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He has to go somewhere, get off the street. He doesn’t know where. Anywhere. A quiet interior. Like a church, but the people in those places are full of opposition. He walks around, looking for the right kind of place, all the while feeling as if there’s something in his chest about to fly out screaming. He finds a hall. Unlocked, no people inside, just him. Perfect. It’s like a community hall. That sort of thing. It doesn’t really matter what it is. It smells like a primary school. That smell, children, and thirty or so of them breathing in-out at the same time, and filling the air with their sticky breaths. Primary school. That’s a good memory. Mrs B. Oh, he hasn’t thought of her in ages. But she died. Pretty sure she did. Well, she must be well gone by now. This was years ago. He remembers her getting sick. She might have died while he was at the school. He can’t think now. He should know something like that. He liked her, a lot, but did she like him?

It’s subdued in the hall, mellow and airy. Not silent though, but that’s alright. The traffic outside, you can hear its hum and throb. In a way it’s reassuring, to know that everything is going on beyond, and that none of it is touching him in here. He grabs a chair from a stack and sits in a corner. If someone comes and says something, he’ll say he was feeling unwell and came in to recover. He wouldn’t really be lying. It’s peaceful in the hall. Peaceful more than quiet. Dust motes in a shaft of sun. He starts to breathe with a slow simple rhythm. His chest loosens. His body feels steady. Is this calmness? he wonders. But how long will it last? Things like this, they usually end too soon. Silence, for example, is always about to be shattered. A piece of music fades, or shuts off. Stories break off. Things end, in their way. The thought makes him feel rushed, as if he has to grab at the moment. He shuts his eyes. Maybe sleep, then. Try to sleep. Sitting, sleeping. Maybe that’s the answer. Often he sleeps. It works, mostly. And when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But that’s okay. It’s okay, because mostly it works.

ELWOOD WRITERS MEETING 14TH JANUARY 2017

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From the Elwood Writers blog:

Elwood Writers

Another spirited meeting of the Elwood Writers this week. Inevitably, domestic and world political affairs loomed over the general discussions again. It seems we’ve entered a new age of anxiety. Before our collective blood pressure soared too high, we made teas and coffees and got down to literary business.

Barry proposed sharpening up the structure of the group’s workshopping sessions. In place of an informal general discussion about a particular piece of writing we agreed to try a more targeted approach where we each have five minutes to deliver individual feedback. This new format will allow us to focus during meetings on the more salient or urgent responses to a piece of work. So that nothing is overlooked, all comments and observations will continue to be captured within the marked up documents that return to the writer of the piece under consideration.

In this week’s workshop sessions, Helen talked about…

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ELWOOD WRITERS MEETING 31ST JANUARY 2017

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Elwood Writers

‘What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.’
Samuel Johnson

It was another lively session at Elwood Writers, especially with world events as they are. We discussed the group goals for 2017, including our planned soiree in August where we will read from our own work. As the group prepares to attend Adelaide Writers’ Week in March, we looked at the possibility of designing individual business cards that reflect our status as members of Elwood Writers.

In the past fortnight, Margaret attended Lee Kofman’s Introduction to Memoir: Telling the Emotional Truth. Lee reminded the class that memoir is always about memory, it is always told from your point of view, and is not so much about what happens to you as it is about ‘what you make of it’. She emphasized that the narrator must always be specific in their writing, that is give details. When asked about the…

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ELWOOD WRITERS MEETING 17TH JANUARY 2017

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From the Elwood Writers blog:

Elwood Writers

Elwood Writers meets every fortnight. The week before a meeting we circulate any material we’d like to discuss. Meetings typically begin with general business, mostly discussions about writing issues or what we’ve been reading. We use this time to discuss activities and plans for the group in the year ahead. Margaret is our time-keeper. After the general discussion we divide up the remaining time equally between the four of us. This usually leaves about half an hour for each member to have the floor to discuss their circulated piece or anything else they nominate.

At the 17th January meeting, much of the general discussion focussed on the use of social media for writers. Jennifer had just been to Patrick Lenton’s Creating an Author Platform seminar at Writers Victoria. She came away from that with the view that if you don’t already use Twitter it’s not especially important for a…

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Front of the house

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Look at him working. The way he smiles at every customer. He’s impeccable. But when he goes to his room at the back, at the side of the kitchen, the smile is gone. He sips clear liquor from a teacup, swears under his breath, and watches everything through the small glass in the door. When he sees a new customer, he’s out to greet them, bounding over, showing them to a table. Then as he bows slightly, moving away, he nods to a waiter to bring menus, water. He returns to his room, sits down, stares through the glass, sips at the liquor. No one would ever guess. He seems impeccable.