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June Featured Contributor - V

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She has won our hearts and minds. An interview with our old school Broowaha contributor V. Find out what makes her tick, what she thinks of the Broo and if she will marry me. Yes, I proposed.

You describe yourself as an Australian living in "Amorica," how does this influence your writing?

When I first moved to the USA 3yrs ago, I also discovered blogging. Blogging was the most efficient way to give all my friends and family a window into my world while living so far away. Back home I would drop by a friend’s house unannounced for a late morning cup of tea or an afternoon glass of wine whereby we’d sit at that window and while the time away. I miss these exchanges and I have found these again somewhat in the Broowaha community. I tossed around the idea of what to call my first blog for no more than a few minutes when “Living in Amorica” burst forth into my consciousness.

“Amorica” is the title of the 3rd album by the Black Crowes, released in 1994. The album’s cover depicted a woman’s crotch in an American flag bikini that revealed wayward pubic hair. This image was taken from a 1976 United States Bicentennial issue of Hustler magazine. The album cover caused some controversy which resulted in the record company releasing an alternative cover that blacked out the offending area.

While this album doesn’t go down in history as one of my favorites or anything (and the fact that I just spelled that word “favorites” as opposed to “favourites” is a telling sign of the influence that the USA has had on my writing), its title and ensuing brouhaha (ha ha) did do well at representing my early ideas about America.

Here we have the sex, drugs n’ rock n’ roll history of a band who obviously sold enough in the mainstream arena for the album “Amorica”, to climb the Billboard Charts to an 11th position on one hand. Then we have on the other hand, a large enough sector of the public finding an image of pubic hair so grossly offensive, that there is a call to censor it. I guess the contradiction fascinated me; the decidedly overt and garish brand of sexiness of Americans versus their puritanical insistence of the censorship of what seems so inoffensively natural to me. So too there were the three little letters “M-O-R” jammed in the middle which generally summed up modern American culture in my mind.

So how has my writing – which I will define here as my blog and my Broowaha citizen journalism efforts – been influenced by being an Australian living in America? Well, the very idea that you’d want to “share” and the confidence in the assumption that strangers would even be at all interested in anything you had to say, is decidedly American to me. Had I not moved to America, I can be pretty sure that I would never have even considered such an endeavor (again that I didn’t spell that “endeavour” is indeed a telling influence) for at least another five years, when finally Australia’s masses would catch up to such modern tawdriness.

I love this world. It has not only given me the opportunity of a stage for the fruits of my favored pass time, but it has actually taught me to be a better writer by giving me an astute audience of talented and interested peers/ critics and a desire to do better for them. Despite all the wonderful things I love about my country, Australia very much so has quite the culture of negativity (just google “Tall Poppy Syndrome”). Most compliments are backhanded, criticism vicious and encouragement often scant and mumbled. You’ve got to be tough and I wouldn’t have been tough enough to try this back home. Any of my writing successes I will owe to the late Mother O (my high school English teacher) and to this culture of Amorica that helped me find my voice while discovering – to my delight- that while I was right about many ideas that I had about America, I was also so very wrong.

If memory serves - you live in Venice CA. How has that been? Are there any untold stories in your neigborhood that you still intend to write about, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?

Venice is most certainly where I’m at. I wouldn’t live anywhere else in Los Angeles. Untold stories you ask? Where do I start?

I am currently wondering how many high teas it might take before I could feel comfortable asking my ninety year old next door neighbor if she is in fact Dorothy Darling the burlesque dancer of 1940s, Angeleno, underground fame.

I wonder what keeps Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols tied to his life in a walk-street, multi-million dollar, Venice bungalow while constantly slagging off the leftist demographic among which he resides. It couldn’t be the surf. Or maybe it could – he did grow up in England after all. Or maybe it’s just being punk for the sake of being punk.

