The Gondor Writers’ Centre, is a relaxed writing space where national and international authors share their knowledge with aspiring and emerging writers. I discovered Gondor Principals Elaine Ouston and Ron Day offered numerous workshops. So far I’ve completed a course with authors and publishers, Aleesah Darlison (Picture Book Writing) of Greenleaf Press and Elaine Ouston (Writing Believable Dialogue) of Morris Publishing Australia. I’ve loved the hands-on, interactive workshops, meeting like-minded people and picking up numerous tips, which I’ve applied to my writing. I liked that Gondor offered children’s writing workshops with Aleesah Darlison and covered other writing styles with Ron Day. His similes and metaphors workshop or copywriting for marketing could be next. Then again, I see Elaine offered, ‘Learning to Engage Readers’ which I will need also — so much to choose from. The ‘Concept to Completion’ workshops gives writers the opportunity to transition to publication. I’m two years into my five year writing apprenticeship, so that will be on the ‘to do’ list also.
The Centre’s neat little exterior reminded me of ‘Dr Who’s Tardis’, because its tidy white facade belied what lay deep inside. The first step revealed a welcoming workshop space with embossed burgundy table runners complementing the long deep curtain folds. The table-centres held the glass water decanters and tall slim glasses. I set up in preparation for the workshop, cosying a little deeper into the cushioned chair. I was feeling a little too relaxed with cuppa in hand, biscuit in the other and laptop still closed. Then a waft of rosemary oil startled my senses, invigorating me into action.
Prior to the workshop, a walk in the garden was in order. My host, Ron, recognised the familiar raised brow. Garden? Where would a garden be hidden in this small place? He slid a glance to the side door, indicating the exit. Proceeding outside, the earthen brick path led me to a tall bamboo fence and white brick wall. One step to the right lay hidden a magical, breathtaking landscaped garden. The scene was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland – everywhere you looked was wonderment. Ten steps further revealed two long timber tables, oversized mushroom statues, an arched bridge, water features and the painted cat face staring at me. The pond and walkway bridged two spaces allowing you to lunch, explore, contemplate and write. Cosseted at one far end was a exquisite coiled knotted root hugging its trunk. Deep in the other corner was a quirky stolid handmade armchair from yesteryear.
The Gondor Writers’ Centre was easily accessible when I travelled about an hour from Brisbane city to Lansborough train station. Then it was a 5-8 minute walk depending on whether you’re running on Mad Hatter time. The train ride allowed me the pleasure of reading my book.
This newly renovated Centre’s building didn’t happen by itself and there were no fairies, gnomes or other creatures ‘within sight’ during the renovations. However, it was Elaine and Ron’s persistence and determination which saw the creation of this learning centre for writers. ‘Concept to Completion’ also marked the rebirth of this building, which I’m going to nickname the Writing Tardis.