Daily reflection 1

Time to write more memories – here are daily reflections. We are the midst of world wide pandemic, but also poverty continues, and strange events happen like people obsessed with doughnuts and disappearances in rivers…

Ripple Poetry

 

People gather for doughnut discount
treats
the ordinary becomes extraordinary
Why lines too long and crowded for safety?

A mother places her child in a boat
before she disappears in the river
a mystery
Perhaps she saves him before herself?

Selfless and selfish
side by side.
Where is the owl to sort them?

The world swirls pandemics
and poverty
side by side warning song
of the owl
calling for dialogue.
Questions gather like feathers.

Where is the owl?
Can humanity gather the souls to
Give them wings?

14/07/2020

Responsive reflections, written in response to daily events.

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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…

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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…

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What the World Needs Now /More Authors like this!

So the absolute highlight of the Brisbane Writers Festival for me was the talk I attended by Trent Dalton.

I saw Trent a few weeks ago on Q and A, on the ABC, as well as Sofie Laguna, and was so impressed by the way they both conducted themselves on the panel I set out to look up their books.

When I heard Trent would be attending and presenting at the Brisbane writer’s festival he went right to the top of my must-attend sessions.

When Trent entered the room there were huge cheers.  He pumped the air with his fist, and yet there was no ego in that fist pump.  It was more like a boxer, who has triumphed over a huge battle in his life, and is now saying thank you to an appreciative crowd.  A Rocky moment, part of a montage.  He thanked us for choosing to attend his talk over the current game that was on at the Stadium.

Matthew Condon, another brilliant Brisbane writer, was interviewing him and it soon emerged that he had known Trent for fourteen years, when Trent began as a reporter, and that Trent saw Matthew as an inspiration for his writing.

Matthew is well known for his non fiction books about crime and corruption in Queensland, and is a brave, principled and ethical man.  It became increasingly apparent just why he was the right person in many ways to be sharing the stage and interviewing Trent.  He knew the stories of some of the criminal figures featured in the book by Trent.  Trent told Matthew he was writing a book, about a ‘young man raised by a gangster,’ and Matthew said, ‘I want to read that book.’

Before attending this talk, to be honest, I did not realise that 50% of the book is based on Trent’s true life experience.  But in his first work of ‘fiction,’ he has found a freedom to extend and develop and share his philosophies about the line between criminal (with a heart of kindness and compassion) versus truly evil.  Matthew joked, that so many authors even in fiction, channel their life without realising it.  Matthew’s mum always says to him no matter what he writes, ‘when are you going to stop writing about your Dad.’

Trent shared that much of the story is based on real life figures, his mother, his three brothers, combined into one character August,  and the gangster who was his babysitter, who through a comment to his mother, ‘saved my mother’s life, when no one else would have anything to do with her.’

As Trent spoke, his great love and admiration for his mother and family was warmly conveyed, but also so were the challenges of his childhood, and how much his main character Eli is based on himself : the audience were often moved to tears.  This was tempered with moments of laughter as he saw the humour in the characters of his life, including his forever rebellious Dad.

Trent felt that his whole writing career in non fiction, pursuing stories about social justice, interviewing those struggling in life,  experiencing domestic violence, and more was in fact a journey  to understand the balance of good and evil in the world and what makes a good person turn bad, or a good person on a destructive path turn to a good one.  He was trying to ‘get the scoop’ on understanding his family through his reportage of families who were going through something similar.

Trent did some creative things like taking us through his life a museum and explaining his motivation for bringing the worlds of Darrah and Brackenridge, Brisbane into fiction.  He pointed out some of the heroes of those areas, and some of them were in the audience, and are still out in those areas, helping out young people who have terrible situations at home.  He passionately spoke of how he wanted to emulate Charles Dickens, and what he did for the children of London, in doing the same for the young people of Darra and Brackenridge.  But just like that fist pumping, there was absolute sincerity in what Trent was saying to us all.

Trent is a true believer in the power of story, to empower and transform.  He felt vulnerable, and some weakness in sharing his story with us all.  But at the same time felt an obligation to share deeply as many of his interviewees have done over the years.  The reason for his feeling of weakness was that in some ways he drew strength in keeping the secrets of his life like a genie in a bottle, something gold, which has made him who is but which has more power in being secret.

But that feeling has been counteracted by his feeling for the ‘theatre of Brackenridge,’ and his concern for people born into communities like that who are in households, were there is lots of love, but also lots of dysfunction, and a feeling of hopelessness can creep in.

Looking back, Trent sees the hardships of his life as the ‘gold’ and admires his mother and brothers for who they were, are and have become.  He spoke passionately about how children need to have that relationship with their mothers, even in families where there is dyfunction, don’t disconnect them if you can, but let them heal, flood them with love.

Matthew Condon’s interviewing of Trent was masterful.  Trent’s admiration and respect for Matthew was lovely to witness, and both clearly have a passion for Queensland, and specifically Brisbane stories.  Matthew has called Trent the new Tim Winton,  who has written something equal to Cloud Street.  Now that is brilliant praise.

There were many more stories in Trent’s wonderful and generous sharing with the audience, but I think it best if you go to hear him speak if you ever can, as I can’t really completely capture the humility, humour, warmth, and generosity of his words, and the way in which he emanated love for the audience.  And you know what the audience gave him back that love. ‘Don’t feel weakened by sharing so much, we appreciate it.’ said one person.

