Watch this. No, really. Please do.

August 26, 2010 at 1:26 am (Uncategorized)

Shuckin’ Charlotte has unearthed this wonderful new short video-log of a writer’s week at Varuna, the Writers’ House.

You already know I’m completely biased in Varuna’s favour, I won’t deny it, and this is a really beautiful way to offer you a glimpse of the environment both in and around the house itself, and of course out and about ogling those spectacular Blue Mountains. Watching it this morning, I became quite choked. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean – his impressions are at once deeply familiar and gorgeously particular – who knew that dust could look this good?

As I said to Shuckin’, I’d hate to see my own attempt at this sort of thing – I fear it would mainly consist of lots of swearing off-camera and wild shots oscillating between my feet, a corner of the roof and a worn patch of carpet. I much prefer Mark Welker’s version, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.

According to his blog bio, Mark is a Perth writer who’s just relocated to Melbourne to develop his craft. Yes, he’s writing a novel. In other words, he’s living the dream, and we love that sort of thing around here, don’t we?! So good luck to him as he properly commences his own all-in grand adventure, and a very warm welcome to the Varuna family I personally hold so dear.



  1. Fiona Wood said,

    mmmmm want to go back

    • doctordi said,

      Me too!! Talk about a lure, reeling me in by catching me right in the back of the throat!

  2. litlove said,

    Yet again techno-phobe me can’t get the link to the video to appear. The blog downloads but with blank white space where the pictures should be. Sigh. But I’m sure Varuna is gorgeous all the same.

    • doctordi said,

      Oh nooo… I don’t understand… why can’t you see it??? Oh, LL, I really, really want you to see it – can you ask Master or Mister Litlove if they can figure it out? It should just BE THERE like when you go to a YouTube clip… I can’t imagine what the problem is, but you MUST see it, you’ll appreciate it especially, I know.

  3. Fugitive Pieces said,

    I can’t see it either, but that’s because I’ve had to uninstall Flash 10 and go back to Flash 9…why? Because Flash 10 stops my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary application working, and at that point, life is not worth living. You might as remove my doona and cut off the caffeine supply. NO, I say, NO. I’ll live without video. Even of Varuna.

    • Fugitive Pieces said,

      Hah! Obviously the nerds at OUP have been labouring overtime – they’ve patched it! I can have my dictionary AND horribly distracting videos of baby elephants! The work rate here has just slowed to ‘imperceptible’…
      That’s a beautiful video Mark’s made. Varuna reminds of Arvon houses, in the UK – the stretches of silence, the trees creaking, the glitter of dust motes, the innumerable cups of hot refreshment, the faint scratch of your pen. No wonder you love it so much, Di.
      GOOD LUCK, MARK. We don’t know you, but we’re rootin’ for you.

    • doctordi said,

      That’s DUMB – what’s the use of an updated program if it takes AWAY your ability to access stuff???

      • doctordi said,

        Oh good – you saw it!! You know they do both selective and non-selective programs at Varuna, right? And you can also just pay for a week in the house if you’re a writer looking for some peace and quiet. I think you’d love it up there, Fugitive. So glad you could see the vid.

  4. Grad said,

    Some lovely video! I like how he captured the light trailing across a page – and over tree limbs – obviously very patiently filmed. Varuna looks like a great place to write. For some reason, I – an admitted techno failure – was able to open it. Somebody must have downloaded something-y on this here computer, because it was perfect – except I couldn’t get the sound to work and then I discovered I had the speaker turned off. Ooops.

    • doctordi said,

      I think there’s a bit of time-lapse trickery there, Graddikins – I doubt Mark camped out on the damp earth waiting for the flowers to wake up. Varuna is actually a perfect place to write – I’m yet to meet someone who’s stayed there and thinks otherwise. I’m just so glad it’s a mere train ride from Sydney.

  5. Grad said,

    Oh, Di, and if you send me your address I’ll write you a letter, too.

  6. Lilian Nattel said,

    I’m sending him good luck too. It’s wonderful that a place like that exists.

  7. Mark Welker said,

    Hi all! Thanks for all your kind comments. It was a very patient shoot, and a real balance between getting some actual writing done and shooting video – next time I won’t be taking my camera.

    Saying that I still got an amazing amount of work done. It was such a peaceful and focused place to write, I found after a day or so there weren’t enough hours in the day. Also, if I had a bit more time I would have done an entire film just on the amazing catering by the Varuna cook Shiela. Worth the price alone!


    • doctordi said,

      Welcome to DoctorDi, Mark – yes, they’re a damn cool pit crew, this lot – I can’t tell you the number of times they’ve picked me up and dusted me off. If/when you have those darker days, just remember you have total strangers already lined up in your corner.

      Yeah, I find Varuna phenomenally productive too. I sleep very, very poorly there for some reason, but it’s a brilliant place to work (and eat!).

      • Mark Welker said,

        It’s funny you should say that Di, I too slept pretty terribly the whole time, though it never seemed to really impact on my daily work. Same goes for a few people I have met that have attended Varuna.

      • doctordi said,

        The first time I was there, Mark, I just assumed it was all the over-enthusiastic imbibing with my fellow residents – self-inflicted nightly wounds shaped like red wine bottles (note the plural) – but I was pregnant the last time, so no joy juice for me, but I still slept like hell. I wonder if it’s everyone’s minds working overtime?? Or maybe it really is haunted. The guy who was staying in the maid’s quarters casually mentioned one morning that he saw the Darks strolling past his window. I don’t know that I believe in ghosts, but I do believe certain places breathe in some indefinable way, and Varuna is one of them. But I’m sorry it turned you into an insomniac too!

  8. Pete said,

    Very beautiful and inspirational! I’ll have to watch it again. And I loved reading Mark’s comments about his writing process. It’s comforting somehow to know that it takes many drafts to get something right.

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