Posts

Let Down

Somewhat

After putting aside for several months my novel-in-process based on events in my father’s life, Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time, I came back to it. I went through it page by page. Made some minor changes. Leanne my editor did a copy edit. Ready for layout.

So what am I waiting for? Is it perhaps that I’ve lost some of the energy and enthusiasm? Or is it that I can’t face actually publishing and sharing the book and what that entails? So just put it aside and pretend I’ve done it.

With the help of my spouse, Jim, we did the layout in InDesign and submitted it to Lulu in mid January. I ordered a proof copy. Now at the end of January it never arrived. So I ordered another copy for the final proof reading.

Here’s the front cover:

The photo is of my father W. Lon Hutchison on the left, his sister Margery and brother Jack.  Lon was the first born.  I believe this picture was taken in Tulsa, Oklahoma about 1917.

More soon on planned launches later this year in Canberra, Australia, Oakland, California, Kansas City, Missouri, and Vinita, Oklahoma. Watch this space!

Please keep in touch if you would like to attend any of the book launches.  Thanks!

Poems in the haze of bushfires Part III

Poems in the haze of bushfires Part III
25-27 December 2019
Camping at Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park NSW

Found objects
at the camp site
A footy ball
A rusted hammer
Size twelve men’s black canvas shoes
A green and purple tennis ball
Sunglasses missing one lens
What else has been
left behind?

Camp site Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park, Australia

What hopes                                                                                                 dreams
prayers
words
hugs
games
music
occurred
at this campground?

Were lives changed
enriched
enjoyed
from being here?
Who is to know?
Only trash
burned out campfires
left behind

Someone built
a rock dam
We enjoy the pool
as do the birds
kangaroos
who come by
for a drink
and watch us
watching

Pamela crossing the Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park

Sadness comes and goes
Beauty of the trees
the creek
Sadness of the grey haze
Smoke of bushfires
cover the sky
devour the land
Where is the future?

Poems in the haze of bushfires Part II

Poems in the haze of bushfires Part II
25-27 December 2019
Camping at Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park NSW

Climbing up a hill
through grey trees
stepping over residue
Rabbit droppings
Horse manure
Kangaroo dung
Huge white bones
of a dead horse

What is alive
in this forest
ants
cicadas
occasional birds

What is alive
in the flowing creek
No fish
No frogs
A bird takes a drink
A kangaroo hops by
A red and orange wasp
flies over

Poems in the haze of bushfires Part I

Poems in the haze of bushfires
25-27 December 2019
Camping at Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park NSW

25 December 2019

Blue sky above
after weeks of
smoky haze
The world on fire
or at least
a continent on fire
The glory of clouds
only visible when
against blue sky
The sun
shining through
spreading out
its rays
after days
as a red ball
surrounded by
grey smoke haze
The sounds of
the river
and the cicadas

 

Pinch River, Kosciusko National Park, Australia

In the stream
water rushing over
a rock dam
Cicadas crescendo
Orange ball sun
Shrouded in smoke haze
Bushfire season

Cleaner birds
Black feathers
Red eyes
White tipped wings
when in flight
Waiting in trees
Will they drink
at the stream
if I leave

Dried up forest
Adult kangaroo
Two juvenile roos
Forage by the creek

Juvenile Kangaroo foraging by the stream

Stream colour changes
brown green gold
Boulder colour changes
grey blue orange pink
The sun decides

Two Novels by a Poet

I urge myself to write
after days in a daze
due to a head cold
the aftermath to
sitting in a tent for hours
at the Majors Creek Festival
(a tiny historic gold mining town,
301 km south of Sydney and 16 km south of Braidwood in New South Wales, Australia), listening to Emily Rose and the Wild Things (high energy) followed by Great Aunt, a folk duo on guitar and bass (quiet competency). 

I have lost the plot. What did I want to say about Kei Miller’s two novels?
See my blog https://bettehutchisonsilver.wordpress.com/2019/11/01/you-never-know/ ‎about meeting Kei Miller, the poet.

