Writing the Country

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A field begins – June Perkins

Lately I’ve been sharing a few book links – so excited to be making progress on non blog writing. It has me thinking about why I keep a blog?

I also keep trying to pin down what I want to write about and why to share it on a space like this.

So part of the reason I blog is to introduce people to my creative work, and give them a sample of poetry, memoir, photography and the creative process. Another reason – to share things that are truly important to me, like the essential evolving role of women in society, the need to care for the mental and spiritual health of our young people, and just things that are dear to my heart.

I did originally keep the blog for family and friends to read, but I don’t think most of them read it that often. Although lately my own children like to look up older stories now it has a longer back log of memories.

Sometimes I like to experiment and see if I can write humour, or try out a writing exercise and share it in the raw form. Other times I find an excerpt from a notebook, diary or old poem and like to stash it on my blog. A blog can truly be like a nest. I tend to treat facebook a bit that way and collect links and threads which I might then put into a storify creation.

Another reason I like to blog is preserve memories and events in the spaces of life and travel. Sometimes it’s small things and other times its massive things like cyclones. Life just happens and you go with the flow of that to write about.

This is not why everyone blogs, but it is the sort of blog, that personally I enjoy visiting. I’ll share some of the blogs I like visiting in some future blogs, but for today  this blog ends with a  free form capture in words of country life.

Standing on the edge of a circle of parents
talking about how many lessons they take their children to
on the treadmill of taxi parent hood
and the dreams they have for their children

Driving past the circling hawks that
even hang out
over the local supermarket
or the carrion on the road

Midday day terrors as a cane truck drives
up behind me too fast and honks on his horn
to push me off the road
and I am driving the speed limit
on a back road home

Listening to poetry on a verandah
about places, and domestic violence,
aids and post colonialism
and treaties that hide in
big words and non meaning words
that are tinged with superiority

Staying at a friend’s house and
wandering out to take sunrise pictures
but waking the dogs

My best friend says she can’t follow more than
four blogs about things that mean something to her
there are just too many blogs and too many stories
it’s cluttered chatter if you
are pulled into the vortex of blogland
And we laugh and continue to plan our book

A room full of marking and
a loungeroom taken over by
end of year teacher stress
and my dear husband who is
in that profession so many put down
but they are underpaid, overworked
and those who care so much work so hard
if only more parents could see our lounge room flood..

Writing country
or is country writing me
with memories and somewhere are the lost youth who’ve
given up on life and I wonder
how we rewrite the country to be a place to grow and dream
and not end up speaking
of yet another suicide

Evolution of Shane Howard

Last year I was very excited and honoured to do this assignment for BushTV.   I have always been a fan of the song ‘Solid Rock.’

Shanehoward (3)

Shane Howard, Irish Australian song-writer of ‘Solid Rock,’ and founder of Goanna, has spent a life time trying to understand and distil the collective Australian story.

This journey has been because he strongly believes songs have great power to make a ‘new dreaming,’ for Australia.

“If it’s a song of great power in the contemporary popular era it might filter through and become part of the traditional culture for a thousand years, and not just five minutes – but Australia seems to be living in that very disposable pop world – we don’t value the folk tradition very much here.”

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 who set next to him for a short time in class in primary school – to all the Aboriginal people encountered on his travels as a youth, with a limited budget, including an old man of the stolen generation.

“I kept running into Aboriginal people and grew more and more interested in the fact they were the real people of this country, they were the traditional owners, the original inhabitants. And that starts to invite some very serious questions – when you’ve been taught all your life that Australia was settled peaceably and there was no blood spilt here. Meeting Aboriginal Australia taught me that was a lie and that you’ve gotta search for the truth.”

His journeys took him to Uluru, the place which was to inspire the words of ‘Solid Rock’ in his twenties.

To read the rest of this article go to  THE EVOLUTION OF SHANE HOWARD

Dream Box at Murray Upper

Me with Students at Murray Upper – Taken by ABC Open

A day for dreaming, big, small, surreal and real.  I had a brilliant time helping out and gaining some audio sound training with ABC Open producer Michael Bromage. Mini interviews with all the kids and some of the staff at Murray Upper were so much fun.

We asked all the kids to share their dreams, what they want to do in the future, or what they want to see in the world.  They promptly wrote them out on a chalk board, and if they felt inspired to draw, illustrated them.

Chalk – By June Perkins

Can’t wait to see those photo sets on-line.  The hard-working Michael will have them up as quick as he can.  Some of the previews I saw were looking so cool.  Jumping kids in shoelaces,  cute kids with smiles sharing dreams of ‘snake training’, motorbikes, horse riding, zoo keeping,  saving the trees, and world peace – this is what happens when you ask kids to dream.

A long with Dream Box, the Murray Upper kids of all backgrounds, shared their dreams – you could call it a ‘Murray Upper Dream Box.’  What an inspiration those kids are with the coloured chalk of the world at their finger tips.

Tennis racquets, forests, jungles, adventurers, working for world peace,  netballers, soccer players, there are so many dreams and so many people.  Perhaps the most brilliant dream of all is that everyone has the chance to achieve their dreams and the tools to make them possible.  As for me I even had a chance to share my dream – it might involve something to do with the whole world Smiling…

Thanks to the Murray Upper School, the Principal Kayte Gillinder, and all the staff who took a bit of time to dream, and a big thankyou to Amber, a brilliant assistant who called in each dreamer to take their place in front of the spotlight.

Michael with awesome assistant! – By June Perkins

Will let you know when those links are up ! Looking forward to seeing some sound mixed with the photographs.  Looking forward to some of those dreams coming true.

(c) June Perkins