Danny Sun Baulch is a Chinese-Australian writer, student and care worker. She studies professional writing and editing and Chinese mandarin at RMIT University. Her current work focuses on family, relationships and grief. She is fascinated by the intertwinement of personal and collective histories, and the handing down of unspoken stories from one generation to the next. She can be found at @danny_sun_b on Instagram.
Danny’s work appears in The Suburban Review issue #16. Our Poetry Editor Zoe Kingsley interviews Danny about her work.
The dexterity and perceptiveness you demonstrate in your writing in ‘Heartlands’ is truly remarkable. I feel there is an eye and ear to experience in the work, that your writing is a fluid engagement with environment, memory and the body. I was wondering whether you could talk about these connections and elements, and how they play out in the process of writing.
Thank you. I think the connections between environment, memory and body play out the way they do because it is a work of grief memoir. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect if I tried to write something other than memoir, there wouldn’t necessarily be that rootedness in a bodily experience.
When my dad died and I was thrown into the processes of grief, I gradually developed this heightened awareness of myself as a body, and I realised that the way to ride out the worst of grief was to pay attention to the hidden stores of knowledge I as-a-body comprise. For this piece, I tapped into that knowledge by running at Williamstown beach on a regular basis. Afterwards, I’d try and write down what had happened to me emotionally during the run. It was an experiment.
What has resonated for you as a reader and how have these resonances and influences informed your writing?
I’ve been drawn to writers who are ruthlessly honest about others and about themselves, for example Helen Garner and Janet Malcolm (in their own ways). I try to emulate the unflintingness they have each found within themselves. I am also drawn to both these writers for their aliveness to what Malcolm has called a ‘psychoanalytic view of reality’. I share in this way of understanding the world.
For this piece in particular, I found the tone through reading Poverty Creek Journal by Thomas Gardner. It’s almost like I was writing the piece in response to his work, like I was in conversation with him. The tone in the piece is somehow the captured mood of this imaginary conversation.
Are you working on a particular project at the moment, do you have any finished works or works-in-progress that TSR readers should look out for in the near future?
Right now, I am working on a memoir piece about the tattoo I have. It’s also a piece dealing with grief and the bodily experience—this time through the process of uncovering the meanings of my tattoo. I have been really interested in the popularity of tattoos and what that says about the contemporary era, so my personal exploration will tie in with that wider experience. Hopefully a publication will pick it up down the track!