we are all travelling

I am a big fan of scheduling a post; it makes life very convenient to pre-draft something and then poof into the interwebs at a later and appointed time. Often I like this time to be 11.11.

This means I can be on the plane heading home from a funeral and pretending to be – some 20+ hours in the future – in a really really good mood and talking about this great event that Betsy Turcot and I are hosting (proxy for the inimitable Thomas Day) Words or Whatever on 16 November at 6.30pm.

You may have heard about it?

What I do not love about scheduling a post, however, is that it then doesn’t feel very fresh or very alive and there is something very fresh and alive about Sally that I would like to give fair energy too. So forgive me, fellow traveller, if I’m not as good as I could be. I like to think that Sal’s energy, however, will get us over the line.

For Sally too, is a traveller. On a journey, moving through the challenges, obstacles and learnings of life to get greater understanding of her role, purpose and value.  Consider for a moment her background as a human services worker and you’ll know that she’s not stuffing around on what the challenges and learnings can be. She is taking life with both hands and embracing it. That said, she also can “enjoy the moments where life is peaceful and I can stop and enjoy the view” even if she is quite driven about tackling the new experiences that lead to growth.

Like many of our features and featurettes, Sally says she writes to express herself and her journey, to move things beyond internal thought and worry into a shared, more human experience that can be experienced by others.

I admire Sally for finding inspiration from writers as diverse W.B. Yeats (her initial poetry love) to Brisbane writer Kylie Johnson. And I blush when Sally says that Betsy and my work has inspired her for the “rhythm, words and representation of queer women”.

It’s not easy to start sharing your work in public, I remember, very keenly how terrifying that act seemed to me before I had ever done so, and still seems so very often. Sally is still seeking advice as she develops as a writer and has found the act of sharing her work, receiving feedback, advice and guidance to be incredibly positive.

We have asked all our features if their gender, their experiences as a woman matter to them as a writer. It’s a simple sounding question, but loaded with meaning and ripe fodder for discussion, in the way that it is asked, in the fact that it is asked at all, and I certainly won’t pretend that I’m inured to the complexities of the question itself or not conscious of the pressures it evokes to answer it.  I’ll let Sally, therefore, speak for herself in answering that question which asks us to expose so much of who we are.

I have been inspired by other female poets, and I hope to contribute to their voices.  My words have been written from my perspective as a woman who is gay, and who has experienced an unique set of events that have made up my life.  Just as everyone else has a unique way of seeing the world.  I hope that other people, and especially other women, can identify with the stories, themes, and emotion in my work.

Having had the pleasure of reading some of Sally’s work, I can attest to the fact that it can be ambiguous, that there is as much left unsaid as said. In part, you get the impression that Sally’s poems are snippets from deeply held personal conversations with herself and those intimate and important to Sally. Hopefully, those listening on Friday night will feel this intensity and be able to find their own place in those stories.

Sally is a human services worker in the LGBT community, who can help but get involved in queer community events and volunteering, simply because life isn’t busy enough, and there is always something else to be done!  She is very passionate about creating spaces for LGBT people to connect and find a sense of belonging, and is inspired and motivated by watching others grow, change and find comfort and pride in their identity.  Sally has been writing poetry for a very long time, and has enjoyed stumbling upon the spoken word community and has found her own sense of belonging there.  Words or Whatever will be her debut performance… and she is very excited and nervous!

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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