DENICE, runs her own yoga and naturopathy business
Part of it was about learning new skills and structuring the way to write a story. I found all of a sudden I had this piece in front of me that I had written. It was pretty effortless. It seemed effortless. It was something you drew out of us without us realizing. It was a painless birth. When I look back it was quite organic. The way we learned those things were very applied to the way we were thinking and the way we were writing.
If I knew someone who was writing or wanting to write... I think a lot of people find it frustrating...it’s hard to find time and headspace to write in your day to day life. If you want to do this, then you’ve got to take yourself away and make that space of your own."
ROBYN, Coral Reef Scientist
‘It’s been great. I didn’t realize how many ways I could write in thirty-minute timeslots. I managed to produce 400 words repeatedly and now I’ve produced 2 or 3000 and it’s starting to become something I could actually publish and that only in the space of five days so it’s been a wonderful experience….I’ve done a lot of science writing and that’s my job but I’ve never really sat down and attempted to do any kind of creative writing before so this was my chance so it’s opened up a whole world of possibilities for me especially in the area of combining science and creative nonfiction.’
TANIA, former public servant, community worker
‘All my life I have worked as a public servant and so this is my first attempt to ever do any creative writing at all. It has been a life changing experience for me both in terms of my life writing and my life. I have learned a number of writing devices that I am confident I can use in my own writing. I found the people in the workshop were very enjoyable to work with. We had a positive, supportive environment and we are now a small creative writing family. Probably the most powerful experience was the word association exercise. I’ve never ever simply let writing flow. It’s always been planned, constructed and delivered to a purpose…to be simply given words that you associate with and create a text from that - it was like a whole exciting experience of language. The language working for itself without me being part of it. It just rolled out…it flowed.’
Mission Beach and Sanctuary Retreat is like waking up to a dream that continues. The morning begins scrambling through native bush and across streams - keeping an eye open for the clodhopping cassowary (at least you can hear them coming) and then it's on to the beach. Yoga, swimming and a stroll along the beach and then the climb back up the hill to the Sanctuary Retreat cafe where home brewed Chai tea awaits...and the writing begins.
Our learning space was a preschool painting room. This made a great connection into the past.
All sorts of stories flowed from jumping out of parachutes as a lesson for identity to an earth shattering violent event which impacted dramatically on one of our writer's lives - to a kiss that changed family history and a dive under the ocean that provided a different way of seeing. These stories are endless. I always find my students inspiring and engaging.
Byron Bay has to inspire every writer. Yoga on the beach followed by a dedicated workspace and the inspiration of fellow writers.
Each story bore the imprint of an individual journey into the past. From illness to reuniting with friends to an exploration of the importance of a father in an earlier life.
The beach was an inspiration to develop writing place and applying these skills to the places in our own lives. Scene setting the indigenous outback; the interior of a Melbourne tram and
the inner city suburbs of Melbourne and the landscape of the seashore near Mackay.
What tumbles out from your past as you capture the words on to the page?
A small dedicated group of writers. Dark and light tales from the past flew from everyone's fingers. Life in a country town as a young woman; reclaiming life in its many forms and the story of migration. The endless stories of life....