Wombat tours! Stampeding cows! Kangaroos! Kookaburras! Giant Bogong moths! Disco dancing! Fabulous al fresco dinner parties! Candle-lit violin concertos on the veranda of the writers’ cottage! Where else but Bundanon? The last two weeks have been life-changing, in so many different ways. It rained for nearly two weeks, the Shoalhaven River flooded, the road out of here was under water, and I should have packed a pair of gumboots. I’m leaving early tomorrow morning, and I’ve just said goodbye to my fellow residents – Madeleine Cruise and Karen Therese. I’m feeling a little sad, but I’ll be laughing all the way home to Armidale, thinking about the adventures we had – especially when we had to leap over a gate (twice!) to escape the supposed bull (but really a red-eyed demon cow) which was running towards us while we were out wombat spotting the other night. It’s surprising just how many things can look like a wombat out here – but a stampeding cow isn’t one of them. The Sydney folk who arrived tonight didn’t quite appreciate the wealth of fun you can have whilst wombat spotting at Bundanon, but as Karen just said to me, ‘We made our own little world here,’ and that world was very special. I’m going to miss it.
And did I do much work on the memoir? You bet I did. I’d planned on leaving Bundanon with a complete draft of the reworked manuscript, but it wasn’t possible for me to reach that goal. However, I did write good drafts of ACT 1 and ACT II, and I dealt with the ‘Varuna blah’ and took from it what I needed for ACT V. Phew! Dealing with the blah was full on … but I relentlessly worked my way through it. I’m weary now, in need of a rest. Earlier, my companions and I were chatting about different artist-in-residence opportunities, and those amongst us who’d been overseas spoke of how Australian artists are often recognised as the ones who work, work, work … usually to fulfil the expectations of funding grants and so on. But, in many places, artist-in-residence programs are less focussed on producing than they are about being in the environment, and experiencing what is on offer – people, surroundings, workshops, food – and allowing yourself time to be influenced by what is happening around you. I like that idea. Because I have a family and work / study commitments, any time to devote entirely to my writing is precious, so whenever I’ve been on a residency I’ve always worked super-hard. But I reckon I could learn to ‘chill’ a bit more in places like this – to spend time on the veranda looking at the view, to converse with other artists, to reflect, to walk in the bush and to enjoy the beauty and inspirational qualities of a place like Bundanon.
Bundanon is the perfect haven for artists of any discipline, a remote bush paradise, and I want to go wombat spotting here again. Being here, and meeting artists like Madeleine and Karen, has opened my mind to exciting new ideas for future projects. Thank you fellow residents – (humans, animals and birds), thank you Regina for welcoming me so warmly, thank you Gary for the sexy legs, thank you Onni for the beautiful smile, and thank you Arthur and Yvonne Boyd for your generous gift. Until next time…
Sounds like a wonderful spot, and time well spent. And as always you’ve filled the time with lots of laughs.