Yesterday evening saw me ensconsed on the couch of the Varuna loungeroom, quilt on my knee and fire in the grate. Peter (the) Bishop, Gabrielle Stroud and I spent one of the best hours of my writing life discussing our projects, the universe and everything.
Peter observed that when writing a project, we are in conversation with an eclectic assortment of people. These people are a non-corporeal yet tangible presence who influence and inspire our writing. They are not our intended readers nor our inner critic; they are sometimes no longer living or based only in memory. Yet they are those who are invoked by and crucial for the developing story.
Those present to my work-in-progress Evangel include girls from my (heavily religious) high school, my long-gone and much-loved grandfather, and Margot, a friend who struggled with mental illness and met a tragic end. I am haunted, not by memories but by deeply embossed impressions of injustice, trauma, courage, and beauty.
As Gabi says (attributing it to Noni Hazelhurst), we need a touchpoint to evoke the emotion of a scene. My touchpoints for Evangel are tender. It’s hard to delve in, press, and explore. Yet, the fascination to converse with the unburied souls around this project keeps me showing up to the page each day.
Peter’s insight and encouragement gives me the audacity necessary to just. keep. writing. The extraordinary mentorship and companionship of Peter, Gabi Stroud, Gabi Wang, Meg Mundell, and Avril Carruthers has carried the spirit of Eleanor Dark to me over these past two incredible weeks. Thank you, all. I can’t wait to read your Varuna projects when they hit the shelves.
And I am once again astounded, humbled and filled with gratitude by where following this passion for writing takes me.