Saturday: It's National Bookshop Day and the proprietor of our local Collins Bookstore has organised some bookish items in the middle of the Shopping Centre. And there I am, whiteboard marker at the ready, asking, "Who would like a poem today?" The first hand goes up. She's about 6 years old and she wants a poem about a Unicorn. Anything special? Its horn. (Firmly stated). Want it to rhyme? Solemn nodding, she's not quite sure why I'd even ask. And here I go, straight onto butcher's paper clipped to a board.
I read it out, her sparkling eyes my just reward. Would you like to take this home? YES! Hmmm. We thought no-one would want the products and were planning to pin up the poems on bookstore windows/walls. That plan goes by the wayside as poem after poem is definitely destined to go to domestic display. They all rhyme. I think I write about 10. Elephants, giraffes, princesses, and the joys of being a parent, the satisfaction of reading books, and others, all get created by my black marker on the flip-over sheets. A rare occasion, however, when I don't make copies with carbon paper. It's only after they've all gone that I realise I could have captured every poem on camera.
So that's a half-hour's work, in which time the chairs set up for the audience creep closer, closer, until all the children are practically sitting on my knees, and reading along as my words appear on the paper.
I LOVE IT :-)
I'm followed by two very talented writers from our local area - Tor Roxborough, whose 15th book is a brilliant fantasy with contemporary and Australian themes called The Light Heart Of Stone, and Allyse Near who has graduated from her Professional Writing and Editing Studies in Ballarat to also write a fantasy: Fairytales for Wilde Girls - a novel.
These two inspiring sharers agree to be my speakers for our fourth Writing Craft Session in December. Phew! Glad that's settled. November is poetry with Myron Lysenko and Heather Marsh; October is script writing with Genevieve Messenger. But who will talk to us about writing short fiction? Neither of the well-known people I've asked can do it.
Aha! At the Poetry Slam at Bendigo Writers Festival on Sunday, I find exactly the right person: Tru Dowling, who teaches exactly what I want to know about at Bendigo campus of Latrobe University.
Today, Monday, is my last session with a delightful U3A group in a neighbouring town. We have had so much fun these last four weeks, I hate to stop, but the group is now empowered and enthusiastic about continuing to meet and that makes me happy.
And that's what writing is all about for me: community, connection, creativity ...