Posts Tagged ‘Frank’s story’

The outing of words into a real book.

December 21, 2015

photo Gerard

Can one imagine? We all know that much of our world is not really tangible anymore. Even tactility is fast disappearing. It is all  available on the Internet. People can view and feel everything now on a screen. You can chose to adjust the size and distance from the screen to suit your vision. Whole lives are lived in front of a screen. People now ( I have been told) are living entire relationships now within the internet. They never actually meet. It seems that for some that is enough. With fast changing technology, even mutual sex is experienced through the internet with a variety of adjustable vibrating plug-ins and erotic apps. Love is doomed forever to remain elusive but how could Cupid have known its mystery would come to this?

So it is with words. In the past words were either spoken or held on a firm material, often on paper and in books. Remember books? I bought a kindle a few years back and downloaded the entire Tolstoy’s ‘war and peace’ in a split second and it was free. I started to read the story again but gave up after the first hundred pages or so. I haven’t touched the device since. I forgot the password.

Some people are organised with passwords. They keep a little book with their passwords somewhere. They are especially wary of the passwords of their bank-accounts. The password on my kindle is now floating around with so many of my other passwords. I just don’t connect to anything anymore that asks for a forgotten password. It is getting so peaceful.

Lately I am driven to get some of my words on a more tangible material such as a real book. I came across a web-site for self publishing and filled in a form for an estimate of costs. It is of course ever so gratefully acknowledged that so many of you have persisted in reading some of my word order. It is now over eight years since I started writing. I even wrote a book called ‘Frank’s story’ which I sent off to those publishers recommended by Australian Society of Authors. All of whom were supportive but no offer of publication. It is no wonder. It is a very competitive business.

As I said, I am chuffed each time bits of my writing gets read and responded too. It keeps me going and off the streets. I am now contemplating to get a book published that one can actually lift up and feel its weight, turn it around, even fondle it. My daughter and three grandsons will perhaps even carry it around within their lives after I am no longer here. I know they will get our spoons and forks but those will end up most likely donated at Father Riley or the Salvo’s. A future receiver of my spoons is hardly likely to reflect in whose mouths those spoons might have rested or ladled food into.

It just gives me a  glowing feeling that my words might survive in a more substantial form that just swirling around on the Internet. Heaven only knows in whose vibrating App those words of mine could end up in?

In any case, I have asked for a price on just 50 books. I need to re-write and print out the manuscript feverishly. I am so excited about the idea. Any advice will be welcomed. If you know a good editor let me know.


My words are eagerly waiting.

A word ‘unshackled’.

May 24, 2014
Oosterman family in our first 'temporary dwelling'. 1956

Oosterman family in our first ‘temporary dwelling’. 1956

Those that have bothered going though my memoire of my brother Frank would also know that one of the English words I really struggled with at my arrival from Holland, was also the hardest to get an explanation for. It was clouded in a kind of sniggering secrecy. It was 1956.

I’ll just copy selectively a bit about that word directly from ‘Frank’s Story. Hopefully it will ring a bell with some of you, old enough to remember the stigma attached to the use of that word at the time of Australia’s history in the late 1950’s. However the stigma was qualified. The use of that word was very good and prolifically used, but only by men and for men. Women were excluded almost to the point of a religious fervour. It was seen as risking women having a bit of a faint or a dizzy spell and a run to the ‘Ladies Reserve.’ (I kid you not, this was a euphemism for toilet)

Frank’s story; “The main problem was understanding the Australian accent or slang. I did notice one word that kept cropping up and seemed to be repeated after almost every third or fourth word. It was used prolifically within the confines of those factories where I worked. What is this fukking or fucgling or fouging, I asked? They finally told me that the word was terribly bad and that it was alright for men to talk like that but never ever in front of a woman, how curious. Not using certain words in front of a woman?” Even worse, ‘a terrible bad word?’ How could a word be terrible?

I was flabbergasted. In the Dutch language there are no words that are banned in front of women, no matter what sex they belong to. 😉 Of course the Dutch language is also rich with words that are coarse but their use is not split between the sexes, nor are they ‘bad’ words. Of course, since then the power of that word has been eroded in Australia as well.

Indeed, that word has been enthusiastically accepted and is now also included in the warm embrace by many a good woman using everyday language as they see fit. (Even with those women that are not so good). The vulgarity of the commonly used swear words is still there but vulgarity has become ‘the rigour’. Anyone watching TV would now know that the once forbidden words are now obligatory.

When I was given the explanation of the word back in the late fifties it was followed with a demonstration by a brave man using a finger going in and out of a hollow fist and a nod and wink; with ‘you know’, you know’ It is doing ‘geekey geekey’ with a woman. Yes, I do know and was reminded by that when watching Abbott on the radio interview and his lurid wink when confronted by the grandmother and her sex phone line attempt at supplementing her meagre pension.

In the fifties, the dictionary had a gap between fuchsia and fucoid. Lady’s Chatterley’s lover was still in the process of coming and it took learned judges many reads and geekey geekey in the fist to finally allow its publication in Australia.

Here is a YouTube video. If you listen carefully it does contain a few four letter words, so switch off if you are bothered by words.