I thought that when I was granted disability pension, that I would be free from the hassles of looking for work which I couldn’t do anyway, and have more time for me. Well, although the engagements I take to read some of my poetry, memoirs or short stories have been enjoyable, there are many. I barely have time for a cuppa or an afternoon rest. I’m so glad to have been accepted and welcomed into the literary community of the Hunter Valley.
Last weekend I was at the first ever IF (Independent artists Festival) in Maitland. I couldn’t help but fill my day and early evening with Seminars, workshops and readings. I participated in the Open Mic Slam Poetry event in the early evening, before going home to collapse and sleep right through the next day.
I started the day with a hearty farmers breakfast at Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG), where on the lawn outside, a gent was reciting to a young audience some children’s stories and an art installation called Visual Busking was taking place.
I went then to Sun Street Studios where I was blessed to hear writers of three different genre discuss the process of writing and producing their works. The MC was Karen Crift from the Hunter Writers Centre. The speakers were a music and lyric writer Ricky, who used music as a therapy with disabled and marginalised people at Mai- Well, Michelle Reidy, a writer of short stories and poetry, which she used for therapy and Liz a film script writer as well as working in clay and dance as therapies. The Seminar was entitled To of the three writers also used art as therapy. We heard how the writers used their writing not only to convey a message to others but at times the work could be cathartic, healing if you will, to help them get something off their chests and out of their system. I could really relate to this as I do the same. I use writing to express anger and love alike. I generally can write a piece quickly and after a glance and quick edit, I get almost immediate relief from the issue that has been plaguing me. Fiction can be used as a real escape and a safe place to explore an issue outside of self, letting the characters in the story deal with things that we in the real world find difficult to handle.
Sometimes writing is not for others but for an audience of one, yourself. Somethings are not for publication whereas in other cases, our writing could be something that we want to share with the world.
All agreed it was healthy to seek others out who write, as writing can be a very isolating occupation. Being with others in the same occupation can assist you to discover how to improve or do things a little differently.
Artwork to me is like a reward. I don’t really allow myself to do major works until I have accomplished something significant. If there is a challenge which I have finally met and overcome the procrastination bug which is buried deep under my skin, I allow myself to pick up a brush, put some colour on it and throw it at a canvas. It is often something that I cannot express freely in words but find easier to express in a picture. A lot of time I draw wild animals or native birds, just to represent the freedom that they have and that I long for.
The next event at the IF festival was a workshop which was held by Michelle Reidy. It was to further explore writing as a therapy. We discovered what it was to write stream of consciousness. Letting the mind and the pen go where it will. We did exercises where we were given a prompt in the form of a word or picture. It amazed me as to what came from my hand when I am just letting it flow.
From there I went to enjoy refreshments and the Poetry Slam event at the Pourhouse which had some wonderful guest poets including Tug Dumbly. Poets from all ages and genres recited their works which were designed to “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” (Banksy).
I’m afraid I was unable to stay for the whole session and had to admit defeat. The mind was full of new ideas and and story lines I would like to run with, but the body was weary and so I succumbed to the need for rest and the land of dreams