and exhibits work, collaboratively and individually, across a range of mediums including live performance, music, film and installation. You can see Rowan’s work in Te Mauri o Pōhutu a new series of collaborative installation and time-based artworks by Bianca Hyslop, Rowan Pierce and Tūī Matira Ranapiri Ransfield. https://toiponeke.nz/events/2021temauriopohutu

Glass Vaults is on Bandcamp and you can listen and buy their music here: https://glassvaults.bandcamp.com/

Richard also makes work as Richard Dada which is also on Bandcamp: https://dadada.bandcamp.com/

Richard mentions David Byrne talking about how architecture helped music evolve. Here is a TED talk David Byrne gave about this topic: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_byrne_how_architecture_helped_music_evolve/transcript

Toward the end we talk about the Glass Vaults’ song ‘Sojourn’. You can watch the video Richard talks about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4f95qIzBvE

You can see Glass Vaults performing live on RNZ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptTEY248pE0

Exercise:

Can you write something that takes place in more than one physical space at the same time. You could even search for a place that shares one of the name of the place you are writing this in. Maybe the place you are writing in has a nickname – could you make up an imaginary place which is a literal manifestation of this nickname. Thinking of: Hamiltron, Swamp Town, The City of Sails, Gizzy, The City of the Future.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 97: Elements 11 – Plot. Doug Dillaman talks to Pip Adam about Formula 1: Drive To Survive S3E9

In the fourth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Doug Dillaman about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Doug Dillaman

Some of the things we talk about are:

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a Netflix Original series which you can read about here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_1:_Drive_to_Survive

Doug’s film You Could Have Seen The Mona Lisa is showing at the 2021 Doc Edge Festival 4-11 June https://festival.docedge.nz/film/you-could-have-seen-the-mona-lisa/

Doug’s podcast which he makes with Steve Skeet and Darren Waugh is Ludicrously Specific

https://www.stitcher.com/show/ludicrously-specific

Doug’s feature is Jake and you can read about it and find out how to see it here:

http://www.jakethemovie.com/

Doug is on Twitter https://twitter.com/dillamonster

Exercise:

Think of a scene, or take a scene you have already written. Now tell it in the following ‘shots’: Drone Shot Fly-over, Establishing Long Shot, Mid-shot, Close-up, Close-up, Mid-shot, Establishing Long Shot, Drone Shot Fly-over. You could even storyboard it.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 96: Elements 10 – Plot. Laura Vincent talks to Pip Adam about her poems ‘ACTIVITIES’ and ‘Anecdotal happiness’

In the fourth episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Laura Vincent, Ngāti Māhanga, about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Laura Vincent

Laura chose two of her poems to talk about, you can read them here:

ACTIVITIES by Laura Vincent, The Friday Poem in The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/12-07-2019/the-friday-poem-activities-by-laura-vincent/

Anecdotal happiness by Laura Vincent, The Friday Poem in The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/10-01-2020/the-friday-poem-anecdotal-happiness-by-laura-vincent/

Some of the things we talk about are:

We talk about the work of Billy Wilder in particular his film Ace in the Hole: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043338/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_33

Laura blogs at Hungry and Frozen https://hungryandfrozen.com/ where you can also find Laura’s Patreon.

Other good places to find Laura are:

Twitter https://twitter.com/HungryandFrozen

Intragram https://www.instagram.com/hungryandfrozen/

TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@hungryandfrozen

Isochronic tones – you can listen to a selection of these here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrpFW99zAUaJT8cKmqeagkg/featured

Laura says: “This is the video I use the most for short bursts of Getting Work Done but I try to mix it up so my brain doesn’t get too used to any one sound. Also this one is weirdly such a bop once it gets going, like I would absolutely dance in the club to it.”

Exercise:

We start off talking about lists. I am very in love with this type of narrative structure. Could you take a story you know well and write it as a list of objects? Or a list of emotions? Or a list of people in the room? When you have this list, try to write something knew from it.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 95: Elements 9 – Plot M. Darusha Wehm talks to Pip Adam (Special Live-streamed Episode for Wellington Rape Crisis Annual Appeal Week)

To raise awareness, and hopefully some money, for the Wellington Rape Crisis Annual Appeal we live-streamed this episode of Better off Read on Sunday 2 May at 8.00 pm.

I talked with M. Darusha Wehm about their work with a special focus on narrative and plot. I’m particularly excited to talk to Darusha about their new work The Qubit Zirconium a riotous science fantasy novel from the smash hit game, KeyForge.

We don’t talk directly about sexual violence in this live-stream, but I do talk at the start of the episode, in a general way, about the work Wellington Rape Crisis does.

You can watch the livestream on PIp’s YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yazbjVRKrqE&t=215s

You can donate to Wellington Rape Crisis at https://wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz/donate-now/

M. Darusha Wehm (Image by Steven Ensslen)

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 94: Elements 8 – Plot. Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about a sound mixing board.

