Writers Q & A

Photo Credit: Felicity Pickering

Are you interested in writing? Want to know more about more about A View From Moving Windows process? Then you should definitely come on to the A View From Moving Windows performance on Wednesday night (24th of October). It will be followed by a Q & A session with our very entertaining writers. Make sure you book early as this performance is likely to sell out fast!

Book tickets here.

 

Pictures from A View From Moving Windows

 Here are some pictures from A View From Moving Windows.
These amazing images are by the incredible Marnya Rothe.
Make sure you’ve got your tickets

Pip Smith

The amazing Pip Smith, founder of Penguin Plays Rough, has written us a blog entry!

Photo Credit: Felicity Pickering

About three hours ago I was on the train coming back from the airport. At central, this guy in a suit sat next to me and started talking just as I was punching out a text. He said, “I have just realised my job doesn’t make me happy.” His eyes were slightly yellow, and i wondered if he had been drinking. I said, “what do you do?” “I look at discrepancies between shipping lists. Logistics. I work for a Korean company. I want to work for an Australian company. In Korea we have it all wrong. In Australia the emphasis is on being happy and relaxing. In Korea the emphasis is on being strong.” I said, “I’m not sure you got that right – about Australia.” At Wynyard, an elderly businessman sat next to us, so we had to squeeze right up against the window. I asked the Korean man, “When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?” He leaned in towards me and whispered, “a monk”, I said “sorry, what?” he said “a monk.” He lifted up his wrist and showed me the bracelet he was wearing. “I’m Buddhist. When I was younger, I visited a temple and saw Buddha’s face. It made me so calm. His face – it wasn’t warm or cold.” “It was neutral?” “Yes. Are you a Buddhist?” I said, “No. I’ve never really understood the whole ‘letting go of desire’ thing. It’s always struck me that desire can sometimes be a beautiful thing. Desire can motivate you. And attachment. Attachment to your children, surely that’s a good thing.” He said, “I see what you mean, but I think you’re confusing desire and compassion. Love and attachment. You can watch your friend die and you feel a great amount of distress. You watch a beggar die and…” He shrugged “maybe you feel bad only for a little while. You think your friend belongs to you, but he doesn’t.” I was stunned. How did he know Tim had just died? “So, what’s your major?” He asked “I’m sorry?” “What do you study?” “How did you know I’m a student?” “I can just tell.” The businessman sitting next to us shifted his newspaper, pretending to read it, but he hadn’t turned the page in some time. After a pause I asked, “Well, can you quit when you go back to Korea? Can you become a monk?” He said, “No. My family.” “Ah, I see.” “My family cause me distress.” “Distress??” “They want me to have babies. But I don’t want to marry.” I said, “Oh yes! I know about that.” And we sat in silence. At North Sydney the aisle of people re-configured itself with muted apologies. As we passed the next stations, he told me about the moon, that at the full moon you can attend tea ceremonies in temples in Japan – and that when you drain a cup, you clear your mind. He told me he’d studied martial arts in Hong Kong because he loved Bruce Lee and that he’d visited India and learned that they came up with the number 0. He told me that a mango grows the way it grows by a chance meeting of sun and rain and other things, and that it also starts from zero. That everything is a product of its context. We were standing by the pond at St Leonards station for about 5 minutes while he started telling me that we are cheated by the world because we can’t see the stars during the day, even though they are there the whole time. I’m not sure what he meant by this, but he was so illuminated by what he was saying I decided to walk with him in the direction of the place he was staying. Turns out he was also staying in Greenwich. He told me that heaven is right here, and that you shouldn’t turn the past into a cliche, and that our minds are full of the future so we miss out on the present. He turned and asked me, ‘do you believe in platonic love?’ And I said, ‘yes.’ And he laughed and said, “Ah! You understand!” When we reached the intersection of Greenwich Rd and the Pacific Hwy I had to leave him. We shook hands. He asked me my name, I said “Pip” He said, “I am Rocky. Rocky Mountain,” and he walked down Greenwich Road.

Rocky Mountain, thanks for the excellent conversation.

Sam Atom Stewart

Sam Atom Stewart has written us a blog post on this special of special days! Sam is a writer who currently living in the south west suburbs, and keeping a daily commute that stretches to Bankstown & the city, Sam is a well established train commuter and has loved watching ‘A View From Moving Windows’ develop, bringing poetry to to the often mundane experience of rail travel. 

Trains are impassive. They don’t wait and they’ll take their time if they need to.
They are a number of adjoining boxes with rules that deliver you places. Sometimes when they promised they would.

I don’t drive a car. And I have a lot of places to be that expect things of me. So I live on trains.

Almost every day I embark, quickly sniff out my territory, and dutifully wrap my bubble tight around me. My smart phone, bag and parcel, blank face bubble which shields the primal part of my brain that hates this. All the closeness to other strange animals I don’t know and can’t truly predict. And then I am mostly switched to another channel for the majority of the journey. However, intermittently, I do notice something worth seeing. Someone’s sparkle peeks through to touch me. Stimulate my curiosity. I think it’s easy to fall in love with people on trains. Momentarily. Get taken by a certain angle of them.
The carriage is a strange place. A war zone at times. Of egos. Of social acceptances.  What is acceptable to you? Will you eat? Drink? Conduct your mobile conversation? Clip your finger nails? What’s your limit for PDAs? If you’re both quiet… how far will you go? Would you have the gall to light up?

It is a shell of a place. You fill it with yourself. All your moods and thoughts and dramas. And everyone else’s’. But, stand or sit next to the right person and something interesting might happen.

