Writing

The Morning Bell Podcast: A Year in Review

As is my habit, I enjoy taking a step back at the end of the year and looking at things both critically and sometimes, a little indulgently. Sure it’s a pretty arbitrary milestone, the ending of a Gregorian Calendar, but it works well for a time of consideration, review and the occasional hint of nostalgia.

So why not? Let’s talk about the podcast for a little while, as it has been of some importance to my creative year.

When I first chatted to Kezia and Lucas (the founding members of the Morning Bell Magazine) about what they wanted out of the podcast, the main vibe I took from that conversation is that they wanted the podcast to be casual conversations that had the writing process at its heart. More often than not, we don’t analyse pieces of literature to any great extent or pick apart sentence structure.

The podcast, over time, became this place where anyone engaged in the writing industry can come and sit in very comfortable chairs, chat about the industry and, to an certain extent, their lives.

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I never want the podcast to be about a specific genre or topic in writing. Because I think the industry at large has plenty of that narrow focus. Both in terms of publications and the push for writers to conform to a very particular type of writing these days and to be vocal advocates for political topics the industry deems to be important. I think that it is a push that is especially strong in a city like Melbourne. Sure they can all encourage diversity in genres etc, but really those authors don’t win those awards, right?

In some small way, I want to counter that. Call it a tangent if you will, but I think that is a very important factor of why I host the podcast. I want writers of fantasy, science fiction and crime to get as fair a shot at the microphone as well as those writers of realist fiction, humour, drama, and non-fiction. And that’s just a narrow slice of the guests we’ve had on.

Another purpose for the podcast to exist is to give the audience a glimpse into the creative lives of these people. Demystifying the writing process would be a stretch, since I think there is always mystery in the creative process.

We’re here to be a resource for emerging writers and a reminder to those who have been doing it for so long that you’re not alone in a profession that may, at some times, feel quite lonely.

And you know what? I think we’ve done that.

A large part of why the podcast is a pleasant and engaging space for us is the location we have been provided – Brunswick Street Bookshop. A huge thank you to the staff who put up with us yammering in the back throughout the year.

Since we’ve started thanking people I also think a large and obvious reason why the podcast has engaged so many listeners is the guests that we’ve had on. I’d like to thank each and every one of you, for taking time out of your day to come on over to the bookshop and chat with us about what makes your creative lives tick.

And where would I be without my (mostly) loyal co-host Luke Manly? He’s asked questions I didn’t think of and fills the air when I’m desperately running to fix something in the background. It’s rare to find someone you can bounce off on air and I think he deserves a lot of credit. Thanks also to Lucas Di Quinzio for filling in when Luke was out of town or unavailable.

And thank you for listening. It seems obvious but without you, the listeners, these recordings would just be an echo chamber with no real purpose. A pleasant bubble, but a bubble nonetheless.

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I look forward to bringing you another exciting guest list next year and I hope that you share The Morning Bell Podcast with anyone that you think would enjoy it.

Thanks again and we’ll see you in 2016!

– Joel Martin

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