“You talk, you talk, that’s all you can do!” [Tu causes, tu causes. c’est tout c’que tu sais faire]” ―Raymond Queneau, Zazie dans le Metro
I like to talk and share my latest words, and YOU… What do you like to do?
Anne-Marie Smith is a French-born Australian non-fiction, flash-fiction writer and editor.
She taught English as a Second Language in Zambia and lectured at the University of Papua New Guinea. In Western Australia she taught in Kalgoorlie for TAFE and was Education Officer at a prison. She worked with indigenous communities and migrants in the West Pilbara where she was the inaugural Community Cultural worker in the Roebourne Shire and managed the Amnesty International Office in Perth.
What she wrote
Anne-Marie published several academic articles related to her doctorate at UPNG on the socio-linguistic use of English in Papua New Guinea. She spoke at international linguistic conferences in Papua New Guinea and in Australia.
The anthology entitled ‘Culture is‘ she edited with the Australian Multicultural Writers Association and Wakefield Press was shortlisted under Literature non-fiction by the Human Rights Commission.
Pardon My French Ginninderra Press 2018 [available there]
Culture is Wakefield Press 2008 [out of print]
Anne-Marie published her memoir, Pardon My French through Ginninderra Press.
She gave talks at arts festivals and presentations to women’s groups about ‘Five Women’ whose cultures from around the world strongly impacted on her when she lived and worked in Europe, Central Africa, Papua New Guinea, Western and South Australia.
Anne-Marie publishes some of her short fiction on Flash Fiction websites like Paragraph Planet. Her story on the dilemma of Australian Refugee offshore detention was selected by Hawkeye Books, and her account of the early pandemic days by Mana Press.
How she lives
She married a British educationist and training consultant, Peter Smith. They now live near Adelaide in South Australia. Anne-Marie is dedicated to yoga and volunteering for non-government organisations while Peter who now volunteers part-time goes to the gym and walks to the beach.
There they meet to relish the crêpe café culture. Their grandchildren love joining them from interstate and overseas and play ballgames, collect shells to paint – usually in the heat of the Australian summer.
flash fiction by Anne-Marie
Remote communities, Australia
Delly and Boyd Stokes have dedicated their lives to working with remote communities and helping disadvantaged youth understand their role in upholding Indigenous culture in the modern day.
[Delson] soon formed Yabu Band. Yabu means a stone or rock and is the strength of Delly’s music. I have tried to learn some Wongatha language from his music.
The tones of Yabu Band are mild and ‘scratchy’ – and also very pretty, due to the clear changes of tonality from singer songwriter Delson, fully enhanced by the extra Australian desert rock rhythm from his brother, guitarist Boyd Stokes. They are very well complemented by performers from differing backgrounds. We must not however forget the energy and vitality emanating from the elders that Delson and Boyd summon to protect and guide them.
With lyrics like I hear a cry in the wind/A spirit in the tree/A signal from the heart, anyone of us who have listened to traditional Aboriginal stories know the significance of being beckoned, summoned or ‘sung’ by a call or a feeling. It is part of how the ancestors through the Dreaming can manifest themselves to the younger generation. They signal their presence and help their descendants make sense of the spiritual emotion that drives them. This in turn will provide a connection with their aspirations in life.
The perseverance to stay proud, to speak the ancient tongue and to be free although They changed the real me are achievements generated by the talented Yabu Band and the Stokes family who have kept up with their grandmother‘s advice to stand beside others in their community as peacemakers. ‘Rise up – reach out’, Delson sings ‘Let our voices be heard’
Palya ‘Lets walk together in harmony’ Peacemakers!
Check it out on you tube: https://youtu.be/AUVxQLZaI5g
In my dreams I call my project a biblio-bus, but it would not run like council vans that visit people regularly. Neither would it drop books to a random telephone booth or letterbox on the street side.
