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Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 7: Snapshot Recap #ABCScreenTime

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Oooooooooboy. Technology and I are not friends at the moment, as such I am going to do a very quick recap and hope that uploads. You may have noticed that I’ve missed a couple of recaps. Soz. Will get back to them. 

First things first. Regular panelist Sami Shah is not there. Or at least not on screen. I usually worry that they don’t let him go home because he’s always on but now I’m worried that they’ve locked him under the desk because he’s not on. Could friends of Sami please check that he’s okay.
Secondly, the panelists are Benjamin Law (BLaw), Marc Fennell (flings spiderman underpants at screen), Nakkiah Lui (swoon) and Zan Rowe (sweet). Host Chris Taylor is there. Possibly sitting on Sami. Seriously, someone let me know how Sami is.
Thirdly they’re discussing Murder on the Orient Express and GoggleboxAu. I’m slightly worried that a tv show about discussing tv shows discussing a tv show about discussing tv shows will cause some sort of rip in the fabric of the universe and we’ll either be invaded by more of those Bernstain Bear bastards or I’ll be forced to go back to high school.

Views on Murder on the Orient Express:

BLaw loved the visuals. He enjoyed that it was cheesy.

Marc loved it. Thought it was bonkers.

Nakkiah Lui points out that it glamourises imperialism. And more damningly… her mother didn’t like it. That’s it. I was already a bit iffy about watching it but now definitely won’t. Said it was a bit self indulgent. It was all about Kenneth. 

Zan couldn’t understand why it was made but liked it. It was pretty but why when it has been done so many times before. It had a large cast but they didn’t get to interact like they do in great ensemble movies. 

And now let’s move onto GoggleboxAu.

BLaw says that it has made him fall back in love with Australia. It lets us know our neighbours and that they’re not that awful… unlike half the panel of Q and A.

Nakkiah points out that they don’t have an Indigenous family on the show and volunteers as tribute. Yes! Make it happen. I will watch it forever!!! She loves that it is diverse.

Zan says it’s a good catch up on the week. Is pleasantly surprised they cover SBS and don’t just cross promote.

Marc thinks that they’ve captured the lifecycle of tv and that’s beautiful. No, you’re beautiful Marc, you are. He says it works because it is set in lounge rooms and lounge rooms are relaxed.

Now it is time for show recommendations.

Marc recommends Star Trek Discovery. He is right. It is great. Might I also recommend Marc’s show on SBS? The Feed.

Zan recommends a doco, The Go-Betweens: Right Here. It’s on iView

BLaw is watching new Will & Grace.  I too love this show. Have all the previous seasons on DVD, will also get the new ones. Might I also recommend BLaw’s show, The Family Law, on SBS?

Nakkiah recommends Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. Might I also recommend Nakkiah’s show Black Comedy on ABC?

And that’s it from me.

Find episodes on iView.

Read past recaps here.

Check on Sami Shah here.

Buy my shit here.

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Stan Lee Deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature

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Stan Lee – image found on Wikipedia

