It was on the very first day at Weir House, my hostel at Victoria Uni, that I ran into Etta. We got talking and I went up to take a look at her room. On the wall, along with various pieces of poetry and artworks, was a Re-Draft poster!
“Do you know…” I ventured, not wanting to sound big-headed, “I’ve had writing published in that book.”
“Really?” replied Etta, “me too!”
“But wait… you are…”
We sat, stunned at our realisation. Finally, we had met fellow Re-Draftees, people who we had known of only as names in a book.
It was with great pleasure that Etta and I took to nattering away about books we’d read, ideas we’d had, writing we’d done in the past or were planning. In addition to our love of writing and literature, we share interests and philosophies; we both study German, we are vegetarians, and we adore Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince.
Since our first meeting we have conversed many a time. We attended a Writers and Readers Festival event together, where we were able to meet Bill Manhire, Harry Rickets and Hamish Clayton, and more recently we met up with Meghan Harris, a fellow Vic uni student also of Re-Draft fame. At our hostel, we have co-founded a Dead Poets’ Society; there are seventeen members and we meet regularly to devour poetry and prose, delighting in “sucking the marrow out of life.”
So to all you Young Writers out there – I encourage you all to appreciate the new side of life that you are exposed to through writing. Thanks to the School for Young Writers, and in particular, to publishing opportunities in Re-Draft, I’ve met Etta and Meghan, had the confidence to found a Dead Poets’ Society and developed unique friendships with a shared passion for literature at the core. Who knows what’s next!
Emily Watson, Wellington
(See photo gallery for photo of Emily and Etta together)