Foreword ~ River Of Words

River Of Words

Hawkesbury Writers’ Group Anthology

Foreword by Kathryn Andersen

Reading this anthology was like being transported in time and space. I felt like a voyeur on a magic carpet taking a trip through the imaginations and memories of eighteen people. Along the way, I was privy to the essence of the creations they have fashioned to present to the world.

There is a richness here that is different from the experience of a single author’s work. That has its own magic, but here, in the full sense of the meaning of the ancient Greek word for anthology (anthos = flower + logia = collecting), I found myself drinking in the perfume, feeling the textures and appreciating the beauty of not just the blossoms themselves, but also the range and mixture of blooms.

As you walk through this garden you will discover everything from the freshness and frailty of seedlings on the verge of bursting into the world, to the grace and maturity of the willow tree and the ancient gum.

Here is a bouquet:

Of … rich reminiscences and history – captured in the gas lamps and the maypole dance in Trudi Crook’s Old Memories, and Helen Baker’s Milkshake, a moving poem about her experience of milking time with her father;

Of … the child’s world – in Bess Coleman’s exploration of Suburbia, Monte Rutkovskis’ boyhood adventures in the Devil’s Cave, and through Anne Nelson’s delightful Maddison Is Nearly Two;

Of … mystique and mystery – experienced through the globe in Mary Knapman’s The Gift From Zante and neighbourhood tensions in Kate Shelley’s A Cut Below;

Of … love, loss, relationships and reunion – in stories such as Thelma Speed’s The Glove, Marion Nelson’s The Dowry and Maggie de Bie’s The Gardener, and poems including Ellen Halsey’s Widows, Shirley Cross’ Solitude and the moving Grandma’s Lament by Jan Brown;

Of … hope and achievement – in Hands To Seize The Day by Meaghan Adam-Cross, Mary Knapman’s Dancing Feet and Laurie Forth’s Kolinsky Sable;

Of … the land and nature – so vivid in Ronald Knapman’s Outback Stopover and as the kangaroo disturbs the stillness in Penelle’s The Golden Moon.

Add to these, the sense of fun in Bess Coleman’s Geriatric Technophobia, Ellen Halsey’s Heavenly Reeboks and Pat Lindsay’s mischevious aunt in Aunt Chloe’s Funeral, and the heart-wrenching poignancy of Limited Access by Jan Brown; mix in a cacophony of styles and voice; and the garden becomes a flourishing reserve.

Just as the blooms on these pages vary in character in accordance with their creators, so too readers’ experiences will vary. Each will have their favourite bushes and flowers that they revisit. They’ll stroll through this haven and find a place to rest away from the stress and distraction of the everyday world which is reflected for contemplation through these authors’ words.

I would not have missed this journey for the world and I shall, myself, return to stroll here again and again.


Kathryn Andersen

December 2002