Sunday, January 3, 2010

Joan Lindsay

Joan Lindsay is one of two names I added to my list on July 12th.

She's the last person I'm researching before we leave on our road trip. I was going to research another person tomorrow, but it turns out I'm ahead again on writing posts. Tomorrow I'll take a day off so I can have more time to pack.

I thought I'd be leaving this blog blank for many days, but it turns out that won't be the case. You guys probably won't even notice that I've gone.

So, who is Joan Lindsay. Is she related to Norman Lindsay?

Oh! Awesome! Well, I don't know if she's related to Norman, but she too is a writer. Guess what she wrote?

Some of you probably already know.

She wrote....Picnic at Hanging Rock. I still haven't seen the movie. I've seen only clips from it. I want to see it. And I'd love to read the book. Actually, I'm going to check Powells right now, and see if they have it.

Well, they have it. But it's not used. I'm going to add it to my wish list anyway; although I prefer to buy a used copy. I feel kind of guilty because I've been buying a few new books lately...the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I had too much trouble finding used ones, so I've been buying the new ones at Target. Plus, I had also bought new copies of the last two Stephanie Meyer books.

For my birthday, my parents bought me a Kindle....very generous of them. But I don' t like it. I feel bad about that because it's pretty environmentally friendly. It saves trees.

I'm an old fashioned girl when it comes to books. And I'm not a big fan of hand held/portable electronics. I don't have a Blackberry. I rarely use my cell phone (mobile). I bought an iPod, and now never use that. I don't like hand held video games.....

I don't like reading the words on the Kindle, and I don't like how it feels. The good news is Tim liked it. I passed the gift onto him. Right now, he's using it to read Super Freakanomics. Tim can save trees that way, and I'll save trees by mostly buying used books.


I just found this blog post about whether or not the Kindle is truly eco-friendly. I think it's very thought-provoking. And makes me feel less guilty about not wanting to use the Kindle.

Oh yeah. Joan Lindsay. Sorry. I totally went off on a tangent there.

Lord Wiki says baby Joan was born on 16 November 1896.

She was born in St. Kilda in Melbourne....St Kilda East, to be exact. Is there a St. Kilda West, or just a plain St. Kilda?

Lord Wiki says St. Kilda East has a lot of Hasidic Jews. They're kind of like the Jewish version of the Amish. Hey, are there Amish people in Australia....or something similar to that?

I think though that the Hasidic Jews are somewhat more modernized than the Amish.

Anyway...Goodness. I keep going off in tangents. What's wrong with me today?

Joan Lindsay was the third daughter in her family. Her dad was a judge. Her mom was related to the Boyd dynasty people. I wrote about those people before. I wrote about Martin. Although I don't remember much about him, except that he was a writer. And I remember that Andrew was the one who suggested the name to me.

Lord Wiki doesn't say much about Lindsay's childhood. He says from 1916-1919, she studied painting at the National Gallery School in Melbourne. This website has some information about the school. They say Norman Lindsay went there.

Here we go. They ARE related, not by birth...but by marriage. Joan Lindsay didn't start off in life as a Lindsay. She was born a Weigall. Then she married Daryl Lindsay. Daryl was Norman's youngest brother.

Daryl and Joan got married, in London, on February 14. The day became (or already was) important to her. Picnic at Hanging Rock would be set on Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day is important to my family too. My older sister got married on Valentine's Day. Then my younger sister started dating her boyfriend on Valentine's Day. Eight years exactly after that date, their first son was born.

After their time in London, Joan and Daryl moved to Mulberry Hill. I'll have to find that on Google Maps....

That was kind of hard. At first, I kept getting American Mulberry Hills. There seems to be a lot of them.

I think the problem is Mulberry Hill is not a town or suburb like I expected. I think it's the name of a house. Here's a website about it. It's located about an hour south of the Melbourne CBD. It's open to visitors on Sundays, but not in July. It's also not open if there's a total fire ban. I wonder why. Well, maybe it would put the tourists in danger?

Joan and Daryl bought the house in 1925.

Lord Wiki says they were forced to leave it during The Great Depression. Then they moved to Bacchus Marsh. That's about an hour northwest of Melbourne. They weren't able to afford living in Mulberry Hill. They didn't sell it though. They rented it out to others, until they could move back again. That's pretty smart....I think? I'm not a real estate expert.

