From my desk ~ on the road again

I am on the road again.

On the road ~ inland from Mt Hutt, Canterbury, New Zealand, (photo credit to my brother)

Not in a literal sense but in an imaginative one.

I am exploring new territory in my creative journey by attempting poetry and prose readings.

Would you like to listen in? My first two readings have a New Zealand theme.

 

Reading out loud to myself or to an audience is something I haven’t done in a long while. It brings back warm memories of bed time stories, evenings by the radio, school plays, Bible readings, and some not so pleasant memories of  terrifying speech giving.

I would like to thank Clanmother  

and Wendy L. Macdonald

and my daughter for the inspiration which they have given me to pursue the spoken word again.

Now, on any journey, it’s handy to travel as lightly as possible. So, this week, I have not only been shedding the weight of my voice from its inner sanctum, but I have also been setting free some of my precious history.

I like to farewell treasures with love and appreciation, when I list them for sale. I do this by recording them in little tableaux. Here are two of my favourites. Together they speak to me of long journeys, strength,  and the courage to adventure, in the company of family and friends, and even strangers.

Commemorating the Centenary of Canterbury in Irish Linen

Time repeats its path…..in 2018 this 1979 calendar will be up to date again.

ps I would be grateful for feedback on my voice recordings. Is my voice clear to you?  Do I speak too quickly? Is it easy to understand the meaning of the poems and the prose?

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156 thoughts on “From my desk ~ on the road again

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Virginia. I have been struggling with spring time allergies for a few weeks so my voice is probably a bit croakier than it would normally be. I am glad you found my voice pleasant to listen to. 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Awww….. and I am smiling a little about the mysterious me. I don’t really mean to be that way but I guess it’s my reserved, slightly shy, nature. I am working on that, too. 🙂 I am getting bolder as the years go by.

  1. Clanmother

    My dear friend – what a joy to come to your place of poetry. Your voice, nuances and joyful lilt send goosebumps. Actually I have been thinking of your this past week as I embarked on the dangerous journey of reducing, recycling and letting go! This time it was the storage unit that always seemed to have room for one more item. Well, that is until it didn’t. What I found when I opened the door last week was a place crying for help. I had to respond.

    Your thoughts on poetry resonate. The act of reading aloud has power to stir the creative energies hidden within us. As Leonardo da Vinci once said (and I always wonder where is said it and who was there to hear the words) “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” And then there is dear Robert Frost “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” May we celebrate poetry every day for it brings us life. As e.e.cummings reminds us: “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” Thank you for giving me a wonderful way to end the day. Good night from Vancouver – I leave the world in you hands. Hugs!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I was sure there must be a poem to go with you on your dangerous journey. It’s called Heaps of Stuff by Pam Ayres. Here it is in animated form, and set in Scotland: https://youtu.be/iNYKAFMp19Q I am glad you are celebrating poetry with me. 🙂 I am preparing another poetry reading for Monday. It will have a New Zealand theme again.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Kate. I haven’t really considered my voice much at all. But I am considering narrating or reading my mother’s story of her life in Fiji in the late 40s and early 50s. The question is do I just bumble along with it in amateur style, or try much harder to do it in a more professional style?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am glad you enjoyed my readings. Did you ever do tape recordings? When the cassette tapes first came out we used to do family recordings and send them, instead of letters, to family members in different parts of the world. We felt so modern. 😀

      Reply
  2. lisadorenfest

    I am delighted that you’ve decided to pursue the spoken word again. I have a nostalgia for times that I’ve not lived in and your recordings remind me of my love of radio programs that pre-date Television. I also long for a time when people used to recite poetry to audiences when there was no other form of entertainment but the stage. You’ve chosen excellent readings and your voice builds their intended imagery perfectly. I also love your Canterbury Quilt with its beautiful sailing ships. How au would love to display that on Amandla. Ahoy from the rails to Hanoi 🤗