I constantly invent reasons why Robert Graham (the Sculptor & Mr. Angelica Huston) was given the singular honor in a community high in incidence of artists, of unveiling one of his works - a very ordinary bust sculpture – in the prime and highly visible location of the Venice circle at Windward Ave, without some kind of vote or input from locals. I’d like to know the real answer to that.

Venice will never run out of stories and I love a good story.

What is your favorite story you ever wrote for the Broo?

It has got such a dumbass, ridiculously long title, but I think my favorite is “Riding Along in My Automobile, No Baby beside Me at the Wheel.” It is a subject close to my heart and I feel like I earned the right to the indulgence of my poetic ramblings (like I tend toward) because I put in the hard work of a bunch of research.

In the time you've been part of Broowaha, how have you grown as a writer or interviewer? Maybe you can tell us about your first article, your most recent article.

When I first stumbled upon Broowaha, I didn’t actually know what it was entirely, but I thought it was the step I needed to take in putting myself out there in the public arena. I didn’t put much thought into either the future of the Broowaha itself or my future within it or anything much at all really. I just thought, “Maybe if I throw this little diary-like blog entry I’ve got here (that would be my little ditty ‘Department Stores are Stealing Time’) up and see what people think of it, I’ll know if my boyfriend is just being kind when he says, ‘you’re a really good writer Babe.’”

What Broowaha has done for me is that it has kept me writing much more regularly than I ever have in my life which in turn has greatly assisted me in honing my skills. It has also given me the opportunity to have a reasonably large body of work available to criticism and opinion in the public arena. This too has helped me view my work more objectively and prompted me to strive to better myself. Writing and submitting so frequently has made me realize (that’d be “realise” without American influence on my writing) is that I do have a voice when I write. There is an identifiable me for better or worse. I like that.

As an interviewer, I think I suck. I like to watch people and do every day things with them and let them tell me things when they’re ready. I don’t like to ask too many questions. In my own life, this means that it can often take years for truly close friendships to develop. In journalist world, clearly it wouldn’t meet any newspaper’s deadline.

But while I have grown as a writer since contributing to the Broowaha, so too the Broowaha has grown as a citizen journalism network and it has been a privilege to watch this happen.

If you could get could write about anyone or any situation, what would it be?

I don’t know. It’s like a World Press Awards, award winning photojournalist friend’s quote, “If you see the perfect picture, then you’ve missed it.” With me, if I think about something too long and turn it over in my head too many times, I stomp the natural story out of it. I’ll know my next subject when I feel it coming.

What artist (musician, author, painter etc) inspires you?

All of them for being so brave. All of them for daring to believe that beauty can change the world. All of them for understanding that life is joyless without art.

Of our topics (city life, night life, culture, sports, etc) what is your favorite? Is there a reason why you tend to write/read more articles in that section?

City Living - I’ve certainly given a few strokes of the keyboard over to this section. “Living” I know. “City” I know. Write what you know.

Night Life – Sometimes I have an interesting enough tale to write about but I think I’ll leave this section to the kids.

Culture – This I think is my favorite section. I was born of two cultures and raised in another. It’s all around me and us and fascinates me greatly. And then there’s “the arts” n’ stuff which I dig of course.

World – My other favorite. The world around us is one of my greatest loves.

Politics – I’ll leave that to the ones smarter than me.

Gossip
– I don’t give a S*+! (unless it’s El G’s humorous venting after another wasted night at another pointless, Hollywood establishment).

Science & Technology – I am grateful that folks are working away to find a cure for cancer and I love my laptop “Sweet Pea”, but that’s about all I know about that.

Sports – ¿Qué?

Opinion – We all have those!

Travel – What? There’s no “Travel” section? Why not?

Will you marry me?

What is it with you Broowaha men?! I might marry you Dave. It depends on a few things,

1. Which Dave you really are on the red couch.

2. How many passports our union could proffer.

3. Whether or not you’d pay for the divorce to my current husband.



About the Writer

Digidave is an editor for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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12 comments on June Featured Contributor - V

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 08, 2008 at 06:02 pm

Great interview Dave!  And Kudos to you too V.  Your stories are always a pleasure to read. 

