Emma Stevens, used with permission
I went somewhere wonderful last night.
I almost didn't make it. I had planned for the last couple of months to get there. Looked forward to it fervently for the last couple of weeks. Set things in place to ensure I would get there. I left home early enough that I knew I should arrive just as the doors were opening. What I didn't factor in was the insane parking situation in Northbridge. Though I arrived in the vicinity of the event with 10 minutes to spare, after driving around hopelessly (and considering turning around and going home!), parking blocks away and taking a creepy, lonesome walk in the dark with my handbag clutched tightly to my side, then walking all the way up Lake Street in the wrong direction, I ended up walking in the door 15 minutes late.
Finally, I was at the Inspire Collective event. I was greeted warmly as I walked in, my face red, my heart hammering from the stress of it all, my non-walking-shoes-clad feet sore.
"I saw you coming up the street there," the lady smiled at me, and she pointed out the bathroom, the infused bottles of water on the tables, and the line for complimentary barista-made coffees.
Everywhere I turned there were beautiful, excited, creative women. All here for the same reason I was - to connect, to be inspired. Meeting each other, dining on stunning little cakes, sipping on complimentary cups of delicious tea. Spotting my friend Kirstin across the room, I unwound, and sank into the atmosphere.
Amanda and Cate
The Inspire Collective is simply a collective of women who want to encourage, motivate, and yes, inspire other women in their creative ventures. They want to foster a mindset of support where there could have been competition, vulnerability where there could have been bravado. And they want us to be brave and confident in who we are. Call ourselves writers, if we love to write. Call ourselves artists, if we love to draw and paint. Call ourselves photographers, if we have a passion for taking photos.
Steph Rayner and Em Hazeldean
We heard from so many awesome guest speakers. Steph Rayner and Em Hazeldean, two amazing photographers, talked about their craft and also about how they support each other rather than view each other as competition, and how this has helped their separate ventures blossom so much more. The completely gorgeous Anoushka Marie shared her journey, and talked about how we are always capable of growth and change - not to get stuck into the idea that you are just one thing, but realize that you are still forming, and anything is possible. Elaine Fraser talked about finding you, and the feeling you experience when you, and others, actually see you. And Amanda Viviers and Cate Williams played hosts for the evening, pouring out their hearts and vision for us all in such a beautiful, honest way. I loved seeing so many beautiful hearts on display. Ugh, so inspired.
Steph Rayner's "Capture Project" display
As I met people throughout the night, a common question that we would ask each other was "What is your creative venture?" And for the first time, I didn't say "I just like writing" or "I have a blog". I said "I am a writer". It sort of felt like I was tricking them, but I think I could get used to referring to myself as a writer. I do write, after all. I write constantly. When I'm not writing here, I'm working on a novel, and another couple of bits and pieces here and there.
I braved up and went to meet a couple of the speakers after the event, and was blown away by their loveliness. Anoushka made a point of remembering my name, and in between me gushing all over her, we talked a bit about our kids and the craziness of life. And when I introduced myself by my first name to Cate Williams, she asked "Klara Donovan?" because she had come across me on Facebook recently. That was kind of awesome, and in my mind it just further secured my connection and involvement with the Collective.
Me and Anoushka
Also, I totally got a lift back to my car from my friend Grace and her husband Jonathan. No creepy late-night walks through a poorly lit Northbridge for me!