Lindsay wrote a book called Time Without Clocks. It doesn't look like it's readily available....might be out of print. It's about her early married life. The title comes from the fact that she seemed to stop clocks and other machinery when she walked by. Maybe she was a bit telekinetic.

She wrote a lot of plays that were never published. She wrote various stories and articles that were published by magazines, or whatever.

Together, Joan and Daryl wrote a nonfiction book that told the history of the Red Cross.

The lovely couple also helped to start the National Trust of Victoria. This happened in 1956. It's their website that had information about the Mulberry property. The Lindsay's left the house to the Trust. They had no children, so this was probably the best choice for them.

Lord Wiki has a list of some of her books. One of them was an account of her travels to the United States. I wonder if that would be interesting. It was published in 1964. Oh cool. Google News Archive has an article about it. Well, actually it's a book review.

It talks about how there are hard facts and soft facts. Well, the name of the book is actually Facts Soft and Hard. Hard facts are the ones we can all find...through the Internet, books, encyclopedias, etc. Although there was no Internet available when the book was written.

Soft facts are ones more personal and less public. From what I'm getting in the review, the book has both. But it seems maybe it has more soft facts.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is her book that's best known. It was published in 1967. Although it was fiction, Lindsay dropped hints about the book being true. Anne Rice and Stephen King have done stuff like that. At times, I start to believe them. I'm gullible that way.

I think in the published book and movie, you never find out what happened to the picnic girls. But from what Lord Wiki says, it seems originally the ending of the book described their fates. That was later cut out....probably wisely so.

Oh. Wait. Lord Wiki says that in 1980 (five years after the movie came out) the original ending was restored to the book. Ah, so we CAN find out what happened.

Now toward the end of his entry, Lord Wiki tells me which school Lindsay attended. It was Clydes Girls Grammar School, which was in St. Kilda East. Then in 1919, the school moved to Braemer House in Woodend. If I'm reading this right, Woodend is near Hanging Rock.

There really is a Hanging Rock place in Victoria. I don't think I knew that.

The Woodend/Hanging Rock area is about an hour north of Melbourne. The area was home to the Wurundjeri people. I might look into them a bit later. Their name sounds very I've HEARD it before, not just read it. Maybe they were featured in The First Australians?

Lord Wiki says Hanging Rock is a mamelon. I was going to make some bad joke about breasts and mammals. I thought that would be silly of me. But it turns out the word actually comes from a French word meaning nipples. I'm not going to go into the science of it all. I'll just say it's formation involves lava.

Hanging Rock was created about six million years ago. Would that be dinosaur time, or is that way after the dinosaurs? I'm not great with prehistorical stuff.

I'm so ignorant. Embarrassing! This article says humans were around six million years ago. Since I AM educated enough to know that dinosaurs and humans didn't exist at the same time, I now know there were no dinosaurs back then.

Now that I think of it...maybe I'm thinking of sixty-five million years ago. Maybe that's when the dinosaurs became extinct. Yeah. This website confirms that.

Okay, so compared to the dinosaurs, Hanging Rock is pretty new. But it's been there longer than the Aboriginal Australians. I usually say indigenous, but stuff like this makes me think twice. Technically, the first Australian humans were NOT indigenous. They were immigrants.

I'm looking at both word definitions now. The Merriam-Webster site says Aboriginal means being the first or earliest known of its kind present in a region. Indigenous means having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region.

So I think aboriginal is a more appropriate term. Plus, it's easier for me to spell. I always spell indigenous wrong. Even just now! Firefox has to always correct me.

Lord Wiki says the final chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock was published in 1987 as The Secret of Hanging Rock. Some readers of the book think it hints at there being a time warp. And they feel this would fit in well with Lindsay's interest in clocks and time.

Lord Wiki has a whole entry on Picnic at Hanging Rock. I'm going to read that.

Lindsay wrote it in four weeks. That's about how long it took me to write my novels.

She wrote it in Mulberry.

It takes place in the year 1900. So it would be historical fiction.

The book deals with the mystery of four students and a teacher who go missing on a field trip.

There have been many rumors that the story is true, probably because Lindsay hints at it. Lord Wiki says she has done little to dispel those rumors. Some people have tried to find historical evidence to prove it's true. They haven't had much luck doing so.

This paranormal website talks about the issue of it being real. It's a great essay, taking the much more skeptical viewpoint. At first, I wondered if I had misjudged the website. I thought maybe it was a skeptic site rather than a paranormal one. But I dug a little. It IS in support of the paranormal, but they aren't the type of organization that believes in everything. I like that....a LOT.

