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July 30, 2008
Before I tell you about my trip to Byron Bay Writers Festival last weekend, I want to talk about alchemy. How one element can be transformed into another, which is what we as writers are doing all the time.
I realised this weekend while at Bryon that in the last twelve months or maybe less, I have experienced a personal alchemy. And it’s not just the new hairdo.

Actually the photo has been taken at night with a flash, so it doesn’t show the highlights in my hair. I’ll have to have a photo taken in daylight.

Back to the alchemy: it’s more than my appearance. It’s an inner transformation – I now know in my heart, my soul, and my mind that I’m a writer.

I’ve always been a shy person, not wanting to blow my own trumpet, even shying away from talking to people, especially writers who have achieved what I want to achieve. This year, I just went for it: I talked to authors, I networked, I had a great time.

But I don’t know why it was different from a year ago. It wasn’t just the hair, although it may have given me an extra boost of confidence. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve written six complete manuscripts. Maybe it’s because my short story Beyond Happily Ever After will be published in Wet Ink magazine in September. Maybe it’s because I’m so out of the writers’ closet to friends and family, that I’ve admitted it to the rest of the world. I don’t know what caused the transformation, but it feels great and I’ve come back from Byron Bay filled with writing mojo.

As writers, we all transform words. We take a vocabulary, a lexicon and churn it around in our mind and then spin a tale, devise a plot, develop a character and create a story. And yet all we have to work with is twenty-six letters in an infinite number of combinations. Writing is an alchemy all by itself.

Collage poetry is also an alchemy. I take the basic ingredients of cut-out words

and then transform them into something like this:

I promise that I will be back with more pictures and tales of Byron Bay Writers Festival, but in the meantime, tell me — when did you ‘transform’ into a writer?

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