Talk talk talk

So much talk

about 2020

Such a shocker

Crap year

Extraordinary

Unprecedented

Next year must be better

Over and over

Talk talk talk

Yet 2020 was

just another year

On it went

and now it’s gone

Another year arrives

2021

How long will it take

to remember

to write it down

Instead of continuing

to write 2020

with the symmetry

of the repeating numbers

Pamela hiking somewhere in Australia

Tracking the Human: a book

To my family, friends and readers of my blog,

A year ending. Over and over again people made comments that this year 2020 was “unprecedented”… Yet there are always precedents… previous bush fires, previous pandemics, previous elections…. This year they all came together in a powerful punch.

I finished a book in January 2020, but because of the COVID19 pandemic there was no possibility of traveling from my current home in Canberra, Australia to the USA to launch the book. I ordered a few copies for myself and put the books in a closet, postponing my plan to launch the book in Kansas City, Missouri, Vinita and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I had spent a few years thinking, researching, writing, rewriting… a book about my father W. Lon Hutchison…  about a person I didn’t really know.  To say I should have known my own father is not correct.  At the time of my upbringing, (born 1945), at the place of my upbringing, (Kansas City, Missouri, USA), parents were unknown quantities to their children.  Parents were power, control, but not people.  Children had no “rights” to know anything about their parents.  Children were just there to do what they were told to do, go where they were told to go, like objects on a chess board… moved around according to their all powerful, all knowing parents. 

Many years after being disowned by my father, many years after his death (1971), I made a decision to reconcile with him – with his memory – to construct a portrait of a human being that I could respect.

I wrote a novel based on data I collected about my father’s contacts with the justice system in the USA.  He was in and out of jails, prisons and mental health institutions (known as asylums) for many years. 

With the current reality of COVID19, travel from Australia to the USA to launch the book is very unlikely for many months.  Meanwhile, the book Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time is available on line at www.lulu.com.

If you do purchase and read the book, I would very much appreciate your feedback, on my blog or by email at pamela@tucacas.info.

Thanks!

Walk through it

The hallway

The photos

The art work

The collections

of dolls

sculptures

artifacts

paintings

photos

from

Kenya

West Papua

Indonesia

Afghanistan

Pakistan

Nigeria

Venezuela,

Mexico

China

USA

Australia

The wealth

the creativity

of your life

your family

your ancestors

your neighbours

your friends

people everywhere

So many people

contributed

to you

Who you are

What you do

How you think

How you act

How you live

Embrace them

Celebrate them

Remember them

NOW

and

all ways

Be thankful

from this day

onward

Hooray!

Three way Book Launch

During COVID restrictions, three of us completed book projects we had been working on. This weekend we’re having a three way book launch in Canberra, Australia, Saturday 7 November 2020, between 3 – 5 pm.

If you can’t join us, the books are available on http://www.lulu.com. Thanks!

Bob is an ordinary person who steps outside social boundaries and becomes Bob the Bandit .
Tracking the Human is fiction based on events in the life of Pamela’s father W. Lon Hutchison who went from vagrant, drug addict and convicted felon to respected business person.
The Unknown War is a unique account by an advisor to the Eighth Route Army and their leaders, including Mao Tse-Tung.

On the Road to Madness

 Until that moment in the public library in Lawrence Kansas when a record came up online that my great aunt Jessie Hutchison had my father W. Lon Hutchison committed to the Eastern Oklahoma State Mental Hospital, I had no idea that he had suffered from mental illness. I had only heard vague mention from my mother of narcotics in my father’s past.

I was shaking, when the records came up on my laptop of my father being committed by his aunt to the state mental hospital. I had never heard of the Eastern Oklahoma State Mental Hospital nor the town of Vinita, where it is located.  The records were a blast from a past and from a place that were unknown to me. How could I have ever known or even heard about the Eastern Oklahoma State Mental Hospital in Vinita?

I don’t think even my mother knew about my father being committed to the state mental hospital by his own family. She once told me that he was bitter about his family but she thought it was because he had been disinherited by his siblings.

My friends in Lawrence, Kansas, where I was staying, had a road atlas. I looked up Vinita. There it was. Almost due south from Lawrence. I rented a car and left for Oklahoma the next day. It was a straight shot down a narrow two-lane road through the Kansas plains to Vinita, Oklahoma. A pleasant drive with very little traffic.

I easily found the Eastern Oklahoma State Mental Hospital just outside the town of Vinita. I drove around on the road bordering the brick buildings. The state mental hospital has an extensive, imposing campus, with no trespassing signs and a tall fence to keep people out. It had been shut down several years before.

Eastern Oklahoma State Mental Hospital                       Vinita, Oklahoma

How was I going to find out anything about my father’s time here? Would I find any clues about how he got out? Being committed to a state mental institution is often a life sentence, without parole.

•    •    •   •   •   •   •

Your comments are always most welcome. 