Their article quotes from Lindsay herself. She had said, Whether (the book) is Fact or Fiction, my readers must decide for themselves. As the fateful picnic took place in the year nineteen hundred, and all the characters who appear in this book are long since dead, it hardly seems to matter. I'm not sure if that was said in the book itself, or in an interview. Anyway, I'd probably call that dishonesty via ambivalence.

The article says, Having a close friend who works in the State Library of Victoria, I'm amused to hear her weekly stories of how many people think they are the first to have the idea to investigate the mystery for themselves. They confidently walk in expecting to find the newspaper articles from the late 1800's and early 1900's on the disappearances but are sadly disappointed.

That's pretty funny. I can totally imagine myself being one of those losers.

The article says what Lord Wiki said. There's no historical evidence to point to the story being birth records, no death records, no police records, etc.

Although I say if people want to believe, let them believe. They just need to understand their beliefs are based on faith and NOT verifiable evidence.

Back to Lord Wiki's information. Before Peter Weir made his film, a fourteen year old filmmaker, with permission, started making a film he called The Day of Saint Valentine. After he barely started, Weir optioned the film. Well, that's sad. The poor kid. I guess he then wasn't allowed to finish his film. Or maybe he did?

There's a musical version of the story as well. I think maybe I mentioned that before in an earlier post.

Here's a website for the musical. On the site, you can listen to excerpts of it. I'm listening to it now. It's eerie and beautiful.

From what I'm reading, it looks like this play is American....well, I mean American-made.  But there have been other Hanging Rock plays in various other countries.

YouTube has a scene from a Hanging Rock musical. I'm not sure if this is the new American one, or something else. Actually, now I see the answer. This one is from the UK.

Here's the trailer for the Peter Weir movie. I've seen this before. I like the music. Lord Wiki says a lot of it was done by a Romanian guy named Gheorghe Zamfir. Zamfir also made contributions to the Karate Kid soundtrack. I think that's a nifty piece of trivia.

The instrument used is the pan flute.

Here's the Hanging Rock tourism website. They say the rock has had different names through out history. The first name given by white people was Mount Diogenes. This was in reference to a Greek philosopher. Diogenes was really into the whole asceticism thing....had scorn for luxury.

At another point, the rock became known as Dryden's Rock. This was in reference to someone named Edward Dryden. Lord Wiki says he was one of the early white settlers.

The tourism website has a whole page about the Joan Lindsay book. They say the book had early success, but it reached new heights of popularity after the movie was released.

The website mentions some strange happenings during the filming. Some watches and clocks began to act erratically.

The story in the film takes place partly at Woodend, the town near Hanging Rock. However, they couldn't film there, because the real Woodend had became too modernized. Instead, they filmed in a South Australian town called Strathalbyn. Another South Australian place used in the film was Martindale Hall in Clare Valley.

You know, people could put easily put a Hanging Rock tour together. It could start in Melbourne in St. Kilda East. Then you could go to the Lindsay home in Mulberry Hills. Hanging Rock could be next, and then people could move onto South Australia. It would be cool.

I wonder if anyone has something like that.....or maybe they might have had it in the past.

Now I want to return to the Aboriginal folk...the Wurunjeri. I wonder if they had their own name for the rock.

Ah! I was right about First Australians. The Wurundjeri people were featured in the episode about Victoria. I don't remember much about it, but I vaguely remember it being shockingly awful. I mean NOT the show, but what happened in it.

I'm quickly reading through what Lord Wiki has to say. I think I see what was in the movie. There was a Wurundjeri man who was enlisted by the white people to help capture his own people. I think at first he didn't realize he was helping white people capture and kill Wurundjeri people. When he found out, he worked to undermine the whole thing.

Here's a Wurunjeri site. I like what they say about reconciliation. They say that the first step is for the Aboriginal people to learn about who they are. And non-aboriginal people have to face the fact that they took over land that belonged to other people. Then the site says, The next stage comes into that humility thing again. If non-Aboriginal people are willing to put their hand out and talk about the wrongs that were done, we will never have Reconciliation until the Aboriginal people are accepting that hand putting out, instead of condemning and not working with the white people.

In other words, reconciliation takes work and effort from both parties.

I should get back to the hanging rock thing....or quit. This post is long, and it's getting late.


I'll just say good-bye.