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I’m actually not surprised to find that it’s so long since the last news I posted here, because it’s been an incredibly packed three months.

In May came the two performances of the lovely Requiem that Rachel Bruerville wrote using as text some of the poems from my first published book, In Due Season. It was presented first at the stunning Ukaria Cultural Centre in the Adelaide Hills, in what must be one of the most beautiful boutique concert halls Australia has. The packed out audience enjoyed a full program performed by the Adelaide Chamber Singers, culminating in the magnificent Brahms Requiem. The program was repeated next day in the city St Peter’s Cathedral to a capacity audience, where the soaring arches and huge pillars added to a very inspiring atmosphere. I found listening to Rachel’s music a deeply moving experience.

June and July were busy writing months, both writing and publishing a number of poems in many journals such as Tamba, Studio, The Mozzie, Poetry Matters, The Write Angle, and others. It’s always so encouraging to see one’s work in print, and to have enthusiastic feedback from readers. It makes worthwhile the blood, sweat and tears – and loneliness – of the writing life.

Much  time was also spent in re-designing the cover of my big verse novel of 2013, Passion Play – the Oberammergau Tales, in preparation for our coming trip to Germany. Here I hope to market this book in time for the 2020 Passion Play itself, where the small German town will once again, as they have done since 1634, produce a six month season of the events of Holy Week. More than 500,000 people from all over the world come to this play, and I’m hoping that Oberammergau shops will stock my book. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. In late October this year everything swings into preparation for 2020, starting with renewal of the 1633 vow that lies behind this ten-yearly event. We’ll be able to take part in all these happenings.

But the most satisfying moment of my year was the day I signed the contract with Wakefield Press for the publication of my ninth book, In Search of Anna. This historical fiction work has occupied several years of research and writing, and it’s a book that is important to me personally. An old family story of my great-grandmother coming from a small Silesian village across the world by steamship to hunt for her missing son  in Melbourne, then in the Riverina area, has always seemed to me the stuff of a novel. So on the bare bones of some historical fact I’ve used my imagination to create a whole life for this woman, who is probably turning in her grave at what I’ve invented. The book will be launched next year in February, in an event that will also be my eightieth birthday celebration. Horrors! Where have these decades gone? I’m delighted that Steven Marshall, South Australian Premier, is happy to MC the evening  - as long as no unexpected parliamentary emergencies occur. Fingers crossed.

Right now much of my time is going into planning the book cover for the new book, and then will be the editing process – sadly interrupted by our trip to Germany. But then, that’s not an unpleasant interruption to have ahead of us …

 

 

It's hard to call this 'autumn'  - Indian Summer is a much more appropriate title. If Keats were writing his Autumn ode again, he'd be hard-pressed to write Stanza 3, for the earlier idea of an unceasing summer would be much more appropriate. To balance the mellow tranquillity of the season, our days seem to have also been times of peace and serenity. (A sort of interlude that will come to a rapid end in May, when so much seems to be happening!)

First, of course, is the weekend of May 5 and 6, with its two performances of Rachel Brewerville's lovely Requiem, In Due Season, set to words from my first published book of the same title. I've been following the emergence of this work with great interest, and was moved almost to tears when I heard the whole requiem sung at rehearsal by the accomplished Adelaide Chamber Singers. It's going to be a rare privilege to be at the two performances and to feel those words, written at a time of loss and anguish, inspiring  this beautiful music.

Rachel and I were interviewed last week by Emily Sutherland, always one of my favourite interviewers, for her 5MBS Kaleidoscope program. If you are interested it will be aired on Wednesday, April 25, at 6pm and repeated on Saturday, April 28 at 11am. That's 99.9 on the dial if you're not a regular 5MBS listener. Or you'll be able to hear it on  a podcast on the Kaleidoscope page on their website. I'm waiting with great anticipation for these concerts  - a superb program of Bach, Schutz and the Brahms German Requiem and, of course, the new Brewerville work. The Adelaide Chamber Singers will be joined by the Sydney Choir of St James for much of the program.

After that, roll on the rest of May ....

Again???

by in Latest News on 12 March, 2018 with 0 Comments

I am never more conscious of the passing of time than when I update this 'News and Events' page. Despite my very best efforts to write something each month, suddenly I realise that my last entry was pre-Christmas -and here we are, mid March, and almost Easter. Again, that sense that life is hurtling by with express train speed, and I'm standing on the platform trying to get aboard!

But such a packed time. First Christmas, and all that it means in our festivity-oriented household, though last year was easy with Christmas dinner at Sam and Wayne's home, and my only job the usual Christmas pudding; yes, with the carefully preserved old silver Christmas coins, a family tradition. How they'll divide those when the time comes, I sometimes wonder ...

January was marked by two lovely times away, first with Felicity and daughters in Canberra, then with oldest son Nick and family in Brisbane. Both times happy reunions with  family members and old friends from previous eras, becoming more and more important as years pass. (As do old friends - but that's a morbid note to sound. Yet true.) Not too much writing in that time, and still no word of acceptance on my historical fiction novel, a source of some concern. I would dearly love to see this book in print. To balance, some lovely things have happened. Poems published in journals, but the greatest pleasure has been the request from a young Adelaide composer to use some of the poems in my collection, 'In Due Season'. as the text for a Requiem she has been commissioned to write for the Adelaide Chamber Singers, a talented and highly regarded group. This Requiem will be performed as part of their two concerts, one at Ukaria, the loveliest of concert halls in the Adelaide Hills, brainchild of and gift to Adelaide from Jurlique's Ulrike Klein, and the following day at St Peter's Cathedral in the city.  This has been one of the most heart-warming things that has happened to me in recent years, and from what I have heard of the composition to this point it will be a deeply moving piece of music.

Apart from this, life goes on, with regular participation in the poetry groups we belong to, and a fun afternoon at Goolwa poets yesterday, where David and I were the guest poets in what the MC described as a 'double act'  - fun to do, as we both love sharing what we write with others, especially fellow poets. And it's been Festival time, both the Arts Festival and the Fringe Festival  - as well as Writers' Week  -  too much to choose from, and so many wonderful things on offer. Perhaps the Glyndbourne 'Hamlet' will live longest in my mind, for an Ophelia mad scene that was shattering in its impact, and a Hamlet who forced me to re-evaluate all my preconceptions of the role. A sad goodbye to Lawrence Olivier, the Hamlet of my formative years.

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