Category Archives: Artistic Life

Stories Save Me

No answer to this, but sharing a little realisation/question about myself that I am wrestling with right now. I wrote this in my journal on the 2nd May 2020:

There is so much unnecessary guilt. So much productivity bullshit drowning my own voice. But also the push and pull of procrastination. Do I even know what I’m procrastinating about?

I’ve internalised the messages about art not being valuable. I don’t think I really realised how much. Even though I’m the product and the proof of impact, of saving lives and building futures – beneath it all I’ve still been carrying around this idea that it’s not enough. That it’s not worthy enough, or worth as much. That I’m not doing as much as a doctor or a social worker or a teacher or a start-up for the homeless. As though I’m somehow just faffing about having a good time and letting everyone down. Why am I carrying that shit around? I would never let that fly if colleagues and collaborators and mentees undercut themselves in that way.

Stories saved me. Stories save me.

So why do I keep telling myself the story that what I give has to be bigger and better than stories? What kind of bullshit is that lurking in my skin?

the yield of 2018: with gratitude


In 2017 I wrote three posts here, in 2018 I wrote none.


But I’m not dead. And I have been writing.


Throughout 2018 I wrote behind the scenes reflections and updates regularly over on Patreon, and in my dayjob, I wrote additional blogs over at The Dirt. I’ve also been chipping away at a YA fantasy novel project, two plays, some short stories and lots and lots of poems. So the words aren’t getting lost, they are just living in other places. I’m not going to promise to write more here in 2019, but I do intend to have a think about what I write and where I put it and that might mean some other bits appearing here. I guess we’ll see.


aug 2018 tiny twitter poem

This year due to Facebook changes I couldn’t autoshare my #tinytwitterpoem (s) anymore so I started screenshotting them and sharing them via Instagram through to Facebook instead. #tinytwitterpoem written Aug 2018.


I’ve been writing end of year/new year reflection posts for a few years now. I like the process of reflecting on what a year has contained. It helps me understand that space of time as a whole. It helps me see where I’m up to and where I’m heading and helps me check if I need to adjust anything.

And it helps me get perspective.

Especially on productivity and context and growth. I have that voice in my head – you might have one too – that niggles at me all the time with comments like “you’re not doing enough!”, “you’re so lazy”, “stop procrastinating” etc etc. Looking at the wholeness of a year helps give me perspective to push back against that voice. It’s not the only tool for pushing back against that voice, and not even the most important one, but it is useful and has a place.


2018 was a full and hectic year. Nic and I were both in new jobs, our smallest human started (and finished kindy) and our not so small human transitioned back to mainstream schooling after four years of home(un)schooling. We also bought (!!) our second house and moved back to regional South Australia. So there was a lot of change and adjusting to manage just on a practical day-to-day level.


june 6th vis arts 2018

I’m still chipping away at a uni (teaching) degree and this year I completed a visual arts unit (waaay out of my comfort zone). This is a snap behind the scenes (and in my new backyard) of a little film work I created for the final assignment. June 2018.


Alongside that we had a couple of big (new) things happening with people we love. They are their stories to tell but to give you a general sense those big things included cancer diagnoses, serious illness of children, mental health disruptions & challenges and more than one suicide attempt.

There was also a very serious incident* at Nic’s workplace this year, which although it didn’t directly involve him, did have a significant impact on many of the students in his care and his colleagues and did rattle him too. Those things can shake us and make us ask ourselves questions that are very hard to answer.


All of this took energy and had an emotional, mental and physical cost.


I ended the year tired.


simon in 2018

Simon (my car) and I traveled over 60,000 kms in 2018. Plus I traveled by plane to Sydney (peer assessing), Brisbane & Melbourne (to see Claire Christian’s Lysa & the Freeborn Dames and Nakkiah Lui’s Blackie Blackie Brown respectively), Ceduna (work), Newcastle (work + professional development) and Indonesia (final session of ARLP). I was on the road and away from home a lot.



I’m still tired.


But also feeling grateful. So grateful to love and be loved. So grateful that we have the resources and opportunity to walk beside and support our loved ones. So grateful to be at a point in my life where I feel the most competent and capable I’ve ever felt and where I have resources (skills, finances, time, networks) to back myself up. That doesn’t mean I’m not scared and don’t have doubts. I am scared, I do have doubts. I question myself and everything else all the time. But also underneath that I feel like I’ve got this. I can face the unknown. I can face the things that go wrong. I can face the ugly and painful cracks of my own history. I can learn and grow and live and cry and laugh and breathe and hurt and be okay.


2018 I think was the year I finally started getting okay with being bad at things. When I finally started to actually shed some of the old stories about myself (mine and others). When I finally felt like maybe, just maybe, I can do this terrible and precious thing called life.


