This month I have the incredible privilege of being writer-in-residence at Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia where I am staying in the sweetest little cabin, including what I think may be the most comfortable reading chair I’ve ever sat in.
I kicked-off my residency by launching the anthology Paper Tiger, created by the Writefree Women Writers group, who have been meeting here at KSP for eighteen years! They were such a lovely bunch of ladies, and a truly supportive community which is such an important thing for a writer to have, at any career stage.
On Monday afternoon I visited the poet’s workshop. I wrote my first poem in about twenty years! It was great fun. The rest of my time was spent at my huge desk in front of a lovely wide window overlooking an overgrown garden, with a view of the city framed by two big old gum trees.
My project for my residency is a brand new novel, tentatively titled Self/Help. It is the story of a mother who attempts to overcome her post-natal depression by embarking on a rather dubious self-help program which leads to somewhat mixed outcomes. It is exciting and also rather scary to begin a new project – I know I have many challenges ahead of me, especially in terms of tone, as I attempt to balance the gravity of the issue of depression with the levity of family life. I am feeling my way slowly as I get to know my characters and try to find a voice for this piece. I got off to a flying start with 8000 words in my first week: so far, so good. I hope very much I can keep up that pace as the residency continues.