It is upon us: this morning, I packed myself up, hugged Luscious and the kids goodbye, and hied me to the other end of Perth to commence my 2-week live-in residency at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre.
I’ll be working on 2 projects while I’m here: Ghost Tracks, the children’s novel wherein the protagonist derails a ghost train and is forced to travel to the otherworldly dimension to make amends; and the collection of short stories about supernatural incursions into historical events in Western Australia. In addition, I’ll be attending some writers groups, conducting a workshop, and being a part of some events throughout my stay.
Oh yes, that’s how a themed collection starts. Oooh, ahh, what a great idea.
But then there’s research, and carrying a million freaking books, and screaming…
I arrived this morning at about 10am, and settled into my cabin after saying goodbye to Luscious. Residents are housed in one of three chalets in the back garden of the Centre, and there is very little suffering involved: they’re gorgeous.
‘Aldridge’ the cabin where I’ll be spending the next 2 weeks.
Nicely appointed, clean and comfortable. A perfect nesting spot.
That’s my view. Hellish, I tells ‘ee! Hellish!
Upon settling in, I was surprised to see that I’d be sharing my fortnight with an old friend: it seems someone had left behind an illustration by my friend Kathleen Jennings, the superbly talented Queensland artist. It was pinned to the corner of the noticeboard of the room, and will provide a friendly face during the writing hours.
A beautiful work by a truly wonderful artist.
So, here’s my appearance itinerary while I’m here. If you want to come along and catch up with me at any of these, mention this blog post and you will receive 15% of all advice that I give you! (NB: that 15% will be the last 15% of each sentence, which may make things harder to understand.)
Thursday 13th, 10am – 12pm: Press Club. I’ll be interviewed by a posse of aspiring writers aged between 10-17, who will then upload their interview onto Youtube as part of their day of writing activities with my old Curtin University pal and fellow author Melinda Tognini.
Tuesday 18th, 6pm – 9pm: Literary Dinner. I’ll be the guest at a Christmas in July themed dinner here at the Centre. I’ll be reading from Ghost Tracks and one of the stories I’ll be working on. Combined with games and entertainment based on the evening’s theme, this promises to be a fun night out, so book now.
Wednesday 19th, 5.45pm – 7pm: Meet the Author, Mundaring Library. I’ll be spouting my usual ranty passion about writing as abstract art, comfort food versus guerilla warfare, and my journey from aspiring nobody to middle-aged eccentric. It’ll be fun. More booking details in a day or so once it’s all finalised.
Saturday, 22nd, 1-4pm: Workshop, World Building 101. Learn tips and tricks to help you build a believable secondary world, complete with weather patterns, fantastical creatures that work, and methods of insinuating the weird into everyday settings. Plus a metric tonne of writing exercises to help you reach that special point of exhaustion enjoyed by practicing writers. Book now.
Sunday 23rd, 10am – 12pm: KSP Fantasy, SF & Horror Group. I’ll be dropping in on this bi-monthly group, that used to be my own special stomping ground in my early writing days, to talk shop, listen to people’s work, offer my own latest effort up for critique, and run and exercise or two into the bargain. It’ll be just like old times. Only in colour.
But the main object of this residency is words. So, with a short break to meet Andrew Levett and Julie Twohig, two writers undertaking Fellowships at the same time I’m here, I got stuck in and hit up a quick 300 words on Song of the Water, a story centred around CY O’Connor’s suicide, which will be my first work while I’m here.
It’s alive, I tell you! Aliiiiive!
So, that’s it for today. Tomorrow: more wordage, a decent walk through the hills, and reheated lasagne for tea. It’s a hard life.