Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ode to Tom

Thomas Connelly was a passionate writer, poet and contributor to the Tasmanian community and the arts. As part of a new ABC Open initiative I was invited to write a little about Tom, who died unexpectedly in October 2014. Tom had many writing projects on the go and we will miss his wit, his poetry and his passion.

Thomas Connelly

This is a photo of Thomas Connelly. To me he was just Tom, a big gentle beardy man who loved Greek mythology. We had just been to an exhibition opening and it was a cool Hobart evening as we sat outside, drinking coffee and talking of art and life.

Thomas Connelly was a beautiful writer, philosopher and friend who came into my life only a few years ago but whom I thought would be around until we were both older and more wrinkled. As a fellow writer we shared are stories and thoughts. And now as I sit at my keyboard to write, I automatically think of him as my editor and mentor. I edited his complex, tangled words as he reviewed Tasmanian exhibitions and shows and we discussed the challenges of being an artist; living a creative life.

Tom could wrap a tale of Persephone around the dicing of a carrot. He questioned and laughed and spoke of lands and myths that I never knew.  He was a scholar who loved to learn, to listen, to share his ideas, and he was a committed supporter of the arts.

Tom had developed a following as he spoke his poetry at groovy cafes; poetry that highlighted the inequality of society and questioned authority. He would speak words that could cut delicately into a heart and leave a beautiful thin line of reason and passion and just enough anarchy. He was brave. He didn’t censor his writing or his convictions, but drove forth just like one of his wonderful Greek champions.

I will miss you so much Tom, but will always think of you as I write.
by Kylie Eastley

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