Writer's Notebook- The Gatherings Of Summer

Summer Samples From The Writer’s Notebook

Random Notebook gatherings. Looking back, observing, reflecting, the summer break is a great time to read ,write and collect. The act of writing begins with an idea and then putting your thoughts down on the page, one word- and then another. It is practice. It involves the forming of habits. School resumes sooner than we like. Launch a fantastic year in writing by offering your students a glimpse into your writing life. Present as a teacher who writes.  To invoke a famous advertising quote- Just Do It!

The backyard remains at the centre of many of my childhood memories. So much seemed to happen in this space.
We played many different games in the confines of the backyard. We learned to socialize and be gracious about victory and defeat. Simple games like giant’s treasure, chasey and releaso were enacted here.
It’s where we ran, chased wrestled and fought. It’s where I wrestled the giant who lived across the street, Ronald Hope, before he thrust me aside and my head collided with a heavy and totally unforgiving cement roller. A most disturbing gushing of blood and eight stitches in my forehead were mine to endure.
We swung from the clothesline and played a host of games involving a ball. With my football I deadheaded my mother’s favourite chrysanthemums before being banishment to play in the street. I played cricket with my sister until the evening gloom made it impossible to see the ball.
At one point I tried turning the backyard into a mini golf putting green and dug a series of holes into which I buried a series of old jam tins. My dad made me remove them as I had failed to proper planning approval.
In the summertime the backyard became the scene for evening concerts. Chairs were set up on the lawn for the parents and invited grannies and assorted relatives where they would be regaled with a series of questionable thespian acts.
The backyard was the setting for whispered secrets, laughter and disagreements. And it was where we sometimes went to weep when life was unfair.

Writers need the experience of both solitude and song at various times. I must attune myself to allowing these forces to exert their significant influence upon me. I must remain open to all they offer. Sometimes being among the throng is a compelling urge. I seek out people, colour movement and sound. It is equally important to be at ease in my own company sitting still and watching, thinking and observing, reflecting. I am enriched by both experiences.

It’s market day on Mornington’s Main Street. The numbers in attendance are swelled by the fact that it is Summer school holiday time. It is also a day with absolutely no beach potential.
Market stalls, prams and strollers mingle with pedestrian shoppers for a footprint on the pavement. In the midst of this meandering mass, a boy of about nine years spontaneously makes an inappropriate, yet very childlike decision. He places both hands on the footpath and launches into a handstand. He pauses momentarily, shoes skyward before beginning the inevitable downward descent. As the arc of his legs move him back to his former upright pose, his feet narrowly miss a fellow market goer. Head quickly averted the fortunate market shopper moves away and onward. The boy’s mother moves quickly to the misguided junior gymnast’s side and immediately offers some words of wisdom.’ It is probably not the time nor place to be doing handstands. Think about where you are. You’re lucky you didn’t wipe someone out with your flying feet. Please walk like everyone else.’
Kids rarely stop to think about potential consequences. They just feel an urge to do something- and it happens!


 Conversations float in the air. As I sit quietly in a cafe, benignly sipping on a morning coffee, rich offerings drift my way. I feel obliged to record them in all their raw beauty. My notebook receives these morsels with great relish- ‘I’m trying to finish my tan with forty minutes per day. I’m working on parts that require me to hide behind the rubbish bins in the backyard.’ My delight at these words is barely concealed.


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