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Jan. 29th, 2016


'I give you this for your consideration:'

"I believe that the greatest gift
anyone can give to anyone else
is the gift of his or her own true self"

- Fred Rogers

Sep. 18th, 2013

The Ten Thousand (= All) Things by Ban B

My Boots or Losing Meaning by MTC Cronin

My Boots or Losing Meaning
by MTC Cronin

How big am I?
I wouldn’t try stuffing me into a car
or even a bus
I can’t fit in a house
and would squash the world if I sat
on top of it
How did this happen?
I woke up one day – not from sleep –
and decided to take every bit of me
into consideration
and of course discovered
I was not to be extricated
and for the first time – at least
with realization – safely ensconced
in it all it dawned I was too big
for my boots!
No fear!
The boots did their best
and I’ve gigantically pulled up
my socks
But don’t try forcing me into anything
smaller than the cosmos
or some of the meaning might
get lost

Sep. 3rd, 2013


What do I sound like? Um, basically... this

If you're a reader of this journal as opposed to someone who crosses paths with my physical reality regularly, I suppose there's a possibility you might be curious as to what I sound like.  If so, click on this link to hear me chatting live with local arts presenter Meredith Gilmore on Coast FM 96.3:

Jul. 8th, 2013


You've been waiting for something like this --

You’ve been waiting for something like this – summons,
intervention – a stranger who bends nearly double to ask,

‘Don’t I know…?’ and he doesn’t but one thing and the
next and another and then

you’re stalled at the border surrendering a passport that’s
borrowed, a face which is mugging.

‘I’m not…’ but you are, there’s sea in your mouth and sea
in your head, the words rushing out won’t listen to will or
good sense,

and you’re nowhere specific, just pandering with monkeys
in parakeet clothes, angels in uniforms with heat on their

You long to concur: you stretch out your hand; you long to
demur: you’ve lifted one foot but it’s weighted with weed.
And the loudspeaker squeals,

‘There’s nothing unsullied, no fresh taste of ice, no path
through the mayhem, no light on the shore:

the court has considered, the judgement’s decreed: your
confusion’s accepted; your transition declined.’

- poem by Brook Emery from his 2012 collection, Collusion

Jan. 11th, 2013


A Booker Pi

Cross-posted from Goodreads:

'I can well imagine an athiest's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!" - and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.' - Yann Martel, Life of Pi

I'm teetering on the cusp of giving this book a 5 out of 5.  While the twist in the tail effectively made me question the whole story that came before it, even then I still thought that, whichever way it happened, it did happen. The thing is, I was taken in from the Author's Note on.  Not only did I believe what I read in the Note, I related to it, and was amused by it. I couldn't wait to start in on the story proper, and when I did, I could not decide who I had more admiration for as a storyteller: Pi or Martel. The character of Pi seemed like a real individual of Indian background, and the character of Martel seemed like a real writer. While the circumstances of Pi's upbringing and his castaway adventure were extraordinary, extraordinary things happen, and I was convinced that the story was based on fact.

Perhaps the first thing that should have alerted me to what was going on was the argument in favour of zoos. I bought it. In the back of my mind I was thinking, how could one not-rich family manage that many contained animals without them (the animals) suffering some hardship? But I let myself believe that the compassion and ethics of Pi's father somehow made it possible, that his care was enough. I was impressed with the simplicity and rationality of the argument.

The narrative devices used - the occasional interruption of the adventure story to reveal a little more about the story-gathering process and the present life of Pi, and the addition of the interview 'transcripts' at the end of the tale - were effective and artfully used. I was crushing on Pi, and giving kudos to Martel for his sensitivity as a conduit and his dedication to presenting the story as completely as he could. I enjoyed all the relationships in the book, both human-with-human and human-with-animal. There were some beautiful descriptive passages and enough incidental humour to balance things.

When suspending disbelief did become a little challenging for me at some of the later points of the core narrative - I hope giving the indicators of blindness and meerkats does not act as a spoiler for anyone else who is able to come on the story as unpoliticised as I did - I allowed that someone suffering exposure and deprived of 'normal' amounts of food, water and human interaction might have difficulty differentiating between dreams and reality - inner and outer life - (hell, I do, and I'm very well catered for!) and actually experience reality at a different level to most.

