We nine are now eight, although in spirit I know we will always remain nine.
We met almost ten years ago when we were accepted on the first CreativeHub Advanced Writing course. My main reason for enrolling on the course was to find a supportive and trusted group of writers. I found that and so much more with this group. We have read and critiqued, cheered at the high spots, and supported each other through the lows. I have so many special memories of each member of this group.
For the duration of our course we met each Wednesday at the Michael King Writer’s Centre in Devonport. At the end of the first or perhaps second meeting we decided that continuing the evening in a more social setting would help foster a strong group spirit. Nico’s restaurant, just down the hill from the writer’s centre, became our weekly retreat after the course. We’d talk writing, current happenings, and anything else that came to mind, and yes, it helped create a strong bond. When the course finished the following year, we agreed that we wanted to stay together as a critique and support group.
In the years since then we have continued to meet and critique each other’s writing, but there has also been laughter, incredible friendship and support through life challenges and changes, and our very own writing retreats. One year we spent four days in beautiful Diamond Harbour in the South Island, another a weekend in Raglan, and last year a long weekend in the wonderful Bay of Islands. Valued memories made even more precious now we nine are missing our friend.
Hilary created the most wonderful and memorable characters: Billy Ribbon, Boy, Seuss and many others. Over the past year she wrote a book, The Length of a Wish. It is a work of non-fiction woven together with magical fiction, (or even the other way around!), telling the story of a woman with terminal cancer and her journey helped along by an imaginary child-hero. It is a beautiful read: filled with strength and fear, honesty and magic. Hilary wanted to create a legacy that might help others making the same journey, their families, healthcare professionals and anyone who appreciates beautiful writing and storytelling. She has done that and more, and created a beautiful and moving tale.
Rest free from pain my friend.