Langhorne Creek is one of the many wine growing districts of South Australia. It is less than a hour’s drive from the capital city Adelaide and even closer to my home town.
Wine and writing as well as wine and reading go hand in hand, one complementing the other.
So it is no surprise that the Alexandrina Council is supporting and promoting the Langhorne Creek Writers’ Festival to be held later this year.
There is also a writing competition but unfortunately this closes in a few days’ time; if you hurry you may get your entry in on time.
Dates: September 21 – October 19th
Last night I attended the monthly meeting of my writers’ group. This group used to meet at my university in Adelaide, but this is no longer suitable because most of the participants no longer work or study there. Instead, we meet in a comfortable church hall in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. It’s a 35 minute drive for me, somewhat shorter than the previous 50-55 minutes, depending on traffic.
Last month we were set a writing task for this meeting. Six of the group had prepared stories to share last night, but these readings and the subsequent critiquing session was postponed. Our leader, Mark, has experienced a tragedy only 36 hours before. His son, a talented writer in his own right, an occasional participant in our meetings, had suddenly died. It was a good opportunity for Mark to unload on a group of supportive friends and fellow writers. Normal proceedings were suspended and he just talked and talked about what he was feeling, and the circumstances leading up to his son’s death.
After an hour, he left the meeting. We had some other short stories and poems prepared to read, leftover from the previous month. It wasn’t how we planned the meeting to go, but in the process of letting Mark talk – and show his feelings – we not only helped him, but also helped each of us come to terms with the tragedy.
I also believe it has further strengthened an already very strong bond between us as a group.
Last night I attended the first meeting for 2013 of my writers’ group. I’ve been a member now for nearly five years and it has been wonderful experience, each meeting stretching me as a writer. For the first time in the group’s eight year existence, we changed venue to a nearby country location, namely, Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, rather than near the city CBD. As it turns out, this location is far more central to the majority of members; we just didn’t realise how many of us lived away from the city.
I’ve been an active member of several writers’ groups in the last five years. Over the last few years I’ve even jointly helped to run one. I’ve found that being a member of such a group has many beneficial spin-offs. Some of the benefits as I see it are as follows:
- A sense of belonging – writing can be such a lonely business.
- A place to safely share your work with fellow writers.
- A place to safely share in the struggles of being a writer, and getting mutual support.
- A place to receive honest and constructive critiquing of your writing. (If your group doesn’t do this, it might be time to set down some rules of conduct – or leave the group.)
- A place of encouragement in a world where trying to get writing published can be very discouraging.
- A place to be challenged and encouraged to write more, and perhaps in a genre one would normally not write.
My advice to all my readers is to seek out a writers’ group near where you live. And if you can’t find one, start one, perhaps coordinating it through your local library, or writing a letter to or article for the local newspaper, or even getting an interview spot on local radio.