Orysia goes to work…

As part of the residency I agreed to run a half day workshop and do a public reading.  My workshop was called ‘Animal Tales’ – a discussion of writing about animals or using them as characters in any genre – fiction, memoir, poetry, whether the animals were real or imagined fantastical creatures. Ten brave women registered and we dove in on Sunday morning for 3 hours of discussion, intense writing, more discussion and lovely readings by participants. I know that at least a few of them (from novice writers to published authors) came away with fresh ideas and new skills and perspectives. I always learn from the people in workshops whether I’m taking it or giving it.


A scene from Cornelian Bay on a sunny Sunday afternoon

Afterwards my friend Ioanna and I drove up to Cornelian Bay to enjoy the sunny afternoon. There were parents with kids running or in strollers, puppies being walked and socialized, lovers holding hands all along the beach. Or, like us, sitting on the grass overlooking the sandy beach eating crispy squid, salad and hot chips. Later we took a walk on a dirt track above the beach and behind a row of fancy boat sheds, with decks out front facing the river, set up to entertain or spend the night, which is not allowed, officially.


Exploring behind the boat sheds, Cornelian Bay


That evening, back at my flat, I watched in awe as the research vessel Aurora Australis chugged past, possibly off to Antarctica for another season.


Early the next morning, walking through Salamanca to my Pilates class, I was treated to another splendid sight. Ahead of me, lit up by the rising sun and snuggled under a white cloud shawl was the noble Mt. Wellington. I had to stop, breathe in that cool air and be amazed at the spectacle.


Another ooooommmmm moment in Salamanca

That evening I was back at Hadley’s Orient Hotel to take part in the Tasmanian Writers Centre quarterly event, Seasonal Poets. My public reading, folded into this event, was to follow two accomplished, published poets – Jane Williams and Anne Kellas. Beautiful poems, thought-provoking, humorous, sad – the entire spectrum of human emotions and experiences in two twenty minute bites. In between there were refreshments, book sales and swapping. I will be leaving my books behind and bringing new ones home with me. I ended the evening reading five poems and an excerpt from my young people’s novel, Kira’s Secret – high drama of course! It was a fantastic, well-attended event, lots of smiles on people’s faces as they headed home.


Two hard-working, competent women, Chris Gallagher and Marion Stoneman, from the Tasmanian Writers Centre, organized the Seasonal Poets event and many workshops and festivals for the Tasmanian writing community.

Afterwards I headed off to the Urban Greek restaurant with Gina Mercer and Ann Collins. Another extraordinary, shared meal – prawns with spinach, leeks, fennel and cherry tomatoes, charcoal octopus, zucchini croquettes, moussaka and the desserts – incredible! I was meant to be there, my zodiac sign, Taurus rearing behind me on the wall. I ordered a drink with Mastic liqueur, ginger beer and lime, delivered in a copper tankard. It was delicious though I don’t think I really tasted much of the Mastic. I suppose anything would have tasted great – I was delighted to be where I was, with what I’d accomplished so far and who I was with. A perfect end to the day.


On Tuesday I had another artist’s date with poet Sarah. We met at the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery to see the Derwent River exhibit – consisting of still photos taken 4 times each day, for 21 months, by several cameras situated along numerous sites from the St. Clair lake reservoir to just past Hobart. The views covered daylight and night, all the seasons and shifting weather conditions. The third room of the exhibit had 4 screens from different uninhabited (by humans) locations showing non-stop videos and sounds of the river. We could have remained in that darkened room for much longer, enjoying the sounds of the water and birds, but were rudely interrupted by the announcement that the museum was closing for the day. Sigh. It was pouring rain outside so we decided to have some tea and cake at a café, and got to talking and forgetting the time altogether. That cost Sarah a $40 parking fine, rather steep but she said it could have been $80. Free museum, expensive parking in Hobart. Since I can easily walk to the museum I plan to return to take in some of the other exhibits. I still have 4 days left in paradise.…


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