Poet Posing on Prose Platform

Creative Writing

The Value of Nightmares

An eye, very like this, seen first in the film “Spiral Staircase”, used to wake me to sitting in terror.  The eye (through a hole) filled the screen prior to each murder of women in boarding house, each with a different disability. Later in life while enjoying/enduring a psychotic episode, I reassured myself by believing there is always someone watching over me. Or Someone.

Another series of nightmares had me in a lift/elevator shaft, jumping from side to side above the lift, grabbing onto wrought iron walls,  my parents in pursuit as the lift rose up and down, but never squashing me. Have read this as no matter how high or low the bipolar takes me, I am safe from being crushed. Rising above and outside the moving box.

For me, the most valuable nightmare is/was the one that came true in real life as I followed my dreams on waking.  I use it now to reassure myself that I am on track – the dirt running track in the following poem – and with the cheering from friends responding to David Collins-Rivera review of MIXED FORTUNES as posted on tumblr (see below) leads me to the comfort that I am on the final stretch. (For how this worked out in real life one would have to read “Life Before Lithium” on Smashwords. ) Now I am applying it to my writing life.

A witch used to chase me

through a three dimensioned maze

always found an opening

but not the way out

before the maze disappeared

and the witch

turned into a tribe of gypsies

in full cry behind me

as I sped

from village hall

up the main road

between disused railway tracks

to the field

where pig-lilies grew.

Up the bank

across the recreation ground

up clay-slip slope

and stony path

dirt running track

gravel road

pine trees

by gate of school

to disappear.

 

But one night,

the night they went

forever,

I made it.

Fell into the arms

of the waiting headmaster

deafened by the cheering school

the witch and the gypsies

demons of my night

let me sleep

undisturbed.

http://wordacrosstime.tumblr.com/post/162945342034/mixed-fortunes-work-in-progress

Edit, Shred it, Read it, Merit

Such a buzz with that wonderful feedback. And my strange reaction. It seems while I WANT praise, even need it, when it is given I curl up as if embarrassed to be exposed. (But I did manage one boast through a bcc email. If you did not receive, please let me add you to my list?)

How do you respond to praise?

Woke this morning thrown off kilter. Head full of new ideas for new stories, new books, wondering if I can weave them into MIXED FORTUNES all the while knowing that would be stupidity. Same as taking pieces from another jigsaw and forcing into this rather than let the pieces fall aside for another day.

After giving myself a good talking to, back to bed for a minute or two of meditation, reading emails, Facebook and reprimanding my absence from Google + for some time, washing some marble chips for the pot plants on the patio- FINALLY got down to some editing. The way I edit works for me on several levels. My eyesight requires this Low Vision keyboard, my fingers are either at times fat or too light or doubling up on keys which means I have to keep a very close eye on the screen. I read the last section written, take a snapshot in Scrivener, control a to copy into Word (on second screen) then run the text through Stylewriter. I cannot speak too highly of Scrivener and Stylewriter. When Stylewriter marks a passage with Excellent or Good on its Bog Index and/or Style Index I move on. When both or either Indexes show any combination of Fair, Poor, Bad or Dreadful I work on that piece until it ranks as Good or Excellent. Overall there are few instances of passive writing and often I see no way of avoiding that  without tipping and messing about with tenses. Usually when I am in someone’s head.

Do you think your thoughts in active or passive mode?

How often do you have your eyes checked? The first instance of macular degeneration can sneak up and be on its way to being so advanced that treatment (eye injections) can halt the worsening but not improve the vision. Were I to rely on my left eye alone I could not write, read or type and watching TV would be a pain.  Knowing the very first sign when my  right eye began to be affected enabled immediate treatment.  Dr Durkin is set on saving my writing eye with four weekly injections in the right and keeping the left on hold by an injection every six weeks.

I cannot emphasise enough a recommendation to download an Amsler grid from  the internet – or get a chart from your optician and CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. Particularly if you are 55 and over.

That’s all folks?

 

Total Word Counts July 13 & 14

Thursday : up to 124821 : Research 1953 Coronation

Friday:  up to 132,644 : Research Aboriginal moiety system  – fresh today rather than digging through a box full of notes.

Beta Reader’s Review Rocks.

