Tags: art, Dorothea Mackellar, education, poetry, sharing, writing
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.
Tags: imaginary places and people, poetry, real characters, real life, writing real people
In the real world, people and their inter-actions are not ruled by laws that say this, or that, must happen. Instead, we live in a world where anything is possible and most events can never be predicted with any certainty. We cannot even go with the balance of probabilities all of the time – although we hope that the odds will work out as we want them to.
So it should really be the same when we create our stories, the characters and their worlds, and the interactions between them. We must make it all look real. The reader should expect the unexpected, and yet feel that the story has been worked out by Fate.
However we cannot, in reality, toss all the ingredients together as we do with a salad, and then hope our story will somehow play itself out as we wish. We have to make it happen; there is nothing else for it.
We must make it appear that events occur as they would in everyday life, that the uncertainties and the surprises we all experience are reflected authentically. We do this by the use of techniques and tricks, not by a random assemblage of characters and events in a certain setting. We, as writers, need to make ourselves aware of what these techniques are.
As Robert Graves says, we have to tell lies to make our readers believe that the story we tell is true.
The Devil’s Advice to Story-Tellers
Lest men suspect your tale to be untrue,
Keep probability—some say—in view.
But my advice to story-tellers is:
Weigh out no gross of probabilities,
Nor yet make diligent transcriptions of
Known instances of virtue, crime or love.
To forge a picture that will pass for true,
Do conscientiously what liars do—
Born liars, not the lesser sort that raid
The mouths of others for their stock-in-trade–
Assemble, first, all casual bits and scraps
That may shake down into a world perhaps;
People this world, by chance created so,
With random persons whom you do not know—
The teashop sort, or travellers in a train
Seen once, guessed idly at, not seen again;
Let the erratic course they steer surprise
Their own and your own and your readers’ eyes;
Sigh then, or frown, but leave (as in despair)
Motive and end and moral in the air;
Nice contradiction between fact and fact
Will make the whole read human and exact
Robert von Ranke Graves novelist, poet, soldier & scholar
Born 24 July 1895 Wimbledon, England
Died: 7 December 1985, Majorca, Spain
(c) Linda Visman