We are enjoying a wonderful year and if you are not doing anything on a Tuesday morning between 10 and 12 noon, there are still three vacancies. Anyone who enjoys reading is welcome. If we focus on a novel, a play, poetry or a film, the discussion of our response ranges far and wide as we share opinions and experiences. There is frequently a lot of laughter but sometimes what we read moves our hearts or stretches our opinions. It all enriches our lives and in a time of conflict, political uncertainty, spiritual diversity, climate problems, everyone can benefit from a little enrichment not to mention some diversion and distraction.
We start each class week with one member reading a poem they have chosen. Then the rest of us pile in talking about the poem and our response. We have enjoyed Australian verse, Irish, English, and an articulate and amusing black American civil rights worker.
Next, one of the co-tutors leads us into the work we have chosen to read Ove the next three weeks. We progress in easily digested chapters to be read each week, and the facilitator takes us to specific passages we usually read aloud, before generating our discussion of the characters and the events.
Some weeks to provide a time of relaxation from our reading, we have one of topics. In April we are taking a Tuesday to recall nursery rhymes and learn more about their history and associations. Recently we reviewed our own reading over the years under the title “Heroines and Heroes, Monsters and Villains” and everyone spoke of some they have found notable explaining why. This actually generated a lot of discussions.
At present we are running around Elsternwick between the two 20th century wars via Gordon Johnston’s wonderful book “My Brother Jack” asking ourselves who is an Australian now and what did we seem to be as we were growing up.
The rest of the year will see us focus on “Fly Away Peter” – a short novel by David Malouf exploring the continuities of nature on the Queensland coast in 1914 against the tragedy of war and the awareness of the passing of time.
In May we take up Shakespeare’s “Othello” reading the play in class, discussing it as we go, and then view one of the better films made of this still influential tragic work.
Not sure how far the next works on the list will take us especially when we throw in a few of our “One Off Days” (probably at least one of them devoted to short stories) but the list includes “Tirra Lira By the River” set in Queensland, and “The First Stone” by Helen Garner the powerful story of events in 1992 when two young women at Melbourne University made a complaint against the head of their co-ed Residential College at Melbourne University, which proceedings, by the time they were over split the community and painfully focussed the wider public debate about sex and power – a debate still taking place.
We have three vacancies at the time of writing. Don’t kill me in the rush!!