750 – A photo project initiated by Nancy Wong

June Perkins response to Nancy’s project

I decided to renew the Be Illumined Blog during the Bicentenary of the Bab, to share interesting projects Baha’i Creatives around the world, as well as in Brisbane are doing to celebrate this year.

A recent project I heard about and am now taking part in, is a collaborative photo project with Nancy Wong.  This project is a creative transformative response to the execution of the Bab, which happened back in 1850 in Tabriz, Iran.

Nancy has invited photographers from around the world to take photos to be part of a collage art piece that will be on display at the art exhibit of the 2019 Art In Response to Violence (ARV) conference at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois, USA. This year will be the ARV’s 10th anniversary and the conference will take place October 17-18, 2019.

Each participating photographer is sending her several portraits of people holding a lit candle. No faces will be shown, just the person’s hand(s).

She wrote to us all, “It will also be an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Birth of the Bab (October 29, 2019) by using this project as a talking piece, during the production of the images, as well as when we exhibit the final artwork. As of today, I am thinking of calling this art piece, “750 Shots”. (750 bullets; 750 photos.)

This number is reportedly the number of  rifles that were aimed at the Bab. And, as shared before, the candles are in memory of the time when the Bab was incarcerated in the city of Maku; he was not given a lamp during the long nights in prison.”

I will be interviewing Nancy to share more about the progress of the collaborative art piece on future blogs.

The collaborative aspect of Nancy’s project was so inspiring and moving, that it encouraged me to think of something like this in my own local community. I have an idea (quite different theme but with the same capacity for participation from others) brewing and will share it soon! And I am pleased to have found some collaborators for it!

Article by June Perkins

A Long Way From Misery

Jacqui Halpin, Jack Turner, A Long Way from Misery, Book   Launch-1

Jacqui Halpin is an Australian children’s author whose stories have won prizes in writing competitions and been published in anthologies. She attributes her love of storytelling to her father, Jack Turner. ‘Listening to the amazing adventures Dad had growing up stirred my imagination and transported me back to his world,’ Jacqui says. Jacqui has co-written her father’s memoir, A LONG WAY FROM MISERY, which is a rollicking journey through the Australia of yesteryear with a true Aussie larrikin who grew up on a farm called Misery.

 Jacqui is passionate about preserving the social history of Australia for future generations and is currently writing a series of historical junior fiction novels inspired by her father’s adventures growing up.

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June: Can you give us a short synopsis of the book?

Jacqui: A Long Way from Misery takes you on a rollicking journey through the Australia of yesteryear with Jack Turner, the larrikin shearer, as he rescues his brother from being drowned by a kangaroo, rides a wild steer through the house, and leaps off a moving train. But these misadventures are nothing compared to his mother wielding a carving knife.

Born in 1926, Jack lived in a different time, but the way he sees it, they were better days. He loved his childhood growing up with his siblings and mates on a farm called Misery, and retells it with delight.

jhalpin-misery-cover-promo-online-lge

June:  Tell us a bit more about your Dad.

Jacqui: Dad has entertained many friends, family, and acquaintances over his long life with the tales of his younger years. He is a quick-witted larrikin who loves to laugh and make others laugh.

He was born in Rylstone, New South Wales in 1926, and raised on a farm called Misery. He moved to Queensland in 1956 and lives in Brisbane with his wife of 53 years, his three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A former shearer with no education and a rough and ready upbringing, Jack’s ‘that’ll do me’ attitude has stayed with him throughout his long life and seen him through many a scrape. Hard-working, and with the ingenuity born from being raised in the bush, Jack has built and fixed everything from houses to toys.

He has had too many jobs to mention, met too many people to remember, and had too many adventures to record. He has lived an ordinary life full of extraordinary stories.

June: How long have you been working on Long Way from Misery?

Jacqui : It’s 12 years this month since my dad first gave me the audio tapes of the stories he could remember from his childhood and youth and I said I’d turn them into a book.

June: What was it like working with your Dad on writing the book?  Highlights? Challenges?  Any funny stories?

Jacqui:I don’t regret one minute that I’ve spent with Dad working on ‘the book’. I do regret that I has taken me this long, and now two of his brothers will never get to read it. If I knew back then what I know now it would have been published in half the time. One of the challenges was to put some sort of order to Dad’s stories.

He had a lot of stories (there wasn’t room for them all in the book) but he didn’t remember them in chronological order, if he had it would have made my job a hell of a lot easier.