Yield was my word for 2018. It was well-chosen, I think.


alysha by braidee otto taken 2018

Me, the day after the Carclew Dusk Arts Market @ Carclew House. Snap by Braidee Otto.  Nov 2018.


I’ve chosen a word for the past few years – as many others do** – as a way to set intention and give myself guidance for the year. I guess it’s a kind of New Years Resolution, although it’s not quite so direct. It is its own kind of tradition though and I like it. So I keep doing it.


In 2018 I felt safe and supported and well. And that seemed to trigger my brain to say ‘hey you, here’s a bunch of old hurts and history you’ve never dealt with, better feel it all now.” So 2018 was this weird space of joy and comfort and trauma and tears.

ARLP (and other things) really challenged me to face some of the stories I was telling about myself. And it’s time to keep doing the work of rewriting those stories.


So my word for 2019 is




  • to put right
  • to change or modify (something) for the better
  • to alter
  • to reform oneself


textures in indonesia may 2018

A snap from my second (ever) visit overseas. This is a wall in Jakarta, I loved the textures. May 2018.


And just quietly – I’m not actively sharing this yet, so we’ll count this as a ‘soft launch’ – here’s (one of) my contribution/s to continuing to change and modify the Riverland for the better. Opening mid 2019. Tell your (Riverland) friends.


Let’s see what 2019 brings.




PS – I’ve decided this is my anthem for 2019 ( I haven’t seen the movie but my four-year old loves it and we listen to the soundtrack in the car, the whole soundtrack is super cute and sometimes I listen to it even when she’s not with me).


*It was widely reported on the news at the time and I don’t feel it’s appropriate, useful or necessary to rehash here.

** I was first introduced to choosing a word by Maxabella Loves. I can’t remember how I stumbled on her though!


A small selection of significant things/places/people that inspired me, shaped me, moved me, made me in 2018:

  • Mojo Juju, Native Tongue
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeymoon & The Break by Katherena Vermette (thanks to Tully Bates for inviting me to join bookclub)
  • Climate Century, Vitalstatistix
  • Patricia Piccinini
  • FELTspace, The Mill and Sister Gallery
  • D’Faces and Whyalla, especially Deb Hughes, Olivia White, Rob Golding & Ashlee Worger
  • Brianna Obst & Claire Glenn (all the things and the Never Endo Story)
  • Lysa and the Freeborn Dames by Claire Christian (LaBoite)
  • The Art Squad and Youth Arts Facilitator Hothouse (and all the people part of both)
  • ARLP C24 and our brief time together
  • The Ancient Bloods, in particular This Land (Acknowledgement Song)
  • The She-Ra Netflix reboot & Brooklyn 99
  • Sara Strachan and the Arts Front U30 Gathering in Newcastle
  • DEB by Catherine McNamara and Emily Moffat (at Crack X)
  • Chooks SA (the Facebook group and the movement)
  • Steakaction
  • Ella Winnall and Maz McGann, in general, but especially their campaigns for local gov.
  • Spoken Word SA (even though I didn’t get to many events)
  • the wind coming through my home office window in the evening
  • home.


And so many others. Thank you 2018.



What did the wind taste of? Farewell 2017


I am an apostrophe, riddled with anxiety/ calmed by the spaces in between// #tinytwitterpoem #meetingpeople #publicface


Alysha performing at Adelaide Oval 2017

Reading my poetry at Adelaide Oval LIVE on 5, March 2017


In 2017, I only published three posts here on the blog, but gee, it was a big year.


In no particular order here are some of the highlights and the lowlights and the lessons and my chosen word to enter 2018.




2017 brought more loss and grief, compounding and highlighting the collection of loss we’ve been buffeted by in the past four years. The second half of 2017 gave us a welcome breather though and we made it nearly six months without having to talk about a funeral. One of my dear friends then lost her uncle just before the end of the year and while this particular death did not directly affect me, it brought all those bubbling feelings to the surface again. As did the parade of #timehop photos of lost loved ones that tend to crop up over Christmas/New Year. Grief is a hungry ocean.


That ocean has taught me a lot in the last few years.


About what I value, who I am and how I want to be in the world and 2017 was no different. In 2017, I continued to be inspired by the work of the Groundswell Project and the importance of conversations about death, dying and grief. I also attended ‘The Future of Death Salon’, an event hosted by Moira Deslandes Consulting in Adelaide, which gave me lots of ideas for hosting conversations within my own community about this and other topics. Brianna Obst and I continued to have meaty conversations exploring our personal relationships to suicide, euthanasia and who owns our lives and our deaths. These conversations and our long creative relationship has planted the seeds for a new play that I plan to begin work on in 2018.


