Emerging Writers Festival: Stuck in a Lift With… Rachel Hills & Gala Darling

Being a recent expat to Melbourne, I am now relishing in the fact that I can go to an after work event, weekend market or party and not have to worry about getting the last train out of Sydney Melbourne back to the country.

However, with the advent of Twitter, anyone wearing pyjama pants can gain access to this week’s Emerging Writers Festival from the comfort of their lounge room/bed, with events all over the city as well as today’s “Stuck in a Lift With… Gala Darling” by Rachel Hills.

Hills is using the “magical bookstore” format, and each floor corresponds to Gala’s favourite book.

However, it’s not always smooth sailing, with followers interjecting their questions and comments. For a first time Twitter user, it was a bit overwhelming!

So here, in a nutshell that I have so lovingly crunched the questions into, are Hills’ 10 questions and Gala Darling’s 10 answers.

  • “What’s the first book you ever read?”

– “HAD to have been the Spot series… I also remember loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar… I really loved all that very British stuff too, like Enid Blyton & Peter Rabbit…”

  • “Are there any other kids books that you remember or are fond of?”

– “I was mad keen on the Faraway Tree series… But I was really a voracious reader, would come home from the library every Saturday with an enormous stack of books & devour them throughout the week before going back for more. Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, horror stories, anything spooky or supernatural or American! I was obsessed with America & their slumber parties & junk food & always felt like I was missing out being stuck in boring old New Zealand…”

  • “What were your other fave teen/coming of age books?

– “I loved Judy Blume for talking about sex… It’s weird actually, I feel like I moved from Judy Blume to Poppy Z. Brite but SURELY that’s not right. I think Anne Rice might have been the stepping stone. & Stephen King?

  • “You do a lot of travellingwhat books do you like to take with you when you’re away from home?”

– “Depends on how long I’m away from home. The types of holidays I have don’t usually leave much time for reading! But I have moved house many times and I always take Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas & Lolita with me!… But usually when I travel I take the mags I haven’t yet caught up on (ughh I know), or what I’m reading at the time… No guilty faves really. I haven’t read a tabloid in years because they make me angry, haha! I love pretty much every fashion magazine though… You know what? I buy 99% of my books secondhand on Amazon. IT’S SO CHEAP. I can’t stand to pay full retail. Bad Gala!”

  • “Is there a book you turn to when things get emotional?”

– “I guess it depends on what the ‘emotion’ is. I love to comfort read, aka read stuff I know off by heart… Actually when I’m feeling emotional or moody I prefer to watch television. Entourage or SATC work every time… Lolita, Fear & Loathing, anything Bukowski, American Psycho, umm Lost Souls (shhhh)…”

  • “You’re a hugely successful writer. Is there a book that helped you learn your craft?”

– “I love Anne Lamott. There is something so brilliant, clear & deep in her writingit is impeccably crafted. The first time I read Bird by Bird I thought my head was going to explode, & I have read it over & over. I’m also really interested in Zen Buddhism so that helps! I also like Natalie Goldberg, but don’t read lots of books on writing.”

  • “What book has taught you the most from a NON-writing perspective?”

– “Oh, big question! I feel like every book teaches you something, whether it’s how to live wilding (Fear/Loathing!) or bet on horses (Buk.!), but I guess if I could only recommend one book for life lessons, it would be The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. It is a frigging marvel. Every time I pick it up I learn something new… It is as thick as a bible, all about manifesting & integrity & keeping your word & stuff, I can’t describe!”

  • “What books have kept you late into the night?”

– “Haha, pretty much every book I’ve ever loved. I was a secretly-reading-under-the-covers child. I remember reading the Neverending Story one day (yes, one DAY!) when I had the flu & was about 10, fantastic. So it may not have kept me through the night but it certainly compelled me.”

  • “What book do you wish you had written?”

– “Ugh, Lolita. It’s like a braingasm. Every time I read it I am shocked at just HOW fucking good it is.”

  • “What book do you return to again and again?”

– “All the books I have just mentioned, plus anything by SARK, Russell Simmons’ Do You!, Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, House of Leaves…

I wish someone would ask me these questions should I ever have the fearful pleasure of being stuck in an elevator. I so have the answers!

TV: What Once Was LOST, Now is Found?—Lost Finale


Last night was the television event of the year; the Lost finale.

And lo and behold, the theory most Losties held from the very beginning, that the island was some kind of purgatory, was semi-correct.

