Tell me a bit about your latest book.
Okay, so the book is called:
GET POOR QUICK through Poetry (and other arty enterprises)
101 super easy steps to obscurity, disappointment and straight-up cashlessness.
It’s the mutant book-baby of a troubled artist and a life coach. It’s a self un-help book. It’s petite – 5 x 7 in old-school inches, 130 pages. Hopefully it’s a feather to the funny bone, and chink in armoured self-righteousness.
Most simply I would describe it as a funny, self-help parody for artists and art appreciators.
Are these ‘pearls of wisdom’ derived from your own life experience or are they more universal?
Basically, yes, this wisdom (if you can call it that) has emerged from my life and experiences. I’ve been a poet for 26 years now, and Poetry and Poverty have always gone hand-in-hand for me. And recently, I just got to the point where, instead of trying to fight that, I thought I’d embrace it. Perhaps ironically, I do sort-of survive as a poet, doing workshops and school incursions and gigs and selling a few books here and there. I don’t earn much, but it’s just enough to survive with other little bits of book design work.
Universal wisdom? I’m not sure if there such a thing. Because the same single piece of advice can be perfectly correct for one person at their stage in life and development, but completely wrong for another person at different stage. So I ‘spose I’m saying I’m slightly dubious of any universal truths. But, at the same time – paradoxically – I DO think there are some universals and absolutes that do apply to all humans. So as you can see, I’m a deeply confused individual. The perfect person to write a book about obscurity and disappointment.
Are self-help books really helpful?
Yes, I think some self-help books can be properly helpful! BUT some are not! The ones that I have a problem with are those that strongly assert with absolute certainty – they make me dubious. I think we as humans often want things to be more clear and simple that reality is. Maybe it’s because of my age, or some of the heartbreaking experiences I’ve had, but these days I am just very cautious around simple assertions of certainties which some self-help books are prone to.
You mention ‘brainstorming this book with arty friends’, is this book just for artists?
Yes. It should be illegal for anyone who is not an artist to read this book. Anyone who does not have a full-time, full-on creative practice should be forbidden from consuming these illuminating instructional insider insights!!!!!!
Or… on second thoughts… my sister’s a civil engineer, and she said she really liked it.
So actually, I think, anyone who enjoys the arts will enjoy this. As well as artists themselves.
If being rich is most people’s idea of success. What’s your idea of success?
For me, money has never been my currency. That’s not me being noble or anything, I just can’t get myself excited by it. I know we all need a bit of money. Because if you don’t have enough for rent or food or for when the car suddenly breaks down, life just gets way too stressful.
I’m totally open to being rich. I think I’d be really good at it. And I’d be willing for this book to sell millions and set me up for life. That would be the most hilarious irony. But earning money is not the primary motivation for doing books and projects like this.
The richness I value sits more around authenticity, communication, friendship, openness and community. So success for me usually has something to do with enabling these things in myself and in others.
You’ve written 21 books, what do you most enjoy about the writing process?
I remember in high school I just loved doing projects – the process of getting information, adding pictures, finding a sense of flow or narrative and then packaging it up into a pretty little self-contained entity – was just fun and satisfying for me. And these days, doing a book, is just like doing a high school project, but then I try to sell it to people! It’s just been a natural evolution.
And there is something unique about working towards writing, producing and designing a physical book. It can really focus your mind, because you know it’s going to go out into the world, and potentially be around for hundreds of years. This motivates me to produce the best result I can in that moment.
Where and when is the launch and where can people get the book?
The book is available locally at the Belgrave Book Barn, Little Rebellion and Grunge Cafe (thanks to those guys for the lovely local support!!!). And you can also buy it directly from my website www.webcameron.com, and I’ll mail it out to you promptly.
The launch is on Dec 11, 2017 between 6 and 8pm (7pm formalities)
25 Matson Drive, Upwey, VIC (just across the road from Burrinja).
There will be light refreshments, and dark refreshments.
RSVP: Yeah, go old-school and tell me if you’re coming, it’ll help with catering:
0438 72 55 88