A passion based around words (Insight, 2003)

Guns win battles, words win wars – such is the power of the written word. CHRISTOPHER MALLON looks at a Springvale group that is providing an outlet for those who want to write creatively.

The increasing popularity of writing and its creative genres of fiction, non-fiction — and even journalism — is producing new talents and establishing new audiences through inspiring works and collective ideas.

The Springvale Writer’s Circle provides an outlet where writers and publishers can be creative.

Founded in 1992, the group provides a forum to discuss writing issues, read works, generate ideas, and be creative. President Harry Beechey said the group was always active.

“We have two meetings every month, on the first and third Thursday at the Springvale Neighbourhood House. There is usually about six of us there, but we are looking to attract more members to come and join us,” he said.

“We read whatever we’ve written, and come up with a theme to write about for the next meeting to discuss. But really, you can write whatever you want.”

An accomplished writer, Mr Beechey has had a number of pieces including poetry, short stories and other material published. he has also won the local writer’s prize in the prestigious Dandenong Short Story Competition.

“I wrote three stories for that competition. The first was a science fiction story about virtual reality, the second entitled The Shades was a surrealist story, and the third story, The Wound, is a sort of religious story with a moral twist.

“All the stories that I’ve written that have been published have been the first draft. I don’t like rewriting them — I think you lose something.”

Other writers within the group have also been recognised outside of the writer’s circle.

Diane Brooker has her work in Pendulum, a book of poetry and short stories published by the Chisholm Institute.

“I wrote a poem titled I don’t want to give up smoking. I think they [Pendulum] want poems and stories that people can relate to,” she said.

“I love writing. I think that if it’s in you, you must write.”

Members of the circle — it is called a circle because there is no formal hierarchy as in other clubs — share their hobby and discuss new and previous material produced by members.

The group is also involved in self-publishing and some members have published their stories this year.

Ms Brooker said: “I’ve written a book titled What’s life all about; a poetry collection, and that was self-published. All profits from the sale of the book go towards the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

“We’ve also produced a couple of anthologies called Wanding Words.”

Member Joyce Young says the writers’ circle reaches out to people across a number of cultural and age divides.

“We’ve had a younger, former member who was originally from Sri Lanka… he’s also had his poems published in an American poetry magazine.”

The Springvale Writer’s Circle is based at the Springvale Neighbourhood House, 45-50 Queens Avenue, Springvale. Phone (03) 95483972 or (03) 95740483