What did we do
at our meetings in 2011?
Last updated: December 03, 2012
November 2011 Meeting
At our final meeting for the year, our members' Christmas Competition Judge, Joan Ackland, did a splendid job of providing feedback to entrants and good advice to all writers. She announced the winners and the prizes and certificates were presented. For pictures and results go to our Christmas Competition results page.
Following Joan's presentation, we enjoyed a celebratory buffet lunch with a little sparkling wine and good conversation.
Conversation catch up
Members listening to Joan
Report by Veronica Schwarz
Sue BrainT spoke about her recently published novella A Transparent Death. She said she is undertaking a one-woman mission to restorE the novella as a literary form.
The central character of A Transparent Death is Paul Jenkins, an unconventional, somewhat manic teacher who lights a spark in his students. The novella is structured around the voices of those who "knew" him in life: his neighbour, his wife, the school principal and his students, interspersed with quotes from his journal found after his death.
The story is set in Tasmania where Sue taught.
She explored several themes in the novella.
1. the multifaceted personalities we all have as different people perceive us - mother, daughter, friend, employee, colleague, etc. Is there an intrinsic self? We are known by others only from the externals (our dress, our actions, our words). Are we basically unknowable?
Sue's passion for the novella is that the length of this form enables us to take our reading at a leisurely pace where literature is driven by ideas not words. "Reading doesn't stop at books. It makes the larger life more legible."
Question: Was the character Paul Jenkins based on a real person.
Answer: No but he is different aspects of different people and he grew with the writing as aspects of him accrued.
Discussion developed around the theme of reasons for suicide. Points made by members of the meeting included the alienation of modern technology and time in front of a screen rather than interacting face to face. Extended families are less common. Larger houses lead to young people spending time in their rooms alone thus further isolating themselves.
Question: What motivated you to write about this character and why?
Answer: I wanted to explore what is good teaching and it hurts me when I hear people denigrate teachers. I was surprised at university that the other students could not answer questions or produce an idea of their own. I want passion returned to teaching, for people to experience learning as a felt experience. The other reason was my family background. (Continued next column)
Sue spoke of an uncle she had been very fond of as a child and the fact
that, when he committed suicide, no one told her. She was sent away for a
while and only informed later.
She was then asked if she had suicidal thoughts. She told us she was a very pessimistic person who did not like the world we live in.
Question: Were you influenced by Thomas Mann?
Answer: Yes - particularly Buddenbrooks. There have been many influences and I see death as part of life. Denying our mortality detracts from the fullness of life. I read many Russian novels from a very young age.
Question: How did you go about publishing the book?
Answer: I knew the large publishers would not be interested in a novella. I googled small publishers and found Ginninderra Press. I sent the novella to them and got a brief email saying they would publish it!!
Sue Braint presenting her paper on the novella.
Report by Veronica Schwarz
A brief general meeting was followed by our workshop. At the general meeting we discussed (among other things):
WRITING FROM PROMPTS
Our very own Paula Wilson presented an instructive and fun workshop on writing from prompts.
Paula presented this technique as a means of getting started with a writing project rather than sitting, uninspired in front of a blank piece of paper. The idea is to choose a prompt then write non-stop and uncritically for twenty minutes. You will find that you have the beginnings of a worthwhile story to work on.
Some types of prompts include:
THEN WRITE FOR TWENTY MINUTES WITHOUT EDITING OR CRITICISING.
Paula provided handouts of useful writing apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
For many more ideas, just Google "writing prompts".
At the end of the time, people read their works to the group. There were some very good beginnings to short stories and even a poem from Veronica who doesn't usually write poetry!
Everyone agreed it was a useful and surprisingly fruitful technique. Shirley presented Paula with a beautiful bouquet of native flowers from Meryl's garden.
We all left the workshop on a real high.
Paula receiving a bunch of Meryl's beautiful flowers from Shirley.
PHOTO: Meryl Tobin
Paula recommended the following:
Suggested apps for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch available from the Apple App Store:
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting
Reports were read and tabled as follows:
President's Report, Treasurer's Report, Postal Workshop Report
Our literary Patron: Errol Broome, took the chair and read the nominations for committee members. The newly elected committee can be seen on our Contacts page.
Later in the meeting, Meryl presented bouquets of native flowers to committee members to thank them for the work they had done for the Society.
PHOTOS: Robert Maxwell
PHOTO: Robert Maxwell
Left to Right: Lauren Thompson (Newsletter Editor), Judy Bartosy
Outgoing President, Tricia Veale,
Rebecca Maxwell, Outgoing Past President
Presentation of the Nance Donkin Award
Newly elected President, Shirley Whiteway, welcomed the judge of this award, Dr Pam McIntyre and asked Errol Broome to provide some background to the Award and her knowledge of and friendship with Nance Donkin. For information on this award and Nance Donkin go to our Nance Donkin Page. Errol praised Rebecca Maxwell and her Committee for coming up with the idea of the Award and organising it along with the beautiful sculpture that accompanies the Award.