Posted by David Collins-Rivera into wordsacross time on tumblr:

Shared here in full appreciation of the effort he gave in first reading, then reviewing my WIP.  My aim is to publish this story on April 21, 2018. That would have been my mother’s 100th birthday.  During her life-time she shared with me a recurring dream during which she walked down a long corridor, doors on either side closed to her, but at the very end there was a book. My autobiographical account of my life before lithium was greeted with “if it helps someone, I guess it is okay”.

I like to think she would have enjoyed MIXED FORTUNES as my effort to have a dream of hers brought into reality.

wordacrosstime

Mixed Fortunes [work in progress]

[Mixed Fortunes, by Isabel Storey. Unpublished work-in-progress at 12 July 2017]

I recently had the privilege of reading a beta version of a novel called Mixed Fortunes. It’s by Australian poet and author, Isabel Storey.

This book is a sprawling multi-generational saga, steeped in both history and magical realism. It moves forward though eras and locations, with events playing out in the UK, Australia, South Africa, and upon the high seas. A rich, compelling tale of dynasty, dispossession, and changing times, it concerns noblemen and wanderers; it touches pioneers, soldiers, and lawyers. It lives in history, framed by trusts and family legend.

The itinerants of this tale are occasionally referred to as Gypsies – a term that, in modern times, can be seen as pejorative for those of Romani (or Roma) ancestry. To be clear, though, the traveling people here are not solely of Roma descent. Many are part of a lesser-documented population of 19th Century economically-displaced nomads from various backgrounds within the British Isles, many of whom became closely associated with the Roma of that time, intermarrying, and adopting many of their habits and traits.

On the other side, we have Douglas, Duke of the vast estate of Holywood, along with his wife and children…and eventually, their descendants. This family intersects with the Gypsies in strange, inconsistent, sometimes appalling ways. Entitled, powerful, and feeling the creep of time, this noble family exerts vast (though diminishing) influence, informing generations by what they choose to do, and what they choose not to.

A tiny Scottish law firm, sporting the charming name of Peacock & Oates, has personal and professional ties to both these groups, forging bonds that run deeper than any contracts or legal trusts between them. These solicitors are the glue, binding tribes and individuals through the years. Using keen expertise and unwavering professionalism, they subtly affect the lives of their sundry clients, who, in time, are spread far across the globe.

It begins in 1865, with a young solicitor in the aforementioned firm, named David Lamont. David is mugged in the street, and gets befriended by a stranger who, subsequently, introduces him to a world and culture he never knew existed – a secretive, marginalized population in desperate need of his aid. Among these new clients, we meet the wise and mysterious Jorie Moneypenny, gifted with rare insight, and a deep understanding of human nature. It is Jorie’s desire to safeguard her people’s freedom that sparks an alliance stretching across decades; it changes lives, lives that help to shape history itself.

Watching the gentle, sometimes vaporous imprint of an old wanderer woman’s strange vision for her people slowly play out across the globe is a compelling pleasure. Isabel Storey effortlessly sculpts a tale of desperation, mysticism, and perseverance, offering up drama and adventure while linking the past to the near-present. Indeed, with so many characters doing so many things at once, Storey is like a juggler with a blur of balls floating through the air – far more than could ever be caught – and yet somehow it always happens, and with style. A magic trick, a technical feat, this degree of control would be impressive all on its own, regardless of the complex narrative and arresting characterizations in which it’s wrapped. Taken together, the effect is simply marvelous.

A sumptuous, stunning tale of many tales, Mixed Fortunes, once published, will be that rarest of achievements on the literary scene, something that can almost never be so-labeled free of hyperbole: a symphony of the written word.

David Collins-Rivera

wordsacrosstime

13 July 2017

#David Collins-Rivera #wordsacrosstime #Words Across Time #July 2017#Beta Version #Work In Progress #Novel #Multi-Generational Saga #History#Magical Realism #UK #Australia #South Africa #High Seas #Dynasty#Dispossession #Changing Times #Noblemen #Wanderers #Pioneers#Soldiers #Solicitors #Romani #Roma #Scottish #1865 #Desperation#Mysticism #Perseverance #Sumptuous

 See all

 

  

 

 

Calling for help, assistance, recommendations

Beginning to see a faint glow of light at the end of the tunnel – Big Book drawing closer to completion. Now part of my mind is turning to (a) title and (b) blurb then (c) cover.

