Lest We Forget – The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

My mother tells me my grandfather was one of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

That’s all I know of the story so far, apart from what is in the Australian War Memorial Records, and written by the army or historians.

There is so much history that could have been written but might forever be lost.

So we search for fragements in the often faded memories of those relatives who spoke to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Must we then imagine their stories from these spoken fragments, public records, and photographs, where so many faces seem to be from the village of my grandfather.

Will some historians who want written records, and identify verification from the photographs, discount our hand-me-down fragments and pieced together tales?

I am touched when a friend of mine says her grandfather was an Australian on that trails.

Maybe our grandfathers met each other.

We will never now.

Malolo was a Fuzzy Wuzzy angel.

He was my bubu (grandfather)

Lest we Forget.

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My Grandfather – taken by Mark Mosco

June Perkins

For more information

https://www.awm.gov.au (photographs in the public domain)

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/history-in-focus/fuzzy-wuzzy-angels

http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/the-fuzzy-wuzzy-angels/

http://kokoda.commemoration.gov.au/four-peoples-at-war/new-guineans-at-kokoda.php

http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’

Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven’t any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It’s a picture worth recording
that an artist’s yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

By Bert Beros

Can be found at http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

Walking out the Writing Beginning Blues

June Perkins. Taken on my phone

Dear Readers,

Walking and thinking are truly a cure for a bad case of procrastinating starting something new.

Recently I have been  constantly perched at my desk, and sometimes a lovely green recliner chair in front of the fish tank (that is when I can ‘rent’ some time from my daughter who just loves this chair) planning and planning a new novel, character by character,  scene by scene, and furiously studying how to build scenes through reading a text-book.

I’ve been researching setting (more still to do) and yet the first pages remained unwritten for several weeks.

I’ve been writing other things; four poems, a short prose piece,  a short observation piece; as well as editing several picture books.

I’ve been reading quite a few books for children, young adults and adults to see what I like in my own reading and what techniques I like from other writers.

I’ve been avoiding my novel project.

But a couple of days ago I knew I just had to start doing the hard yards of writing and completing my first novel, lest this become the novel unwritten!

I began to do more walking. Something about the fresh air, and moments to observe and day-dream suddenly lead to a productive writing session of the opening! As I walked the voice to open the novel became clear. That’s it!  I suddenly felt like the journey of writing this novel was on!

Now heading into my third day of writing I have four scenes,  and have established three central characters.  I have made a pledge not to miss a novel writing session every day, even if its short, it is the sticking at it that is going to get me through, together with some change of scenes, and thinking breaks when required throughout the day, and of course I do have other things to do, being a mum, running a household, being a tutor and conquering some other things in life to enable me to grow as a human being.

I am doing the first draft, and have a goal of when I would like to complete it.

The outline does make me feel more confident that I can do this, although the characters may do some dynamic things, but I have a compass for them to help us all make it to the end.

Switching from short forms to long forms and finishing long forms has been a bit of an issue for me, and a recent realisation that many of my short stories are novels, or novellas in the making is a jolt to the writing senses.  I have actually started three novels and not completed them.  I could sigh,  and say, ‘I just have to do this and make it through the first one!’  But I want a better attitude than that, and want that being in the flow writing experience. I do so love these characters and want to honour them!

On one of my trips out into the real world – I came across this random cafe poetry. It made me chuckle.   It reminded me this novel cannot be completed by being chained to my desk.

June Perkins. Taken on my phone

Wondering about the opening

Apathy sets in

Lingering on other tasks until

Kickstarting this dream with the first scene after a walk.

Well I can’t stop in too long to this blog because there is a novel waiting for its next scene and a few submissions to put in so as to earn a crust.

Yes, I am walking today, and who knows what novelistic ideas I will daydream whilst I walk through my next scene.

Have a brilliant week wherever you are, and don’t forget the power of a walk and dream session!

All the best,

June

Writing Group – First of Year

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I just love  my writing group.

I have been attending Write Links for three years now, and over that time, I have:

  • learnt more about the art and craft of picture book and middle grade writing
  • attended numerous professional development workshops with many established writers in the field
  • met the amazing Leigh Hobbs, whose characters my children and I grew up with
  • been on a writers’ retreat run by one of the members where I met John Marsden (who was doing a master class) and made friends with Robyn, Debbie, and many other writers
  • attended the CYA conference
  • pitched to an agent and a publisher at the CYA conference
  • made a successful ASA mentorship scholarship application and been being mentored for the last 12 months.

And those are just some of the highlights!

But one of the biggest things I love about my writing group has been the creation of some friendships that sustain me in the hours of writing.  I think of writer friends: Jocelyn, Ayesha, Ali, Jillanne, Yvonne,  Shannon, Sam, Rachelle,  Charmaine, Andrew, and Jacqui;  imagining and day dreaming,  drafting, researching, editing, writing, submitting and succeeding, submitting and being rejected, and because they just have so much passion for writing doing it all over again.

