Today we celebrated the launch Of Carol’s new book Black Mountain by Colleen Keating. Many of the writing community and readers and Carols family and friends gathered in the atmospheric book shop Better Read then Dead in Newtown for the celebration. I felt very privileged to be asked to launch.
Launch by Colleen Keating
Carol Chandler’s Black Mountain.
Good afternoon everybody.
Firstly I invite a pause for us to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, on which we gather the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and to pay respect for Elders past and present.
There are some new faces here so I will introduce myself. My name is Colleen Keating. I belong to the Women Writers Network that meets every Wednesday at 1pm at Roselle Writers Centre. All women writers are welcome. That is where Carol and I met.
When Carol was being seduced by the Blue Mountains she visited our newly downsized apartment trying to make her decision. The Mountains won and she set out on a mammoth journey to her beautiful home and garden in Leura .
What a gathering in this wonderful environment of books and music and art, and what a great
honour for Carol that you have taken the time to be with her to celebrate.
Most of you would be aware writing is a lonely trek, a long haul, a footslog, an odyssey. Sometimes lost in the bush, sometimes all at sea, sometimes desert-dry, sometimes energising but mostly a solitary and gruelling task.
As a writing community we appreciate that, and we are here to honour the loneliness of the long distance writer and to celebrate Carol’s successful outcome.
And what an outcome. Black Mountain by Carol Chandler published by Ginninderra Press, a small but very prestigious publishing press in South Australia.
Black Mountain is a psychological thriller – and what a thriller. What a journey! We are taken by the narrator Sarah into the back waters of a country area, a place up in the hills not far from the coast in a lonely desolate ‘neck of the woods’. Sarah, a teacher has escaped from this town and this life, but on Page one is drawn back into its eerie world trying to make sense of the past and find out what really happened to her brother Liam who died in a house fire. By page eight we the readers are woven into the mystery and for us, there is no return .
You and I know how easy it is to get caught back into the dark web of our past, – into the tangle of relatives, families , friends. . . where there are all the hurts and intrigues, suicide, murders, lovers, drugs and especially secrets, lies and cover ups.
People are watching …..the threat of dogs always in the background..… the sharpness of the knife edge that glints in the moon light……. that scary feeling you are being followed and that strand of foreshadowing…. and of course the world of gossip.
Even when we escape to the coast, the ocean doesn’t give us reprieve, not even a breather. We are kept in the dark web of intrigue.
Carol has given us a thriller.
Everyone loves a good mystery…… but here there is the added complexity of human psychology, what’s beneath the surface in human action and reaction .
The pivotal characters Freya and Tyler and the mystery of Lola a young girl who has disappeared, gives us a sense of place and how that connects with identity.
And with the pains of the past that hold their secrets and hold us in their mystery, we become caught in the struggle and search for meaning.
What is it all about? ……. We are immersed in a thriller . . . a metaphor for life ,where
the questions materialise at every turn, but the answers are just beyond our grasp.
Black Mountain, was short listed in a recent competition where the judges’ comment, noted in the blurb on the back cover was “it is a deftly written novella “-
The many characters, that fill this small world of intrigue, even Aden and Radic and the dogs Nero and Jet and the mountain all are colourful and well formed. One could possibility recognise archetypes from Carl Jung’s collective unconscious but this is held lightly, This is not a philosophy book, it is a short psychological thriller to take to bed, or curl up one rainy afternoon and enjoy an escape for a few hours.
Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter says:
“Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”
and Black Mountain has the magic of a good read.
I congratulate Carol and proudly declare Black Mountain launched.
A sneak preview of my latest Poetry Collection, Fire on Water
published by Ginninderra Press, South Australia.
Thank you to Stephen Matthews for such a professional presentation,
and my daughter Elizabeth Keating-Jones for the creative cover.
As a first step I took a few copies to the Society of Women Writers, July luncheon
and they sold like hot cakes. I am appreciative of such encouragement.
The poems in Fire on Water are divided into 7 sections .
Poems are as diverse as ‘visissitudes of a blue butterfly’
and ‘counting dead women.’
One of the poems included is ‘ in search of Hildegard of Bingen’which was short-listed for the Society of Women Writers Poetry Competition 2016 and which has recently been translated into German by Annette Esser (Theologian, Scholar, Art Therapist and Teacher) to be included in a journal in Germany published September 2017 to celebrate the opening of a Pilgrimage Way that has been planned and worked on by Annette for many years now. It will be opened on 17th September 2017. Hildegard’s feast day.
It is called Hildegardweg. Attraktion fur Pilger und Wanderer.
The logo for the Hildegardweg is below. If you ever go to the Rhineland look for this sign and put your walking boots on.
Michael and I plan to do it when the International version opens in September 2019. Hmmm that means we will have to get into training!
The logo for the Hildegardweg in the Rhineland Germany
Fire on Water is my second collection of poetry and follows A Call to Listen . (2014).
Date for launch of Fire on Water is to be announced.
The launch date is TBA
Published by Ginninderra Press
Reviewed by Judith O’Connor
This stylishly produced collection of some eighty poems,
with a particularly tasteful and pleasing cover, is just what it says – a plea to stop
our activities and busyness and start looking, listening and observing the world around us. The poet supplies us with any number of simple examples:
it’s a hard thing to love a rock
you need to receive it as a gift
gaze . . . (‘How to Love a Rock’)
. . . a fallen water tank; rusted blood red . . .
But we quickly see that the range of topics and inspiration,
is far wider and deeper than what at first may appear incidental.
The collection is cleverly arranged into eight separate categories,
taking in a wide sweep of the poet’s life and experiences.
I particularly enjoyed the verses inspired by outback Australia
for which the poet has borrowed (and referenced) the words of Mary McKillop
‘We are but Travellers Here’. Having trekked to the summit of Mt. Sondar and hiked in many of the poet’s footsteps (‘Ormiston Pound’), I was surprised and delighted to read her award winning ‘Daybreak over Mt. Sondar’ and its moving description of the dawn:
…in the beginning
air static as a nylon petticoat pulled over my hair
fingerprints of red ruby . . . (‘Daybreak over MT. Sondar’)
Every page brings fresh and, at times, challenging verses on a range of human emotions from ‘Almost Dawn’ with its sensuality:
… he turns
arms cocoon me
in an aura of warmth
his breath tingles
in the dip of my neck . . . (‘Almost Dawn’)
to ‘At the Nursing Home’:
… I fill the foot bath
my elbow checks the tepid water … (‘At the Nursing Home’)
Another of my favourites, ‘Sisters’:
… we lunch together
the milestone of another decade
and that word ‘remission’ a green shoot springing
from the scarred black earth…
But from being a poem full of depression and sorrow, it ends magnificently:
with our lust for life
toast with a glass of bubbly
Joie de vivre (‘Sisters’)
The poets voice changes to anger and outrage in other poems such as ‘Guantanamo Bay’ ( . . . this is a poem not to be read aloud; for it speaks of solitaire confinement …) and ‘War on Terror’ ( … it’s coming; through a hole in the air) along with poems reflecting visits to Japan and Fromelles.
Whatever the reader’s mood, quest or interest, these poems are sure to satisfy, surprise and inspire.