I am deeply interested in roles writers and for that matter artists in general can play in their community. I’m not much good at unblocking drains or filling sand bags or helping out with fires and since I overdid the strength in the coffee I have not be allowed back onto kitchen duty - but I can do other things.
As artistic director of Back to Booktown and Creative Clunes I have worked in my community and I have been fascinated by the processes. I have spent a good deal of time trying to work out - among other things -
Working in my community has taught me that a united difference is eminently more powerful than a united sameness
No idea can work if it doesn’t bring the group along for the ride… and that’s really where all the work is. The power of a community is in the group. And that group is made up of difference - people with different skills and different knowledges. The kind of knowledge I have tends to be privileged by power brokers and grant administrators. But there are other knowledges such as how to work with and read the environment, a profound understanding of local history at a domestic level and so on. These knowledges can form bridges between ideas and community.
And those who knock or belittle have a play to part as well. They slow you down, make you think, help you to re-adjust. But once this has happened it is important to then charge on at full speed. The knockers are a slowing, not a stopping agent.
I have also learnt that hope is the key to allowing imagination to fly and to pulling off the seemingly impossible. I think it is important to always begin with hope and do whatever it takes to raise it. Once hope is high, the impossible isn’t so hard to imagine. And, as many have said, imagining an idea is 80% of making it happen.