Retreat

Barry published this short post yesterday on his blog. It’s about the writing retreat he attended recently in the Blue Mountains. A house in the mountains, a roaring log fire, and a ghost story. Sounds idyllic.

Barry Lee Thompson

At the beginning of September I joined a group of writing friends for a week-long retreat at a rented house in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. The five of us originally met on a writing residency at Varuna in 2016, and have stayed in touch since then.

The Sunday before leaving Melbourne, I sent off a grant application I’d been working on, and I had no other outstanding deadlines looming. I had a clean slate and a clear head, and decided I’d start a brand new short story in my week away. I wanted it to be an unsettling tale, with elements of the unexplained. A ghost story, perhaps, or a chiller – something supernatural in keeping with the mood and atmosphere of a quiet old house in the mountains. At the centre of the story would be a character who’d gone away to a rented house for…

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Something about Augusts

The online corridors of Elwood Writers have been unusually quiet over these past few weeks. In fact, we didn’t post any blog activity at all in August. Interestingly, the last time EW had a month of zero blogging was August 2020 – there must be something about Augusts. That’s something to ponder over our afternoon coffee and cookie.

Anyway, a lack of blogs doesn’t necessarily mean nothing’s been happening. Far from it. For example, Helen has been overseas, and Barry has just returned from a writing retreat in the Blue Mountains. We’ll look forward to hearing more about these and other adventures in the next meeting of the group, on Tuesday.

In the meantime, here are two recent blog posts from Margaret and Jennifer’s individual websites: Jennifer has written a review of Cow, a film directed by Andrea Arnold, while Margaret has posted her review of the classic novel Treasure Island.

Happy reading!

EW

Now available: American Writers Review 2022

The brand new American Writers Review is out!

This edition of AWR, The End or the Beginning?, features stories from two members of Elwood Writers. Jennifer’s ‘The First Day’ and Barry’s ‘Half Life’ are included among contributions from writers and artists all over the world.

There are a couple of ways to buy the book: either contact San Fedele Press directly by clicking here, or go via Amazon by clicking here.

American Writers Review 2022 | The End or the Beginning? | San Fedele Press (USA)

For more information on American Writers Review and the work of San Fedele Press, visit them at their website, here.

Congratulations to San Fedele Press and to all the contributors to this edition of AWR!

EW

Australian Short Story Festival 2021

Barry took part in two panel discussions at last year’s Australian Short Story Festival from Adelaide. COVID restrictions meant that participants and attendees from interstate and overseas could not be there in person, and sessions had a Zoom component.

Masculinity with Wayne Marshall, Barry Lee Thompson and Dominic Carew was on Saturday 6 November 2021.

Writing The Family with Barry Lee Thompson and Katherine Tamiko Arguile was on Sunday 7 November 2021.

Video recordings of both sessions are below:

Masculinity with Wayne Marshall, Barry Lee Thompson and Dominic Carew | Saturday 6 November 2021
Writing The Family with Barry Lee Thompson and Katherine Tamiko Arguile | Sunday 7 November 2021

For the full selection of ASSF 2021 videos, visit the YouTube link here. The ASSF website says these videos will be available till July, so they may be taken down by the end of this week.

Happy watching!

EW

The End or the Beginning? | American Writers Review 2022

We received a preview of the cover of the forthcoming edition of American Writers Review this morning, and are excited to see that both Jennifer and Barry have stories included in this year’s anthology.

American Writers Review 2022 | San Fedele Press

For some years now, San Fedele Press has consistently come up with terrific journals featuring talent from all over the world, with compelling art and writing that addresses important contemporary themes. This year’s anthology is looking like no exception. We can’t wait to read it.

More details soon. In the meantime, for information on San Fedele Press and their publications, drop by their website via the link here.

Happy reading and writing, as always!

EW

Currents

One of the longer pieces I’m currently working on takes a fresh look at the dynamics of ease/unease in online spaces such as those described in ‘Twitch’.

from “The story behind ‘Twitch'” at barryleethompson.com

In Barry’s recent blog about the background to his short story ‘Twitch’, he talks briefly about a story he’s currently writing that shares similar themes. It’d be interesting to hear more about this new story sometime. Come to think of it, it’d be great to hear a little about what other members of Elwood Writers are working on at the moment. But only those who want to share. Writers don’t always like or feel comfortable discussing current work, for a variety of entirely understandable reasons. Oh, hang on just a moment, there’s a call coming in … why, it’s Jennifer Bryce – what a nice surprise! What’s that, Jennifer, you’d love to tell us about a project you’re working on? Well, we’d love to hear about it, so please go right ahead, in your own time. Absolutely no rush.

And now that a forthcoming blog post has been successfully solicited, let’s continue with the current project of spending this wintry Melbourne Saturday afternoon in the warmest way possible, all cosied-up with a good book. The Evenings by Gerard Reve, if anyone’s interested. But first let’s pop the kettle on and open up the cookie tin.

Have a peaceful weekend, everyone.

