High tech neighbourhood watch, aka the Brisbane Airport control tower.
Go to sunny Brisbane, they said.
It’s a gorgeous 24 degrees there, they said.
Spend all day in the office running trainings and meetings, they said.
Dude at airport scanner as he puts my backpack on the conveyor belt: No aerosols in your hand luggage?
Me: *shakes head*
Me: *continues shaking head*
Dude (who is also bald): Hair spray?
“Now that’s the right amount of cheese,” said Nadia at brunch this morning.
The results speak for themselves, I think :)
Maggie gets super excited when Nadia and I get home from anywhere, and she has different ways of expressing this excitement. Usually she’ll tear out the front door when we open it, run into the yard, grab her rope toy, and want us to play tug with her, like, right, right now. If we’re not too tired, one of us usually will.
Nadia does a lot of cool stuff, but she’s not the best at telling the world about it or at celebrating her successes. That’s where I come in :) Going forward, I’m going to write about all the fantastic stuff she gets up to.
To kick things off, here’s some of the fabulousness she’s been up to this year…
Nadia has had two publications so far this year — one creative, one academic.
August in Lahore
On 13 March ‘August in Lahore’ was published in Issue 4: Performing gender of Not Very Quiet (“a twice yearly online journal for women's poetry”).
On 1 May ‘Poetic encounters: Language, sound and poetry’ was published in Issue 9.1: Inhabiting language of Axon (“an international peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the characteristics of creativity and the creative process.”) .
Sound is essential to poetry and poetry is an essential element of human language. As a simultaneous trilingual engaged in the study of multilingual poetic expression, I will use the development of my own plurilingual poetic ‘instinct’ to map the location of poetry within and between languages. I argue that poetry does not grow out of language so much as inhabits the basic aural building blocks of language, the potential for it existing always just beneath the surface of speech. This is tested by examining multilingual poetry as well as translations of poetry across languages to see what is lost and what emerges.
Nadia isn’t just a publishee, she’s also a publisher.
Australian Multilingual Writing Project
On 6 May Nadia published Issue 2 of the fantastic Australia Multilingual Writing Project (AMWP).
AMWP is the first ever journal of multilingual writing that includes both the text and audio of the pieces published.
This project aims to provide a space to showcase some of the linguistic complexity that resists and persists in Australia today. Multilingual people often engage in what is referred to as ‘code-switching’, which means using two or more languages at the same time in the same piece of communication. Most of the time, this multilingualism is discouraged, seen as demonstrating a lack of proficiency, considered a ‘pollution’ of the dominant language (English), and so on.
This space is different.
Here, multilingual writers can mix their languages with English to their hearts’ content. The work we publish demonstrates the linguistic, aesthetic and creative reach of multilingual writing and seeks to interrupt, enhance, challenge, and generally complicate, the flow of English.
Nadia participated in two events at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF).
Future of Language
‘Future of Language’ was a “special mini-series collaboration with EWF” in which “four poets explore multilingualism in the many forms it takes”.
Since this was part of EWF’s digital festival, the output wasn’t the usual text and audio publication, but a video. This video was included in a poetry installation launched on 24 June and is also available online.
‘Multilingual Writing’ was a conversation with Gabriella Munoz in which they discussed “the art and challenges of writing across languages”.
This was part of the National Writers' Conference (“Australia’s largest gathering of emerging writers”) on 22 June.
Nadia performed her poetry at five events this year.
Black and White
On 23 January she performed at ‘Black and White (Clichés & Expectations: A Rebellion)’, a spoken word event organised as part of ‘Lisa Skye’s Harehole Takeover!’.
We're here, we're queer, and we're not simple caricatures of a lifestyle. We're a diverse group of disparate voices with unique stories and experiences. Screw the boxes seeking to contain us, this is a night to challenge the norm: hetero, homo, gender and anything else binary and boring.
On 29 January she was invited to perform at ‘Rapid Fire’.
With over 35 past incarnations under its belt, Rapid Fire is both the longest running spoken word event at the Hare Hole, and its most popular.
Rapid Fire's recipe for success is simple: give 12 writers 6 minutes each, draw the order from a hat and ensure that nobody goes over time. This formula provides the perfect platform for writers to refine, condense and edit a story, while providing ample time to display their literary brilliance. It is a win for writers and audiences alike.
Love Letters to Feminisms
On 9 March she performed at the Closing Performances of the ‘Love Letters to Feminisms’ series for International Women’s Day 2019.
Love Letters to Feminisms sees Footscray play host to an exciting series of events exploring feminism in its many complicated dimensions. The group exhibition presents selected works from twenty female-identifying artists – all based in Melbourne. They include artists from First Nations backgrounds, refugee and culturally diverse backgrounds, as well as current asylum seekers, newly arrived migrants, LGBTIQ artists and others.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an afternoon of talks, a special session on feminist life drawing, and will culminate in a live performance event at an accessible venue on Saturday 9 March to mark International Women’s Day.
On 17 April she was invited to do a reading at ‘Synthetic Heat Reading Series 2.1’.
Synthetic Heat is an evening of performed poetry, prose, and graphic storytelling. The series centres on nonfiction, which can be understood as writing that is tied closely and referentially to the flesh-world our limbs are entangled in. Or, as Maggie Nelson’s describes it: ‘interesting prose that bears witness to fact, life, and the problematics of having a body in spacetime.’
Co-curated by Melbourne writers and artists Eloise Grills and Ellena Savage, Synthetic Heat throws into relief some of the most invigorating ideas-based lyric storytelling that is emerging from the outside the usual literary establishments.
