Living in the North: Influences on Magic Fish Dreaming 1

These are just some of the places that inspired Magic Fish Dreaming.  

When we lived in the North we were surrounded by banana fields, sugar cane,  fishing spots where crocodiles might lurk,  wonderful beaches, green tree frogs, geckos and more.

The children had a lot of space to play in and a small archery set; they never used it to kill anything,  but instead just for target practice.

We were able to spend time becoming friends with the people of many cultures and seeing Indigenous cultural dances at community events.

There was also a land mark: the Giant Golden Gumboot, which we visited many times. Tully is known for this tourist attraction.  It even has its own documentary.

But locals know there is much more to the Cassowary Coast than a giant gumboot.

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‘THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK’ MAGIC FISH DREAMING

A wonderful reflection from the talented Helene Magisson, looking at behind the scenes of the creation of Magic Fish Dreaming.

Magic Fish Dreaming

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It has been a bit more than one year now, since June Perkins contacted me to illustrate Magic Fish Dreaming, a series of poems describing, with softness, mystery and humour, the beauty and richness of a region of Australia: the Far North Queensland.

This project immediately appealed to me for four reasons.

  1. June’s approach suggested a rich and elegant personality which, I felt, I would have a lot of pleasure to work with.
  2.  I like poetry especially when it targets children. It is a wonderful way to tell things, and a book of poetry is full of stories to be read and listened to. Words play with sounds and images play with words.
  3.  I love Australia, a country I discovered 5 years ago. This is one of the few countries that still offers completely wild and pristine areas. A country in which we can be easily and…

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Impressions

A Queensland twist on Monet,

Ripple Poetry

dundeepark Dundee Park – June Perkins

Impressions

Monet
I
A cathedral attracts me
Day by Day
To find the way light
Falls.

I see gaps of darkness
Fade away,
But oh
How I long
For my garden

Red poppies
Flowing river
Waves in ponds
Bridges suspended over
Reflections
Of a garden in water.

Lotuses form lilies
Whispering to me
Mocking my blindness as
I look through glasses,
See strange tints

Reflecting outside
The way
Time falls.

II

I think you would have painted the cane
And built a garden in tropical terrain.

Your canvas would have contained the Ulysses
Fleeting life frozen on canvas.

You would have captured the Misty Mountains at every time of day
The golden gumboot would not have been your choice.
You would have liked a hut I see on the way to Cardwell
Or a tiny church I know that’s tucked away in the cane.

You…

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Ecology Quest 1 – Bush turkey holes, and finding a bat wing coral tree

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Bat Wing Coral Tree – June Perkins

Yesterday I read the following from David Attenborough

“Where in 1945 it was thought that the way to solve the problem was to create wildlife parks and nature reserves, that is no longer an option. They are not enough now. The whole countryside should be available for wildlife. The suburban garden, roadside verges … all must be used.”

I agree.  We have bush turkeys, ibis, crows, and cockatoos frequent our back yard.  They enrich our lives.

The down side is that we can’t start a vegetable patch outside because of the bush turkeys digging holes everywhere. However  the upside is that they love eating all our scraps and it’s kind of cool they  are protected and have the run of the neighbourhoods. We are going to start a vegetable patch on the veranda.   I’d love to attract more butterflies to the backyard, perhaps because I miss the beauties we had in Feluga and Murray Upper.

I was thrilled this week to discover an interesting and attractive new plant not far from home. In my ecology quest I’m making a point to find out the names of unknown plants and animals. Today I present to you the Bat Wing Coral Tree – and here is a photograph where it does look like a bat wing!  A friend who lives in Mission Beach, but who knows heaps about the natural world, helped me identify it from a photograph I posted.

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I hope to use my ecology quests to develop my poetry and stories.  It will be fun  and empowering to look at things and be able to name them.  

Whilst living in North Queensland I learnt a lot about the variety of  palms – which prior to living there I had a limited knowledge and interest in.  Being surrounded by them I could see so much variety, it became intriguing.

Returning to Brisbane after an eight year absence I am determined to know more about the more obscure looking plants in the garden, parks and streets.

(c) June Perkins words and images

Postscript – A friend has suggested that I can create raised vegetable patches and bush turkeys won’t touch the vegies. Looking into this and may post the garden in process.  Spring is in the air.

Books from our Backyard

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Kindly taken by Charmaine Clancy, me with the After Yasi book.

It was amazing to be at the Poinciana Lounge, when it was  full to the brim of Queensland books, authors, family, friends and literary supporters; double the amount of last year too.

A big thankyou to Queensland Writers Centre for creating a catalogue of Queensland books which goes out to libraries and others to promote Queensland authors and books.

Books from our Backyard  shares the variety of Queensland books, with crime, history, speculative fiction,  children, and young adult fiction, romance, memoir and life stories.

I met  Pia Dowling  who showed me her books on Organic Gardening, and growing and brewing your own coffee and tea.

Then I chatted with Kylie Asmyus about her book set in Townsville, not too far from where I used to live.

Sandy Driessen from Sandpit Stories said hello as did Julie Fison.

I caught up with authors Karen Tyrell, Charmaine Clancy,  and  for the first time in years the amazing Talitha Kalago.  We were onbooks-from-our-backyard a panel together at the Tropical writer’s festival years ago.

There were some industry people and members of the Queensland Writers Centre who were very welcoming and friendly.  It was good to put faces to names commonly seen in emails or online and receive helpful information and invitations to critique groups and workshops for writers.

You can see the books in display for the next twelve months at the state library Queensland.

Nick Earles, a highly accomplished Queensland author,  gave an address encouraging everyone to purchase and promote the purchase of books by Queenslanders.  Even purchasing just one book a year by a Queenslander could have an enormous difference on the production and sharing of literature created by the writers of Queensland.

He expressed his hope that many more people would be enabled to be career writers through such initiatives.

Books from our Backyard   is out in print and pdf and you’ll see it in libraries near you.  I was happy to see Pam Galeano and Lyn Marshall’s books featured as well.