Have you had any family members committed to a state mental hospital? 

Note:  I have another blog dedicated to my mother at https://www.bettehutchisonsilver.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Respect for Elders

I found a new title, or it found me during a poetry festival: Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time.  Now back to writing a novel based on events in the life of my father, W. Lon Hutchison, from his birth in 1907 in Indian Territory, soon to become the state of Oklahoma, to his death in 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Begin again… my father was a man with many secrets. The legacy of secrecy and revenge goes back to past generations and forward to current and emerging generations.

Where I live in Canberra Australia, every public event begins with respect for elders, (referring to Indigenous peoples in Australia ). We recognize that we are standing on Ngunnawal land and extend our respect to their elders, past present and emerging . Respect for elders is fundamental to the Aboriginal cultures of Australia, extending back at least 65,000 years.

Growing up, I was not able to respect my elders. How is respect established? What about transparency as is often heralded in the shady, sloppy world of politicians? There was no transparency in our family. Not by parents or children. On all sides, hiding and /or lies. My father was hiding his past. My mother was whingeing about lack of love from her mother and disgust for her stepfather. My father said nothing at all about his birth family, even when his sister moved to Kansas City, Missouri and became friends with my mom.

My father was a self-made businessman, although there is really no such thing as self-made… who can make themselves? Impossible. My father’s religion, Christian Science, was about individual discipline. According to Christian Science, There is no life, truth, nor intelligence in matter. All is infinite mind and its infinite manifestation. As a Christian Scientist, a person lives in their mind and the body will follow.

Through fiction I will build respect for my elders, reconcile my family and develop forgiveness. In this blog I will share my search for reconciliation.

Growing up, did you respect your elders? Was that built in to your culture? Did your parents share family stories with you?

 

Words or Paintings?

Which would you choose to communicate your ideas and emotions – words or paintings? As a blogger perhaps you think it should be words?

But, words can’t reach our inner most selves as paintings can.   Nor can we easily express in words how or why a particular painting affects us.

Art should not be judged from an aesthetic viewpoint. No, Kupka insisted, fighting for breath (he was dying). It was nothing more nor less than an attempt to communicate.

– Quote about Franz Kupka from The Red Highway                         by  Nicolas Rothwell, p.63.

It’s not “either/or” words or paintings… We need both in our lives. Art inspires and elevates. Art brings people together.

On Saturday in our back yard, we celebrated both – painting and books with our neighbours and friends!

What a splendid way to reach out to others and share beauty! Art is part of life and community. Art is not just for exhibition in galleries and museums.

Through it (art) people communicate to one another their feelings, their most intimate and infinitely varied and poignant thoughts.                                                                                                             -From Dialectical Materialism, Philosophy and Art,                                  by Alexander Spirkin

 

Have you ever held a neighbourhood art show?

Have you ever attended a neighbourhood art show?

Please comment on your ideas about art, communication and community.

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

History Through Fiction: The Making of Martin Sparrow (part two)

I am continuing with my response to the novel The Making of Martin Sparrow and learning about history through fiction. Reading the book, I entered into the world of settlers on the Hawkesbury River in southeastern Australia at the time of the flood of 1806.

Colonies are built on dreams, but some dreams threaten ruin Martin Sparrow Cover

This was the single sentence on the first page of The Making of Martin Sparrow after the title page.

Women were only minor characters in The Making of Martin Sparrow. Evil and not so evil men dominated. Many settler men met their end through the harsh environment – wild boars, wild rivers, a prick from a platypus, or disease. Others through retribution by indigenous men, who selectively killed settlers who had massacred their people.

The ending of The Making of Martin Sparrow didn’t quite satisfy. It was a little too neat. Yet the book had to end sometime. I had to leave that time and place and return to the present day.

Here are a few samples of the beauty of the writing in The Making of Martin Sparrow about a harsh violent history of the forcible settling of Australia by convicts and their keepers.

It was almost sunset and the clouds to the north sat flat, as if on a straight edge, and they were lit bright pink on the underside and the sky beneath was the palest petal blue. (p. 297)

I’ve seen those clouds and that sky.

Or they might not find them at all and instead find Dan’s musket wedged in a tree, draped in the deathly grey of flood-borne shrubbery, the floodwaters a master of random arrangement. (p. 404)

I’ve seen shrubs, trees, stranded, washed up along the banks by rising rivers after they’ve subsided.

Just one thing can shape your whole life. (p. 423) Quiet insights in the dialogue, especially from the character Cuff, are sprinkled throughout the book. Somehow they become believable, although the reader may doubt the character’s ability to reflect.

The author, historian Peter Cochrane comments in the Afterword

The Making of Martin Sparrow is a work of fiction in which the documented past provides points of departure into an imagined world. (p. 447)

Can the reader find historical truth through fiction?

Are novels a more powerful and accessible way to learn about history and other cultures?

What do you think?

Your comments are most welcome.  Thank you.