Welcome to my new blog. It’s third time around after the long-running MissioninAction.com and the short-lived Fishionary.net (loved that title tho). StephenMcAlpine.com has a certain ring to it despite the fact that only my mother calls me Stephen (and occasionally his wife – Ed).
This blog focuses on writing – theological, cultural and creative. Along the way I will highlight how all three of these inform the work I am involved in in church planting in Midland.
So we begin…
Being the fairly frustrated writer I am, I revel in the few occasions when I make something of it. The biennial Nature Conservancy Australia Landscape Essay Competition is open again, and it’s a great comp with a significant prize stumped up by the McLean Foundation, it garners a good deal of media interest, and the judges are some of Australia’s better known literary critics. I was shortlisted to the final five for the 2010 award and spent an enjoyable day in Sydney in early 2011 being wined and dined with the other finalists. A great experience all round, and a competition that I felt brought out the best in my writing.
Landscape writing – or Sense of Place as it is often called – gives you the chance to write not only about the terrain, but the way that terrain has shaped you. There is a history of such writing in the US, but this budding competition is aimed at uncovering an Australian voice. The land in Australia has been invested with significant spiritual overtones, but primarily indigenous spirituality. As a Christian I was keen to infuse my essay with a sense of the Creator/Saviour God of the Bible. I wondered how that would come across in our fairly post-Christian context, but it was actually highlighted as the strength of my essay.
Incidentally my essay is here, if you want to read it. Feedback welcomed!
Wow, Steve, If you came fifth, I would love to read the others. Sitting here, looking out to sea on King Island, I was transported back 6 years ago. Your narrative evoked such great memories of our one acre little patch of inferno fodder, but more importantly, the memories of the people who made it special. The beginning of our spiritual journey – with the Hills acting like a safety net dividing us from the big bad world outside. A bit dramatic? Maybe.
Thank you for sharing that. I will follow your new blog with interest.
Thanks Liz, glad it was so evocative. I actually do think that the safety net of the hills gives you more reflective time, and God used that in your lives. Still miss you both a lot!
…and for the third time ’round, I shall follow your latest insights with keen interest (and just a tad sense of envious awe 😉 Steve, that essay is an outstanding read, and thanks for sharing it. Can’t imagine how you couldn’t pull off a prize with that submission – just stunning!
Having once been a weekend 4WDer smashing his way through parts of ‘the scarp’ – which at the time seemed like outback Australia to me and my juvenile posy – I was touched by this beautiful reflection on an area often ignored or overlooked in Perth. You’ve certainly made me homesick….almost enough to make the move back……….almost.
I look forward to engaging with your reflective posts.
Keep well, mate…
Cheers bro – I really enjoyed writing it, but almost didn’t post it off cos I wasn’t sure of the standard. I would love to see more landscape writing in Oz from a Christian perspective. Do you have an essay left in you after all that study?
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