On 31 May she was commissions to write for ‘these words’, an art exhibition at KINGS.
'these words' considers how artists incorporate language into their practices, challenging the dominance of English in a linguistically diverse country such as Australia. The exhibition explores how language acts as both a unifying force and a barrier; an integral tool for understanding our own culture as well as the culture of others.
Writing accompanying this exhibition is by Nadia Niaz, creator of The Australian Multilingual Writing Project. Nadia is a writer and academic whose work investigates multilingual creative expression, particularly in poetry, the practicalities and politics of translation, and language use among third culture kids and other globally mobile cohorts.
One thing most people don’t know about Nadia is that she is also a narrator. She narrates short stories for EscapePod (“the premier science fiction podcast magazine”); PodCastle (“audio performances of fantasy short fiction and all its subgenres, including urban fantasy, slipstream, high fantasy, and dark fantasy”); and Cast of Wonders (“the leading voice in young adult speculative short fiction”).
This year so far two of her narrations have been published (another is in production):
Finally, Nadia is also an editor. Her biggest editing project this year has been on a major report for a local non-profit.
Lots more to come
But wait, there’s more! We’re only half way through 2019 so stay tuned for more of Nadia’s awesomeness to be featured here :)
We’re heading into a rainy work week in Melbourne, but at least Saturday was nice and sunny.
Maggie was not amused with all my photo taking, though. She wanted me to play tug with her.
She did keep chewing on that rope toy quite happily, though — with only the occasional distraction.
And she followed me indoors afterwards.
I’ve been really good these last couple of months: I’ve spent Sunday afternoons cooking things that Nadia and I can have for dinner over the following week.
Today I made three things! From left to right: machhi saalan (masala fish curry), tamatar saalan (tomato curry), and ginger chicken.
I’m super happy with how they turned out and I’m looking forward to eating all this during what’s going to be a super busy week for both of us.
Last week I paid a man a lot of money to screw a bolt into my skull. Which is a fun way of saying that I got a dental implant.
This is me in the waiting room at Melbourne Periodontal on Friday morning. I'd taken the day off from work. (For obvious reasons.)
90 minutes later…
This is me immediately after the dental implant procedure.
And this is me in the lift on my way out. I am now the proud owner (implantee?) of a shiny new titanium dental implant :)
It was a grey, dreary, six degrees on our walk this morning — complete with intermittent drizzles. On the bright side we both to go wear or puffer jackets :)
“Yes, it’s cold and wet. Yes, it’s drizzling. But I need to eat my greens.” Bonus fluffy butt in a stylish doggy puffer jacket.
I’ve been wanting one for years, but a few weeks ago I finally went out and bought myself a telescope :)
Sadly, I haven’t had the chance to do much star gazing these last few weeks — partly because I’ve been busy and partly because it’s been cloudy on almost Every. Single. Night. that I’ve been free.
To look at the stars your best bet is to go to a place with minimal light pollution (ie away from a big city) on a dark night (ie when there’s no moon). So far the most I’ve been able to do is the exact opposite: set the telescope up in my front yard on a full moon night. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
That might be worst set-up for looking at stars and nebulae, but it’s excellent if you want to look closely at the moon :)
So while I haven’t yet made the most of my intermediate-level telescope, at least I’ve been able to a good look at the moon.
It’s a start.
Another year, another birthday. (Which, of course, is the very definition of an annual day to celebrate your birth.)
This year we celebrated Nadia’s birthday with dinner at my sister’s house while watching the men’s cricket world cup.
And we got Nadia to blow out only once scented candle — which she was quite okay with :)
One of the perks of working from home is having a snoozing dog in your eye line the whole time.
It’s also a little amusing when you start to speak in a conference call and startle said sleeping puppy :)
It’s important to be warm and stylish when Nadia takes you for your morning walk on a windy, overcast 4-degree day in Melbourne :)
I’m not sure how much she appreciated the coat, but she was certainly looking forward to her walk!
One of the perks of working at Transurban is that you can sign up for tours of our major construction projects — which is how I found myself on a tour of the West Gate Tunnel Project last week :)
I love the West Gate Tunnel Project because, as someone who lives in Melbourne’s west, I know first hand how much of a pain it can be to drive into the city.
Once complete, this new toll road will make it much easier for folks coming from the west — ie the Western Ring Road (M80) or the West Gate Freeway (M1) — to get into the western side of Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD).
Right now, if you’re driving into the city from the west, you have two options: (a) go through Footscray by taking Geelong/Williamstown road and then Dynon/Footscray road or (b) take the West Gate Bridge and get to the south of the CBD.
The West Gate Tunnel will give us a third option, albeit a tolled one: (c) take the tunnel under Yarraville and the Maribyrnong River, followed by the elevated roadway above Footscray Road. Then connect to Footscray Road, Dynon Road (near North Melbourne railway station), or Wurundjeri Way to get into the city; or take the on-ramp to CityLink and go north.
Sadly, this project is still three years away from completion so there’s nothing to do but wait.
On the up-side: this means I’ll get to go on more project construction tours over the coming years :)
Silver lining of working from home when you’re unwell: the dog snoring gently in the corner of the room :)
Maggie waits outside the bathroom door for Nadia to finish getting dressed so they can go for a walk.
Maggie prods me to get out of bed so I can take her for a walk.
Maggie decides to take a nap next to the dining table between me and Nadia because we won’t stop talking to each other after having finished lunch.