A question of websites: Margaret answers

Writings and Musings of Margaret McCaffrey

Why I Write my Blog

I set up the Writings and Musings blog because I wanted to have an online presence without being tied to the imperatives of the more ‘instantaneous’ or immediate social media platforms.

The focus of my blog is primarily the craft of memoir. I am fascinated by how people write in general, whether it be fiction, poetry, screenwriting or song. My musings are personal reflections, such as ‘Putting the Me in Memoir’ or ‘The Interface between Memoir and Fiction’. I mix these thoughts with other items of interest. ‘Where do you Write?’, ‘Writing in Bed’, and ‘The Car Park’ all touch on where and how one writes (the latter being about working outdoors during an interminable Melbourne lockdown).  

When my group Elwood Writers (EW) has a shared activity, such as a book launch, a soiree, or a radio presentation, I like to notify people of that.

The blog is intended for anyone who likes to write, and for people drawn to such themes as veterans of war, the relationship between fathers and daughters, and how to write about the ‘self’ – not always an easy task. Occasionally I have military folk visit my site. I am never sure if my point of view coincides with theirs. But no matter their views, I’d like to think that the posts are occasionally helpful to them.

More than anything, the blog is helpful to me. We are all surviving something, and writers are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to build worlds and stories from their experiences and imagination. Cunningly, as Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) has it – this is especially true for the memoirist – ‘life never works except in retrospect’. For me, discussing ideas on writing allows discourse with the wider world – which in turn helps me collect my own thoughts as I go.

Besides, it’s fun.

Ice Cream Social

Who likes ice cream? We do! Who loves an ice-cream social? We certainly do! So imagine our delight when we heard that American Writers Review is throwing one on Saturday October 30. And to add to the joy, Helen and Barry will be among contributors reading a selection of their pieces from the latest issue of AWR, Turmoil and Recovery. There’ll also be readings from Art in the Time of COVID-19. Both books are published by San Fedele Press.

Our Ice Cream Social at Wilkes University was a delight. While we can’t hand out the ice cream this year, we can share some of the wonderful work of our latest two books with you virtually.

San Fedele Press

Now, because this event is being hosted from the Jersey Shore in the US, we have to adjust the time to our location here in Australia. And it turns out that we’ll be enjoying ice-cream over an early breakfast on the Sunday morning. Even die-hard ice-cream fans Jennifer and Barry would struggle to eat any at that hour. It’ll more likely be a strong-coffee-and-Danish-pastry social for us.

San Fedele Press say that this event is of particular interest to ‘those who are interested in writing for our publication, new writers, and seasoned writers’. If you’d like to learn more about the publications and the event, go here. You’ll find the Zoom link at the top of the page you land on.

We might see you there. With ice cream, Danish, or otherwise!

A question of websites

Elwood Writers is in a slightly introspective mood. Maybe it’s the change of season, or the gloomy weather, or the world news. Whatever the cause, our self-reflection has led us to wonder what makes the group tick. In particular, what makes us tick online. We have maintained a group website, the one you’re reading now, for quite some time. But three of our four members also have their own individual websites, and have for a number of years. Their sites contain active and fascinating blogs, each with a rich history, and each vastly different from the others. You can access Barry’s here, Jennifer’s here, and Margaret’s here.

So we’re throwing out a few questions to Barry, Jennifer, and Margaret:

  • What was your original intention when setting up your website? What are your reasons for maintaining a blog?
  • What audience are you trying to reach?
  • What do you hope to communicate through your website?

If we go alphabetically, then maybe Barry could start the ball rolling? It’s up to you how you approach this. You could choose just one question, or address them all if you want. There might be a bit of overlap between the questions, anyway. You could also say ‘no comment’ or ‘I’m too busy’, and we wouldn’t be offended. Though our curiosity would continue to nag.

We look forward to seeing the responses over the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’ll go back to gazing through the window, watching the rain, and wondering what it’s all about.

Elwood Writers

About ‘Down to the Sea’, by Margaret McCaffrey

In 2018, Tim McQueen from Vision Australia Radio commissioned Elwood Writers to create a series of pieces in celebration of the centenary of Armistice Day. They were to be read on his program Cover to Cover.

I scratched my head for a story.

‘I’ve got nothing to write,’ I told my partner. ‘I don’t know anything about World War I.’ 

‘Yes, you do,’ Tom replied. ‘Your two grandfathers were in that war, and your great uncle.’

To my surprise, I was reminded that my maternal grandfather, Dr John O’Brien, had been an army surgeon at Australia’s ill-fated campaign in Gallipoli. To me as a child his post-war life looked so prosperous and comfortable, I couldn’t imagine him ever having been at what became a godforsaken strip of Turkish beach.

With much research and a stretch of the imagination, I wrote ‘Down to the Sea’ as a mixture of fiction and memoir. It formed part of the group’s quadrilogy for the radio program, and is now included in our eclectic anthology, Every Second Tuesday.

The new Elwood Writers anthology to be launched 9 December 2020

If you haven’t already registered for a free, online ticket to the launch of Every Second Tuesday by Elwood Writers, you can do so at the following link:

https://www.readings.com.au/event/the-elwood-writers-in-conversation