Sunday, April 3, 2016


Saturday is the big day of the festival, and I was in there at 9am to grab a Gozleme breakfast at the Olive Tree Markets. But once it hit 10am, it was on!

Writing about loss

Panel discussing Hunter Writers Centre's Grieve Writing Project. The project began as a Hunter initiative but with finding became a National competition. 500 words for Prose or 36 lines of Poetry.

The word Grieve is interesting within the project. You are being asked to Grieve as you write. Everyone has a story. And each story is varied. Threads of hope weaved throughout the stories. Everyone's voice is authentic.

The panel included palliative care workers, a mother who wrote of her son's suicide, and a detective who worked many suicide cases. He wants to make that person's life honorable.

Giving language to grief is very important . Acknowledging it can help heal the person and the community. Call it what it is.

Write with your heart and don't stop. Edit with your head later. Form a relationship with your grief. Give it a name. Write as if no one will actually see it.
This Writing Life, Camel Bird with Michael Sala.

Carmel is so prolific that it takes Michael a good 10 minutes to introduce her. So much so that Carmel said she felt quite tired hearing it all.

Michael asks Carmel how she begins a story or her writing process. She describes imagery or the thing that is out of place can often be inspirational in terms of starting a story.

Throughout the chat little snippets of wisdom appear to assist with the writing process.

Always be ready for inspiration to hit you.

At the heart of writing there is a sense of play.

Jump in and play around in it then step back and see what you've done.

Go with your own instinct in how you work. You're an individual.

She then read her short story Monkey Business.

Then they spoke about using SM as authors. Carmel is an early adopter and a fan.

The story if it is strong enough will lodge itself and dwell with the reader. But just keep writing for you
The Aftermath: memoir writing, what happens when the private becomes public.

Michael Sala, Kate Holden, Rebecca Starford, with Magdalena Ball

Michael doesn't shy away from his truth.
Rebecca says it all exists on the page, separate to her.
Kate says other people are more cool about it than she is.

When is it best to write your truth? When you are ready you'll know. However a greater degree of reflection, the distance of time and the further you are away from the situation/time will help.

So it depends of the actuality of your truth now. And memory is unreliable.

Kate quotes Helen Garner, If you're going to be hard on others, be hard on yourself.

And they all day if you're not upsetting ppl then your bks are not that interesting.
Talking to my Country
Stan Grant with Jill Emberson

The piece Stan wrote about Adam Goodes was written just on a year ago. He had only been back in the country 2.5 years. He was driven to write it and his wife suggested he do it and send it to The Guardian.

His life has been fundamentally changed by this moment and speaking up about it. He didn't anticipate it and is still working through how to handle it.

Jill mentions how subtle it all is.

Stan says words matter. There is a rhythm and musicality to how words are put together. You must choose your words carefully especially when expressing complex ideas. He is also aware that words can be turned against you and one false move can be fatal.

Talking to my Country means talking to his land, the physical country. We connect - no matter who we are or where we've come from - through our country.

What's different now? Nothing really and he's mindful of those that came before him, saying similar things at a far riskier time. He's very aware of standing on the shoulders of giants.

Key theme of the day, we need to think of this as an Australian issue not an Indigenous issue.

Such a gently spoken, articulate, intelligent man, this was by far my favourite session of the day. You felt humbled to be in his presence listening to his thoughts and ideas.

Beyond the Spin: dissecting our political leaders with Kerry O'Brien, David Marr, Paddy Manning and hosted by Steve Lewis

O'Brien gave an overview of Keating.
Marr on Shorten.
Manning on Turnbull

Great discussion on the lack of forward thinking of Turnbull. O'Brien felt the same about Rudd. They both were so keen to gain leadership it would appear they didn't think about anything to do once they got there, minimal policies and nothing to really make the job their own.

O'Brien feels the barnyard media is to blame for the barnyard politics abs vice versa. Though he didn't want to piss on all his colleagues.

Huge rant on the state of democracy and worry for future Australians and democracy from O'Brien.

So much more amazing thoughts and other insights it was hard to keep up, but a thoroughly entertaining session by some of the great minds in political media.

Who's got the weirdest parents with Richard Glover

There really is no way to describe this session, if you have read Richard's memoir as I have you will understand. This man has had the most bizarre and traumatic upbringing but somehow has escaped untouched, well mostly. His session was more like a stand up/best of the book, which was entertaining and had me in tears from laughter and melancholy in equal parts.

He is the most delightful, adorable, sweet, and smart man.

Basically his memoir - besides being a healing process for himself - is to show people that no matter what you go through with your family you can come out the other side ok and you just learn to find the love elsewhere.

Such a great day, the first three sessions were very helpful to me in terms of my own writing and a particular project I embarked on a few months back. Listening to the writers talk about their situations and how they tackled writing about them was assurance to me that I am on the right track with my own memoir from a less than pleasant part of my own life.

The final three were extreme entertainment with intellectual and exciting thoughts and ideas that really got my mind buzzing. Such a pleasure, I came home totally exhausted but feeling very creative and full of ideas and hope.

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