Inspired, after meeting Kei Miller at the Poetry on the Move festival in Canberra, I found two of his novels at the local  public library:

The Last Warner Woman
and
Augustown
 
The title of The Last Warner Woman confused me. When I see the word “Warner”, I immediately think of two brand names: Warners bras and Warner Brothers, a film production company.These are brands I grew up with in the USA. I have never consciously thought of either one - perhaps in my entire life (although I have seen the WB logo of Warner Brothers in movie credits). I have never bought a Warners bra.

So I wondered why a writer from Jamaica would write about Warners bras or Warner Brothers? The cover of the book did not relate to the Warner brands.  Think about it. Shocking that a word “warner” became embedded in my mind with two brands. The power of advertising that changes the lens through which we understand words.

Warner… means a person who warns… that is, a seer or prophetess. 
A warner is someone who can “see” what is going to happen and then warn people.


This book is as beautiful as the cover. The writing is so evocative that I had to read it carefully - word by word - the way I usually read poetry.

I often speed read novels. Satisfied with understanding the main story line, following the principal characters and immersing myself in the story without carefully reading each word. Not possible to speed read The Last Warner Woman.

And then Augustown

Augustown started slower for me. Something ominous surrounded the people in the novel. Something was going to happen. I read the novel with anxiety. At one point I put it aside. I didn’t want to know what was going to happen next.

Both books are based on Jamaican history and folk lore.

After reading Augustown, I looked up “Bedward“ and found the following:
“Between 1891 and 1921, Alexander Bedward, an African-Jamaican healer, led the Jamaica Baptist Free Church in August Town, Jamaica, on the Hope River. . .
In the 1930s, Bedwardites and Garveyites transformed Bedward's millenarianism into the more antiestablishment and durable Rastafarian movement…”
https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/historians-and-chronicles/historians-miscellaneous-biographies/alexander-bedward

Enjoy!

QandA : Stark Contrast

QandA : Stark Contrast

QandA is a weekly current affairs program on ABC TV in Australia          The 29 October 2019 broadcast focused on responses to the current ongoing, multi-year, devastating drought

Logo of QandA

QandA Panel

Sitting at one end a middle-aged water woman, assertive in a quiet, fact-based approach explaining the mismanagement of scarce water resources

Next to her a government minister, nothing to be proud of, prattling on, talking much, saying little

The government minister sandwiched between the water woman and an eloquent, emotional young farmer, her face bent to listen to other panelists, her responses always from her heart, faithful to the land

In the middle of the panel

The moderator, looking rather young, a half smile on his face, eyes open wide, trying to hold things together without losing his composure

Next to him

A blonde, curly-headed woman wearing an all green shirt (but she’s not a member of the Greens), the head of the Farmers Federation, talking, even interrupting the water woman, but with nothing much to say except pity the farmers, defending the status quo, offering no analysis, no vision, no future

And last but somewhat least the shadow minister for labor, talking about the poor farmers doing it tough, saying Australia needs a national drought plan without offering one

QandA Studio Audience

The QandA panel floating on a sea of climate change and drought, with the audience and farmers (in the studio and on video links) critical of the dismal performance of current governments

The audience and farmers acknowledging human-made climate change and the mismanagement of very scarce water resources

The audience applauding the eloquence, the heartfelt sentiments of two indigenous leaders – one on video, one in the audience – denouncing corporate greed and capitalism that has taken their water

In the audience – connections to the land, to reality, to caring in stark contrast to the empty words of three members of the panel

The Wrong Amazon

Talking with the delivery guy
about farming
He smells of cigarettes
I want to tell him
to stop smoking
But I don’t
I listen and find out
His was a farming family
Hard life
Father told him
Don’t be a farmer
So he’s a delivery person




Thinking about land
every day
The destruction
of Mother Earth
Thousands of hectares
every day
deforested in Australia
Trees cut down
Amazon burning
As one youth activist
quipped on a poster
The wrong Amazon is burning

I don’t even know
what a hectare is
I have never lived
on a farm
I have lived
in cities and towns
on six continents

Hiking in the bush
just outside town
I see parched earth
Erosion
like the deep cut
on my arm
But the cut was
sewed up
closed up
Now healed
Leaving only a slightly
pink and purple scar




How to heal the earth?
Some farmers know how
The earth can be renewed
But forcing the land
to yield immediate results
leads to
long-term destruction
Farmers becoming
delivery people