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Life Stories

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Pictured with my Mum and Daughter.

Welcome

I am working on a memoir.

I am pleased to say that it is progressing, at last, due to the invaluable feedback from beta readers on the latest draft.

Right now I am writing a detailed outline and selecting poetry to open the chapters.

It is so much fun to gather all the memories together ready to select the ones I think readers will gain or be the most moved by reading.  My goal is to select around 25 scenes from this outline to build the memoir.

Looking at the nearly 7000 word outline I am beginning to realise I might have to write two books or a book and several articles or stories.

Some of the pieces here are first drafts, fragments, memory flashbacks, and meditations.

I use them as a resource for constructing longer pieces that may be included in the memoirs or creative non-fiction articles.  Some of them have been blogged at ABC Open 500 words and other places too.

I ask only that readers respect my copyright and if they feel moved leave genuine and sincere feedback.

June Perkins  24/07/2015

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Far North Friends

It was a real treat to catch up with our friend Sally Moroney, an artist from Far North Queensland.

We have now known her about twelve years.

She makes beautiful necklaces and presented Sheridan with one of her creations (as Sheridan had taken a liking to one of mine and wanted one of her own).

We went to see the Margaret Olley, A Generous Life Exhibition on the second day of its opening.

It is interesting to visit an Exhibition with artists.  Both Sheridan my daughter, and Sally, who are both artists were such an inspiration to visit the space with.

Sheridan shared about volunteering for the Brisbane Street Art Festival.

I especially loved the images of Indigenous people with a predominance of the colour orange in them.

I always think of Sally and her hideaway studio tucked away near the rainforest, surrounded by creative friends and mentoring young artists and basket makers.

We would sometimes meet for lunch, especially with friends, like Christine, Pam, Kay and Marcia. I sent greetings to them all via Sally.

Some friends you just always have deep conversations with about, the world, time, people, art and more.  And Sally is a treasure. She spent the day helping us clean our home when we were about to move from Murray Upper to Brisbane.

Some friends stand the test of time, and we look forward to catching up with Sally in person when we can.

Tripod, Suzie, David and me: Video Postcard making

Writing and photography are the two things I am most comfortable with when it comes to art and creative expression. But recently I realised it’s really time to continue to hone my video making skills and move out of the comfort zone.

To help me on my quest I called Suzie Cray, the new Cairns based ABC Open producer, who eagerly agreed to come and assist.

In preparation I wrote three short scripts, charged up my camera batteries, and packed it along with my tripod and some water.

Although I’ve made videos before, I am keen to learn from people further along in the process and Suzie has tonnes of experience she loves to share with others.

When I met with her, up at our local store (featured in the video) we selected the best shoot in a day script and listed some shots we could take to help tell the story and off we went.

I had hoped to have the whole family involved but as is usual with family, the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition and it was David, my hubby, who was inspired to tag along and play a cameo role in the resulting video although our children had fun watching me grapple with editing later.

One of the things I learnt from Suzie was to be flexible with the script and go with the flow of events when collecting my shots.

We found a bee on a flower, and later I spotted a butterfly, a tourist taking photographs of the falls, and some lovely ripples in the water.

These found their way into the video postcard.

Suzie did some camera coaching, encouraging me to play with the focus and do some hand held work changing my depth of field. The tripod proved to be a challenge throughout the day and I realised it was just too stiff for some kinds of shots. I worked on some fruitful hand-held panning.

By the end of the day me and my tripod were better buddies and now we can attempt more together!

Suzie, David and I had a lunch break and then we edited my script and Suzie coached me on editing my video. I recorded the narration of the script onto our tablet. Suzie, who had been such a big inspiration throughout the day, had to return to Cairns, and I continued editing, with a short break for dinner.

I didn’t finish the video that day, but went out to collect more interesting shots over the next few days, and worked on polishing the edit of the postcard. I created a subtle soundscape, and had to combine two of the video programs I have access to at home to do what I wanted to, but I was so happy when it was finished. I re-recorded my script.

The first person to see this postcard was Suzie, who spotted a couple of things I missed in my edits, which I’ve hopefully fixed!

What now?

Me and my tripod although friends, might need another buddy, and future video projects beckon. I’m about to assist a dancer create some short videos for her new website, and am looking forward to putting my old skills and new skills from the day with Suzie to work.

