Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Young Writer In Residence

Well, here I am at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in the Perth hills.  I am settled into Aldridge cottage, one of three self contained writing units modelled after Katharine's original studio, which still stands.  I have a large desk, a comfy writing chair, and a kettle; therefore I have everything that I need to write.  And writing I have been.

After spending 24 + hours in the unit between yesterday and today, I felt it was time to venture out this afternoon, under the pretext of taking my rubbish out.  I armed myself with a small digital camera, and as the light was beginning to fade around the house, there was something magical about it.  I decided to explore.

My work station, complete with Hello Kitty folder.

What I can see, most of the day.  It's prettier in real life, I swear.  This is just my inept photography...

See?  Told you the view was better!  This is it, later in the day, as I took in the magnificent sunset with the blinds open.  All of this was on the first day.  

The courtyard at the KSP centre, looking onto the front verandah of the house.  It's really lovely out there, and I'm tempted to go back tomorrow with my lunch.... but there are a few cheeky magpies lurking about so maaaaaybe not. 

Greenery everywhere.  Communing with nature.

A beautiful mosaic of Katharine Susannah Prichard hangs out by the Centre's office.  I did not know that KSP was the first Australian author to have international success with her writing.  Finding that out made me really happy.

On Monday, I joined in a writing group led by local writer Meg Caddy.  The group was for writers under 12, and Meg had us all describe a door, but not what the door led to.  Imagine my surprise, two days later, when I went exploring down the side of the house and found almost the very door I had described!!! This must have been the original front door of the house.  It was like stepping back in time.

View from the verandah down to the cottages. 

Same courtyard as before, this time seen from the way back.  There's something about a set of empty chairs set up like that, as if someone's just been sitting there and walked away, leaving only the intimacy of a recent conversation.

There's a horse shoe like this one on the verandah at my Grandparents' beach house.  Horse shoes should always be worn or placed facing up, otherwise all the good luck runs out of them.  I wonder if a lot of houses had these?

Sunset brings out galahs, the only other birds I've seen apart from the noisy magpie family that lives outside my door.  This fellow wasn't spooked by me, and I had to take a photo, seeing as I'd been writing about pink and grey galahs just the other day.  Oh, I also saw a chicken....

KSP's writing desk, inside her cottage, as seen through a locked door.  It's beautiful in there, but also a little spooky.  Not that I believe in ghosts...

The view from the front door of my cottage.  The building peeking out is Katharine's workspace.  

I am hoping that while I'm here, I might make it past 50 000 words on the latest draft.  It seems achievable.  This morning I passed 30 000, and if I write again tonight, I will most likely pass 35 000.  To those of you to whom this sounds like a lot, it's not.  I redraft using a method that Anthony Marra calls "retyping", by which I mean I work with the previous draft and my notes open beside me as hard copies, and type them out again, making changes and letting my refreshed view lead me on new tangents as I go.  This time around I am indebted to a great number of wonderful people who have given me food for thought.  I can feel my writing muscles flexing.  I can feel myself getting better.  I can see and hear progress, and I am feeling strong.  This is a lovely way to feel.

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