Before I tell you if that actually happened, let me give you a few images of the place and the surrounding area…
I had no strong plans for what I’d do here. I wanted to write poems, maybe a dozen if I’m lucky, hopefully at least a handful. I didn’t have any subjects, ideas, not a single rhyme scheme either. The plan was to let the plan emerge out of the place, see how it affected me. If you can put yourself into the photos above, you can guess – while it’s possible, it’s highly unlikely you won’t be refreshed and stimulated being here. Oh, yeah, and by “here”, I mean between Woodend and Lancefield, not far from Hanging Rock. Or, as we were told by someone at the nearest (8 kms away) General Store, “out Cobaw way”.
It may be way too early to talk about the quality of what I’ve written up there, but I did come out of it with a lot – something approximating the quantity of work I’d hoped for, but two other things happened.
I learnt more about how to work with my own creative energy – took breaks when I needed to, observed how my moods affected my writing, and above all, was reminded of “the power of the walk”. Every time, without fail, if I went for a walk, some small or large poetic problem would be solved, especially if I wasn’t deliberately trying to solve it.
I also took on some new approaches. More of that another time.
Big thanks go to George Dunford, novelist, travel writer and The Wire afficianado. We shared Rosebank, and he gave me space when I had that “I’m getting creative” body-language, and we filled the evenings with food and drink and audio books (yes, believe it or not) and numerous in-jokes.
If you get a chance to spend time at Rosebank, do so. Bring all your writing tools and something to take your mind off the writing too. And remember that when you come back into the “big smoke”, you’ll feel a little weird, and you’ll miss the echidna, the kangaroos, the cows, the rosellas, the rusted old farming equipment, the wind shivering over the hills, the open spaces of the day… and you’ll have to work out for yourself how to re-create little miniature retreats in your everyday life.