We had so many laughs creating this book. I can’t remember what about exactly but just sitting round the kitchen table at Mum and Dad’s place laughing at what Dad was saying. Mum, too, has a great sense of humour. She has made countless cups of tea and lunches for me while we were working, and looked up the spelling of many obscure places that Dad shore at. And not with the aid of google, with a map and a magnifying glass.

One of the highlights while putting this book together was that Dad and I went to Rylstone and he guided me out to Misery Farm. It’s not called that now. Only the real old timers remember it as that. But dad found his way out there and I got to have a look around his old hut and take photos and get a better idea of how they lived. It’s falling down, which is a shame.

It was great to see Rylstone and walk with him on the streets that he walked as a child. And visit the pubs and the dance halls and the shearing sheds he had many an adventure in. I even got to meet some of his old mates too.

 June: What were your emotions on the launch day?  Where did you hold it and why?  What was the program?

Jacqui: Launch Day was a lot of work but well worth it. It was a celebration of all the hard work. A rejoicing for what we had accomplished. I could not have done it without the help of my family who were helping out all day.

My daughter, Emily, even had shirts made for the occasion. There was a great turn out of people. It was so uplifting to see so many friends and family there supporting us. Dad had a smile on his face all day.

It was held in Decker Park at Brighton because that’s where Dad and his family camped when they first moved up to Queensland. We had tea and damper and Hard Timer biscuits just like Dad’s mother made whenever visitors turned up at Misery. They were a hit. So many people asked for the recipe. I’ve now put the recipe on our blog.

Book Signing, Jacqui Halpin

 June: Why was it important for you to publish this book and set up your own press to do so?

Jacqui: I’d tried for several years to get a publisher, and although we had some interest, an agent read the first two chapters in 21/2 hours and asked for more, but no one would commit. Dad will be 90 this year. I couldn’t wait any longer. Besides, as Dad always says, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself.’ So that’s what we did.

 June: What role have writing buddies played in assisting you through the journey of writing, editing, and publication?

Jacqui: I have had a tremendous amount of help from my Write Link friends with this project. Their advice in self-publishing has been invaluable. Seeing the success of self-published authors like Karen Tyrrell, Charmaine Clancy and Nickolas and Alison Lochel, showed me that it was possible to do this self-publishing thing and do it well. I went through Book Cover Café and I could not have done it without them either. Anthony and his team were brilliant. I mean, you just have to look at the cover. I love the cover of our book! Anthony designed that.

A Long Way from Misery is available on Amazon or, for signed copies, through the authors at crownmountainpress@yahoo.com

For more information about Jacqui and her writing please visit her website:

jacquihalpin.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jacquihalpinwriter

Jacqui Halpin, Jack Turner, A Long Way from Misery, Book   Signing-1

Congratulations Jacqui, and thanks so much for your visit to the blog!

 

Thinking Toes and Twinkling Readers

Girl Writing
Peagreenchick – Flickr Creative commons- vintage pics

Once upon a time my children and I played you-say-a-line-I-say-a-line, stories.  It was amusing, imaginative and kept us all on our thinking toes, although my daughter had a habit of killing lots of our characters until we had created on that she liked.

But years have passed and we haven’t played the I say-a-line-you-say a-line game for ages!

A couple of days ago I shared a story idea with my daughter and she became excited.   She was delighted with a creature and character I had invented and, being an artist, was immediately keen to draw them both in action.

She so loved the idea of my first two characters (a good sign I trust) that she enthusiastically began to look up names for them and several future characters and take notes!

‘They have to mean something Mum and then we can try different languages,’ and she popped along to some online translator which had audio of how the names would sound.

‘Do you like this name?’ Many words were clicked on, and the computer voice sometimes with a charming accent read them for us, and then we’d vote.

Now a writer of ego might have said –‘this is my story’  but she represents my potential readers and so she is very important to listen to.

Can’t tell you too much detail of our conversations, at this stage they are top secret!

Before I knew it my youngest son heard us laughing, haggling over the characters and generally having fun like the old days, and popped in to see what was going on.

Soon, at his insistence, he was involved and mapping the world.   There were mountains, forests, and more.  My children had become  engaged readers keen to take ownership of a creative world in the making.

The story I shared with them had become a collaboration.   Our past had become our present but now as my sage daughter noted ‘we are more sophisticated now.’

I created a world, and they began to help me fill it out, and paint it.  I felt a connection to two of my readers, or should I say co-storytellers.

I am ready to embark on the journey of this story and take two co-creating travelers with me, although as group leader, they do give me final word on things, after a bit of to and fro.

Not to mention I can work on it when they are at school, in some peace, until they have their next input.

Untitled
Stephane O – Flickr creative commons