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A Friendly Review

Last night on Write Now I had the pleasure of having a dear friend as my guest – but not to talk about her writing! We talked about a new book I’d been sent: The Mistress of Paris  by Catherine Hewitt.

I knew I wouldn’t have time to read it, so I asked this friend – a confirmed Francophile – if she’d like to read it and then come on the programme and do a review via discussion with me. I had dipped into the book and read some of it, and like Elizabeth, I was impressed.

We had such a great time talking about the book and the remarkable central character – Valtesse de la Bigne – a celebrated Parisian courtesan. What a life  – from poverty to a central position as a woman lauded not only for her beauty (and her ‘favours’) but as a highly intelligent, witty, charming (self) educated conversationalist with a great breadth and depth of knowledge!

Of course as with any biography, we gain many insights into the times, culture, views, values – including the  prevailing view that women were inferiors! Salons, where discussions of the Arts, politics etc went on, were for men! So Valtesse created her own weekly Salon, where she could engage in intelligent conversation with artists, writers, journalists, military men – she really liked a man in uniform.

It’s such a well researched book and a fascinating story.

To find my friend’s blog, just put Elizabeth Eiffel into your browser.

Happy reading.  Gaytana

 

 

 

Mordialloc Writers 14 November 2015

We gathered on Saturday afternoon in the local Hall for the launch of Mordialloc Writers  latest anthology: Kingston My City and to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Twenty years of friendship, writing, sharing, workshopping and honing skills. Twenty years of founder Mairi Neill’s dedication, guidance and nurturing.

We heard the honour roll of members who’d been successfully published elsewhere. We acknowledged those writers who had died and listened to extracts of their writing – sometimes poignant, sometimes funny.

I sat on the stage with my Speech Choir, Making Waves, as we waited to make our contribution.

But before any of that, Mairi asked us to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.  I sat in prayerful silence, mindful of those slaughtered innocents, the injured and all those grieving over loved ones killed or terribly hurt.

Then we continued with the event as we had to. The new Mayor Tamsin Bearsley, Councillors Gledhill and West and also our Federal MP, Mr Mark Dreyfus attended.

When it was Making Waves’ turn to perform we spoke our three poems: Unity by aboriginal writer Kevin Gilbert, Beannacht (Blessing) by John O’Donohue and Clickety Clack (children’s verse by one of our members: Dorothy Plummer; and particularly appropriate as the train rattled past directly opposite the hall many times that afternoon). We shared our love of poetry and of speaking it, hopeful that we may encourage a similar interest on the part of others.

We did not forget the victims of the Paris attacks, but we continued with the event. An occasion that celebrated connection, community, generosity, sincere affection and the stories of ordinary, decent people.  A reminder of the overwhelming majority of good people in our world who give meaning to our lives each day.

Gaytana Adorna

 

 

 

Radio Programme – Tonight

I always look forward to the second Thursday of the month as Passionate Reader – Stewart – is my guest on Write Now (Southern FM – 88.3FM Melbourne) Often I discover a book I’ve never heard of, let alone read.

We’ll also be talking about Choral Speaking as I have an upcoming event with my speech choir, Making Waves.

If you’re not in the broadcast area you can still listen on line as we stream: www,southernfm.com.au

 

Cheers, Gaytana