WT&TT: Five Storytelling Lessons from Hamilton’s America

Why, yes, I am going through some old links in my inbox in order to schedule some “Writing Tips & Tricks Tuesday” posts, what made you ask? 😉

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/10/24/five-storytelling-lessons-from-hamiltons-america/

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Always Was, Always Will Be

Today is a day of celebration officially for many in Australia. But for many others, the First Nations peoples of Australia, it is a day of mourning. It is Invasion Day or Survival Day.

There are many reasons to celebrate Australia and many things to defend about Australia. Buttoday is the wrong date to do so, because by celebrating today we discount the experiences of First Nations’ peoples.

See here for a map of Australian First Nations’ language/cultural groupings.

Below is a statement I adapted from a website which is encouraging people to use their social media to support First Nations’ peoples on this day. (I couldn’t post it to Facebook through their link because my additions made it longer than 420 characters.)

Today, on January 26th, I acknowledge the Aboriginal peoples who are the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which I live and study, the Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri peoples. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and future, and acknowledge Aboriginal peoples are hurting and mourning on this day. I also acknowledge that Aboriginal peoples have a strong spirit of survival, having survived for over 60,000 years. Their sovereignty has never been ceded. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Add your acknowledgements here: http://www.commongrace.org.au/jan26_share

Why I Marched

So on the weekend I marched in Melbourne at one of the many “Solidarity” events happening across the world in support of those marching against Trump in the US.

There were at least 6,000 of us and possibly as much as 10,000.  Men, women (and presumably other genders), children and dogs walked from the State Library to Parliament, avoiding Bourke St. It was a good event, with several speakers. I made a few new friends along the way.

One of the speakers was Van Badham, a writer, columnist and feminist. I enjoyed her speech the best, because she made global events local and talked about intersectionality – the real sort. Like how we have to try and understand where people who vote differently are coming from. Times are changing rapidly and progress isn’t equal – so we need to be out and talking with people about concerns. Memorable quotes from her included, “If your feminism doesn’t involve being part of a union, then you’re doing it wrong”. While I’m wary sometimes of doing the whole “feminists are/not this or that”, I think Van Badham makes a good point. How can we change things if we’re not involved? How can we show that we share the same concerns if we’re not a part of those sorts of groups – if we’re not active? I’ll return to the union thing in a minute.

We need to come together. As Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep shows here, there are plenty of things that need change within Australia as well as outside. The activist group March in March Australia (via Trish Corry) has another list of Australian disgraces:

march-in-march-1

I was thinking about these things today when my friend pointed me in the direction of a movie, released a couple of years ago, that she’d just viewed. Anyone remember Pride? It was released in 2014 – it was one of the few movies I watched that year (I’m not a big movie-watcher….). It’s a film about true events that occurred in 1984-85, in Britain. “It’s the summer of 1984 Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.” Of course, when they try to donate the money there’s a bit of a culture clash at first. But the hand of friendship is extended between the group (Lesbians and Gays Supporting the Miners) and a small mining town, Onllwyn, in Wales. Despite hiccups, both ‘sides’ come to accept each other. It’s a brilliant story of allyship and intersectionality “done right”. The best part is that it is very close to the true story of what happened. Go watch it if you haven’t already. =)

It’s got a cracking script, paired with some great songs. Two in particular fit my mood today – the end song is “Power In A Union”, the version by Billy Bragg. The original song/manifesto is older than that. Unionism plays a big part in the film – please look Pride up and read the history behind it if you can’t watch the actual film. It’s so very relevant given the message of the Women’s March and of the film itself of being “stronger together”. Organise!

Hopefully in a non-violent fashion. I don’t want to sound preachy but I think the best way of doing things is to use words and constructive not destructive action. That doesn’t mean switching off, in the hope of “denying them oxygen”. As Jennifer Wilson said in a different article, speaking of another matter, “I disagree, not least because this is completely unrealistic: of course they will be given oxygen, and in view of that, to remain silent is to enable.” Well said! So let’s resolve to give up all forms of exclusion and in doing so, actively listen to each other, so we can better speak up for and support one another.

