Autumn Arts News 2021… Hi there. It’s been awhile and I seem to have plenty to say…

Some ideas in here that I hope get you curious – visit, watch, listen, walk, read and this time one of my Mum’s biscuit recipes to bake…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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Autumn Arts…
Hi Everyone and welcome back.
I admit from the getgo that this is a long and wordy newsy newsletter – it seems like I had alot to say after such an absence. So please, take from it what you want and remember I always love hearing back from you…

Summer seems long ago now – autumn beginning with floods and chaos and more loss for many. Now the light has softened and the temperature is beautifully mild. The days have presented us with perfect blue skies, softly streaked here and there with little white clouds and the nights have given way to a dark dome high above bedazzling us all with a trillion bright stars and a large luminous ‘pink’ moon. There feels like hope and calm and order in the sky.

What a change from weeks in March of some of the heaviest rain we’ve had for ‘100 years’ – or am I making that up?

The year of 2020 was difficult and strained – I am sure we can all agree on that. Some people flourished and could adjust with the oddity of it all – but not everyone could walk such a path. I had my own strains and pains and uncertainty to confront and manage throughout the year. Not many highs – though there were enough and they were good – perhaps too many lows. But nothing quite prepared me for what was coming on the 4th January 2021. A blindside moment. A knockout punch. Almost…

I was housesitting at the time in a beautiful 3 storey high 1880s ornate terrace in Sydney’s east, caring for a big house and a little fluffy dog named Stella. She was loyal and cute – but hell on the lead.

There were piles of books in the house everywhere and many little piles of brand-new books – being post-Christmas of course – they were gifted books waiting to be opened and explored. Two of them saved me (I had to buy new ones and replace them) and I think they should be read by everyone. Victor Frankl, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ and Brene Brown ‘Rising Strong’.

Both explore the way things happen to us that are out of our control – we do not ask for them or anticipate them to happen – shitty things, rotten things, deeply hurtful things, harmful things, sad, shocking and unexpected things. Events we can do absolutely nothing about and cannot change. The one thing we can control, however, is how we react to them. The wisdom in these books gave me courage.

So, I am exercising more and loving my 7am outdoor training sessions in Rushcutters Bay Park. Running further than I believed I ever could – I owe the encouragement to a friend who earlier this year had me barefoot running on a south coast beach to the horizon and back (or so it seemed at the time). I am cleaning out the house and cupboards, decluttering and repairing. Getting ready to paint and secateurs readied to control the triffid garden situation in my back yard. It is lush and green and happy but getting up the back garden stairs has become a battle of elephant ears, balsam, frangipani and the occasional spider.

Swimming, walking, riding my bike and Saturday outdoor yoga all bring joy and connection. I love a little drive and so have had many trips up the coast, especially to Umina where one of my daughters and her partner have moved to, and some down the coast or out to the country, with friends. My kids and their partners took me camping back in January to a glorious spot in Myall Lakes National Park – Stewart and Lloyds campground. Dingoes roaming, vast expanses of sand dunes along the coast, historic midden sites, angophora forests and a sparkling blue ocean to dive into. I loved it.

I have completed some study with another course on the ready, attended job interviews resulting in two new jobs started over the last few weeks.

The work I do with artists and events is always enjoyable and nourishing. It is wonderful – and necessary – people remain creative and vibrant. Through the second half of last year, I worked with artists Andjana Pachkova, Greg Weight, Sandy Edwards and Kim Carpenter. This year has started well also, with the Gaffa group exhibition in February, Grounded, Carol Ruff in March, and now in April and through May, Mayu Kanamori and Adam Rish.

Galleries large and small are re-opening and producing excellent exhibitions. Music, events and theatre have become exciting again. Some weeks ago I went to see ‘Playing Beattie Bow’ at the newly re-vamped Sydney Theatre Company wharf theatres. Wow! What a fantastic new theatre space. I was not so keen on the change to the long walk entry. It has been narrowed somewhat (obviously to accommodate the new bigger theatres and offices), but whilst one wall is spectacular with the glass and windows to the stunning iconic harbour view, the opposite is a vast high wall of white cladding material like the outside of a shipping container, which seems cold and plain and not at all connected to the experience – given the beauty and context of the space. The blue fluorescent up-lighting was a bit charmless too. But once you arrive at the end of the wharf – gorgeous. Take any visitor to Sydney here for sunset on the balcony – or just take yourself. One of my favourite ‘Secret Sydney’ spots.

So, I conclude it is friends and friendship, love and care, empathy and understanding, consideration and respect, connection, openness and kindness – that really gets us all through in life because this is what gives life a deeper meaning. Throw in there, nature and art, stories and music – kitchen dancing when you can – and remembering others might be having a difficult time with something too – is a rather good mantra.

One is lucky if they have someone in their life that is smart, intuitive, loving, wise, generous and caring. They can help anchor you and direct you when the seas are rough. I am so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such people – my daughters, their partners, my sisters, my friends, my neighbours, work colleagues. And sometimes complete strangers who don’t even know they have helped you in some way – like those in my morning exercise class in Rushcutters Bay, or everyone I meet at my new favourite local café, Darlo General, or my new colleagues in my new jobs. It is unfortunate that some people choose to remain clueless and hurt you deeply without a thought to it. Mostly, I believe the majority of people in this world have capacity for great kindness and we all have the capacity to say sorry.

What I have learned from everyone who inspires me, is the secret to a rich life is to be open to it, remain unafraid to be vulnerable and stay curious.

So I hope you find something here in my newsletter that sparks your own curiosity and gets you reading, listening, watching, walking, or just outside in the sunshine.

Until next time.

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