the most heart-full interview I’ve ever given…

Posted on August 31st, 2011

I recently did an interview with Joi Murugavell  who does “oodlies”. Oodlies are cartoon-y embellishments that tell the intimate back stories of people Joi meets online. She cyber stalks people that grab her interest, learning about their quirks from Twitter, FB, blogs and so on and forms an intuitive picture of them. She then sends the quirkiest interview request in Christendom and from the answers she gets back, she “oodlies”.

I was her latest victim. The experience was expansive, real, raw, risky, exhilarating, kind, true. I got super teary typing out my responses because I was so grateful for the depths she’d gone to to ask questions that dug deep.

Oh, how I’d love all journalists to dig like this, to reach for the humanity in a person and share something true and gutsy about the people they meet.

For the full interview go here. She’s also ‘oodlied’ a children’s book which is just gorgeous and has lovely adult lessons for us all throughout.

But I’ve pulled out some of the bits I enjoyed answering the most….

Joi: What do you often think about before the cameras start rolling?

Sarah: I have a phrase that goes around in my head when I’m about to do something big and a bit scary and a bit lonely, “This is serious Mum”. It started when I was a kid and I think I started saying it before TISM. Somehow it reminds me of all the times life has been vast and boundary-less and confronting and I’ve been alone… and all the times I’ve managed to get through it, regardless. It calms me down.

Then I don’t think anything at all and I concentrate on connecting with the person I’m meant to be talking to Read more

fourteen rules for eating by Michael Pollan (and me)

Posted on August 30th, 2011

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

In seven words, Michael Pollan succinctly sums up the best way to eat. He’s famous for this mantra, from his superb book In Defense of Food. It sticks, hey!?

                            photo via Cannelle et Vanille

 Michael has just released his latest book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual in which he lays out the most deadset simple rules for eating that don’t tax willpower and brainpower. And they work. For health and for the planet. Here’s some of his highlights:

some tips from Michael:

1. if it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.

2. when shopping in a supermarket, shop the periphery of the store and avoid the centre aisles laden with processed foods.

3. avoid sugar… (and) note, too, that refined flour is hardly different from sugar once it gets into the body.

4. avoid foods advertised on television…and food products that make health claims. No natural food is simply a collection of nutrients, and a processed food stripped of its natural goodness to which nutrients are then added is no bargain for your body. Read more

if you’re stuck creatively, this might help

Posted on August 28th, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I trust the process


I had dinner with a guy recently who dedicated entrée to telling me that all writers are self-indulged w*nkers. “You all go on about the pain of writing,” he said. “Plumbers don’t write about how hard their work is, you don’t read about ‘plumber’s block’.”

I’m a writer. I had to respond. First, I said, with the spine tingle of a good comeback, plumbers don’t write. “Perhaps they take out their frustration on an S-bend,” I suggested gently. “We know about writer’s pain because we read their work. “

Second, writing is a creative process. And any creative process – whether it’s painting or interpretive dancing or inventing a new S-bend wrench – is the expression of the human struggle to share our inner selves. Displaying our inside, or “true”, selves is all about standing out on the farthest limb, exposed and vulnerable, and saying “here!”. We all have, at our core, an important urge to do this, and yet at the same time a primal fear of it. Ergo, creative block.

Funnily, not long after I found myself at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival chatting to a bunch of writers about the pain of the creative struggle. (Here’s a new collective noun for you: “a writer’s festival of whingers”.) Whether you’re a writer or wrench inventor or embarking on a big, formative project, you know this struggle. It’s an important one. A damn tough one, too.

There was consensus from most of the writers: just start. It doesn’t matter if you produce crap. From the crap, something always emerges. Read more