Thanks for a great trip to Young

Dear Editor,

Writers enjoyed two workshop sessions at the Young Library as part of Arnold Zable’s visit.

Thankyou everyone for making me feel so welcome in Young.

It was a memorable and enjoyable two days.

I had a wonderful time from the moment I was greeted by Lauren Frith at the Canberra airport on Sunday evening, July 31, to the moment Ted Webber dropped me back off at the airport on Tuesday evening, just two days later.

The 48 hours in between was a magical journey, in a landscape I had never travelled through before.

On the way, I heard many stories, from my hosts, various people I met in town, and, above all, at the workshops, from both adults and local high school students alike.

A number of the stories and the people I met, remain vivid in my mind.

Almost all the stories told and written, were set in Young and the surrounding farmlands, towns and landscapes.

The efforts of a number of key people, with a vision for a thriving arts scene in the Young area, are paving the way for a vibrant, arts culture that will yield many benefits.

These benefits range from the personal, and from the self-understanding which can come from writing, especially among youth, to the collective portrait of the region reflected in creative, reflective and well-crafted stories.

Three people in particular, representing three organisations, were the driving force behind bringing me to Young.

Janice Ottey, innovative manager of the Young library, was one of those people.

Lauren Frith, the dynamic Arts Centre Manager at the Southern Cross Cinema was involved, as was the energetic Ted Webber, president of the Lambing Flat Regional Fellowship of Australian Writers.

Janice, Lauren and Ted organised the workshops, drummed up support, and ensured both the adult and the studentworkshops were very well attended.

I was impressed by the quality of the work produced.

If there was one story produced in the workshops that summed it up, it was the simple tale of a farm gate, written by a Year 8 high school student, one of the over 100 students who attended the workshops at the Southern Cross Cinema.

The story was triggered by the recall of a moment, when the gate reflected the brilliant silver light of an early morning sun.

What could so easily remain unnoticed, and taken for granted, was transformed into a potential tale of the challenges of farming life in the region.

There is already a long tradition of creativity in the region — with the legendary Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson, as early inspirations, and the ancient indigenous culture, the source of songlines and stories that go far back in time.

I heard accounts of local theatre productions, the thriving bush poetry scene, and other ongoing creative ventures.

I look forward to the work of future storytellers, writers and artists in the region, whose works engage with, and build upon these traditions.

Thank you Janice, Lauren and Ted, and the many people who made me feel so welcome.

The two days seemed far longer in time and were a rich and rewarding experience.

Arnold Zable

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More than 50 aspiring writers attended the workshops where Arnold shared his knowledge and passed on many writing tips in a relaxed and easy manner.

Janice Otteysaid it was greatto see the Library used this way.

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