I love small towns. They remind me of home, as I grew up in a small coastal town up in North Queensland called Mackay. There’s something that will always feel oddly comforting to me about wide quiet streets, kids riding bikes without helmets, dogs unchained and people with quick smiles and ready conversation. That’s how I felt in Broken Hill (NSW) where I recently spent a week stealing colour from the desert and writing in the sand.
We three in the local newspaper
I was there with my partner (in crime) David Stavanger, a talented writer and performance poet, and beautiful Melbourne based poet Matt Hetherington. We three were on a writing / illustrating residency funded by the local library, put up in a little white cottage on the north side of town.
Put simply, our time looked a bit like this:
Write, cook, eat, wander, write, scribble (in my case), sleep, meet locals, write, wonder, marvel at wide skies, scribble, laugh, drink milkshakes, write, talk writing, dream writing, eat writing, more sleep – basically writer’s heaven.
Matt and I looking like something out of a Kerouac novel
We each had projects we were currently working on, however part of the residency was also to develop some work based on our time in Broken Hill. We spent time meeting and mentoring local writers, doing interviews about our work and stealing librarian’s cars (for trips out into the desert and on milkshake seeking missions). The boys also did an incredible performance at a funky joint called The Palace Hotel, which has possibly the coolest front office in history (think taxidermy zoo crossed with British aristocracy chic) and ceilings covered in roman style frescos (done by an indigenous man who paid his stay with paintings).
I’ll do two more posts about our stay over the next few days, firstly about the things that inspired my writing and scribbling while in the broken hill, and lastly to post up some of the work I completed while there. In the meantime I’m back in bustling Brisvegas, missing the open skies and friendly laid back locals…
Bell's Milkbar, the Hill's infamous milkshake joint (would you believe David and I went 3 times in 6 days?)