Radio Pleasures

Radio Pleasures

What do a Shoe Princess, a Rotarian passionate about Men’s Health issues, a young woman living with a debilitating chronic pain syndrome, the CEO of Ardoch Youth Foundation, an adventure racer/personal trainer, a vision impaired IT expert, a man diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 2 years of age, a Meditation guru and a New South Wales Woman of the Year have in common?

Answer: My radio programme. They and many more have been guests on my health & wellbeing programme The Best Medicine on 88.3FM (Melbourne, Tuesdays, 11am – noon AEST).

Preparing & presenting my programme is demanding, time consuming, fascinating and so often humbling – as when guests share their personal experiences of illness, pain or chronic conditions. I’m humbled and also inspired by how they cope – often with humour and/or helping others, how they find meaning and how they just get through each day.

I do community radio, so I can give a whole programme to certain topics: Alzheimers, Chronic Pain etc which I think people want to know about, or a whole programme to an author – as I’ve done so many times this year and in previous years.  No one limits me to superficial brief chats. I like depth and detail and I think a lot of listeners do too.

Here’s a selection:

Emma Bowd wrote The Shoe Princess’ Guide to the Galaxy – a novel about a shoe lover, corporate high flyer and new mum adjusting to a world no longer under her control.

I talked with Liane Moriarty author of What Alice Forgot – an engaging, engrossing, funny novel about amnesia and second chances.

Basia Bonkowski shared with us her experience of having to let go of her remarkable elderly mother in her moving work Shimmer.

The ever amazing Sandy Jeffs talked about her memoir Flying with Paper Wings , in which she explores her distressing, troubled family life and her ‘madness’ – schizophrenia; her saviours: two friends and writing. It’s insightful, intelligent, cogent, humane, searingly honest, lyrical and at times humorous – and transforming. Read it and start to understand the hellish suffering of those with a mental illness. Gain insight and compassion.

And then there was Steven Amsterdam, the author of the Age Book of the Year 2009Things We Didn’t See Coming. He’s an amazing person and a skilled writer. His dystopian vision of a not-too-distant future of social and environmental breakdown is a timely warning, but much more it is an affirmation of the need to connect and to be true to self despite terrible circumstances. The ending is deeply moving. If you want to listen to an MP3 version of the interview it’s on my website: under radio programmes. I plan to add some more in a while.

Steven was sent to me by the wonderful Christine Darcas author of Dancing Backward in High Heels, who asked me to be in conversation with her for her author talk during the Bayside Literary Festival this year. I interviewed her on my programme  in 2008.

For Anzac Day I awoke VERY early and was part of the team associated with the broadcast of the Dawn Service from Hampton RSL and then had the privilege of  interviewing some returned servicemen. Listening to Vietnam Vets talking about PTSD and the effects on their families and themelves and old diggers from WW2 still haunted by memories is another humbling reality check. I think I’ll be back for more next year if the team wants me.

I love doing radio.


Launch Delight

Oh what a night! What a launch and what an auspicious start to the Bayside Literary Festival! Last night thrilled, informed and entertained effortlessly. Although, to any who’ve organised even the smallest event, the planning, focus, attention to detail, energy and hours behind such a success were obvious, even if well hidden. It was a credit to our talented organisers.

Such a delight, from the moment we entered the foyer of Beaumaris Library – a lovely, light, welcoming space, with artworks and lively Festival posters, plus refreshments proferred immediately. How appropriate and festive is a glass of bubbly on such a sparkling occasion! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

From initial greetings in the foyer, we flowed into the smaller meeting room, which was invitingly warm, where delicious finger food was graciously served; and provided by a generous, local sponsor: Ludo’s The Good Food Store.

After a judicious amount of mingling and nibbling we moved to the larger hall where the formalities were held. The Mayor officially launched the Festival;  Arnold Zable spoke fondly of his association with and affection for Bayside, and then announced the recipient of the inaugural Billilla artist in residence programme; the judges of the various writing competitions gave insights into the quality of the entries and their assessment criteria; winners and runners-up were announced; winning entries were read (but extracts only of the adult prose categories); prizes were given and recipients ushered out discreetly to be photographed, and later ushered back in.

