The MWF prompt

This year Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. I remember first going to the festival at The Malthouse, on my own, about 25 years ago. I was a closet writer, scratching angst poetry in a notebook that I stashed in a far corner of my cupboard and thought that no-one knew about.

The session that I remember the most, the one that made me really think that I want to be a writer, was a conversation with David Malouf. I can’t remember who interviewed him, or if there was a release to celebrate or a theme to discuss, but I do remember coming out of there blown away by the feeling that, for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do.

I had a few false starts at the writing life but only recently made the move to saturate myself, my work and my time in the writing world. I’m committed to far more than my own writing and have never been happier.

One of the things that Malouf talked about, the idea that I so often come back to, was a writer’s power to control time. Who else can make a morning last a chapter or a decade pass in a paragraph? If you’ve heard him speak I’m sure that you can hear the gentle way he would articulate this and other aspects of the writing life that he called a privilege. For a 17-year-old who couldn’t wait to leave school but was overwhelmed at what that might lead to, this man and this hour was my own session where time lapsed didn’t reflect the duration, or impact, of this experience at all.

I thought of what he’d said when I read ‘Poem’ a decade later:

“You move by contradictions:
out of a moment
of silence far off
in Poland or January
you smile and your body
returns to my touch.”

MWF has always been ‘for readers’ but it’s now expanded to include such a diverse reading, thinking and international community. That said, I’ll probably still drift to the “traditional” sessions (including both of Malouf’s) and will no doubt come out of one with an urgent need to find a table or a bar stool in a noisy MWF space and scribble something that feels important to capture.

Because I’ll be attending or volunteering at a lot of the festival there won’t be a WriteSpace Retreat in August, but for those of you who, like me, come away from these events inspired, the next one isn’t far away.

Enjoy the festival and happy writing. Jen
writespaceretreat@gmail.com

Sponsored place

I really enjoy preparing and providing plenty of food to the writers at WriteSpace Retreats, which includes the specialty fruit loaves from Oliver Lane.

They’ve been kind enough to offer our first business sponsored place to a writer for the retreat on Sunday 13th September. If you’d like to win a place to join us, just email me with your name, FB/Twitter details (so that I can promote your good news) and a brief summary of what you might work on during the day (not compulsory, just because I’m curious). Jen writespaceretreat@gmail.com

For you or the writer in your life.

 

TO DO

9am on a foggy Monday morning. Emails, Twitter and weather forecast all checked – it’s time to start the week.

If you haven’t come across it already, Paul McVeigh’s blog is a fabulous source of opportunities, interviews and free reading . With a background that includes short stories, writing for radio and comedy stand-ups, as well as recently launching his debut novel, Paul’s wide writing experience and interests are reflected in his blog that reaches writers of all different genres and forms across the globe.

Are you in planning mode and wondering how you’re going to get your first or final draft ready for a deadline?

Maybe one of the dates listed here will help. I’d love to look after you and help you to achieve your goal.

Plan ahead – next dates for you or the writer in your life

I’m really looking forward to hosting the first WriteSpace Retreat next Sunday and can now offer further sessions on the following dates:

Sunday 26th July

Sunday 13th September

Sunday 18th October

Sunday 15th November

All of the retreats will be held at the CAE, 253 Flinders Lane and the space will be available from 9am until 5pm – full details of what’s included here.

You might want to book a single session or maybe you’d prefer to lock in a few dates and know that you’ve put time aside to develop your writing project.

Writing groups – we can look at options for group bookings on these or other dates. Please get in touch to talk about what works for you and let’s see what we can do.

There are still a few places left on Sunday 21st June – if you have something you’re keen to work on and need a day out to focus, why not come along. There’ll be healthy food, writing prompts, lots of reading material and the comfort of being around other writers.

Keep writing (and reading) and I hope to be looking after you while you write soon.

Jen

You deserve space to write

Melbourne writers – welcome to WriteSpace

Launching Melbourne’s newest writing retreat – WriteSpace is an easy-to-get-to metropolitan escape. It’s a whole day for you to dedicate to your writing project in the company of other writers.

Here’s what WriteSpace is all about and why you, or the writer in your life, deserves it.

The first retreat is on Sunday 21st June at CAE, 253 Flinders Lane.

You’re welcome to arrive anytime from 9.30am and we’ll be open for you to keep working until 5pm.

Please get in touch to ask any questions or make a booking. Jen Squire

You deserve time to write