~Your Venice adjacent neighbor (aka the Marina)

Sharlene

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By Aaron S. on July 08, 2008 at 06:57 pm

She's an even better cook than a writer...But then again I'm biased. I love food, and don't have the approriate technology to eat words.

Kudos mothafuckaz.

-jew in sf.

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By Digidave on July 08, 2008 at 07:56 pm

Craig: I did know - but a guy can still dream.

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By Glenn T on July 09, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Ah, V... as always, a breath of fresh air - well, that and a wicked cool Aussie accent. 

You just have to love the innocence of the comment " What is it with you Broowaha men?!"  It's not like we live in a city full of soulless and money-grubbing bimbos where finding a woman who is beautiful, intelligent and caring is about as likely as finding the Hope diamond on the beach... right?  Oh, wait...

V's strength as an author is her uncanny ability to educate while she entertains, and I find myself always leaving her work a little smarter than when I got there.  Great selection for FBAOTM... and you have to love my extraordinary good fortune of being sandwiched between The Tonic and the V on the FBAOTM list... there can't possibly be a better place to be. 

Congrats to you, V... and well done, Dave.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on July 10, 2008 at 02:56 am

congrats V!!!!

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By Jen on July 10, 2008 at 04:20 pm

V-  I have been fascinated by you and your writing since I was first introduced to this little community.  Really fluid and interesting prose.  This interview only serves to increase said fascination.

So...ah...write something for us ;)!!!!!

Dave- Great article and great choice for featured author.

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By fashionista on July 11, 2008 at 01:14 pm

Wow, great interview!

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By V on July 11, 2008 at 03:27 pm

I think El G may be right. Fools game to marry for love when so many US passports are being waved at me in matramonial offer. I am very flattered and if I find myself alone and single in the American woods, forget Match.com, I'll make Broowaha my first port of call. EEC & US passport holders will get special consideration...

El G, McCain would keep his ferret for rabbiting no doubt, not love comme moi.

MORGANA - thank you for noticing that. I think a culture-focused, global kind of POV comes naturally for me due to my multi-ethnic make-up and the fact that I was raised over a few different countries.

SHARLENE, you live in the Marina? When are we gonna have a coffee then?

AARON, it's a bit hard to cook for you now you're in San Francisco, geez.

CRAIG... shucks.

BILL, as I said, I shall never tire (not the ones that go 'round & 'round - we spell those "tyre") if the nice things you have to say.

GLENN, where are you hanging out??? I know quite a few smart, beautiful, kind and conscious women. Not really at my modeling agency though... and I don't have an accent, you all do :).

ED, some better DU writers: Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, Dorothea McKellar, Colleen McCullough, David Malouf, Collin Thiele (Storm Boy *sigh*), Christopher Koch, Richard Flanagan, Peter Carey (love), May Gibbs (eternal love for those gumnut babies), Tim Winton... I mean the list goes on. So much talent for a country with a population that matches about one third of the population of California's. But thank you so much :). Hey, you should meet Aaron (above in comments). He's just moved to your neck of the woods and he's fun.

MEAN MIKE Thanks :) And I'll keep punchin' right?!

JEN & TONIC shucks, funny girl.

JEN Thanks : D.  Surely another story is just around the corner for both of us. Stick to writing your smart stuff and I'll stick to my prose.

FASHIONISTA Glad you enjoyed it!

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By V on July 11, 2008 at 03:31 pm

Oh and Dave (der) !!!! Thanks for kind extended offer to ask me some questions. I'm still not sure how well-deserved, but I'm flattered.  Cheers.

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By Sharlene Hardin on July 11, 2008 at 05:02 pm

Soon would be good V, I'll email you :) 

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By Steven Lane on July 13, 2008 at 02:10 am

V,

Great stories with written with  great flair.  Kudos!

Nice job Dave

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By Gary Schwind on July 13, 2008 at 09:57 am

Great interview with a great subject. Props to you, V.

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