Share Your World – Week 46

November 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Family, Gratitude, Leisure activities, Mental Health, Nature | 7 Comments
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Here is another interesting set of questions from Cee for Week 46 of Share Your World.


On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep? 

Our camper van

Our camper van

A comfortable bed is essential. I think that if you have somewhere comfy to sleep, you can handle anything else a holiday has to throw at you. But there is one more thing I need – a comfy chair in which to relax, to read, to enjoy a wine at the end of the day.

In our little Toyota HiAce camper, we have a lovely comfortable bed, based on the seat cushions and topped with two layers of foam. That bed stays made up for the duration, and we either do without a table or use the one that attaches outside.

However, our van doesn’t have a comfortable chair, at least not inside. The front seats are separated from the back of the van by the engine housing, and when we stop, any extra bits and pieces are stored on those seats until we set off again. The floor space is small, with no room for a chair. Hubby loves to read or otherwise relax lying down, so he’s fine, but to relax I need to sit. So the only times I can do so in comfort is when the weather is good enough – and the mosquitoes non-existent – to sit in the folding camper chair outside.

Music or silence while working?

I lived out in the back blocks of Central Australia for many years. When you just needed a tape recorder and a few of your favourite tapes, my partner and I used to play music all the time. When we moved back to civilisation, she played music more than I did, but I always had it playing in the background as I did my woodwork in the garage.

Once I began writing my family’s history however, music distracted my thoughts, so I got out of the habit of playing it. Now, years later, in a different state, with a husband who also loves music, we have lots of CDs to play. But we don’t play them! We don’t really know why.

However I think it is time we did something about it. Perhaps I should find out if music will stimulate my creative writing rather than distract me from it.

If you were to move and your home came fully furnished with everything you ever wanted, list at least three things from your old house you wish to retain?

Dad in his woodworking shed

Dad in his woodworking shed

My photo and scrapbook albums, my folders of family history records, my journals, and my computer external drive with all my writing and photographs would have to go with me. I would also want to take the few family keepsakes I have – Mum’s sewing things, her old teapot, her small paintings and shells, and the small tables, wooden bowls and knick-knacks that Dad made. I don’t have Mum and Dad any more, but I want to keep something of them by me.

What’s your least favorite mode of transportation?

I can’t say I have a least favourite. I love to travel, so any way I can do that is good. My most favourite mode is driving myself, always has been. I used to drive 1,700-2,500 km each way to visit my family in NSW twice a year when I lived in the Northern Territory. It was also a 320km drive to the nearest town (Alice Springs) over mostly dirt roads just to do business and buy groceries. I loved it.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the four days we were able to relax and enjoy the Aussie bush, sleeping and eating in our camper. I was also really happy that we could have dinner with my younger sister and her husband and catch up on each other’s families and busy lives. As we get older, we become even closer to each other, even though we are different in many ways.

I am looking forward to going to the local art gallery with my neighbour friend to the launch of a book about our town’s most famous person, the late Sir William Dobell, a major Australian artist of the mid twentieth century.

(c) Linda Visman

Share Your World – 2014 Week 40

October 7, 2014 at 12:11 am | Posted in Australia, Culture, Family, Gardens, Nature, Reading, Writing | 12 Comments
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Every week, Cee, at Share Your World, posts a few questions for us to answer. This is a great way of getting to know others, and to let others know about our own world. Here are my answers to Cee’s latest Share Your World Questions.

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on? 

I would give each of our eight children $50,000 to reduce their mortgages or, for one, to buy his own place at last. The rest I would use to pay off our own mortgage and to pay for us to visit the countries of our birth for the first time since we left them over 60 years ago.

What’s the finest education?

I must say that, of all the formal education I have received – primary (elementary) and high school, Teachers’ College diploma, a university degree and graduate diploma – nothing can compare to the education I have received from life itself. To be open to what is around you, to observe and learn to understand the world, its people and yourself grants you an education that is second to none.

What kind of art is your favorite? Why?

Although many people will say it is not an art, my favourite is writing. I have always loved reading. I love the worlds and the characters and the situations that are created by writers, and I have become one of them myself.

I believe that those who cannot be impressed by how words can be put together in artistic, creative and meaningful ways to create works of wonder and beauty – and even horror and violence – are missing a piece of what it means to be human.

Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?

When I was in primary school, I learned a poem that expresses much of what our country (Australia) is. That poem is “My Country” by Dorothea McKellar (1885-1968) when she was in England, and homesick for her own country. It was first published in 1908. It compares the softness of the English countryside with the starkness of the Australian. I love the poem, as I have seen so much of what it expresses.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Through the last week, I spent quite a bit of time in the garden. It is spring here in Australia, and there are so many plants and trees blooming that there is a riot of colour all around us. The blossoms also bring the birdlife, and I enjoy listening to them warble, twitter and even shriek through the trees that surround us.

In the week ahead, I will be spending plenty of hours with my writing group, being stimulated in my word-production, helping others with their writing, and hopefully letting non-members know what we can do to assist them if they want to write.

What is legitimate Street Art?