I have had several working titles over the years as I have changed my mind back and back again as to whether to split into a series or go with what I have finally decided – one complete book – all the stories contained within one volume. “The Trustees” is now incorporated into the main text with much preceding events in that book (Smashwords) and following on with events up to 1965 which will mean covering 100 years for four families, four cultures, four countries and four generations.

Which of the following would grab your attention?

They Shoot Eagles/ The Three Shawls/ Mixed Fortunes / Trysts and Trusts/ Trust Triumphant

I would very much like to invite people who have ‘liked’ my Facebook page or are connected on Google+ to become beta readers before I finally send it off to Createspace or Ingram for publication. 

The feedback I would be hoping for is to tell me if I have left any character in the lurch and, if so, what more you would like to read about that character.

Also, if you can think of a better title I am all ears and open mind.

A pair of eagle eyes belong to Laurene in Norseman who has the happy knack of identifying typing and copy errors, so I would ask others not to fret about that level of detail but to share what they would recommend I include as ‘blurb’ on the back cover.

I prefer the sepia tone of the Trustees book cover and my author photograph – although very simple, I think it stands out from glossy highly coloured images. Also I would not know which of my classes of characters to include on a cover! So either a title in text/author name or an abstract design. I rather like the idea of the double-barred cross described many times within the book. I cannot find a copy of that image anywhere – google searches/museums/books on symbols – so would need someone with graphic skills for that.

Sorry it has been so long since I posted here. As with most of us, Life gets in the way!

PS I selected the hexagon image as it ties in with the complicated ways I plot my stories. Also, as the notion of a hex runs through much of the story.

If willing, please comment below.  Send an email if you would prefer to read through a shared file on Google Drive.  Current length is approx 108,000 words. Not asking that you read it ALL now (unless you want to) but enough to give you and idea of whether you feel you would like to read it when finally finished, blurbed and covered with apt design.

Your response will be most welcome.

Writing, had a weep, tidied up files to find this


I am closer to 76 (78) than 75 (77).

My first experience of serious depression was at age18 after two people I knew were killed in motor vehicle accidents. My suicidal impulse at the time was held in check on two grounds. If I was not successful I could be prosecuted (attempted suicide against the law). If I was successful I could not know whether the In Memoriam notices in the West Australian would number something between that of one friend (1) and the other (column after column). By the time I stopped worrying, the suicidal mood had passed.

And this is the trick! The mood passes.

Just sit it out. When feeling a danger to myself, I used to go to the nearest hospital and ask to be allowed to just sit in safety. That was all I needed. It also helped when I had a circle of friends who did not need telling, but somehow knew we should sit up all night, putting the world to rights till the sun came up. Also, even when it feels as if alone enough to successfully suicide, my experience was that there was Something Out There which ensured a close, but failed attempt.

But for ordinary, non-suicidal depression, I found the best, the quickest way out of it was to surrender, play some really, really sad music, make yourself as miserable as possible as quickly as possible because, once down there in the pits, the only way is UP. For me, that became the creative writing time.

The death of friends, of a child, of parents. These are all reactive depressions and normal. Hormonal upheavals either monthly or after birth, again part of normal living. Loss of jobs, partners by either death or divorce and all those other events which tally up. Most of us will have experienced same or similar. Top this off with bipolar, genetic predisposition, lying dormant until triggered by stress and then crash and burn and phoenix-like rise again knowing that you know the secret of the Meaning of Life, where it came from and where it is going! Oh, boy. Fun, fun, fun. (But not for those around who strive to make sense I(there is none) of it all.)

My saving grace, inner strength, whatever you want to call it, stemmed from an incident when I was nearly five years old. (Please do NOT visualise). The head of our neighbour’s son was sliced apart by the flying blade of a broken circular saw. His mother came over to our place in great distress. My mother told me to look after the distressed woman, my 23 month old sister and my 8 week old brother. She told me to be a brave little girl while she pedalled off to the post office to call the doctor and police. I know that is what she told me as, when 55, I woke one morning sobbing my heart out with relief that I no longer had to be a brave little girl. (She forgot to stand me down!) So, for fifty years I went through Life with girded loins prepared to take on anything Life threw at me.

