Living in Eurobodalla: Sahaj right in to Write Ins

Published: 1 June 2023

Writing for only an hour each week, Sahaj Dumpleton has just drafted his first murder mystery. Sure, it’s taken two and a half years, but Sahaj describes every minute of every hour he spends at the Moruya Library’s Weekly Write In as joyous.

Arriving in Eurobodalla just over four years ago, Sahaj was soon at the library’s door asking after writers’ groups in the area and finding none.

“I talked to library staff about the Byron Writers Centre’s Hour of Power – spending 60 minutes in silence, writing. They quickly embraced the idea, turned it into a weekly event, and I’ve been coming ever since,” says Sahaj.

The now 77-year-old admits to being something of a fan of those tongue-in-cheek murder mysteries – Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown – that don’t take themselves too seriously. Even so, Sahaj’s own tale – about 1950s London teacher Mary Sanderson, posted to end-of-the-bus-line Ravenous Wood in deepest rural England – is not the story he had intended to write.

“I had a half-dozen good story ideas, with one in particular I wanted to write,” say Sahaj, “I tried for 18 months to get it down, very frustrating”.

At his wits end, Sahaj sat down, closed his eyes and waited to see what would happen.

What came into my mind was…Mary. I wrote that down, closed my eyes…What happens next. I wrote that down, closed my eyes and ever so quickly I saw the whole scenario. And it kept flowing from there.”

This was shortly before Covid hit. As soon as the libraries reopened Sahaj was back, though for half a year he was on his own, “I instigated this thing and felt a responsibility to anyone else who might turn up”.

Eventually people did turn up, at times up to a dozen people have found a seat in the library’s gubar buran (ochre cave) meeting room, with its distinctive red back wall.

“I would be very happy to see more people here. You don’t need to write a novel or anything for publication, unless you wish too. It can be an entirely private affair,” Sahaj says.

“I’ve never been able to write the way I can in this space. I love every minute of it.”

Weekly Write Ins happen at the Moruya Library every Tuesday from 11am to 12.30pm, with an hour of quiet writing time followed by a half-hour of informal discussion – you can share you writing if you wish but there’s no pressure.

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