Women Writers Network WWN Rozelle

 

Women Writers Network, Rozelle.  

I feel very privileged to be part of  the Women Writers Network.  We are a group  of about 30 women writers who share their writing and assist by editing and affirming each others work.

At each meeting you will find about 8 -14 women ready to share which makes a great quorum for fruitful production.   For many it is a way of keeping their work on track. For some already on track it is excellent feed-back . The  reading aloud of your own work  to an audience is an effective self-critiquing exercise.

We meet at The Writers Centre Rozelle, weekly at 1pm, an open group, we welcome new writers and experienced writers – novelist, poets, playwright and story tellers.  (Writing NSW is the new title of the venue)

We have four Anthologies published –  Centrelines, edited by Siobhan Colman, Hot off the Press  edited by Siobhan Colman and  Nathalie Apouchtine, Our Women’s Work edited by Colleen Keating and Decima Wraxall and Silda Trainor and Bare  Poetry and Prose, edited by Colleen Keating and Decima Wraxall.  We look forward to a new anthology in the next year.

Our venue in a parkland setting changes each season .

This is from our window the past weeks.

 

 

Bowerbird tanka Workshop at Pearl beach Arboretum

Report on Bowerbird Tanka Workshop No. 21 –

by

Colleen Keating

 

Congratulations. The Bowerbird Tanka group, which convenes at Pearl Beach, has come of age. This is the 21st Tanka workshop. Thank you to Beverley for her constancy and dedication. I am a fairly newcomer but am amazed at her focus in the midst of so many other activities. 

The tanka date on our calendar is very special. And thanks to the delegates some of whom traveled from as from Tamworth, Canberra, Newcastle and Bathurst to share in the love of tanka.

Of course the drive to Pearl Beach is a journey in itself. One can notice the burdens being left behind as you drive down into its calm repose, cradled between forest and sea. When I arrived, there was already a buzz of friends meeting at Crommelin Cottage in the sanctuary of the Pearl Beach Arboretum. The tankaists so gathered were Beverley George, Michael Thorley, Carole Harrison, Beatrice Yell, Catherine Smith, Julie Thorndyke, Kent Robinson, Anne Benjamin, Dy Andreasen and Colleen Keating. Unable to attend – Marilyn Humbert, Hazel Hall, Kathy Kituai, Gail Hennessy, Samantha Hyde, Carmel Summers, Margaret Grace and Yvonne Hales .

Despite the pall of smoke that covered most of NSW,  the Arboretum continued to have its own ambience with a brush turkey that scratched through the leaf litter for its insects and bugs, mostly nearby the cottage as if it was eavesdropping on us. 

The first session on the programme – Share a favourite tanka written by someone you have never met but which had an influence on how you came to tanka. The presenters were Julie Thorndyke on a most appropriate tanka for the fire haze and acrid air we have been breathing, written by Debbie Strange, Canada.

Carole Harrison appraised a tanka by Sandi Pray [USA]

Kent Robinson appraised a tanka by Claire Everett. [UK]

Taking the time to focus on a tanka and listen to  the insights of one who has pondered on it for some time is a valuable and enriching exercise.

These sharings are available on the Eucalypt website under Bowerbird.

In the second session everyone then had the opportunity to share ‘a tanka which lingers.’ 

For this, each of us stands and shares a tanka without comment. The silence between each, is like the silence between breaths.  A moment of time to let the tanka resonate and become part of you. For me the power is like the collected wisdom of a group doubled, as we read and reflect on what another has reflected on and written.

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The next hour we were really spoilt with the presence of Tomoko Oka, a Japanese Calligraphy Artist.  Tomoko-san gave us a very gentle introduction to Calligraphy which was a practical exercise in brushing several kanji. It was an honour for all of us to be in her presence.  We all entered into the spirit of the exercise, which was centering and some of us found ourselves in a meditative state. This is one of the many arts that is done as only the Japanese know how.

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To finish off our morning, a local artist and musician Philip Rich played his guitar and sang a song he wrote and composed himself.  It was inspired by an acknowledgement to country he once heard. The refrain was ‘If you’re a friend of mother earth you tread softly on this land’. During our lunch it was time to share with each other and be serenaded by Phillip singing for us some of the work of Nobel winning poet, Bob Dylan and our own Casey Chambers.

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A highlight for all of us was the afternoon workshop given by Michael Thorley. 

The title of his workshop was  shasei – Where Tankaists Fear to Tread? Let’s Go There’.  

