On having a posse

I blame all those books I read as a child. The characters had posses: groups of amazing friends who helped them solve mysteries, went on adventures with them, stayed up late at night in boarding schools telling them spooky stories. I desperately wanted a posse, and tried to develop one as a teenager, but adolescence doesn’t seem to sit well with posse-hood: there’s too much dividing and conquering going on.

Sisters on retreat

I’m delighted to finally have a posse now, though:  my wise and lovely friends Bek, Char, Fi, Meg, Nic, and Sal. All of them are writers whom I met when teaching through the Queensland Writers Centre. We come from all walks of life—two are scientists by training, one is a medium; some of us have kids, some of us don’t—but we talk, debate, fight, and see each other’s perspectives like champions. We write novels and articles and lectures and short stories and endless emails on our dedicated email list, Sisters of the Pen (yes, we know it’s lame, but the acronym is SOP, and we are a soppy lot).

But the best part of having a posse is the writers’ retreats. Twice a year, my Sisters and I rent a big house in the Gold Coast hinterland and spend a long weekend writing. We take turns making meals (they all cook better than me), we race each other for word count (one retreat, Sister Meg and I made a pact that the person who wrote the fewest words would have to streak across the front lawn: we tied on 8000 words each), we talk about our books or about life or about nonsense (Sister Bek has a real affection for “man-titty”), we have a brilliant time.

September is International Women’s Friendship Month, so this is a public shout-out to my posse who not only inspire and motivate me, they also pat my head when I’m feeling blue. What more could a Sister want?