Reader, writer, artist

Drawing by the author

An introvert is someone who hates self-promotion — they wish their work would speak for themselves. For that reason, I’ve always cringed at self-introductions and writing bios. However, writing is a form of communication and that communication is enriched when the reader and writer know each other. So on that note, let me tell you a bit about myself.

I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and was an avid reader, writer and artist as a child. I read everything and anything that I could get my hands on, wrote fanciful stories about fairies and wizards, and filled sketchbooks with…


I can't believe the audacity of talking about the killer's "bad day". My heart goes out to the Asian community in America. We're not much better in Australia, unfortunately. All of the gross sexualisation stuff that you talk about is sadly familiar to me and my sister. Ugh. I don't know what to say. I hope the victims and their families get justice.


Breaking down the old boys’ club

Parliament House, Canberra
Parliament House, Canberra
Photo by kylie De Guia on Unsplash

Content note: discussion of sexual assault

There are cracks in Australia’s political system.

In the last few months, members of the Federal government have been the subject of several sexual assault allegations, which our Prime Minister has tried to brush off. Many people have asked, sensibly, why on earth it is not his responsibility to do something about these assaults when he is the highest public servant of the nation, and even if he does not personally do something, why on earth can he not make sure that something is done?

Incredulously, when pressed on this issue, he declared that…


First book review for the year

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

The Rich Man’s House, Andrew McGahan, 2019: Allen and Unwin

My first book review for this year is a novel, rather than a non-fiction book, as I am still in Christmas and summer holiday mode. Andrew McGahan is also one of my favourite Australian authors and this novel, his last, is a magnum opus.

McGahan was born in 1967 in Dalby, Queensland. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer as he was working on the draft for The Rich Man’s House. His publisher was keen to get the book ready for publication before he passed away. The novel was revised and…


December book review: Bronze Seeks Silver

Image courtesy of Mat Zucker

Bronze Seeks Silver: Lessons from a creative career in marketing, Mat Zucker, 2020: Cidiot

A book that combines memoir with an analysis of one’s resume? Let me double-click into that. The latter phrase is something I learnt when reading Mat Zucker’s book, Bronze Seeks Silver: Lessons from a creative career in marketing. This was a humorous read, detailing Zucker’s three-decades-long career in advertising and marketing.

So, let me double-click into it, which is management consultant speak for ‘let me talk in more depth about it’. Zucker started out with a portfolio presentation to a recruiter at the famous Saatchi and…


It’s hard to disconnect from the constant news cycle that is overwhelmingly doom-laden. If you have a smartphone, it’s even worse. The endless scrolling on my smartphone is a habit…


Reflection on the past nine months

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

Like many writers, I am an introvert. Spending lots of time at home, away from crowds, is not a problem for me. When the situation is forced upon you, however, it becomes a different matter.

In March of this year, Australia started hearing increasing news of the terrible pandemic that had gripped China, then Italy, Spain, the UK. There was doubt and confusion among the public here, as well as our political leaders, about how serious it really was. We reasoned that Australia’s low population density and geographical isolation would protect us. To some extent, it has, though I heard…


Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

When I was at university, one of my lecturers casually mentioned that Helvetica was his favourite font. The first thing I did when I got home that day was to change the font on my latest assignment from Times New Roman to Helvetica. After talking with some of my friends, I surmised that everyone else had done the same.

Reading the first two chapters of Bronze Seeks Silver: Lessons from a creative career in marketing by Mat Zucker, reminded me of my need, twenty years ago, to impress the all-powerful art history professor. Zucker’s book is a memoir of his career in marketing, but of course, he didn’t start out as an advertising executive and he writes with wry wit about how he began his career. Spoiler: there is a discussion of fonts.

Thanks to the author for sending me your book! I’ll be reviewing it for my next column.


December book review

The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation, and Intuition at Work, Natalie Nixon, 2020: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc

Consider this scenario. A kindergarten class is asked who would like to be an artist and most of the children put their hands up. A high school class is asked the same question and maybe ten per cent of the class put their hands up.

Consider another scenario. You are discussing creativity with a group of people. The consensus is that creativity is a good thing. Do you say, self-deprecatingly, something like “I wish I was creative. …

Maria Blackman

Writer and artist from Perth, Western Australia. I write about art, books, identity and more. Find me on Twitter @blackman_maria

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