We gathered on Saturday afternoon in the local Hall for the launch of Mordialloc Writers latest anthology: Kingston My City and to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Twenty years of friendship, writing, sharing, workshopping and honing skills. Twenty years of founder Mairi Neill’s dedication, guidance and nurturing.
We heard the honour roll of members who’d been successfully published elsewhere. We acknowledged those writers who had died and listened to extracts of their writing – sometimes poignant, sometimes funny.
I sat on the stage with my Speech Choir, Making Waves, as we waited to make our contribution.
But before any of that, Mairi asked us to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. I sat in prayerful silence, mindful of those slaughtered innocents, the injured and all those grieving over loved ones killed or terribly hurt.
Then we continued with the event as we had to. The new Mayor Tamsin Bearsley, Councillors Gledhill and West and also our Federal MP, Mr Mark Dreyfus attended.
When it was Making Waves’ turn to perform we spoke our three poems: Unity by aboriginal writer Kevin Gilbert, Beannacht (Blessing) by John O’Donohue and Clickety Clack (children’s verse by one of our members: Dorothy Plummer; and particularly appropriate as the train rattled past directly opposite the hall many times that afternoon). We shared our love of poetry and of speaking it, hopeful that we may encourage a similar interest on the part of others.
We did not forget the victims of the Paris attacks, but we continued with the event. An occasion that celebrated connection, community, generosity, sincere affection and the stories of ordinary, decent people. A reminder of the overwhelming majority of good people in our world who give meaning to our lives each day.