Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book of Me Written By You - Prompt 57

Julie Goucher from Angler's Rest says:

Today is week 57 of what is a 15 month project. 

This week's prompt is - Life Chapters

Is your life divided into chapters?
How has that happened? Has it naturally evolved?
Can you easily reflect where one chapter ends and another begins?
Are there any surprises?
Are those Chapters determined by people and / or places / or significant events?

As a person who loves books, these questions have great resonance and give one much food for thought. 

Speaking of food....and with apologies to my vegan, vegetarian friends...

a black plate with an arrangement of seared emu loin, spiced black pudding, smoked potato and Illawarra plums
Seared emu loin, native spiced black pudding, smoked potato, Illawarra plums
I ate emu for the first time yesterday.  I joked with my father that it was revenge for an emu stealing my apple many years ago at Tidbinbilla Reserve. 
Yes the revenge was a bit disproportionate to the crime, I agree.
Why did I choose emu?  Goodness, only knows.  Sometimes I leap cheerfully into the unknown.  It's the frog in me.  And I'm glad I did.  It was a delightful surprise to me when it was served.  There's a bit of you that thinks - emu - bird - maybe it will look a bit like turkey.  I thought it looked a bit like lamb or beef.  What do you think?  It is - according to a couple of websites - here and here - very good for you - particularly athletes - being low in fat, high in protein and other goodies like B12.  

Anyway, back to chapters.  Yesterday was the celebration of a culmination of many years work on a book by my father and his partner.  The end of a chapter in their life, you could say.

We were having lunch at the GOMA Restaurant in honour of the imminent launch of the book entitled Architecture in the South Pacific

After lunch we repaired to the Bodhi Tree Terrace outside the QAGOMA Bookshop for the launch.

There was entertainment - drums and ote'a

Dancers and drummers on the Bodhi Tree Terrace
Drums and ote'a at Bodhi Tree Terrace

When you google "Bodhi Tree Terrace" you discover that it is called after a Bodhi Tree sapling which was planted in 2008.  The Bodhi Tree or Sacred Fig tree is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists and according to this press release at the time it is described as the mythical tree of life.  How about that?  Very appropriate.  It represents enlightenment and the potential within us all.  

Here is a photo taken through the boughs of the Bodhi Tree.

Dancers seen through the boughs of the Bodhi Tree
Dancers pictured through boughs of Bodhi Tree

Can you see the heart-shaped leaves?  
You can read more about the Bodhi tree here.

After the entertainment, speeches were duly made - introductions, endorsements, acknowledgements and thank yous.


Later that evening we enjoyed the fireworks for Riverfire .  
See all the boats on the river waiting for the show?

lots of boats on Brisbane river at dusk
Brisbane River

This short video from AussieDnB found on YouTube will give you an idea of the festivities.  

It was a beautiful ending to a very significant chapter in my father's and his partner's life.  

Lots of hard work was recognized and celebrated by family and friends going back many years.

So, back to the original prompt:

Is your life divided into chapters?
How has that happened? Has it naturally evolved?
Can you easily reflect where one chapter ends and another begins?
Are there any surprises?
Are those Chapters determined by people and / or places / or significant events?

Well, remember that I am a frog.  I jump all over the place. 
So indulge me in a relevant but short digression.

I remember how shocked I was when I first opened Andrew Urban's history of the first 25 years of the AFTRS - At the Edge of the Known World.  
If you remember Andrew Urban was the presenter/interviewer in that popular show on SBS called Front Up. produced by Margaret Pomeranz.

I was shocked because I was expecting a conventional linear history of the School.  Silly me.  At the Edge of the Known World  was, instead, a series of interviews with various stakeholders - former directors, graduates, teachers, board members and so on - exploring their experience of the AFTRS.  
It showed many different perspectives.  
Clever stuff. 

In an ideal world, life would be divided into neat linear chronological chapters.  I suspect it's a bit more non-linear than that.  
You plan some stuff and other stuff just happens.  
The wind blows.  Trees lean.

A tree leaning alarmingly to the left but still managing to stand up at Clarendon, Tasmani
Leaning tree of Clarendon in Tasmania

So yes, there are surprises along the way.

So back to a book about you.  Or me.

You could call the chapters - 
Childhood, School Years, University, Family and so on.

Or perhaps the chapters could be broken up according to place - 
in my case, the Canberra Years, the Sydney years, the Brisbane years.  
But then the Brisbane years would be a very fat chapter indeed.

Perhaps the chapters could be broken up into where you were employed -
in my case, the ABC years, the Film School years, the Library years.  

But then I was having family during those years - and losing family members too.  Being a parent was just as big a job if not bigger than paid employment.
It all intersects.

How do you carve it up? How do you attach the correct weight or significance to particular parts?  

At this point you are also prompted to ask - 
Are you the best author of your life story?  
Would it be a well-rounded picture?  
What would others have to say?  

Good questions Julie. I don't know that I have the answers, but you've made me think.  

Alex sitting in heather in Scotland, thinking
Alex, aged 10, thinking in Scotland

Always a good thing.


Kristin said...

That picture of you thinking would make a good cover for The book of me (you that is). I found the chapters prompt very interesting and I've been rolling it around in my mind - chapters/ places I've lived/births of children/age/deaths. So many different events/things can trigger a new chapter. or maybe there are sections and chapters and sub chapters within. Now I better stop before I write my post here :)

Alex Daw said...

Hello lovely Kristin! Yes well I certainly didn't mean to bang on as much as I did either! Lovely to hear from you. It is a good photo isn't it? My mother had a natural eye for composition..

Diane Hewson said...

Hi Alex, love your blog, just letting you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award, apologies if you have already been nominated.

Alex Daw said...

Diane - thank you so much. I was nominated for the lovely blog award just recently. But a second nomination makes it all the sweeter. Thank you!

diane b said...

Congrats to your father and partner for publishing their story. Quite a day for the launch. The fireworks looked really something. When I started writing my story I used events in chronological order to mark the chapters.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Diane. This book was a long haul...ten years from start to finish and I'm so pleased it all worked out for them and looks so beautiful. They are a credit to the regiment, as my brother-in-law would say.