I had a day like that. A  moment. Just this year. A journey with someone special.
So. There we were. Standing. Facing each other in the crowded space. And we stood. And we shook with the vibrations of the carriage. Then one smiled and the other stepped closer, their bubbles merging.

Hands lightly resting on hips and wrists. Forehead on forehead. And… lips, just so damn gently, on lips.

My eyes lock on your eyes. Then close. Catching the moment just as it is. Breathing into it. Opening it up. Growing a tentative landscape around it. Delicate. Soft. Unfolding and building.

And I can feel it. Deep and wide and tender. All the love my heart thinks it’s capable of. What is this? Is this the train? Is this you? Is this us?

My mind wandered to our cell mates. Their scandalised looks? The clack of the train on the tracks. But then I let them fall away. Our world is better.

We are the pulsating core of this moment. We become everything. This moment is made of cinema. Breath and touch and time ebbing away by inches.

We have stations only. Stanmore… ”(breathe in…) ”Newtown… ”(breathe out…)”Macdonaldtown ”(breathe in…) ”Redfern… ”(breathe out…) ”And then it’s over. You pull away. You disembark.

I dreamily survey the terrain. Gauge the atmosphere. All seems fine. Unaffected. How bizarre.

The train continues on to Central, still seemingly impassive. The people too, seemingly apathetic. And I, seemingly calm and quiet. But I’m not. I’m sparkling.

Friends in Unexpected Places

On the train home last night, I asked a young artsy man if I could take a picture of him. I wanted a picture of someone looking out the window, looking wistful, for the blog. I had realised from past experience that it was better to ask first. I have had my fair share of people getting annoyed or confused or thinking I was some sort of pervert. This stranger looked like a creative type, so I thought he might be willing to sacrifice a moment for the Arts.

The man obliged without a question. Then I asked if I could film him looking out the window.
‘You want me to play?’ He replied, gesturing towards the guitar that was sitting next to him.
I hadn’t thought to ask but encouraged him to do so. In between the few stops left he improvised a song. I told him about A View From Moving Windows and he told me quickly about the band he had just gone to practice for. The bands name was ‘Liam Gale and The Pony Tails‘. The band consisted of him, two girls (with pony tails) and four boys (one with pony tail).

It struck me as a wonderful example of how train travel can make us reach out to people we wouldn’t usually interact with. The fact that Liam happened to be a musician was a happy accident and trains are full of those.

Partly inspired by ideas brought up by Augusta’s interview with TheMusic.com.au, I wanted to urge those of you who are going to A View From Moving Windows to catch the train in. It’ll save you petrol and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have your own train travel experience. It is in these unexpected moments that we can find laughter, friends, new music tastes and find ourselves feeling a little more connected with the world.

 

 

Alternative Media Group of Australia

 

 The Alternative Media Group of Australia talked to Augusta about A View From Moving Windows. Check out the article here.

Jodi McAlister

Jodi McAlister explains how trains influenced the play she wrote at age 10: ‘The Six Wives of King Henry VIII: The Musical’. Jodi McAlister is an all-of-the-time academic type, a-lot-of-the-time theatre critic, and occasional playwright. You can find her in many a theatre foyer and on many a Sydney-Wollongong train. This is her post for the ‘A View From Moving Windows’ blog… 

Photo Credit: Jodi McAlister

I’m one of those people who writes on trains. This has turned out to be quite a useful habit: I live in Wollongong but most of my actual life is in Sydney, so I spend huge amounts of time on the train, tapping away at my computer. A lot of the time, what I’m writing is about theatre – nearly all of my reviews are drafted late at night on the long post-show schlep back to the Gong. But trains and writing and theatre have been linked together for me for way longer than that.

When I was ten and my family and I were in England, my parents took my sister and I on the train to London to see Starlight Express. The train journey took about an hour, during which time I was completely unsociable. I didn’t want to hear about the show we were going to see, because, you see, I was writing a play of my own. We’d been to Hampton Court a few days earlier and I’d been terribly impressed by the story of King Henry VIII and his six wives. I determined on the spot that this story was Meant For The Stage and started writing it (on the train) that same afternoon. This was Day 3, this train journey representing a solid block of writing time. I furiously scribbled in my notebook as the train clacked through Chelmsford, Stratford, Brentwood. I was pretty annoyed when we got to London and I’d only just killed off Anne Boleyn.

The Apollo Victoria theatre is huge, cavernous when you’re ten and (then as now) small for your age. Tracks soared through the air, above the audience, impossibly high. Everything was glittering.

“What’s this show about?” I asked my mother.

“A train race,” she replied. “Put your notebook away.”

I was hooked the second the first actors-on-roller-skates sped onto the stage. Starlight Express blew my freaking mind.

But Starlight Express also posed a problem for me: a major one that I had to begin to rectify on the train journey home, tearing pages out of my notebook willy-nilly. “No one ever told me plays had to have songs in them!” I told my parents angrily.

I was annoyed when they laughed at me. While I know a lot more about theatre now, I’m also glad they didn’t correct me. I still have The Six Wives of King Henry VIII: The Musical, by Jodi age 10, written almost totally on train journeys around England, sitting in a cupboard somewhere, and the ten year old in me is still devastatingly proud of her first play.

I still know all the words to Starlight Express, and even though it’s not exactly hip to be into Andrew Lloyd Webber, it’s still my favourite musical ever. And whenever it comes up on my iPod on one of those long train journeys home – particularly when I’m reviewing a show (whether or not it had songs in it) – it reminds me of everything I love about theatre.

 For more of Jodi’s writing check out her blog Theatre From The Back Seat.