​Stan Lee deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature. I don’t say this lightly nor to shock, I say this because I believe it in my heart and I know that others will too. Stan Lee’s contribution to story-telling and Western culture has been undeniable, but he is often overlooked as being just a comic book writer, not a real writer. People expect Nobel Prize winners to write literary fiction, poetry or historical texts that expose previously undiscovered information, but this isn’t always the case. In 2016 Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.’ Has Stan Lee not created a new dynamic expression within the great comic tradition? Did his works not breathe fresh life into comics? Did he not challenge the comic industry’s censorship? Did this not flow into other forms of story-telling? In the Fantastic Four Stan Lee began using more casual dialogue than comics had previously. The heroes weren’t always proper and formal, but real and at times funny, this has been adopted by the next generation of writers who have relied on more realistic dialogue rather than a stiff upper lip. Characters are now far more relatable to readers.
As early as 1908 the Nobel Prize in Literature broke from poets and authors and named Rudolf Christoph Eucken their laureate for his works in philosophy. The prize was ‘in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life.’ A beautiful sentiment and one that also applies to Stan Lee. Through his work in Spiderman Stan Lee began drawing real world problems into his comics. Spiderman had deal with anger, responsibility, impressing other teens and also doing the right thing. His youthful exuberance leapt off the page. There was a lot of humour but there was a real depth in the exploration of how and why we do the right thing and how and why we can be corrupted. Villains weren’t just some maniacal entity totally separate from us good people as had been previously depicted, but a potential part of all of us that we had to choose to be better than.
1936 saw Eugene O’Neill awarded the prize for his plays ‘for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy.’ Stan Lee reinvigorated the classical portrayal of tragedy. His characters are larger than life with powers beyond that of regular mortals and as such when they fail there is often massive collateral damage. These heroes are forced to atone and continue on in the face of torture, loss, and grief. And Lee not only depicts tragedy as that of hero versus villain but also hero versus self. The hero that has been hurt and wanting to lash out needing to decide what is right and if they will do it. It is something that each and every one of us faces every day. Do we react with pettiness or do we do better.
In 2005 Harold Pinter won not only because of his theatrical plays but also his screenplays. Yes, the silver screen has been represented in the Nobel Prize in Literature, they have recognized modern and visual story-telling as valuable. Of Pinter it was said, ‘who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.’ The X-Men would be one of Lee’s most famous examples of scrutinizing oppression. Each side has their own prejudices, and each side has their defectors. It isn’t simply mutants taking on nonmutants but humanity in general recoiling from what is different from them. And then the divide within the mutant community as to should they do the right thing and use their powers to help humanity or give the humans what they deserve for treating those that are different so cruelly. Mutants, nonmutants, there are good and bad characters in both camps. This is an insight into who and what we are, not merely a fantastical story with awesome characters.

Short story writers have even gotten a look in courtesy of Alice Munro in 2013. Other short story writers had been awarded but it was also for their novels. Munro was the first to be recognized as ‘master of the contemporary short story.’ Different forms and lengths are being constantly recognized in the Nobel Prize, isn’t it time that comic books writers and graphic novelists got a look in? Don’t you think it’s time for Stan Lee to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature? I do.

This year, the hauntingly brilliant Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The reason – ‘who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusionary sense of connection with the world.’ Ishiguro is a master of building in metaphor upon realism to give a giant that represents the human existence. His excellence is not in question. His deservingness of the prize is not in question, but I would argue that Stan Lee is also deserving. Perhaps 2018 should be his year. The person who takes toxic waste and mutant genes and uses that to make us understand what it is to feel different and yet be the same. The person who makes us not only embrace the other but to believe in them and root for them. The person who makes us recognize the bigotry in ourselves and want to be better. Give Stan Lee the Nobel Prize in Literature, please. Plus, it’d give us geeks a sense of pride and belonging too. It’d make us feel like our stories mattered.

If you agree then share this blog entry, if you don’t… a lab accident will happen and NOBODY will get super powers, to be honest it’ll probably be kind of horrific, so you should probably share just to be safe.

See the list of past Nobel Prize in Literature recipients here

Learn more about me here

Find out about how I cope with being a dyslexic writer here

Considering #MeToo

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Considering #MeToo

It happens in the arts too. Liz Hall-Downs eloquent #metoo.

Liz Hall-Downs

It was way back in the 1980s, I was a creative writing student and had published a few poems, and I thought it was time I got a bit braver and hit the readings scene. There was a hippy cafe near whereI lived in Melbourne that had a friendly and well-attended weekly poetry night and I had faced the worst of the nerves here over some months. Now it was time to try the pub readings. Yeah, ‘just add alcohol’. What could possibly go wrong?
You start out thinking, ‘This is a poetry reading, I am a poet, therefore I belong here’.

I could not have been more wrong.

The #MeToo hashtag in recent weeks has demonstrated just how all-encompassing and pervasive sexual harassment and assault really is, across all professions and all sectors of society. And it also demonstrates the extent to which women have been gaslighted, not believed…

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Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 1: #ABCScreenTime

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Screen Time ABC, Season 1, Episode 1: #ABCScreenTime

Today is the day, the very first episode of Screen Time. Chris Taylor, the host is looking excited. Excited and nervous. Excited, nervous, and desperate. You better like this show or ABC will axe even more stuff. No pressure. 


