The Blog & I
I started this blog as a way to explore writing issues and share these with others who write.
My current project brings together much of what interests me—values, elements of modern life, and a love of nature. I draw on a life-changing experience, when I undertook a two-month stint as resident artist on a tiny, remote island off the coast of Tasmania. No telecommunications, no shops, no traffic. Bliss!
I also write short fiction and earlier in my career published research articles and a popular book on workplace writing.
I am currently chair of the Board of Directors at Varuna The Writers’ House. Varuna supports committed writers through its residencies, mentorships, and workshops. It also hosts the wonderful Varuna-Sydney Writers’ Festival, an annual event showcasing local, Australian and international writers.
Born and raised in America’s heartland, with Australia now my home. These two cultures—sometimes so similar, sometimes so very different—shape my life and my writing.
Most of my career has been in education. I have worked as a manager, writer, editor, teacher, trainer, and course developer. As a researcher, my investigations have included document design, computer-based learning, workplace writing, and issues of culture, gender and communication.
I still draw on some of my early work experiences for fiction ideas. Managing a bookshop killed my romantic view about bookselling, and gave me a good idea of what does and doesn’t sell. Before that, I worked at the edges of society—founding a storefront school for expelled teens, tutoring near-illiterate young adults, and providing services for people with chronic mental illness. Even earlier, short-time work—operating an amusement park ride, waitressing, undertaking a range of odd jobs—convinced me that formal qualifications provide huge benefits.
Personal interests: Travel, meditation, camping and nature walks, yoga, photography. And reading, always reading, mainly short stories, novels, and creative nonfiction.
Favourite writers: Flannery O’Connor, Tim Winton, Joyce Carol Oates, Geraldine Brooks, Kate Grenville, J.M. Coetzee, and classic writers George Eliot, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, and Henry David Thoreau.
Formal education: BA literature & German. MA literature. Graduate Diploma communication management. PhD text linguistics.
Email: marsha dot s dot durham at gmail dot com