One of my Aunties – in her face I see my mother so clearly!
Rotorua, in Aoteroa/ New Zealand, has one of those aromas that you can never forget and which is hard to escape. For me the strong smell of the sulphur is overtaken by an experience that has represented a watershed in the process of doing my thesis. Something I could never have foreseen.
The program in front of me has the words- “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder,” and the speaker is described as an American born Anthropologist whose major study has been in the Mekeo of Papua New Guinea. The theme of the conference is “Arts and Spirituality” and I am presenting some creative writing and story telling workshops on the theme of personal and cultural identity.
I want to meet the speaker before he find out whether he knows much about the village…
I have been a bit quiet of late, as a new book, Illuminations: 19 Poems and 1 Story, is about to be born.
At the end of this post is a preview of the back cover.
It has been a happy process – and has reunited me with designer Heidi Den Ronden and editor Matilda Elliot from Magic Fish Dreaming and led to working with new illustrators, Ruha and Minaira Fifita and some additional editing from Belinda Belton.
This book will be available in June 2020. I am using the Ingram Spark platform and developing more publishing and distribution skills this time around.
I’ve also retreated a bit to do some writing! Will keep you posted on the book, and I am keeping up my instagram posts.
I’ve been reflecting on how we treat the aged in our population after passing my fiftieth year. Some new poems being born through my poetry notebook. They are perculating, aging gracefully to find their meaning!
That’s all for now. Keep well, and think of happiness as a process not a destination.
I will be spending a fair bit of time over at my Northern Gal Dreaming blog, as I’ve decided to devote a lot of this year to writing memory stories. I’ll explore how these memories come to live in the present, and become embodied in objects. Also working on some ideas for fiction for young adult readers. Here is the first draft of some writing done today. Will come back and do some more rewriting on it, for the moment it will serve as an introduction.
My cultures seem clearest to me in objects and values my parents had in our house when I was growing up, many of which are still there.
I think immediately of string bags, grass skirts, shell necklaces, bush knives, and Dad’s cheap reproductions of Gauguin paintings of women in the tropics.
I remember being sent to care for old neighbours and baby sit other people’s children for no payment so my mother could show her generosity and teach me the value of service. I remember cooking family meals and being the little mother to my brothers from a young age.
As I think back on these objects I think of the riddles they hold, and want to go deeper under the surface to explore what context they have in the present and past.
The values my mother taught me were sometimes explicit and other times hidden in the objects and gifts she gave to me.
Listening to a tape of my bubu, grandmother’s voice, I hear the chant of her world. Looking at the cards from my English grandmother, with animals made out of leaves and seeds pasted onto cardboard, I am struck by the time she spends to connect with a granddaughter she so rarely sees.
So this week’s writing sagas is a day late, and the reasons, I’ve been busy working in other art forms and this week my youngest was very ill and I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep.
Today I reflect on how the various forms of art ripple in my everyday life.
I’ve been creating some collages, like the one above, to make into posters and cards to sell and fund raise for other projects.
When I make these I enter a zone – to find the combinations that work, as I want them to have a simplicity to them that invites you in, to dream and see the possible, but they have to have something intriguing you can think about as well.
I’ve just had the wonderful news that many of my photographs of Queensland are to be featured in a writer’s anthology, all the way through a book.
I have some writing going in too, but I am excited about the images to be included as I love books featuring images and graphics supporting the writing. (I have a collection of writing currently with Paulien Bats who is illustrating and designing a book with some of my photos as well).
I’ll let you know where you can purchase both books when they come out. I am as excited as when words are published and can’t wait to see how the designer has incorporated them into the book.
One of the images which may be featured is this, but others more abstract are also on the cards. But let’s wait and see.
This week I’ve been working hard on the craft of video editing. I’ve a piece well on the way, but it will be a while before I share it. I want to begin to make my editing more creative, fluid, more like the collages I do. I want to master the technology that is the programs!
For inspiration in all I do, I’ve been watching lots of biographies of musicians lately – Buffy Sainte- Marie and George Harrison. George Harrison was an intense searcher for the truth. He sought detachment from material things. I might not live my life the way he did, but I can see a lot of wisdom in some of his philosophy and his meditation practice was definitely a plus in his life, as was his friendship with Ravi Shankar.
Buffy is a person who travels across art forms in her quest for creativity. She paints, educates, creates, writes, plays and always looks for ways to create more understanding of First nations issues and rights. I love this quote from her and I like to think spoken and written expression can also ‘shine through.’
“In my own language, there is no word for art.” Instead, they say, “It shines through him. That is the mystery — the artist is a vehicle for the Creator. ” Buffy Sainte- Marie
How would you describe how your writing is influenced by the other art forms?