David Swain’s Lyric Life?

I was lucky. I had a good variety of Dad.

A Lifelong Process
from One Thing and Another
David Swain

It’s Father’s Day this weekend in Oz. We are being encouraged to buy buy buy. Wearing our Covid-safe masks, we queue at acceptable distance out the door of the post office.

If we have a Dad, that is. If we have a Dad who is still alive and craving a pair of socks or a power tool, who resides far away.

That was not my Dad.

If there were any commodities he was into, it was musty secondhand books. He was more into creativity, kindness, humour and people. Lucky for me, he  made all the time in the world for his family of women. My Mum, my sister and myself. Oh and Isabel and Soxy the cats when they were alive.

Dad died ten years ago. I sometimes share bits and bobs of his creations. Here’s a link to some of those previous David Swain mentions.

And what a legacy of inspiration!

Here’s a glimpse of one of his books I haven’t shared much before…

One Thing and Another
David Swain
my Dad

One Thing and Another. A selection of ten years of cartoon and verse from his weekly column in the Canberra Times.

The prophecy game
from One Thing and Another
David Swain

I know my Dad was rare for his times. Rare at any time. So I think of you with compassion if you had a less than lovely father.

I send

some David Swain delight

your way.

One of my all-time favourites of Dad’s cartoons
from One Thing and Another

And here’s a poem that my Dad gave to a neighbour years ago. The ex-neighbour found the poem on a scrunched-up, nearly thrown-out scrap of fax paper. Fax paper! Faded but not forgotten. She photographed it and PM’d me. Aww.

Bondi Sonnet
David Swain
gifted to a neighbour, which was the sort of kindly creative gesture my Dad would make

In case you can’t read the Faded-but-not-Forgotten Fax:

BONDI SONNET

IF GOD EXISTS

I CANNOT SAY

BUT DO KNOW WHAT

I HEAR TODAY

FROM BONDI BIRDS

CALLING ‘O-K-A-A-Y’

IN DRAWN-OUT NOTES

OF NEAT DESIGN

PLUS SOUND LIKE ‘BOMP’

TO END EACH LINE

OF LYRIC LIFE

TILL MOST AGREE

THAT KNOCK-OFF TIME’S

AT HALF-PAST THREE 

David Swain and his Lyric Life?
He started out as a cheeky Cockney barrow boy. When he was sixteen, a headline in a local paper pronounced him London’s youngest greengrocer. (That’s what you do to keep the family afloat when your own father dies).

In the early 1970s, he initiated Australia’s first professional writing degree.

And there he was late in life, sitting at his desk in the flat with the view of Bondi Beach, wondering at squawky rainbow lorikeets and modern fax machines, slowly heading towards dementia and decline, still writing.

What a journey. What a Dad.

with love, art and soul
from Sally

Little Painted Girl

a pandemic poem by Sally Swain

Little Painted Girl

Here you still are.

You fade. You smudge.

You blur. You nudge

me to appreciate

my mobility,

the effervescent air,

the lone artist

humming across time.

You are unmasked,

untouched

by viral fears

of years

habitual

crunched, crowned

into novel frictious days

and ways

of living curtained.

Walled.

We peer out from inside.

You walk eternally

toward the narrow window.

Here you still are.

Little Painted Girl

with love, art and soul

from Sally

Even told the golden daffodils

There’s a song. It begins:

Once I had a secret love

It ends:

Now I shout it from the highest hills

Even told the golden daffodils

 

At last my heart’s an open door

And my secret love’s no secret any more.

Sally Swain art

Daffy and Friends
Sally Swain © original art

And my secret love is….

Continue reading

Do you have good memories

of a poetry book from childhood?
I am lucky enough to say YES.

The Golden Treasury of Poetry
by Louis Untermeyer

illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

formed a substantial,  sumptuous part of my young self.

 

I confess I remember pictures and rhythms more than words. Images found their way into the innermost part of my make-up. I can’t recall specific details, but I know in my core the colour essence, the flavour, the sensory delight that fed me from age dot.

