#6 Brisbane, manual typewriters and invisible ink

I am in the swing of things now, lining up people and cafes and offices and events and ideas and negotiating my way through. I’m dashing from place to place I say that, but this morning in Brisbane the heavens have opened and it feels like a good moment to pause and share some thoughts.

My first weekend in Queensland was spent swimming in the sea at Fingal Head, and trekking through a rainforest, in the heat of the day. Gorgeous to see so many new landscapes and hear all the birds. I think it’s the Butcher Bird that has the squeaking whistling song, and Rainbow Loirkeets with a high-pitched tweet. There are plenty of Brush-turkeys and White Ibis wandering about too.

Brisbane has a more relaxed atmosphere than Sydney, and the city centre seems more compact. I started my week with the State Library of Queenslandif:book Australia (think-tank to foster engagement by Australian writers, readers and publishers with digital futures), black&write! (an indigenous writing and editing project), and Queensland Writers Centre. We shared thoughts on the kinds of literary projects that might work well with seniors.

I tested my idea of making some kind of co-produced literary project in a care setting, and then demolishing it – perhaps burning it all, or ripping it to shreds. The creation and destruction – or corruption – of a piece of writing can be exciting. Plus it’s directly about the fleeting nature of life, and shows that not all arts projects need a solid, physical, easy-to-evaluate outcome. We had a super conversation about the different tools and methods for writing, and how they might be used to entice people into telling stories. From the clunky keys of a manual typewriter to writing in invisible ink, projects that open up ways to write might open up ways into writing. This could be the beginning of something…


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