Another memorable quote from Badham spoke of us going away and talking, “in your schools, your offices, your mothers’ groups, your church groups” – I’m paraphrasing, because it’s been a few days so I can’t remember the exact words. But it’s still a good reminder that all of us have our own communities, plural, in which we can build change.
Or as Darth Timon put it, “So today, look to your pets. Look to your friends. Look to your significant other, your children, and your family. Look to all that is good, and kind, and unite in that spirit. Unite against the new occupant of the White House and his ilk. You are many, and you will make a difference.” (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll leave you with another song used in Pride that my friend pointed me towards again. I rediscovered my love of this song. I’ve used a clip from Pride because it is such a beautiful, powerful rendering of the song.

I give you, “Bread and Roses”. Song history here. It’s good. Quote from the song: “Hearts starve as well as bodies/ Give us bread, but give us roses”.

 

 

 

 

 

PIV2017 – 68th Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival

Remember in July last year, I talked about going to an Intervarsity Choral Festival (IV) in Canberra? Well, it’s on again, in Perth this time. It is after all an annual thing. While I forgot to publicise it via the blog before it began (oops), I’m following along as it happens (being unable to attend myself).

concert, the culmination of all their hard work going on right now, will occur on the 29th January in Perth, Australia. If you’re going to be there, or you know someone who will be, come along! You won’t be disappointed. Click on the link for details!

Follow along with what’s going on at:
https://www.facebook.com/PIV2017/
https://twitter.com/piv2017
https://www.piv2017.org.au/

Also, check out the website of the Australian Intervarsity Choral Societies Association (AICSA). They’re comprised of uni choirs across Australia and the annual get-togethers are the Intervarsity Festivals like Perth and Canberra, which help promote communication and collaboration between member choirs. AICSA support member choirs and the choral music scene at universities across Australia in various ways. Click on the link to find out more – and for the eagle-eyed among you, yes the header photo does have me in it, as it’s from Canberra IV 2016.

 

 

 

2016 Soundtrack

One post I forgot to schedule before the end of last year was a “Songs of the Year” post. So here it is.

2016 was a big year for me musically. I joined my uni choir (finally!); I performed in a few concerts; and music once again spoke to me when emotional times – good or bad – occurred. Overall, 2016 was a good year for me. Below is a list of songs that spoke to me this year. They weren’t the only songs that did so, but they were the more important ones.

 

Brave (Sara Bareilles): This song is about having the courage to speak up for and be true to yourself.
Fight Song (Rachel Patten): This one’s about following your dreams and believing in yourself.
Both of these songs have become mini-anthems for me. They’re part of a list I put on when I want to pump myself up. They act as reminders and goals.

 

Three Little Birds (Bob Marley):
This song has been on my playlist for a while. As part of the Windrush performance, I learnt a four-part arrangement of it. It’s by itself on the list instead of with the others below because our first time of learning the arrangement in rehearsal was just after the whole British EU referendum kerfuffle. Some of us had spent time pre-rehearsal congregating and asking each other, “What the heck??” So learning the song was a reminder for me to take a deep breath and look forward.

 

Into the Night” CIV Performance Songs (Parry, Chapman, Winikoff, Bruckner): See the link for a full list of the songs in a Review of our concert.
Ah, CIV – 67th Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival in Canberra 2016. It was a very fun time and I enjoyed myself immensely, making new friends and socialising, rehearsing intensely and then performing in the concert at the end. Such a blast. The 68th Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival 2017, is happening right now in Perth and while I’m only able to participate virtually this time, its coming has brought back a bunch of memories. CIV16 was a highlight of the year for me.

 

IV/AICSA Songbook Songs: These songs I also learnt because of CIV. They’re songs that are standard songs throughout the IV movement, the sort that are pulled out at campfire nights and social IV-chorister gatherings. Some are quite risqué, while others are not (but even those ones often have risqué versions!). I’ve listed some of my favourites below.