He tells us that we’re here to discuss movies, and television AND Youtube AND streaming and some other stuff. This isn’t just the reboot of At the Movies with the divine Margaret Pomeranz and scrumptious David Stratton, it’s At the Movies on steroids. More panelists, more mediums, more sexual chemistry. More more. But Chris is not just bringing intense personal magnetism, NO, he’s also bringing the smarts. So much so that he’s proving it by  flashing up a whole heap of numbers on the screen. Nothing says smart and sexy like data. If those graphics don’t justify why he gets to have this show nothing will.


Small housekeeping matter: I’m dyslexic, if you hate dyslexia and feel people with dyslexia should be mocked, go away.

Chris is introducing his panel of experts. There’s Sami Shah, Sophie Black, Zan Rowe, and Benjamin Law. Those of you who follow my recaps of The Book Club ABC will know I refer to him as BLaw. BLaw of the bare ankles…. What the deuce! He’s wearing red socks. I’m so confused. I updated his Wikipedia page to include his signature bare ankles and now he’s wearing socks. I’m scared. Hold me. No, not like that. Maybe he’s trying to draw the #sockwatch crowd over from The Book Club ABC? Now that they’ve been mercilessly axed.

But enough mourning, let’s engage with this new show. Chris tells us that they’ll be discussing Blade Runner 2049, which is a nice touch, a movie that’s new but already released so that we, the audience, have a chance to have an opinion too. It’s not a soon to be released with critics talking at us like so many other movie shows. Chris assures us that Ryan Gosling gives his most emotionally dead performance yet and that it was really long. Sounds fantastic. Let’s throw to Sami for his opinion…

… and he loved it. Sami says that he loved this movie despite this movie. He says that Jarrod Leto overacts more than ever, every women is crying and it fails the Bechdel Test, BUT it was cinematographically beautiful. He’s not sure why they seemed to insert a different movie into the middle of it and why so many bad acting choices were made but he loved it and everyone can shut up because it was pretty. Really, really pretty.

Sophie says that it was masterful and that it will stay with you for life. For life! And not just because of the kidney damage you’ll get from holding your bladder because it was sooooo long.

Zan is a bit more meh. It was pretty but hadn’t advanced enough. And all the mysteries were solved insultingly quickly. I hate it when story tellers insult their audience!

BLaw found it really current with the ecology issues and the cinematography stunning and said it made him feel like he’d smoked a giant bong…. overseas in a country where that is legal I’m sure. Put down your arrest warrants. He does mention that it is a bit whitewashed… or completely whitewashed.

Sami says that as a younger nerd he would have enjoyed Blade Runner 411 even more but now he knows that women are people too so that kind of spoiled it a bit. He credits the doco Born Sexy Yesterday, the Bechdel Test, and learning about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope with helping him develop in this area.

Chris says Harrison Ford was a better actor than Ryan Gosling. BLaw adds that Ryan Gosling is not hot. Finally, the important issues are being discussed.

The panel ponder that Blade Runner 2.0 hasn’t been the best in the earnings. Sami blames Trump and that people are stupid. Sophie says they need to appreciate the slowburn. Like a chilli sub?

And with that quiet pondering, the discussion on Blade Runner 90210 is over. Time for something new.

OMG it is glorious. I don’t quite know what is happening or why, and frankly I don’t care. All I know is that the greatest thing that you see this year is on television right now. It’s Sophie Monk inserted into the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. They have superimposed Sophie Monks’ head over Elizabeth Bennett’s and are using her responses from The Bachelorette instead. Get on iView right now because my description cannot do this justice. It is spectacular. Please do this every week. Can they introduce a Logie for best segment? I need to go have a lie down. But I can’t because the show hasn’t ended yet.

