Monday, September 04, 2006

Thank you Mr Bedford

Yesterday was spent in an all day workshop with British author, Martyn Bedford, as part of the Melbourne Writer's Festival. Does life get more decadent? Could I be a luckier gal?

Housed in the grandeur of the Old Treasury Building at the top of Spring Street, our group of 16 wanna be writers scribbled, talked, pondered and listened as one of those rare beasts who has 'made it' shared his knowledge about writing, the industry and the practice. Martyn Bedford’s previous novels, Acts of Revision, Exit, Orange & Red, The Houdini Girl and Black Cat, have been translated into 12 languages. He's just finished a stint teaching creative writing at Manchester University and is a fiction critic for the Literary Review. His new novel is called The Island of Lost Souls.

He was a seemingly modest chap, a man who had swapped journalism for novel writing and seemed to be enjoying the journey. He gave us respect which was probably his kindest gift. As someone who had dabbled in writing courses while still working, before finally biting the bullet in his early 30s and giving up paid work to study creative writing full time, perhaps he knew that, though the odds were against us, maybe someone in the class could make a go of it.

An activity relating to a childhood experience had me returning to one of the more eccentric and special aspects of my formative years - it may perhaps even lend itself to a short story. Whereas an exercise in writing simply about a road evoked a response, both in style and emotion, that I have not touched upon in almost 20 years. Interestingly - to me only, I am sure - recent discussions in my life have centred on my shunning of this old style and subject. Yet here it was, popping to the surface again as swiftly as an unwanted chin hair. Maybe, through my writing, I am ready to face a few old foes.

Thank you Martyn.


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