Art singing and dancing in the Streets

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June Perkins – photograph of power box Brisbane

Art in the city, not shut away in galleries, but everywhere you look.
It’s on power boxes, telegraph poles, railway station walls.
climbs onto walls and alleyways.
chalked, painted, sprayed, and poster papered.

It’s murals with messages from Martin Luther King
everytime I used to catch the bus in Marrickville
I’d see his face with an Aboriginal flag behind it.

It’s pieces that make you think, smile, wonder remember nature.
Driving past telegraph poles to the Gold Coast
we catch nature wrapping itself around telegraph poles,
birds and trees just in case we don’t see the real
they’re there in art.
I would love to go back and photograph these artistic poles.

I think of the artists commissioned or perhaps underground ones.
What are their names?
Are their signatures there?
Is there a guidebook somewhere to tell me the story of the street art?

This street art tells stories – it’s symbolic and straightforward
it’s naive and surreal.
It doesn’t advertise, it’s an invitation to think, as diverse as the artists in the city.

And when street artists paint, what is going through their minds about the setting
their work will live in everyday.
Do they look at the trees, and the walls and reflect what is there
Or do they represent a dreaming beyond walls beyond the boundaries
of the city and the forest ?

I want to write a spoken word poem all about the street singing forart
and the art calling out on the street,
maybe it would be be performed by a pied poet walking the street with a busking guitar
with people flash mob dancing in the streets?

(c) June Perkins

 

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Image Credit Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.

Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.

Yarning with Nana

The second part in my sons guest blogs on his grandparents

Following the Crow Song

This is another guest blog from my youngest son about his grandparents.  Maybe we can persuade them to guest blog one day.

I asked Nana some questions and this is what she told me.

1) What countries are your relatives from?
Pieter your Great Great grandfather was from Natal, Sth Africa, great great grandmother, Florence Great Grandfather from Paris, Alfred born in Mt Gambier Australia, to colonial family, Great grandmother, Helen born Castlemaine Vic

2) What were your grandparents jobs?
Pieter, your great great grandfather was a coach maker, & interpreter (12 languages), Florence your great, great grandmother was a lion tamer in circus on arrival in Melb Vic., Alfred was a labourer, farm worker & Helen was a domestic worker.

3) Where were you Born?
Nana was born in Melbourne, Australia (Helen Sonia Grundy Perkins is her name)

4) Where did you grow Up?
Port Melbourne Victoria

5) What…

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Researching Family History

My youngest son is guest blogging our family story at Following the Crow Song, this is from his year 6 family history where he asked his grandparents their story, he needs to interview his Poppy as well.

Following the Crow Song

In the next few posts I will share my son’s research of our family history.  He did this for a year 6 project.

It is precious when grandparents share their stories.

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I have been interviewing my grandparents.  Here I am with Nana Perkins when she visited me.

I learnt that my family has many cultures in it from the past and in the present.

We have:

Aboriginal                    

Australian                                    

English

Irish                              

South African                         

French        

German                                           

Scottish                                 

Papua New Guinea

 Iran

Here are what all these flags look like.

Aboriginal_flagaustralia_flag  England FlagFlag_South-Africafrance_flaggerman_flagiranmapireland_flagpng_flagscotland_flagsouth_african__flag

I found out our Papua New Guinean Tribe has a Totem. It is a Bird of Paradise.  This is what it looks like.

bird of paradise

The name of the tribe is Maipa Fakai.  This is a photo of Bubu (Gerards) village.

village

I researched the stories of three of my grandparents.

I did these interviews by email and…

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Preparing the Way, Foundations to Creativity:Saturday Writing Sagas 11

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Clay work of my daughter in progress – June Perkins

Today’s inspiration for writing comes from my artist friend Sally Moroney.  She makes amazing art, baskets, paintings, necklaces – and is a wealth of knowledge in so many things to do with making and exhibiting art.

My daughter and I went to visit her today to find out about an upcoming youth exhibition.

She showed Sally some art, and then started to play around with some clay.

As my daughter constructed her clay dragon, the importance of pre-planning and gaining more practical knowledge became apparent; she found she should have templated both wings through tracing, and used wire reinforcing in the more delicate parts like the long thin tail. She began to ask Sally many questions. Her wings had wire based upon this advice.

Sally let her know, very gently, that the dragon may not make it beyond this first phase, but a second attempt at something like it will have a great chance of success based on the advice from Sally. And if it can dry well, she may be able to bisque fire it(pretty risky) or coat it with glue and paint it.

Whilst Sally was teaching my daughter ways forward with her future clay work and possible fixes for her current piece, I was thinking about how writing without any structure and working organically can work to a certain point. Then some stronger foundations and reinforcement may be needed.  Motifs, research, so many things might be needed to make a work stronger. Without this the way forward may become confused.

I began my first novel, like my daughter, free playing with her clay.  But the novel cracked under the pressure – and went into an electronic draw.  Yet, as I start my second journey I plan, research, map and do things to make the journey of the next one stronger.

I just have a feeling this one is going to work better, because my foundations are stronger.  I have a better sense of my self as a writer and can take all the tips from education, workshops, reading, and current readers and friends and put them into the work.

You might ask why not learn with all the lessons first?  There are so many ways to learn.  One is by embarking on the journey, doing, reflecting and changing.  Another is to have it all spelt out, and follow the formulas and set templates.  I like to do a bit of both.

How about you? Do you like learning by theory, or hands on and then reflecting, adapting  and changing?

