Life is a dodgy takeaway – sweet and sour and full of surprise ingredients.

You never know where inspiration is going to come from, and often it’s the words of someone else.

Today, on my walk to the Queensland State Library, this little gem written on the chalkboard of a coffee cart in Ann Street attracted my attention.

It made me ponder the fact that words of wisdom can come from any source – and that great writing is everywhere!

Contemplating the ‘surprise ingredients’ of life occupied my thoughts for most of the trip, but from somewhere, also came the flash of knowing whose point of view I’m going to be telling my new story from. It always amazes me how one thought can randomly generate another, equally as important, but totally unrelated.

It’s one of the things I was trying to encourage the young writers to do today – explore their randomness, break down the boundaries – get those ideas happening – don’t be restricted by what anyone else thinks you should write.

Today’s groups were brimful of enthusiasm and it was so exciting for me to hear kids who had completed their character profiles and developed their plots utter those eager words, “Can I start my story?” and to see the fervour with which they put pen to paper.

On my wanderings, I also came across The Drovers – a selection from a series 0f 85 figures portraying people in everyday situations, frozen in time, capturing the ‘essence of Australia’.

Seeing The Drovers was kind of serendipitous, and made me think of the debate between Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson over what was the ‘essence of the Australian bush man’, that sparked the inspiration for my book, A Duel of Words.

One of the exciting things that came out of today was a group of kids determined to start their own school magazine so they could get some of their work published…and a teacher who was enthusiastically behind them.

Today I also enjoyed visiting the Queensland State Library’s fascinating Bipotaim: Stories from the Torres Strait exhibition, and I explored portraits at the Art Gallery. Works from both these exhibits are going to feature in my next workshop on 7th April where young writers will learn how to turn Portraits into Prose.

Now it’s off to pay attention to those brand new book characters clamouring for attention.

Happy writing.