Laudate Nomen Domini (Christopher Tye): The “anthem” of the intervarsity choral movement. I learnt this song before CIV but didn’t understand why it was so special until I heard & saw what it being an anthem meant, at the actual IV. There’s something special about a song that everyone in that group (of people from uni choirs across Australia) can sing (with actions) at the drop of a hat – or rather, at the calling of “one, two” and humming/being given your starting notes. My knowledge of Laudate is irrevocably tied to those first experiences at CIV. Magic!
Pastyme with Good Companye (Henry VIII): No special feelings attached to this song exactly, I just like it. It’s got a good tune and good words too.
Since First I Saw Your Face (Thomas Ford) and Come Again (John Dowland): I like these songs not so much for their tunes (though they’re nice) or lyrics but because of the memories attached to them. Hee hee. 😀

 

Windrush songs – especially The Boat, Dynamite (both original compositions by Geoffrey Williams) and more. The songs were set in the 1950s-60s but are applicable to today in various ways.
The Boat is a story of migration; travelling far away from home on a one-way trip, leaving behind all the narrator knows to start afresh in a new and strange place.
Dynamite tells of some of the hardships of being a new immigrant, especially when one is young and black Caribbean, coming “face-to-face-to-face” with prejudice from the police and others in the 1960s.

 

The Longshot (Megson): “You take a long shot, if that’s all there is. Put it in a very safe place, where your doubt can’t get to it. ‘Cause once you’re that certain all hope is gone, a long shot is better than none.” That’s the chorus of the song. I found the song when I was a bit pissed (off) and searching for musical distraction on US election day. It helped re-centre me. It’s such a beautiful song.

 

There Shall A Star (Felix Mendelssohn), Fantasia Christmas Carols (Vaughan Williams), and other “Little Bit Like Christmas” songs. I loved singing in that concert – as well as the camp before it and so on. It was a great way to round out the year.

 

If you’re curious, here’s the link to my first soundtrack post and here’s another, to 2015’s soundtrack. I’ve already started building my list for 2017. 🙂

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meditation: “Peace on Earth” is a call to action

Interesting. “If you want peace, work for peace”. Doesn’t mean we have to be passive, but *assertive*, which is different to being aggressive.
Of course, sometimes the only option to get people’s attention seems to be by doing the latter…. It’s got me thinking, anyway.

This Saturday, there are marches being organised across the world, Women’s Marches, as a way of expressing emotions about Trump and what he and others represent – as a way of saying, “No” to their hate (in all forms) and “Yes” to unity, compassion, kindness and cohesion.
See here: https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters/
Also, a screenshot from the page:

womens-marches-locations

They’re happening across the world: London, Washington, Vienna, Tel-Aviv-Yafo, Budapest, Nairobi, Beirut, Ljubljana, Oslo, Auckland, Melbourne…. In several countries there are more than one city participating.

That’s one way of sending a message!

Messy Jesus Business

Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day to all of you! What are you doing to honor the legacy of Dr. King today?

Please, let us allow ourselves to be disturbed and transformed on this national holiday. This is not a day for sentimental history lessons. It is not a day to rest nor enjoy the comforts of privilege. We cannot afford to rot in complacency.

Rather, we must become students of nonviolence and courageous change makers. Today is a day for contemplation and action; for meditation and community building. Let us effectively scrutinize these times and organize our resistance. Let us lean in to the Spirit to be transformed into true Gospel people. These are the ways we can truly honor Dr. King–and all those who gave up their lives nonviolently for the sake of equality.

Today would be an excellent day to pray with Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace…

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Reblogged: How to Keep Readers From Asking, “Why Didn’t They Just…?” 

Interesting and useful.

Stephanie O’Brien

My siblings and I have sometimes joked that we could take over several fictional universes with the power of “Why didn’t they just…?” When characters fail to use an obvious solution, or forget a skill or superpower that could easily resolve the situation, it can be pretty frustrating for the readers. […]
books, literature, fiction, Writers, Writing, Authors, blog, blogging, publishing

How to Keep Your Readers From Asking, “Why Didn’t They Just…?”

Reblog: Resolutions: Good or Bad

I find resolutions interesting. As I commented on Noelle’s post (linked below),

I like ones that are “commitments to try”, so to speak. You know they’re goals and things you’d like to do, but they’re not “have-tos”.

Setting unattainable resolutions can lead to trouble or so it seems – we gain only negative emotions when we revert to old habits after promising to keep to a path for a year.

I remind myself that these are goals, to be practiced and worked on during the year but not mandatory.

