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!

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

 

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