On the Couch with Marieke Hardy

Marieke-Hardy-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Marieke Hardy?
A ‘weird little earnest beauty’, according to my partner. A ‘streaker through life’ according to my dear friend and colleague Emilie Zoey Baker. I’m a bruised and resilient little Nugget, full of hope and feelings. A map of hurts, both self-inflicted and otherwise. I love being alive.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Even before I became a professional writer I was writing and creating, not quite realising I could make a living out of it (which is kind of absurd when you recall that I came from an arts/literary background). I made zines, I had fashion labels (no really), I wrote stories, I made mix tapes, I was on community radio, I made Art. I’d still be making, I can’t stop making. Even if nobody’s looking I’ll still be making. To what end? It will mostly be forgotten, and there’s something grandly liberating in knowing that.

Who inspires you and why?
Artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb, a wild-hearted bohemian. Senator Lidia Thorpe, her activism and eloquence and passion is staggering. I recently watched Bo Burnham’s beautiful, raw, soul-searching ‘Inside’ and it took my breath away. So full of self-reflection and emotional openness. And I’ll always be sad I never got to hug Kurt Vonnegut.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I aspire to do that consistently, in both my private and public-facing art practice. I chose not to have children, so in order to leave something ‘meaningful’ behind I’m always considering how I can do better in terms of anonymous altruism and acts of kindness. I also think some of the most important work I can do revolves around decolonising my brain and professional life – one of the big reasons I’ve started to try and de-center myself and curate/produce/mentor rather than take up too much space.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit freezing cold Tasmania/lutruwita, the stolen land of the palawa people, on numerous occasions. Art, food, trees, books, history.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’m always trying to convert omnivorous cynics to veganism, so I’d probably take them on a gluttonous crawl of my favourite restaurants and degustations – Maha, Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, Provenance, Ballards, Sunda. Sharing food with the people I love is one of my happiest pastimes.

What are you currently reading?
I’m deep in Alan Hollinghurst currently. I had the great fortune of re-reading The Line of Beauty in the second devastating Melbourne/Naarm lockdown and am now on The Sparsholt Affair. God, he’s a magnificent writer.

Whenever I need a reminder of how to flex muscle as a writer I revisit Bill Bryson, who was a huge influence on me when I was young. Cranky old white guy, sure, but this passage from Notes From A Small Island destroys me every time:

‘For miles around, the Dorset Hills billowed, like a shaken out blanket settling onto a bed. Country lanes wandered among plump hedgerows and the hillsides were prettily dotted with woodlands, farmsteads, and creamy flecks of sheep. In the distance the sea, bright and vast and silvery blue, stretched away to a mountain of tumbling cumulus… it was beautiful beyond words, one of those rare moments when life seems perfect. As I stood there, spellbound and quite alone, a bank of cloud drifted in front of the sun, and through it there poured magnificent spears of shimmery light, like escalators to heaven.’

I mean.  Come on.

What are you currently listening to?
Lil Nas X is a walking joysplosion. And my friends The Avalanches made the most extraordinary love letter of an album, We Will Always Love You. I can hear their hearts all through it.

Happiness is?
Being gifted the opportunity to build a Chosen Family with loving, functional humans who show up for me, and who in turn allow me to show up (and fuck up, and learn) for and with them.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m going to die, like everybody reading this! I remind myself of that all the time, and it helps me focus on the present moment and what’s truly important. It’s been such a fun, weird ride. Even with the broken pieces I’m truly grateful for all of it.

Marieke co-presents Better Off Said: Eulogies for the Living and Dead at the Brunswick Ballroom on Sunday 4 July 2021. For more information, visit: www.betteroffsaid.com.au or www.brunswickballroom.com.au for details.

Image: Marieke Hardy (supplied)