Jellybean 89 with Dr Michelle Johnston, Doctor and Novelist.
The fabulous @eleytherius. You may know her as Dr Johnston, as a long term LIFTL contributor, as a Mega-FOAM performer, as a some-time feline choreographer or as a Fabulous Female of FOAM®. She sings, she dances and she writes books.
She is a creative powerhouse. She is an educator extraordinaire. But we’re not going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about Dustfall; a new novel by someone who you can relate to, somewhat works in critical care, someone that has not much more time to spare than you do. Michelle has written a book.
It took years.
It would have to be a labour of love? It was. Love of words. Love of reading. Love of the classics. As Michelles puts it; “I like words and they like me.”
Where does a story like this start? It starts, like so many things do, near Port Hedland. In the Pilbara. In Western Australia. In a part of Australia that most Australians will never see. It’s out there, right out there.
It starts in Wittenoom. Covered in blue asbestos, dead but still dangerous.
Mining happens in dangerous places. Physically and meta-physically.
For Dr Johnston, there was not so much writing as there was re-writing, submitting, waiting and getting rejected. Bad feedback. Good feedback. Even when people liked it they told her to re-write it. And here there is a parallel with medicine. Feedback. Feedback. And more feedback.
Feedback is sometimes hard but it is something that can make you better.
How many medical people do you know that have written a novel, a work of fiction? Not many. Now you know one more. Dustfall by Michelle Johnston.
She didn’t want to push it so I will.
This was recorded at SMACC in Berlin. We had just heard the fantastic talk by Annet Alenyo ( @aalenyo) about #UBUNTU which was a special moment. Have a look for that talk when it is available and please, please, please consider supporting a delegate through @Supadel and maybe help a talented young doctor or nurse attend a fantastic event like #dasSMACC was and like #BadEMfest2018. Read more at www.BadEM.co.za
Then read a novel.
Big thanks to Tired Lion, Post-Punk Feminist Combo from Perth getting us moving with their break out single “I dont think you like me.”, chosen to introduce Dr Johnston because of the prose, the provenance and presence of lead singer Sophie Hopes. If your not Australian you’ve probably never heard her before. Now you have. Go and get some Tired Lion on iTunes.
Big thanks also to Lloyd Cole for a little clip of the mid-80’s classic “Brand New Friend” of his second album, chosen for the lyric “Am I asking oh for so much? I’m not asking to be understood.” but also because the tune jumped into my mind and refused to leave for three days after Michelle used the phrase “Brand New Pen”. You surely have some Lloyd? If not, iTunes again.