Read all about it!

The Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature is just around the corner! It runs from September 3rd to 14th and you can read all about it at http://ipswichkidslitfest.blogspot.com/

The lovely Sheryl Gwyther is hosting the blog and keeping us all up to speed. The line up for the festival is great and I’m hoping to get the chance to head up at some point. Failing that, two of my good friends will be hanging around. Paige Turner and Tatty Rat will be frolicking about on the blog. Keep an eye out for them and if you see them at the festival – say Hi from me. 

Dust

It’s been a lifetime since I’ve blogged. So much has come and gone, it’s hard to find a place to start. And what to say? It seems this space has filled with dust. As some would know, a while ago I packed away my world of words into a box. Tied the box with string and slipped it all away into an empty drawer. I needed space away from writing and so instead, I started to explore the world of colour, paints and water coloured paper.

As a little girl, I would doodle all day long. I could slip into another world, spending hours with my new found friends who danced upon the page. Drawing filled my life with a special kind of happiness. From around the age of nine, I watched my mother’s health decline. With countless trips to hospital, the life I once had known and loved soon crumbled. It was hard to understand it all. My bags were packed and I was fostered to an older aunt. My paints and paper stayed behind. I missed them. They had been the one thing that I knew would never fail me.

When my mother died, I started writing stories. Not the kind the teachers sent you home to write. More the kind that filled the cracks that had suddenly appeared around my mother’s death. At eleven, I couldn’t make a scrap of sense trying to live a life without her. Eventually, I moved back home where I tried to edge my way back into an odd shaped world . My paints and paper sat beneath a timeless veil of dust while the weight of grief sat heavy in my heart. My world had lost its ballast and I lost the will to blow the dust away. Painting pictures couldn’t resurrect her. She was never coming back. But somehow as I processed all the sadness, I found that words could fill the void. The magic of a story could bring her to the room where we could paint the world together. That has never left me.

So it’s odd that I’m here decades later, drawing breath to blow the dust of time away. I’ve had some help. Some well timed words cracked the drawer wide open. I’m writing once again. My aim will be to weave my words and art together in whatever way I can to send a message out into the world. I hope it finds its way.

Inspiration in a Dress


A long time between thinks…

It’s been a while since I blogged. It’s been a crazy past few months. I finished my Karuna course with much to think about. Much to consider in this life. And life appears different to me now compared to what it did before the course. It’s been a journey into finding out what really matters for me in this life. So, in these past weeks where I have neglected this poor blog of mine, I have been busily “cleaning house”. Not so much the structure in which I dwell – more so the space that dwells in me.

I downed writing tools during this time. A deliberate and difficult thing to do. I think as a test to see, in reprioritising everything, whether I really did want to continue this writing life. I got on with all the other things that a writing life has me neglect.

I did expect  that the extra time I had by not writing would empty out some space, and that life would be less crazy. And technically, it was. Not writing has created space. Mostly, a big empty hole in my middle. And that is driving me crazy. In turning my back on this thing I claim to love, I realise how much I have missed it. And I have longed for it. And like a child who is forbidden candy, I have craved to sneak a piece and savour it, tucked away where noone else will see me.

In challenging my commitment to a writing life, I realise that me not writing creates more chaos that calm. Me not writing creates more void than space. Me not writing creates the sense that I have shunned my closest friend just to get the dirty laundry done. What I failed to realise is that writing is a part of me, a fundamental strand of my DNA that ties my spirit to this external life. It feeds me joy.

I think that’s what really matters for me in this life. Finding words. Finding joy. Finding out I’m smitten with this writing life. Long may she live!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Many thanks to the lovely Amber Maguire-Gardner of  The Writing Ant for passing on The Versatile Blogger Award to me. And thank you to everyone who takes the time out to visit my blog. I’m following the rules of the award as follows!

The Rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award:

2. Share seven things about yourself:

3. Pass this award along to fifteen bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason:

4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award:

Seven Things About Me!