Losing Faith in Unicorns

2017-05-18 16.26.43

Signage in front of the Losing Faith in Unicorns house, May 2017

In the first couple of weeks of 2017 things that had seemed so solid at the end of 2016 started to fall apart and everything felt like quicksand. As the Creative Producer I faced the possibility of pulling the plug on a project we’d been working on with a feisty group of teenagers since 2015.


Losing Faith in Unicorns was an immersive theatre experience in a house and we were programmed to present the work as part of the dreamBIG Children’s Festival. We’d secured a house late in 2016 but received the devastating news from the structural engineer that it didn’t pass muster early in 2017. With the clock ticking towards May and the project requiring time for the final purpose-fit design, install and rehearsal, I was freaking out. I rang and emailed well over a hundred individual real estate agents, organizations and other leads. Met dead end after dead end after dead end.


In the throes of my frustration and fear that we weren’t going to pull it off, I said to Nic “If we were in the Riverland, I’d have 5 fucking houses by now.” Because in the Riverland, I’d know who to ask, and the scale of the community means that people are more willing to get involved. Here in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, it mostly felt like shouting into the void. We have lovely, supportive little circles around us here, but the size of the community and it’s particular make-up means that it is so much more difficult to get messages out to the right people. To gather champions and circles of support.


We gave ourselves until the 8th of March to find a replacement house. We secured a house that week. It was owned by someone who lives in the Riverland and the real estate agent I made the initial contact with grew up in the Riverland and moved to Adelaide a few years ago. So there you go – even three hours away – the Riverland came through for me (thank you, thank you, thank you to Kay, Brenton and Tracey!).


So we did it. We created and presented an immersive theatre performance and installation in the very non-traditional space of a suburban house in Christies Beach. The final three general public shows sold out and we received beautiful written feedback like this from audience members:


“I was lucky enough to be in the bathroom when ”Sam” locked the door for the last time for that performance. How brave to lay herself on the line in such a small space. She was brilliant; raw, honest and touching. My daughter’s friend’s mother is dying of brain cancer, and to be able to share Sam’s monologue about her aunt’s death with her has since allowed for some difficult and truthful conversations, and a deepening of mine and my daughter’s relationship with her. This was one of the best pieces of theatre that I have seen. What a great platform for starting those tricky conversations with our teenagers.”


And to cap it all off, Kids Against Humanity and Losing Faith in Unicorns were one of four finalists for the 2017 Arts SA Ruby Awards in the Community Impact under $100,000 category. They didn’t win, but five of the crew attended the awards night and we were in some incredible company alongside the winners – Creating Coonalpyn (of the Coonalpyn Silo fame).


You can see a five minute insight into the project and performance here:


This project had so much packed into it across its 18month journey. It was challenging and frustrating and joyous and powerful and the project and the young people who led it have taught me so much more than I can encapsulate here. I’m not the same because of it and the way I operate personally and professionally has been shifted and shaken and changed by them. I am supremely grateful to have had the opportunity walk beside them on this journey.


Australian Rural Leadership Program

Visitng Browns Brothers 2017

Behind the scenes at Brown Brothers Winery with ARLP, Feb 2017.


2017 included another three residential components of the 15month ARLP Program. Due to my prior commitment with LFIU I could not attend the overseas session in Indonesia in May with my cohort (23) but will be joining C24 in May 2018. 2017 included a week in North-East Victoria and a week in Canberra. ARLP has been a massive process for me right from the beginning with the two weeks in the Kimberley in 2016. 2017 ARLP for me saw a deepening of relationships and learning . Lots of fierce (and sometimes) difficult conversations, so much laughter and gratitude, some incredible and inspiring presenters, connections and lessons. It’s been an incredible experience and I am so very aware of what a privilege and a responsibility this investment is in me and my work.


Every participant of ARLP has to complete a written report for their sponsor (mine is the Australia Council) and this is some insight from my current draft:


“I feel that I have been especially lucky to be a participant of ARLP being from an arts background and being one of the younger members of our cohort, Course 23. At only 32, being surrounded and enveloped by our cohort has been incredibly inspiring, especially in the strong and amazing older women of our cohort who have made me feel so excited about what my future can hold and just in the incredible diversity of experience and perspectives across the entire cohort. I have felt like I am accessing this amazing bank of knowledge every time I am in the room with Course 23 and I feel very privileged to have access to that. One of the things that attracted me to ARLP as a leadership program was that it was not arts specific and that I would be participating with individuals from completely different industries and disciplines. This for me, has been one of the greatest benefits of ARLP. To step outside of the sometimes circular debates and conversations that happen in your own industry and be able to learn and reflect by talking and collaborating across industries has been invaluable.”


