… how’m I gonna get any reading done?
I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit lately, because other things (I think they’re collectively called ‘life’) have intervened. No tired horses involved, I just like that song.
One of the distractions has been my role as offsider to the Emerging Artist. On the weekend a small mob of us went up to Fingal Bay north of Newcastle to shoot a short video. I took this little mother and son snap. (Mother is Emerging Artist, son has short film Red Ink showing at the Sydney Film Festival as part of the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship Gala Screening).
I lived a decade in Port Stephens teaching at Nelson Bay HS – the site sold (prime real estate just above Little Beach – and an alternative site was developed for what became a kind of educational Hub – Public School and secondary school (Tomaree HS) and I think a TAFE section, too – at Salamander. Anyway I had a couple of writer friends who both lived at Fingal Bay. One was Joanna LAFEBRE – to Australia with artist/potter husband Peter in the early 1950s and their older daughters. Joanna ran a writers’ group over many years. She wrote a beautiful children’s fantasy book called Where the Dolphins Sing – self-published in a very limited edition of eight copies in 2001 – owing something in its scope and vision to JRR Tolkien – a mediaeval royal setting – the triumph of goodness. She sent it off to a half-dozen publishers – none were interested – fantasy tales were passé was the general consensus from those who were making judgements. I was stunned – but living far away then in Japan. Joanna was then in her mid-80s. She passed away in her early 90s in 2008. I still have the copy of the book she gave me. Others went to her daughters. Joanna’s father was Cornelius BRUIJN – a noted teacher and author in The Netherlands – a google-able name! The other writer was Daphne ROOKE – from South Africa – the author of many books: Mittee, The Greyling, Margareta de la Porte [published in the UK with Gollancz] among others – including some children’s books actually set in the Port Stephens. In fact all her adult books were banned in South Africa/Suid Africa during the apartheid era – though now set for study at tertiary level there. She was a friend of Alan PATON (Cry, the Beloved Country) whom she said she was on cheek-kissing terms with – and that if I wanted to know how he spoke – all I had to do was listen to Archbishop Desmond TUTU. In her latter years, widowed, she moved to Cambridge – where her daughter and husband lived – both associated with that academic world. She passed away in her mid-90s. One of my high school students during the latter 1980s at the school went on to become a poet – he too moved from Port Stephens where he knew both Joanna and Daphne to Cambridge where he still resides. Brad EVANS.
Great photo of Mother and Son. Good wishes go with the screening of Red Ink!