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Good to hear from you, Lisa. Yes, those sailing ships of old were quite a sight. I wouldn’t want to have been in a berth on them, though. Amandla is 5 star luxury in comparison, wouldn’t you agree?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It was a really pretty dish towel, wasn’t it! But I decided to sell it because it doesn’t quite fit with my colour choices. It has a new home now, and the buyer is thrilled with it. That makes me happy. Hope you have managed to find a place to stay away from that annoying hot water cylinder. 😉

      Reply
      1. KathrinS

        Yes it’s lovely, glad it’s being appreciated by the new owner😀
        Not yet – I’ve rented the place until the end of October.. that’ll give me time to look for something suitable😀

        Reply
  3. Sheryl

    This post bring back warm memories. My grandmother always had a cloth calendar hanging in her kitchen – and she always reused old calendars when time repeated itself.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I wish I had been as savvy as your grandmother and realized earlier that calendars could be reused. Did your grandmother actually use the calendar as a dish towel or was it for display only? Most of them seemed to have been used just as hangings.

      Reply
      1. shoreacres

        I didn’t realize until reading the comments here that anyone simply displayed these towels. We always used ours, and the printing stood up amazingly well. I still have one or two of my mother’s well-used ones. They made wonderful towels for glassware — so soft and absorbent after a couple of years use. (I think my previous comment must have landed in spam — perhaps because of a link.)

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          A lot of the calendar towels I have seen have a wider hem at the top for a hanging rod. And, yes, the linen towels do become wonderfully soft. I love them. ( Your other comment has arrived safely. I am enjoying the link immensely. A full response is on the way.)

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Dianne. If I am guessing correctly ( based on your latest post), it may not be long before you are called upon to reactivate your reading aloud skills. 🙂

      Reply
  4. shoreacres

    Your reading is lovely. Like you, I grew up in an environment where reading aloud was very much the norm. Not only did my parents read aloud to me, teachers had “reading periods,” too. My fourth grade teacher read to us every day from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, and we loved it.

    I hope you’ll read us some of your poems. Do you read them aloud as you write them? I do, although I finally gave up on digital text-to-speech programs. They’re fine for most things, but they can’t interpret a poem. I smiled at Paulliver’s original comment, too. There’s a lot of “poetry” around these days that is nothing more than a few sentences rearranged into stanzas or other forms.

    As for reading aloud to others, or speaking in front of a group, it was an utter horror to me for years.The story of getting over that is a long one, starting with high school debate and speech workshops at the University of Iowa. Seminary completed the transition, of course, since part of the point there was to be able to get up every Sunday morning and hold peoples’ interest for at least a few minutes; the presentation was as important as the content.

    As for your hesitancies and little anxieties about moving forward, you actually can hear me musing on precisely that subject here. I’d forgotten that I wrote about the experience, but maybe I’ll edit and repost.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do hope you will repost your “I believe” piece. I enjoyed it so much; listening to your voice, and absorbing your message. Is absorbing the right word? I was certainly deeply absorbed in your recording.

      I would have loved listening to the Little House series as a youngster but the books weren’t at our school, and not in the local library at that time. I read the books as an adult, and…..here’s a scenario for you. In our first few weeks in Cairo, there were several dust storms. During the worst of the storms I would sit with my son and daughter in the kitchen ( the room with the fewest windows) and read from the Little House series. It was so bizarre reading about blizzards and snow, in the heat of a Cairo dust storm. It was also fun. I must ask my daughter if she remembers those readings.

      As for my own poems. I have written only a few but I do read them aloud to see if they sound right to my ear. That means they could still sound terrible to another person. I am completely useless when it comes to understanding meters and patterns, and all the technical skills of poetry.

      I am glad you remembered your recording experience. Thank you.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dina, I am glad you find my voice clear and pleasing. Did the Book Fayres get to listen in? 😉 You, the Fab Four, would love our mountains and inland terrain. It’s wonderful country for photography.

