Making Noise: Part Two, by Megan McGrath

Megan McGrath is the author of the novella, Whale Station, and winner of the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her acclaimed short work is published in literary journals and anthologies including Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, Seizure, Tracks, Writing Queensland and Tincture Journal, among others. Follow Megan on Twitter @megansfictions or visit her website megansfictions.com.

This is the second in a three-part series of columns on literary jealousy. This part appeared in Issue Fourteen and the rest will appear in the journal throughout the year. Please support our work and buy a copy today.

The Paper-House

I’m pushing along with the novel at a rate of two thousand words a day, buoyed by a weekend writing retreat that unlocked a few plotting secrets and changed the way I’ll write forever. It helps too that I’ve been reading rubbish books. Popular books by mid-career authors who have found a way to publish their mediocre writing about mediocre characters in mediocre towns, and I think if I can just keep going I might be able to break the back of this stupid long thing I’m trying to write. I think that if I can finish, maybe, I’ve got a shot at being ordinary, too. Somehow I’ve managed to make myself believe that being just OK and published is good enough.

But then I realise I don’t much feel like settling anymore.

When has OK been good enough for me, or for my writing? I realise I have 30,000 words of rubbish writing and an express ride back to uncertainty.

Continue reading

Making Noise: Part One, by Megan McGrath

Megan McGrath is the author of the novella, Whale Station, and winner of the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Her acclaimed short work is published in literary journals and anthologies including Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, Seizure, Tracks, Writing Queensland and Tincture Journal, among others. Follow Megan on Twitter @megansfictions or visit her website megansfictions.com.

This is the first in a three-part series of columns on literary jealousy. This part appeared in Issue Thirteen and the rest will appear in the journal throughout the year. Please support our work and buy a copy today.

I was in a foul mood when I went to buy Dave Burton’s How To Be Happy. The relentless heat had forced me away from my West End independents and into the air-con at Indooroopilly Shopping Town. In Dymocks, the book wasn’t shelved in YA or Australian Biographies, so I asked the elderly shop-clerk where it might be. I followed her to the Children’s Non-Fiction section where a few copies were squeezed between the DK history books and a make-your-own-skeleton kit. “Weird place to shelve it,” I said. She looked at me like I’d never read a book in my life. And worse, like I really needed this one.

At the counter she looked me in the eye and said, “You take care, OK?” Take care? I was reading the book because it won the Text Prize and Burton was a local artist doing great things for our community. Take care? I didn’t need to know how to be happy—I was happy. Three months ago I got engaged in Paris. Two months ago I won the inaugural Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award (QPYPWA). Last month I hiked the Grand Canyon.

OK. Maybe, to steal the first line of How To Be Happy, I’ve lied to you already. Maybe I wasn’t reading his book just because he was a talented local artist. Maybe I was jealous.

Continue reading