I wish to introduce to you…

A Boat of Stars.

childrens poetry book

A Boat of Stars cover

I got to experience the Sydney launch of this delicious anthology of poems. True to form, my visual artist self has mostly imbibed the illustrations, but hey – the poems are pretty damn fine too.

Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior are the esteemed editors.

kids poems

A Boat of Stars
back cover

A heap of writers and illustrators contributed.

They range from extremely experienced children’s book creators

Julie Vivas

Illustration by Julie Vivas
detail

Kerry Argent

Illustration by Kerry Argent

Continue reading

Washing machines and Watercolour pens

Art and Soulie Spot 10
Stories from the Creative Path

Presenting the beautiful writer:

Kerry Littrich…

I vividly recall the first creative playshop Kerry attended maybe ten years ago.
I remember her uncertainty about what was on offer. Once she felt more sure that this was to be a safe space, she gave herself 700% to the process. She let her big heart shine. She willingly shared her intricately woven fictional characters, who, over time, became as real to me as any of the playshop participants. Maybe we needed extra chairs around the table for Kerry’s living breathing human creations.

Here’s her website: Imagine365

Over to Kerry for a small adventure…

The day off

I am a writer.

I mostly write fiction but I also write non-fiction articles, blog posts and run a whimsical website called imagine365. Sometimes I write copy for other people’s sites or help them create business materials. But today I’m not going to write because I worked late last night in a different job and

I’ve given myself the day off.

            So I start propped up in bed, pillows all around me and a cup of tea to hand. My miniature fox terrier, Rupert, joins me but don’t tell my husband.

dog photo

Kerry’s Rupert

I speak to my sister on the phone,

there’s no hurry.

We catch up for 45 minutes. I spend almost an hour longer in bed meditating with a second cup of tea.

            When I do get up, there’s

Continue reading

a seed of a dream

Art and Soulie Spot 9 

Stories from the Creative Path

Sally McKern’s Creative Circle of Life continued…

Sally McKern art

Held
Sally McKern
© original art

Click here for the story so far (Part One).

Part Two

So now my baby girl daughter is 23 and I am 46

She is a beautiful young goddess in her own right.

Looking back on all of this now I am realising that these creative moments were crucial points in my development.

These experiences went a long way in defining who I became as an adult and who I am today.

My beautiful son is now 19 and he is also out in the world doing his own thing in the big city like his sister, hundreds of miles from my home in the country. I am not so identified now with the mother archetype, not in the same way I was when the kids were growing up. Now my holding and guiding is done from a distance and there is more letting go and observing.

Sally McKern art

Child of the Universe
Sally McKern
© original art

All these years

Continue reading

Creative Circle of Life

Art and Soulie Spot 9
Stories from the Creative Path

Sally McKern art

Child of the Universe
Sally McKern
© original art

Introducing Sally McKern, a wonderful woman who isn’t convinced she is creative, but you will see otherwise. 

Sally’s mother attended my first ever creativity workshop way back in 1993, when Art and Soul was called

Art for Heart’s Sake.

Sally contacted me this year to see if she AND her mother AND her daughter could come along to a playshop.

I was touched.

To me, this is the Creative Love Exchange

in action.

It’s the Circle of Life. 

Oh My Goddess Swain book

Greena – Goddess of Recycling
Sally Swain © original art
from ‘Oh My Goddess!’
Bantam, USA, Australia
1994

Here she is….

Creativity over the Generations

Part One

Sally Swain asked me if I’d like to write something about creativity and I said yes because I love Sally, but the biggest part of me has no idea what to write because in my day-to-day life I don’t feel very creative.  

I don’t feel like I have anything to say nor even

Continue reading

Vividly lighting up the bodymind

How very art therapy

They are still setting up for opening night of Vivid when I’m on my way to Sydney Writers’ Festival. One sculpture captivates me.

I see drawn outlines of the human body, with words written inside.

Write, I mean, right, up my alley.

Vivid Harbour Bridge

a Vivid artwork pre-lighting
check out the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

On closer inspection,

Continue reading