The Power Of Words

There are some great Bloggers out there in the Blogosphere who write wonderful reviews about books and movies. Even if what they are actually reviewing isn’t to their personal taste, these Bloggers are always generous in that they acknowledge positive aspects of the film/book. They might also add comments about what they found disconcerting and lacking cohesiveness, but most bloggers are entertaining, educational, and more importantly, balanced. Well, maybe they themselves aren’t balanced, but their views are…..you get the picture, anyway.

Where am I going with this?

Australian Author, Tim Winton, has written the screenplay for one of his recent novels, Breath, which was filmed off the coast of Western Australia, and transposed into a movie starring Aussie actor, and dare I say, good sort, Simon Baker of Mentalist fame. Only recently released I was very keen to see Baker in his board shorts. (Hey, at least I’m honest).

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I also have an interest in the Australian film industry and have been watching its stop-start progress since the mid 70’s. The coastline of Western Australia is also another major attraction. This is a beautiful and wild part of the world, and it’s one of those places that you can just sit and watch the water for hours as it forever changes. It’s beauty is hypnotic, meditative, and sometimes just plain scary.

Tim Winton? Very well regarded. I lack sophistication, my mother-in-law used to tell me, and find him a bit wordy. So many layers to his onions, when I just want to gobble it up whole.

Again I digress…….

I was all set to see this movie over the weekend until I read a review in the local paper. It was vitriolic. Scathing. Like one of those religious tirades from the pulpit. It was so horrible it was like a weight that pressed against my chest. So penny dreadful that I decided against going to the flicks and mopped the floors instead. Yep, that’s how horrendous the movie was made to sound.

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I’ve since read reviews here which are totally the opposite. Bone and Silver said,

It made me want to get surfing lessons. It made me want to ride a dragster bike down a dirt lane without a care in the world. It made me want to rent a beachside shack with a lover, and sit reading beside the fire while it poured with rain outside, then make love under a mosquito net. It made me want to be 15 again. It made me want to smoke a joint and tell tall stories!”

The power of words is just so incredible.

Some my own reviews have been dismissive, though never scathing or vitriolic. I am now totally ashamed of my worst:

“I was extremely disappointed with this read. It reminded me of one of those cheap paperbacks you could buy thirty years ago that was relegated to a box of reading material kept in the outhouse, the kind of reading that was then relegated to the boot of the car in case you were caught short and needed to do a “bushie”. Yes, as Les would say, this book was crap.”

( I can see you nodding in agreement with the mother in law).

Reminded of my mother, if I can’t say something nice I will in future keep my big trap closed.

And Breath?  Maybe when it comes out on DVD.

 

 

Australian Author Challenge: Finding Me by Elizabeth Mulvey.

True Story:

I have spoken to author, Elizabeth Mulvey, on the telephone over a period of several years, and have watched her transformation in her zest for knowledge. I had no idea that she would develop into an amazingly strong and wise woman with the belief that she could make a difference, and with the focus, attitude, and capability to do exactly that.

Elizabeth Mulvey has a BA in Education and started her working life as a Teacher, is currently an Aromatherapist Practitioner and Reiki Master with interests in Nutrition and Herbal Therapy, as well as a Peak Performance Coach. She is also a published Author having recently released her first book in a Self Help series, Finding Me: Peacemaker. Elizabeth has also created her own line of Essential Oil blends which are available from her website, http://www.elizabethmulvey.com.

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In Finding Me, the Author hopes to fulfil the role of peacemaker, someone who she states, “has the brand of courage and love for mankind to want the best for each and every one of us.” By writing this book Mulvey hopes to prompt people into thinking in such a way that they can find their authentic self, living a meaningful life with gratitude.

First of all, Self Development books are not one of my personal strengths. However, Finding Me is not a big book, containing only six (6) Chapters, and it is written in an easy to understand language without the usual jargon – and no references to either Jung or Freud, thank goodness. You can hear Elizabeth’s “voice” when reading.

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Interestingly, despite my general cynicism the book had my complete attention by the second page with,

The current popularity of life coaches shows a growing acceptance that many of us need help in achieving our life purpose, our dreams, and that we are at a loss at how to achieve this independently. Yet all the life coaches in the world pale in comparison to the internal compass each of us were born with to guide our speci c path; our ‘way’. The key lies within us.”

This is a practical guide to understanding your own values, and how or what shaped those values. It’s with this understanding that changes can be implemented, having gained fresh perspective.

Well worth the read, and high five to another Indie author. I look forward to the next instalment, Liz.

 

* Finding Me is available in paperback and e-pub format from http://www.elizabethmulvey.com.

 

Australian Author Challenge – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie by Ben Probjie.

Ben Pobjie is an Australian comedian, poet, and writer. He studied history at the University of Western Sydney. He pursued a career in comedy writing and is known for his TV columns in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and political satire for New Matilda, Crikey, and the ABC, among others. His books include Superchef, The Book of Bloke, and Error Australis. He has written for the TV shows Reality Check and The Unbelievable Truth.

Someone told Ben Pobjie he was both clever and funny – and he ran with it. He certainly has the gift of the gab…….. in the same vein as a used Car Salesman, as far as I am concerned.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie : Questionable Histories Of Great Australians is a selection of celebrated Australians and their achievements. Remember your Social Studies classes at Primary School when you would learn about a different person’s achievements each week? People like Helen Keller, Nancy Wake and Madame Curie, for example?

Well, this book is a bit like that, though containing only Australians.

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The blurb from the booksellers states this book is “Australian history made palatable.” Palatable. When did history have to become palatable?

