When I was asked to be the Margaret River Press guest blogger for October, my first thought was ‘me? Really?’ As a writer, this process of questioning myself is nothing if not a familiar concept.
I was lucky enough to be featured in Margaret River Press’ 2016 collection ‘Shibboleth & Other Stories’, which launched earlier this year. Our wonderful editor Laurie chose my story ‘A House’, and this little story made its home in the collection amongst many other talented writers, whose blurbs at the back of the collection jolted me into an acute sense of knowing that in that book, I was keeping very talented and esteemed company.
This feeling surfaced again at the Melbourne launch for ‘Shibboleth’ when I and two other authors read. Our names were called before our readings, and a short biography of our prior work. The other two ladies were prizewinners, previously published in lots of other places and their names recognizable to many. Then there was me – never previously published at all – and I stepped up onto the little makeshift stage, feeling just a little bit like I was not sure if I had the right to be there.
This is the feeling I get every single time I pen a new story. It’s not just an apprehension about belonging, but more of an experience in self-doubt. I believe that there’s a tiny fragment of doubt that exists in the mind of the writer; whether it’s there from day one or only flares up when you’re trying to tell a story, I’m not sure. Either way, I find myself asking that question all the time – ‘me? Really?’
Why do I – why do all of us – ask ourselves these questions? We’re all storytellers. It’s how we communicate. When we talk to each other, trying to get our point across or trying to make someone else laugh – we’re telling stories. There’s a natural narrative that comes out of our mouths, whether we’re aware of it or not – turning to a friend and recalling something that happened the other day, that’s storytelling. The same goes for selling something at work or writing an email. The words are different, but it’s always a form of storytelling.
I suppose that means that everyone has the right to tell stories, whether they’re an author or not. But us writers, those of us who feel compelled to turn those verbal stories into something more concrete, we’re the ones who find ourselves questioning whether it’s okay; whether we have the right to tell stories and of course, constantly wondering if anyone is even going to listen when we do.
Kate_Glenister is a young writer, born and raised in Melbourne. She is in her final year of the Masters of Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing program at The University of Melbourne, where she is writing her thesis on reader response theory in relation to the representation of female bodies in text. Although she reads everything, Kate prefers to write short fiction exclusively, and enjoys experimenting with form, narration and point of view. She is on a one-woman mission to make second person narration a more widely written and read technique. An avid traveller, Kate has spent the last two summers in Europe to escape the Australian heat. This is Kate’s first published piece of work, and for that she is eternally grateful to Laurie and the team at Margaret River Press.