Itinerary - A Kimberley Adventure for Writers
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This itinerary is provided as a guide only and we reserve the right to make alterations to optimize your experience.
7 Day Kimberley Writer's Workshop with Nandi Chinna.
Writing sessions run for about two hours and we write in response to the places we visit and encounters that we have at Digger’s Rest. Sessions will be scaffolded, beginning with simple exercises and moving through to deeper more complex experiences. Sessions will be illustrated with examples from other writers.
Mid morning, we will pick you up from the airport or your Kununurra hotel. We’ll have an early lunch before travelling for about 2 hours to the cattle station, Digger’s Rest - your home for the week.
At the station we’ll get you settled in and show you around. You'll meet the owners and staff enjoy dinner and a drink around the fire as our tutor Nandi Chinna gives an overview the week’s activities.
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” – Dylan Thomas.
Enjoy the views from your hut as dawn transforms the Cockburn Range. Meet up at the stonehouse for a cooked breakfast and billy tea before we set off with Nandi to walk amongst ancient boabs and along riverbanks. This morning session is about tuning in our senses, sensory walking, sensory lists, writing wild.
After lunch we’ll meet with Nandi in the bush studio for the afternoon session - Connecting with our creative source, speaking to the world around us, excavating buried dreams. We look at sources of creativity and tap in to the deep pool of stories in the environment around us and within our own unconscious.
Mid-afternoon, experienced horse riders can join a guided sunset ride (extra charge for horse riding) while the rest of the group head out in vehicles to meet the riders beside a naturally occurring “boab nursery” for complimentary champagne and nibbles as the setting sun takes the ranges through an extraordinary palette of colour.
“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers grow, grow”. The Talmud
Optional early hike - you are invited to meet for a billy tea before hiking a loop trail of about 4kms for hilltop views of sunrise at the water tanks then back through the gilgais in time for breakfast.
After breakfast Nandi begins the morning session with writing the “Inscape”. Gerard Manley Hopkins coined the term ‘inscape’ to describe ‘those aspects of the thing which constitute its individuality, it’s unified pattern of a essential attributes. We take a deep look into the lives of the plants, birds and animals around Digger’s Rest, to write imaginatively about what they do in the world, how we relate to them, and their impact upon our psyche.
After lunch we leave for our overnight campsite*. At camp, explore the billabong and ridgelines with Nandi for the afternoon session - Working with metaphor – the Emotional Inscape; we will write a description of an abstraction of feeling such as fear, hope, sadness, happiness et cetera, as if it were a plant or animal. We will look at some examples of metaphor, discuss how they can go wrong, and find metaphors that can speak about our powerful encounters with nature.
In the evening we’ll have fun with light painting, try to spot a freshwater crocodile by torchlight, stargaze and share stories and songs around the campfire.
“If I could catch the feeling I would: the feeling of the singing of the real world.” Virginia Woolfe.
Up early for a headlamp hike to an area above our campsite of ancient geology and 360 degree views of the Cockburn Range and Wyndham. As dawn breaks you’ll have time to wander and absorb this special place before we head back to camp for a writing session as Andrew keeps the billy tea coming and serves breakfast.
Listening to clouds moving. In this session we develop superhuman senses in order to listen to termites moving the earth, clouds gathering and dissipating, the earth creaking on its axis and other real and imagined wonders. We will be like children before language, reading the world through our senses. We will become creative cartographers mapping our way with story, poem and song.
There will be opportunities to fish for barramundi before or after lunch, time for a hike to a nearby billabong and you might like to try your hand at whip cracking!
We’ll enjoy the shade of the woolybutt trees for the afternoon session - God’s Spies; the poet Shelley wrote that poets are God’s spies. Using our bodies as divining rods we will go out into the world and report back on what we find. We will stumble upon wonder, we will trip over poems lying carelessly in the wilderness. We’ll gather these raw materials, mix them up in our unconscious, and present them back to the world, fresh and new.
We head back to camp in time for a freshen up before dinner.
Tinkering under the bonnet of your story. Poem, story, memoir or song, that is the question. In this session we have a look at some of the nuts and bolts of writing technique such as; finding your writing voice; style and genre; experimenting with dialogue; and writing from different points of view. Is your story or poem told in the first person, second person, or through an omniscient narrator? We look at how different points of view can drive or hinder story telling.
We’ll head out in bull buggies along the King River islands or beyond the billabong to observe tides up to 8 metres and the rapidly changing river landscape and maybe a chance to catch a fish before lunch.
‘I leave this at your ear for when you awake’. First lines, last lines and writing together. In this session we look at great first lines, taking risks and diving straight into action. We’ll do some communal writing exercises, using some of our experiences during our time week at Digger’s Rest to feed the wells of our creativity.
After breakfast, we venture out to a gallery of aboriginal rock art and spend time writing along a shaded creek that is a haven for a large variety of birds before moving on to the historic prison boab tree.
“Ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and belongs to the long and varied tradition of lyric poetry. On our last day together at Diggers Rest we will be reflecting on the gifts that the country has offered us. We will be writing odes to the birds, animals, plants and people that have populated our Kimberley experience.
After lunch we’ll spend our final writing session around the homestead - Writing into the future. In this session we will workshop a piece of writing each, and look at ways to shape and edit the piece for possible publication. We’ll learn some of the skills and techniques that will enable us to sustain creative writing practice in our everyday lives.
You’ll have the afternoon free to squeeze in another horse ride, fish, write or snooze on the verandahs. As the sun sets on our final day together we will gather around the campfire for readings of the writing we have been doing throughout the week. We’ll celebrate (with complimentary champagne and canapés) the beautiful Kimberley that has inspired our writing, as well as our own courage and creativity.
A leisurely morning then after photos and goodbyes, we head off with a picnic lunch. We stop in at Marlgu Bird Sanctuary and Bird Hide on our way to dropping you at Kununurra airport for your afternoon flight, or to your hotel.
*All camping gear for our one night camp is provided by us.