In the second episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Dan Kois about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. We’ll be talking about Plot until June. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Dan Kois (Image by Alia Smith)

Dan chose a sound mixing board as the object for our discussion about plot. We talk about the mixing board in this video

Some of the things we talk about are:

You can read about Dan’s novel Vintage Contemporaries here https://www.dankois.com/vintage-contemporaries

We talk about Laurie Colwin’s book Happy all the Time https://www.lauriecolwin.com/books

Jenny Offill’s Department of Speculation https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/14/dept-speculation-review-jenny-offill

Exercise:

Take a narrative you know well – it could be a TV commercial or a fairy tale – something relatively simple. Now write the narrative in three minutes. Now write the story following one of the other characters (you could make up another character). Then try this again, write the story following another character. The final step of this exercise is to turn these stories up and down – as if you had a mixing desk. You could literally cut up the sentence in each point of view and arrange them on a table or floor. What happens? You could obviously do this with some of your own writing – a scene, short story or poem.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 93: Elements 7 – Plot. Ingrid Horrocks talks to Pip Adam about water and her work Where We Swim.

In the first episode in the Plot season of Elements, I talk to Ingrid Horrocks about plot and narrative and what it is to write it.

There are four seasons in the Elements series. For the next three months we’ll be talking about Plot. I realised now I used the word ‘Plot’ because I liked the way it sounded with ‘Place’. When I talk about plot what I mean is how a story works. I’m talking about things like narrative and structure but also, something more basic than that – ideas like, Why are some of the world *in* the story and why are some *not in* it? What makes a story ‘finished’? What does a story need to do to make us satisfied?

Ingrid Horrocks (Image by Ebony Lamb)
Ingrid Horrocks (Image Ebony Lamb)

Some of the things we talk about are:

Ingrid’s new book is Where We Swim published by VUP https://vup.victoria.ac.nz/where-we-swim/

Ingrid wrote a great piece for The SpinOff about reading during a pandemic and you can read that here https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/28-03-2021/the-climate-crisis-is-seeping-into-books-and-making-them-really-really-weird/

In this episode we talk about two chapters in Where We Swim. You can read excerpts of these here:

‘On the Amazon’ https://www.newsroom.co.nz/readingroom/on-the-amazon

‘Days Bay’ http://www.ninthletter.com/horrocks

Toward the end of the conversation we talk about a paper Ingrid and Dr Laura Jean McKay are teaching at Massey called ‘Eco-fictions and Non-Fictions’. Here’s a poster for that course:

Exercise:

I really enjoyed the way Ingrid talked about crafting true events. I wonder if it would be interesting to keep your own ‘log’ for a week. Maybe set aside 5 minutes to free write about the day. You also might like to keep a link from the front page of a NEWS site for each day. At the end of the week you could see if there are any events that could be used to sort the work into a narrative. What would you focus on/pay more attention to in your next week of keeping logs? What would you pay less attention to? This could be an interested exercise to keep going for a month or so. You could either do your crafting as you go, or look at the log at the end of the month and see if it can be shaped.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 92: Elements 6 – Place. Ann Shelton talks to Pip Adam about her work The Witch, Pennyroyal (Mentha sp.), 2020.

In the sixth episode in the Place season of Elements, I talk to Ann Shelton about place and what it is to write it.

Ann Shelton (Image Bonny Beattie)

Some of the things we talk about are:

You can see and read about Ann’s work at her website https://annshelton.com/

Including ‘The Witch’ https://annshelton.com/works/a-lovers-herbal

A Lovers’ Herbal can be viewed on the Denny Dimin Gallery website here  —  https://dennydimingallery.com/news/virtual_exhibition/ann-shelton-2/

One important thing to note, because of the nature of Ann’s work is that the plants discussed in these texts, and their uses, can be dangerous, even lethal. These texts are presented here as background research for a body of artworks and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Do not mess with these plants.

Toward the end of the podcast we talk about New York being in lockdown for a year, we just want to acknowledge that New York was in varying degrees of lockdown over this time.

Exercise:

Ann talks about starting with a plant and composing around it. I wonder if this could be an interesting way to start a piece of writing. You could find out about the uses of a plant you see every day. Or you could start with a physical condition and find a plant associated with this. Then free write.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here:

Ep 91: Elements 5 – Place. Kerry Donovan Brown talks to Pip Adam about Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Samuel Whiskers’ or ‘The Roly-Poly Pudding’.

In the fifth episode in the Place season of Elements, I talk to Kerry Donovan Brown about place and what it is to write it.

Kerry Donovan Brown

Some of the things we talk about are:

Kerry’s essay ‘Queer Debris: A personal essay on queer love and loneliness in response to Sam Duckor-Jones’s People From The Pit Stand Up and Chris Tse’s he’s so MASC.’
https://pantograph-punch.com/posts/queer-debris

Exercise:

Kerry talks about how we can make things that are internally dramatic outwardly expressed in place/setting/world. You could think of a thing that is dramatic internally – an emotion, a memory, an idea – and express it as landscape.

Thank you Copyright Licensing New Zealand for funding the Elements series.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or listen to it here: