About Me

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Redbanks, South Australia, Australia
Contact me if you'd like to know more about this writing group. My email address is jeebers@aussiebb.com.au

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds
Ananka knows how to enjoy life - catch and eat birdies!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A New Challenge

I was reading a library book the other night, and I was struck by something I read, and thought, yes, I can do that! I placed a bookmark in the book, marking the relevant page and then did pretty well nothing more about it, beyond picking the book up a few more times and sagely nodding my head, as if to say to myself, yes, that's what I'll do.

It may not have actually looked like I was doing it 'sagely' - I'm not totally sure what that might look like anyway. But I'm here now, and I'm going to look at the book again, and then get on with it. The book is a non fiction book - "a field guide for {MEMOIR, JOURNALISM, AND TRAVEL}immersion writing" written by Robin Hemley,

I love the way that most of the book title on the front cover is in lower case, with the bracketed words all in upper case. It seems quite hard-arsed (or -assed, if you prefer), and up-yours, which is an attitude I've been playing with recently. I have a particular new poem that has been well received by my friends, and is a very hard-arsed poem indeed.

So, this book talks about being there with the thing you are writing about, not being a dispassionate observer, but writing more about how you react to, or are affected by what you are writing. I like that kind of thing, and am using that style a bit more often in the monthly newsletter I edit, the 'Mallala Crossroad Chronicle' ...

Getting on with what this is all about, it relates to Exercise 4 in the Immersion Memoir chapter of the book. This exercise calls on the reader to start a blog,where they engage in a project and report on it. I almost immediately thought of my role as the Writer-in-Residence at the Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery (PJs) in Gawler. I go to this cafe three times a week to be the W-in-R, and sometimes at other times for various reasons (to get a great coffee and something yummy to eat, for instance!).

I began doing a poetry workshop every Sunday morning at PJs, and I'm involved with a small group of women who get together there and chat about life, the universe and everything. It's a terrific collection of people, getting together in a lovely supportive cafe/gallery/community. The person in charge of the place Gayle, is an amazing woman, well versed in community work, and a marvellous cook. The food, the coffee, the art, the people, it all adds up to being a wonderful place to be. When you add to that the fact of my three self-published books being on sale there at the cafe/gallery, where I will sign a copy for anyone who buys a copy, it's a match made in heaven!

So, Sunday is the day I do the poetry workshop, Monday is the day for the Precious Gem group get together, and Thursday is because my weekly writing group (I'm the President) meets in Gawler at a venue across the road and a bit further along the way. So I go there for lunch that day, sometimes have a meeting there with the secretary and/or the treasurer, and then I head off to the other venue, which is the P/A Hotel (Prince Albert). It all slots together well, and I'm loving Gawler more and more as I meet more Gawler people. I don't live in Gawler myself, but it's the biggest town close to where I live, further north in the country. Gawler is a near-suburban place, trying to hold onto its rural/country roots. There is a lot of interesting history in Gawler, and a strong cultural feel, that will fade away if more people don't get involved in the things happening.

I'm doing my part, the writing group is too, and the Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery is also working toward promoting Gawler as a great place to be! So the project I will be reporting on is the Writer-in-Residence project, perhaps focussing on the the Poetry Workshop. The workshop group is called Write Yourself Well, and is based on my strong conviction that Creative Writing is an excellent therapeutic way to get a handle on the things going wrong in your life, whether physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. When life hands you more than you feel you can handle, your mind can go into overdrive, or it can shut down, or it can just start running around and around without ever slowing down to do anything useful. Creative Writing can certainly help you get a sense of control back.

I have certainly been up-lifted by writing creatively about my own journeys in life. I've written a poetry collection about some very personal issues (damaged children, Precious Gems), and my memoir about how I felt about Multiple Sclerosis coming into my life (Mick Jane and Me - Living Well with MS) these two are sombre books in part, but with a strong feeling of hope for future times, and written with a feeling for the positive things in life. The other book is the oldest of the three, an illustrated book (Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs) written way back when my son was at Primary school (he's now 22). My friend did the illustrations, while I wrote in the voice of Buster, a dog who loves gardening. This fun book has gone through around 5 reprints (of quite small numbers each time, but still ...) I have the following up to Dig It! written, illustrated, printed and ready to be launched at the end of next month, during the Gawler Festival of Words. Exciting times.

Much of this second book in the Buster series (Doggone It! Mindfulness from a Dog's Point of View), was written at PJs, and the book, and another of mine are being launched at PJs, which seems entirely appropriate! Some of the members of both the Sunday and Monday groups (some of them the same people) have helped me with this book, and they are all supportive to me. Having written all of that, it feels like I have books coming out of my pores, I almost hesitate to say what I wanted to write next ...

Here goes: I've begun working on book three in the Buster series, and book about the thoughts of the Dog Buddha, called, not surprisingly "Dog Buddha's Thoughts!" with this book I stayed with the title beginning with a D, and there being an exclamation mark at the end. The beginning D is almost like the head of a dog, with the exclamation mark being the dog's tail. I just thought of that, I'm glad the thought came when I had a screen, and my hands on the keyboard!

I'll end this here, stay tuned for more, I will write so that you almost feel you are at PJs with me, sipping the coffee and savouring the wonderful food!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm still doing the Writer in Residence thing at the Poetic Justice Cafe
Gallery, loving it, and loving the interesting people who come along.

Waiting for night to come

Waiting for night to come
I love sunsets