First published ABC Open, August 2013. Many of the links to ABC Open within these posts may well be lost over time, and any referring to ABC Open additional links will not work after June 30th.  I have saved my favourite contributions to ABC Open now and you should find most on this blog. However some vimeo links to ABC Open may also soon be lost as well, unless they are my personal vimeo. Those ones are still around for now.

Our Story – Your Story: Bouncing Back from Disaster

Speaking of the experience of contributing to ABC Open’s Aftermath at the Queensland Museum was an honour, privilege and tinged with a sense of responsibility.

I was just one of several guest bloggers, photographers and video makers contributing to this project – and summing up a years’ experience in five minutes of speech and video for the audience in Brisbane was my recent weekend challenge.

During my contribution to the panel presentation, which also included Scott Gamble project creator, and ABC Open producers Miranda GrantSolua Middleton and Carolyn Legge from the Queensland Museum I mentioned as many of the contributing guest bloggers as I could, without making my whole talk a list. Saying their names-  Rob CoxKathleen Mealor, and Kathy Stewart, was like summoning them to give me the courage to finish my speech.

I explained how I got into blogging, came to be a guest blogger for ABC Open, and was mentored by ABC Open, particularly Michael Bromage and Leandro Palacio. ABC Open helped me learn how make videos and through them I was able participate in the production of a documentary of my family’s experience. I spoke about the initial discomfort with the camera and how I became used to it, and took my knowledge of discomfort into being more sensitive in my own interviews within the community.

I became emotional listening to the footage of Carolyn Bofinger’s story. I knew this might happen and had prepared myself for it, but it was still hard trying to compose myself in front of an audience. I spoke about this feeling in the talk as well and about how hearing my friend’s story again made me feel.

This was like asking Carolyn to be alongside me as well and I found that my heart lifted as I thought of the wonderful new life her family has made resettling into Brisbane.

Listening to the producer’s perspective gave me an insight into how emotional hearing our stories made them feel. Many of them have formed friendships with the people whose stories and communities they have represented in the aftermath project and they were very moved by the experiences of people they met.

My own five minutes of video highlighted some of our family’s video footage, that of ABC Open, and some of the digital stories I did, like snippets from the interview with Pam and Joe. It was lovely to hear the audience laugh at the way in which Pam explained her relationship with Joe, and how she couldn’t tell him what to do in the cyclone and had to let him go station himself on the bulldozer, although it was scary it was also ironic and lightened the mood of the day. I apologised for the varying quality of my footage explaining I had learnt on the go improving as I went. I explained we contributors used all our own equipment and weren’t given extra cameras or anything like that. ABC Open is about making the best of what you already own.

Marty Warburton received a mention from both Miranda and Scott, and his video story, part one, was played. This was the first video story I saw when I began to guest blog for Aftermath, and seeing it again did not diminish its power and immediacy. Using his mobile phone, Marty narrated harrowing events as they happened.

I was lucky enough to have met Scott when he and Michael came to visit for the first interview on Cyclone Yasi but I only knew the rest of the panel through their blogs and videos. It was fascinating to hear Scott explain how he had realised a one hour documentary would not do justice to all the stories of the aftermath Cyclone Yasi, not to mention several other disasters that occurred before it. The idea for Aftermath seemed, from his speech, to be about a deeper kind of immersive creation where people would relate to stories in a much more real way. There were too many differences and complexities in the way in which people experience natural disasters that couldn’t come across in a one hour documentary on a cyclone.

Everyone in the panel was very kind to me, Miranda especially. She asked how I was feeling and was extremely sensitive to how this presentation might potentially make me feel. Solua was amazed I could contribute so much material whilst my family was going through the recovery process, ‘How did you do it?’

I was a little bit embarrassed when Solua enthusiastically introduced me as a star for ABC Open’s guest bloggers. I never set out to be a star, I just wanted to share the story of my family and our area from my heart with the best words and images I could find. Yet, moving into the role of spoke person, being a storyteller for the community has become an unavoidable part of guest blogging.

My kind and wonderful hosts whilst in Brisbane are also digital storytellers, Karen Tunny and Daryl Bellingham. They looked after me both before and after the presentation for ABC Open. Karen got me into blogging many years ago, by inviting me to a workshop about blogging. It seemed apt to have them both there in the audience. They kindly showed me and my son around Brisbane. We even tried to plan a trip up to see Marty but ran out of time.

