On my way
This weekend is about doing what I love; to read, write and take photos.
I am on the train to Katoomba to take part in a writing workshop, The Art of the Sentence, run at Varuna Writers House by the talented author Michelle de Kretser. It runs for four hours this afternoon and I will stay overnight. It is my weekend away from the rat race. Tomorrow I can indulge in photography. Katoomba is in the Blue Mountains and a stunning place for getting interesting snaps.
My stress level is reducing the further away from the city I travel. The landscape is changing from sky scrapers to trees reaching for the sky. The heavy clouds emanate calm and serenity. Like an old nurturing blanket covering the world.
I am glad I caught the train. I love how I can read and write on the train and let someone else worry about driving the train.
Recently started a novel by a fellow twitter friend Joanna Nell called The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Village. Love it so far. Joanna’s descriptions of the old folks in the village is so real. She makes me laugh out loud and want to cry at the same time.
Back to more reading. I will continue this post later this weekend once I am in Katoomba.
Saturday Writing Workshop
I walked to the Varuna Writers House on the outskirts of town. The walk consisted of a number of steep hills, but the scenery of old stone houses and flower laden gardens kept me entertained.
Varuna House itself is astounding. A winding dirt road and tall trees hides this gorgeous gem; a colourful old stone house set in a well kept but natural looking cottage style garden. You wish to linger. To just be. You can check out their website here
Veechi Stuart, the Executive Director of Varuna House, came out to welcome me in the front garden and led me into their afternoon tea area as I was early. Her friendly and mild manner made me welcome and at ease straight away. Not unlike visiting a family home.
The workshop was run by Michelle de Kretser, an editor and author of many novels for which she has received awards, latest being The Life to Come which received the Miles Franklin Award.
It was Michelle’s first workshop and it made everyone at ease. We were beginners, even the teacher. Michelle ran an excellent workshop over the four hours presenting her knowledge, making us question, leading us in the right direction and providing us with several great tools to go away and revisit our writing.
The main part I took away from my experience was:
- I have so much more to learn
- Every word/sentence is optional, unless it is essential
- Review every verb and make sure they are strong
- To finish a sentence on a monosyllable strengthens it.
- Avoid repeat words
- Mix up sentence length
- Remove yourself from the story and just review each sentence to make them tighter.
- Put work aside after each new draft before next edit. Do something else for at least a week.
- Start one of your edits from the back to avoid fatigue and less work being done on last chapters.
After a short rest in my hotel room I took myself out for dinner at a popular local Italian place called Paladino’s. It was packed, the vibe friendly and the food impressive. Walked back to my hotel room with a full stomach and a smile on my face
Sunday Photo Time
Just love my little get away weekend. It is amazingly quiet here in Katoomba. My hotel, the Metropole Guesthouse, is near the main part of town, and yet I had the most peaceful night’s sleep. Every time I woke up the silence astounded me. No humdrum of traffic, police cars or drunken Saturday night party goers like in Sydney. I am ready for another day of playing tourist in this lovely mountain town.
Got up early to beat the threatening rain and walked towards Echo Point hoping to take photos. I didn’t make it before the wet weather set in. Breakfast somewhere cosy and warm tempted me and led me back up the main street to Pomegranate, a cafe known for scrumptious organic food. Indulged in two large coffees and a delicious plate of Eggs Florentine. Figured I had earned it with so much hill walking.
Despite not making it to any popular view points I got several photos around town. You can see them on my next post
On my train trip back to Sydney I got inspired and wrote my entry into the monthly Furious Fiction competition run by the Australian Writers Centre. Wish me good luck.
In summary I enjoyed every bit of my weekend away. I recommend it. Indulging in what you love doing does wonders for your wellbeing. Go do it.
What did you get up to this weekend?