The Blog & I
My blog provides a way for me to explore writing issues and share ideas with others who write.
My current project brings together what interest me—values, elements of modern life, and a love of nature. I draw on my experiences when undertaking 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 enjoy being 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.
I was born and raised in America’s heartland, but for years Australia has been home. The 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, researcher, teacher, trainer, and course developer. My research has included document design, computer-based learning, workplace writing, and issues of culture, gender and communication.
Earlier work experience includes managing a bookshop, which killed my romantic view about bookselling and showed me what does and doesn’t sell. I’ve worked at the edges of society—founding a storefront school for expelled teens, tutoring near-illiterate young adults, and helping long-term patients released from mental hospitals. Casual work such as operating an amusement park ride, waitressing, and undertaking odd jobs focused me on getting the formal qualifications and a professional career. Interestingly, these early work experiences have sometimes resurfaced to provide story ideas, scenes and characters for my writing.
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 qualifications: BA literature & German. MA literature. Graduate Diploma communication management. PhD text linguistics.
Email: marsha dot s dot durham at gmail dot com