The River of Stones – January 2012


For some time I’ve had the idea that time seems to speed up as we get older because we filter out more details. This is necessary, but it can be quite an astonishing feeling to stop and notice even the simplest things. That’s what the River of Stones is all about.

In January, Kaspa and Fiona Robyn from ‘Writing Our Way Home’ are encouraging people to pay attention to one thing every day and write it down.

You don’t have to consider yourself a writer to take part: you just need to put aside three minutes a day, and channel those minutes into a notebook or blog, with the aim of slowing down a bit and falling in love with the world a little each day.

You can find out more here, and here’s a nice little endorsement from one of last year’s participants:

“…I keep finding that [writing a small stone] doesn’t eat up time or mental space; on the contrary, time stops and a new space is created.”

~Jean Morris, writer of small stones


Writing as essential maintenance and repair


Today was one of those days where something goes askew in the brain or elsewhere in the body and I felt inexplicably miserable. What brought me out of it, after a little musical and literary sympathy from Mssrs Oberst and Tan, was writing myself into the place I felt I needed to be – in this case, the gorgeous hills and vineyards, just to the North-East of Melbourne (remembering them at about this time of year, incidentally).

This approach, of writing as both a way of working through things and of connecting with the world, is the beautiful kernel of Writing Our Way Home and A River Of Stones. The latter in particular draws on some of the observational traditions we see in Japanese poetry, using writing as a way of developing a better sense of connection with the world around us; the former aims to foster a sense of community in such writings. Whether you join the community or not (after all, the writing and observing are more important than more time on-line!), these sites and their related books are a good reminder of how brilliant writing can be for exploration and a spot of mental repair, and also offer abundant inspiration if you need a little push to get started.

You might also care to pop by A Handful of Stones, which is a “small stone” blogzine with a broader scope, including fiction. There are some gorgeous pieces there – only bite-sized and yet often completely satisfying.

Further adventures in art…


Yes, I am sorry; I am being evasive and/or lazy in telling you about other people’s endeavours instead of posting my own. But I would be failing in my duty of care in neglecting to inform you of things that will make your lives richer, would I not?

And if you’d like a small shot of mr oCean writing, you can wander over to A Handful of Stones (and please browse further; I thoroughly enjoy that blogzine).

But once you’re done there, if you’re in Brisbane, I heartily suggest you get yourself along to check out Bettina Walsh’s exhibition, Dreamscapes.

You might know her from such fine endeavours as illustrating Zenobia Frost‘s heart-fluttering volume, The Voyage. If you do not yet know her, well, this is the perfect opportunity, no? You might also like to whet your appetite at her deviantART page, where her piece, “Of Dreams and Nightmares” had me exclaiming aloud.

And please be patient, dear reader. There are poems coming!