How is life in Adelaide a source of inspiration for your writing?
My Take On it
Members of the Writers in Adelaide group have been asked to contribute to a ‘blog chain’ on the subject of Adelaide as an inspiring place to write or inspiring me as a writer. I’ve just come back from the UK where every day was hot and sunny, and I’ve returned to a cold wet and windy Adelaide. There are British programs on the TV. I’m confused!
A Good Place
Putting that aside, the Adelaide that I’m used to is good for writing. It seems an open place to me, as the streets are wide, the houses are spread out and there’s plenty of parklands. There is room here, room to think – room for my mind to roam and seek big ideas. The climate also helps, because we can keep our houses open (okay, maybe not in winter), open into the garden and the wider outside; we can look around, relax, explore, see the sights, do stuff and meet people.
Adelaide is a close place, a connected place. Surprisingly for a city of 1.5 million people, everyone seems to know everyone else, usually via two or three acquaintances. I’m constantly amazed at how someone I know is also known by somebody else that I know, with apparently no reason for them to be connected: yet they are. This is also conducive to writing because it reminds me that good stories are about people, characters and their connections. A compelling story gives the reader empathy with our characters and their relationships and how they are motivated – driven – to act accordingly. How we love to discover these connections, especially when the characters would rather they remained a secret.
When I was in the UK writing was a solitary existence, which was fine as I’m comfortable with my own company. However, when I came here I joined Writers SA and found the Adelaide Writers Group, one of many here, and I haven’t looked back since. I found a friendly group of people who give me positive criticism and support me, and in return I critique their pieces, learning about writing and growing my skills as a result. Now, I know that there are writers’ groups all around the world, but I associate Adelaide with this sociability, meeting people down the pub who are also interested (okay, obsessed, let’s be honest) with writing. Mixed together are earning writers willing to share their knowledge and my fellow amateurs. Some of them are on this blog chain, and it’s my pleasure to be part of it.
So Adelaide is a good place to write, but it’s also inspiring in itself. At the start of this post, I mentioned some similarities and differences between Adelaide and the UK, where I’ve spent most of my life, and about half of my writing life. Adelaide feels like a cross between the UK and USA to me, familiar enough for me to feel at home and different enough to appreciate. This mix is stimulating, and it’s led me to question a lot of things about life that, I guess, I had just taken for granted. Coming here has changed who I am and challenged what I identify with.
Let’s hope it improves my writing!