Tag Archives: writing

My Shopping List of Regrets

if i collected
all my shopping lists of regrets
i would take a permanent marker
erase them all
and make a black sky
to populate with stars

To Become A Whale – Book Review

“To Become A Whale” is the debut novel by Brisbane-based author, Ben Hobson.

This is the blurb from the publisher, Allen & Unwin:

To Become a Whale tells the story of 13-year-old Sam Keogh, whose mother has died. Sam has to learn how to live with his silent, hitherto absent father, who decides to make a man out of his son by taking him to work at Tangalooma, then the largest whaling station in the southern hemisphere. What follows is the devastatingly beautiful story of a gentle boy trying to make sense of the terrible reality of whaling and the cruelty and alienation of his new world, the world of men.

The novel is coming-of-age exploration of masculinity; one version of Australian masculinity that the reader is presented with. But no judgement is given. The reader determines how to understand the parameters and boundaries of 1960’s masculinity and how it measures up in the new millennium now almost two decades old.

Walt is a man respected on the flensing deck for his hard work, commitment, while his solitary nature isolates him from the company of other men. One of Walt’s crew, Phil, is a man who wants to play guitar but works the whaling station only as a job. He is another whose belief in the strictures of masculinity are limiting on the perception of himself.

The brokenness of Walt’s understanding and perception of his masculinity is as blatant as his mangled hand and framed by the nature of his work: deconstructing whale carcasses into constituent parts, unable to see the beauty of the whole through the nature of his work. Unable to understand and come to terms with the nature of his own grief. It’s this framework that he wants to impose upon his son.

Death is an ugly reality for young Sam: that of his mother, the work on the whaling station, his understanding of masculinity and his emotional self as the novel progresses. But through death comes rebirth. 

For me, the distance of the novel’s setting from current events is what allowed a range of questions to be asked about the role and nature of contemporary masculinity. It is a definition that is particularly complex yet rigidly defined in parts of Australian culture where normative masculine behaviours are exemplified through sport, violent behaviour, stoic emotional retardation. As a high school teacher, I could see this novel having a place with Year 9 and 10 boys.

The novel has drawn comparisons with Tim Winton and Favel Parrett, and those comparisons are warranted; there is not a wasted sentence. This is a nuanced novel. There is a beautiful sense of space for the reader to inhabit within the descriptive style. You feel the prose move with the tides and the heaving carcasses of the whales.

This is a remarkable debut novel and I thoroughly recommend it.

Zentangle #26 Permission

Permission

I believe we’re
allowed to ask
to become a child
of creation
and earth

 

This was written for a colleague who is leaving so it’s not for sale. A little different in the style than normal but similar in style to the raven zentangle.

Zentangle #24 Breathe

Breathe

in the firmament
of the great design
you glimpse yourself as
flesh and blood
earth and water.
But breathe
because you’re human

 

 

This piece is for sale $15AUS (inc postage to anywhere in the world). For an extra $2AUS you can get a set of zentangle postcards.

zentangle-postcards

If you wish to purchase this piece, leave a message in the comments and I will get in touch with you via the email address you use when posting a comment.

Calico tote bags featuring “Coloured Pencils” and “Stupid Question” and postcards are available for sale HERE.

UPDATE: This piece is now SOLD. (Going have to be quick for the next one).

Post It Note Poetry 2017 Part 2

Curating the next instalment of Post It Note Poetry. There’s a few more days left of the month so I’ll see how I go.

Stranger

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Words

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Dyptych 1

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Dyptych 2

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A Kite’s Construction

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Misinterpretation 

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Untitled

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Collaboration

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Sand

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Zentangle #22 The Great Mistake

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The Great Mistake

grown ups want to
not forget
the great mistake
they were little children
who were tempted to grow
out of childhood 
you’ve heard all this before

This piece is for sale $15AUS (inc postage to anywhere in the world). For an extra $2AUS you can get a set of zentangle postcards.

zentangle-postcards

If you wish to purchase this piece, leave a message in the comments and I will get in touch with you via the email address you use when posting a comment.

Also check out
* Zentangle #20 Patched Together Plasticine. For sale
 HERE.
* Zentangle #21 Looking Glasses. For Sale HERE.
Calico tote bags featuring “Coloured Pencils” and “Stupid Question” and postcards are available for sale HERE.

Buy TWO zentangle pieces for $25 (inc. postage anywhere in the world).

Zentangle #21 Looking Glasses

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Looking Glasses

eyes are
a looking-glass
see
and imagine another world
and wonder
“Have you been here before?”

This piece is for sale $15AUS (inc postage to anywhere in the world). For an extra $2AUS you can get a set of zentangle postcards.

zentangle-postcards

If you wish to purchase this piece, leave a message in the comments and I will get in touch with you via the email address you use when posting a comment.

Also check out Zentangle #20 Patched Together Plasticine.
For sale
HERE.
Calico tote bags featuring “Coloured Pencils” and “Stupid Question” and postcards are available for sale HERE.

Buy TWO zentangle pieces for $25 (inc. postage anywhere in the world).