All was most ably facilitated by the MC, Phil Norton (aka the preacherman says); a witty, mentally and vocally agile, spoken word artist, who welcomed us with an amusing, insightful piece (supported by music); introduced participants, commented, kept us entertained and the event flowing; then concluded the formalities with another clever, appropriate work. Smooth! ( Love the material and the style)

But wait, it gets better!  Two talented friends gained well- deserved awards. I left, exhilarated.  Applause and kudos all round and especially to Ali (Bayside Library) and her colleague Mark, from Arts & Culture (Bayside Council) for their considerable organisational skills (right down to the large screen which displayed the sponsors – rightly to be acknowledged and thanked – and competition winners).

A night to be proud of and delight in.

So, get yourself a brochure or get on line (Bayside Library) and look at the web version and come along. Most of the sessions are FREE!

I’m looking forward to the sessions I’m involved in – most exciting.

My Bayside Poetry Group is ready to entertain you – yes a bit of advertising and promotion here folks.

The Memoir Writing Session has a very interesting panel (one of whom took out an award last night!)

And my dear friend Shirley (who hosts Write Now on Southern FM – 88.3FM  Thursdays 7 – 8pm, as she has done for 17 years!)  and I will be taking a workshop on writing for Radio & Stage.

I chatted with Christine Darcas, author of Dancing Backwards in High Heels, a few days ago about the worlds of writing and publishing. We’ll be in conversation in a session during the festival. She’s a talented, gracious, articulate and down to earth woman with so much to offer. Her book is an excellent read. She writes well and the issues she deals with will resonante with many; and perhaps especially her main character’s way to regain her enthusiasm for life by pursuing her passion.

It’s been quite a week – very full and fulfilling – and SOOOOOOO  much busier than I’d expected. Funny how you think you’ll have time to relax, a breathing space before an extra full week and then the time evaporates! But, they were good things, those absorbing my down-time and so were lovely, even if I was very tired by the end of each day.

A plug for Southern FM before I sign off. It’s a great community radio station offering a great range of programmes and warrants a listening. In our broadcast area tune to 88.3FM otherwise we stream on:

Next time a little about a special OB (outside broadcast).

Thanks for your thoughtful responses.

I hope all in webworld and elsewhere can find some delight each day, to nourish and sustain you. Goodness knows we all need that.

Autumn Delight

Gold, primrose, lemon – palest, sweetest. Not quite. I search for one word to capture the Autumn Silver Birch.  Each time I step into our garden, even on the greyest, near-Winter’s day it is bright. It is light made leaf. Alight. Bright with promise – beyond the fall, the naked limbs,  buds await. The year turns – well really it races; bolts away.   But the garden has its own pace. Thank God. Otherwise, we’d all be crazed, cracked like over-fired clay. Brittle, breaking.

Our Silver Birch and her sister – which always greens and gilds a little later, giving double joy – our Silver Birches delight. Thankfully, our garden survived the brutal Summer – the relentless, excessive heat, water restrictions (oh, the too-numerous buckets of grey water I’ve distributed). But these are small concerns in the greater context – particularly the savage fires that raged. The horrifying toll of death and suffering. But  then, how communities rallied to help each other and then the whole nation and other countries responded to our pain and loss. People can be so generous, kind and compassionate. Thankfully. I take comfort from that in dark times.

For me, a garden is a necessity, not just an optional extra. We all need that connection with the natural world – even one of our own contriving. That’s how we remain better connected to self and others. In fact there’s evidence of the psychological benefit of gardens. Never forgetting the wonderful work of providing oxygen and absorbing carbon and other pollutants that plants do. Their lovely, much needed  and very welcome shade. Their beauty – such delight.

I navigate by my polestar – delight – garnered from true friendships, the natural world, music, literature, the arts, laughter, writing, talking (I do a lot of that !!) broadcasting and performing. All enrich, nourish, sustain and enable me to survive hard times. I hope I give enough in return to others. I certainly give much of myself to our garden.

Delight in every day – Gaytana