I spent quite a bit of time working in and for writing and arts organisations back in the day, and am a proud member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and others (and I will get my act together and join the Children's Book Council soon, I promise, Jan!). I think it's important for emerging and established artists of any stripe to be involved in the community to which they belong, and besides which, arts organisations rely on volunteers and lowly paid workers to keep ticking over. It's good to understand that art doesn't just appear/get published/hang in art galleries/appear on your tv screen - it's the end result of creative courses/ one-room advocacy organisations/ funding bodies/ lobbying etc, not to mention the 'invisible' folk like editors, publishers, producers and so on. It's a long way from the Romantic notion of the individual starving artist, that's for sure.
Anyway, I'm about to step back into the ring, having been nominated for the Board of Management of writingwa, the Board of which I chaired when it was in its previous incarnation, the State Literature Centre. Those of you interested in writing and reading in Western Australia know that we've got a swag of challenges on the table at the moment, not the least of which is ensuring the continuing funding of books in libraries and the support of writers and literature organisations in general. So I'm looking forward to working with advocate extraordinaire Sharon Flindell to see what we can do to put writing front and centre in WA. Watch this space!