And go there we did, lead by Michael’s skilful presentation. For some of us, ‘shasei’ was a 

new term, a new concept and a very interesting style of writing Tanka.  It originated withwhose home some of us have had the honour of visiting in Matsuyama City on Shikoku Island, Japan.

It is a style of writing tanka where you emphasis ‘a sketch from life’ – writing of what one observes however mundane, so that the reader also experiences the scene and understands what has moved them. We had the sanctuary of the Arboretum to walk around and find our moment to try out writing our idea of shasei. We gathered again and shared our thoughts and words. 

The day ended with several reports from other tanka groups and our plan to regather in the Autumn of 2020.

Colleen Keating

A launch of a new book is a celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This afternoon amidst Christmas celebrations we stopped at 3.30 to join Antonia Reiseger  to welcome her new book Poppies .  It was exciting to welcome Peter Skrzynecki  the Australian poet who tells us so much  of who we are,  to the Writers Centre to launch Antonia’s  new poetry book . In his speech Peter spoke of the satisfaction being in the Judith Wright Room for it was Judith who encouraged this young and promising poet with an unusual name to be the Piet he became . And he has just written a book of his experience with Judith Wright . As one person commented as he got up to read one of Antonia’s poems . . . These poem are really to be breathed rather than read . How true. Congratulations Antonia on an exquisite poetry boo

 

 

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Bush Walk: Crackneck Lookout south to the Trig Station

 

A Spring Coastal Heathland walk 

Today we took the walk from Crackneck Lookout  to the Trig station.

Last Spring the Flannel Flowers were spectacular so this spring September 2019 we returned to enjoy the same. We were a little early. Recommend you wait till mid October to see acres of wild Flannel Flowers. For us they were mostly baby buds still hiding from the world.

However the spring brought wildflowers,  with lots of new colour to the bush. Spectacular –  purple boronias, powerful pink eriostemons australiensis,  red grevilleas, bright blue dampiera, yellow ispogon, dillwynias, gompholobiums, bossiaeas,  yellow hakea.  Add to this the vibrant Cabbage Tree Palms and the Grass trees and the vistas of the sea through the bush made for a wonderful morning. The trees and variety of barks and colours I will leave till a later ‘Tree’ post.

It is becoming a tradition to take this walk each spring –its sandy path and bird life serendading us along the path invigorates us for the rest of the day.

Can you see Michael amidst the beauty of the grass tree and palms ?

 

 

Letter to Oodgeroo Noonuccal from Katie Noonan

 

 

Dear Oodgeroo,

When I was around seven years old I studied poetry from your book My People for a school assignment and I was immediately struck by the visceral power of your words. It was a transformative moment, a moment when I realised the power of language and storytelling. As a daughter of a journalist I was acutely aware of the power of the written word, but this was my first interaction with poetry that really moved me.

This first encounter with your writing also started a deep interest in the culture of our First Nation Australians. At the time, like most white Australian kids, I had no knowledge of this ancient and extraordinary culture and had never met an Indigenous person. Your words gave me a warm welcome into this world, a world that in my adult life I have been fortunately welcomed into, largely through the prism of music making.

Thank you for your powerful words, thank you for teaching me and for opening my mind and heart to your amazing culture. Thank you for introducing me to the magic of Minjerribah and thank you for allowing myself and other Queensland women to stand on your shoulders in a world where gender equality is the best it’s ever been.

I think you would be thrilled to know that right now in Queensland,  we have the most women in state parliament in Australian history. We have the first Australian woman to be elected for two terms as Premier, we have our first female State Secretary and we also have Queensland’s first female Indigenous Minister—your extraordinary niece Minister Leeanne Enoch. It is thanks to women like you that statistics like this are possible.

The Ngugi, Gorenpul and Noonuccal families on your magic y are also currently negotiating new native title for Mulgulpin (Moreton Island). The Quandamooka people were declared the traditional owners of Minjerribah in 2011, and I just recently finished looking at the plans for a wonderful new and amazing arts centre in Dunwich—it is a very exciting time for Quandamooka country.

On this project, after chatting with your grand-daughter Petrina Walker and her brother Raymond, we arranged for your grandson Joshua to translate ten poems of yours into Jandai language for your great grand-daughter Kaleenah to recite with us. She sounds amazing—incredibly strong and powerful.

We have ten of our finest classical composers setting your words to music and five of them are from Queensland. With the six performers on the album—four of us are from Queensland also—Kaleenah and myself, and Dale and Francesca from the Australian String Quartet. It was very important for me that the people on this project be connected to you and your country.

