Why have I chosen the following photo from my place of birth, Grafton, taken in 1924, as a header to this post? For several reasons:
  • I like it very much, firstly  because of its classical and historical attributes, as well as for the varied expressions and actions of the  subjects in the photograph.
  • It's from my family album, showing my paternal grandparents, "Pop" and "Ma", at reverse ends of the photo, with their tennis group.
  • For me, it illustrates, metaphorically and visually, some of the aspects underpinning the concepts of Voice and Point of View. The varied poses and personas of the subjects lead me to ask what each person is doing, thinking, feeling and expressing in this photo. What have they just said, or are about to?
This is reminiscent of the questions asked by the author when managing point of view and voice in modern fiction. 1924-tennis-season

The photo below is of my first childhood house at Waterview, via South Grafton. It was taken several decades after my time spent there within the bosom of my first family. I think it is the inspiration for the poem, below, which is probably my best.childhood-house-photo-2006

Poetry is not my most practised genre, but I have been told that my prose writing is poetic and rhythmical. Like many writers, I lack confidence in my ability to create successful poems. For this reason, this post will be followed by recent research exploring poetry I carried out online:  what it means to many others like me, struggling to understand and/or to produce it.

While writing this post on Creative Writing,  I thought about a delicious path I'd discovered and followed in Cavtat, Croatia; it brought to mind the poem by the American poet, Robert Frost, which ends with the lines:

from The Road Not Taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

[caption id="attachment_10698" align="alignnone" width="900"]the-path-taken a path in Croatia[/caption]

The Craft of Writing

Please note that I have recently changed the description of my blog to "The Craft of Writing", which correlates with the main goal of my website.  I thank my kindly blogging expert, Gina for this suggestion. I admit that I am no expert when it comes to technology, and I shall be requiring assistance from my mentor next year to make my design and posts even better. Please bear with me, as I learn how to manage technological issues and practise how to use my new-found skills.cane-writing-nature

Zac followed my partner along the footpath near our home, one afternoon when Mark was walking towards the gym. An Aussie Terrier, starving and weary. These gym sessions were daily events and sacrosanct at the time. This day, instead of continuing on his route, Mark bent down, picked the skinny runt up in his arms and proceeded to knock on dozens of doors up and down the hills, asking: "Does anyone know this dog?" No-one answered in the affirmative. We rang several vets in the area, looked out for ads and put up notices; nothing.  zac-thirteen Once the two children saw him, his white coat shot over by a splattering of deep grey and a dash of beige round the eyes and ears, they fell in love. Fast. Two weeks later and our daughter had fallen so madly in love with the little mutt, it started to look as if he was ours to keep. And we had finally settled on 'Zac' for a name. Like many adoptive parents, we dreaded, during the days that followed, the knock on the door, or the phone call that might announce the arrival of the 'natural' parent or parents of this undernourished, but otherwise perfect, little fellow. Luckily that never happened, and he fitted into our household like another family member. He was the gentlest little creature. He put on weight quickly so that I didn’t have to carry him on long walks anymore. He loved chasing the ball that my husband threw almost to the moon.

My Writer's Voice Linked to A Childhood Spent in the NSW Clarence Valley

The following historical photograph of my hometown, with the Clarence River and Susan Island across the water, bring me back to long-forgotten memories of childhood evenings underneath a balmy star-spangled sky in South Grafton next to the water's edge. I wonder now whether this is the source of my writer's voice: the places and storytellers from childhood that I carry within till this day?  And for me, nature played—and still plays—a large part. [caption id="attachment_10795" align="aligncenter" width="586"]grafton-clarence-river-island Grafton on the Clarence. State Archives NSW[/caption] Is it the past that gives birth to the special voice within all of us, the one that reappears when narrating stories in written form? This throws up other questions for me, to do with the the relationship of voice to person, character and narration, and how "written voice" touches vicariously on an assumed reader and an assumed listener.

The negative urban images in the poem are juxtaposed with many very pleasant images. Some of these are the beautiful women and art in salons, and the mermaids frolicking in the sea at the end. This "feminine imagery" stays with me, rather than the negative ones of growing old, smoky streets, and lonely men. That is partly because of the rhythm and the sound of the words as they slip off the tongue, sublimating the ugliness inherent in some of the lines. mas-teacup-by-kate Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ... I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

The Image below is of a photo I took outside Il Palazzetto Bar near the Spanish Steps in Rome in 2012. It suggests obliquely for me the unexpressed sentiments in the poem of loss, love, and melancholy related to growing old. Eliot was reading Dante Alighieri's main works when he wrote this poem. The photo at the bottom of this post is of a statue I came across on a street corner, during my first visit to the Eternal City in 2009. palazzo.roma. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table;