A huge queue lined up to have him sign books. Was it 200 people, or more I can’t be sure.  The line snaked around so people needing to travel elsewhere could pass through.  I was right at the back of that queue with a photographer from Toowoomba, and a once journalist, author, now working for university Queensland lady.   We chatted as we waited, and Dave, the photographer of Toowoomba took pictures of me with Trent, getting my book signed for me.

Trent thanked all of the people who lined up to have their books signed, and was warm, kind and apologetic we had to wait so long.

I told him I had someone I was going to have borrow the book from me, that would really benefit from it.

When thinking about why this talk affected me so much, I thought back to my time raised in housing commission areas in Tasmania, my brother who died at thirty after going off the rails, and my whole life journey.  I thought about Trent and I could see a place for my own writing in the Australian landscape of fiction. My dream to be an Australian Maya Angelou is not beyond reach; it is a matter of digging deep, and continuing to work on the craft.

It is about being passionate about social justice and what you want to say.

The next morning I went to my inbox on email, and found out that I am a finalist in a short story competition, and inspired by Trent, who said he wrote from 8-10 pm every night to finish his book, I have decided to devote three hours daily to writing, free from all the other things in life.

Maybe, just maybe I can be like a Trent Dalton, writing the theatre of East Devonport, and Rocherlea, and of the racism that migrants in this country encountered in the early post white Australia policies.  And maybe, just maybe I can capture that astounding love of my parents, that gave me strength to get a university education and build a family that is a fortress of well being.

Thanks Trent, the world needs more writers like  you.

(Thanks Dave from Toowoomba, for the pictures of me getting my book signed!)

From the Vaults 1 Interviews

Pearlz Dreaming

Blogs become treasure troves of memory.  Just sharing extracts from some of the interviews I have done from the last few years.  You are most welcome to go visit the whole interview.  You can find my folio of interesting blogs at Creative Souls Converse.

Interview with Shane Howard

Singing for a New Dreaming

“Part of creating a ‘new dreaming’ is the process of uncovering the truth about Australian history, and for Howard his finding of truth has been made possible through Irish Australian parents who were “very open minded, good and just” and instilled in him a love of music and song (from Irish Parlour songs to Bob Dylan, Peter Seeger, Woody Guthrie) and an openness to Aboriginal Australians who he credits with educating him with the truth.

Howard vividly remembers ‘serious questions’ gradually being raised in his mind from meeting with Aboriginal people – from Robert a friend…

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Beyond Prejudice

Ripple Poetry

 

Image: Shirren Lim, Flickr

I refuse to see myself
through your eyes
to let your lens
become my disguise.
I won’t give in
to its stereotype.
I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

You strip me back
to my bones
classify me
by skin tones.
I am more than my skin;
If you look deeper
you could be kin.
I cut you adrift
deflect the hurt
you sought to give
so I can simply live.

After I have healed
from your slight
I send out a light
to shade us both.

I won’t become your lie.
My wish for freedom
will not die.

(c) June Perkins

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Reaching the Mountain of the First Draft

I am looking down the pathway of writing my way to the mountain of my completed first draft.

Using my plan and outline as a map and continuing to read books that inspire me when I become stuck, I have reached my fourth chapter.

I am following the plan, but letting the characters help me construct them as I write them.  I look forward to seeing you at the other end of the first draft.

I was delighted to write two and a half chapters today.

At this point I am trying not to censor each sentence and perfect it but rather get the character and my  plot and scenes down cleanly and then I will work on other aspects in my second draft.

With this draft I am determined to get my structural plot, pacing and introduction of characters very clear.

I have started reading  Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars.  (2016) It’s so beautifully written and  delightful, you just want to read it from the first paragraph.  This will be the task of my second draft.

All the very best,

June

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Bicentenary Event – University of Queensland

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Saturday 21st of October

We arrived earlier in the day to set up.   Nine pointed stars, royal blue and gold, found their way around the room.

Tables were covered with cloth.

Food platters  semi prepared.

Flowers were laid out.

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It was raining.  The Jacaranda’s shed their purple flowers  and birds sang in trees.

Everyone worked together in unity to have everything ready for when the guests arrived.

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Some of my photographs were placed in the room for a mini exhibition.

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As people arrived they were met by the usher who offered them a program.

He did not leave his task until everyone was seated.

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A table of information for the event was available. The Youth had helped package the Hidden Words, as well as make the nine pointed stars for the event.

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The Harpist arrived and began to warm up.

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Friends greeted each other.

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Soon the hall was filled and it was time for the program to begin.

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There was a welcome followed, by beautiful readings and an inspiring speech by Dr Janet Khan.

I was one of the readers, as were a few of the youth.   The harpist accompanied us in the background.  Some of the Light of the World Video was screened.

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Then everyone was invited to a beautiful supper and could view the mini art exhibition. I was so happy to share some of my photographs and poetry as part of this event.  Many people asked me about them.

There were so many people that made this event special.

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And it was wonderful to have many friends join us for the event.

If you were at this event please feel free to add your comments.  I will share a few more photographs on future blogs from other events in the lead up.