Hi and updating on things that are occurring in my little area of the world of novels.

Next Saturday, of course, it’s time for another Short Story in 101.7 around 11.00 am. While I have a few superstitions, I’m not too worried about it being April Fool’s Day. Somehow I’ve survived such a day many times over a number of decades and I’m pretty certain I will again.

The two stories, by the way are humorous, lightening the tone of a couple of the previous ones. One is the story of the late Sid Simeon, husband of Fran, father of Peta and Claire and grandfather to quite a number of grandchildren. It’s a story that starts from Kojonup where I first met Sid as publican of “the bottom pub”. When I first wrote the tale, I sent it to Peta and Claire, who were children aged about eight and nine when I first met them as deputy principal of the district high school, to check if it in any way offended them. I got the sense it didn’t and I was pleased because it has a wonderful punch-line, as true as I write this, which also showed a marvelous capacity on Sid’s part for reflective introspection.

The other story came from a Noongar man from Northam, Mark or “Shadow” Davis. He was chairing a meeting in Northam with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people (mostly government officials) and his introduction at the meeting has stayed with down the years. It has to do with the downside of being an Aboriginal person but in a witty, challenging way. Both will be up on the website under SHORT STORIES after next weekend being read by Paul Goddard.

On other matters, I’ve done another three presentations on my novels to different group in the past two weeks. One was to the Bayswater City View Club and thanks to them for the welcome and interest. Having had a working connection with The Smith Family, the work of View clubs of interest to me. The two other clubs were to U3A clubs (University of the Third Age) and I’ve presented at a number of these. They are particularly stimulating because the participants attend in the interest of life-long learning. What a wonderful and refreshing sense of change seems to waft through U3A clubs because participants are there to have their ways of knowing and doing challenged, not to defend what they are currently thinking and doing.

I stress those words are not pointed in any way at Bayswater City View Club, which was also a refreshing, challenging place to present. But I have presented in several forums where I felt what I had to say about alternative ways to work with Aboriginal people was met with stoic indifference or was seen as anathema. That, I have discovered since, was because I suggested, as always, that whether we like it or not, what we are doing to Aboriginal people and their cultures, however unintentionally, is assimilating them through our educational, legal, religious and economic systems. If we keep doing that, Aboriginal cultures will die and there is an enormous amount we can could learn from those cultures in so many ways. So perhaps we should start treating them as people to work with, rather than doing to things to or for them, offering handouts and taking away their authority and responsibility for making decisions about their futures.

And finally, if you’d like to see what’s happening with my fourth novel, “Life Sentence”, go to www.aussieyarns.com and then to Novels, or else click here: http://aussieyarns.com/life-sentence/life-sentence-update-4/

You’ll find the latest report on it to read at your leisure. But, importantly, the writing continues. Set in 1900, and starting on and around Rottnest, it progresses to the mainland, a journey to Cossack, Roebourne and Yindjibarndi country, and then trying to resolve the issue that is central to the story by obtaining proof. In effect, it’s not about deaths on Rottnest: it’s about the failings of the legal system in the late 19th Century in this state, and perhaps into the 20th Century, and it’s effects on Aboriginal people.

Stay well and I’ll write again soon.