This project consists of a long-travel journey around Australia. It aims at delivering reading matter and library resources to remote and isolated centres or schools many of whom would be Australian Indigenous communities. By staying there several weeks I build a profile of what each group chooses as their theme of interest. Initially I contribute encyclopaedias or magazines to complement the literary texts I have brought. If a community has a topic of interest, like starting their own business, I commit, in writing, to a follow-up visit within a year. If or when I obtain permission from the community, I source information on their selected subject.
Next I ascertain that a four-wheel drive of a reasonable size can access the centre. I recruit a team of younger volunteers as resource persons to be rotated. I consult with Australian Indigenous Reading experts like Dr Anita Heiss and publishers like Magabala Books for guidance and support. Finally I distribute the lists of necessary books and equipment to a variety of charity groups. Rather than ask donors for cash, the groups request hard copy resources to donate to those centres.
Although I regret that I haven’t implemented this project yet, I believe I was not ready to manage this strategy in my earlier life. I used to encourage people to read for reading’s sake. However, reading information for a project is a more suitable model for improving literacy. People work better when focusing on their own life experiences.
The major drawback I suspect is the delay factor. The younger people may well wait a few months for the resources to reach them. It’s never too late for them to make things happen. They may talk to their siblings and form a group with the elders to develop the steps they plan for their future focus of interest.
Nov 2020 :
A story that fits in with the 2020 Naidoc theme
‘Always was and always will be’
That’s what we do and what we’ve done:
day after day, for entire months
over many number of years
decades and centuries
at least two of them
we are here and we
were not invited
in this isle.
try one first
you can stay a while
you can sit down and talk
you could try talking, wangka,
you can share some food together
even go here and there step by step
watch people work within the seasons
listen to mothers singing to children, their tjitji-
then you could ask ‘do you want anything of me?’
Oct 2020 :
Stereo stories – featuring very sad Australian song for the year of BLM, of significance for the Aboriginal people of the stolen generation, from 1986 when I arrived in Australia, by Bob Randall and also sung by Paul Kelly.
A new piece of Flash Fiction
- http://www.bytestories.com The Antimilitarist (in 1500 byte size)
During the Pandemic I contributed ‘A sense of direction’ to the Mana Press Anthology ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’
- https://manapress.com.au/pages/life-in-the-time-of-corona : – you can read it in my blog
Refugees came to Australia but were detained on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) for over six years and many are still there.
I highlighted the various dilemmas this practise led to.
This piece was selected for ‘Allsorts’ a diversity-based Anthology by Hawkeye Books.
- https://hawkeyebooks.com.au/allsorts/fbclid=IwAR2g_6FhoMPkujBcwEPqoBKPYaGx1HS6iEV OI7jqCUmdAhIT9-dUVmR3cY
In 2019 This Papua New Guinea-related website featured a chapter taken from my Memoir ‘Pardon My French’:
The ABC Life Matters Program on Radio National played a segment of a turning point adapted from my Life Story where you can hear my voice and my French accent:
During 2019 Five Women across Cultures
- In 2019 I gave a talk to different groups (Business and VIEW, Arts Festival and Library in South Australia), on Five Women who have impacted on me from 5 different parts of the world
- Because of Covid-19 I wasn’t able to take this presentation to some community groups in Western Australia.
At Skive magazine you will find one on my online short stories
- https://skivemag.wordpress.com/2019-may/ – you can read it in my blog
Since 2010 this UK micro fiction website published several of my 75 words paragraphs,about one a year since 2011 :
At Writers SA in Adelaide you’ll find a summary of who I am and what I have published creatively over the last ten years:
At Ginninderra Press or on any online website ( like Amazon) you can find my book called Pardon My French, just published in March 2018:
Switch to my parole-blog on this website for my micro fiction 100 word vignettes short stories and some bilingual writing (Engl/Fr)
Under Contact, please make sure to leave me
a message to say:
Hi ! Bonjour! Palya! Cheers! and Ciao…