26 April, 2021
Coolah girl reflects on her upbringing
A Coolah girl of over 10 years has shifted people in their seats with her raw and uncensored memoir, reflecting on her upbringing in rural NSW.
Kim Hodges travelled to Gilgandra to present her memoir writing workshop, as well as promoting her books ‘Girl on the Edge,’ and ‘Girl over the Edge’.
“When I was 18 and I moved to Sydney, I thought, country kids grow up quite different to city kids. And I had a little seed start in my head that maybe I could write about it,” said Ms Hodges.
“That seed started at 18 because I thought how I grew up chasing kangaroos and emus through the bush and there being B and S balls that I didn’t go to, just the limitations of the town were so different to what city kids experienced. So, when I was 45, I finally had the opportunity to write, and I did.”
Ms Hodges said that the writing workshop went very well, with all attendees either writing family histories or memoirs.
The biggest take away from the workshop was for everyone to turn off their inner critic, according to Ms Hodges.
“Everyone has a story in them, and everyone has a right to tell their story. There’s often an inner critic. I have one in me that says you failed English in school, you didn’t study creative writing, you are probably not really a writer. But I did manage to get two books published,” said Ms Hodges.
Upon reflection of her book, Ms Hodges recognised that “everyone has a different lens. The view of a situation will differ greatly between person. Some people weren’t happy with my book,” said Ms Hodges.
“There was a handful of people who didn’t like it in Coolah. They said how dare I write about the class divisions that exist in Coolah, and that the town was gossip based and that I grew up with low expectations, and how dare I write about domestic violence and mental illness that I saw in the town.
“When I told my publisher my tour was going to be cancelled in Coolah, Dunedoo and Dubbo because the locals were going to protest, my publisher said how dare they silence a woman’s story. Women’s stories have been silenced through history,” said Ms Hodges.