      Reply
  5. Mrs. P

    I do,so,enjoy the sound of your voice! I thought the poem about the garage was quite lovely. I really pictured what it looked like in my head.

    The mountains in the picture, are they from NZ. I assumed they were as you attached with the story.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, the poem reminds me of a lot of old garages I have seen over the years. The poet lived in Christchurch, by the way. The mountains in the picture are inland from where I live; quite a way inland . They are a wonderful sight on a clear day.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      GP, I wish that were true. You should have seen me earlier today trying to put together a photo collage on the computer. It didn’t come out well, and the whole process left me feeling irritated and incompetent. Mind you, it was a first attempt, so I shouldn’t give up too easily. 😀

      Reply
  6. Juliet

    Gallivanta, your readings have given me so much pleasure! You read beautifully. Your voice is clear and well paced. You have a natural feel for language. I loved listening to old friends, in new pieces. The Mary Ursula Bethell one about the rains is so appropriate to our present weather. Thank you, and I love your tableaux too. I look forward to more readings – please!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Juliet, I hope to record another poem tomorrow. I am considering the Magnolia Tree by Hubert Witheford. I would prefer to read Ursula Bethell but I
      haven’t found a magnolia poem of hers. Thank you for your feedback on my voice. Although I didn’t mention you in my post, I want you to know that your video recordings have also inspired me. I am not yet brave enough to face the camera like you do, but who knows what may happen one day. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Juliet

        Who knows? It’s taken me some time to get to video, and my early efforts were not great. There are so many technical aspects as well as getting comfortable with the medium. Meanwhile, your readings will do nicely!

        Reply
  7. Wendy L. Macdonald

    You sound like a seasoned pro. Your lovely accent is easy to listen to, your speed is spot on, and you sound relaxed and confident too. Sometimes I have to rerecord mine because I stumble over my words. Then I have to remind myself it’s not live–so I relax and do it again. But if I’m telling a story I’m excited about, I rarely get nervous. Did you get your’s perfect the first time? I promise not to be jealous if you did. 🙂 Thank you, dear friend, for the sweet mention. Inspiring others is one of my passions. You’ve made my day, my week, and my month. ❤
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wendy, I don’t believe I would have had the courage to make a recording like this if you hadn’t led the way, and made the idea seem possible. As for rerecording……oh, yes, I did that several times, but, in the end, even the final version has a few stumbles. I decided it didn’t matter too much because this is supposed to be a fun undertaking. Thank you for your blessings, and your encouragement.

      Reply
  8. Clare Pooley

    It was so good to hear you read out loud! I enjoyed both the poetry and the prose; new authors to me. I love to read out loud but don’t have an audience at home anymore though I do get to read the lesson at church now and then! My mother read to me and my brother and sister when we were small. She also used to recite all sorts of poems she had learnt over the years and there are some that as soon as I hear the first words my eyes fill with tears and my throat constricts! My daughters find it very amusing!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Church can be a wonderful environment for the spoken word. That’s my adult perspective. As a child I found some of the readers and ministers utterly dull and soporific. I am sorry you have no audience. Another blogger mentioned that cats make a good audience. Would that work for you? They wouldn’t mind if your eyes filled with tears, either. Thank you for your lovely response to my recordings.

      Reply
      1. Clare Pooley

        No cats or dogs here, I’m afraid! I remember being very bored in church as a girl, too. I think readers and ministers were discouraged from putting expression into their reading and ministers especially developed the droning intoning which I still hear now and again. Fortunately, most readers will use a little expression these days which make the readings understandable at least!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          ‘Droning intoning’ is a perfect description. Quite strange it should have been an accepted style, when the Bible indicates that Jesus was a powerful speaker.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And I am glad you have come through Irma okay, your electricity is back, and you can hear me. Hope you are playing your piano again too. Do you notice birds being extra vocal/attentive when you play?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Inese. You are the second commenter to express a preference for the written word. It’s so good to have a range of views. Hope you have a good trip back to Canada.

