Posted by: jkirkby8712 | February 4, 2011

Friday, 4th February 2011 – Contributions, ‘blogs’ and viewpoints ‘of many’!

One of my main purposes in writing these contributions [I prefer that description, to the word ‘blog’] is to share the kind of issues that I take note or, or that have some kind of affect on the way I feel about things.  Sometimes that ‘sharing’ will be through my own views, or on occasions, the comments of friends, family, journalists, political commentators, reviewers, etc – items which have created in myself and instant reaction of interest, and which I feel at the time, others may like to have brought to their attention.

My writings could also be interpreted as a form of personal history – not so much of day to day happenings as they occur to me [those these will creep in from time to time] – but of my responses to events that occur on a local,  national or even international basis. It is my feelings about such ‘events’ [ranging from politics, sport, social issues, the arts, books, etc]  which form my ‘profile’’ I suppose it could be said  –  I will never claim to be an expert in any aspect that might come through these pages, far from it in fact, but I will claim a genuine interest, and where applicable, concern as the case may be.  I have preferred to call myself  [to those in the past who have been an occasional or even regular reader of my ‘blogs’] your ‘personal essayist’, a term which many contributions ago, I tried to describe.  Perhaps I should resurrect that definition, although I will probably come up with a slightly different interpretation to what appeared previously – I’ll try and find that in my records later – but for now, this is what I consider the most appropriate way to describe my current writings.

I think it’s generally understood that the popular blog can form the basis of a personal essay, either by being designed with that purpose in mind, or purely by accidental development, as they grow into a series of memoirs about the writer’s life, or  the writer’s efforts to communicate certain ideas,  thoughts and experiences on a range of   subjects that might interest him or her. A very public recent example of this was the blog written by Australia’s young ‘around the world’ solo sailor, ‘Jessica Watson’. The blog, which was literally read by millions during the course of her trip, eventually formed a large basis of the book that she produced late last year on the story behind her solo adventure. In many ways, this is how I regard my own writings – as the story of my life [boring as that may seem to the average reader] which incorporates, not just things that happen to me, but events and issues that occur and influence different aspects of my whole reason for existing on this earth. I’ve admitted above to not being an expert in any particular subject, but I do have a personal interest in ‘many’ different aspects of human existence, and I’m sure this is reflected over the years through my writings. I read somewhere that   ‘What makes personal essays so attractive is that they’re wide open. There are no rules to follow or structure to which we must adhere. You simply write your ideas, and since they’re yours, you can put all the focus on making the language interesting’. Of course what is interesting is a question of ‘perception’ –  what is interesting to one person, will be irrelevant to someone else, and I recognize that through my writings – how and what I write about, is my choice,  and if no-one wants to read a particular piece, that is their choice, it is a means of commenting upon  something myself [or submitting the views of others] as an ongoing aspect of my ‘life’s interests’.

Some views are that a ‘personal essay’[or blog] should only reflect a ‘personal evaluation of the facts’, your personal attitude to a problem. I go further than that, and like to include other views and reports on an issue [things I’ve read, and want to share and/or record for future ‘biographical’ interest]. I don’t believe I need apologise for taking that approach. Perhaps I could be described as my ‘own gatekeeper’, previously the role of editors and publisher, in permitting written material to be distributed as widely as the internet now allows.  Certainly, blogging has become a readily accessible and often free platform for writers to self publish. My dream has always been to write a book – whether that be a ‘family history’, a ‘personal biography’ or an historical novel. My habit of becoming interested and involved in so many ‘other’ things has basically prevented that from occurring [to this point in time]. It’s still on the ‘drawing board’!

In concluding this ‘attempted’ redefinition of the ‘personal essayist’, I’ll go to another writer, Annie Dillard [in ‘To Fashion A Text’, 1988] where she describes the personal essay as something which ‘is all over the map….There’s nothing you can’t do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time’. Well now, that probably describes ‘this writer’ to a tee – you could get a bit of something from anywhere at any time!!!

Here’s an example of how I like to share the views of friends, while of course as a matter of courtesy, ensuring that those views are ‘available’ to be shared on a wider distribution, than might originally have been intended.  A couple of days ago, I received an email from a friend here of the radio station, who has been away for a few weeks,  fruit picking etc, with his wife and others.  Jack had some rather strong words to say about the ‘farmers’ and their representatives in that area of our agricultural industries, and I must say, that in the absence of any knowledge to the contrary, I was rather disgusted by what I read.  Like the writer, I feel that this kind of thing should not be permitted to take place in Australia, and one has to wonder why the authorities appear to turn a blind eye to what goes on in this particular industry. Some of our society seem to consider the arrival on our shores of a few hundred desperate refugees as some kind of forbidding evil facing this country, but it’s obvious that any ‘evil’ [if you want to call it that]  which we really should be showing concern and compassion about in around us in other guises.  Consider Jack’s comments from a couple of days ago!
“Following a month of “grape-picking” we have returned to the comforts of Melbourne. BUT will again be “away” for a while in Tassie. I have walked off two grape picking jobs. While even  Orr was so upset with the “supervisor’s attitudes”  towards her she, too, followed. That was after being left to find her own way back “home” in a 4 km walk from the work in the 40 degree heat. If  ever there is a case for supporting unions in the workforce the conditions of “fruit-pickers” certainly justifies their support.  Employers take FULL advantage of those poor-souls who are desperately looking for money.
We were awake every morning by 5 a.m. Worked in temperatures of 40 degrees until around 4 p.m. – no such thing as “meal or even toilet breaks“. The pay was $2.20 for a 10 kg box of grapes…but the box had to be  to the “quality-controls” of the employee.  So that they can demand a prices of up to  $60 or $70 for the box at the wholesale market.  Grapes too small in the bunch and the threat was “loss of job and  NO pay”…should a bad-grape sneak through, (caused by the rains) the same threats applied. Packing of your picking – had to be to the standards of a frustrated  Italian woman, wife of the boss.  Most of those doing the picking held NO VISAS to work in Australia as they are  illegal immigrants to this country  and the Australian Taxation Office never received any tax payments.   All of which – as I understand, is the employers’ responsibility.
Is it only in the Mildura-region that such blatant disregard of  our Australian working ethics can go on so uncontrolled?  If  YOU have worked all your working life, and paid the required taxation – as I have, then how and why should these illegal foreigners  and their employers,  be allowed to employ workers without them making their  contributions to the Australian economy?? Screaming about “boat-people and  their smugglers” then turning a blind eye to more obvious breaches of employment as takes place in the fruit growing areas of this country”.

Well said Jack, a man who is quite strong in his views, but generally can be relied upon to project those views in a truthful manner as far as he sees things.

To end the week, a couple of quotations relating to art –  from an article in the February 2010 edition of the Certified Public Accountant’s  magazine ‘In The Black’, entitled ‘Collecting: Art for Art’s Sake’…………………………….by Michael Reid [art dealer & author] – “I never talk of art as an investment, but as a way to store value”  ……………………and from Corbett Lyon  [proprietor of Lyon House-museum – art collections, open to the public one day a week] –  “It’s about being a custodian’



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