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What Astonishes?

Underwater

There is so much

we do not see

We watch the waves

Maybe the whales breaching

But what I want to see

is there

underneath

demanding I change

my frame of reference

from warmth to chill

from light to muted

Adjust your body

Adjust your eyes

Head down

Keep looking

immersed

in water environment

as you never are

in air

walking standing breathing

seeing objects colours

floating in the ocean

Adjust

Accept

Lose track

So that

Astonished

When you raise your head

out of the water

the world is still there

And you will return

Over the Moon

Have you heard that expression or did I make it up?

That’s how I felt when I read the positive feedback about my book Tracking the Human in an email from a friend in Kansas City, Missouri, who lives in the neighbourhood where my mother lived.

Here’s what Anne said about Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time:

“You did a fine job on your book Tracking the Human. What a great approach to telling your father’s story – your painstaking search for facts bring him to life through the device of fiction. Your biography is so readable and so poignant. I’m amazed and moved by what your father – and your mother – overcame. Your depiction of the hobo life is fascinating. What a story of survival.

Your book is a generous exercise in reaching out to the past to understand a man who in so many ways was not kind to you. You too are a survivor. Sending love to you and congratulations on completing this project and doing it so well.”

Many many thanks to Anne. Everyone’s feedback to Tracking the Human is much appreciated.

If you haven’t read Tracking the Human yet, you can purchase a copy on http://www.lulu.com. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon websites, but they pay the author very little.

Thanks again for your interest!!

My father, the drug addicted vagabond

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I would like to share information about my book Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time  which I finished writing in January 2020. 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.

Many years after being disowned by my father  and 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  Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time 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.

The book Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time is available on line at www.lulu.com.
Also available on Amazon, but they pay the authors very little.

If you do purchase and read the book, I would very much appreciate your feedback,
on my blog  http://www.familyfiction.comor by email at pamela@tucacas.info.

Here’s a comment about Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time from my friend Martha Woodmansee, Case Western Reserve University Professor of English and Law, emerita.

 It being Presidents Day here, I took the day off from politics and paperwork (a euphemism for my present stasis) to read your novel. So delicious! It’s really, really good. I do really wish you’d been able to launch it in Kansas City MO.

If you want to situate your novel thematically in our American literary tradition I’d like to stress its fit into our deeply held embrace of the individualistic self-made man myth — so
destructively sexist and racist in my view — as set forth so brilliantly by F. Scott Fitzgerald in *The Great Gatsby.*

Thanks for your interest!

Pamela Hutchison Collett

 

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.

A strange equation

Beach Mimosa Rocks National Park, Australia

Camping plus a slight cold = 4 great books!

While camping, and relaxing in a hammock (a habit acquired in Venezuela) at Mimosa Rocks National Park, I finished two outstanding books by Australian authors:

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton

and   Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe 

When I first began reading The Shepherd’s Hut, I thought, no, too fast, too much slang… I can’t stay with this. But I kept going and going and going until it was over. Some references to plants, land and Aussie slang that I didn’t know, but no matter… a terrific read.

Easier entry to Stone Sky, Gold Mountain, a novel about the incredible suffering of Chinese migrants in the gold fields of North Queensland, Australia in 1877.

Returned from Mimosa Rocks (on the south east coast of Australia) to Canberra, I had several days of not feeling too great – runny nose and congestion. So more reading!

I finished Ta-Nehisi Coates novel, The Water Dancer. Densely written, submerging the diligent reader into the underground war on slavery in the United States.   (Look up the Underground Railroad on Wikipedia for information about the underground). 

Fourth book: Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman, a novel based on the life of her grandfather, Patrick Gourneau, who successfully fought to stop the termination of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe by the United States Senate in the 1950s. Gloriously written, with poetic language, memorable characters embedded throughout.

I tend to immerse myself in books, read them very quickly and then regret when they’re finished, as if I’ve lost a good friend.

All of the above HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Joyous reading!

Clouds and Trees

Looking out the window

through the glass sliding door

Clouds moving across the sky

Grey underbellies

White above

Illuminated by the sun

Blue patches in between

Always moving

Changing shapes

Cloud diversity

 

Tree diversity

Branches straight

Branches convoluted

Branches intertwined

Branches bare

Branches with leaves

Moving with the wind

Trunks stationery

Roots underneath

Out of sight

Pushing earth

Enveloping rocks

Clinging to the side

of eroded stream beds

 

Invisible movement

of trees

Visible movement

of clouds

 

Look up again

 

Sky more blue

Clouds

motionless

Suspended

Swallowed up

One wisp drifts away

Dissolving in the blue

Shapes slowly shifting

Grey and white masses

Silhouette flying across

small black bird