Manuscript Incubator

Watershed Feedback

Feedback from a fellow MI participant, August 2017


At the beginning of 2017 I signed up for the Writers SA Manuscript Incubator program. It was a year-long program incorporating a monthly writers group critiquing session and monthly craft workshops for 16writers working on the early draft of a novel. I worked on the early foundations for a novel that has its seeds in a draft play I wrote as part of mentorship with Caleb Lewis way back in 2012. I didn’t complete as much of the wordcount/meat of the novel as I’d hoped at the beginning of 2017 but I left 2017 feeling motivated and well equipped to continue developing the project.


The program was a pretty big investment for me – costing over $1000 for the year – but it was well worth it, and if you’re an aspiring writer, I would highly recommend it. I felt so supported and nurtured and welcomed into the Writers SA family (including getting the opportunity to travel to Mildura with Ali Cobby Eckerman to be in the room with her as she shared her skills with emerging writers there).


It was an absolute joy to spend a year with a group of fellow emerging South Australian writers, supported by Writers SA, and I am so glad I made the commitment.



Alice Zine Drawing

A work in progress of Alice drawing in Rotary Park, November 2017


My Patreon circle is small but mighty in its impact. In 2017, my patrons collectively contributed $866 to my creative practice. This $866 directly contributed to commissioning Adelaide artist Alice Blanch as part of Manifold Portrait. Alice spent two days in Berri visiting Rotary Park and creating an artistic response. I am collecting the special something she has made from her tomorrow to deliver to Manifold Portrait next week – keep an eye on my Insta for a little sneak peek or sign up to the Patreon for patron-only posts. Which by the way, although I’ve been quiet here on the blog, I’ve created 47 posts on Patreon, most are patron-only, though a few are visible to general public and they are a mix of behind the scenes work-in-progress snippets, personal reflections, updates, vodcasts, e-zines and a few other bits and bobs.


As above, my Patreon circle have contributed financially and my posts there have been a way of keeping me accountable (to myself), but most importantly, these supporters – who are putting their actual, real money towards my creations – have been a huge source of encouragement and support. Knowing they believe in me and want to actively support and follow my work has been the biggest gift this year. Thank you Jesse, Kerrie, Ryan, Gemma, Rebecca, Sam, Kimberlee, Andria, Nic and Nic. You are all bloody gems.


You can find the Patreon here:

I’m keeping the regular rewards the same but I am toying with the idea of revamping the goals and their special reward this year.



Alysha at WOMAD better version

Hard at work with the Carclew team at WOMAD, March 2017


I’m going home. At the end of 2017 (October) I nabbed a brand-spanking-new dream job as the Creative Producer, Youth for Carclew and Country Arts. It’s new jointly funded position between the two organisations and the role is dedicated to nurturing creative experiences and opportunities for young people living in regional South Australia. I’m bloody stoked. It’s a promotion (money wise), my contract includes a car (yeah!) but most importantly the J&P said ‘the successful applicant will be based in a regional location, to be negotiated’. So Nic worked his guts out and nabbed himself a teaching position back in the Riverland and we are going home to be embedded in our community of extended family, friends, challenges and opportunities. I could not have ended 2017 feeling any more excited and grateful.


And while I am sad to say goodbye to ExpressWay Arts and to see that project come to an end, in other brilliant news, Carclew and City of Onkaparinga made a new commitment to support Kids Against Humanity with a 1.5day a week Creative Producer. So there will be some continuing legacy of that work and Kids Against Humanity in particular. Claire Glenn who was their weekly facilitator has taken on that new role (and you can read a recap of everything we achieved in the four and a half years I was Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts here:


Other bits and bobs of note

Hopgood Theatre Rehearsal

Rehearsal of Tattle Tale, August 2017

  • I wrote and supported a short film and some attached scenes for a Shine SA sexual health project with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in collaboration with Jessica Wishart.
  • I was the recipient of the 2017 Arts South Australia Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Ruby Award
  • Managed to write 37,157 words during NaNoWriMo
  • Participated in the Operation Move 12-week Learn to Run Program and continued to make regular running a part of my life
  • Sold hand-made zines of words I’d crafted at one of Zombie Queen’s official Zine Swaps
  • Participated in a five week song-writing course (which seems small if you don’t know the backstory to why I was afraid of it) and have since written three songs that are meaningful to me
  • Presented a work in progress with the very excellent Sara Strachan and other collaborators at Crack Theatre Festival in Newcastle
  • Had two wisdom teeth removed the same week I was the opening speaker for the 2017 District 9520 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
  • Ticked off another two units of my never ending double degree (which I commenced mid-2008 and have been studying externally via CDU)
  • Completed a bunch of e-courses in various business and arts things which I found super helpful (including Laura Milke Garner’s Artist Bootcamp)
  • Started a peer-mentoring process with Petra Szabo and her fledgling company Potential Kinetics Theatre
  • Had my first overseas visit! I went to Singapore for a couple of days as a presenter at a Youth Arts Symposium with the CE of Carclew.
  • Wrote and performed more poetry, facilitated more workshops, spoke at more things, ate lots of food, had lots of naps, visited the beach with my children, snapchatted and messaged with my friends and family, lived and learned and breathed and cried and hoped and discovered.


