Sunday, December 7, 2014

Writing on Camels

In November 2014, six writers headed out into the Saharan desert near the great Erg Chebbi sand dune. Our home for 8 days and nights was Cafe Tissardmine, an artist's retreat and guest house nearby. The desert became our inspiration as we wrote the days away, not even stopping as we rode our camels...

Heading out on our overnight trek

Laurie Trott, playwright, poet, journalist.

Ilka Schroeder, yoga teacher, rapper, travel memoirist

Leone Carroll, novelist and desert fashionista

Lorraine McLoughlin, biographer.

Ailsa Thoms, short story writer, poet.

Leone captures desert moments

Look ma, no hands!

Writing on camels, why not!

I could write like this all day!

Just another day in the saddle!

See more pics of the rest of our Moroccan Caravan adventure here

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sieze the Moment - a workshop in Massachussetts

The setting: West Massachussetts, not far from the famous Mohawk Trail, an old trade route used by the American Indian tribes before they were forcibly removed from their country. Our workshop took place in the Mohawk School library during the 30 year celebrations of Tsegyalgar, a community of practitioners following the Tibetan Dzogchen teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.

Fourteen writers took the challenge to practice bringing present awareness into their writing.

The school's corridors provided inspiration for our observation excercise.

Back to the library to write.

Who said facing a wall is boring!

Writing doesn't have to be a lonely business, especially if you have writing friends!

Colour, space, sound, light, is all there for te taking, anytime you choose to sit down and write.

Reading, listening, noticing what you like most, always a great way to improve your writing.

 A taste of some of the writing from the workshop.

A perfect space to write. The vastness of the open sky and nature below, reaching out, beyond what I can see, and feel is present… the smells of space, with a hint of the perfect eclectic mix of cinnamon and a hint of perfectly fresh strawberries, vibrant, emanating love and comfort. The endless space in which words manifest and land perfectly in the way they need to on the page. Meaningfulness, it is what it is. The smell of cinnamon prevails. It welcomes, comforts, nurtures. The top of the mountaintops seen, contained, by this limitless blue sky. Green pastures below. In the green and blue, anything is possible. Anything, at all. The light, everywhere, shines, with no darkness in sight. All is illuminated, detailed, accessible, tangible, within reach…
Matt Hyatt

Barney needs a bath. Emily smells like spice the color of her fur. Pancita smells fur-luscious and I could inhale her scent on and on.
Barney hates baths but he loves me, so we have the shampoo and the less than 5 minutes of (perhaps pretend?) terror at the sight of the water hose. When we're done and he's wet, shiny and smelling like lavender, he rolls endlessly in the sand to undo the awful wash-up.
Emily peeks around the corner wondering if she's next.
Not today, Em.
And Panchita - you taught me long ago to never, EVER wash a cat.
Salt air, warm sun.
Smells like love to me.

Diane Campbell

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Indochine Journey

This Aug 16-30 we head off on a 15 day writing adventure in Vietnam.

Drawing on the inspiration of the French author Marguerite Duras, we explore Vietnamese culture, landscape and our own writing, through the Durassian gaze. Read Jan’s blog about MD here.

Our Vietnam Journey.
Our cultural guides, author Biff Ward and tour guide, Tran Dinh Song, have been leading Vietnam tours for many years.

We begin our journey exploring Hanoi ( Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum,  the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake) before heading out to the verdant rice paddy district of Mai Chau for our first writing intensive, including an introduction to the writing of Marguerite Duras.

Returning to Hanoi we go looking for the house Marguerite lived in when she was four and pay our respects at the Temple Of Literature. Heading south we arrive in the heritage listed town of Hoi An, where we settle in for another writing stint with afternoons free for exploring this charming historical town.

 Ho Chi Minh City is our next stop where we discover the Cholon (Chinatown) district where much of The Lover is set. The trail hots up as we travel out into true Duras territory on the Mekong River, staying in a homestay at Vinh Long and visiting the Lover’s tomb at Sadec. We return to HCM City for a farewell dinner in Cholon before departing on our own itineraries.

Your Writing
On this trip you are encouraged to use every travelling moment for your writing. Bring a current writing project or start one a fresh. All genres welcome.r own writing project. Timetabled into our journey are two mini retreats where we concentrate fully on our work with plenty of reading time for critiquing and feedback.

Pre-trip tasks give the opportunity to use your prep and travelling time for your writing.  As we travel together, daily writing workshops will revise the essential elements of writing craft in relation to you
From our first welcome dinner to our last farewell feast, the conversation about our writing continues, as we become intimately involved in supporting one another in the writing process. Indeed the conversation continues long after the journey is over, as our new writing friends become our greatest support in the journey towards publishing. See WJ Alumni here.

Bookings and info here.

Our Travel Itinerary
Sat 16 August Arrive Hanoi Camellia 4 hotel
Sun 17 Chi Minh mausoleum and history, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem lake Camellia 4 hotelbreakfast
Mon 18 To Mai Chau Mme Chung homestayAll meals
Tues 19 Writing and meeting local people with Song Mme Chung homestayAll meals
Wed 20 Writing Mme Chung homestayAll meals
Thur 21 Writing Mme Chung homestayAll meals
Fri 22 Morning workshop, return Hanoi Camellia 4
Sat 23 Fly to Hoi An Hoa Su Frangipani Villa ResortBreakfast and lunch
Sun 24 Sun Writing Hoa Su Frangipani Villa ResortBreakfast and lunch
Mon 25 Writing Hoa Su Frangipani Villa ResortBreakfast and lunch Marble Mtn trip in pm
Tues 26 Writing Hoa Su Frangipani Villa ResortBreakfast and lunch
Wed 27 Fly to HCMCity and minibus to the Mekong Delta Tam Tien HomestayBreakfast and dinner
Thurs 28 Vinh Long and Sadec where Marguerite Duras lived and loved

Fri 29 Return HCMCity

Sat 30 Leave for Australia in evening OR travel onwards on your own itinerary One shared room, Bong Sen Hotelbreakfast