Elwood Writers meets every fortnight. The week before a meeting we circulate any material we’d like to discuss. Meetings typically begin with general business, mostly discussions about writing issues or what we’ve been reading. We use this time to discuss activities and plans for the group in the year ahead. Margaret is our time-keeper. After the general discussion we divide up the remaining time equally between the four of us. This usually leaves about half an hour for each member to have the floor to discuss their circulated piece or anything else they nominate.

At the 17th January meeting, much of the general discussion focussed on the use of social media for writers. Jennifer had just been to Patrick Lenton’s Creating an Author Platform seminar at Writers Victoria. She came away from that with the view that if you don’t already use Twitter it’s not especially important for a writer to start doing so. She said that the seminar reinforced the importance of maintaining some kind of online presence, and highlighted the benefits of Facebook author/writer pages.

We agreed to have a fuller discussion of future online strategies for the group when we meet at the Adelaide Writers’ Festival in March. There was also mention of the next Cover to Cover radio program we’ve been commissioned to develop for Vision Australia Radio for Fathers Day later this year.

Helen read the latest draft of a new poem she has been working on. Jennifer read a re-working of the opening of her novel-length story. Barry read a new short story he’s developing from a piece written a few years ago. Margaret outlined a section from her work-in-progress that she will circulate for discussion at the next meeting.


Paradise, by Helen McDonald

Elwood Writer Helen’s poem Paradise is published by Celapene Press in Short and Twisted 2016. Short and Twisted is an annual anthology of short-stories and poetry with a twist at the end. Congratulations, Helen!
You can read Helen’s poem below. And if you’d like to enjoy more of this wonderful anthology, the book is available here.


Under brooding skies
beside the sheening metal sea
scuttling children, two-legged crabs,
tunnel to China, heads down bottoms up,
side-stepping drifting jellyfish
lazy see-through saucers just off-shore.
A seaside edge of seaweed currants
tortured palms, abandoned spades.

A flock of yachts strains, bows to the breeze.
Gulls on matchstick legs, beaks to the wind,
sentinels to the barricades banked along the sand
stretching out to claim the beach.
Signs that scream ‘Keep out’.
It’s not for you

Helen McDonald