Weekend Coffee Share – 15th October, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share.

Crooked House

This week, I’m very thrilled to be greeting you from dry land. Indeed, the sun’s even stuck her head out, bathing the backyard in golden rays as we speak. Even though I know it’s only temporary, this break in the weather is a relief. We’ve had two weeks of very heavy rain and our house was beginning to feel like proverbial Noah’s Ark. That’s not so crazy as it sounds because my desk is parked out the back of the house in one of those indoor-outdoor rooms. So, being surrounded by glass, it’s easy to feel that I’m on a boat and the house is about to leave it’s moorings and drift out to sea. That’s not so crazy either. The beach is only at the end of the street. So, not a lot of imagination is required to transport it there. Humph. I appears that I’ve taken Margaret Wild’s children’s book: The Little Crooked House too much to heart. I used to read it over and over again to my kids, and in this story the crooked house keeps relocating itself. So, you see, I’m not the only one who thinks about crooked houses like ours going walkabout, or even sailing.

While I haven’t been on any great physical adventures during the last week, I have covered considerable ground inside my head. A few weeks ago, I picked up: Companion to Henry Lawson Fifteen Stories for a $1.00 at the garage sale at Pearl Beach I’ve previously told you about. Well, as luck or extreme book hoarding would have it, it turned out that I already had the companion book: Henry Lawson Fifteen Stories on the shelf at home. Not bad considering it was published in 1959. Anyway, I decided to really study these books both to further enrich my appreciation of our culture, but also to learn more about the art of writing the short story.

What’s actually happened is that I’ve become consumed by Henry Lawson’s own life story, and also how it reflects back on the experiences of my own family going back. It actually turned out that Henry Lawson grew up near Mudgee not far from where my Irish Famine orphan, Bridget Donovan lived with her husband George Merritt. They owned a store in nearby Avisford and were contemporaries of Henry Lawson’s parents and grandparents, who also provided some of the material and inspiration for his stories. So, knowing this connection has given me both a deeper appreciation of Henry Lawson’s stories, and has also added to Bridget’s backstory.

Reading Henry Lawon’s bio, I also found out that The Bulletin sent him out to Bourke in 1893 to collect stories and send them back. Here was another interesting coincidence.  You see, I’ve grown up with my mother telling me this story of how she had tickets to see Peter, Paul & Mary but was forced to go out to Bourke with her parents instead to see her Great Uncle Herb Bruhn who was a watchmaker out there and also had something to do with musical productions. I don’t know if the whole family went out there but I’ve heard stories of all four kids squashed into the back of the FJ Holden and this is what you would call legitimate suffering…especially in the Australian heat. Mum was studying music and piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and she performed while she was in Bourke at a fundraiser for the Miss Australia Quest. There’s so much to that trip that there has to be a couple of stories in it.

Anyway, I ended up looking Uncle Herb in the old newspapers online, and struck absolute gold. Turns out that Uncle Herb was anything but idle while out in Bourke. Indeed, he was involved with establishing the Bourke Music and Dramatic Society and they put on Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carmen  and Cleopatra. It seems that while Uncle Herb might’ve been living in a small town, that he was a man with grand visions. These old newspapers have yielded multiple poems he’s written, columns of advice about how to sing and improve your voice. He wasn’t from Bourke, and yet he became so passionate about the place. I found one article where he was talking about the risk of distant Dubbo bleeding Burke dry and needing to fight to preserve the town. I see so much of myself in him, and only wish I’d known all of this when I was younger. Perhaps, my life might’ve taken a different course. Or, do I still have time? Almost 50, is it too late to return to the stage? There wasn’t much to come back to, although I’ve done numerous poetry readings.

Gidgee Guest House Bourke

For Sale. This is what $480.00 buys you in Bourke. This is my dream home. 13 bedrooms. OMG. No more decluttering required.

By the way, Geoff did a Google search to check out real estate prices in Bourke and we’ve found our ideal home. It’s just such a pity it’s so far away and I can’t help wishing to transport it here brick rick. It used to be the Commonwealth Bank in Bourke and even has a safe but what I love about it is having 13 bedrooms and all that space. Golly. I could actually practice my violin without my bow banging into something.

On the home front, on Saturday our daughter performed in the Dance Team production with her dance school. The production started out with Flick a 45 minute drama written by Daniel Russell. The plot revolved around the teenager losing her 7 year old little sister while her parents are at work. Instead of ringing her parents or the Police, she (gulp) contacts her friends. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in my seat thinking the sister’s been abducted and they have 48 hours to find her. You need to hurry up and press the panic button. So, the play gains much of it’s terror and suspense through what doesn’t happen and how that grates against the audience’s knowledge of what should be happening. Little sister eventually turns up and she’s been sitting on the roof of the house watching the moon as though it’s the most natural thing to do and isn’t dangerous. I found this drama more terrifying and scary than a Stephen King horror film. The drama was followed by two choreographed dances choreographed and directed by Karina Russell. I’m new to this contemporary dance business, but to my musical mind, it was like an orchestral piece where the dancers were moving like an integral whole with some spotlights flashed here and there but they truly were team performances. I would really like to see the whole concert again so I could enjoy each performance as a whole instead of focusing so much on trying to find my daughter and watch her dance. I always watch anything she’s in with my eyes zoomed in on her and I know other parents are the same and we tend to miss the big picture. Tribe, which was choreographed and Directed by Karina Russell, was set in Ireland around 9 AD during the Viking era. Tribe “sees the repercussions of a group of young Celt women left to fend for themselves and their land while the men of their tribe are at sea.” Meanwhile Red Thread was inspired by the Ancient Chinese Proverb: “an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.” These were incredible performances which I would like to see again and again to really appreciate the very depths of what was being expressed. It was very moving and clever and the sort of choreography you’d expect to see at the Sydney Dance Company. Well, it seemed that way to me.

