‘Write something every day’
AUTHOR PUTS LONGEVITY IN GROUP DOWN TO ENJOYING WHAT HE DOES AND IT BEING RUN BY GOOD PEOPLE
Shepparton’s Alan Mathews is a quiet, thoughtful man who enjoys writing.
Across his life he has selfpublished three books; Blackbird Singing (2006), The Pear Tree: A Book of Poetry (1983) and Something to Read When There’s Nothing to Drink! (1977).
Mr Mathews is working on getting a fourth book published and it is clear from a few moments of speaking to him that writing is more than a hobby, it is a passion.
As a child he grew up on an orchard in Orrvale and for a time ventured to the University of Melbourne to study psychology.
He spent three years at university until he decided psychology was not for him and returned to his family’s orchard at Orrvale.
For Mr Mathews, being an orchardist was a good life because every day was different and he got to work outdoors and experience the different seasons.
‘‘Fruit season, as we call it, is always exciting,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s just a good life — or what I call a good life.’’
Mr Mathews said farming practices had changed a lot and when he was young people used to do a lot of work by hand rather than relying on tractors and other machines.
But as time rolled on Mr Mathews and his wife Bev relocated from the orchard to Shepparton.
While living on the orchard Mr Mathews learned about the North Central Regional Branch of the Victorian Chapter of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) in 1973.
The organisation was formed about six years earlier and during that time only had about 12 members.
These days FAW is known as the Goulburn Valley Writers’ Group — a much easier name to remember.
‘‘I don’t know why (the name) was so long,’’ Mr Mathews said thoughtfully.
The original members of the group eventually went their own ways and Mr Mathews is the longest-serving member.
Despite this, he admitted it took him some time to gather his courage before he attended a meeting.
This was mainly because he assumed the group would be extremely intellectual.
When asked why he thought the GV Writers’ Group had lasted so long, he went quiet for a moment.
‘‘That’s a very good question, I’ve never thought about it before,’’ he said.
‘‘I could say because I was in it, but we seem to have been lucky to have had some excellent people running the show.’’
As for why Mr Mathews has remained a member of the group, he said he enjoyed writing and had been actively pursuing this interest since he joined the GV Writers’ Group.
‘‘It gives you a real high to think of an idea and then put it down,’’ he said.
‘‘I suppose everything has it’s highs and lows and I’ve had a few highs.’’
This is true, Mr Mathews won the Joesph Furphy Commemorative Literary Prize in 1999 and has been shortlisted for the prize three times.
He said when it came to writing people should keep at it if they wanted to improve.
‘‘You should write something everyday . . . that’s very good,’’ he said.