Poltergeist solution: Kills a Darling

Character Removal? I have been stuck at an impasse – having pantsed my way to a character development, giving her a life of her own but stuck with what she will do in the four years between arriving in Western Australia in 1924 (as per plot) and returning to the UK in 1928 to die in childbirth.  Her journey, with chaperone, to WA via South Africa, her arrival and stay with aunt and uncle who offer her a continuing role : all that written down, leaving me to ponder whether she goes along that line or what ever interesting things she could be doing. Thought I had it worked out and loaded the project to continue only to find -or rather, not to find – a swathe of text missing. After agonising what happened or where I may have mistakenly deleted/ copied/ pasted/ whatever I have decided to accept the possibility a poltergeist has been at work. Perhaps I have been editing in my sleep although I don’t recall dreaming that I was typing.  Or perhaps one of my darlings has killed herself rather then endure/enjoy my cogitated possibilities.

Within the scope of four generations, this character was to die in childbirth while producing a daughter and transmitting an rH factor. So, in effect, she was easy to kill. But if ever I have time and inclination to write the personal stories of many of the characters, she will be easy enough to resurrect. So, it is bye-bye for now, Lady Belinda. (Already thinking how I can infiltrate her into a back story of character whose future outline already loosely plotted. Hmmm.

All of this leads me to reflect on the wisdom of proceeding slowly and getting things right as one goes along. Using Scrivener’s search I was able to collect every mention of Belinda and able to select that which to keep and that which to remove so as to stay on track with major thread.

 

 

Idling Until Ready to Shift Gears

Though very little posted here lately, the old brain box has been busy. Most active on waking with streams of ideas for posts, for conversations drifting from one topic to the next, but always coming back to the next stage of my novel.

Set in chronological order, written in present tense, each stage/scene/action is bounded within time and space. and am at a stage where I know where I want/need a character to travel in order to progress the story. Spending many moments on exploring the external and internal motivations driving him in the desired direction.

He is now 65 years of age and setting out on a journey which will take him to Cape Town, perhaps Durban and then onto Western Australia before returning to his home in Dumfries, Scotland. His wife is 16 years younger than he, they have two daughters the youngest being 17 years of age.

Am wondering whether to kill off his wife? Or discover the love of his life (his wife) has been unfaithful leading to the possibility the youngest daughter is not his. If I am ti kill her off, I will need to have her either become very ill; be involved as a victim in a fatal accident. Whatever, it has to be traumatic for him.

All suggestions welcome. 

It is not that I am not busy, just pondering over which thread to pick up and pull out onto a page. Looks as if I shall have to pick up one of my many sharpened pencils and tackle the problem on paper and see which flows more freely.

Unless you suggest something I have yet to consider? Which would you rather read?

Essay Entry: Challenge Accepted – Foot on Learning Curve

The first thing to check is that the title submitted is not the one used for an earlier version. Even to me, my first draft was so, so pompous that all the scholarly research was abandoned for, what I thought, was a more light approach.

The original title was: Australia: A Collection of Assumptions

The first assumption was that it existed at all as a balance for the weight of the earth in the known – at that time – world.

And then went on and on. Actual, factual text submitted was

Picture this:

A twelve year old child was gifted a book in recognition of her insatiable curiosity. Within its pages she was introduced to Kipling’s six honest servingmen thus finding names for the members of her pack of mental puppies. The puppies were exposed to sand, surf and Sunday School and, on the other days of the week, relaxed at the back of the class near those high achievers who had to exercise to gain their place. Having already discovered that the path to efficiency is blazed by the lazy, she sat with her ears open and hands under desk-top busy knitting a scarf using spider stitch.

Back then the days were busy and the years as long as only a country child can recall. From her bed on the front verandah she contemplated the profile of an aboriginal warrior staring up to the night sky from his home in an enormous gum tree. As the evening breeze ruffled the leaves, setting the watching warrior free into the heavens, she snuggled down to sleep with a sense of being protected; of being Watched Over. With ears open, hands busy spinning threads of experience and thought, she now knots a net into being. Flinging the net far and wide to ensnare the progeny of the Bunyip and Behemoth. Scary creatures were it not that terror is part of our mental territory.

