Julie Perrin presents Spinifex Blessing, 24 stories of faith and life from the Sunday Age faith column. These three pocket sized volumes capture luminous moments in ordinary life with economy and lyricism. Julie is known to the Uniting Church as the writer of the lyrics to the song Deep Stillness.
|Artist / Author||Julie Perrin|
Spinifex Blessings by Julie PerrinBy: Clare Boyd-Macrae on 19 December 2016What is it about Julie’s writing? It is beautiful but spare – not a word wasted – as these little 500 word gems reveal. Her writing reminds me of another of my favourite non-fiction writers, Helen Garner in its spareness, its simplicity and its ability to capture an ordinary moment and render it luminous with meaning and beauty. One of the things I appreciate most about Julie’s writing is that she conveys her deep Christian faith and sense of the sacred in the every day while utterly avoiding cliché and cant. She conveys the truths of God’s love for all beings with freshness; not many people pull this off. Julie takes a tiny event – a note from her cleaner, an observed interaction with a solicitous bank teller – and spins it skilfully out into something profound. In doing so, she fulfils what I believe it is one of the duties of artists of every stripe, and that is to reveal the profound in the ordinary, the sacred in the mundane, so that those of us exposed to their work see our own ordinary lives in a new light. In a world that is full of cruelty and crassness, Julie’s vignettes remind me that there is beauty and tenderness and holiness in the world, that grace breaks through, constantly. In one of my favourite stories ‘The Pearl’ Jules starts with an abrupt resignation note from her cleaner on the kitchen table, and in 500 words, travels out from there to encompass the Kingdom of God and the importance of following your dreams. In her simple but deep writing, she has discovered her pearl. To push the metaphor a little – each of these tiny stories is a pearl, and adds lustre and delight to our souls.
As reviewed in CrosslightBy: HARRIET ZIEGLER on 7 December 2016The title of this delightful set of three booklets by Julie Perrin is both tantalising and telling. Tantalising because we might wonder, why spinifex? An Australian plant so common we often fail to see it. Yet once our eyes are opened to it, it is beautiful in its spiky gentleness. Telling because each essay is about the blessing to be found in our everyday lives. In these Stories of Faith and Life, Julie opens our eyes to the faith, life and love to be found in the commonplace. Most of the eight short essays in each volume were originally published in the Faith column of The Sunday Age newspaper. Although there are continuing threads amongst them, they need not be read in one sitting and are perfect for reading in fits and starts, as when travelling on train or tram. Having been written for a broad audience, they deal with a broad range of subjects – the hurly-burly of daily life; song and story; birth and death; traffic accidents; even mobile phone etiquette. And whilst they appeared in the Faith column, they often admit Faith’s companion, Doubt. In no way does Julie romanticise or simplify the complexities of life or faith. In writing about a guitarist/song-writer terribly injured in a terrorist attack in Peru, she says: “Some things don’t heal. There is a respectful knowing that doesn’t try to force healing or hope on people.” There is no force in these stories – but a gentle invitation to see the hope that may be found in following the way of Jesus and the hope to be found in the goodness of humanity. Every essay declares the presence of God, whether explicitly or implicitly. Closing line of the three volumes quotes theologian Graeme Garrett saying “the world is the solid speech of God”. In these essays, Julie shows the solid speech of God, the solid speech of love, in the extraordinary and ordinary world as she sees it. Buy a set for yourself – and for the Christian and the curious alike on your Christmas gift list.