The absolute highlight of the day was meeting another guest blogger in aftermath, Heidi Den Ronden, who shared stories of Brisbane’s floods. I wish I had more time to speak with her, and ask how she was doing. I wished we had more contributors there as I would have loved to have just given all of them a hug – for sharing their stories with such courage and being such strong community builders.

Another amazing gift was the Queensland Museum giving my son free tickets to the science centre. He had an absolute ball and was so happy to solve a murder mystery and experience a science show.  The presenter of the science show had connections to Tully! And we learnt all about the nature of light.

Ordinary people are sometimes called upon to do extraordinary things, and to have writing and telling stories become extraordinary is probably the dream of every writer.

Yet despite all this I really would have rather not gone through a cyclone to have this experience. I would love to be free of the memory of it, but life is what it is and this is now a permanent fixture of my life experience.

What doesn’t break us, makes us… and that is what aftermath has been to my life.

(Presentation given March 10th 2012, Queensland Museum South Bank)

First Published by ABC Open 14 Mar 2012.

Links  to ABC Open will be broken after June 30th 2019.

The Farmer’s Wife

She teaches me how to drive a car as if I was an extra sister or a daughter, so I can be free to leave my country home. She says St Christopher will keep me safe when travelling and on the day of my driving test.

Many country places, especially this one, are shocking for public transport and not being able to drive is like being in your own personal prison. Especially when the big wet and sweltering heat come, and make you fade away with each step.

She’s much more than a farmer’s wife. Yet, she is a farmer’s wife.

She dedicates herself to family as if it’s her truest vocation and not once ever is there a sense of regret.

She’s at every recital, concert, sporting carnival, P and C event and her loyalty never wavers. She’s selling raffle tickets in the street. She’s organising reunions, and trips overseas. She’s not scared of seeing more of this world.

She’s found her fulfillment in others finding their dreams, like the best coaches who pull world records from people. Every milestone for her children is their own world record.

She appreciates good teachers, who see more than cane farms and banana picking as outcomes for rural students.

She appreciates the behind scenes people to good teachers, and takes them under her wing, so they can find their dreams – adding them to her task list.

She doesn’t expect her sons will come back and take over the family farm; they will build new lives, wherever they choose. But she’ll take every opportunity to build family connection spaces for them all to come together in the country way. She’ll build these wherever she has to, even if it’s away from the country.

I can never be her, but I can see all the backbone she gives her family, this community.

There are many like her, the deeper one looks beneath the surface of country towns.

Whether her spirit of service, sacrifice and love will live on in her children is something neither of us will ever really see.

She’s the soul and spirit of all that’s best in small country towns.

One day she and hubby will retire from the land, and the family oasis she built will be their new home.

She’ll ease his pain as he misses his tractor and the cane burns. Like a wife of a solider returning from war, she will see his heart break as the farm goes to someone else’s son whose dreams lie in the land.

She’ll shake the soil off his clothes one more time. Counsel and laugh for them both.

She’ll remind him their daughter might be their country doctor one day.

She’s much more than a farmer’s wife. Yet, she is a farmer’s wife.

She’s shaped the way I see the country now. She’s given me strength and extra skills to be much more independent in my life.

First Published ABC Open, 23 Nov 2012.  Also published in Anthology

Perkins, J (2013)‘The Farmer’s Wife’ Voices of the North, Writers in Townsville, Kirwan, Townsville, (pp. 11-12)

Perfect Day for a Cake Stall

Election days are not everybody’s cup of tea; cynicism can set in when people wonder if the best side will be elected, but the one thing that many can look forward to are the cake sales by enterprising P and Cs. Kids and community love them.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baking Mum.

Bake me a cake as fast as you can;

Pat it and price it and mark it with profit,

Put it on the market for new chairs and books

Wow P and C Mums are fabulous cooks

The Murray Upper River State School cake bake was presented as well as any professional bakery, with cupcakes, mini date puddings, marble cake, chocolate cakes, coconut ices, marshmallow bunnies, biscuits, and toffees – all neatly organised, ingredient labelled, and priced. It looked pretty, creative and delectable as any high tea for a local gumboots Princess would.

This year’s innovation was iced coffee from one of the Mum’s new to the school, also a fabulous potter, who has seen this be successful elsewhere; it was perfect for a tropical humid day as she had hoped it would be (although the day was a bit cooler than the ultra humid one the day before.) Some still opted for the hot drinks. I like seeing innovation at any level of community activity.

