Sunday, April 27, 2008

This is... my favourite book!


The Prayer Tree by Michael Leunig. Funny, just a couple of weeks ago, I had him over for dinner.

I would so love to show you through it, but with moving to another country and 20kg weight limits, it was left behind in Australia. This copy may well be another that I have now lost due to problems with our storage container and so termites may now have Leunig whispering in their ears as they lay to sleep on beds made of his book. It's funny, I somehow have this image that Leunig wouldn't be so sad about his work returning to the earth.
I love the quirkiness of Leunig's work, but as well as being humourous (though not always), there's a message underneath that makes you look at things in a different way, appreciate more, or question things around you. As I mentioned (when I had him over for dinner), one of his poems from this book was my mantra for a long time.
"Let it go, let it out, let it all unravel, Let it free and it can be a path on which to travel."
There was so much letting go of the past I needed to do at that time and to me this was a reminder that that past, both the good and the bad, was going to be my strength for the future.


I was so blessed to get to listen to and then meet Leunig a couple of times. I got him to autograph a book each time of course. I had so much I wanted to say, but was so tongue-tied when it came to it. In this book he drew a little "gargling angel" and in my copy of the Curly Pajama Letters, he drew a duck.
My brother on the other hand, was not so tongue-tied. We were at the launch for his animated works. Leunig had earlier demonstated how he draws. During question time, my brother raised his hand and commented "You know, watching you draw, I realised how similar your technique is to Mr Squiggle. Is there anything we should know about?"

Thank you to Dees for this week's This is… suggestion. For now, I'll leave you with a couple of pieces of wisdom by Leunig, one for those on the net when they should be doing other things (that's me most of the time) and one, in honor of the ANZAC Day weekend.

10 comments:

Dees said...

Oh my that sure looks like a great book!!!!Love the drawings!I have never seen anything like it before!thanks for sharing♥♥♥

Lilli boo said...

I too am a fan of Michael Leunig although not having his books, just appreciating his weekly cartoons in The Age..but now you have inspired me to go forth and purchase..lovely post.

Leni and Rose said...

I love Leunig's work in The Age, he's great!

BigCat said...

Leunig is awesome. Thanks for sharing those little snippets. I had never thought about the "let it unravel" piece in the way you interpreted it. It is such good thinking - the letting go and using the past as strength for the future. Very profound missy.

flossy-p said...

he's a genius. I'm so impressed that you have signed and doodled copies of his books. And of course when he was over for dinner the other week I'm sure he would have doodled all over the table cloth, which by now you have stretched over a canvas, hanging above the fireplace. ;)

I love your line about his works being whispers in the termites ears. He would love that too!

Bec said...

I've got this book - it's beautiful isn't it! I once went to a Leunig puppet performance, where life-sized characters of his enacted various poems and cartoon pieces he had written (this was sometime in the 1990s in Melbourne). It was a beautiful and whymsical performance. Gorgeous music too. I find his later works are much more light and joyful, as opposed to his earlier stuff that was a little darker and more cynical. But all of it is insightful and inspirational :)

CurlyPops said...

Fantastic post. I love the pages that you included at the end.....especially his take on 'I love a Sunburnt Country'.

Jenny said...

I so enjoyed reading about your favourite book and I think too well worth a purchase. Lucky you to have met him!Loved the snippets at the end too!

Maureen said...

What a marvelous man. The books, the cartoons, the bio...thank you for the introduction.

Ruth said...

I totally love the yabby cartoon. I haven't seen this one before, but of course it is so true! I love yabbying and in fact went yabbying very recently...

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