      Reply
  9. KerryCan

    I have to admit, I kind of hate being read to–much prefer reading the written word. So, I’m sorry not to have listened but have you posted the writing anywhere? I’d love to read it. And I love seeing your vintage treasures–you do honor them with such fine photos!

    Reply
      1. KerryCan

        I think I’ve pretty much always hated it. I liked being told stories when I was little but not having them read to me. And then came high school, where they made us read Romeo and Juliet out loud, a bunch of clueless kids, and that did me in.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Okay, I confess those read aloud plays in school were bad news! I was at an all girls school too …who knew Romeo had such a feminine voice. 😀

      1. KerryCan

        Thanks for taking the trouble of passing along the written words–these I can enjoy! I am reminded of a recording I had of Yeats, reading Lake Isle of Innisfree. It’s my fave so I was all excited but hearing it out loud almost ruined it for me . . .

        Reply
  10. realruth

    I enjoyed hearing you read, and your voice was very clear. I go to a weekly play reading group at the WEA where I have an opportunity to read out loud and to explore some plays I haven’t come across before. Today we read “The Skin Game” by John Galsworthy.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am pleased to hear about the play reading group. Sounds very interesting and enjoyable. Do you usually manage to get through an entire play in one session?

      Reply
  11. Art and Soul Space

    Hi Gallivanta
    You have a lovely reading voice. I find it measured, light-filled, comforting, inviting. Thank you.
    And I particularly enjoy your tableaux. Sweet idea – honouring of different aspects and times of life. warm wishes
    Sally
    PS GREAT you are on the road again

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sally, I am glad you sense the light-filled nature of the readings. My aim was to add light because, too often, I find poems being read aloud as if they were dirges. Perhaps that is the correct way to read a poem, or how the author intends the poem to be read. I don’t know. But it doesn’t appeal to me.

      Reply
  12. utesmile

    Your voice sounds great, perfectly clear and beautifully soft. It would be a great voice for some guided meditations. Great to see you here my friend, enjoy your Spring.. as we start rapidly our Autumn, it gets much colder these days.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Keep warm and well, Ute. Your mention of guided meditation reminds me that I used to do guided imagery for my children if they were finding it difficult to sleep. I usually fell asleep before they did!

      Reply
  13. Steve Schwartzman

    Eve says you have an excellent reading voice, and I agree. You missed a career with the BBC or its New Zealand equivalent. Eve also sys you should be the voice-over for many nature documentaries.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you both. In fact, I did miss a career in broadcasting; not with the BBC or with its NZ equivalent. Your comments reminded me I once applied for a newsreader job in Fiji. Thank goodness the station manager had the good sense to tell me (gently) I was far too young for the job, and completely unqualified. Nowadays, in radio, I would be considered too old. 😀

      Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        What a shame if you’d be considered too old for radio.

        Coincidentally, on the flight from Calgary to Houston yesterday we had a steward with a deep, rich voice. I asked him if anyone had ever told him he had the kind of voice that would do well on radio. His joking answer was that people had told him he had a face that would be good for radio.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I should amend my comment; I would be too old for mainstream radio. I am sure there is a niche demand for older voices. Ha! to the steward. I remember when one of our radio stations went online with some of its programmes I was surprised to see some of the faces which went with the beautiful voices.

  14. Maureen Sudlow

    I enjoyed your poetry readings – particularly the one on weather.
    because today
    I took a chance and hung out some washing
    more in hope than in anger
    the splat of heavy raindrops on the roof
    sneaking past the sun…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      If ever proof were needed that we lived in the same country, your poem provides it! I rushed out to do much needed grocery shopping this morning, hoping I would be finished in time to enjoy an afternoon stroll in Hagley Park. So, shopping over by 1pm, but the sky has clouded over, and it looks like we can expect a southerly change any time soon. 😦 Glad you enjoyed the poetry readings. Are you planning to do some more voice recordings?

