What's your earliest memory?
Running around a tree.
Who inspires you?
Dave Grohl, Bono, Maya Angelou, Bukowski, Vonnegut, my mother, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Russell Brand, my friend Megan's dad Geoff, a person I ate salmon risotto with last week, the train guard at Wentworth Falls station who blasts R.E.M. songs through the loudspeaker, my enemies, Jenny Lawson, Heather Spohr, Rumi, Eminem, my brother Cam, people who tell me the truth no matter how hard it is, my friend Kelly, the readers of this website, invisible members of society who nobody notices, huntsmen spiders, my own self.
How old were you when you lost your virginity?
How old were you when you had your first orgasm?
Fourteen. I discovered orgasms accidentally one weekend while reading a stolen Harold Robbins book. That was a day.
How many dead fathers do you have?
Three but none of them were really a dad. Owie.
Why do you write?
To connect with other people's Souls.
Why did you purposely run your website into the ground after it gained such notoriety and attention?
Because I wanted to.
Do you collect anything?
Souvenir spoons and cowboy boots. I have about six pairs of cowboy boots all worn according to how I want to feel, for example the red ones I bought in New York make me feel powerful. The Mexican mustard-coloured ones I bought off eBay make me tough and grounded. My brown and aqua pair I've been wearing for the majority of this year .. they're my poetry slamming and also "stay alive" boots. My black boots with white stitching I got from San Diego - I took those ones to Africa with me. They remind me I can do big things.
Who broke your heart?
So many people. I'm getting to a point where I'm grateful for all of them. The best thing you can do after a broken heart is to open it back up again.
Do you like being 43?
No I fucking hate it, I knew I would hate it as soon as I turned it, it's been a shitty fucked up year and I can't wait to turn 44. When I turn 44, I'm going to have the biggest celebration with spoken-word artists and different bands throughout the night and invite all of the people I love and respect the most and get them to write one anonymous secret about them down and put it in a huge glass jar to be read out intermittently throughout the night. 44 is a master number. My son Max's name adds up to 44 .. I did that on purpose. He's a strong young man.
Why do you find life so difficult?
Because life is difficult. We all instinctively know this, and we all deal with it in our different ways. Sometimes the mere existing is excruciating and I can only find real relief from a few words from the pages of a special book, or at the edge of the Edge's incredible guitar strings in that one long note opening With or Without You, or realising I had the Tree of Life in my backyard this whole time which is a metaphor like the ruby slippers. Finding healthy and non-destructive ways of dealing with life and my relationships with other people? My biggest goal right now.
What do you do?
A really drunk guy asked me that at a party once when he was trying to crack on to me and I was so pissed off I answered: "Exist. Piss. Shit. Eat. Breathe. What do you do?" He walked away. I prefer to be asked who I am.
What do you have to say to people who heap shame and stigma and blame onto people suffering from mental health issues?
I say, suck a massive dick. Yes I have accepted the label of Bipolar II. I also have huge anxiety, PTSD, compounded grief, incredibly horrific depressive episodes, cumulative trauma, agoraphobia ... and more that I can't remember right now. And when you wrap all of those things up into a big burrito tied with a red bow you can diagnose me with a huge case of AWESOME because I also have enormous spiritual depth, a beautiful and delicate heart, hardcore motherfuckerness, a Soul that no man has ever truly seen, empathy, love, a sadness almost too much to bear, and deep bitterness that I keep trying to shoo out. I'm quite fucking amazing and if you want to use my own shit against myself grab a ticket at the deli counter and sit the fuck down with the other people. It'll be a long wait. Lucky I have a whole host of other beautiful people with rich hearts and souls who got my back.
What's the first joke you ever knew and understood and laughed at?
Why did the orange stop in the middle of the road? Because it ran out of juice.
Why did you cut your own hair off in the middle of the night a few months ago?
Because I was doing a Britney, bitch. I hadn't had my hair cut since my brother died because he would have seen that hair, you know? But hair holds memories and it was time to move along and stand back up again. And again. And again. (And again, etc.)
Do you have anything against flamingoes?
Should you have become a mother?
