Dianne Morrow is heading to Tasmania soon in a writerly capacity. I asked her to answer a few questions via email for our blog. Here they are. Have a great trip, Dianne!
1) When are you leaving for Tasmania and when will you return to PEI? How long will it take you to get there?
Andy and I leave from Charlottetown at 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 25, arriving in Sydney AU early morning, March 28 (!). We overnight in Los Angeles, and lose a day on the International Date Line, bound to be a weird experience, I hope to be awake and inspired to write a poem as we cross it! By contrast we fly home all in “one” day, May 10, which will be the longest day of our lives to date!
2) Will you be giving readings, consultations, and/or workshops in Tasmania?
I haven’t yet been given any details but expect to give one public reading, and hopefully be part of group readings already happening. As well, I’ll give one workshop, probably an all-day one, and meet one-to-one with Tasmanian writers to give each some feedback on writing-in-progress. I’m excited about all of these opportunities to meet other writers.
3) How does travelling inspire you as a writer?
I love to be taken away from the familiar, to see things with fresh eyes, and be amazed by what I see, hear, touch, smell and taste. In a new place I love to simply sit and make notes about what I witness. Based on what I’ve learned so far about Hobart, I expect to spend time sitting in Salamanca Place on the waterfront, writing up a storm! Of course it will be fall there, so the storm may at times be literal…
4) What are you most curious to find out about Tasmania?
I’ve been doing some reading of Tasmanian historical fiction by Danielle Wood, magical realism by Richard Flanagan, political essays and poetry by Pete Hay, as well as poetry by Karen Knight, Robyn Mathison, and Tim Thorne. I’m learning what I can before I go, so that I can pretend to be a “local” as soon as I land! I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek, but it has a kernel of truth. When Andy and I lived one month in a small Mexican town the size of Montague, we really did begin to feel like locals, greeted daily by the market vendors, and tiny shop owners, getting to know our neighbours, and so on. The next spring we stayed a month in a village of only 2,200 people. In both places I wrote poems inspired by the local life I witnessed.
With those experiences in mind, in my application for this one-month residency with the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre I’ve proposed to write poems about the landscape, exotic (to me) flora and fauna, and people of Tasmania. I hope to write poetry monologues and dialogues in the vein of those I’ve written about Newfoundlanders. As well, I know that sometimes the most familiar things are the most challenging to write about, so am hoping that having such distance from them will help me distill some poems already in progress. In prose, I hope to add to my collection of humorous essays based on life experience.
To sum up, my simple goal will be to write to surprise myself, and to help others do the same through my workshop, reading, and one-to-one consultations with Tasmanian writers.