Home' Aurora : Aurora March 2013 Contents The world of a young person today
is very different from the world their
parents, teachers and employers
experienced at the same age. Often
this generation gap is a cause of angst
and concern for the members of both
generations. The world of technology,
social media, the effects of bullying,
relationships, academic pressures and
the influence of drugs and alcohol make
navigating the years into adulthood a
challenge for young people and those
who care about them.
With this in mind, Dr Ramesh Manocha,
a general practitioner, has gathered
together a respected group including
Susan Maclean (cyber expert), Dr
Michael Carr-Gregg (adolescent
psychologist) and other leading
psychologists, educators, doctors
and research authors with expertise
and interest in all subjects associated
with young people, their mental
health and wellbeing. The work of
the group is outlined on its website,
contains the collective knowledge of
these experts. There is information on
upcoming seminars and workshops
on topics including mental health,
cybersafety, drugs and alcohol and
social pressures. The resources
available on the website are up to date
and relevant and there are practical
solutions and reliable advice on offer.
You can view video clips from previous
seminars and become part of the
discussion on the articles through their
The topics covered by the team of
Generation Next are often delicate or
difficult to talk about. It is reassuring
that the research and information they
provide is current and their advice
can be the starting point for important
discussions between parents or
teachers and young people. It is also
encouraging that this dedicated group is
doing its part not only in helping young
people and parents but also raising
the profile of the importance of mental
health in our society.
Stories can take us to places unvisited,
to which our imaginations then give
form. This is one of the richest delights
There is, however, a particular thrill
in picking up a book which presents
familiar places, especially home soil, the
loci of one's own experiences.
Strzelecki Lookout, the road through
Neath, Toronto High, Maitland
Showground, drains in New Lambton,
Horseshoe Beach! These are back-
of-my-hand places. Sharing locals'
encounters with animals in familiar
locations offers something extra.
Many people, many animals, and many
encounters in fact, and some fiction
too. I presume that talking animal
encounters are fictional - and an offering
from beyond the grave! And I was left
wondering if a shot and crying kangaroo
is a real or imagined encounter?
This anthology of Animal Encounters:
Stories and Poems by Hunter Valley
Writers, the result of a competition
by Catchfire Press, is pleasing for the
variety gathered around its theme. The
range of animals is Noahesque -- from
the ant to the humpback, from the tame
to the wild and dangerous.
Some writers make it clear they are
life-long 'dog persons' or 'cat persons'
and relate with gratitude the blessings
they have received from successive
companions throughout their lives.
Certain encounters with the less
lovable must also feature. Australia's
deadliest are encountered and the
fear experienced. The creepy and
annoying are here as well, the type to be
dispatched with "a sharp shoe 'whack' ".
The winning story confronts with a
stark depiction of domestic violence,
infidelity and meaninglessness against a
background of the raucous calls of the
koel bird. An encounter with the world's
most dangerous animal! The "sun
ripened fresh young sprouts of grevillea,
banksia, melanoma" are not out of place
in this entry.
The approaches, the techniques, the
styles vary greatly in this gathering of
one hundred and three. So does the
quality. As judge Karen Whitelaw states,
it is "writing that is inspired by the things
in our lives that awaken our souls". Apart
from our encounters with one another,
there is little doubt that nothing created
reveals and awakens our souls as fully
as our animal encounters.
If you call, or have called, the Hunter
home, and if you like animals for
themselves and for how they enrich
us, you will enjoy experiencing these
BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
BY MARGARET WALKER
Aurora on tour
The kingdom is near
Here, among the pots and pans,
Now, kneaded and rolled into apple pie
fragrant and warm and spicy.
Here, around the kitchen table,
Now, present to all the hurts and injustices.
Here, in the dance,
Weaving patterns of conviviality and resistance.
Now, open house, open hearts...
Here and now. Only this. It is enough.
Kathy Galloway in Neil Paynter (ed) This Is The Day.
Wild Goose Publications 2002.
COMPILED BY SR LOUISE GANNON RSJ
If you have a photograph
that you would like to be
considered for Aurora,
please ensure it is high
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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