This semester is rocketing along... this week in Australian Literature we move into David Malouf's Conversations at Curlow Creek- in preparation for David's visit to us next week. In Twentieth Century Lit we are looking at an extraordinary new book "The Other Side of You" by the English novelist Salley Vickers. This book, like David Malouf's is about the inner life... the way this challenges the values of our outer everyday world. This book moves from a depiction of the superficial middle-class social life to the deeper, darker mystical recesses of the suicidal and the insane... but as Vickers seems to imply, it is in the eccentric, marginalized characters that there is a real life- not compromised by the veneer of so-called "normal" living of those who have money and prestige. In third year we are going to finish this week "Visions of the Daughters of Albion"... yay!!!... it has been a long, but rewarding time getting so far into one of Blake's early "Prophetic Books"....
And what did I do this weekend... alongside marking WebCT Discussions and LiveJournal????? (Third Year can now collect their Discussion Marks from WebCT) I went with Rose and daughter Helen to see a most amazing concert at the Opera House: Dianne Reeves (Black American Jazz singer) with her own Jazz band & the Sydney Symphony Orchestra... It was a most extraordinary concert: Dianna Reeves is a passionate artist who embodies what it means to live one's art form. I have never seen such a full Concert Hall audience being brought into the experience of the music so directly: Dianna had everyone clapping and singing; she was so succesful in this that the audience did not let her go- she gave an extra half an hour's worth of encore material.
Check out her music at: http://www.diannereeves.com/
Here is a rather blurred shot of the excitement in the Concert Hall
I would like to add that these tickets to Dianne Reeves were a gift from Sister Colleen O'Sullivan. Who is she? She is our very first ACU PhD Graduate in English Literature. She has just completed and passed a thesis on the modern American poet, contemplative and radical spiritual thinker, Thomas Merton. I was her supervisor so am thrilled that she has finally completed this massive undertaking . Merton was someone - very much in the tradition of William Blake (upon whom Merton wrote HIS post-graduate thesis!) who dared to defy authority by seeking dialogue and connections with Buddhism, Sufism, Islam, Hinduism...
Colleen's Thesis was called "Thomas Merton and The Towers of Babel" and is about two key creative works that occur at the mid-point of his writing life. They were the turning point in his search for a link between his contemplative practice as a monk and his creative writing. For Merton creative writing became eventually a central part of his spirital search; it was his way of tuning in his mind and imagination towards the deepest truths of his experience; his journal entries are often the most powerful creative source of his spiritual imagination.
You can read more about Merton at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Merton ; http://www.merton.org/ ; http://edge.net/~dphillip/Merton.html