Broad City. Yes, they’re now discussing that quiet little runaway. They’re showing clips and there is nudity and drug use. Oh my. Zan loves it and wants to be BFFs with the main characters.
BLaw says that it is filthy and tawdry. If you know BLaw then you know that means that he loves it. He also randomly reveals that he works in his undies. Hopefully there will be a follow-up episode on this very important matter.
Sophie loves that it is depicting women delighting in each other. Sammy loves that this show is finally giving women what they really want, a female Beavis and Butthead. It’s like Sami looked into my very soul and said, ‘I see you.’
Sophie also likes that it is very much Abbi and Ilana’s New York and not Woody Allen’s or Seinfeld’s New York. Chris ponders on how New York is killing it at diversity and feminism copared to LA. Totes, not like Allen or Seinfeld would be guilty of anything like Weinstein….
They’re showing another clip from the show, it involves pegging and now the panelists are saying pegging. Just start throwing Logies at this show now. The ABC are now across pegging.

They now have to compare the show Girls to Broad City because they’ve both got ladeez and therefore must be compared. Panelists have the revelation that not all things about the womenz are the same. That the shows and characters can be different. Unlike real life where we only fit into one of five personality types: Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, or dull extra. I’m the dull extra. OMG, that’s such a Miranda thing to say.
Now they’re rating the five weirdest sex scenes. You can imagine the conversations amongst producers to get this segment in.
Exec 1: Viewers love those top five things, maybe we should do a top five relevant to the episode.

Soon to be fired exec: Yes! Finally! Let’s do top five female lead ensembles. Sex in the City, Golden Girls, Xena, Girls, Broad City, Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black, Pulling, Insecure, Daria. I’ve got so much to share with you guys. Picking just five is going to be hard. Or maybe top five sci fi shows…

Exec the third: You know what else people love?

Soon to be fired exec: Feminism?

Exec the third: Sex! Let’s do top five sex scenes.

Exec 1: Best idea ever.

So the top 5 were:

5. Howard the Duck

4. Avatar

3. The Room

2. Return of Swamp Thing

1. Showgirls in the pool. Oh yay, a movie full of abuse and rape is sexually comical.

Next the panelists get to recommend something to watch.

Sami: The Expanse

BLaw: Ali’s Wedding

Zar: Terrace House

Sophie: Tiny Kitchen

And that’s it. See you next week for more awesome talking about movies and stuff…. But not before a quick confession. I was in the audience so this is more of a director’s cut recap, has some things in it that hit the editing room floor. But the Sophie Monk / Pride and Prejudice mashable is definitely in there. Get on iView and watch it now. It will make your week!

Catch up on episodes on iView

Find Screen Time here

Find Chris here

Find BLaw here

Find Sophie here

Find Sami here

Find Zan here

Learn about the Bechdel Test here

Read about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope here

Watch Born Sexy Yesterday here

Find out about me here

I Need to Share This With You

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Today I went and bought an emergency pack of tampons. My period came two days early. I was caught out, in the wilderness of metropolitan Sydney. I rushed into a pharmacy, grabbed a pack of tampons, went to the counter where a young male scanned my tampons. At the end of the transaction he asked me if I wanted a bag. I had my own bag and so responded with, “no thanks, I’m just going to stick them straight in.” That’s right. I said, about tampons, I’M JUST GOING TO STICK THEM STRAIGHT IN!!!!

The guy’s eyes widened in a disbelieving horror that you could see unfolding over and over again in his mind as the visuals became more and more graphic. I finally cottoned on and said, “in my own bag.” But it was too late, we all know it was too late. I will forever be the woman who overshared with the checkout guy at Chemist Works.
For the record, I meant STICK THEM IN MY BAG NOT RAM A WHOLE PACKET UP MY VAJAYJAY…. but I did indeed run straight to the toilet and stick one, SINGULAR tampon in.
I just needed to get that off my chest.

Book Club ABC Season 11, Episode 7: #bookclubabc

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I’m just going to subtly post this now and nobody will notice that it’s super late. Smooth as silk. No complaints, people will just assume it has been here the whole time and not question it at all…..