The energies of ancestral myths, their archetypes, now hidden within modernity, seep and escape into subconciousness; leaching from the underground of understandings made manifest in the diverse behaviours Homo sapiens call ‘human nature’. The Stone Age person is still within Modern Mankind; outwardly fashioned by the survival of such genes as best suit the environments of time and place. An example given here is that of indigenous mothers within Australia giving birth to babies considered and judged by the non-indigenous as being of light weight. This assessment gives little consideration to the thousands of years mothers have had to carry babies on their hips or in a coolamon. Given the human brain’s propensity for pattern recognition, the observational powers of women and babies – their own and others – together the tribal cross cousin marriage system, credit could be given for identifying a strain prone to producing less burdensome babies.

(One snippet heard by these open ears was Kathy Freeman’s bones are far less dense than the norm of the general population. This was stated as an explanation for her capacity for speed as well as an illustration of the need to conserve energy when covering long distances by walking.)

Cross cousin breeding has a long history, the patterns and consequences of which would be instantly appreciated by those who knowingly raise thoroughbred dogs or horses. However, not all breeders have the knowledge or the courage to carry through to the five generations required to produce the true thoroughbred. For those who do there comes a time when it is judicious to bring in an out-cross; a completely new line believing in the protection hybrid vigour for the first of the new generation.

And what might the foregoing have to do with being “Australian”?

Simply put, we are a motley of mongrels. A mixture of mutts. As diverse as afghans and dachshunds. But we are a breed which likes to please, be friendly and entertaining. When well-trained, we fetch and carry for those we perceive to be our masters.

Above all, we are a bright bunch of bastards. Ingenious, inventive, motivated. We might just be Humanity’s Best Friend?

Picture This:

As with many Australian children, this one had never met any of the First Peoples of this land. Until she was seventeen years of age, training as a nurse in Ward 31 of Royal Perth Hospital in 1956. A woman, thin as a rake, bed-sores packed with eusol dressings from sacrum under skin to hip. Incontinent, mute and utterly miserable. During a staff meeting someone suggested her health may improve if her baby was brought in from wherever it was being fostered. A baby? A baby girl. Rumour had it, this woman (let us call her Nancy) had walked more than two thousand miles during her pregnancy. The soles of her feet, thick and hard as boot leather. The baby was brought to the ward and given into her arms. Next day, the very next day, Nancy was out of bed, walking for the first time in months, standing in the fresh air on the balcony. The first word she cried out she demanded “BEDPAN” and she had us scuttling and glad of it.

Aged 14, this girl was employed sorting trunk line dockets in the Accounts Department of the PostMaster General’s Office in Perth. She worked alongside a young woman whose parents had emigrated from Greece after the Second World War. They had brought their customs with them; one being the elder daughter must first be married before my work mate could upgrade her engagement ring to a wedding band. What a wedding that was!

Earlier, before this child was born, her maternal grandparents emigrated from the UK in 1922 to take up land under the Group Settlement Scheme in Northcliffe in Western Australia. As a Master Mariner, it did not take long for her grandfather to walk off that land in favour of a position as Harbourmaster. The move to Australia was likely to have been at the grandmother’s instigation. A family joke stated as true that he only once returned from a voyage to the same home as he had departed. (It might be her gypsy blood; her family clan territory both sides of the Scottish border.) That was a place in the countryside of Northumberland. The mother of this child was four years of age when emigrating and spent most of her years on the family’s poultry farm which sustained them during the Depression.

The Group Settlement Scheme was preceded by the Soldier Settlement Scheme following the First World War. As well as giving some soldiers something to come home to, it further strengthened the White Australia Policy. (Forgotten were those aboriginals left stranded in South Africa because they volunteered to fight in the Boer War). British soldiers have a history of making Australia home ever since being sent to guard the convicts for whom the first settlements were created. Speaking of convicts, those prisoners in Hungarian prisoners were released at the beginning of the 1956 uprising and, the young nurse was told by one such, they were the first to make a hasty departure from the country. So, convicts, soldiers and emigrants from Europe were the bulwarks of White Australia until the Immigration Restriction Act was repealed in 1958. As an Australians resident in the UK during the 60’s, this young woman found herself unable to defend her nation’s history. Unable to define the emotion experienced when her face was held by the chin to the light and hear it declared that this is “my own aborigine.” Embarrassment, yes. Shame, no. Something else. Was it the spirit of the gum tree warrior crying out for recognition and being denied?