By leaving my daughter free to work with the clay, Sally discovered that she likes dragons and likes pushing the boundaries of the clay to delicacy.  She could then guide her according to her wishes.  If Sally began with a set template and formula she wouldn’t have found that out as a facilitator.  I think also my daughter if her clay doesn’t stay together, will now always remember to reinforce it and take those steps needed at the beginning.

Thanks Sally for such an educational day.

I especially enjoyed hearing about one of Sally’s paintings in the Layer’s Exhibition at Mission Beach Community Arts Centre.

Letting the Genie out of the Bottle: Saturday Writing Sagas 10

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Looking for the Genie – June Perkins

So finally I’m commencing a novel.  I want it to be like letting a genie out of a magic bottle.

However, I don’t want to resort to a misuse of magic in all my plot turns; there is still a need for good set ups and lead in and I would like some originality. This is where I can learn a great deal from ‘arm chair critics’, or ‘ readers.’

Lately my whole family, the arm chair critics I know best, have been having trouble with some of the writing on television. We see brilliant concepts in shows like Doctor Who and Once Upon a Time – the season beginnings and finales of both these shows have been extremely well written.

However, the journey to reach these finales this season has had a litany of poor writing. One of the major gripes from my family of armchair critics has been that characters change too quickly,  or are not allowed to retain growth to something different.  They are quickly back to what they began as ‘ good’, ‘evil’.

They just keep playing with us a little too much. Rumplestiltskin, that complex figure, courts darkness but  is ever protective of the ones he loves, until it involves his own fate and then suddenly doesn’t care at all about death – finally courage?? The Evil Queen in Once Upon a Time was on the path to truly changing to a pathway for good due to her love for Henry.  Yet, she went back to being bad at what seemed the drop of a hat, the death of a mother she thought who never loved her who turned out to love her.

We were really starting to believe she could change, but the writers took that away, only to bring back  her potential goodness in a massive hurry in the finale.  Does torture and a stealing of your option for destruction of everyone you hate really create a back flip as quick as that?

The whole fatal flaw thing can simply be overdone. The effect of change, return to status quo, is to make us feel a lack of progression.  To feel that the same scene is replayed over and over again.

Don’t get my children started on Snow White/Mary Margaret and Prince Charming in the modern day!  Mary Margaret the tortured murderess  is difficult to take. In the past well she’s highly admirable for her ability to see the goodness in everyone.  Is it progression for her to want to murder someone or a regression?  Where do you go with a ‘perfect’ character?  Do you have to corrupt her?

Snow White
aizawasu- flickr creative commons

As viewers/readers we want progression, a new path, not just a stuck in the groove plot/broken record character.  So often this season Once Upon a Time sub-plots had this feeling. This is despite the borrowing and transformation of a large number of popular culture stories.  Lately it has even felt like Mulder and Scully have started running around in the plot.

What is left in Once Upon a Time when you remove all the layers of intertextuality? Mind you some of my favourite shows, like Get Smart, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie don’t have much progression, but the humour is the broken record, and you can predict the plot every time but have a rollicking time arriving to the same point each time.

In other kinds of television, such as Doctor Who or Once Upon a Time, this does not work as well because they are also trying to excite us with the new, their predictability is the unpredictable – the predictable becomes the twist in the plot.  Yet if it’s there just for the sake of it, without an internal common sense naturally arising from previous events the viewer feels cheated.

The thing is television writers can’t know that the dynamics of their plot will take a certain course in a season.  Viewers will side with certain characters and take on their cause.  They have already set the ball in motion and can’t respond to the viewer’s alliances. The thing is some actors can make an awful character on paper have humanity,  this may be the intention of the writer, but it might be that they believe you will never truly trust them.  They can’t fully predict your response.

Another complaint is that the plot is just too full of surprises, that the magical or scientific, adventure vehicle doesn’t have enough coherency or there are too many coincidences.  Doctor Who did have some amazing connections throughout it’s plot this season, and did seem to do it a whole lot better than Once Upon a Time.   The thread of the Impossible Girl and the curious Doctor who can’t solve her mystery, was clearly there, and understandable in the finale.

By comparison this season Once Upon a Time had so many twists and way too many story lines as to seem contrived too much even for fairytales.  He’s a stranger, looking for his father, no he’s not looking for his father, oh no there is a bigger employer outside it all. As for Doctor Who the jury is still out on the quality of some of the acting.  This season has seen some wooden acting, and a feeling of going through the motions despite the interesting storylines.  Is this the actors or the writing?

Is there enough in the script and the stories?  Are there simply too many things packed into each episode leaving little room for character development?

One show’s writers doing it well are those Person of Interest.  With a small cast of regular characters who progress, but well written regulars and guests the plot and characters seem to be gently but interestingly progressing, even the machine!  This is by far my favourite show from a writing view point, but also from the characters and acting point of view too.

There are just enough twists and turns, the character development is subtle, understated, not like a sea saw that will make you sick!

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Damsel Fly – Creative Commons

I have been down this  novel writing road before, but it was a swift free write journey for one month of Nanowrimo and  ended up at the bottom of an electronic drawer. Not this time.

This time as well as keeping in mind the armchair critics, I have a different approach,  and from an overall treatment of my novel have begun with key motifs free writes (meditations on key symbols of the novel) to thinking about structure and then onto research, google is great for that but also research from people.

Then my journey for writing the novel will begin.  No doubt there will be some going back into the cycle, of reflecting, research, creating and checking the world of the novel makes sense and is consistent.

So from magically imagining a plot out of an empty bottle, armchair critics and google I think this novel writing is going to be quite a ride and despite some annoying writing I will keep watching Doctor Who and Once Upon a Time  hoping for much better writing next season. I am so glad Person of Interest has been renewed for another season.

(c) June Perkins