Hooray. It’s the highlight of the year. My two great loves together as they should be, Sydney Writers’ Festival (why yes I am a volunteer, how can I help) and THE Book Club ABC with the incandescent JByrne. All is right in the world…. well, except for the fact regular co-hosts Marieke and Ace have been cast aside like last year’s hottest new author that is now being crucified for their follow-up novel having too many POVs…. but apart from that, it’s just dandy.

The title of this episode is Books That Changed My Life. Let’s find out if that means for the better or for the worse, like when Anne McCaffrey suddenly killed off Moreta right when you thought the day was saved leaving a generation of fans emotionally obliterated because we thought somehow she’d sneakily survive but NO. Firstpublishedin1983outsideofspoilerwhinezone!!!

The guests are George Saunders. See his debut full length novel get book clubbed here. Also the much esteemed Anne Enright and OMG she has chosen The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, one of my fav books EVER. You and me Anne, all the way, love your work, love your taste. OMG×2 Anne Enright studied under ANGELA CARTER. I am so excited that I am about to pass out! Next guest is Mikhail Zygar. He is clutching Confession by Tolstoy. A less well known Tolstoy about his spiritual awakening. JByrne breaks her own rule of starting to discuss the book before its turn. She’s not happy, apparently the book describes Anna Karenina as an ABOMINATION. I’m sure we’ll hear more about that later. And finally, Brit Bennett, who is the most spectacular speaker. If you ever get the chance to hear her, do go. She has chosen Beloved by Toni Morrison. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s a book about a woman who kills her own child to prevent her from going back into slavery…. I might cry during this episode. It’s such an amazing book. Very powerful.

Now it’s time for our first guest to present their book for discussion. George has chosen The Coast of Chicago, a short story collection by Stuart Dyvek. He loved it. It was about his city. He got to see the work necessary to change a reality into fiction. Prior to that, he felt that all good books were from the past, this book showed him how amazing contemporary literature can be. It changed his whole approach to writing. Now if this was a regular episode this kind of heartwarming attachment would be blown apart by either Marieke or Ace savaging it. Let’s see how the SWF guests go.

Anne Enright says that Stuart Dyvek is endlessly writing about lightbulbs, but he writes about them fantastically. He apparently also digs precipitation, and Anne likes that. JByrne points out he also likes to write about lonely people.

Nobody has hated it. JByrne realising her sassy compadres are missing has to bring in conflict on her own. She askes George what would he do if someone hated it. George says he taught it recently and half the kids didn’t love it. He didn’t flunk them. He accepted that Dyvek was doing something bold so would leave some people behind. Burn.

Speaking of bold, Bloody Chamber time. Brilliant retake in fairy tales. Lush, decadent, violent, and deeply sexual. Anne says, ‘it’s so good, it’s wrong.’ JByrne said she didn’t get how transgressive it was when she first read it. Anne said she told one of the stories to her two year old daughter to cure the pink problem. One can imagine it was edited slightly for a two year old?

Brit particularly liked Puss in Boots. JByrne says it was very Antonio Banderas in Shrek. Hmmmm, maybe Shrek needs to pay some royalties. Brit points out that the princess also becomes the ogre…. Did the makers of Shrek pay???

Anne loved the freedom to turn something on it’s head. She liked that you could work with opposites and reclassify. When Anne wrote The Green Road she thought, ‘I’ll do a female King Lear.’ Angela Carter had given her that freedom and flexibility in thinking and creativity. 

Time for Mikhail and Confession. JByrne calls it a spiritual midlife crisis. Mikhail says it’s more politics. Fight, fight, fight. Mikhail says it was more end-life, not mid-life. Tolstoy had stopped writing fiction and started becoming political and a leader of alternate Russia. A beacon for those wanting freedom. 

JByrne feels like it was metaphorical self-flagellation. He was lamenting his wild youth and him popularising Anna Karenina. Anne points out it is also a humble brag. He points out his huge achievements whilst seemingly undercutting them.

Mikhail says that the book is important to him because for him Tolstoy’s Russia is greater than Putin’s Russia. That there is the alternative that seeks freedom and expression, and Tolstoy is the symbol of that. Okay, Mikhail has won me over. I shall re-read Confession with new eyes.