Toddler Feet 2017

My daughters little feet and hands, 2017


And because so much of this post is about the things that went right, here’s some words from a patron-only post I shared back on 3rd May 2017:


Oh my loves. I’m tired this week. Tired in that way where your face hurts. Tired in that way where you crave sugar and a warm blanket. Tired in that way where the littlest things leave you on the edge of tears.



Yesterday I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. It’s not the worst I’ve seen but the cracks are in just the right spot to make it difficult to view photos, which is terrible timing for promoting Losing Faith in Unicorns on social media (the show opens in two weeks from tomorrow!). Today I ripped my favourite pair of pants. Right through the inside seam and across the back of my left thigh. I’m still wearing them but they’ll never be acceptable for public viewing again.



I’m tired and worn thin. By big things and little. By the world and by my world and by my self. And I’m okay, because I know these times are only temporary, because somewhere along my journey I got the taste for hope and now it never leaves me even when I feel like I’m splitting at the seams. So I’m okay. But part of being okay is also sharing that sometimes okay is not being okay. Sometimes okay is struggling and being tired and teary and worn out and full of doubts. Because we all feel that way sometimes. Because that’s part of living a full, rich life too.



A word for 2018

May 8 Floordrobe

With my floordrobe, May 8th 2017


I choose a word every year. As a frame, a lens, a direction to pursue. In 2017 my word was mobilise. I was struggling to decide on a word for 2018 and Nic was throwing out random suggestions, one of them was ‘yield’ and in response, laughing I said, ‘I never yield’.


But I got to thinking about what a great word yield is and how it has layers of meanings that feel so right for me in entering 2018.


So there you go.






  • produce or provide (a natural, agricultural, or industrial product).
  • produce or generate (a result, gain, or financial return).
  • give way to arguments, demands, or pressure.
  • relinquish possession of.
  • (of a mass or structure) give way under force or pressure.



See you in 2018, dear hearts.





A small selection of the things that shaped me, inspired me and moved me in 2017:


  • A.B Original, Reclaim Australia Album (special mention to ‘I Could Be Dead in a Minute)
  • Electric Fields, Nina (from the Inma EP)
  • Jessica Wishart, My Black Boy EP
  • Vitalstatistix, Adhocracy & Rebecca Meston’s Drive showing/artist talk
  • Restless Dance Theatre, Intimate Space
  • Emily Steel (writer) & Daisy Brown (director), 19 Weeks & Rabbits
  • Paul Gazzola with various artists and the City of Onkaparinga, SUE
  • The Vampire Diaries on Netflix, and no, I’m not joking (maybe I should write about this?)
  • Learn to Run Program, Operation Move
  • Binder of Australian Women Writers FB Group
  • Writers SA (formerly SA Writers Centre)

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Mobilising the future: Farewell 2016

One word to sing a new year in/ to lure gently in, to sit softly perched/ on my shoulder/ my lap/ my heart/ to be welcome//  #tinytwitterpoem (2015)


I enjoy marking time as an opportunity for reflection and growth. So for me the end of one year and the beginning of another is a beautiful time to gather my thoughts, say thank you for the year that has been and invite the coming year with intention.


My 2016 was on the less great end of the scale. As the year unfolded, my resilience and health unravelled. It was the cumulative impact of multiple personal losses (the deaths of friends and family in particular) as I tried to navigate a challenging professional year and the meat grinder of small but relentless personal and professional failures. The wearing down was very much exacerbated by some really shitty self-care on my part – physically and mentally – and I’m sharply aware of my own complicity in the year’s struggles.



IMAGE: Photo of cross stitch made by Jamila Main (@xcrossbitchx on Instagram) that hangs in my office.


Subjectively and objectively comparing it to other years, 2016 has not been my worst year, but it has been one of the toughest emotionally. It’s rattled me in a way that some of my worst years never did.


2016 was also a year that was filled with some incredible highlights and soul-filling opportunities for gratitude.