The paternal branch of this child’s parentage descends from Scottish widow of 55 years of age who brought her large family to South Australia in the 1840’s. Among the many stories contained within the publication detailing the family history, there is one which this woman has hi-jacked and relates whenever given the opportunity. Such as this. According to my version, my grandfather was able to purchase a property for a pittance as the previous owner found difficult to get full price for the land he had cleared of aboriginal infestation using strychnine. In this version it is related that, if happening in my grandfather’s generation, there maybe, still alive, descendants from those away from the feed of flour at the time. In other words, the pain is too close for comfort; the asking of forgiveness and reconciliation premature. In her father’s generation this event was a joke shared around birthday barbecues. She read into the glare from her father’s eye; remember and record. She takes the permission to skew history for fear the descendants of the guilty are too afraid of the past to ever question it and thus not allow some light of day in this dark history.

Is sit racism or xenophobia which has empowered the political class to engage in policies which drive people to our shores? It would be facile to blame the military for their actions overseas; creating the havoc and destruction which drove, and still drives, attempts to reach our shores from Asia. Instructed by the policy of those politicians voted into power by the public, we all have a hand in the circumstances which give rise to the suicidal despair of those imprisoned in off-shore detention. They are even more securely incarcerated, and with less hope, than the original intruders into the oldest surviving cultures on this planet. They are there because, collectively, we put and keep them there.

Who has the right to make that mark on their ballot paper? Yes, those who were born here and, these days, that is irrespective of colour or creed. Those who qualify for naturalisation as an Australian are issued an invitation to a formal citizenship ceremony; a prerequisite for the granting of citizenship. Again, irrespective of colour, but allowing a choice of a either including or excluding God within their pledge. Why is God in this picture?

Given the separation of Church and State in Australia, this woman again asks, “Why is God in this picture?” If God, why not Allah or Vishnu? Does it take the invocation of an invisible entity to give weight to one’s word? No. Having observed the consequences of the imposition of Christianity on life within several aboriginal communities, this person is of the staunch belief that Christianity is intrinsically a corrupting influence. Particularly so on a peoples with a highly developed system of spiritual beliefs, many of which survive beneath a facade.

Is it racism, xenophobia or plain ignorance which permits the illusion of superiority over persons who do not speak the dominant language, who are regarded as illiterate either in their own language or one they have yet to learn? As previously mentioned, humans have a propensity for pattern recognition. Only since the Bronze Age has there been any need for anyone’s parietal lobe to be busy with reading and writing. Until the concept and practice of literacy was forced upon the general population, people’s brains kept busy recognising other patterns. Patterns within their culture, patterns within their landscapes, patterns within the seasons, patterns within the skies and patterns within the stars. Literate scientists have in recent times proposed the genetic transmission of memory such as to give credence to ancestral memory experienced in the form of the “collective unconscious”.  Surely a culture as continuous as that of truly indigenous Australians would have a rich and deeply embedded collective memory. From that place could arise the fear which drove aboriginals from their racially designated section of Meekatharra hospital in the 1950’s. That section had been built as a separate unit placed close to the morgue. First dead body and they were out of there in a flash. The beds were then used to house the indigent, not the indigenous. Or again, an instance when planners designed a new township for the Kalumburu community in the 1990’s. Could they not foresee the insult of using the disused rubbish tip as the recommended site?

Coming back to the question, “Why is God in this picture?” There is no escaping it. In whatever form be it Baiame, Jehovah, Allah or Vishnu the invisible Creator of All and Everything is there. Why? If, and I repeat, IF God created Man in his own image, perhaps He is having a rethink? Could it be that Australia, this sea-locked land, is God’s chosen laboratory? Is the design of the Australian coat of arms a warning that there is no going back? What does the future hold? Should we do what the ancients did and dream on it?