Time for Brit’s choice, Beloved by Toni Morrison. A book that looks at how does a country deal with its past traumas. It is about a woman who escapes slavery and when she is about to be captured she makes the heartbreaking decision to kill her children rather than see them tortured, humiliated and brutalised beyond belief back in slavery. She is then haunted by the ghost Beloved, the child she had killed. The ghost eventually takes on bodily form and returns to her life. I am just going to go grab a million box of tissues. I personally have only read this book once but it is incredibly powerful and stays with you. George looks like he is going to cry too.

Brit says this isn’t her favourite Toni Morrison novel but it is one that she has read countless times because it does what she wants her own work to do. It is beautiful, it is brutal, it is important. The book does all three things and it centres around the black community. And it is highly nuanced. Brit says that Toni Morrison was not interested in looking at white people at all, what white people did was horrific and there can be no question about that, but what Toni Morrison looked at was the black community and their own responses to give insight and a voice to individual and community trauma.

Anne praises Beloved on how it is so perfectly structured in a traditional sense and yet does such amazing and innovative things. JByrne also praises the innovation. Anne calls it political writing at its finest.

JByrne asks how important is timing for when you read a book. George says it is crucial. Often great advice only has a two week window for being effective. Anne says we read in a searching way so timing is everything. Mikhail agrees, he says reading is 50% the writer and 50% who the reader is. So each time you read you’re a different person and get a different message. 

JByrne asks will books always be a force for change. Brit says yes. For example Beloved tackles what is still the most important question in American politics today, what do we do with the ghosts of slavery, and nobody knows what to do about it. I wish we could get to this point with the Stolen Generation and the White Australia Policy, but unfortunately we’re still denying that it was really that bad and not even up to wondering how to help.
And that’s a wrap. What an emotional episode. Loved it.

Find last episodes recap here.

View this episode or previous episodes here.

Find the Book Club ABC on Twitter here.

Find the Book Club ABC on Facebook here.

Find the Book Club ABC Drinking Game here.

By George Saunders books here

Buy Anne Enright books here.

Buy Mikhail Zygar books here.

Buy Brit Bennet’s book here.

Buy my book here

Read up on the Australian book industry in Robinpedia.

Love me herehere, and here.

Congratulate Marieke on becoming the festival director for MELBOURNE WRITERS’ FESTIVAL here. WOOOOOOOOOT.

This is my friend, I like her, follow her here.

This is also my friend. She’s a hotshot writer like you see in the movies. You should follow her here.

I have other friends, I really do. Find some here…. here… AND here…. and also very importantly HERE!

Find my idol here.

Find my guru here. Sharon also follows him, she can tell you about that here.

Are you following Tania? You should. She’s here.

And don’t forget Emma. You gotsta find Emma here. She’s rad. And she teaches me new words… such as blowie. Rachel can attest to that, find her here.

Find out something different you can do for #RUOKDAY here.

#RUOK 2017: I Challenge You To Do More

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R  U Ok Day is upon us soon. It’s a day that has people divided. Some say it’s fantastic and saves lives, others say it reminds them just how much people really don’t care about them because they only ask on R U OK Day as if it is some glib game. I’ve asked, I’ve done my bit, I’m a good person, give me cookies.

Love it or hate it, I challenge you to open yourself up and learn more about different mental illnesses this R U OK Day. Go to the library, or a bookstore, or online, and get a memoir that focuses on a mental illness. Really engage with lived experience, find out what real people went through, what they are still going through. And then when it comes to ask R U OK you might have something more specific and meaningful to say to a friend than a  simple catchphrase.

Here are some recommendations:

Madness: a Memoir by Kate Richards

This is a memoir about living with depression and acute psychosis. In the memoir Dr Kate Richards also includes notes that she wrote during episodes which puts you directly into the mind at the time of turmoil. A compelling read.

Eyes too Dry by Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli

This is an innovative, dual person, graphic-novel memoir. It explores depression and suicideal ideation. It is essentially the conversation between someone in deep depression and their friend as they try to navigate through depression together. Very unique.

