LET THE GRAND RUMPUS BEGIN!

 

the fool

Yes, like the fool I’m about to head off on grand adventures, butterflies fluttering around my head and a precipice beyond. Not really. But the next week is pretty crazy!

On Wednesday, 10 October,  I’m honoured to be a part of UNLEASH THE BEAST – Writing and Wellness Symposium in Toowoomba as a part of World  Mental Health Day celebrations. This year’s theme is the mental health of young people – a topic which is dear to my heart because of my brother’s battle with adolescent onset schizophrenia, which I wrote about in Thrill Seekers. I’ll be facilitating a workshop on Writing for Trauma in the morning, and in the afternoon I’m on a panel moderated by the fabulous Mandy Nolan about Early Intervention Strategies for Young People. Tickets for both are available HERE.

unleash the beast headshot

Then it will be a speedy drive back down from the range to Brisbane where I’m doing a reading at my fabulous local independent bookseller and community institution Avid Reader

cloudland

I’ll be reading an excerpt from my story Cloudland to help launch Within/Without These Walls by AndAlso Books – an anthology of  short pieces, both fiction and non-fiction, about Brisbane landmarks. Cloudland was a Brisbane icon where many parents and grandparents courted and kissed, but my story is about it’s end days, one of the last concerts it hosted before it was demolished in the middle of the night by the infamous Dean Brothers. It’s a FREE event but you need to register HERE.

WWTW front cover design

The following day I’m off to Calamvale Community College for a full day of workshops with keen high-school writers. Then on the weekend, I’m flying up to Ayr in North Queensland for the Burdekin Readers and Writers Festival

I’m very excited to be travelling north as my father’s family lived in Innisfail for generations and I spent a lot of time among the cane fields in my childhood.

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I’ll be facilitating a memoir workshop and moderating a panel of local authors discussing their pathways to publication and beyond. The workshop is FREE if you’re near enough to Ayr to come along 🙂 Book in to both events HERE

As soon as I’m home, I’m off again – this time to Gympie as judge of their annual Literary Awards. as part of the Rush Festival. I was truly impressed by the depth of talent I found reading the stories and poetry,  and I’m looking forward to seeing the joy on the lucky, and skillful, writers faces when the winners are announced. I’m also running a memoir workshop while I’m there, but it’s at capacity I’m afraid.

Then I’ll have a day at home to pack before I fly out to the UK for a trip to finally walk on the earth of my ancestors, and to visit my UK publishers RANSOM who are releasing a new imprint of Thrill Seekers later this year. More on that later!

Phew! Hope I haven’t exhausted you just reading about it all. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you at the events.

It’s a busy but wonderful life. See you on the other side!

With lots of love,

Edwina xx

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Merry Christmas!

Snowman-writer_004

The end of another year! Here’s hoping Santa brings you all you’ve wished for, plus just a little bit extra.

It’s been a big busy year for me with lots of teaching, both writing and yoga, a wonderful adventure to Cape York researching my Castaway project, the fabulous fun of our first ever Relax and Write Retreat in September, and then the pouring in of good things – like the KSP residency next year, the news that good old Thrill Seekers is being given a new lease of life with a brand new imprint in 2018, and best of all, the support of Screen QLD for the development of my “Dear Madman” screenplay.

I’ve been busily writing and learning from my mentor, the incredible Stephen Lance whose new film The Second will be released next year. It’s an exciting new beginning for me.

You’re never too old to start something new!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy new year full of grand adventures, creative inspiration, bum glue, and most of all lots of love and financial support for all your endeavours.

-christmas-writing-merry-christmas Need more REJOICING in your life? Join us at the next retreat. For information on the upcoming Relax and Write Retreat please click HERE

A NEW ADVENTURE

screenplay

screenplay

A few months ago I sold the film rights to Thrill Seekers. I was thrilled, as I’ve always envisioned my stories one day being made into films. Once I was sent the screenplay and read it over, I realised that writing the scripts was probably something I could learn to do myself. It didn’t look so scary after all. Then I went to see Gone Girl at the movies and learned that Gillian Flynn had written the screenplay herself based on her novel of the same name. Not only that, she’d made it onto Forbes list of top-earning authors. That’s one list I’d like to be on, one day.

So, after searching the internet for information and scouring the books on script writing I’ve collected over the years, I sat down to make a start on my own screenplay for Dear Madman. Hmm, it wasn’t quite as simple as I first thought.
Much trickier in fact – a whole new art form for me to explore and play with!

Fortuitously, the QLD Writers Centre was offering a Feature Film Writing Clinic with Duncan Thompson, one of Australia’s foremost screenplay editors and teachers of the craft, and I didn’t even need to be an experienced screen writer to join. I did, however, have to submit the first five pages of my screenplay! With a lot of help from my friends I got that together and I’m in! The course starts in ten days and I’m super excited.