Maybe since “Child psychologists in Britain have issued new guidelines advising doctors to change the age for maturity from 18 to 25 years old. According to the experts, their decision was based on recent findings relating to emotional maturity, hormonal development and neurological activity.”( according to the Medical Daily)

Now step back and read those two sentences again.

I did enjoy the inclusion of some different names to the Usual Suspects, such as Aboriginal activist, Vincent Lingiari, and Movie Producer, Charles Trait. ( Who, right?)
The continual chatter became boring and I felt I was reading the ramblings of a 16 year old kid. Funny? No. Self indulgent? Yes. You can most certainly see the experience the author has gained from writing television commentary.

At the end of each Australian identity Probjie lists a task – Fun For You At Home.

Under Albert Jacka VC. MC, and first decorated Aboriginal, the task is:

Learn what it was like as a soldier in World War 1. Dig a trench in your back yard, half-fill it with water, and ask your friends over to shoot at you. If they come too close, stab them. Now you’re living like a real war hero”.

Look, I’m no history buff, and I enjoy irreverence as much as the next person. This is, however, neither clever nor funny. If I really wanted to be controversial I would suggest that the young Sydneysiders who thought they were hipsters would eat this up.

My Tip: spend the money on Avocado on Toast instead.

Palatable history. Now that’s funny.

Whip Bird by Robert Drewe – Book Review.

 

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Hugh Cleary has spent months organising a reunion of all the descendants of Conor Cleary, who immigrated from Ireland in 1854. The reunion is staged at Whipbird, Hugh and wife, Christine’s, vineyard near Ballarat, Victoria, and is a weekend event featuring – surprise! -lots of wine.

The scene is set. Over 1000 descendants from across Australia and overseas converge on the property, mostly wearing Team colours to identify their branch of the family tree. Knowing your kin isn’t compulsory. Lots of Irish relatives with the odd Asian thrown in for good measure -it’s that kind of weekend.

From here the novel is just like any other large family function in Australia, especially Christmas Day at Brizzy May’s Home, with an assortment of family and friends (and alcoholic drinks). Just the run of the mill conversations take place : politics, sport, multiculturalism, environmentalism, who is sleeping with whom, who has had Botox treatments. Nothing out of the norm.

Indeed, the beauty of this novel is that the author excels at “people watching” and his observations do raise more than a fair share of smiles. Middle aged ladies with their bat wings, the fashion trend of wearing shoes without socks, corporate greed within the banking sector, indigenous Australians making good football players, and the gentrification of city pubs. All the stuff you talk about at the office Water cooller really.

There is also a back story which has Conor, who was at the Eureka Stockade in Australia’s colonial days, attending the reunion. You will have to read for yourself the mechanics of this situation.

Two hundred pages in and the constant commentary began to grate. Topical, certainly, but I became weary of the whole exercise. This was my first Robert Drewe novel so I’m not sure if this effort was meant to be sarcastic or clever. Does Drewe like contemporary Australia or is he having a shot?

My interest waned at the Sidney Nolan incident as I felt the author had at that point gone over the top. Up until then, it was all totally believable, and I too felt like I was attending the reunion, camping under the gum trees, surrounded by grape vines, and with a vino in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chook Lit – Fiona McCallum Style – & A Virus.

After my wonderful trip to beautiful Tasmania I was felled by the dreaded virus. Went down like a bag of spuds, and as weak as a kitten, I was unable to do much of anything. Could not even focus on an Errol Flynn DVD – how tragic is this!

So, I downloaded a couple of books from the Library, despite several piles of reading material at the end of the bed. The brain craved Fluff. Pure Fluff. My head could not manage anything else.

Enter Australian Author, Fiona McCallum, who grew up in Cleve on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. She is a graduate of Deakin University with a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing). After brief stints in administration, marketing, and recruitment, Fiona started Content Solutions, a consultancy providing professional writing and editing services to the corporate sector. McCallum, totally new to me, writes Chick Lit, a genre of fiction that is of specific interest to women. You know: heartache, resilience, strength, love and all that Jazz.

McCallum’s writing strength reflects on her upbringing in rural Australia, as Chook Lit, or romantic fiction based in regional and rural areas, is one of the fastest growing genres and is popular with both city and country readers alike.

Indeed, real chooks do appear in these novels as part of the scenery, as do other features of outback life—utes, B & S balls, kelpies, cattle, rodeos, home preserving, big rigs, and Blunnies. Certainly a sense of humour is present; you can find innuendo about the size of a bloke’s tractor, for instance.

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Saving Grace is Book 1 in McCallum’s Button Jar Trilogy, and Grace is a young pup purchased as a house dog for the farmers wife, as opposed to a working dog. Emily Oliphiant is the farmers wife, who leaves her husband, supposedly the wealthiest landowner in the district, and suffers a lot of small town gossip and harassment, particularly from her own mother who has concerns about her own standing within the local community. Emily gains some independence and by the end of the book is making jam for sale at the Melbourne markets.

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Book 2 is Time Will Tell and focuses on Emily regaining her own life and chasing her own dreams including a renovation of an property. Of course, a new love interest wearing R M Williams is introduced, there is lots more jam making from produce on the property, and the exhusband dies in a car crash.

Folks, this is the point when I knew my fever had broken and I had regained my senses. Still playing the victim, still a hormonal mess. Give it up, Emily, you insipid creature….

So, I went to download Book 3 to see what is next in store for young Emily. Will she finally tell her mother to butt out? Will she finally find enough money to pay for a legal consult with a lawyer? Will this woman ever stop bitching?

Meant To Be will be available from my local Library in January 2018. Of course I can hardly wait to see if Emily drowns in her own Apricot Jam.