Magic Moments of the past few months

The Watchful Wife is the contemporary novel by Australian multi award-winning author, Suzanne Leal, which deals with issues which plaque the ethical and moral decisions taken within society’s institutions of religion, education and the law. The protagonist, Ellen, takes us on her journey from parental religious blinkered practices bordering on cultism to its slow unfettering by Gordon her gentle teacher colleague who releases her from its constraints. The safe harbour she finds with this moral man is cruelly taken from her when he is accused of sexual misconduct by a student. Institutional injustices abound and keep the reader alert to the minefields which a misspoken word can create. Love, faith and enduring courage carry the reader through the choppy seas of the aftermath of the accusation. The craft of the author is skilled, sharp and subtle. It’s a compelling read.

Intrigued? Just as I was to hear from Suzanne herself, the opportunity presented itself to invite her to be the guest at Word Fest Toowoomba’s Literary Lunch on Thursday 8th June. She graciously accepted and will be winging her way north from Sydney to join us. How exciting! Toowoomba readers will be enlivened by Suzanne’s insights as a finely-tuned speaker, and will enjoy a couple of hours of fun as part of the Fibbers Club, a Literary Quiz and a delicious lunch. The chance to chat with Suzanne and take a copy of her book to soak up in the warmth of an Autumnal sun is very tempting.

Suzanne will be reacquainting herself with Toowoomba which once saw her father in a leading academic role at the University of Southern Queensland. More intrigue to hear from Suzanne herself! She will be part of the annual Author Expo at the Community Meeting Rooms at the Toowoomba Regional Library in Herries Street on Saturday 8th June between 9.15am and 2.15pm. A wonderfully diverse range of our local authors and creatives will join her across the day’s program.

A novel inclusion (pardon the pun) is the opportunity for two lucky people to ” borrow” a living library book – author of historical fiction and non-fiction works, Jane Smith, and poet and author Antonia Hildebrand will give personal one-on-one sessions with ” borrowers” on the day. A bit of fun to end this year’s festival offerings.

Highlights for me in 2024 have been:

Sharing the Creativity

Sharing the creativity of artists at the Invasive Species Punk Rock Festival at the Mouse Proof Brewery – especially the beautiful interpretation of the spirit of the land of Daniel Blades and the enduring mural now there.

Rural and Remote Women Storytellers

Capping off an 11 day workshop facilitation role in the joint-project with UniSQ’s Research team and the Drought Hub, and Catholic Care and its amazing Coordinators in Hebel, Cunnamulla, Charleville and Mitchell saw a great learning experience for me. Oral stories now stored in my mind and new knowledge about resilience, community solidarity and raising others up have now become part of my own writing journey.
” You can’t fall asleep when you are cleaning a trough.” The most memorable quote of the busy itinerary holds powerful images.
“So much did I enjoy the tales of her life that whenever I could, I’d slip into the pages to join her.”

Train Tracks and Telling Stories

Conversations with Creative colleagues Michael Burge, author of the mind-worm novel Tank Water and Suzanne Leal, as well as Michael’s super-engaging workshop in the carriages at Downs Steam Railway Museum at Drayton.

Movies – Script it! Wicked Little Letters.

Oh my…..what an incredibly scandalous story turned into an hilarious film…words which shocked and rocked the audience, based on a true story, resonated long after my highly intuitive grand daughter and I left the cinema giggling our way back to reality.

Zero Waste

Was the message and our Word Fest vehicle for getting the message out was the fun-filled Trashion Parade hitting the catwalk at Grand Central in April…..The Words? The stories behind the outfits…and the awesome work of Jennifer Summers Wright and Natalie Fogarty…..wow! Hopefully this concept building community awareness will build bigger and better in the years to come.

Photography

Images of Eclipse, Harmony Day, Recipes and the launch of the second edition of More Tastes of Toowoomba, Happy Shiny Art…..words unsaid but imaged! Thank you to Cutta Murphy Photography and Anna Battle of Shiny Happy Art and Ben Moore of B4 Art for your support and skills.

Poetry

Antonia Hildebrand…interview, and launch of her anthology Broken Dolls – a wonderful creative family collaboration and community!

Team Collaboration for the Women on the Move 20th Anniversary Booklet

The ongoing support of Kim Cahill and her KC Social Media Strategies has been a much loved constant support.

Travelling Away with Words

Supporting the publication of Aileen Bradley’s amazing travel journal guide ” Everyday Day was a Chooseday” which produced a lovely friendship; and looking forward to presenting The Magical Mystery of Words session at the Australian Outback Writers Festival as part of a trip to the rugged outback at the end of June and catching up with cousins along the way.

Family Stories

Finishing the next booklet in the series of the Forsyth Clan in Queensland was a milestone after a few disappointments along its journey, but it also gave me the impetus to offer a writing workshop ” Writing Your Life Story” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Who knows, this may be the springboard into tackling my own writing in 2025 and beyond.

This past three years has been a roller coaster of adventures with words, wordsmiths and wonder…..thanks to everyone who volunteered, sponsored, supported (especially dear friends and family) and encouraged me along the way.

It’s been a blast! Now to tackle that “To be Read’ pile and the art of podcasting!

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