I am pleased that my story The Odd Number was commended in the Stuart Hadow Short Story contest. You can read the story here.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendour and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with an overcoat,
stretching out the heavens like a deep blue dome.
He lays cloud-streets as rafter beams for the sky;
he makes cumulus clouds his chariot;
he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds,
he makes his ministers a flaming fire.
He set the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep waters like a cloak;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
they give drink to every animal in the wild;
the wallabies quench their thirst.
Beside them live the magpies;
they sing carols among the branches.
From your lofty home you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You make grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to cultivate,
that they may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden people’s hearts,
olive oil to make their face shine
and bread to strengthen their hearts.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the great karri trees of the south-west that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests;
the wedgetail has her home in the great gum trees.
The high mountains are for the mygalomorph spiders;
the rocks are a refuge for the skinks.
He made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
You make darkness, and it is night,
when all the wild animals creep about.
The dingoes howl for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises, they steal away
and lie down in their dens.
People go out to their work
and to their labour until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
There go the cruise ships,
and the blue whale, which you formed as your playmate.
These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the Stirlings and the mist moves on the mountains!1
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
– Translation ESV (http://www.esvbible.org/)
1 The Aboriginal (Noongar) name for the Stirling Ranges means “The mist moving on the mountains”.
Jodie How is a fellow-writer in our Busselton-based writing group, Just Write. Jodie blogs at Motions and Musings and has tagged me to blog about my writing. I will then tag a couple of others to carry on the assignment!
What am I working on at the moment?
As usual, I am working on several pieces. I have just drafted a feature article on Australian musician Dorothea Angus. Dorothea was the Head of Music at Perth College for 32 years. She was also one of Australia’s best performers on piano and organ, regularly appearing on ABC Radio.
I have started a hymn for the competition for the 150th Anniversary of St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. I’d better get a wriggle on, because I think the closing date is the end of this month!
I’m also sitting on a romance I have just finished exploring grief when an older man is widowed. I’m waiting for a magazine or competition wanting a short story of a 1,000 words.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
The honest feedback I get on my poems is twofold. One: people enjoy their musicality, their wordplay and rhymes. Two: they find them too dense in thought, and wonder whether I should put my thoughts more simply.
My stories tend to show detail of landscape and character where other writers leave more to readers’ imaginations.
Like most writers, I struggle to see myself as writing in a preferred genre. I write some fantasy, some SF, even a little romance, some political drama: I see myself writing stories.
Why do I write what I do?
I write about my interests. [I try to be interested in everything.] But I do want my writing to do more than entertain: I want to engage readers. I want them not just to read my hymns, but to sing them. I want them not just to appreciate my point of view in a blog post, but to re-consider their own. I write to persuade; or at least to lay out a viewpoint for real consideration.
I write stories that show characters responding with honesty to challenges that require love and truth. I show people not always being able to rise to challenges, but who can grow to be honest with themselves about their lack of courage or love. I try to avoid the Hollywood solution of bringing a good ending by violent means.
How does my writing/creative process work?
An idea presents itself to me, and I churn it in my head, and it keeps churning until it turns into a story or a poem or blog piece. If it needs research, I research.
There are exceptions: I do write sermons when I am on a roster; I do look for poems to translate. In those cases, the passion comes as I go about the task of uncovering the heart of what I must write.
I write best when I first walk in the morning either along the beach or around the wetlands of Broadwater. I enjoy walking in the quiet of the moment with an empty meditative mind. As I approach the actual writing of the piece, the words gather in my mind to the rhythm of my walking.
Then I sit at my computer and type for an hour and two. I like silence when I write. When I have finished a draft, I go back and edit and re-write until I am reasonably satisfied with the piece.