It’s only a month into the New Year and already I’ve broken the only tangible resolution I made. To Blog regularly, once a week. So…we will just pretend last week never happened…which is in fact the reality.
The Real World
It’s been an interesting fortnight. We had our Australia Day holiday on the 26th January. This is where we celebrate
invading arriving in Australia to create our first penal colony settlement at Sydney Cove. It’s a strange thing to be a country that considers convict ancestors to be the next best thing to royalty. There are odd things that resulted from this particular history. Something our American friends probably cannot comprehend.
We are in fact a country founded on the principles of government social security. When you are a small colony of soldiers and prisoners, half way around the world from home, someone has to look after the widows and orphans and indigent residents. Ever since, there has been an expectation on the part of the citizens of this country that the government should be a safety net. There is now an ambivalence among taxpayers with a fine line being drawn between the traditional “Little Aussie Battler” and the chronic “Dole Bludger.” Good times.
Meanwhile, we have done a remarkable job confining our indigenous Australians to the sidelines. I wasted a lot of time this afternoon looking for an old school year book that published a poem I wrote in 1976 for an event in July for what was eventually to become NAIDOC week. (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). I couldn’t find it but IIRC the title of the poem was “Gone.”
Instead I’ll share a poem I remember making an impression on me when I was in primary school. I think it was the first time I really thought about Indigenous history. Kendall was a white, Victorian era poet and he wrote this at a time when it was the general consensus that the Aboriginal peoples of Australia would die out.
THE LAST OF HIS TRIBE by Henry Kendall
He crouches, and buries his face on his knees, And hides in the dark of his hair; For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees, Or think of the loneliness there -- Of the loss and the loneliness there. The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass, And turn to their coverts for fear; But he sits in the ashes and lets them pass Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear -- With the nullah, the sling and the spear. Uloola, behold him! The thunder that breaks On the tops of the rocks with the rain, And the wind which drives up with the salt of the lakes, Have made him a hunter again -- A hunter and fisher again. For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought; But he dreams of the hunts of yore, And of foes that he sought, and of fights that he fought With those who will battle no more -- Who will go to the battle no more. It is well that the water which tumbles and fills, Goes moaning and moaning along; For an echo rolls out from the sides of the hills, And he starts at a wonderful song -- At the sound of a wonderful song. And he sees, through the rents of the scattering fogs, The corroboree warlike and grim, And the lubra who sat by the fire on the logs, To watch, like a mourner, for him -- Like a mother and mourner for him. Will he go in his sleep from these desolate lands, Like a chief, to the rest of his race, With the honey-voiced woman who beckons and stands, And gleams like a dream in his face -- Like a marvellous dream in his face?
At the moment I’m reading Numbered by Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter. They did a great story called Sister Pact a few years ago which I enjoyed, so I’m keen to see how they handle this one. It’s about a young woman with breast cancer who is working her way through her bucket list and she and her best friend, her mother, and one or two nice young men are having an adventure of a lifetime. Or what may or may not be left of it.
Movies I’ve Seen
Despite spending two days in Brisvegas last week, I didn’t get to see any movies. I did finish my back to back, one a night viewing of the entire Harry Potter series. This is the first time I’ve watched them from first to last in one go and I was impressed. The character arcs were so very clear and particularly in Snape’s case, very moving. A fine legacy for Alan Rickman amongst an amazing body of work.
Tonight, I watched Maleficent followed by Enchanted. An interesting combination that worked surprisingly well. True Love’s Kiss and all that, interpreted differently in each one.
What I’m Writing
My larger projects were put aside while I did two short, 3k, stories for the RWAus Little Gems Competition. The Gem theme this year was Sunstone which I had to Google. I also entered the NYMidnight short story challenge with a 2500 word first round entry. Each entrant is allocated a number and each number related to a story theme. My genre was Fairy Tale. My subject was An Accusation and my character was a Bed and Breakfast host. That was challenging indeed. I still managed to turn it into a romance. We had eight days to complete it. If we make it to the second round we have 4 days to complete a 2k story and the final round is 24 hours to write 1500 words.
Now that is over for the moment, I’ll be getting back to my Wattpad Roadtrip novella and my Sekrit project. There are some first chapter opportunities with Harlequin I’m looking at but will let them percolate for a day or two before I decide whether to participate.
Something Funny This Way Comes
While searching for my school yearbook I came across these notebooks. The last remnants of my teen writing frenzy. It was quite amusing to read them and I could easily see what I was reading or watching at the time I was writing. I guess these days it would be considered fan fiction. I wonder if any of you can guess what my influences were. And I still have to fight against the temptation of writing sentences that go on for pages and pages…