Mum’s thinking outside of the envelope and not scared to put forward an idea in country settings are brilliant. First the P and C bake sale, then the world! Seriously the thought that goes into cake bakes could easily be put into enterprises to give women successful businesses in any arena; so you go for it Mums! Okay maybe a few Dad’s baked, so I better say thank you to any Dads who took the time to cook or mind children whilst mums went to sell cakes.

Also on offer were raffle tickets for the upcoming Easter eggs bonanza, and for a scratchy money tree – a plant covered with scratch to win tickets. Now I’ve never seen that before but what an interesting idea. I wonder how much that tree will net the winner. There were some plants with pretty pink flowers on sale as well.

The table was well placed, right outside the polling booth for the state election. I’m sure today these cake stalls are taking place all over the state, and the Cassowary Coast.

The cake stall is a happening place with parents and community stopping to chat, and feeling with that country warmth that you see in shows like A Country Practice and wonder ‘is that for real’ or just a myth.

It’s a time to talk gardening, and to my surprise the reinvention of Mum’s the world over returning to work after years of devotion to cake bakes, sports days tuckshop, sausage sizzles, and the basics of event management that could see many of them turn professional.

Maybe some will even compete on reality television cooking shows and become stars in the food industry.

First published ABC Open, March 2012.

ABC Open project comes to Tully

Pearlz Dreaming

carolynandmickMick interviewing Carolyn For ABC Open Project

So for anyone who was wondering why I was videoing the Golden Gumboot and an ABC van was visiting Tully yesterday here’s the low down.

Yesterday I was out and about collecting footage for a digital story of my Yasi cyclone experience.  I had to match pictures to the story I had just told on camera.   Whilst the cyclone is over I could find pictures to match my story like landmarks of Tully! I learnt about preparing for interviews versus spontaneous interviews with open questions.  Mick shared a bit about vox popping (same question to ten people) versus a few questions to one person.

Mick Bromage,  one of the ABC open producers for NQ,  spent time teaching me how to frame an image and how long to film a still scene for a video editor to be happy with you (10…

View original post 364 more words

Country to Coast, Dunes to Highway

Pearlz Dreaming

The weekend was full of sparks – from nature and events – for stories and poems.  It was a time for reconnecting with ABC Open.

I met Jo Joyce  (producer for the South Coast) in person for the first time.  I had worked with her ‘virtually’ for ABC Open when editing with the 500 words project and had viewed  her stories, photographs and videos. The local producers from my old home area who I was mentored by were: Mick Bromage, Leandro Palacio (now in Tassie), and Suzy (retired), but ABC Open feels like a family and it’s very cool  meeting more producer sisters and brothers, and keen ABC Open contributors.  We all love ABC Open.

The family headed up to Noosa to check out the From Country to Coast exhibition which Jo had put together.  It consisted of local contributors work from  various ABC Open projects, particularly Now and…

View original post 419 more words

Video Postcard From Murray Upper

Murray Upper, the home of Murray Falls. Not many buildings but a place to enjoy ….

This postcard is partly a reply to Lynette Oxley who sent me a video postcard about historical buildings in Bathurst.

It’s also to all our friends and others who wonder what life is like here.

Thanks to: David Perkins (cameo), The Tourist (extra) and Suzie Cray (video mentoring)
Jason Shaw – Serenity (Music)

 

First Published by ABC Open 17 Jul 2013

 

 

  • June Perkins

    How lovely to hear from you Lyn. Thanks for visiting Magic Fish Dreaming . Yes working hard on several writing projects and looking forward to the Mentorship.

  • Lyn Oxley

    Hi again June, I recently discovered you won a mentorship for children’s writing with the ASA and CAL. Congratulations and good luck with your writing in 2016!

  • Lyn Oxley

    June, I’m making 2 videos for a uni assignment at the moment, but not video postcards. My topic is ‘The History of Animation’.

  • June Perkins

    Yes, I love Jason’s work, I must send him a fan tip sometime. My son is a great guitarist too, once he has some of his own work composed might start featuring that.

  • Luke Wong

    Aw love it June. So lucky to have such wonderful scenery to enjoy…and warm weather! Gotta love the musician Jason Shaw too, so many Video Postcards feature his music. He is an absolute Creative Commons legend.

  • June Perkins

    It sure is Lyn, are you making any more video postcards, or doing another video project.

  • Lyn Oxley

    Nice video, June. The waterfall looks like a great place to visit.

  • Michael Bromage

    A concrete crocodile! Murray Upper looks so peaceful, June.