Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting to know our four writers-in-residence a bit better, before we publish their first pieces for you to dig into! Today, meet Callie Doyle-Scott.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I finished my studies in 2013 with an Honours degree in Creative Writing, but I still love to research, particularly if it involves history or food or any combination of the two! I spend a lot of time piecing together old menus and figuring out why people ate what they did. At the moment I’m reading through a pamphlet, complete with recipes, written by an English Squire named Vincent Holt, who advocated the eating of insects to supplement the diet of the poor. Of course, the only way to really know what his creepy menus tasted like is to try them for myself, and while baked moths on toast don’t sound too appealing to me, locusts fried in walnut butter do sound like they’d crunch delightfully between the teeth. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have to write an article about them!
What drew you to apply for the residencies?
I love deadlines. Is that masochistic of me? I really, really love having a date to work towards: it holds me accountable. I like to think I’m productive when left to my own devices, but it’s so easy to get distracted. There’s always a new book to read or work to go to or snails to cook in garlic. But with a deadline, the words I have to write by the due date are always at the forefront of my mind. My life rearranges itself around my writing, not the other way around. Of course, the pressure might make me stress at first, but seeing a blank page fill up with words (good or not!) is always worth the headache.
What would you like to get out of the program this year?
Aside from the chance to write articles for such an amazing publication and work with a group of brilliant writers? I’m a horrible self-editor: once I start I can’t stop, and the number of perfectly passable pieces I’ve ruined by editing them into the ground is embarrassing. By working alongside the Feminartsy team and the rest of my residency cohort, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to learn how to tell my inner editor to leave me alone until I need her.
What’s the best book you read in 2015?
I’ve been staring at this question for a good ten minutes: I’m completely stumped! If I have to choose, and if I’m cutting out any old favourites… I’d have to pick The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Design. It completely captivated me. Catherynne M. Valente tells her story with all the trappings of a traditional fairy tale, from structure to plot to beasties and bogles. You could add ‘Once Upon A Time’ to the first sentence and mean it. It’s escapism that buries itself in your bones and fills your dreams with literary wyverns, kind-hearted lanterns, tsukumogami and a heroine I desperately wanted to be friends with, all capped off with a villain far more chilling than the pointlessly brutal Game of Thrones psychopaths that are popping up everywhere these days. It’s bright and menacing, with enough beauty and wonder to make Death seem pleasant. I adore it. I’m addicted to it. It’s in my head and my heart and it won’t let go.
What do you like about living in Canberra?
I love how green Canberra can be. I moved down to Melbourne for four years to study my creative writing degree, and spent most of my time living in the city centre. It was an amazing experience, what with all the food and laneways and kamikaze pigeons, but living day after day surrounded by endless concrete almost drove me mad. By contrast, Canberra has trees and patches of grass to lie on and possums scrapping on the roofs at night, even in Civic. I can take a walk by the lake and not have to worry about being jolted out of my thoughts by a truck honking at a cyclist just beyond the treeline. Why would I want to live anywhere else?
What’s a topic you would like to see written more about?
I’d love to see more stories about Queer and Transgender characters, with a focus on their experiences with gender dysphoria and life in general. Trans men and women all over the world are being recognised and accepted in ways that would have been impossible just a decade ago, but trans individuals just coming out are still quite limited when it comes to finding advice and perspective on what they’re feeling. If more people wrote about what they’ve been through, it might help trans people all over the world feel less alone, and remind them that they don’t have to have Caitlin Jenner’s bank account to be happy in their own skins. I know that it would have helped me.