My sincere hope for this project is that more people discover your extraordinary words and your vision for the future of this country is realised, The Glad Tomorrow,  where all Australians, regardless of race or gender, combine from shore to shore and live as equals.

Oodgeroo, thank you for your words, your leadership, your tenacity and your incredible legacy.

Love,

Katie Noonan

The Glad Tomorrow Oodgeroo’s poetry put to music and sang by Katie Noonan

THE GLAD TOMORROW

For the first time ever, powerhouse will be joined by the acclaimed Australian String Quartet for a national tour of their new project ‘The Glad Tomorrow’.

 

To our fathers’ fathers
The pain, the sorrow:
To our children’s children
The glad tomorrow.

The new album sees Katie set the uniquely Australian poetry of Queenslander and First Nations icon Oodgeroo Noonuccal to music, commissioning ten stellar Australian contemporary composers to create a song cycle based on Oodgeroo’s poetry, bringing together 4 distinct worlds – Contemporary Australian and Queensland Composers, the searing poetry of Queenslander, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, the Australian String Quartet and Katie Noonan’s unique voice and innate musicality. For me the most spine-tingling part was hearing the language of Oodgeroo’s homeland spoken by her  great-granddaughter, Kaleenah Edwards who read each poem in the Stradbroke language of her homeland Minjerriba.

This unique combination of creative powerhouses will deliver a spectacular and spine-tingling live performance.

 

Why is Hildegard of Bingen important?

Why is Hildegard of Bingen Important?

  1. Hildegard of Bingen produced major works of theology, music and medicine. Her work continues to influence our ways of thinking today.
  2. Hildegard is one of only 36 people to be named Doctor of the Church, a title given by the Roman Catholic Church to saints whose writings, research or study on theology or doctrine are useful to Christians “in any age of the Church.”
  3. Hildegard von Bingen changed the way we view the world. Among her most recognizable contributions is her theory of Viriditas, the divine force of nature.
  4. Hildegard was an early naturopath. She closely observed and documented human ailments and remedies. We have Hildegard of Bingen to thank for discovering many healing plants and natural remedies.
  5. Hildegard was an early nutritionist. She influenced the medieval diet popular today.
  6. Hildegard taught us how-to live-in moderation. She had a firm belief in routine, discipline, and discretio, the practice of living in balance and bringing the union of the divine and man into order.
  7. Hildegard of Bingen taught us that creativity is both an expression and form of prayer.
  8. Hildegard was one of the most important composers of the Medieval Period. Her morality play and opera, Ordo Virtutum, is the only Medieval composition surviving today with text and music.

Who was Hildegard of Bingen?

Canonized in 2012, Saint Hildegard of Bingen has long been recognized as a meaningful religious and historic figure. Born in 1098 to a noble family in Germany’s Rhine Valley this Benedictine abbess was a visionary and polymath, a poet, playwright, composer, philosopher, theologian, Christian mystic, scientist, and Doctor of Medicine.

What is Hildegard of Bingen Known for?

We appreciate Hildegard today as an extraordinary woman of the Middle Ages who held extremely progressive ideas for her time. Her irrepressible spirit and gifted intellect lifted her above the social, cultural and gender barriers of the time to consult and advise bishops, popes and kings during a period when few women were given respect.

St. Hildegard remains known as the originator of German alternative medicine and deserves recognition for her contributions to holistic health and wellness. She promoted the prevention of disease and illness by natural means of a moderate and healthy lifestyle and used the curative powers of natural objects for healing. She memorialized her healing methods in her writings.

Hildegard’s Literary Contributions

In Causae et Curae (Causes and Cures), she wrote extensively about the cause and symptoms of a variety of health conditions and provided guidance for treating the pathologies with natural remedies.

In Physica (The Natural Power of Things), she described the forces of nature and their effect on the health of man.

Hildegard is also known as the “Sybil of the Rhine” for her visionary writing.

Hildegard’s Visionary Works

Liber Scivias (Know the Ways) is perhaps the most famous of her writings. It describes 26 of her most vivid visions and deals with the belief that the universe exists simultaneously within each of us, while also encompassing everything else externally. As the illustrator of Scivias Hildegard is one of the few identifiable artists of the Middle Ages.

Her second visionary work, The Book of Life’s Merits (Liber Vitae Meritorum), illustrates the inseparable link between the cosmos, man’s salvation, and moral determination. It contains one of the earliest descriptions of Purgatory.