Including (in no particular order):


  • Presenting my solo fringe show, Another Elusive Maybe. It was personal and vulnerable and outside of my comfort zone. The beautiful soundscape my friend and collaborator Ryan Morrison created for the show was a special gift. Watching and hearing people interact after the show gave me so much joy. And some very generous and heartwarming reviews, including this one from Jen St Jack at Great Scott.


“Amidst all the rabble about the true meaning of Fringe, I can tell you that this is it. Real art that pushes the boundaries – art that is completely different to anything you’ve experienced before.

Another Elusive Maybe is truly special. It’s an intimate and absorbing experience that cuts you off but leaves you wanting more.”

Alex Ramsay loungeroom

IMAGE: Another Elusive Maybe, reflected selfie with the audience at Smith Street, February 2016.

  • All the beautiful and love filled weddings AND funerals I attended. These opportunities to be in the company of people I loved to share joy (and food), celebration and grief.
  • Nurturing so many rewarding projects with Carclew and City of Onkapringa as the Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts. In particular in 2016, Brienna Macnish’s The Third Place, spending a number of weeks with Girls Yarning Group at Christies Beach High School and Kids Against Humanity’s Losing Faith in Unicorns.
  • Working alongside so many inspiring, supportive and excellent humans in my paid role, my independent projects and in my community.
  • Continuing to quietly make connections with the residents of Manifold Portrait at my own pace. This project, more than any other, is teaching me all the things.
  • The many other creative projects and opportunities I had, with special mention to Vitalstatistix’s Aeon Adhocracy residency, Spoken Word SA and City Library Poet in Residence program and Country Arts SA’s artist retreat.
  • Joining Adelaide Sword Academy’s long sword classes. Fun, rewarding and unexpectedly life affirming.
  • A perspective shifting and precious two weeks in the Kimberley as a participant of the Australian Rural Leadership Program. Followed by a week of getting to know the other participants in Melbourne and the knowledge that we have another 10months together in 2017.




IMAGE: A tired, dirty and grateful me towards the end of our Kimberley adventure. Ft. busted boot. Photo taken by Nova Peris on mobile phone, August 2016.

  • Interstate trips for art and reunions that cemented how grateful I am to have this exceptional life.
  • All the delightful, generous and thoughtful emails, texts, facebook messages and tweets I’ve received this year from a host of excellent people. In particular those people who have reached out with kindness when I’ve been struggling and those people who have supported and encouraged my creative practice at its best and its worst.
  • Six (SIX!) amazing people who became my patrons in 2016, providing financial and moral support to my creative practice.
  • Watching my toddler grow and discover the world. Little people are such a source of joy and perspective.
  • Seeing my teenager growing into himself. Overhearing him tell his friend “Yeah, but you have to put yourself out there and try things.” This, of all the things in 2016, has felt like the biggest win. By itself, but in the context of history most especially.
  • Another year sharing this journey with my life partner. We’ve both struggled this year separately and neither of us have had the reserves to fully support each other, but even so, our life together is a great gift. I was also really proud of him for being a finalist in a state teaching award and kicking some of his own professional goals across the year.



IMAGE: iPhone screengrab, conversations with my love, 2016.

  • Developing some new friendships, deepening existing friendships and reconnecting with some old ones. Friendship is always something I’ve found difficult. I’m introverted (life is a kind of theatre too) and nervous and find making friends fraught with anxiety so the friendships I have are deeply treasured.
  • Beach visits, making time for running, living in a beautiful home, the resources to live and eat, visiting and experiencing SO MUCH thought provoking, life affirming, inspiring art in all its forms.


2016 has been brimming with highlights, joy and excellence and with heartache, unhealthy stress, disappointment, hurt and loss. Neither cancels the other out for me.


I have felt and do feel both deeply.


I have struggled (hard) this year, with situations and with myself. I have felt gratitude this year, deep and real and filling gratitude.


Thank you 2016.


Your difficulty has forced me to face myself, to see what I really want and to ask for it. Your grace has given me the support and energy to find my way through a year that wrecked me. Now I’m ready.



IMAGE: Past, present and future audit/artwork at Country Arts SA artist retreat, facilitated by Lenine Burke. Ft. my feet, November 2016.


Hello 2017.


Some people hate the idea of New Years resolutions and some people love them and commit (or not) to a special personal goal every year. A specific goal has never been my thing but I really like the process of choosing one word for the coming year. One word as a guidepost, intention, tone. In the same way that as a host I might think about the music I choose for an event, the music doesn’t guarantee that my guests will have a particular experience, but it helps set the mood to encourage one environment over another. Think playing screamo versus folk/indie. Neither is better or worse music but they create very different vibes and experiences for the people who are there.