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Before and after the sessions today we were able to have a chat not only about how our creative endeavours are going, but also about life itself,  how it inspires and sometimes challenges the creative journey.

There was so much positive energy, and there’s often some great news of breakthroughs by our members.

This group of people were so supportive of Magic Fish Dreaming, and just gave me so much confidence that I could achieve my dream to have my book produced and out there.  My first supporter in the kickstarter was a Write Links member, and many, many members gave their sincere support.  Everyone is honest and I know they would not have done this if they didn’t have confidence in the book.  These are not only friendships I respect, but many are professionals, and have been traditionally published.

An unexpected treat of Saturday was a writer friend from Cairns, just happening to be passing by with her son.  Lovely to see you Carol.  The Cairns writers’ group run a fabulous festival that occurs every two year, and that I have attended twice, and they also published my poem, ‘Grumpy Fisherman’, (which became the centre piece of ‘Magic Fish Dreaming’ in my children’s poetry book) in one of their writing anthologies.  It was so fantastic to say a brief hello.  Carol could feel the warmth and energy of Write Links, and they in turn could sense I was seeing a significant fellow creative from my old home!

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I especially love chatting with dear friend Ayesha.  We both share a love of music, and poetic language.  Ayesha and I are thinking of having sing a longs between writing group meetings, and discussed mindful singing.  She showed me a book she thought I would like reding.

Music sustains me when I am having a challenging day writing, or in life.   It is great to have other common interests with my creative friends, and I am so looking forward to reading the draft of Ayesha’s novel and seeing it in print!

I love the way we believe in the value of each other’s work and keep encouraging and supporting.

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The generosity of members to share their knowledge is legendary.  At Saturday’s session Karen Tyrell  (long time member and empowerment author) and Luise Manning, both shared their knowledge on the grant application process at our first meeting of the year.

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Anyway that’s  my account of the first meeting for Write Links of the year.  Only another month to wait for the next one, or should I say to write and read my way to the next one.

A big welcome to all the new members;  here’s to a great year for all wherever you are in your writing journey.

Precious Painting; Precious Times

youngjune2bA catch up on life this year. Making head way with my writing! Thanks so much to those who have been supporting and following the journey!

Following the Crow Song

youngjune2b Me as Young Artist – by Edward Broomhall

I was delighted to receive this photograph of attending an art class in my childhood from our art teacher at that time.

Thanks Edward!

I remember this experience and this jumper so well.

It was one of my favourite jumpers, due to the multicoloured randomness of the pattern, and the soft feel of the wool.

I remember painting a self portrait of myself in the jumper to capture how special it was to me as well, and never forgot it or the painting day.

I think that will be a poem one day for sure.

**

I have written my early childhood up to when I was twenty and am letting that peculate for a while before deciding where to finish the story of growing up or whether to continue into student hood for my first book.

Work progresses on Magic Fish…

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Two Bright Orbs: Shining the Light of Love

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When attending celebrations where unity in diversity is not just in words but in action I feel hope for the future of Australia and the World.

I was so happy that my family were able to experience the inspiring coming together of the diversity of the human family and community into one larger family at the wedding of Shannon and Sarah.

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I was not an official photographer, just a friend, caught up like all of us were, in the connections made between so many cultures and religions that day.

Here is the Southern Sudanese Welcoming Party who called the Bride into her Wedding.

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These are special moments of connection, where two families become one, followed by an image of a lovely lady who said an Islamic prayer for the ceremony.

 

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Some of the ceremony includes a Baha’i prayer, a song, and some words from the Celebrant.

Shannon’s mother reads a prayer.

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The next few pictures are of my children at the wedding.  My daughter loved the beautiful and interesting fabrics.  They were both delighted and engrossed with the ceremony.  One of the groomsmen was Felix, a long time family friend, who we have not seen for many years, but have stayed in touch with on facebook. Felix has both Torres Strait and Papua New Guinean background.

This beautiful lady, a first cousin of Sarah’s from Sydney, gave me the most endearing smile when she saw me snapping away.  She had flown from Sydney to attend the Toowoomba Wedding.

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Some more pictures of the friends and family connecting and participating at the wedding.

Feeling blessed to know such beautiful souls. Love knows no boundaries, and gives to each that gives it truly – the universe.

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A prayer for marriage from the Baha’i Writings

O my Lord! O my Lord! These two bright orbs are wedded in Thy love, conjoined in servitude to Thy Holy Threshold, united in ministering to thy Cause. Make Thou this marriage to be as threading lights of Thine abounding grace, O my Lord, the All-Merciful, and luminous rays of Thy bestowals, O Thou the Beneficent, the Ever-Giving, that there may branch out from this great tree boughs that will grow green and flourishing through the gifts that rain down from Thy clouds of grace.

Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Compassionate, the All-Merciful.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

A big thank you to Sarah and Shannon and their family and friends for sharing this special day with us and for permission to share some of the images.  These and other photographs are my wedding gift to Shannon and Sarah (nearly finished editing and collating them).