In a bid to get young people off the streets, Robert Turner is encouraging wandering minds to become more creative with his not-for-profit Novel Ideas writing group.
Novel Ideas aims to foster an interest in writing so young people avoid ending up in common cycles facing some youth today, including unemployment and violence.
“When I was growing up my mother always said ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’, meaning if you are busy and focused on something, you won’t be distracted by tagging, bad behaviour or taking drugs,” Mr Turner said.
The project is only in its early days here in western Sydney, but Mr Turner successfully started and ran Novel Ideas when he was living in Queensland.
“I’m currently running workshops to try and get young people interested. From the information we gather from these workshops, the idea is to create a magazine called MOSAIC with their stories,” Mr Turner said.
“All the young people have to do is bring their stories or an interest in writing to the workshops. I’ve worked with people who have a great story, but they just don’t know where to find the words, so it’s a collaborative process.”
Penrith Councillor, John Thain, has already thrown his support behind Novel Ideas – he has offered some of his poetry to be printed in the MOSAIC magazine.
“When I ran the workshops in Queensland we had a lot of fiction stories involving werewolves and vampires. But I’ve also had people write about spiritual enlightenment and domestic violence,” Mr Turner said.
“When you see a piece of writing with your name on it, there is an immense sense of pride – one of the problems with young people is there isn’t a lot of stuff that they are proud of.
“By giving them a voice and actively encouraging them to express themselves in a positive way, we hope to foster a new generation of civic-minded citizens.”
Novel Ideas is hosting a workshop in Penrith on Friday, February 10 in the lower lounge of Penrith Library from 5.30-7.30pm. If you can’t make it down, but would still like to be involved, phone Robert on 0421 973 307 or email [email protected]