Featured Member – Pat Ferguson
Watch your Vocabulary
For the next few months Pat is taking on the role of writer/director of her script for the Queensland Theatre of Puppetry at the Gerda Pinter Pavilion, Macintosh Island Park. Her story features the Spirit of the Hinterland rainforest, a lost child, two fantasy lands and native animals. The aboriginal words and music used will involve consultation with the Department of Indigenous studies at Griffith University and new sets and puppet characters will need to be created.
Sometimes patterns emerge early. Keeping children entertained became a feature of Pat’s life even as a child. As the whole family set out by car from Sydney to Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains each winter holidays she would make up stories to help pass the time for her four younger siblings.
At school, she wrote poetry for the school magazine. She enjoyed creating other worlds and strange happenings. She won a Commonwealth scholarship to go to University and after completing her degree she taught secondary English and History with the NSW Education Department. In 1970 she and her family moved to Queensland.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Whilst teaching Drama Pat looked at the available material and found it lacking. She began to write plays that were more topical and interesting for the young people she taught. Diverse genres such as fantasy, farce, comedy and suspense were easily forthcoming and so successful in school drama competitions that Moreton Bay Publishing Co put them on the market in Australia and New Zealand.
Pat believes that reading is very important because (so long as plagiarism is avoided) it gives the writer ideas. She goes by reviews to select quality reading. In this way she has discovered many an engaging and unusual work. As a writer for children Pat stresses the importance of vocabulary being suitable to the age group. She also rigorously revises and re-drafts her manuscripts for good grammar.
Whether her grandchildren are impressed by the excellent grammar and age-appropriate vocabulary in their ‘Narni’s’ three picture books would be hard to say. That they are enormously proud of her is in no doubt. The next treat in store for them will be the January Puppet show in Mackintosh Park.
After that, Pat will be ready for fresh opportunities to challenge her inventive imagination. And what that will be, who knows?