Compared to waiting for the next bombing raid, or walking two hundred kilometres to the next village hoping to god they have food for your children, writing a book or starting a blog doesn’t seem like a particularly terrifying way to spend your time – #firstworldproblem right? But many people are terrified – of starting, of failing, even of succeeding, at their writing. But what if the source of the fear is the source of the cure?
texture is the writing and editing business of Selena Hanet-Hutchins – a business trusted by agents, publishers, authors, small businesses, community groups and digital producers. texture is run out of the workroom and community reading room in Kangaroo Valley, NSW.
Yesterday, special guest Slam Poet Lorin Reid and I shut ourselves into the Kangaroo Valley community hall with a bunch of young adults (aka teenagers) to conduct a writing and performance workshop and the very first Kangaroo Valley Poetry + Story Slam. In short – success: our group of 9 wrote great words and performed them beautifully. But who won?
Ever said a word over and over again until it ceases to make sense? I love that, especially with words that have pronounced vowel sounds, like elbow – also a beautiful word to repeat over and over again longhand, of you’re ever stuck during a free writing exercise. I love absurd, unanswerable questions too.
The University of Wollongong’s Tide anthology, the tenth edition, was launched last night to rapturous applause, and with a particular memorable speech from the subject’s founder, Dr Shady Cosgrove, in which she attributed the success of previous students of the Tide classes over the last ten years to their having been part of the wonderful trial-cum-triumph experience this subject is known to be. (This was for comic value; although she taught the subject herself for its first seven years, Cosgrove is not mad yet.)
I am asked this question often. The short answer is: there’s no short answer. Part of me wants to say: ‘Please see “How long is a piece of string?” and similar unanswerable questions.’ But I don’t, because I understand: the publishing process is new to most people, and ebook and other digital publishing formats are changing so often that it may as well be new to many in the book trade.
I suspect I love words as much as I do because from an early age, I was encouraged to be silly with them. Before I could read to myself, I was digesting the humour of Spike Milligan, Edward Lear and of course Lewis Carroll. This is one of the reasons I really enjoy doing children’s writing workshops — kids haven’t yet forgotten how to be silly. Adults often have; they need to warm into it.
It’s looking like a busy couple of months — as my hastily produced, somewhat dodgy-looking September calendar testifies — with our regular events and not one but three school holiday workshops, including [redacted] our high-school level writing and performance workshop with special guest poet, the Illawarra’s own Lorin Reid. October 1 to 2 sees the return of Happy Story-Hatchers workshop for Kindergarten to Year 2, plus Storyworks for Years 3 to 6. Then the teenagers take over the town October 3. Book here
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.
texture community reading room will host our very first children’s picture book reading on Wednesday 13 February at 3.45pm (see flyer below). I’m pretty excited about it because it means I get to share some of my favourite children’s books with local children (and their parents). It’s also a way of setting in stone in the schedule each month some time to do something I love…without it being about work. (I have to watch it: workaholism is in my genes.)
After two years commuting to Sydney, and 7 years working from home in Kangaroo Valley, this month I moved my editing consultancy into the former doctor’s office next to the pharmacy. It’s the texture workroom, so I’ll be working with editing, publishing and digital media clients here, but it’s also a community reading room.