Choosing a word for the coming year is an opportunity for me to consider the kind of space I want to shape for myself. To think about how I live in my values, to bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be and to let go of any baggage I’m carrying from the year that has been.


My word for 2017 is:






  • Organize and encourage (a group of people) to take collective action in pursuit of a particular objective


  • Bring (resources) into use for a particular purpose


  • Make (something) movable or capable of movement


2016 brought into focus what I really want and what needs to happen to get there, so 2017 is taking the first steps to realize my way there.Mobilising myself, my resources, my communities to bring to life the best in all of us along the way.


See you in 2017, my loves.




A small selection of the things that shaped me, inspired me, moved me in 2016:



Joelistics, Blue Volume album

Electric Fields, Inma EP

Anohni, Drone Bomb Me single

Tina Arena, When You’re Ready single



Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu

Patrick Rothfuss, The Kingkiller Chronicles

Guy Gavriel Kay, The Fionovar Tapestry (again)

Shane Koyczan, a bruise on light

Andrea Gibson, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hyms



Lisa Fa’alafi and Candy and Kim Bowers, Hot Brown Honey

Emma Beech, Life is Short and Long

Vitalstatistix, Adhocracy

PACT, Rapid Response Team








A sea of not silent: Other words in other places.

I’ve been a little quiet here, but I’ve been sharing plenty of other words and insights in other places. So if you’re hankering for my writerly voice – duck over to my patreon here (updates on my latest exploration as a poet in residence at City Library) or my artist facebook page here (various bits and bobs, some old and some new).

And of course I’m always writing micro poetry over on Twitter as @lylyee using #tinytwitterpoem.

I will be sharing some things right back here on the original bloggio in August though, so don’t abandon me entirely.



Another Elusive Maybe

AEM promo image 1

“Amidst all the rabble about the true meaning of Fringe, I can tell you that this is it. Real art that pushes the boundaries – art that is completely different to anything you’ve experienced before.” Jen St Jack, Great Scott


Every show performed in a different lounge room. A one woman theatre experiment asking “How can we feel so alone surrounded by people who love us?”


“The sound of a baby crying

The sound of a kettle boiling

The sound of a dog howling

The sound of a closing door”



Another Elusive Maybe was a performance experiment presented as part of the Adelaide Fringe 2016. Each ‘show’ was presented in a different (real life) lounge-room for a maximum of 8 people per show. The performance incorporated poetry & soundscape (via silent disco headsets), live text message conversations (with each individual audience member) and expressing breast milk.


What does motherhood, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and mummy worries have to say about how we all connect in a world overloaded with sorrow?


“Nine people – performer and audience – sit in a suburban lounge room. We are ostensibly together, hearing the same words and seeing and doing the same things. We are intimate, and yet, we are isolated.” – Jenn St Jack, Great Scott


“There are so many simple, yet sophisticated layers to this wonderfully human work providing deep food for thought about the issues Herrmann set out to explore and experiment on. You feel comforted by what you hear, because the delivery takes the sting out of the real struggle those words are dealing with, as much as you love the genuine warmth and joy there too. Equally, because of this, you feel at ease anonymously having a frank and honest discussion about some deep things. You are in a comforting place known to most, a lounge room.” – David O’Brien, The Barefoot Review


Anonymous audience feedback (via text message)

“A BIG WoW!!! Thankyou!!! Really made me think….and feel! x”

“Wow. I’m literally blown away by how you guys create art. Like what makes you think this is the way I want to perform this story!! Yes well job well done!!! I hope you feel proud to try and make your way through this fucked up beautiful world!!”

“I really enjoyed it and I think I talked to my partner about it longer than it went for. I read the whole leaflet afterwards. Even yesterday. And that’s the thing with art and with what you did, you don’t know how long it lasts or when it takes hold. (….) I like that you talked about what we (I) think about. (…) Thanks again, so much for the inspiration. You at least made a difference here.”

“How do you this with kids? It must nearly break you surely. I feel like crying right now. From inspiration and appreciation, sadness for what I’m not doing. (….) Thank you for sharing. I loved and appreciated it. Hugely.”

“Impressed with your ability to maintain mulit threads of convo. I keep forgetting to listen while typing/reading. Which in itself is interesting..”

“This (your performance) is the strangest combination of intimate yet distant, personal yet remote, familiar yet unusual. Fascinating.”

“Very tightly structured, rich, densely packed with poetic fantasy and reality.”


audience feedback image


Another Elusive Maybe

By Alysha Herrmann & Ryan Morrison

Public season, Adelaide Fringe 2016

16 & 23rd February, 8th March

Various lounge rooms.

