Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Well Howdy!

Yessiree, Bob! It's a big 'howdy'to y'all and to my new life with a mid-week weekend and a rowdy 'See you later' to hump day. That's right y'all, I now have Wednesdays off. A rockin' free day for me and my li'l cowgirl to hang out and do stuff. Yeeeehaw!

This mid-week breather is making me an extremely happy camper. I get to hang out with Sophie. (She was getting a bit worn out from going to school five days a week. As was I. She is only little. I don't have an excuse.) And now we can have a day, go shopping, see friends and go hang with my Mum and see my ol' Dane.

Dane is my Dad. Since my oldest nephew was born my parents lost the titles of 'Mum' and 'Dad' and became known as 'Granny' and 'Dane'. My nephew, Noah started it but it stuck with the rest of us cheeky buggers because being called 'Granny' gave her the irrits. And calling Dad, Dane, made it sound like he was her saucy boyfriend, rather than her husband of now 50 odd years. We celebrated Granny and Dane's birthday on Saturday with one heck of an arvo tea. Dad turned 82 and Gran 75, 7 kids and 10 grand kiddies later and they are still kicking.

Anyhoo, these little holidays are welcome time to spend with the important people in my world.

Also welcome are my new bargain boots.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In the Night

In the dead of night she comes
creeping, creeping
padding on the ice cold boards.

When all is pitch and shadows she comes,
dodging phantoms and breathing smoke
creeping to us in the night.

She comes to a stop at the end of the bed,
burrowing deep under covers,
wriggling and writhing, emitting frost, like Jack,
garnered on her journey through the pitch.

In the darkness of every night she comes
creeping and writhing,
colding us from our dreams.

Shrinking to the bed sides, we awake annoyed.
We turn, ready to roar and rage our irks,
 to a sweet, blameless face and humid, breathy snufflings

In the dead of night,
fast asleep and glowing,
she rests in the warmth between us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bookshops, Words and Pictures

After my luxurious lie in on Friday, I hauled myself out of bed to take the kids to the museum. Here we discovered treasure. Pure gold in the form of a gorgeous exhibition of original children's illustrations by a fascinating man with a wonderful story. The collection was gathered by Albert Ullin, the founder of an utter gem, The Little Bookroom,  the first specialist bookshop for children in the WORLD. Images include work from the last 33 years of children's publishing in Australia with work from favourite illustrators of the calibre of Jeannie Baker, May Gibbs, Bob Graham and Graham Base.

There is something about catching sight of these images, they are so familiar.  Its as if you have somehow internalised the work on reading them in childhood. They become part of your structure and signify much more than their image. A stunning pen and ink and watercolour image by Ron Brooks from one of my childhood favourites, "John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat" by Jenny Wagner, brought tears to my eyes, joy tears, like bumping into a beloved and long lost friend. The image of John Brown, the big old English sheep dog staring at the midnight cat, sent me back 35 years. I re-felt the emotions evoked by the book, the sadness of this big, loyal. fluffy dog, (who was just like my childhood puppy, Henry) and his frustrations at having to make room for the feline intruder. I remembered the feeling far more than the story itself. (When I reread favourite childhood books, I often find that my memory has warped the story line.)

Aside from the images, the exhibition reveals the story of Albert Ullen, a man who started a bookshop.  But not just any bookshop, one specifically to provide quality lilterature for children. A space for children not before provided on the whole planet! And he began with nothing but passion and knowledge. He created something from nothing which has lasted 52 years and inspired many other  heavenly little children's bookshops.

Bookshops are havens. They provide sancitity, silence and inspiration. They help create emotions and memories of characters, words and images that lock into a child's body and cells, enough to bring gasps and tears to the adult 30 years later.

We are lucky enough to have three excellent  bookshops in our town. Me and the kids love them. We visit weekly, almost,  and regulary dedicate some of our funds to purchases from them. I know that books are cheaper in the internet, but I want our bookshops to remain open. I hope that they are here for ever and that one day I will buy " The Eleventh Hour" by Graeme Base, " Chicken Soup with Rice" and "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak and " Mr Magnolia" by Quentin Blake, for my grandchildren.

I have never been to The Little Bookroom and I can't believe I had never heard of it until last Friday. It is on the top of my list for the next trip to the Big Town. However,  I am very pleased to live at a time when I can follow them on Facebook and Twitter and read their web site and to have recalled the weird emotions of childhood while sharing in the illustration collection of its founder.

The exhibition 'Hooked on Books: Australian children's picture book illustrations from the Collection of Albert Ullin OAM' is continuing at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery until October.

I sent a children's book manuscript submission to a publishing house. I hope that one day my work is good enough to be published and to sit on the shelves of "The Little Bookroom".

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Winter Son

Today the winter sun shone clear and bright in an endless aqua sky.
Today my second son learnt to ride a bike in that crisp winter light.
Today he shone, my son, riding strong and proud
basking in the rosy glow of self-propulsion.
The suns, today, were brilliant.

Friday, June 08, 2012

A little me time

It's 11.49 am on a Friday in the holidays and I'm still in bed.

From the comfort of my bed I have fantasized about writing a play.
And through the magical interwebs at my fingertips I have read up on Sunday Reed, Joy Hester and explored the concrete poetry work of the tragic Sweeney Reed and the incredible surreal poetry of Max Harris. Having recently read the book "Sunday's Kitchen" I am quite obsessed with the Reeds and their life. I have ways adored Heide, Mirka Mora and the tortured and permissive bohemian freedoms of the Heide crew.

Next stop on my bedtime travels took me to the amazing world of Kelly Cutrone. My nephew recommended her Ted Oxford talk and so do I. Watch it, you won't regret. She talks about intuition, knowing thyself, following your path and giving back to your tribes and communities.

So, of course, I went on to download the first chapter of her book "Normal Gets You Nowhere". A sentiment I relate to and wish I had the cojones to pursue in my life more fully. To be "bloody, bold and resolute", as my Grade 12 Applied Maths teacher, Brother Lavery, used to urge us, but in the pursuit of a larger life, giving your true individual talents to the world. Kelly says she wants us to, and I quote "fuck the world with our energy"( in a good-positive-sharing-and-making-beautiful-love kind of way, not a rape-and-pillage,-taking-all-for-yourself-and-leaving-nothing-behind kind of way) and I get that. I wonder if that's what Brother Lavery meant, figuratively speaking?

In between Internet ramblings I have Facebooked, instagrammed, Drawn Something and blogged.

This is true luxury. Being left alone to explore these lives, this knowledge and ideas, connecting with beloved friends in different cities and creating something, all from under the covers in a room with a view of trees and sunshine on a cold winter's day.

Taking time from the activities of daily life, to dream up the life you want.

To take time, space and thoughts, just for yourself.

To move only when your spirit takes you.

Take some time for yourself when you can, to explore what you love. It makes the whole world of difference.