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

 

How long

How long will I stay

in this expanded space

Walking through life

with increased senses

Aware of nuance

Listening to a talk

about the intelligence of birds

Thinking of a book

Thinking of a friend

Thinking of family

Thinking of life

Advising a friend

to write a fictionalized

story of her family history

To put her father in the world

To respect his life

Not to honour or elevate

That’s what I’ve done

with my father

Immersed in Finland

Immersed in Finland

although I’ve never been

and probably never will go

Finnish films have taken me

into humanity

Skiing though snowy forests

Cutting through ice

A cold cold land

bathed in the warmth of humanity

Why did it take so long

to feel connected

Sleep walking through life

Awake and not aware

Tears of being human

Wanting everyone everywhere

to feel the depth

of their own lives

This is new

12 April 2020

 

Time

Is that the engine of change?

Is it time?

How do we change

as a person

as a society

My changes

slowing down

not just physically

due to age

i.e. time

but psychologically

with thought

with letting go

letting go

of judgment

of guilt

of anxiety

of worry

Is that what anxiety is?

Worry

Forecasting doom and gloom

Forecasting

Unnamed unknowable

Fear

Yet there is an ongoing crisis

Pandemic of COVID 19

And

Global warming

Consuming the globe

with various levels of understanding

and reaction

 

How to be more aware

Awake

Alive

To watch a bee circling a shrub

Listen for birds

Squawking

Distant hum of traffic

Sitting on a balcony

On a no street

A slow street

A street where

Three cars pass in a day

More birds pass than cars

Accepting that life is beyond control

Yet not beyond action

 

Pleased

with a new found ability

to sit and look

and listen

without doing

anything

This is new, different

 

Loss and grieving

I am in Canberra Australia
Far far from the USA
I grew up in Kansas City
Moved to the San Francisco Bay
Listening to the music
of Soul, Motown
Thinking of that music
today
The hope
The love
The promise
Otis Redding
Aretha Franklin
Nina Simone
The Temptations
Stevie Wonder
Diana Ross
Ray Charles
Smokey Robinson
The Temptations
Sam Cooke
The Supremes
Lou Rawls
Percy Sledge
Margin Gaye
Tina Turner
Gladys Knight and the Pips
(Partial list)
Listening today
on YouTube
after reading about overwhelming
numbers of deaths of African Americans
in the USA
during the COVID 19 pandemic
Mourning the loss
Listening to the music on YouTube
Remembering the joy
in an African American café
in Oakland California
November of 2008
The election of Barack Obama
44th President of the USA
People crying
shouting
dancing
singing
saying “I wish my mother was alive today”
People believing
“A Change is Gonna Come”
(Sam Cooke song)
and yet
and yet
Who is dying today
in the USA
in the pandemic?

Escape

Outside Canberra Museum and Gallery

Let me sit

for awhile

and see if I feel better

Alienated by anti-poetic words

Symposium presentations

deadening of affect

My mind engorged by a headache

My limbs growing numb

I hurry out of the room

Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly series

grab a sugary treat

to sit outside

in the sun

Building walls covered by harsh

techno renderings

of the beauty

of Sidney Nolan paintings

Walls coloured

a blue not of the sky

a blue with more green

than the piercing sky blue above

The walls asymmetric pattern

Yellow tiles in a ragged diagonal

small black square tiles

Children’s Art inspired by Sidney Nolan’s paintings

interspersed randomly

with colourized tiles

The sun on my back

Renewing

I cannot return

to the symposium

Dead words

causing bodily pain

Back inside the gallery

to briefly re-absorb

Sidney Nolan’s paintings

Then  going out to catch

the Rapid 6 bus

taking me home

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!