Rediscovering craft and the joy of making things occupies my time. Once a prolific knitter, dressmaker, quilter, gardener, I stopped making things. I don’t know why, but increasing arthritis probably made it a challenge. Instead, creative pursuits that involved writing rather than making, occupied my time.
I suspect I’d uncover a major debate about the merits of creativity and craft if I chose to look for it. But today, I’m going with my hunch that craft is creative and fun. And choosing to enjoy it for its simplicity.
In The Smokehouse, Melissa Manning provides eleven short stories. This debut collection of intertwined stories showcases the skills of the author. A lawyer, Manning grew up in Tasmania and now lives in Victoria. Each of the stories reads well, either alone or as part of the whole. In addition, the first and last can be read as a single narrative with a haunting theme of love and disappointment.
The performing arts in all their variety, beauty and wonder have nourished my mind and fed my soul. If you throw reading (fiction, non fiction, poetry, history etc.) into the mix, I’m indeed blessed.
During my childhood, I longed to perform. But performance, a lisp and my inherent shyness sat uncomfortably together. It quickly became clear I’d never be an actor, singer or dancer. Art eluded me, also, but that’s another story.
Live theatre and life-long learning go together in the lives of many lucky Australians. The recent advent of a new theatre company (Theatre 180) in Perth rekindled my interest in the performing arts.
John’s daughter, Susan Fleming, chairs the Board of Theatre 180. This stimulated John’s interest in attending more live theatre. A new phase of our life-long learning journey begins. A win-win for everyone!
Social life for eighty-years-olds includes visits from family, coffee with friends and meeting in groups for craft activities or exercise. Bus trips and overnight sleepovers give older people enjoyment and so do competition cards, bingo and bowls. Anything done with other people benefits us, and some things more than others. Some outings make us tired. Others energise us.
Events often take me by surprise. A marathon of fun last week delighted and enlivened John and me. We thought we’d be tired by the end. We were. But we’ll do it all again, whenever invited.
The Children, by playwright Lucy Kirkwood, entertains and provokes serious thought. On one hand, it can be viewed as witty and endearing. But The Children also carries a powerful message. It challenges the audience to think about responsibility between generations, and restitution for wrongs.
Walking speed, so it seems, can be a predictor of a person’s life expectancy. Much like vital signs such as pulse and blood pressure. Or how much a person weighs and how much alcohol they drink or exercise they do. Last year, medical scientists labelled loneliness as a useful predictor of a person’s health and life-span. I wrote a blog, ‘Is loneliness the next big health threat?’.
With The Good Turn, award-winning author Dervla McTiernan demonstrates once more her considerable skills as story-teller and writer. As in her two previous books, The Rúin and The Scholar (reviewed here), characters Detective Cormac Reilly and Garda Peter Fisher encounter crime and police corruption. Important aspects of their personal lives emerge to intrigue the reader. The Good Turn also features an apparently unrelated murder, which is eventually resolved.
Nursing comparisons between today and the olden days, when nurses trained in an apprenticeship system, make me laugh. Recently some nurses exchanged ideas about this topic on Facebook.
I was seventeen years old when I began to train as a nurse in 1955. Then, nurses in Western Australia became indentured to the Health Department. Actually, our fathers signed the papers that bound us for the next three years. Most people went straight from school to the hospitals to train. They were well under the legal age to enter into contracts when they started.