Money money money
Hello (and goodbye) from the airport
Good morning. It is 3.34am and I’m writing to you from the Sydney Airport International Departures terminal. By the time this lands in your inbox I’ll be about halfway to Cairo, ready to embark upon our biggest literary adventure yet. The packing cubes are snug. The required readings have been read. The murder mystery party is planned. I’m a little delirious with exhaustion—I basically finished teaching late Sunday and then packed my suitcase and came here—but obviously I’m extremely excited. If there was a cartoon x-ray machine here when I went through security my insides would look like fanta, with sparkly, jangling white bones. I trust you understand what I mean. It is now 3.38am.
NOTE: I’m sorry there aren’t real reviews this week. I thought I’d arrive at the airport with a spare two hours and life didn’t turn out that way.
The weekend of workshops I ran at Ace Hotel went so, so amazingly. Better than I could possibly have hoped for. The March repeat weekend is sold out for the Sunday and at the time of writing this there was ONE place left free for the Saturday. Then I’m not running this program again for the whole year!said this of the Saturday workshop:
The best workshop day I’ve attended. It really ignited a drive to keep writing which is profound considering I handed my manuscript in the day before and was feeling exhausted as a result. I found the sensorial detail incredibly practical which is helpful.
And someone else left me this lovely comment:
Bri’s teaching style—so generous and so practical—will give you momentum and clarity to push past cliché excuses about how you need more time or inspiration to write.
And then there’s this one, which I love:
I was on such a high on Saturday night! My brain was buzzing with everything I learned! I felt energised about the creative possibilities open to me—some that I had been too fearful or not sufficiently inspired enough to explore. It also made me realise that I have probably coasted too much on my natural talent for writing and need to put in more hard work on learning and refining my craft. It does require investment and I need to work on that!
Is that last spot in March yours?
Oh, and a reminder not to dilly dally on getting tickets for my book tour. The event in Canberra has 192 out of 200 seats already booked out. The smaller of my two Perth events sold out in 24 hours. Please check this full listing for when I’m coming to your city!
People are organising their own reading parties in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Townsville, Geelong, Canberra, and Sydney. Join one of those by just dropping a comment, or start your own!
Out from Behind the Paywall
I’m sitting on a goldmine of beautiful work from past editions of News & Reviews Magazine so I’ve decided in each week’s regular edition I’ll bring something out from behind the paywall for you to read for free.
This week (because it’s so relevant to one of our news items) it’s my essay about crypto dudebros from the October 2023 edition. Enjoy!
Inflation in Australia is finally easing, and the Reserve Bank has shown some mercy by keeping interest rates steady. ABC reported ‘In the December quarter, inflation was running at an annual pace of 4.1 per cent, down from 7.8 per cent 12 months earlier.’ That’s a great drop. 4.1 isn’t great—the target range is between 2 and 3—but obviously this is much, much better news than the alternative. This article in The Conversation is a good read to get up-to-speed with forecasts for the year. 31 leading economists mostly think we will see a rate cute in December but not before.
Ummmm nerd science exciting news alert! A trio has been awarded the $700k prize for producing the first readable text from one of the Vesuvius scrolls, which were buried under volcanic mud and were previously thought unreadable because they could not be unrolled without destroying them. These things were excavated in the 1700s but ‘more than 600 rolled-up scrolls were so fragile that it was long believed they would never be readable since even touching them could cause them to crumble.’ How did they do it? ‘The team’s approach combined digital scanning with micro-computed tomography—a noninvasive technique often used for cancer imaging—with segmentation to digitally create pages, augmented with texturing and flattening techniques.’ Look at them go! We love a story about new technologies unlocking ancient secrets, yes we do.
You know what I fucking hate? Those giant RAM pickup trucks. Every real farmer and tradie I’ve met out in the bush where my parents live has a ute. Not a gigantic pickup truck—a steel-tray, actually-for-a-purpose ute. We noticed a proliferation of the absurd American guzzlers when we drove back to Brisbane for Christmas. Don’t get me started on how selfishly dangerous they are. You know what else is absurd? Australia and Russia are the only developed nations left without fuel-efficiency rules. Thankfully the federal government are finally doing something about it. ABC reports that under the proposed new rules ‘Car makers would be required to meet increasingly stringent carbon emissions limits each year or face a penalty.’ Then there’s the exciting knock-on possibility; experts say Australia will rapidly adopt electric vehicles if the mandatory CO2 limit on car makers is ‘ambitious’ enough.
Currently stable parts of East Antarctica may be closer to melting than anyone has realised. PhysOrg report Eliza Dawson, a Ph.D. student in geophysics at Stanford and first author on the paper, saying ‘There hasn’t been much analysis in this region—there’s huge volume of ice there, but it has been relatively stable… We’re looking at the temperature at the base of the ice sheet for the first time and how close it is to potentially melting.’ The Wilkes Subglacial Basin is about the size of California and Dawson and her colleagues found evidence that the base of the ice sheet is close to thawing.
Over 2% of the United State’s electricity generation now goes to Bitcoin mining. (Please read that essay of mine I shared, about what colossal fuckery cryptocurrency is.) This new reporting says large-scale cryptocurrency operations have added the equivalent of an entire additional state to the USA electricity grid over just the last three years and they’re powered by plants which are ‘almost certainly fossil fuel plants that might be reasonable candidates for retirement if it weren’t for their use to supply bitcoin miners.’ The mind boggles. The blood boils.
Tucker Carlson, the right-wing demagogic protozoa fired from Fox News, has been spotted in Moscow, leading to speculation he may be interviewing Putin. The Guardian report that he was spotted at the Bolshoi and is staying in a luxury hotel. ‘When asked on Sunday by a journalist from the Russian state-controlled Izvestia outlet about his visit to Moscow, Carlson said he “wanted to talk to people, look around, and see how it’s doing ... and it’s doing very well”. Asked if he was in Moscow to interview Putin, Carlson said: “We’ll see.” He then smiled.’ Carlson became popular in Moscow during the Trump presidency, which raises the terrifying question: What’s Tucker going to tell his audience about Putin if/when Trump gets in again? How will that effect aide to Ukraine?
Have you read Aftermath by Rachel Cusk? I had mostly good feelings about it before I taught it on the weekend but the class response was extremely critical. A lot to love, yes, and some exhilarating ideas, but also a lot people strongly disliked. It made for a truly excellent lesson, but it left me with some questions.
I’m not just talking about Cusk’s feminism here either—she’s already been burned at the stake for that—I’m talking about her sentences and structures and voice. As I listened to the arguments being made in class I realised I didn’t appreciate the essay about her trip to the dentist because it was too obvious. The essay ‘XYZ’ about the three new men in her life lacked meaningful depth for any single one of them because it tried too hard to braid the three together. A couple of people in class loved the Greek history woven throughout but, upon reflection, I didn’t so much… even though I personally like her approach to re-writing Medea where she subverts the big plot point.
I thought I’d have longer at the airport to work on this but I ran out of time and they’re calling my gate right now! Sorry!! Obviously we should do a CuskRama later in the year. For the record I still think the Outline trilogy is a masterpiece. But if you’ve read Aftermath I’d really love to hear what you think; please drop a comment.
Upcoming Special Edition and Giveaways
The winner of last week’s giveaway, the beauuuuuutiful copy of is #45, Karen Peacock. I’ve emailed you, Karen!
I’m organising some great travel- and Egypt-related book giveaways with the lovely folks at Thames & Hudson Australia. Keep an eye out in next week’s edition for that!
Astrid and I will be doing another Bibliotherapy livestream on Wednesday 6 March to coincide with that day’s edition of News & Reviews Magazine.