According to this article from Jezebel (because I need some outside sources to help me come to grips with the [trademark] confusion of the show), the sideways world we became familiar with this season was a “bardo”; a phase experienced by the deceased “between dying and rebirth” in Buddhism.

The article asserts that the sideways world was the bardo and the island the real world, however, it also states that Lost viewers can also draw their own conclusions. My conclusion is that the island was limbo, with Jacob and his brother acting as sort of archangels or guardians of the island to maintain the balance between good (the golden life force of the island) and evil (the smoke monster).

While Jack was initially chosen to replace Jacob as a guardian, he then passed the torch onto Hurley, whom I think is a much more fitting choice.

Hurley is then the new Jacob, and Ben his Richard, whom we see grow a grey hair and thus is able to move on and finally age.

Speaking of Ben, I never really bought him as the villain when he was introduced in season two as Kate, Jack and Sawyer’s hostage holder . He’s more like the misunderstood, not-so-bad guy; the one you love to hate. In the end, he was just a sad, “selfish and jealous” man who didn’t want to move on from the island, and now can’t.

Keeping in theme with the bardoa “place that the Losties had created to reconnect with each other after they had all died”all (and by all, I mean only the ones most relevant to the current plot) the Oceanic 815 passengers reunited, with Charlie, Jin, Sun, Sayid, Rose, Bernard, Libby, Shannon and Boone, and Juliet, Daniel Faraday, Charlotte and Penny all making appearances, in addition to Ana Lucia serving as police escort last week, and Frank found alive after the submarine blast.

The aforementioned Jezebel went full speed ahead with their Lost coverage in the lead up to the finale event, publishing an article on the top 10 already solved mysteries (Richard’s agelessness; the whispers of souls trapped on the island; the “donkey wheel” that Jacob’s brother built and Ben turned to move the island; the identity of Mocke/Smokey/whatever; Jacob’s “anointing” touch; the temple that housed the Kool-Aid that turned Sayid and Claire into zombies; the golden life-force of the island; the list that resided in Hurley’s guitar case; the “loophole” that protects twins Jacob and the Man in Black from killing each other, and their origins as twins), “10 questions to let go” of (Walt; Vincent the dog; Rose and Bernard; the creepazoid Other who tried to steal Claire’s baby, Ethan; Alex’s boyfriend Karl; the “food drops to the Hatch”; “Black Rock Journal”, which I, for the life of me, can’t remember in the show; the reason for Jack’s father Christian Shepherd’s numerous appearances on the island; and “why them?”) and “10 questions that must be answered” (what is Widmore’s deal?; why are all women doomed to miscarry if a child was conceived on the island; the statue at the foot of the island; Claire and Sayid’s zombie-esque transformations; “the sideways universe”; the revelation that the island was under water in the first episode of this season; who is Desmond?; who is Eloise Hawking?; what’s the go with “Jacob’s army”?; and the name of the Man in Black). Disappointingly, barely any of these mysteries were wrapped up in the finale. (Desmond, Vincent, Rose, Bernard, the reason for the parallel universe, why Hurley, the Kwon’s etc. were “chosen” and, surprisingly, Christian Shepherd’s role were the main arcs, with the rest going by the wayside.)

The willingness of most of the original cast, including Dominic Monaghan, Sonya Walger, Elizabeth Mitchelland Ian Somerhalder who were all working on other projects (albeit mostly flops; the ill-fated FlashForward and V, respectively, while Somerhalder’s Vampire Diaries enjoys more success), to return for the finale hints, perhaps, at a Lost movie to continue the saga. A much needed continuation of the saga, I might add.

In other news, the performances on the parts of Matthew Fox (Jack) and Terry O’Quinn (Locke), in particular, were stellar, and I loved how the focus was on the Darth vs. Luke, Lennon vs. McCartney, Lauren vs. Heidi-esque feud between those two characters as to what was best for the island and its inhabitants.

Also, the Jack/Sawyer/Kate love triangle was brought to a close, with Kate choosing Jack, and Sawyer pairing back up with Juliet. Kate was kickass in killing Mocke, whom I think was eliminated far too easily and early in the piece.

Ultimately, like any good series, it was as much about the bond between the characters and the “shared human experience” as it was about the hard-to-follow, unbelievable and sometimes downright convoluted plot points. But, all in all, while I liked the emotional aspects of the episode and the reunion of the Jack, Locke et al, especially with the disclosure of Christian and Desmond’s true purposes, I was very disappointed in the culmination, which I’m sure a lot of other Losties are too.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Lost Finale Recap: Case Closed.

[Jezebel] 10 Questions Lost Needs to Answer.