Another Elusive Maybe Program Zine PDF

Listen to the headset audio from AEM:


Interview with The Upside News, which sheds light on the impetus and ideas behind Another Elusive Maybe:

Great Scott Review by Jen St Jack:

The Barefoot Review by David O’Brien:


A Red Lid. A #draft #poem by me.

Her dreams taste too small. Too big to lean into. So she folds herself into block mazes on tiny screens and cries quietly behind her eyelids. We are all of us trying to escape ourselves.

Two children to tow along, through the currents that try to drag her under. All of them have seaweed nesting in their hair. Sometimes she ties their hands together with salty shells. And together they float beneath a sun turned angry.

She has forgotten how to recycle. Can’t even spell it without thinking really hard. The palms of her hands are soft like the inside of her discipline. And she is trying. Trying to tread water with her mouth full of sand. It’s all she can.

Elusive Maybes #makethings #lovearts #elusivemaybes


Tied in/ an untangled maybe/ shouting, whispering, pleading/ maybe I will, maybe I will//   

I should most definitely be sleeping.

I want to be sleeping.

It’s 1.23am and I’m exhausted and have to be up by 6:30am for a full day.

But something is brewing in my brain and wouldn’t let me fold myself quietly into sleep. This is very rare for me. I usually sleep easy.

I’m thinking about a project.

A story I want to tell.

And it’s getting louder.

Crashing against the fringes of all the other things right in front of me. Insistently asking me to untangle its possibility. It’s been creeping slowly around the edges of my thoughts for a little while. Tentatively connecting a dot here, a dot there. And now it’s roaring so loudly I can’t hear myself think.

I think I’m doomed.

To live this life always hungry. Always yearning. Always chasing these elusive maybes. Untangling these seams of unheard.  Driven.

So I’ll pour some words onto paper now and hope that’ll be enough to still the maybes for today.

Hope sleep is finding you more pliable.


On the edge #freethearts

You have made yourself to stand/ out on the edges of forever/ outstanding/ excellent// a for and

I struggled to find the words. I struggled to even find any words.

But this is what I wrote to the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget Decisions on the Arts.

It’s not too late to get yours in – you have until midnight to submit here:

11th July 2015

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts

I am an ex-highschool drop out and teenage parent who was caught, and saved in the net that excellent art weaves with and for communities and individuals.

I am now a writer, theatre-maker and cultural producer working for a small to medium organisation and independently. I was the recipient of the 2015 Australia Council Kirk Robson award which recognises outstanding leadership from young people working in community arts and cultural development, particularly in reconciliation and social justice.

Both emotionally and intellectually I am angry and disillusioned at the decision to divert funds from the Australia Council into setting up a new (non-peer reviewed) National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA).

With funding to the 28 Major Performing Arts (MPA’s) organisations quarantined, the Australia Council cuts will come from funding previously allocated for small to medium organisations and independent artists. But the NPEA’s draft guidelines state that it will not fund individuals, resulting in less funding and fewer opportunities for independent practitioners. Small to medium organisations, while in theory able to apply to the NPEA will be in direct competition with MPA’s under the draft guidelines and will have a smaller pool available via Australia Council. As a result establishing the NPEA by removing/redirecting money from Australia Council directly risks the entire ecosystem of Australian Arts and Culture now and more importantly (to me) into the future.

Excellent art and excellent artists come from a healthy ecosystem. Our excellent independent artists and small to medium sector feed the excellence of our MPA’s. They are not just linked but entwined – you only need to look at the CV’s of our highest ‘achievers’ to see how each of the layers overlaps and crisscrosses.

My career would not exist without the work* of two organisations who came together in partnership to make a theatre production with teenage mothers in 2004. Both those organisations submitted EOI’s earlier this year to Australia Council’s 6year organisational funding category, which was suspended in the wake of these funding cuts/changes. Both those organisations are now at risk – if not immediately, most definitely in the future – and as a result, so are future artistic leaders from diverse backgrounds (not just people who have the resources to pay). Other young people in the future may never even have the chance to discover that the arts have a place for them. Because we are erasing their place before their journey can even begin. With these cuts, and others like them, heading our way.

I work with hundreds of young people who are only just learning how to tell their story. They aren’t ready yet to write submissions to an inquiry or work for an MPA. But their stories and their options in the future matter. Their artistic voices matter, right now. They are already excellent and will grow more excellent IF (and only if) the ecosystem is there to nurture them to do so.

Excellence is not expensive lights and flawless technical execution. Excellence is in the striving, for more, for better, for everyone.

Sincerely and with a small dash of hope

Alysha Herrmann