Bloodletting by Victoria Leatham

Cutting has recently been much covered in the media, but often sensationally and with little understanding gained. Victoria Leatham talks about her own experiences with self harm and how it is related to anorexia and bulimia. A truly eye opening read.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

When it comes to bipolar few people have more experience than Kar Redfield Jamison. She both treats it as a psychiatrist and faces it personally. This book looks at bipolar from both the side of the doctor / patient equation.

The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis 

This is the memoir of the brilliant Maria Katsonis. Havard  graduate, world renowned theatre producer, obedient daughter and sometimes rebel. It explores how this incredible woman found herself in a psych ward fighting for her life.


My Life as a Side Effect by Milissa Deitz

A memoir that helps demystify depression. It gives details from Milissa Deitz’s journey, including self harm, relationship breakdowns, medication and therapy. 
The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

A memoir about Paula Keogh’s own experience with schizophrenia. It has been described as a coming of age story that takes a lifetime. 


Tell Me I’m Here by Anne Deverson

This has become a classic text to read on gaining some understanding around schizophrenia. It is written by Anne Deverson and explores her relationship with her son and her efforts to get him appropriate treatment and the horrors they both endured. It does not hold back on catastrophic episodes. 


Under Siege by Belinda Neil

Belinda Neil is a former police negotiator and homicide detective. Under Siege explores PTSD and its effect on not only work but also on her personal life. It is a very generous sharing of living with trauma.

Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness by Karen Tyrrell 

This memoir appealed to me greatly because it looks at how a teacher was brought to the brink and how she managed to come back. As a former teacher who has witnessed and been on the receiving end of workplace bullying this really hit home for me. This book is very thought provoking into our own actions and what we dismiss and turn our backs on.

Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish

The nature of substance abuse and addiction is explored in this compelling memoir/investigation by Jenny Valentish. From underage drinking to adult use of hard drugs, Jenny Valentish uses her own story and others to explore the nature of addiction, who is most susceptible, and what both treatment and mistreatment look like.  Her skills as an investigative journalism are on display in this book as she draws information from experts and sufferers alike.

Well Done Those Men by Barry Heard

Australian Vietnam Veteran Barry Heard shares his life before and after the Vietnam War. It explores how young mean were sent off to war inadequately prepared psychologicaly. It also gives an earnest and gut-wrenching look at his post-war breakdown.

Crying into the Saucepan by Nikki Hayes

The incredible memoir of someone who had battled with mental illness for most of their life only to be repeatedly ignored or misdiagnosed. Nikki Hayes had received many diagnoses such as depression, postnatal depression and anorexia before being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This memoir delved particularly close to my heart, because even though I don’t have BPD, I also had begged for help from various professional only to be fobbed off.

Small Acts of Disappearance by Fiona Wright 

This is a collection of ten essays about Fiona Wright’s experience with an eating disorder. The essays cover different phases of her illness including life threatening anorexia nervosa. Heartbreak and humour are combined in this moving memoir from a well known and respected Australian poet.

Things That Helped by Jessica Friedmann

This is a collection of essays about Jessica Friedmann’s experience with postnatal depression after the birth of her first child. Jessica Friedmann has achieved honours in creative writing and it shows. The prose is beautiful to the point of poetic. Fans of Fiona Wright will LOVE this.

And of course there is always little old me.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks by Robin Elizabeth

A direct, not holds barred, earnest telling of my time in a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression four months after the birth of my second and third children, twins. It is conversational, injected with humour, and includes practical tips.

So, on this R U OK Day, the 14th of September, I challenge you to go further than repeating a preprepared question. I challenge you to use the day to truly engage. Grab a memoir, bunker down, and find out what lived experience is like without interrupting. 
Add your favourite memoirs about mental illness in the comment section.

If you or someone you know has mental health concerns you can find good resources on the following sites:

Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Head Space https://headspace.org.au

Relationships Australia https://www.relationships.org.au

National LGBTI  Health Alliance http://lgbtihealth.org.au

The Children of Parent’s With a Mental Illness http://www.copmi.net.au

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia http://www.mhima.org.au/portals/consumer-carers


Some postnatal depression specific sites are:

Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/

PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/

PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/