Dr McIntyre announced the winner of the Award to be Isobelle Carmody. By co-incidence, Isobelle was at that very moment accepting an award for Book of the Year and was unable to attend our meeting. The Award was accepted on her behalf by her granddaughter, Adelaide, and her friend, Rosie Borella. Rosie spoke about Isobelle's work and read a speech from Isobelle. For the contents of this speech, go to our Isobelle Carmody page.
Judge Dr Pam Macintyre (centre)
presents the 2011 Nance Donkin Award
More pictures here
Presentation of the Biennial Literary Awards.
To see the results go to Competitions Results.
Lorraine McGuigan : First and Second Prizes for Poetry
Veronica Schwarz :First Prize for Article
Reading & Critiquing our Work
Members were invited to bring along a piece of their writing to read to the meeting. The pieces presented were very interesting and enjoyable and there was a great deal of positive feedback and encouragement and constructive and helpful ideas were shared.
Thanks go to Karen Turner, our Vice President, for very ably conducting the meeting in Tricia's absence.
At the Society‟s May meeting, prior guest speaker, Gary Smith, conducted a writing workshop. The group did many activities that included writing poetry, prose and monologues. Much discussion was generated and many fascinating pieces of writing came out of those sessions. The members writing ranged from the light-hearted and witty to earnest and deep pieces of writing.
Gary Smith also brought his own work to read, including a captivating prose piece based Ned Kelley‟s mother Ellen Kelley, and a poem that captured the dedication it takes to be a gardener. Rebecca Maxwell and the rest of the group had a lively and in-depth discussion about Gary Smith‟s work, which was very engaging.
Gary Smith‟s workshop provided a chance for the members to stretch their creative muscles and learn something new about the writing pro-cess.
Thanks must also go to Rebecca Maxwell for chairing the last meeting, and helping to make it a lively and interesting one.
Three Quotes from a Plumber
Report by Tricia Veale
White was the guest speaker at our April meeting. She gave a very
inspirational and in-formative discussion, entitled "
Living, Not Just Surviving: A Cancer Diagnosis."
Sally was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007. There was unfortunately a previous history of this health condition in her family.
She underwent brain surgery whilst awake and the hospital staff kept talking to her in order to keep the speech centre in her brain intact. Ninety five percent of the tumour was removed but her speech was a bit slurred. After speech therapy Sally recovered very well and was told that the tumour would eventually grow again within a range of one month to five years time.
Sally then became aware of the huge gulf between traditional and complimentary medicine. She sought alternative therapies, adopted a Mediterranean diet and practiced Meditation. Dis-covering that many doctors were contemptuous of alternative therapies Sally also learned that many patients donít disclose that they follow the Natural Living ideas.
One day Sally's nine year old son Ben was in tears. "There's no white bread!" he said.
Sally decided that she was just obeying the rules and that to get a future she must live normal-lyÖ living not just surviving! So she enjoys a glass of wine now and again but she adheres to the natural diet.
2008 she underwent localized surgery to remove a further tumour. After
14 more months she had no symptoms and was not on medication.
Sally then decided to write a book about these experiences. Her friend, who had retired from ABC radio, became the editor. It took 5 months to write the book and another 3-4 months to edit it.
Then the publisher accepted the book!!!
The story explores her challenges with the medical profession and alternative therapies, and details the way she managed this life threatening illness in the context of family life with courage and the unwavering support of those around her. After twelve months of repeated MRI scans and unenviable waiting, Sally decided it was time to make something happen. In May 2008, she met Dr Charlie Teo, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon, who chal-lenged her to seek a second opinion and created hope through minimal invasive surgery that has allowed her to get on with living, not just surviving.
Sally's husband, has worked very hard establishing the Cure for Life
Foundation to raise money for cancer research. GoodÖ we do primarily
need to find the cause of this terri-ble disease!
The title of the book is, "Three Quotes from a Plumber: How a Second Opinion Changed the Life of a Woman with a Brain Tumour." Michelle Anderson Publishing.
Our very sincere thanks are due to Sally. We were really inspired by this presentation and her very positive attitude.
Good luck to Sally Ö may she live long and happily!
Report by Karen Turner
Bob diNapoli spoke on the poetry of Yeats.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnightís all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnetís wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heartís core.
Thus began one of our most memorable meetings in the
last few years, I believe, as our guest speaker, Bob DiNapoli, recited this
beautiful poem by Yeats.
Bob came to us, full of the passion and fire that demonstrated his genuine regard for this poet, and we were spellbound.
I donít know about you, but I was moved by Bobís presentation to us, and I think it was his undiluted enthusiasm for poetry that made the event special for me.
Report by Veronica Schwarz
This was our first meeting in
2011 and we began with a brief business meeting.
We then broke into two groups to read and critique work written over the Holiday Season.
Some excellent work was read and commented on and a great deal of fun seemed to be a bonus.
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