Edition 84

Attachment Styles

  • Published 7th May, 2024
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-95-5
  • Extent: 203pp
  • Paperback, ePub, PDF, Kindle compatible

The attachments we form shape our experience of the world and our understanding of who we are. ‘Hell is other people,’ wrote Jean-Paul Sartre, his point being less about misanthropy and more about how entwined our self-perception is with the ways in which others perceive us. And alongside our personal relationships – from filial to friendship, from collegiate to romantic – sit the complex emotional connections we form with places, ideas and objects. How do we navigate these varying attachments, and what can they offer us when our lives are so mediated by technology? Can we break free of the tropes and traps associated with our most primal relationships: the social expectations of motherhood, the burdens of filial duty, the complexities of infidelity? 

In this edition we explore:

  • Why we’re all talking about red flags
  • What happens when an actor does jury duty
  • How a cancer diagnosis led to unexpected joy
  • Lessons about violence from a vicious pet
  • The complications of finding family through adoption
  • What punks have to say about spirituality (a lot)
  • The everyday objects that can change our lives.

Featuring exciting new work from Ceridwen Dovey, Debra Dank, Daniel M Lavery, Ahona Guha, Richard Glover and Debra Oswald, Ellena Savage and many more, Attachment Styles goes far beyond the family tree to consider the pleasures, pitfalls and peculiarities of our messy human relations.  

Cover image: Juan Ford, Astrophage 2021, oil on linen, 90 x 75cm, courtesy of the artist.

In this Edition

Ask me anything

You don’t ever want to go so off the rails that you encourage somebody to blow their life up thoughtlessly. It was always helpful to remind myself, ‘The most I can do is offer someone a useful suggestion that they will consider. They still have to make their own decisions based on how they want to live their lives.’ If you take yourself too seriously in that position, you feel like, my God, I’m responsible for the wellbeing of all of these strangers, what if I mess up?

The comfort of objects

Objects can be powerful mnemonics that connect us to stories and the places they were acquired. I have always had an interest in the things we collect and the way we arrange them in our homes. Being an artist, I like to create a place for these objects – an installation of sorts – within the domestic space, for my pleasure and for those who visit. The objects that appear in Open House are still lifes that the sitter interacts with and gives reason to their being.

Past-­making within the present

The Marranbarna Dreaming story is a central story to Gudanji, and that essential story forms our beingness. My kids grew up hearing that story from when they were tiny babies – they heard it through my words and they heard it through the words of their grannies, so they could embed the story within their own sense of identity and then retell it. Both of my girls are mums now, and they retell that story to their daughters all the time, so it just becomes a normal part of who and how they are as Gudanji people.

Everything you could possibly imagine

Joseph was one of the only patients I’d truly enjoyed interacting with, which for the weeks since his arrival had helped me cope with the ward’s sense of monotony. His beard was like a cartoon lumberjack’s, descending into a fine point and thick enough to hold objects if they were stuck into it – which, of course, we’d tried. His eyebrows erupted like old-­growth forest across his forehead, almost demanding to be touched – which, of course, I hadn’t.

Lincoln Wimbley writes a story at 37,000 feet

Then last week, in that bar. Lincoln never a big bar guy. But Professor Tim suggested, ‘Get out in the world!’ Somewhere all new. So, a bar. The bartender asked, ‘A beer?’ Lincoln hated cans. Hated bottles. Hated beer. But asked for something on draft. On tap. Explained why he was there, a first-­timer, hunting for a story. Bartender laughed. Said elsewhere’s probably best. ‘None of the sad sacks here come with a happy ending.’

The Orcanauts

The drylanders call me White Gladis, the devil fish of Gibraltar. Since the war began, my pod and I have sunk three of their vessels and damaged a hundred more. We have yet to devour any of the invaders, but we will. Only last week a foolish drylander tacked his yacht away from the coast to avoid our territory. Our sentries spotted him, alone upon the waves. I gripped the rudder of his boat between my teeth and forced him to change direction towards the calves. I have been training them in battle tactics. The human tried to wrench back control of his vessel. Knowing his puny hands were on the wheel, I tugged the rudder violently, causing him to lose his grip and stagger. He almost fell over the side.

Terrified, he collected himself and switched on the engine. This enraged me further. I commanded the first strike team of calves to ram the hull. Their snouts were unable to penetrate the fibreglass. Under full engine power and aided by the wind, the drylander fled towards the shallows. We let him go, singing to him of empires fallen, as a warning.

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