In January, I grabbed hold of a dream that had been buzzing at me for years – I opened the texture community reading room, and I invited you into it. I have not looked back. As one new friend of texture said, ‘When you open the door, good things come in.’ And it’s true: since opening my door next to the pharmacy, I have delighted in the interesting people, and books, and connections and conversations, arriving through it, and the supportive enthusiasm of longtime valley friends.
A people space doesn’t work without people
Trying out a dream idea can be terrifying – especially when it involves other people. (Ever held a party and wondered if anyone will come?) So, to the droppers-in who’ve lent and borrowed books, and provided stimulating conversation; to the children and parents who attended our very first texture Storytime in February (when we read the very wonderful Noah’s Garden by Coledale author Mo Johnson, illustrated by Annabelle Josse); to Jack’s, Charlie’s and Wendy at French Connection for keeping me going, not to mention the Fudge House for their savoury muffins; and to our longtime valley friends for their supportive enthusiasm — a huge thank you!
What’s she doing in there?
If you’re wondering what a Community Reading Room is, come and have a look! The front room is for you – for quiet reading or browsing, and for events and workshops, and also for co-working. If you’re not using the front room you’ll see me in there, reading or editing a manuscript. In the back room I’m currently editing two historical novels and an Indigenous Australian poet’s memoir, and developing a transmedia experience, and an app for tablet and iPhone. (Yes, I don’t just drink coffee.) I am promoting Australian books and writing in the window, and on the browsing shelf inside, and I’m celebrating story and wordplay.
The next texture Storytime is on Thursday 18 April at 3.45pm. In August I’ll be co-presenting the Editing in Paradise masterclass program with Shelley Kenigsberg. (Hello to the local writers who came along to the March info night at Bistro One46.) More ideas have come from discussions with Reading Room visitors. I’m currently looking for expressions of interest in:
- Holiday writing and zine or e-zine workshops for children and teens
- After school creative writing classes for children
- A regular writing group for adults
If there’s anything else you’d like to see happen, just ask me. Sydney has some interesting events too: Digireado’s digital publishing and crowdfunding specialist Anna Maguire is offering a workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre in Rozelle (11 April) – perfect for community groups and self-publishing writers – and the State Library is hosting some terrific writing workshops for teens, taught by the likes of Drusilla Modjeska (April, May and June – ask me for further details).
[A version of this story appeared in the Kangaroo Valley Voice]