I recently discovered by chance David Unaipon, the first full-blooded Aboriginal Writer published in Australia. He was also a scientist, a writer, a preacher and an inventor and you can now find his face on the 50$ Australian banknote. I was trying to find some of his writings on the Internet but since no luck with that, I checked out the contents of one of his books, ‘Legendary tales of the Australian Aborigines’, written in 1924-1925. And this is how the chapters sounded like:
- Aboriginal folklore
- Aborigines, their traditions, and customs: where did they come from?
- Some stories about my race: what the Aborigines’ carvings near Sydney mean
- Belief of the Aborigines in a great spirit
- Confusion of tongue
- The flood and its result: Berrwerina tribe, Darling River
- The gherawhat (goanna)
- Gool lun naga (green frog)
- How the tortoise got his shell
- Love story of the mat rallang
- The mat kar ree (moon)
- Marriage customs of the Australian Aborigines
- The mischievous crow and the good he did
- Naroondarie’s wives
- Nhung e umpie
- Panp parl lowa : spirit of help among the Aborigines
- The story of the mungingee
- The voice of the Great Spirit
- The water rat who discovered the secret of fire and how it was taken from him by the eagle hawk
- Why all the animals peck at the selfish owl : the coming of the light
- Why manparrie (frogs) jump into the water
- Wondangar goon na ghun (whale and star fish)
- A wonderful bun bar rang (lizard)
- Yara ma tha who
- How Teddy lost his tail.
The contents are a story in their own right! It makes me want to read the book even more, but I found it on Amazon for some 300 bucks, it exceeds my budget. But maybe you guys find it somewhere or can buy it, and get to read it, I have a feeling it will enrich your imagination and broaden your universe. But books tend to do that in general, don’t they?
“My race – the Aborigines of Australia – has a vast tradition of legends, myths, and folklore stories. These, which they delight in telling to the younger members of the tribe, have been handed down orally for thousands of years. In fact, all tribal laws and customs are, first of all, told to the children of the tribe in the form of stories, just as the white Australian mother first instructs her children with nursery stories. As a full-blooded member of my race, I think I may claim to be the first – but I hope, not the last – to produce an enduring record of our customs, beliefs, and imaginings. DAVID UNAIPON, 1924”
“In fact, everything corroborates my view that the image of the city’s ocean roar is in the very “nature of things”, and that it is a true image. It is also a salutary thing to naturalize sound in order to make it less hostile. Just in passing, I have noted the following delicate nuance of the beneficent image in the work of a young contemporary poet, Yvonne Caroutch, for whom dawn in the city is the “murmur of an empty shell. “ Being myself an early riser, this image helps me to wake up gently and naturally. However, any image is a good one, provided we know how to use it.”
Text from The Poetics of space by Gaston Bachelard
As they were announcing, a little while ago, that the Russian technology billionaire Yuri Milner is planning a $100m project to search for extraterrestrial life, with professor Hawking on board, I was just finishing reading this book called Roadside picnic by the Russian Strugatki brothers, a SF story about a possible visit by aliens on earth and what happened after they left their mark in the so-called Zone. Besides that this is a MUST READ in a lifetime book, here’s a small excerpt from the book, similar to what Stephen Hawking has to say about how aliens see our species ( “no more valuable than we see bacteria.”) :
“What do you think about the Visitation?….
Imagine a picnic… Picture a forest, a country road, a meadow. A car drives off the country road into the meadow, a group of young people get out of the car carrying bottles, baskets of food, transistor radios, and cameras. They light fires, pitch tents, turn on the music. In the morning they leave. The animals, birds, and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places. And what do they see? Gas and oil spilled on the grass. Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around. Rags, burnt-out bulbs, and a monkey wrench left behind. Oil slicks on the pond. And of course, the usual mess — apple cores, candy wrappers, charred remains of the campfire, cans, bottles, somebody’s handkerchief, somebody’s penknife, torn newspapers, coins, faded flowers picked in another meadow.”
I see. A roadside picnic.
Precisely. A roadside picnic, on some road in the cosmos….
So does that mean they never even noticed us?”….
“From the very first film I saw, Flavor of Green tea over Rice, I was fascinated by the way japanese use space in their lives, and by these doors that slide and move quietly along invisible rails, refusing to offend space. For when we push open a door, we transform a place in a very insidious way. We offend its full extension and introduce a disruptive and poorly proportioned obstacle. If you think about it carefully, there is nothing uglier than an open door. An open door introduces a break in the room, a sort of provincial interference, destroying the unity of space. In the adjoining room it creates a depression, an absolutely pointless gaping hole adrift in a section of wall that would have preferred to remain whole. In either case a door disrupts continuity, without offering anything in exchange other than freedom of movement, which could easily be ensured by another means. Sliding doors avoid such pitfalls and enhance space. Without affecting the balance of the room, they allow it to be transformed. When a sliding door is open, two areas communicate without offending each other. When it is closed, each regains its integrity. …”
A great excerpt from a book which I heartly recommend: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery.
Continue reading “There is nothing uglier than an open door…”