Hildegard of Bingen’s final visionary work, The Book of Divine Works (Liber Divinorum Operum) describes the comprehensive relationship with God, the world around us, and man.

Hildegard’s Legacy of Music

Hildegard considered music to be the point where heaven and earth meet. She viewed music as the interconnectivity between humans and the universe. Her book of songs (Symphoniae) includes the morality play and opera, Ordo Virtutum (Play of Virtues), which was the first morality play and opera written, preceding others by more than 100 years.

What did Hildegard of Bingen do?

Hildegard of Bingen was ahead of her time. She was the “first” in many fields, producing major works of theology, music and medicine. Her work helped usher in many new and creative ways of thinking.

Hildegard changed the way we see the world and a woman’s place in it. She demonstrated a new way of thinking and living during a time when little was expected of women. Her historical impact stems as much from her role in diligently recording the culmination of beliefs and practices over centuries of human experience as it does from her unique thinking. Her body of work touches on virtually every part of our beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Story of the Homeless Man by Edison with help of his Mum

Story of the Homeless Man by Edison with help of his Mum

Story of the homeless man

We were going to the shops and we saw a homeless man. He had a stick and we were wondering what he was doing. We thought he could be making a fire to keep him warm but we were wrong. We thought he was carving a pencil but we were wrong.

When my mum asked him what was he making, he told us he was trying to make a frame. He told me how he was going to make the frame but sadly he did not have everything he needed. He explained to me that he would need some wood glue to glue the sticks together.

My mum and I said “good luck” and we went to do our shopping.

 

Later that day, I asked my mum “How much is wood glue?” She didn’t know. I told her I have $74 and if that was enough money to buy wood glue, maybe I could buy it for the homeless man to help him make his frames.

My mum and I went to the shops and bought some wood glue, we found the homeless man and we gave it to him. He said thank you.

As we walked back to our car a big smile filled my face and I felt great. With my big smiling face I told my mum “I’m a bucket filler!!!!”

By Edison Hay (with a little help from my mum)  

 

 

EDISON AND HIS MUM

H

Bush Walk: Wyrrabalong National Park North

Whenever we  are out walking especially in the areas of beauty around our place on the Central Coast we pay tribute to the Awabakal and Darkinjung peoples and this makes us a little more aware  that we walk on sacred ground  and reminds us to pay attention and just ask and thank our entry into a place .

Spring is for stepping out and our local Wyrrabalong National Park

( gazetted in 1991) has the best of all worlds , the wonderful Australian Bush with its Red Gums and  Scribbly Eucalyptus,  the lingering of wattle and other Acacias, Hakea, Myrtles,  Banksia  and the odd siren of a red Waratah. This is  backgrounded by the coastal bird life with the iconic crack of the Whip Bird and the spectacular glimpses of the blue remind ing us we are walking in a rare piece of land where the bush meets the sea in our walk today as it curls around Tuggerah Lake 

We parked our car at a small car park off the road not far  along from Magenta. The first sign told us fox poison was laid . . . I felt sad after the wonderfully wild fox we saw in the past few days in the settling pond off Ibis Road.  But then if they are taking the birds and wild life maybe it has to be done. It reminds me of another walk I do  at Normanhurst in Sydney  where  signs appeared that they had laid baits against the rabbits . ( that saddened me too as I loved their little furry ears popping up and watching me as I walked. But I think the rabbits had the last laugh as they moved down onto the grass near the railway line and I travelled past they were hopping about everywhere. 

 The Burrawang Walking Track was the beginning and we walked taking in the fresh, unwithered air and breathing deeply to find an inner calm. 

Very quickly a divide in the road with  an unsigned choice . 

It had us standing and pondering Robert Frost’s Poem

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, . . . 

The trees were amazing (as the photos show) but no photo can do justice to the awe  and magestry of the tree all with their own characters and the ferns protected by the higher canopy  were full of veriditas as Hildegard would say.

When we came to the signed junction  Red Gum Trail or Lilly Pilly Loop Trail .We chose the Lilly Pilly track which took us to a Tuggerah Lake Lookout. We took this track as time and energy seemed to prefer the loop. and left the Red Gum Trail for another day . Even so we saw some wonderful Red Gums.

There was a deep quietness and I think made even more so as our footprints were cushioned by the sandy track and it gave a great sense of wellbeing with the trees and ferns and lake.

. There was a deep quietness and I think made even more so as our footprints were cushioned by the sandy track and it gave a great sense of wellbeing with the trees and ferns and lake.