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Last night I went along to Tenx9Adelaide at The Jade having been invited by friends. I wasn’t aware of this concept and what a brilliant one it is – nine people have ten minutes to share a true story based on a theme. Yesterday’s was ‘A brush with…’

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Stories ranged from a brush with death and politics through to the media and fame:

  • a young boy inadvertently helped coppers retrieve stolen goods from a river and appeared on the news;
  • an anthropologist travelled to a remote Inca community and en route got bitten by a poisonous spider;
  • a detailed description of a robber was shared and only at the end did we learn it was Ronnie Biggs (the description, not the storyteller!);
  • another anthropologist told of how his bike was stolen in Boston and its subsequent retrieval;
  • a woman shared how she nearly lost her life in a flat fire after one of her housemates left a candle burning;
  • another told of her geological trip to Nepal where the shipment of apples was more important than backpacks;
  • a former priest relayed his perilous hike in Japan after agreeing to minister a wedding there; and
  • a comedian shared the time he accepted the gig of warming up the QandA crowd before Julia Gillard came on.

You’ll note that’s only eight; one storyteller pulled out, which resulted in an open mic session where two audience members took the stage to share their two minutes stories – one, having lost both her underwear and swimwear, was invited to climb a coconut tree on a tour (but had to decline being knickerless in a dress), while another told of his amazement at being asked a rather inappropriate question by the media during a press conference about a new hospital.

It was engaging stuff; their stories drew laughs and intakes of breath from the crowd. Some read from notes, others without, but all were perfectly timed (else a horn is sounded!).

The next event is on Thursday 19 July with the theme of ‘Because of her…’ and I’d recommend a visit, to either listen or to share. Do you have a story to tell?

Last night The Hearth hosted their ‘Of the Night’ readings at The Jade; an evening of themed writing shared by handpicked local creatives, which I was thrilled to be a part of.

The Hearth Collective comprises Lauren Butterworth, Alicia Carter, Emma Maguire and Melanie Pryor who met as English/Creative Writing PhD candidates and launched a series of themed events based on the old tradition of les veillées – when folk gathered around the fire at the end of the day to share stories, news and company.

Lisandra Linde kicked off proceedings by sharing her firsthand experience of cadavers and a crypt beneath a church in Rome; an interesting piece. Andrew Lee followed who read three intricate poems, which explored who we become at night, providing context after each one. Marina Deller finished the first set with an engaging piece woven with the untimely deaths of both her best friend and her own mum, and meeting her now partner.

After the break saw Melanie take to the stage, one of the Collective’s own, who shared a rather haunting tale about a murder that took place in the vast Australian landscape. I followed with six poems featuring the moon in some way; from an astronomer’s wife to how the moon feels waiting for the sun to set. The evening finished with a short question and answer session, where members of the audience quizzed us on our work, process and the techniques we use to convey ourselves.

Afterwards I was asked by a fellow poet if I had been nervous because it didn’t show. Despite being the last reader and the biggest crowd I’ve read to, I didn’t feel any nerves at all. There’s a certain comfort in art shared by all those there; a beautiful connectivity between readers, listeners, the hosts and a talented musician, Dee Trewartha, who played between sets.

The Hearth Collective facilitated a very memorable evening, so I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for any further submission calls from them, that’s for sure!

Thrilled to be involved in the upcoming ‘Of the Night’ readings hosted by The Hearth on Thursday 26 October at The Jade on Flinders Street, Adelaide. Maybe see you there…

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