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We chatted to writer and comics maker Eloise Grills ahead of her appearance at Late Night Lit: Midwinter Nocturne tonight. Eloise and other writers from Voiceworks, Kill Your Darlings and Chart Collective will be telling stories around the proverbial campfire at Thousand Pound Bend from 9pm.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Who is Eloise Grills?
Who is she, tho?
Memes aside, I guess I would say that I’m a comics artist, writer, photographer, a jack of all trades and a master of jacking it. I primarily deal in memoir. I write about the banal bits of life: about my body and other bodies and the gross beautiful things they do like eating, and fucking, and sleeping and lying in filth. I try to use the minutia of existence as a synecdoche for the big stuff—maybe, hopefully.
In summation, I’m either a great artist or a really great narcissist. U Decide.
You were selected for one of the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowships this year, congratulations! How has that experience been for you?
Thank you! I’m very grateful for the opportunity! I’m not due to start until September which ofc gives me a chance to completely change my proposed idea, freak out fifty–sixty times, run around in circles chewing the skin off my fingers for a solid month and still have some time left over to hate every idea I’ve ever had before I lay a single coffee ring on my Hot Desk.
The proposal I submitted is mainly just a mishmash of buzzwords humming around the proverbial butt of what I will probs end up doing. What I’m hoping to accomplish: a graphic novella titled The Museum of Everything We Tried to Throw Away, an exploration of our processes of forgetting, cauterising, and demarcating our pasts, especially in digital spaces where it is super hard to run away from anything ever. What I’ve accomplished so far: I’ve been to the welcoming night and a) managed to drink too much wine, b) crammed too many pretzels in my mouth during the speech to fit and c) smooshed them into the hallowed Wheeler Centre Carpet. Oops.
This year at EWF you’re going to be a part of Midwinter Nocturne, a Late Night Lit event alongside a bunch of different lit mags. Can you tell us a bit about the event?
Two years ago I chickened out of doing the solstice swim at Dark Mofo cause I am a baby and I don’t like being plunged into scary, cold, unfamiliar things. This year, I am performing as part of this scary unfamiliar thing I guess? Watch What Happens Next?!
But to be srs for a hot sec, I am actually v. excited. The event hosts heaps of great writers from KYD, CHART and Voiceworks telling stories and warming yr hearts and minds and soothing yr hip pocket nerves (its free!) on the coldest, longest night of the year. I’m especially excited to see what Laura Stortenbeker (CHART) is putting together cause she is one of my favourite writers and her TinyLetter is the best (go subscribe!). So it’s free, 0n 22nd of June, at 9m, free, there’ll be mulled wine, it’s free, come!
Last year you took part in Chart Collective’s Nocturnal Series, which you’ll be drawing on for your performance at Midwinter Nocturne. Can you tell us a bit about that?
So The Nocturnal Series was a great little group of works Chart Collective curated last winter that shed light on the dark, night-time undersides of environments, and the things we often overlook or take for granted in them by the figurative and literal light-of-day. I wrote and illustrated a bit of memoir, Feral, which took the form of a kind of online storybook for adults (and kids too, if you wanna to read it, I ain’t your ma). It was mainly about my cat Mookie and his penchant for killing native birds and animals at night, but also I guess about how we manage our own icky feelings of complicity and guilt in this ambiguous head-fuck of a world. I’m going to be performing this piece for the night with some fancy-schmancy ~projections~ so you can come and see blown-up portraits of my (now) dead cat and the little critters he used to leave on my doorstep! Yay I’m really selling it!
What’s your favourite thing to do to keep warm on a cold winter’s night?
In my perfect-world romantic/xxx version, it would be getting spooned by the 1 I luv (aww) or fucked stupid by them (aww x2). Probably more likely, tho, I would be alone, lying on top of an electric blanket and under a heated throw, clothes and coat hangers and half-eaten blocks of chocolate scattered around me as I melt myself into a human toasted sandwich until my liquid core oozes out, oily and slick, like the inside of a pimple. Or, idk, mazzing, Probably mazzing.
Eloise Grills is a comics maker, writer and photographer from Melbourne. She writes and illustrates a monthly comics column, Diary of a Post-Teenage Girl, for SCUM Mag. Other places you can find her work include Filmme Fatales, CHART Collective, SPOOK Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Overland, The Suburban Review, The Age, Junkee, 4:3 and Killings.