Everybody has a story – Paul Stafford Workshop

Last week Coonabarabran welcomed the return of author Paul Stafford. The theme for his visit was that “Everybody Has a Story”.

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On the evening of 27 October, community members attended a writing workshop with Paul in the school Library.  Via a round table discussion, Paul answered questions and shared his wisdom on how to get started, develop and then seek publication of a broad range of writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Participants welcomed Paul’s engaging approach and by session’s end had gained confidence and a firmer direction in which to continue with their writing.  The evening finished with a superb meal which was a fitting end to a wonderful evening of sharing.

Paul’s workshop was made available thanks to our P&C who obtained funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.  This fund supports cultural development in regional, rural and remote Australia to give artists and communities better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts.

Medieval Village
(A collaborative piece of writing from the Paul Stafford Writing Workshop on 28 October)
I’m wandering into this village that was once alive.  There are rows of little hovels, mud walls, straw rooves, but no people – none alive anyway.  Everywhere there are corpses covered in great black lesions, some lying on the ground.  Some hanging over walls.  Huge grey wolves are tearing a body apart at the end of the row, and elsewhere carrion birds are picking at bodies.  The cries of birds and howling of wolves are carried on the wind, but apart from this there is silence – no human activity.  There is a strong smell of decomposing and rotten straw.

Out of a hovel crawled a human – could be man or woman, it’s hard to tell – and they are sick with this curse.  Black buboes cover their emaciated body.  They are streaked with mud and filth.

When they see me their belly rumbles.  It’s a disgusting sound, only matched by their pitiful groaning.  “Help me”.  I back away fast.  I suddenly begin to realise Death is upon me.  I need an escape route; I begin to look around and as I look around all I see is death and rot.  I look further and see a field up ahead.  If I don’t escape I am left for Death to engulf me.

Millions of thoughts shoot through my head.  Sweat streams down my forehead.  I shake.  My heart races.  I’m scared, I start running.  Maybe I’m already infected.  This is God’s curse.  This village is cursed.  I’m going to die.