With that in mind, some ones for this year are:

  • Do well in my Masters coursework etc.
    – Ask for help if I need it and monitor myself so that the changes of this year don’t cause my grades to drop.
  • To listen twice as much as I speak;
    –   I’ll be addressing this in more depth later, but as I’m a talker and social person who also is a “Feeler” (high F in Myers-Briggs, for example), I worry about my ratio of talking to listening. So I’m working on it.
  • Alongside the above is my want to actively practice my Feeling
    –   Again, I’ll explain in another post, but cultivating my empathetic presence is important to me. These first two are very connected.
  • To get back into blogging
    – I fell off a regular blogging schedule a bit over the second half of 2016, but I’d like to be more consistent.
  • To get back into writing my story.
    – I’ve done quite a lot of backstory-work but haven’t actually done any story-writing for a while. I need to get back into that.
  • To be more active and finding more walking spaces.
    –   I’m not naturally a person who gets active, as I’m not sporty. But I like nature and I like walking and I know I ought to be sitting less. I’m not interested in overdoing it though, as I’m skinny enough as it is.

Idea taken from the post linked below:

What are your thoughts on setting New Years Resolutions? Have you completed yours in the past or are you one of those who forgets what they are? Come read about the good and the bad of setting reso…

Source: {DISCUSSION} Resolutions: Good or Bad

Recipes for When It’s Hot

It’s been very hot in my part of Australia recently. Around Christmas we had a spell of scorching hot days and we just finished another.

Naturally this means I’ve been having lots of salads and so on. I thought I’d record some.

Tuna Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 bigger / 2 smaller cans of tuna (seasoned with lemon & pepper);
  • Several handfuls of lettuce (we used iceberg);
  • Ten-fifteen cherry tomatoes, halved;
  • 1 spring onion;
  • Experiment with other ingredients if you want to.

Method

Halve tomatoes, wash & shred lettuce, chop up spring onion, and mix in a bowl with the tuna.

Serves 2.

Chicken and Salad (Wraps)

Ingredients

  • Chicken pieces*;
  • Handfuls of lettuce (e.g. iceberg);
  • 1 medium-sized tomato;
  • 1/2 spring (or salad) onion;
  • Extra veggies if wanted – I reckon carrot would go well with this and maybe some beetroot;
  • Grated cheese;
  • Mayonnaise if desired, or perhaps some pickle relish;
  • Wraps (or you could cook some rice instead I guess).

Method

  1. Prep and cook the chicken pieces.
    * = depending on your tastes/ willingness-to-bother, you could use already prepped and cooked frozen chicken pieces (from freezer section of supermarket) or some breast/thigh fillets from the meat section.
  2. Assemble and prep other ingredients – wash, grate and chop them, depending on what they are.
  3. If using rice – i.e. if you’re bothered enough to cook something else as well as the chicken (remember it’s hot, as in 36*C hot 😛 ) – then cook that too, either in the microwave (15 or so mins, stir & check for water absorption, give it a bit more) or on the stove (however long it takes for the water to be absorbed by the rice).
  4. When chicken is ready, lay out plates.
    If using rice, dish that up and assemble the other ingredients into a salad around the chicken.
    If using wraps, lay them (use two at once if they’re thin) on the plates, then assemble everything else. The mayo and cheese should be added last or close to that.
  5. Close up wraps and EAT!

Chicken/etc., Salad and Noodles

Ingredients

  • Chicken pieces (or beef/kangaroo/etc. probably could be used?);
  • Lime juice
  • Spices/herbs: cumin, paprika, coriander;
  • Refried bean mix paste;
  • 2 carrots;
  • 1 spring onion;
  • Several handfuls of lettuce;
  • 1 cob corn;
  • 1/2 cucumber?;
  • Cherry tomatoes;
  • “Chinese noodles” of some sort – possibly rice noodles? They were long, thin and whitish.

Method

  1. Cook chicken pieces in deep frying pan with lemon juice, spices/herbs and refried bean paste (a bit like how my house makes a burrito mix).
  2. Make salad by washing, chopping, grating/peeling and just generally preparing veggies – including halving the cherry tomatoes, grating the carrots, slicing up the spring onion and so on.
  3. Cook the Chinese noodles – it only takes a few minutes.
  4. Serve and eat!