Whether wanting to write an autobiography or the biography of someone significant, SA writers were attracted to Elizabeth Hutchins’ workshop ‘Catch Those Memories‘ on Saturday 17 January to map out some strategies.
Held by SA Writers Centre, members and non-members of SAWC had the opportunity to share their ideas and stories with each other and Hutchins, a widely published children’s author.
Learning some of the dos and don’ts of memoir writing, Hutchins talked about her own experiences of researching and delving into the pasts of the people who became the characters on her pages.
Although more of a discussion group than a workshop per se, participants were offered an insight into how Hutchins formulates her stories, along with a glimpse into the many unique and exciting projects from established and aspiring authors in the room.
From writing a history of Oodnadatta, to the plight of Italian immigrants and their fascinating passage to Australia, each writer had a story to tell, whether it was their story or that of someone they love.
The group brainstormed, did a little troubleshooting together, and spent the morning discussing memories, before stopping for an old fashioned morning tea.
The offering (right) was provided by Hutchins and her memories of fetching bread for her mother from the corner store, and, in her adult years, making apricot jam.
After we enjoyed the jam that saved Hutchins’ house from termites, we spent the remainder of the workshop speaking about ethics, research, and some basics of writing a recount through the five senses.
At the end of the session, many left with some inspiration and direction to start or continue their memoir work.
The workshop provoked thought about how people hold onto, and treasure, their memories and stories when they reach a certain age; however, in our current, instant society, we have fallen into a habit of watching moments and memories fly by as we scroll through status updates, tweets, texts and emails, measuring moments by ‘likes’.
What will we remember in our twilight years if we don’t stop to really look at what we’re missing? We should all pause to catch those memories.
Check out SA Writers Centre’s range of upcoming workshops and events here.
By Libby Parker