PiBoIdMo and all that jazz


I’ve done Nanowrimo (that novel is stil waiting for a reboot as a young adult fantasy piece).  What an experience that was.

Those characters still call me and say,  ‘when are you going to do something about me?’

‘Sorry guys I will listen to you soon, promise, on my to do list, ‘  I reply with my fingers crossed behind my back and a pair of runners begging to be put on my feet.  Well seriously I did have a few friends reading it and they did want to know what was going to happen so one day I will get my act together.

This year I am going to participate in PiBoIdmo for the first time.  The idea of this challenge is to generate 30 ideas for picture books in 30 days.  Considering I have presently completed  only one(and it has been sent off to a publisher for consideration, cross my fingers and keep writing) and have four in process, the idea of generating 30 ideas appealed to me.

I love Tara Lazar’s list of guest bloggers and they have already started blogging.  We have opportunities to win prizes if we comment when visiting the inspiring blogs that are going up to keep us going with our generation of ideas quest.

I am looking forward to the comradarie of the facebook group, the blog, and the opportunity to develop the ways I generate ideas for picture books.

But most of all I love the creative energy that comes from knowing lots of my fellow children’s book authors are at the same time generating their 30 ideas in 30 days.

You can register here if you want to do it to, there’s still time to hop on board PiBoIdMo.

Other news 

Thank you to everyone who has recently joined this blog, 300 of you.  A special thank you to the people who leave comments, likes, and keep on coming back.

My poetry series on Miranda and Jackson might take a bit of a back burner for November.  My plotting is going to be focused on picture books!  This will be challenge for me as I love having several things going at once, and some mornings I realise just what needs to happen to Miranda and Jackson, maybe even having dreamt of them.  At the moment I am trying to think of a name for their lost child and something they can do that will help them with grief.  I need to give these characters moments of joy after putting them through the ringer.  However, focus November is my mantra.

Some great news re the plotting quest I did manage to do an almost complete outline for a chapter book for 7-10 year olds.  I only have to come up with my ending and then make sure the turning points match.

I have my ebook of After Yasi almost ready to launch for cyclone season.  I am excited about this because it will make the book accessible to people in a way the coffee table book couldn’t manage as a print on demand boutique community heritage book.  It is full of links to lots of online stories, resources, photographs, and projects to do with natural disaster and recovery through the arts.  I decided to make it a different experience from the coffee table book through the hyperlinks.  I am interested in continuing to explore these kind of journey beyond the text books.

Another good piece of news which I will detail in the future is that I sent some of my poetry for children and families off to a poetry collection and some have been accepted for publication! Woo hoo!  It is lovely to have other people appreciate what you do and give you some kind of confirmation you might have some talent for it.  Creatives on a quest do need that to know we are heading in the right direction.  Otherwise we wonder where the light at the end of that publishing tunnel for wider recognition is.

Those of you who know me well know how much I love poetry, but also know how much I acknowledge it isn’t a big earner, yet poetry at it’s best can touch the heart and inspire the soul.  I will certainly reflect more in future blogs on why poetry will always remain something I love and why and how it can be fostered in the family and educational environments.  I am developing the music to some of my songs and singing a lot, especially when I’ve been having a tough week.

A friend who was one of my early poetry mentors and writing heros, and even organised for me to do a poetry performance gig in Tasmania, sent me a collection of poetry which I am busy reading.I will review  this sometime soon, it might be after November though!  For now I am savouring and thinking about the poems, and finding my love of poetry renewed.  It’s a habit I find hard to break, but I am challenging myself and taking poetic techniques into the other genres I am now writing in.

All the best for your writing adventures, and for anyone doing nanowrimo PiBoldMo, write it, rock it and I so hope we all make our writing and publishing goals.

June aka gumbootpearlz.

Driving City and keeping a challenge small

trafficImage Credit: Greg Neate Creative Commons some rights reserved

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that I have been a bit wary of driving in Brisbane.  So much so that I just didn’t drive at all for our first few months here.

You will know that it took me many years to finally obtain my licence  and I have only had it for a few short years and that my PNG Mum has never obtained her license.

You may not know that I felt like all my ancestors were with me the day I got my license.  It was a big deal!  I was doing it for my Mum as much as myself.

I have loved having a license and being able to stretch my horizons with the freedom it brings.  I especially enjoyed shopping without all the family in tow!

I think part of the problem with me driving in the city is that I learnt to drive in the country.  I just wasn’t sure I could safely cut it on city roads.

A dear  blog reader did say,’ you are just making a bigger obstacle for yourself June, just do it,’ and so her voice was in my head a lot in a positive way, saying ‘ you can do it!’

So yesterday I took the plunge, and began to drive again.

We started by dusting off the driving cobwebs with a  Sunday afternoon, simple back street drive,  on flat roads, through a countrified surburb.  Some how I ended up driving past a prison,  a mental hospital, and a lot of large kangaroos.  I had no idea where we were going as we were just driving for the sake of driving.

I negotiated lane changing and merging on small roads, past lots of roundabouts.  I paid particular attention to being even more watchful on the road, and using my mirrors.  Lots of my country drives were highway single lane, straight into town.  Really simple!  It’s not that you are not paying attention to the road, it’s just that there is so much less that can go wrong.  Driving around town in the country was very simple as well.

I did okay for my first city drive, but then I didn’t do anything too complex, next time I will build on that.  It might be a slow adjusting process, but I think I will work the most on lane changing safely as I just haven’t had to do that much at all , and our suburb is super hilly so I have to do a lot of hill driving practice till it becomes second nature.

