Through the Grass

Through the Grass

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
—Dorothea Lange

I took this shot on the weekend near the 16s in Belmont. It was just before sunset and I really liked the way the light was reflecting off the water and falling on the grass. There was a nice breeze too and the whole scene felt very warm and peaceful.

In editing it I wanted the photo to have a bit of a vintage, filmic feel as I thought it really leant itself to that style and my landscapes seem to have been moving more towards that lately. I guess it’s normal for our tastes to change and I feel a bit nostalgic for film as well sometimes. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a film camera second-hand to play with.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018

Mr Percival

Mr Percival the Pelican

Nature’s prime favourites were the Pelicans;
High-fed, long-lived, and sociable and free.
~ James Montgomery

The weather has been pretty wet and ordinary around Lake Macquarie lately, not the best for taking photos, although given how bad the drought is in NSW I don’t think anyone minds the rain. It was nice today though, sunny with a bit of a breeze, so I thought I’d go for a walk by the lake to stretch my legs and take a few shots.

I got a new camera the other day, a Sony A6500, and I’d been looking forward to putting it through its paces. So I was very happy when I came across Mr Percival the Pelican here as he made a very good model and seemed more than happy to pose for me! I guess the fame from Storm Boy has gone to his head.

The light around sunset was beautiful and I really like how the shot came out. Simple but sometimes that’s all you need.

Thank you, Mr Percival. You can pose for me any time. 😉

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018

Quotes About Writing

fountain pen

Image: Vintage Fountain Pen ~ Kriss Szkurlatowski

Before I get into this post, I mentioned in my last post that I’d write a review of the new Star Trek film after I saw it. I posted it earlier at  my other blog if anyone wants to check it out. If you haven’t seen the film yet it contains spoilers, though, so you’ve been warned.

I’m still thinking about what to do with that blog at the moment. I started it to collect my book reviews in one place but I’m finding it hard to read at the moment, so it has stagnated in the interim. For now I’ve decided to turn it into a more general review blog so I can post reviews of music and films… but I’m tempted to close it and just focus on this blog again, including the occasional review here as they’re some of my more well-written posts. I’ll just see how it goes for a while.

Anyway, I have some news as well. I received an award recently from Jonathan Crossfield over at his Copy Write blog. While I took a break from blogging, Jonathan put together a list of the top 50 Australian blogs on writing; I made the list at #14. He used a combination of Technorati and Alexa rankings and page rank to calculate it fairly and it’s a good list. Frankly I’m surprised I made it at all, particularly as I’ve been posting sporadically for the last 12 months. But it made my day and Jonathan was even kind enough to send me a tweet to let me know about it.

It’s actually been good inspiration as I’ve been getting back into my writing again. So far I’m happy with what I’ve written and reading Jonathan’s post, one of the things both he and I agree on is that for writers blogging is a great way to promote and give a better understanding of our work, while also forming part of a larger community. I know I’ve had more people read and comment on my work since I’ve had my blog than in the years before that, including all of my publications. So I guess I’m doing something right!

I thought I’d post some of my favourite quotes about writing to go with the award. Let me know if you have a favourite or have one to share.

* * * * * *

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
~ Anaïs Nin

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.
~ Alice Walker

Literature was not born the day when a boy crying “wolf, wolf!” came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying “wolf, wolf!” and there was no wolf behind him.
~ Vladimir Nabokov

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
~ Philip Pullman

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
~ Logan Pearsall Smith

I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.
~ Jorge Luis Borges

To subvert is not the aim of literature. Its value lies in discovering and revealing what is rarely known, little known, thought to be known but in fact not very well known of the truth of the human world. It would seem that truth is the unassailable and most basic quality of literature.
~ Gao Xingjian

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.
~ Ernest Hemingway

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.
~ Truman Capote

I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand.
~ Emily Logan Decens

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
~ Flannery O’Connor

I’m all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
~ Isaac Asimov

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
~ Neil Gaiman

Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
~ Virginia Woolf

top50badge

Quotes for Peace

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

This is a follow up to my last post. My look back at 2008 was quite long; I had a lot to say, particularly as the situation with Israel and Hamas was developing. It has now escalated further and I’ve been extremely disturbed by the violence and the scenes coming out of Gaza.

The civilian deaths yesterday were some of the worst I have seen and have been weighing heavily on my mind today. I’ve been reading through several of my collections of quotes about war and peace and I thought I would share some of my favourites. It is my plea for peace to both sides.

Feel free to share a favourite quote or any you think are appropriate. Let’s hope the violence ends soon. It has cost too much already.

* * * * * *

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”
~ Eve Merriam

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.
~ Dorothy Thompson

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
~ Jawaharlal Nehru

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
~ Oscar Wilde

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence, confidence, and justice.
~ Spinoza

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
~ John F. Kennedy

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
~ Albert Einstein

True power is when we have every justification to kill, and don’t.
~ Oscar Schindler

I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace.
~ Helen Keller

We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.
~ Jeane Kirkpatrick

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
~ Franklin Roosevelt

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.
~ William E. Gladstone

Quotes for the Weekend

swans

Don’t you love a good quote? I know I do. I have several books of quotations and I’m always reading them. I use quotes with my writing and whenever I need inspiration, there’s always a gem waiting to be found.

With the US election and the state of the economy, I thought it seemed like a good time to post some of my favourite quotes. Somehow I think we’ll learn more by looking at history than by listening to Joe the Plumber.

Hope you enjoy them. Do you have a favourite quote to share? 😉

* * * * * *

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.
~ Isaac Asimov

I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old — or being young, for that matter.
~ Katharine Hepburn

Economic growth without social progress lets the great majority of people remain in poverty, while a privileged few reap the benefits of rising abundance.
~ John F. Kennedy

You know what I like best about looking at the stars? Not the stars themselves, but all those empty spaces between the stars… that’s where I can imagine infinity.
~ T.A. Barron

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.
~ Anaïs Nin

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.
~ Henry Ford

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.
~ Carl Rowan

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend.
~ Albert Camus

Where they make a desert, they call it peace.
~ Tacitus