Picture this:

For some forgotten reason, this person leaning against a wall in Port Hedland  and asked for her skin name by a young, very dark-skinned woman. The younger woman knows we have not previously met and needs to place this stranger within the structure of tribal relationships. She shakes her head at the reply. An apology for not having a skin name. Later, relating this encounter to an English couple, they are surprised to find I am not an indigene. With a loud clang, the penny dropped in the realisation they had just lost the friend held out by them as evidence they are not racist. To further confound them was the information of gypsy ancestry for that is held as being at the bottom of the social pit.

 

Baiame beckons to live the dreams of the night into the actions of the day. As it is there, so will it be here. From this realm, satirists are inspired to create, for our entertainment, situations which play out in real life. Advertising agencies are inspired to test the acceptance of diversity. Faces inherited from Asia feature in television commercials whereas it is difficult to recall images of indigenous faces promoting the purchase of any product. The nearest is the use of aboriginal art as an evanescent art on a carpet. This is the heart of the matter. This most ancient culture is nurtured on an active belief in the spirit world. A world where the spirit speaks to the mind through dreams and the mind acts on the body to create a harmony expressed in song, dance and scary sleep-time stories so children are held close while parents are sleeping. Is there a lesson here for all components of the melting pot of persons in the Australia of this time? Should we not accept that each of us is tinged with degrees of racism, xenophobia and patriotism? Could we not accept, to the extent we are so, that this is the darker side of our being? That, first of all, we need to reconcile the shades of light, darkness and colours within  to better enable an honest acceptance of the dark history of this country.

Picture this.

Arriving at Mandorah, tired after a long drive nursing an old Toyota Hi-Lux. When asking hotelier for permission to camp in grounds was instructed, in no uncertain terms, to go and find the long grass. So this middle-aged itinerant pulled up on the road to ask a group of young lads to show her the way to the long grass. They insisted on her backing the ute into cover under an enormous banyan tree. She demurred. This is clearly a special place. No, no. You are welcome here. So the woman organised herself for the night, opening the canopy covering her bedding arrangements and settled in. That evening she was joined by a small group of elder men and a woman who had arrived from Bathurst Island for the funeral of the last of his generation. After many chitter chatters and comfortable silences, the woman said, “You are not like other white people. Why is this? (Or words to that effect, now omitting this person’s name from this account.) The reply along the lines of; “Must be my mother’s people. She comes from a gypsy family. When in London, an old woman knocked on the door of my basement bed-sitter and asked the names of my grandmother and my grandmother’s sisters. She seemed satisfied and from that moment on, for a few mad years, my life brought me into contact with gypsy people and I learnt much from them.” From then the conversation fell into the pattern of “What do the gypsies do about…..”; answered; response “same as us, same as us; shush secret business.” So it was this person came away from that encounter knowing some aboriginal secret business even though not told directly by them.

Picture This:

Time to haul in the net, hoping some of the Who, Why, Where and What Australians and Australian life as we live it has been captured within. What have we? Evidence the Behemoth and Bunyip have bred their own horrors and provide the stuff of nightmares. How does this make one feel? Some folk enjoy being frightened even by their own shadows. Personally, this woman’s sadness runs as a hidden stream beneath the years between seeing Nancy leaving Royal Perth Hospital in 1956 and reading of her discovery in an Adelaide mental hospital where she had lived for many, if not all, of the intervening years.

Looking over the shoulder as the net is dragged up the sand, Rudyard Kipling again comes to mind. In an 1891 interview he warns the Chinese have a long settling to make for the insults upon them. Again, a patient people and constructors of apartment buildings within which this ageing pensioner is provided with security and protection. He is also quoted as saying, “This country is American, but remember it is second-hand American, but there is an American tone on the top of things, but it is not real.”

And where can be found the notion of Australia as Humanity’s best friend? If only we could learn we are Australians, not Americans and that bullies are no longer permitted to behave as they do in this playground of a planet. Above all, we need to learn of, enjoy and share the troves of treasures hidden within the most ancient of cultures. Our laid-back lifestyle came from somewhere and that place is the land; Country.

Welcome.

 

 

This articulates my thinking so clearly I have to share

https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/irAcPiPnByd

%d bloggers like this: