by Natasha Cica

‘Tasmanian Gothic’ by Bill Flowers 

I am strongly inclined to admire anyone who tries to open a new space for quality writing, reading, thinking, being or doing.

Especially #1 if they toil in the world of publishing. Whatever that means now, in the age of the global selfie. Where gatekeeping, quality control, production, distribution and even content mean wildly different things from just ten, five or even two years or minutes ago.  As writers – or readers, thinkers, be-ers or do-ers – we can follow one of two paths.

First, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, lamenting the loss of the options-that-were.  As useful as mourning the past price of bread in the Great Depression. The alternative is to stop desperately colouring inside other people’s squares and conscientiously ticking their boxes.  Step back and build your own brain box. Then scribble artfully, boldly and inspirationally all over it!

Especially #2 in Tasmania.  Its population barely hits half a million ­– a substantial chunk of us shamefully undereducated and diagnosably illiterate, many struggling to comprehend the finer details of Centrelink rules and disinclined to borrow William or even Nicholas Shakespeare from the local LINC. That state of anti-literacy infects (reflects?) a tad too much of the wider State culture.  Down home – to pinch a tag from expatriate Tasmanian Peter Conrad – there is no real market for writing, reading, thinking, being and doing in an inter-connected way, at least not in the way other places (for example London, where I spent most of my 20s, and this market is mostly what I miss) enjoy that undertaking. That doesn’t mean there are no quality players in that space in Tasmania. There are more than you might imagine.  Including names you won’t recognise, because promising or proven players are often locked out of down home position and resources by mediocre system gamers – mediocre in everything except their system gaming, that is, which can be ruthless. This climate does not facilitate an easy ride for most ambitious, unapologetic or even accidental change agents whose trade is real ideas and transformational results. Or perhaps it does, because there ain’t much true competition, down home.  So put yourself out there and build those new brainboxes. And scribble on …

Especially #3 in relation to Tasmania (not the same as #2).  So much interpretation of Tasmania is hackneyed and weirdly colonialist, um, Tasmaniana. I know we need to know about convict transportation, Indigenous dispossession and the British settlement that generated both.  We really do, or we’re undereducated and illiterate. Duh. But there’s so much more to the world and to the contributions a wide range of Tasmanians might – and have, and do – make in it than transportation and our links with London. (Much as I seriously love London. It changed my life. See above). As compared with, say, Bangkok or Bangalore or even Belgrade, where I’m typing this right now – because Tadhg Muller asked me to and I really enjoyed working with him on the piece he wrote for us last year for the bestselling GriffithREVIEW39: Tasmania – The Tipping Point?. (No problem! I answered despite a cascade of afternoon deadlines, in the middle of which I serendipitiously collided with a pressing imperative to read Miloš Crnjanski’s A Novel About London to remedy my own anti-literacy, preferably in Cyrillic). Anyway, at first blush a project with keywords Transportation and London pressed some b-o-r-e-d buttons for me.  If you want Tasmaniana, buy a handmade tea towel? But I did some due diligence on what Transportation aims to deliver in terms of writing, reading, thinking, being and doing – and I’m fully delighted to support this emerging experiment in publication.

Hit Transportation’s link on Pozible and donate, as lavishly as you dare:

Then hit my THINKtent Belgrade link on Pozible – which builds a new cultural exchange between Tasmania and Belgrade, long time waiting to happen – and do it one more time:


Natasha Cica is Director of consulting practice Liminal Strategy. In 2013 she was recognised as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s