In hot weather at the end of a fortnight's summer holidays, I was able to read the book in a weekend.  It was highly readable and engaging - more so than I anticipated. Despite being aware of the book since it won the Man Booker Prize, and interested in reading it, and even though the movie is now being promoted in the mainstream (and I fully intend to see it in 3D if I can), I still came to it knowing only the bare bones of the subject matter: that it was about a boy lost at sea with a tiger. Therefore the references to Richard Parker prior to the revealing of his identity held their potency for me. As I have indicated, I was taken in by the story. For me, both 'versions' seem plausible, especially given the qualifiers of Chapter 22 (which I have quoted in its entirety at the beginning of this review), and Pi's tears recorded in the 'transcript'. And for me, I'd have been happy to sit with the belief that a remarkable man had an incredible adventure, the specifics of which might not be confirmed.

I think it may be the deliberate deceit that pulls me up short of the 5-star rating.  While there's no doubt that it is masterful storytelling that facilitates my belief, and that such creative development of an alternative reality is what writing fiction is about, I can't help feeling that there's something a tiny bit nasty about the way Martel has delivered his in this book. It comes across as a sort of showing off at the reader's expense: his bestselling proof he (and other masters of deceit) can make anyone believe what he wants them to. Or maybe it's just that I want to believe it? Perhaps I'll move on from this emotional reaction, but right now I have that "I've-been-gullible-and-had-the-wool-pulled-over-my-eyes, you-lied-to-me-and-I-should-have-known-better" feeling that I really don't like, that feeling that makes hard, cynical, emotionally disconnected people, and makes me feel naive for wanting to believe people are innocent until proven guilty. Maybe it's the hard truth that this is how things are that I'm objecting to, rather than any flaw in what Martel has done? He has, after all, argued for the better story. He has engaged, entertained, and provoked. Is it a transgression or an unkindness to the reader that he has utilised a little artifice in the process, or is this in fact further evidence of commendable art?

Jan. 2nd, 2011


2011 is open

The Journey

by Philip Mead

although the road is lengthening, there is need for sanctuary
although there is need for sanctuary, the book is opening
although the book is open, history is hard to remember
although history is hard to remember, this fiction is durable
although this fiction is durable, our dreams are freighted with dreams
although our sleep is abstract, the map is in the brain
although the map is there, the journey is darkening around us

- as read in The Moment Made Marvellous: A Celebration of UQP Poetry
edited by Thomas Shapcott

Oct. 15th, 2010



an imitation of Tadeusz Rozewicz

by Peter Goldsworthy

Neatly place a V
by those qualities
you consider
to be vices


by those qualities
you consider
to be virtues
neatly place a V.

Apr. 27th, 2010


What are you suggesting?

'To pun is to take a liberty, and some people don't like that. After all, you've taken something they've said and twisted it to say something else.  You've assigned a disguised agenda to their idea.'

- from Pundemonium by Paul Clarke and Joan Sauers

Mar. 1st, 2010


Of appetite

'Once you've had a taste of something different, something kind of out there, then it's hard to give it up. Gets its hooks in you. Afterwards nothing else can make you feel the same.'
- from Breath
by Tim Winton

Dec. 12th, 2009


I am still here

There is no greater crime than leaving

There is no greater crime than leaving.
In friends, what do you count on? Not on what they do.
You never can tell what they will do. Not on what they are. That
May change. Only on this: their not leaving.
He who cannot leave cannot stay. He who has a pass
In his pocket -- will he stay when the attack begins? Perhaps
He will not stay.
If it goes badly with me, perhaps he will stay. But if it goes
Badly with him, perhaps he will leave.
Fighters are poor people. They cannot leave. When the attack
Begins they cannot leave.
He who stays is known. He who left was not known. What left
Is different from what was here.
Before we go into battle I must know: have you a pass
In your coat pocket? Is a plane waiting for you behind the battlefield?
How many defeats do you want to survive? Can I send you away?
Well, then, let's not go into battle.

- Bertolt Brecht
translated from the German by Frank Jones
read in Staying Alive: Real Poems For Unreal Times (UK Edition!)
Edited by Neil Astley

I know it's been a long time between posts. I have my reasons, and I know, it would have been better to have communicated them. Maybe I will. Not sure if I can!

I am glad to still be a member of the LJ community, glad to still be on your Friends list, and glad to be able to look into your lives through the LJ portal at times.

I started on Facebook earlier this year because my sister who lives across the continent uses it, and I thought it would be a good way to keep in touch with her. I have found the brevity of the Facebook status update facilitates my putting finger to key in a semi-public way with some regularity of late. (The LJ dike is always at bursting point, which is in part why most the time I am afraid to take my finger out.) So if you'd like to read from me more frequently, please add me on Facebook: I am Kel Sta there. I have been fortunate to find a number of you there already, and I'm relishing the contact.

And linda312, thanks for the nudge. I know this is a tardy acknowledgment, and please know it doesn't detract from my appreciation of your making the effort.

Hope to interact with you soon.

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