September 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Social Responsibility, Society | 2 Comments
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There is a person in our area whose tag is scrawled on almost every sign, including safety and speed limit signs, between us and the town 10km away. It appears on the roadside reflector posts, on people’s fences, and on the walls of local businesses. Is it street art?

Every time it appears, it has to be cleaned off, costing Council, businesses and individuals a lot of money – not to mention angst. This sort of antisocial, self-aggrandising, destructive, uncaring behaviour makes my blood boil. This is not street art; it is vandalism.

I have also seen some stunning pictures painted on walls and fences. They are original, colourful, and present a message. They are street art. But are they legitimate art?

The term ‘street art’ is used to encompass all the written, painted and drawn expressions that appear in public places. This does not include advertising signs (though many of those are visually polluting). It covers the range from Yawk’s crude tag to brilliant art works.

But is any of this legitimate art? Here are some meanings for the word that are appropriate in this context.

Legitimate: 1. according to the law, lawful; 2. in accordance with established rules, principles or standards; 3. of the normal or regular type; 4. genuine, not spurious.

According to meaning 1, anything painted, drawn or written on a surface where permission of the owner has not been obtained is not lawful, therefore not legitimate. If permission has been granted, it is lawful (as long as it doesn’t break some other law – e.g. obscenity).

Meanings 2 and 3 deal with a commonality of what ‘art’ itself means, and therefore involves acceptance by the community, or artists, or individuals in determining if it is legitimate art for art’s sake.

Strret Art by Beastman, Sydney, Australia

The last (4) involves the attitude and purpose of the person creating the street art. This person must be doing it for a purpose. What that purpose may be, some art critics would argue, is irrelevant. It is this argument to which I have a strong objection, as it does not take into consideration the respect one should have for others’ property. Doing it just to put one’s tag out there does not constitute a valid purpose. To do it for justifiable political reasons may. However, there is more to it than sending a message.

In this blog entry, apart from looking up the dictionary meaning of ‘legitimate’, I have done no objective research. I am writing this from my point of view, but expressing also what I believe are views widely-held by ordinary, thinking members of the public, and I am using the commonly accepted meaning of words.

I am not an artist who creates work onto the surfaces that other people own and/or maintain. I am not one to scrawl messages on public buildings. I respect the property of others and, in an orderly society, I see it as at least morally wrong, if not criminal, to deface the property of others, regardless of the quality of the art.

To me therefore, street art is legitimate when it expresses some sort of idea in a creative way, and in places where the custodians have granted permission for it to be there.

If that permission has not been granted, then the street art, regardless its quality, is not legitimate. It is simply graffiti – and that means it is also vandalism.

What is your view of ‘street art’?

Do you see it as legitimate art no matter where it is posted?

© Linda Visman

Musing Upon Tattoos

January 20, 2010 at 8:01 am | Posted in Writing and Life | 3 Comments
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In my youth (1950s and 1960s Australia) and before, tattoos in western society were mostly associated with sailors. The obligatory anchor and/or capstan on the muscular forearm indicated they had spent their working years on the high seas. The name of a favourite port might be emblazoned on a shoulder. Occasionally, you would see the figure of a woman and sometimes, a name.

Later on, tattoos became a way, along with clothing, of stating a person’s allegiance to a motorbike or other kind of club or gang. The organisation’s emblem, or a derivative of it, was inscribed on the arms and shoulders of many members.

Some people wanted others to see them as both tough and gentle – depending upon the situation I suppose. Words like L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E appeared on the back of hands, one letter for each finger. Some of these were obviously home-made jobs. Not everyone could afford to go to a real tattooist.

However, over the last couple of years, tattoos seem to have spread like a plague, covering arms and legs, torsos and necks all over this country. From what I see on television, it is the same overseas – a veritable pandemic of blue. Male, female, young or old – it seems that no age group is immune. Many teens, and even pre-teens, sport some sort of body decoration. Size doesn’t matter either. Tattoos draw attention to many a fat shoulder, arm or leg as well as to slim and muscular ones.

It was rare for a woman to sport a tattoo until quite recently. If she did, it was usually a discreet butterfly or heart on a shoulder or ankle. It is much more common to see them these days, and on more parts of the body. Tattoos have become just one of a young woman’s fashion accessories – though they can’t change into another one if it doesn’t suit their outfit or the occasion.

Many of those who are using their bodies as an artscape do it whole-heartedly – or should I say, whole-bodily? Often, arms, legs and shoulders have not a centimetre of bare skin left. There is so much ink that the actual design has been lost and it looks like they are wearing a tight-fitting shirt. The tattoo parlours must be raking it in!

It is just another fad, I know. But what starts it off? Why do so many people think that turning their skin blue is attractive? They don’t need to scare off their enemies as the Maoris did, or pass some sort of ritual to belong to a certain caste in society. Or do they see it as something like that?

I wonder what they will think, as their body ages. Will those whose arms and legs have more pigment on them than the Sistine Chapel one day look at their sagging skin and flesh and wish they had exercised a little more forethought?

© Linda Visman 2010

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