Thursday, 9 August 2012

Question Time - who is Andrew Macrae?

This week Andrew Macrae faces Question Time.  When I was thinking about what I would say in this introduction, I realised that Andrew and I went to the same primary school in Toowoomba.  We weren't in the same year, but we did share a stage during many productions of the Toowoomba Youth Theatre.  ("Toad of Toad Hall" is springing to mind.)

Andrew and I again shared a stage at university when he was a guard playing mind games with my boyfriend Winston, in a production of "1984".

While we again are living in the same town, we generally hang out on Twitter.  Judging from the photo Andrew supplied, he's changed a lot since we last saw each other.

Andrew has written his first novel.  You'll discover something about it during Question Time.  I'm certainly keen to read it.

Now, it's Question Time.

1. Who is Andrew Macrae?
I'm a writer, musician and freelance editor. I finished a PhD in creative writing at Victoria University last year — I wrote a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel about lost love, patricide and artificially intelligent trucks set in the Australian desert. It's kind of Mad Max meets True History of the Kelly Gang, set against a looping montage of 70s trucking movies projected onto the side of a rusted shipping container.

A picture of a person.
Andrew Macrae claims this to be a photo of him.
I also play guitar in The Television Sky, a three-piece instrumental rock band featuring drums, piano and guitar.

I work full-time in my own writing and editing business called Magic Typewriter.

2. Where do you get your inspiration for your writing?
TV, the internet, music with no words, the radio, V8 muscle cars parked in the street, sunlight through trees, rain falling under streetlights outside my window, patterns that suggest themselves to my hands as I type.

The idea for my novel came from growing up in Toowoomba, raised on the sound of semis grinding up and down the range at night. I had a thing for the 1970s trucking movies that seemed to be on TV every Friday and Saturday night, and these cultural memories bled into the book. As the novel developed, the trucks started to take on their own special character and culture – they are incredibly vain and hate getting scratches on their custom paint work and decals. They have elaborate sound systems they use to do battle with each other, and, also, they like sex.

With the narrative, I wanted to create a classic bildungsroman in the tradition of Dickens or Mark Twain, a tale of first love lost. My young protagonist's search is ultimately to understand his place in the world, and the conclusion he comes to is that the only meaning to be found is that which you make for yourself.

3. What's your writing routine?
I abhor routines. It's probably why I'm such a slow writer. I believe in the importance of fallow time — creative crop rotation is the key to happiness, for me. If I find the nutrients have leeched out of one field of endeavour, I'll switch to music or something else. Before you can be productive again, you've got to fix the nitrogen in the soil through exposure to movies and art and living life.

4. What's your favourite word?

5. If you could script your dying words, what would they be?
I'm sure I'll think of something.

6. What gets your hanky in a twist?
Writing that's afraid to say what it means; and writing that doesn't have anything to say.

7. What's your writing ambition?
Never to write unless I have something to say, and to say it with conviction.

8. What are you reading?
Ajahn Chah

9. Finish this sentence, "If I wasn't writing I'd be...."
Making music, building scale models of giant robots, hanging out with my partner, obsessing about something or other, walking in the forest, swimming in the ocean, tending my mullet.

Find Andrew on the web: — my business website — my band website — my professional profile

And some older things: — my typewriter art — micro poetry project — my previous band, Luzon

As I contemplate renewing my commitment to divacultura for another year, I feel excitement and affection.  Thank you for sharing some of your time with me. As a thank you gift - and so I can gain a better sense of who's out there - I'll be giving away a pair of my hand knitted socks to two very lucky readers, where ever you are in the world (ie two readers will receive a pair of socks each).  To be in the running, leave a comment on this post by Friday 17 August 2012, stating why you like reading divacultura. My favourite responses will receive the prize (my decision is final).  Why not take the opportunity to sign up and follow too! 


  1. Loved reading this one Andy and Tanya! Thanks for posting....there was a certain synaesthesia to it...hope I got the context right - it wasn't in my dictionary. I also liked your farming metaphor with writing. Love you both! :) Nix

  2. Synaesthesia:
    1. physiol a sensation experienced in a part of the body other than the part stimulated
    2. psychol the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of colour

    Did you get the context right?

    I love the farming metaphor too.

    Thanks for reading Nix.