In terms of blogging this week, my research into Henry Lawson inspired this week’s contribution to Friday Fictioneers: Not the Boss’s Wife.  Then, we visited Stanley, Tasmania – Thursday Doors.

By the way, since I missed last weekend’s Coffee Share, I thought I’d also let you know that our daughter has just got her very first pair of pointe shoes. It was so exciting, as it’s one of those right of passage experiences and time to crack the metaphorical champagne. You can read more about it or just check out the photos: HERE

So, what have you been up to? I should’ve asked you that at the start and offered you a cuppa and a cupcake, but as I’ve said before, I’m a lousy host.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Best wishes,






4 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – 15th October, 2018.

  1. Melissa Gerke

    I can’t believe it rained for the school holidays ( all 2 weeks of it) and we were camping. That’s why all my camping pictures on my blog look so drery. Bourke is so remote. I don’t think I would want to live there.

  2. Gary A Wilson

    so much fun stuff to work with here, I think (since my job is expecting me to join the fray soon) will take on only one of your final comments about being a “lousy host”. Somehow, I doubt this, but would expect that part of the fun of sitting down with you to enjoy some time of sharing the cool stuff of life, might well be the challenge of getting you to sit still enough to enjoy the visit yourself. You have a mighty restless mind I think. It’s just part of your charm. All the best my friend.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Gary. I have writtewn “Restless Mind” on a piece of paper and stuck it to the filing cabinet behind my desk. It’s become my think tank, which really is quite an apt job description for a filing cabinet, although my best ideas are stuck to the outside with magnets and looks a bit reminiscent of the noticeboard or graffiti tunnel at uni.
    I am now in the process of trying to tie lead balloons onto some of these ideas and actually see them turn into something more concrete. I see to be a master of research for research sake too. We are all works in progress. Well, that’s the idea anyway.
    Thank you for the encouragement btw. Much appreciated. I am really struggling get a grasp of who I am. I am the epicentre of so many whirlwinds, roles and trying to work out what is me within all of that is difficult for me. I tend to adapt to the environment to a large extent and then suddenly open my eyes and can feel quite lost. How did I get here? I think you’re right though. I do need to do more sitting. Learn how to be.

  4. Gary A Wilson

    I’d like to be right on this one. Here’s a process I’ve circled around quite a few times that you might find helpful, or hopefully, useful. You could do it for read, but it works pretty good as a mental experiment too.

    1) Select 4-6 bricks and place them in a circle somewhere where they can stay for a while. Write on each a principal you hold dear. You’re looking for strong, non-negotiable statements like:
    — A) God is real and he loves me.
    — B) So does my family, and
    — C) I love them without reservation.
    — D) I love learning things about [short general list].
    — E) I’m most valuable to those I care the most for when I’m [another short general list].
    — F) I cannot abide any dishonesty even or especially to myself.
    — G) I have a purpose that needs to be mostly accomplished by [some time that makes sense like, “before my children move out” or whatever is big and important to you.

    2) Put a new potted plant in the circle and designate it “My next big target”. Keep some BBQ kabob sticks and post-it notes handy where you begin to add attributes of what that target will look like when it matures. These note/flags should have things like:
    — A) Perhaps it should involve photography or violin performance.
    — B) You must use those glasses (okay, just joking on this one)
    — C) It must be with or close to my family somehow
    — D) It must use my research skills somehow
    — E) It must be public somehow, something I can blog or teach or publish maybe.

    3) Select some small chunks of scrap lumber, no longer than about 10″ x 4″. Write on each, the resources that are you, skills you have at your disposal or can easily acquire. Keep them in a small box nearby so you can begin to build small structures on your bricks that represent the steps you’re taking to move Rowena from the firm brick foundation to the glowing plant. Move things around as your vision forms. Look for creative ways to assemble your resources to try various structures. Add or subtract the pieces of wood as indicated, but the bricks gotta stay, and every structure needs to build toward “helping” that plant (metaphorically of course) because it is your most important thing to accomplish.

    4) Spend a few minutes each day, caring for that plant and adapting your structures as you find your focus and passion. You can trim the plant, create or discard post-it notes or whole flag poles. You can add, modify or destroy pieces of wood, but build you must. None of the structures can violate or contradict the bricks and dependence on the bricks is encouraged.

    5) You could do this all in your mind, but putting your hands on something physical and moving the pieces around can help tighten the focus I think you’re looking for. Besides, I bet you would make the idea beautiful. In fact, I’ll bet you can improve on the whole idea somehow and make it your own.

    Just a thought, but I happen to know that restless minds do good with things like this. Later – I would love to see your photos. . .

    Warmest regards,

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