I’m fascinated by this new way of looking at story and enjoying every minute I’m working on my screenplay in progress. I’m back at that absolute beginner stage I remember from when I first started writing fiction over 12 years ago. It feels like PLAY and I’m having a ball. Maybe that’s why they call them screenPLAYS?

It’s also keeping me busy, so I’m not compulsively checking emails to see if the publisher has read Dear Madman yet!

THE MAGIC OF HEDGEBROOK

Hedgebrook cottage

Hedgebrook cottage


I’ve just submitted my fourth application for a residency at Hedgebrook a women only writing community near Seattle. Ever since my friend Michelle Dicinoski was awarded a retreat there, I’ve yearned to follow in her footsteps and sit in one of these delightful cottages, watching hummingbirds flit by as I write. SIGH.

Hedgebrook offers more than a place of retreat though. It is an opportunity, a place full of nurturing wisdom to protect me as I delve deep into the darkest places of the mind for my books. But more than that, Hedgebrook calls to me because of the opportunity to connect with other women writing their own way towards change, women from all over the world who hope to make a difference, in whatever way we can. Each different. Each valuable. Hedgebrook is unique in the world in offering this kind of tribe. I long to be a part of it.

Click on the link to take a virtual tour – mind the drool on your keyboard! HEDGEBROOK VIRTUAL TOUR

Applications are open till next Wednesday if you want to give it a go.

REWARDS!

Treasure chest with gold coins by Garry Gay

Treasure chest with gold coins by Garry Gay

Oh yes, rewards! How we all crave them. Awards, prizes, contracts etc, they’re all pretty grand. Gold coins are not to be sneezed at either, but the other day I received a reward that was worth even more than all of these – words of connection and thanks from a reader. To know that Thrill Seekers is still out there connecting with people and even, most wonderfully of all, reflecting their own experiences is more valuable than gold (though of course that would be nice too!)

Here’s what Harry had to say.

Great read! I had more than a few knock-about friends growing up and the language and the descriptions, the play, the drink, the smoke, the drugs, the sex – you write just as it was – just as it is. Thanks, Harry

It really made my day, especially as it was one of the first messages I received after my return from overseas. Thanks Harry.

As an emerging writer the financial rewards may not be great, which makes messages from readers even more precious. I find rewards in other ways too – writing the end of that scene that’s been bugging me, writing something unexpected, and beautiful, so beautiful it doesn’t feel like it’s come from me. The satisfaction of writing the last few words of a long work and in that split second feeling that it is great (until the morning anyway!).

What do you find rewarding about your art or writing practice? What, besides money, keeps you going?

FIELD TRIP!

lonely-girl-with-suitcase-at-country-road

On the road again!

Yes! It’s time for the best bit of research. Field Trips! Tomorrow I’m off to Kingaroy, a small town about three hours drive north-west of Brisbane – once home to Queensland’s very own despot, Joh. It promises to be an exciting adventure, meeting up with some very important people to help put all the bits and pieces of archive and internet research I’ve been doing for the Dear Madman project into perspective. I’ve done some detective work and found a very far removed descendant of my great aunt’s murderer who is willing to have a chat about the impact this tragedy has had on his family line over the generations.
He had no idea of the crime until I told him. Now that was some phone call.

So I’ve booked into an old-fashioned hotel for the night and will head out tomorrow. I’m very excited, but a little bit scared too.
Wish me luck.
Lots of love,
Edwina xx

THE GENTLE COMFORT OF MR WIGG AND D.H. LAWRENCE

cover image of Mr Wigg

Mr Wigg by Inga Simpson

A recent back injury has had me confined to bed with a cushion under my knees for the last week. No driving, no yoga, no writing, not much of anything – except reading and pain.

I picked up Inga Simpson’s delightful Mr Wigg and found as much gentle comfort as a big eggy bowl of custard eaten with a small spoon. This deceptively simple story of an old man tending his talkative orchard, cooking with his grandchildren and tinkering away on a “special project”, was a balm to my spirit. It was imbued with a deep belief in the sweetness of life that made it hard to put down, and even harder to finish. This is a book to buy and cherish, to be brought down from the shelves whenever the flu or a backache or the blues hit. I am deeply grateful to Inga for the comfort of her story.

Of course, my back injury was the result of continuing to push on and “do” when my body was sending me twinges as warnings that I needed to slow down, to be still. Which brings me to my next book of the week. Sons and Lovers by my old favourite D.H.Lawrence who is nothing if not sensual and of the spirit. I’ll finish with a quote from him that delivers the same message my back was trying to tell me.

“…life seemed a shadow, day a white shadow; night, and death, and stillness, and inaction, this seemed like being. To be alive, to be urgent and insistent – that was not-to-be. The highest of all was to melt out into the darkness and sway there, identified with the great Being.”

Space

Being