June 2018

Hello again from the Sunny Coast where our winter weather has at last arrived bringing chilly mornings, but wonderfully clear days filled with sunshine. It’s quite incongruous seeing the tourists from the colder southern states in their brief tops and shorts while the locals huddle up in jeans and warm jackets.

Last month I mentioned the possibility of beginning some memoir writing classes and after a time of head down and bum up to pull the course together, I am pleased to tell you they are underway. With fifteen applicants, I decided on three small classes a week for five weeks. With the first two weeks now under my belt, I can report the classes appear to have been very successful. There has been very positive feedback from the people who have attended, and I think I have at last found my niche. Life writing seems to be popular and people certainly have many stories to tell. I have to say that after an initial period of anxiety of how they would be received, I am now thoroughly enjoying the classes. The thing that is coming through loud and clear is that working with others is stimulating and inspiring. It is good to see people writing down ideas as they listen to others and go home inspired to write more. One member, Beverley, brought along a quote someone had said to her years ago: "Creativity flourishes with shared ideas. You will always find that creative people are willing to share." That has certainly proved true in my own experience and I can see it happening in these classes.

The bonus for me is that I am also becoming inspired to write again. I have been undecided for too long about what direction I am taking – my head has been spinning in different directions with three writing projects on the go. None of them really motivated me – they were just ideas, and I felt I was writing because I was a writer and writers have to write. At last I am back in a good place and I know where I am headed. I have begun to pull together and organise the earlier research I had done for the sequel to the Moon story. Already I am looking forward to mentally being back in Eden with Gerard, Jane and the others. A long road ahead, but one which will be travelled with renewed enthusiasm. Lesson learned? Don’t push on with a project just because you feel it is expected of you. We all need some down time occasionally.

Looking back, I realise that the period of disincentive was mainly caused by my two breast cancer operations but also by the fact that I was not going to the writing classes I had been attended for years. As mentioned earlier "Creativity flourishes with shared ideas”. I owe a vote of thanks to the great people who are coming to the memoir writing classes who have helped provide stimulating sessions.

If you feel you have a story to tell, then feel free to get in touch by sending me a message though the ‘Contact Me’ page. I am planning more classes or workshops, or if you not on the Sunshine Coast, then I can work through the course with you via email.

All this has meant reading has taken rather a back seat but I have managed to read a couple of books by Val McDermid – a recently discovered author for me. With a huge catalogue of books to her credit I wonder why it has taken me so long to find her. The two I read were from the Karen Pirie series, set in the author’s native Scotland. Rather darker than my usual taste but her writing and detail is so good that it overcame my initial hesitation and after reading one of the series, I moved straight on to a second. It seems to be the fashion lately for mystery stories to be about historic cold cases, as are these stories, and with both of them there is more than one case being investigated at the same time. Featuring a female detective with brains rather than glamour, the books are down to earth, filled with realistic characters and touch on real life historical events that strike a chord to those of us of ‘a certain age’. Both have been a pleasure to read.

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