On Thursday nights I go to a writing group at Tom Collins House, a writing centre of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. There I facilitate a writing group formed by a group of enthusiastic students after a course I ran on creative writing. Tom Collins House has become a fixture in my life after the many years of attending groups and occasionally teaching there. It’s a highlight of my week to walk in the door and see the arts and crafts movement features of the house, and the thoughtful faces of the “fellows,” the many writers who have participated in the FAW over the years, staring down from their positions on the picture rails.
An old oak table in the centre of the room has been the scene of many lively discussions. I’ve attended courses and meetings, and made many friends here. Quite a few short stories and bigger projects have originated from sessions conducted at this table. The house is imbued with the energy and life of the many people who have passed through it, beginning with John Furphy, (alias Tom Collins), Australia’s first vernacular writer. I’ve even heard it said the ghost of Mattie Furphy still inhabits the house…though I’ve never met her myself.
I arrived at TCH for Thursday group one hour early this week, in time to enjoy a relaxing bento dinner in the quiet of a winter’s evening. It was an opportunity to test-drive my new furoshiki. I love the autumn colours, and the thick cotton fabric. Usually I just use a piece of cloth but this is a real furoshiki, picked up on ebay. It’s a perfect match for my new magewappa.
And finally for dessert, some cut fruit. After dinner I waited and read. After a while I looked at my watch…it was getting late. Where was everyone? After a while I went home and once there found my mobile had several messages on it…no one would be able to make it to group that night! But I have to say I had no regrets. I enjoyed just being there, enjoying dinner and soaking up the atmosphere.