The Writing Group meets at 10:00am every second Tuesday of the month at the Community House.
Group Leader: Karyn Thompson
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
The Community House writing group is a magical place. It will take you on adventures through deserts with the help of camels; behind the Iron curtain of Eastern Europe or back to young love of the post-war era. It will make you laugh at seemingly ordinary items such as tennis skirts and not seldom challenge your imagination. Best of all, it is open to anyone interested in writing! This is the story of a group of true explorers.
In the early years, many different groups were off to a flying start at the Community House. Quite a few of them were instigated by Jeanette Murray. It was just as the new camping group Tow ’n’ Yarn had taken off, that Jeanette asked if anyone had any other talents they wouldn’t mind sharing. Robyn Northey stepped up and admitted she had been part of a writing group in Swan Hill and used to write short stories and poetry. And that was the start of the brand new Writing group which started meeting up once a month and eventually caught the attention of local lady Vonnie Deering.
“I hadn’t been coming to the group for very long when I was asked if I would be interested in leading it”, Vonnie tells me matter of factly as we meet up at the Community House. “This was back in 2012, and I decided to give it a go!” Today, the group has grown to a dozen eager writers with different experiences and backgrounds and if you know Vonnie, that won’t come as a great surprise. Her honest, straightforward and yet humble personality is perfectly suited to challenge and cheer on writers who can sometimes go from feeling incredibly inspired to suffering from writers block.
“One important aspect is that it is up to the group to decide what we should do when we meet up. Whether that is writing prompts or doing some sort of exercise, perhaps on dialogue or character descriptions. We also give ourselves ‘homework’. Someone chooses a topic for the next meeting which we then write about.” A few examples of previous topics are ‘light’, ‘the scarecrow’, ‘brushing shoulders with a celebrity’ and ‘at the bottom of my garden’.
“You can write any way you like, and even on a different topic if you want to, although most people seem to stick to what we’ve decided. It can be fiction, non fiction, poem, stream of consciousness… Anything really! At the meeting we read our texts out loud, and everyone enjoys that aspect.”
“If there are any events coming up, like a writing festival, competition or author talk, we also share that to let people know. We’ve had a speaker come to the writing group once, but normally we simply meet up at the Community House the second Tuesday of the month, 10am to 12pm. Sometimes we go outside to write, which can get quite funny. One time we sat in the garden and wrote about the different vegetables, but perhaps we should just leave it at that…” Vonnie says and laughs sincerely.
“One thing that’s really inspiring is that we have such a wide range of different writers. Some people work on their family history, others like writing poetry and some are into fiction. We also have writers who have been published, have attended writing courses, and yet again some have no previous experience at all.”
Vonnie laughs a lot during our brief interview and shares many funny stories followed by a “but you can’t write that, stop typing!” and in the end I can’t help but think how incredibly lucky the House is to have Vonnie and so many of the other inspired, generous, kind and hard working group leaders who tirelessly provide people in our community with various different options of sharing knowledge, skills and friendships.
“The key is that everyone is welcome; you don’t have to be ‘a good writer’. We simply aim to encourage, motivate, and challenge each other to try new things…”
Trudy is an active member of the Writing Group.