Christine Bell: 'the words just poured onto the page.'
Christine Bell stayed at KSP Writers' Centre as a Writer-in-Residence in June 2022.
From the very first morning of my KSP stay, when I woke up early, energised and excited to get to my desk, I had a really good feeling that I was about to conquer the scenes that had been eluding me for months.
I arrived with a definite workplan and intention to write several new vignettes to complete one main character’s trajectory and story arc. Armed with notes on the ideas and aspects I wanted to cover, settings planned and researched, I was able to just sit down and write. And to my utter thrill, the words just poured onto the page. Like magic!
Of course, though KSP is magical, there was no magic, but due to postponement of my Fellowship thanks to COVID border closures, my manuscript was well advanced by the time of my stay excepting for those elusive scenes. And finally, all those hours I’d thought wasted, thinking, dreaming, agonising, discounting, making notes and planning all came to fruition at once. At last!
But my stay wasn’t just about the work, though I spent every day at the desk with the aim of getting my manuscript as close to finished as possible. I had planned to take lovely, long walks in the forest, but learned the week before my fellowship that my femur is just about worn through and walks were off the agenda. So I was a bit cabin bound but my only fever was for the writing. And reading. I spent hours comfy in the big chair reading and also editing. Blissfully, whenever I liked!
I went to a great catch-up dinner with some WA writers I know either in person or online and met some new writer friends too. In the evenings, I loved getting together with my fellow residents, Ashley and Kathy, to cook dinner and talk about our projects, writing and life.
I saw a quenda, had a visit from a friendly kooka, met the bees, and loved watching the ever changing vista of the Perth skyline from my cabin window as it appears under a spotlight, fades or disappears depending on the weather.
For me, the timing of my Fellowship was perfect for the writing! But I have a feeling, KSP would be pretty well perfect any time!
Top Ten Tips:
1. Arrive with a solid plan of action for your stay. And an open mind to change the plan, if necessary.
2. Enjoy the solitude – relax into it and allow that tight knot in your mind to unwind and rehydrate in the fresh air.
3. Spend time with your fellows in the evenings – share your achievements and/or frustrations. Compare notes and discuss projects and the industry.
4. Check out the library in the main house. I discovered it too late to take proper advantage.
5. Enjoy the ever changing light and vista of the Perth skyline (if you’re in Aldridge cabin) as it appears under a spotlight, fades or disappears depending on the weather.
6. Take time to think and dream, it can be amazing how much work results or words later appear.
7. Take lovely, long walks in the forest. (Don’t find out the week before your Fellowship stay that your femur is worn through and you must not risk hiking or taking long walks in the forest as you had planned.)
8. Curl up in the big chair and read. It’s all work, creative work and nourishment!
9. Visit the Mundaring Arts Centre. A great place to catch a small exhibition or buy a gift for you or a friend.
10. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to produce. This is a brilliant chance to create in an uninterrupted headspace very rarely available in the day to day.
~ Christine Bell 2022