Episode 10

The absurdity of the human body with Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker is a writer, artist and photographer. She makes work about anxiety, control and intimacy in text, video and immersive installation across Australia and internationally. She is a Walkley-nominated essayist and critic, and co-hosted the podcast Contact Mic. Today we are discussing her beautiful book, The First Time I Thought I Was Dying. 

Our interview begins at 20 minutes. Please note that this interview includes discussions about body image and mental health and may be triggering for some listeners 

Mini book club: Social Queue by Kay Kerr

How many ways can we say "we love this book"?! Beautiful, funny, romantic and heartfelt, Social Queue is a brilliant exploration of an autistic woman on the cusp of her adult life. 

*Note: We received copies to read thanks to the team at Text Publishing. 

Listen to our previous interview with Kay here. 

In this interview, we chat about:

  • How the pandemic has forced everyone, globally, to become more vigilant about their physical and mental health
  • Why Sarah wanted to explore her experience with body image through the lens of photography and the ethics of photoshop
  • Portraying trauma and graphic events/subjects in theatre and then damaging notion that art should be a thing that hurts
  • The obsession with American-style ‘method’ acting and why it’s the worst
  • Grief, anxiety, panic attacks and feeling like you’re going to die
  • Caring for our bodies and our minds
  • The reality of our bodies and the influence of shame
  • The research Sarah put into The First Time I Thought I was Dying
  • The lack of discussion around mental health for men and why Sarah wanted to incorporate this within the book
  • What happens after you ask for help with your mental health?

Books and other things mentioned:

Follow Sarah @sarahtakesphotos. The First Time I Thought I was Dying is available now.

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

Thank you to the team at UQP Books for providing us with copies of The First Time I Thought I Was Dying.  

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.