EW

Chamber Poets lives again

Helen has been busy recently, happily reconnecting with a cultural and literary community that disappeared two years ago, “leaving many poets and writers of a much-loved spoken word event quite bereft”. Chamber Poets attracts poets from Melbourne and regional Victoria, and will be held every second Saturday of the month from 1pm–4.30pm in the Woodend RSL (Returned & Services League) in the Macedon ranges. For more information about Chamber Poets, visit the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChamberPoets

The July event this Saturday 9th will feature three poets: Angela Costi, Grant Caldwell and Claire Gaskin, who are launching An Embroidery of Old Maps and New; blue balloon (Collective Effort Press); and Eurydice Speaks and Ismene’s Survivable Resistance respectively. 

All are welcome to come along and listen to some of Australia’s leading poets and to share their own poems, perhaps written in isolation, that just now might be ready to go out into the world.


Here Helen shares with us her delight at being at the return of the Chamber Poets held in June:

“It’s been a long road for all writers since you-know-what sent us all scurrying indoors, doomed to an artistic life played out on Zoom with its intermittent freezes, loss of audio and anxiety-making meetings, seminars and classes. Needs must.

So many books/collections were written and launched into this weird cybersphere. But happily, writers are emerging from their imposed cocoons, and book launches are at last taking place with live, wildly enthusiastic audiences. So it was that after a hiatus of two years, the Victorian regional Chamber Poets returned triumphantly on June 11th to Woodend, with the largest audience in the group’s history. There were three book launches, plus an open mic section and entertainment by the funky and humorous Black Forest Smoke band, and much-lauded local choir The Woodend Warblers. 

Chamber Poets founder Myron Lysenko’s and Alice Wanderer’s haiku poetry collections – a ghost gum leans over and Lips Licked Clean – were launched along with Kevin Brophy’s latest poetry collection, In This Part of the World.

Inspired by the beautiful readings from each poet, some 20 people hungry for spoken word took to the open mic with their diverse and eclectic styles of poetry.”

Creatrix 57 Haiku

Helen has recently been exploring the haiku/senryu/haibun poetry forms. She is delighted to have two haiku included in the latest WA Poets Inc online journal, Creatrix 57 Haiku. Read Helen’s poems at the following link:

https://wapoets.com/creatrix-57-haiku/

If you ever happen to find yourself in the Macedon Ranges of country Victoria, you might catch a glimpse of Helen on a gingko walk with other haiku poets – seeking inspiration in nature to write more of this beautiful short-form poetry.

Reading: San Fedele Press | 12 June 2022 @ 2pm EST (US), on Zoom

Our friends at San Fedele Press in the USA are having a literary reading this weekend: Sunday 12 June at 2pm EST (US), on Zoom. All the Elwood Writers were fortunate to be able to attend the last SFP event, an ice-cream social where Helen and Barry were among contributors reading their work from the 2021 edition of American Writers Review.

We’d like to say we’ll be attending this weekend’s event, but with the time difference between the eastern seaboard of the US and Australia, we’d have to be firing up our computers at 4am on Monday. But you never know. Anyway, fingers crossed that the event’s being recorded again, so we can keep an eager eye out for the video.

Details, including a handy Zoom link, below:

On Zoom, Sunday, June 12 at 2 p.m. EST.

Highlighting American Writers Review contributors:
Gale Martin, “The Year of Cortisol”
Dr. Joel Savishinski, “Toilet Paper Panic”
Ana M. Fores Tamayo, in English and Spanish, “New Day Dawn/El amanecer”

Following the readings, there will be a Q & A.


To join, click on the link below:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89951562488?pwd=aE1UaXhQUXpMMEsvbDV6QTlFVU9CZz09
Meeting ID: 899 5156 2488
Passcode: 257657

More information at https://www.americanwritersreview.com/ or email info@sanfedelepress.com
San Fedele Press

Writing or Penning?

From time to time we like to share blog posts from our members’ individual websites. This, from Margaret’s blog, is a recent piece that resonates. “Writing is our craft, and we must do it our way. That is in the best way we know how. Sometimes that takes time, space … and reflection.” Hear, hear. You can enjoy Margaret’s post below (including a recording of our latest program on Vision Australia Radio, just in case you missed it). Happy reading, from a wet and grey autumnal Melbourne.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

Do people ask you how your writing is going? I’m sure we all get asked that. Who knows what the right answer is. One acquaintance of mine enquired further: ‘But are you penning or writing?’ he said. I didn’t know the difference.

‘Well,’ he replied, ‘ C. (his partner) tells me she’s been writing during the day, though not been “penning”.’ By this she means she’s wandered about the house, begun the cooking even, or taken herself off for a walk. But in her head she’s puzzling over how to better render her screenplay. This, he says, is writing. “Penning” on the other hand, is when C. puts her thoughts down on paper. Or gets cracking on the laptop.

For me his commentary illustrates that we writers can be way too hard on ourselves. We may make excuses about why we are not actually penning. It’s more than likely that…

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