Is there a gene for flexibility? Not the kind of flexibility that might earn you a place in the Flying Fruit Fly Circus or if you’re a grown up, Cirque du Soleil, but the type of gene that helps you to be adaptable to largely unforseen changes or circumstances, in particular changes in employment and residence?
I don’t mean resilience, because to me that’s a quality closer to its dictionary definition of ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; toughness’, and my change in circumstances doesn’t equal difficulty, or necessitate a recovery. It’s not that dramatic, but there’s still an element of discombobulation.
The change to my employment situation was flagged at the beginning of December when I found out that the position of Communications Officer with Regional Arts NSW I had held since June 2014, wouldn’t be required after 31 December. A funding shortfall had left the kitty short, but in one of those quirks of fate, serendipity or whatever you like to call it, within an hour of learning the news an opportunity with an arts organisation in Albury-Wodonga appeared. After a pre-Christmas meeting with the GM of that organisation, I decided to apply for the job.
Fast forward to the interview on 13 January, a subsequent offer and acceptance of a three day a week three month contract and I started work on 19 January with the fabulous HotHouse Theatre (Inspiring our Community to Embrace Creativity) as Marketing and Communications Manager. HotHouse is one of two professional theatre companies operating in regional Australia recognised as a key organisation, and like many regional companies in other arts disciplines, has had to work hard for its existence. I am very proud to be working with them.
Taking up the opportunity means I am based in Albury for the duration, with occasional trips back to Sydney and also to Melbourne, but mostly, outside of my working hours plan to devote as much time as possible to my WIP. (It will not write itself!)
Time here also means the opportunity to enjoy the newly renovated and expanded MAMA – Murray Art Museum Albury and its offerings. A couple of weekends ago I popped in to view Impressions of Paris: Lutrec, Degas, Daumier that included some beautiful Degas bronzes. I revelled in the chance to see these artworks in my hometown. (Prior to moving to Sydney I lived here for 24 years so I think it classifies as my hometown.) I also viewed the stunning and somewhat disturbing work of eX de Medici in her exhibition, Sour Crude. It’s the Riverina born, Canberra-based eX de Medici’s first solo exhibition in three years and explores big industry through reference to products and corporate logos. I ventured into another space to view some of Richard Bell’s Imagining Victory, a solo exhibition centred on a trilogy of video projects drawing heavily on activism.
The expanded Albury gallery now has room to showcase some of its permanent collection including works by Tracey Moffatt, Max Dupain, Richard Woldendorp, Phillip Quirk, and Richard (Dick) Watkins. His 1976 painting, The Secret was the inspiration for my story of the same name published in fourW twenty six in November 2015. You can read The Secret here.
So, I’m looking forward to the chance to catch up with my local pals, and once again making a contribution to the arts and cultural life of this fabulous region. I will miss the writing community I’ve become a member of in Sydney, especially all at New Writers’ Group at Parramatta who welcomed me so warmly three years ago, and the fabulous people at the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University where I completed my MA in Cultural and Creative Practice in 2013. Also, Writers Bloc and the great book club. Totes to the wonderful Geoff Orton and all the work he puts in for the Write Ins, book club and other events to make them happen.
And who knows what’s to come after this three months … I’ll keep you posted! (Posting is something I’m definitely planning to do more of.)
PS And with all this change it would be remiss of me not to mention that the good folk at BookPOD still have some copies of my short story collection, The Only Constant, available for sale.