The best thing about Sunday was lifting the chip on my shoulder and hurling it off into the bush! I look forward to the day I feel confident to drive and navigate my new home, but am happy to have taken the first wheels in that direction.  Many more driving adventures to come, starting with the simple and building to the days of complexity, like some of the wet season driving in the North, now that was a challenge!


(c) June Perkins


Hidden Walks

Have been writing a few pieces inspired by photographs.
It’s important to write some of these down whilst I remember the emotions and places. How long will my memory last, how far back can it reach?

Following the Crow Song

banana field Banana Field in Tully Town – June Perkins

Every town, urban or rural, has the hidden walks.  These are the ones the locals know about and love.  These walks can be found in the oddest places.

They might be alongside a river, behind a school, near a local airport, through a school or field, down a road you found one day,  or up a hill to a street with the perfect view.

These are the places I love to walk and photograph with my family, because they are not so obvious.  Yet they are the places you come to know if you live somewhere for any length of time.

I loved that a rural town like Tully has banana and cane fields right up to the border of town.  I loved that when you headed around the streets walking you found small creeks almost everywhere.

It had a hidden beauty…

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The country heart opening to the city


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A found creek near our new home

Since moving back to the city I miss that the country heart knows the families of the people the streets are named after, and always has the possibility of running into people well known when on a trip to the supermarket.

I found that like a security blanket, because everywhere I went there was nearly always someone known and trusted who would help you out.

I knew all the people in the stores and every outing to buy something came with a conversation.  I had so many friends so easy to drop in on, and they were all ages.  I loved some of the older members of the community who knew stories about so many things.

I could navigate my car trips very easily in and around Tully and the outlying townships, and drive by suburb, then cane, and banana field just outside the town.  The changing landscapes were interesting and sometimes we’d go on photography adventures to find hidden creeks that were beautiful to photograph.  Nature was so near.

The country wasn’t perfect though.  Sometimes that feeling of safety was interrupted and random things happened like someone trying to make us open our doors in the middle of the night when they were drunk or drugged and our car window being smashed outside our home in the middle of nowhere happened.  It hurt knowing that someone who knew us felt the need to do that.  We always thought we just got along with everyone.

But most of the time people have to be pleasant to each other as they are always going to run into each other, and conflicts need to be resolved.  There are some people who don’t understand that and treat people as if they can avoid them and they just don’t have a country heart.

The friendships I made there are some of the truest I have ever made.  They can be much harder to make in the beginning, but after time, a couple of cyclones, and even being a fellow mother trying to find a school community that makes your children feel at home, with very small choices, you find people and the place grow on you. I will never forget a mum from Kindy running up to me and saying, ‘you have to swap classes, the best teacher is this one, ‘ how right she was!

Yet, I struggled to find regular, fulfilling paid work to use my university education .  My occupations in the country were a patchwork of projects, the occassional consistent job and short term work I absolutely loved but which ended,  lots of voluntary work, and of course the bounty of being a parent who could become involved in the community.  One of my best memories is a parent/ teacher  race at an athletics carnival and the kids yelling out ‘ Go Mrs Perkins.’

There are possibilities in the city that suit the things I learnt in the country though.  The country was the place where I have found my writing and photographic voice.  It is a place full of artists and writers who want to be close to nature and part of vibrant community.

Now it’s a journey to try and relearn city life, and to find security in building new networks.  I am not there yet.  But I do find corners of green, people who care and want to assist me to learn how to be a city girl.

I have a country girls fears of the city, and a murder of a student at South Bank has had me worried,  but sadly there’s another back at the quiet community I came from.  Perhaps the whole world, city or country needs to build protection for all, so women, children, and men can truly be safe any place and time of day.

The first signs I have that the city can open its heart to us, are people who reach out to talk with us at the park.    An American with a basketball wonders what I am photographing and comes to ask me.

A small boy watches my son and the rest of the family playing AFL whilst his Dad is playing a community soccer game.  He comes and joins us.

I find the patches of green in the city, and love to come across a creek, and an inviting park with my family with me.

I don’t miss our old home when the cyclone season comes, because those butterflies as you wait to see how strong and which direction are horrible when you know what a large one can do.  I don’t miss the flooding, but I do still love our flooded in times as we had extra family time, and tales to tell.  I will always remember the canoe across the road.

I have to now take those first steps more boldly in our new home, just as my children are managing to do and add to my country heart, an openess to the city and the skills to navigate, use public transport, and connect with people.  Yet somewhere deep inside I can feel that my priorities have changed and will never be as they once were.

I have a feeling the country will call again.


Meeting the Mascot


Moving to the city has meant being able to attend sporting events like the Hawks versus Gold Coast. Recently we went to Metricon stadium, (it’s less than an hour to the Gold Coast from Brisbane.)

This was the first game live for our footy mad youngest son.

All of my husband’s family have been baracking for Hawks for generations through their good and lean years. We met with some of his extended family in the first half break.

The stadium was full of Hawk’s fans! The brown and gold was everywhere, and everyone sitting near us were Hawks fans. They were quite friendly and chatty not to mention very funny. One man kept telling the players to please come over our side as most of the action was on the other side of the field. When they did come over our way he was ecstatic.

There was a lot going on pregame, with fire eating, drumming, and kick a footy etc. There were other competitions from sponsors like win a $1000 dollars and kisscam, which also operates at the cricket.

The stadium itself is so close to the game, and not so large you aren’t close to it all. We sat very close to the front on the ground level.

The mascots for both teams walked around, and the Hawk’s mascot was especially hard working, and had lots of photos with the fans, especially the children. So to our youngest’s special moment, a photo with the Mascot on the fence.

And of course a massive win for the Hawks by 99 points!!!