Look I'm doing my best but I fuck it up. Being a mother has all these expectations of being an all-giving, nurturing, self-sacrificing, gentle, unconditionally-loving, understanding patient generous and pure saint. No-one can do all that, not nobody not no how. But my god I love my children. I love my children. I love my children.
Are you a feminist?
Yes however I prefer the term "humanist." After my brother's suicide I have realised the patriarchy damages us all.
What's one of your favourite ever pieces of advice?
Bono says that often the best place to be is right in the middle of a contradiction.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully alive. At peace inside my own skin. Writing writing writing, words pouring so thick out of my veins I got ink for blood and a thirst for life marrow that will never be entirely quenched. Wouldn't that be glorious?
Who is your best friend?
Megan Daley. And Mary Canning. These two women did not give up on me this year - they nearly had to. I nearly stepped over the edge. The richness of friendship has finally made its way to me after all these years and I'm so grateful and humbled I also very much like my school-mum friend Naomi C and fellow spoken-word artist Zoe Beaumont. And my sponsor. She found a funnel web spider in her kitchen yesterday and her first instinct was to karate-chop it I mean come on.
Do you believe in soulmates?
I believe in soul people. I believe that when you align yourself with the Universe, you expand and attract all of the right situations and people at the exact moment you need to. When you're not doing the right shit in life, it just doesn't happen and you get lost. When you walk through the fire and face yourself, magic and joy appear. My brother was my first soul person. Still is ... death cannot take that away from us. I don't know that I believe in the traditional institution of marriage anymore. Not sure exactly what I believe in but it's going to be nice to find out. I want to always remain teachable.
Why don't you go on TV anymore?
Because I don't want to. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
Do people hate you?
Fuck yeah. You're not living properly if you're not pissing people off.
Why are people attracted to you?
I got something. Some kind of spark or some shit .. still figuring it out. At this point in my life I'm sitting back and waiting for some people to come forth and illuminate me. I'm tired of doing all the illumination.
Will you win the Australian Poetry Slam Nationals one day?
Fuck yes. I'll keep going back and entering, year after year after year, carving my words out of stone, thinking and feeling and realising and making other people do the same. 26 letters, man. The alphabet only has 26 letters in it. So much to say and read and learn and grow from just twenty-six letters.
Were you born a writer?
Yes. Write on, right on, ride on, right through. Step into this. Keep fucking going motherfuckers stop killing yourselves you're ending your chapters too early and it's making me sad and pissing me off.
When you go quiet on your blog does it mean you're going through a hard time and you're all fucked up?
God no. Sometimes my most treasured and special moments happen entirely off social media. That's how things should be.
How can this be a proper Street Talk when clearly you're interviewing yourself?
Don't get saucy with me, Béarnaise.
Anything else you'd like to add?
No. I abhor adding. And subtracting. Fuck maths. I dream in colour and galaxies and worlds of words. Always with the words.
Previous Street Talks:
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady
9. Jeff the Preacher Man
10. Andres the Cobbler
11. Honey the Prostitute
12. Mark the Masseur
13. You the Blog Reader
14. Jo the Podiatrist
15. Casey the Uni Student
16. Dream the Horse and Carriage Driver
17. Tamas the Hungarian Accordionist
18. The Dignified Trolley Ladies
19. Alex With The Studded Hot Pink Belt
20. Leaf The Fallen
21. Bel Of The Library
22. Jay And His Big Issue
23. Emma The Adult Shop Cashier
24. Teena, Saver Of Dogs
25. The Luna Park Face
26. Gary The Missing
27. Kristen at the Elephant Bean Cafe
28. Uncle Paul
29. Jess The Mama
30. The Two People At The Checkout
31. Alfie The Pourer
32. Breaking The Rules With Captain Starlight!
33. The Woman In Line At The Bakery A Few Weekends Ago
34. Dog The Dog
35. Julia Gillard The Person
36. Nancy The Badass
37. Bruce From The Psych Ward
38. Jeremy The Costumeless
39. The Women in the Morgue
40. The Lady Whose Name I Didn't Quite Catch.