Michelle Law on creativity & Charlotte York's vagina
Michelle Law draws inspiration from the creative people in her life and we draw our inspiration from her. She's funny, intelligent and happy to slap her opinion on the table. We think she's pretty much the bee's knees (they do have knees you know).
We spoke to the wonder woman herself about her creative process and she told us a little about those who inspire her. She offers some great advice for budding creatives and tells us what she's got coming up next!
Read on for some cool words from this cool chick.
What fuels you creatively?
Seeing other people’s incredible work fuels me; whether it’s a great story, album or drawing. It inspires me to get my butt into gear and keep working to improve my own craft. A lot of the time I’m also fueled by anger. Much of my work is political, whether I intend it to be or not, and I often create things as a response and an attempt to counteract some of the problematic things I see and experience.
What advice would you give to young creatives who are bursting at the seams with wonderful ideas but are struggling to put those ideas into action?
I’m a big believer in having small, tangible goals that work to serve an ultimate, long-term goal. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by your ideas and having achievable goals means that you can keep a record of the real progress you’re making.
In all honesty, how hard do you think it is to be a full time (insert creative passion here) in a world that is driven by suits and ties and the 9 to 5?
It can be really hard! Especially when those around you who have full time jobs possess what is so elusive to creative people: money and stability. But it’s good to remember that money and stability aren’t everything; they’re important things, but I’ll often get people working in those positions expressing to me how they wish they could follow their creative pursuits instead. The grass is always greener on the other side.
In your TED talk, “A Bald Woman’s Guide to Survival” you highlight some pretty intimate moments in your life. How does it feel exposing such raw and personal aspects of your life to a room full of strangers?
On the day, I was actually more nervous about forgetting my speech than the content itself! Sharing those personal stories was very liberating for me. As someone who had struggled with keeping my alopecia hidden for so long, to have a platform where I could expose the silence surrounding the illness, and speak to and support those who also had alopecia was a powerful experience.
How do you break through a creative slump/writers block?
I like to step away from the work for a while. Go outside for a walk, play with your dog, exercise, go shopping, whatever gets you out of your head and isn’t related to your profession. You get to a point where you’re thinking about your work so obsessively that sometimes the best remedy is a rest.
How did you get started in the industry and when did you first think "Yep, this is what I want to be doing with my career"?
I had my first piece published at the end of high school when there was an open call out for submissions for an anthology called Growing up Asian in Australia. That was how I got started as I had something to include in my portfolio. Since then, I’ve always written in a lot of different forms, from journalism to fiction, but I think the turning point was when my first short film was produced and I realised my work had an audience.
If you were a _______ what would you be and why:
a) Animal – A goose, because they look graceful but all they do is waddle around and honk at people.
b) Fruit – I asked my boyfriend and one of my closest friends about this and they both immediately said ‘lychee’, which I initially thought was a racist joke, but it made complete sense after my friend explained why: “You have an outer wall that is actually pretty easy to break down; a smooth and white second layer (because I’m an Australian born Chinese); but a dead, hard, black centre.”
c) Beyonce Song – Again, I had to get my friend’s input: “You’re Beyonce’s ‘Grown Woman’ because you’re strong and a feminist, but not in a confronting way. You can tell in this song that Bey’s quietly seething with rage but still inviting everyone to the party.” Ok, I am learning A LOT about myself today.
d) Episode of Sex And The City – Probably the episode when Charlotte gets her vagina painted, because it’s about her pushing herself beyond her own boundaries and being proud of the outcome.
What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I can’t not go into a dollar store.
Who has inspired you the most throughout your career and why?
Amy Poehler, for giving no shits, and my friend and writer Lorelei Vashti, whose work, particularly a blog she used to keep called ‘Lorelei v: The diary of a Professional Lady’ that I stumbled across at just the right time in my life. I’d just finished a creative writing degree and was feeling very lost. Having read and been taught mostly male authors I thought that in order to be a writer I needed to emulate those stories and voices, and Lorelei’s work taught me that possessing my own unique voice and wanting to talk about female issues was not only important, but also valid and necessary.
What was the most interesting part of your childhood?
I think one of the most interesting parts, or what made it interesting, was being Asian and growing up in a mostly white town. You learn how to be resilient from a young age.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s coming up for you?
My play, Single Asian Female, which is part of La Boite Theatre Company’s 2017 season, from 11 Feb – 4 March. You can read all about it and buy tickets here!
Image: Tammy Law
Kate Neilson is a list maker and a booty shaker. She only drinks half a cup of tea before she gets bored and she likes to collect soap. She is the creator of Twenty Something Humans and if she had a super power it would be to fly, but only as high as the trees because she is also terrified of heights. Follow her at @katie93rose