      Reply
  15. jennyredhen

    Lady Barker certainly had a charmed life in New Zealand I have her another of her books Station life in NZ. What a different New Zealand we live in now.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Jennyredhen, I am on the lookout for Station Life in NZ. I haven’t read it yet. I would like to get an old copy from a second hand bookstore. Lady Barker’s life fascinates me. And it certainly was a different NZ eg Lady Barker had a pet monkey. Can’t imagine that happening today.

      Reply
  16. thecontentedcrafter

    I got side tracked and on a whim went to T’Me to see if you were there 🙂 Have you sold the pink calendar towel? If not I’m interested…….. You have such a beautifully modulated voice, it is a pleasure to listen to. Personally I would prefer a little silence either side of listening to the poems or prose – it gives it time to settle into the soul.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh Pauline, I made such a mess of the Trade Me sale for the pink calendar tea towel. (Long story). I am waiting for the buyer to contact me. If the sale falls through, the tea towel is yours. I will let you know what happens. As for the recordings, particularly the poems, I did wonder if they were a bit too squished together. I will work on silence. We need it, and yet we are afraid of it. It’s the same in conversation. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think it would be fun to have read aloud groups; some play reading would be good, too. I had a wee chuckle about the word ‘tranquilizing’ ; when I read to my mother she falls asleep very quickly. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lovely to have your comment and support, Cynthia. I still remember your lovely CBC interview. I would like to hear your voice again. Perhaps a future reading of Myrtle the Turtle?

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Cynthia, that would be wonderful. Even if you decide, in the end, you can’t make it public it would be a great keepsake for the family. Go for it!

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lovely to see you again, Mary. Have I inspired you to paint a poem? What colours came to your mind as you listened? I know the scenes depicted in the readings, so the words confirm familiar images.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Thank you so much for letting me know, April. I am so pleased it is available. I own a very old copy which I picked up in a second hand book store. I love it.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Lavinia. I was speaking to my brother today (on the phone) and telling him how much you and others like his photo. We had a chat about where and when the photo was taken. It was a chance to catch up on a few memories. My brother also has a beautiful speaking voice but I don’t think I can persuade him to do a recording. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Letizia

    You have a lovely reading pace, something not many people can achieve for some reason. Many people read quickly, as if to themselves. I hope you will continue to record these readings. The added bonus is that you have introduced me to new authors. Hope you are having a lovely week (and give Jack a little pat from me!).

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Jack, who is lazing on his sheepskin on the lazyboy armchair, has been given his pat……thank you 🙂 He also has the radio on very low volume to keep him company. What a life! And thank you for encouraging me to keep recording. There are so many poems and pieces of prose I would like to record, particularly those with NZ references.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Joanne, I would love to do more, despite the annoyances caused by my antiquated recording equipment (read aged cell phone). It’s a question of making time. How are you? I haven’t visited your blog in so long.

      Reply
  18. Alexander Lautsyus

    You read like a professional narrator. Your voice, pronunciation, speed of reading are just prefect to understand what are that poems about.
    While I’ve been listening to you my memory brought me faraway from today to the time when we did not have any TV and every single night before falling asleep I listened fairy tales and stories on radio.
    B&W pictures are awesome too.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Alex. I am glad you found it easy to understand my voice. What a lovely memory you have of radio listening. I remember Sunday morning radio sessions for children. There was always a story, and it was beautifully read. One of my favourites was The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. I don’t know who did the reading.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Not being a writer, I haven’t had the pleasure or pain of attending a writers’ group. Have you written anything about writers’ groups on your blog?

      1. Mél@nie

        you’re too modest, Lady-G… and btw, it’s normal to have doubts, therefore, I don’t think or believe you’re a “terrible poet”!!! 🙂 look forward to reading and/or listening to your poems… ❤

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It will be a lovely excuse to bring them out and enjoy them. And, perhaps, there will be some interesting calendar entries to mull over, as well.

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