Some letters will bring author Ailsa Piper to the Border next month and she invites everyone to keep communicating in this way.
“Send a postcard or a letter to someone they love, or to someone they admire, or to someone they find interesting,” she said.
“You never know where it will lead you.”
Piper and co-author Tony Doherty will talk about some of the letters they’ve exchanged over lunch on September 7 as part of Write Around The Murray.
The correspondence between the writer and the priest became The Attachment: Letters From A Most Unlikely Friendship.
Piper told The Border Mail Doherty wrote to her after reading her first book Sinning Across Spain, which described her 1300 kilometre walk in Europe.
“That turned into thousands of letters and people kept asking both of us what on earth we were talking about, so we decided to share some of them,” she said.
“Trying to understand each other, listening to each other, gave us a connection that we both value.
“Even when we argue the toss! It’s our differences that define us, but it’s when we find common ground that we are at our best.”
A writer, director, actor, teacher, speaker and broadcaster for more than 25 years, Piper will also discuss travel writing and memoirs on Write Around The Murray author panels.
She’s looking forward to her Word Walk on September 8 at Wonga Wetlands.
“It has plenty of my favourite words in it and will be particularly lovely around your beautiful river,” she said.
“I live by salt water, so I’m really excited to be coming to a place of freshwater people.
“I want to stand under some old river gums and feel their history and their stories.
“My co-author of The Attachment is 84 and I often think of him as a gnarly eucalypt with plenty of bark!”
Piper grew up on an outback Western Australian sheep station and has walked over Australia and Europe.
“Nature is my great teacher,” she said.
“My mum said I walked before I crawled, maybe that’s why I have a sense that ‘walker’ is my most true identity.
“Life is a road, it seems to me, and I hope it keeps on opening.”
Her new book will be about “grief, beauty, trauma, nature, art, walking, swimming – and drinking tea”.
Piper hoped her Write Around The Murray appearances would bring fun, provocation, insight and real connections, however brief.
“I don’t come to festivals to talk at people, I come to share stories,” she said.
“It is the pleasure and the privilege of visiting a place, to take home some of the environment and the people and to leave something of the best of myself behind.
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