1. I love my dog beyond words.

2. I’m addicted to stationery.

3. I believe in a greater power.

4. Writing is the one thing that never fails to connect me to that greater power.

5. I want to live and write in a house by the beach.

6. I long to write full time.

7. One day, I will write full time.

My Twenty ( because I had too many to choose from)  Favourite Blogs in no particular order are:

( As well as those in the sidebar of my site…)

1.http://christinebongers.wordpress.com/

2.http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

3.http://chasingawaysaltwater.blogspot.com

4.http://sevenanimals.com/

5.http://sherylgwyther.wordpress.com/

6.http://wellreadrabbit.wordpress.com/

7.http://www.toastfortea.blogspot.com

8.http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com

9.http://aaronpocock.wordpress.com

10.http://headvsdesk.blogspot.com/

11.http://leeannnolan.wordpress.com/

12.http://jjcooperaus.blogspot.com/

13.http://www.qwc.asn.au/WritersResources/Blog/BlogDate/2009-12-31/DateType/month.aspx

14.http://karentyrrell.com/

15.http://kathleennoud.wordpress.com/

16.http://lifeinthefirstdraft.blogspot.com

17.http://joannagaudry.wordpress.com/

18.http://sallymurphy.blogspot.com

19.http://www.karencollum.com.au/blog

20.http://zenhabits.net/write-to-done-unmissable-articles-about-writing-twice-weekly/

and last but not least Amber’s  Writing Ant blog….http://thewritingant.wordpress.com/


The Elephant of Death – Part 2

Over the last couple of months, I have been attending a course on death and dying run by Karuna. It has been an amazing journey in my life, to be considering my own death as a means to help others die with as much peace and dignity as possible. I had originally hoped to blog frequently about my experience doing this course but honestly, it was just too hard. I had much to sort and my creative life took a back seat as I waded through the often-murky waters of my life.

The course was life changing. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life before I did this course but now I am not so sure. It has opened up an entire new realm of possibility. Taking myself in deep contemplation to the rim of my own death and dying experience has allowed me to see more clearly all that I have yet to accomplish in life. Not big stuff. It’s more about all the little stuff that I never thought was all that important. Stuff I would “get around to later”. Wading through those muddy waters has certainly helped me reprioritise. Looking closely at death and dying has shrunk the fear. The Elephant of Death is no longer as large as he once was.

Last night I watched Peter Roberts on Australian Story. Peter is an accomplished musician, who gave up his business career to train overseas to become Australia’s only music ‘thanatologist’. He  is a harpist who plays for both ends of the spectrum of life. During the show we saw him playing to newborn babies who were struggling with the complexities of their newfound world. His music has been shown to increase the oxygen levels in their blood, as well as calm them, allowing them to get on with the business of growing and healing. Peter recorded a portion of Brahm’s Lullaby and when a baby is born, a button is pressed in the maternity ward and the lullaby drifts through the speaker system of the hospital to announce the arrival of another precious life. What a beautiful thing. It makes me cry just to think of this let alone experience it.

The show touched on the preparation we give toward new life. The learning curve we undergo in order to welcome new life. But it also mentioned how little we do to prepare us for death. I closed my eyes last night and imagined what it would be like if every time someone died in my hospital, an equally beautiful piece of music was played to signify the passing of a precious life. Can you imagine that? Despite the fact that we may not know the person who has died, it would allow us a moment to reflect on the beauty of life – theirs and ours. It would allow those who believe in an after world, a moment to send forth a prayer or intention for a safe journey for this lost soul. It would allow us to celebrate someone’s life, even just for a moment. A simple sign of respect. The power of thought is incredible. Who knows what collective positive thought might do for someone transiting from this life?

I’m sure many might see this as morbid but as I thought about this actually happening, I couldn’t help but believe that hearing that sound would certainly make me stop and take stock of my life. It would ground me back in the truth of how precious life is, how I must waste not a single second, and how I must reach out and connect with those around me because none of us know how long we are going to be here, gracing this planet we call our “home”.

If I had a hospital, I would welcome birth with the sound of Peter Roberts playing Brahms’s Lullaby but I would also farewell human life with something equally as beautiful and poignant because no one deserves to die without acknowledgement for the life they have bravely lived.

To learn more about this beautiful man’s story, follow the link.

http://www.abc.net.au/austory/

To learn more about Peter, go to:

http://www.robertsmusic.net and click on the picture of his magical hands to gain access to his beautiful work.

What an amazing man.

Filling My Sails

I watched on Saturday, along with thousands of others, as Jessica Watson steered her vessel into Sydney Harbour. I was overcome with emotion at this young girl’s feat. Even now, when I look at photos and videos of her battering her way through gigantic seas, I am blown away by her bravery and her sheer determination to achieve what she set out to do. How do you do that? Spend seven months alone on a vessel, bobbing about in the ocean miles from nowhere? The ripple effect of what she has done will reach far and wide.

Her trip has me thinking about what I consider hard in my life and in all honesty – nothing compares to what she has just been through. Whilst we all have different dreams and aspirations, seeing Jessica accomplish this feat makes me realise that beneath the fluffy white clouds of every ‘dream come true’ is a foundation of sheer grit and determination, as well as years of passionate commitment . Blood, sweat and quite often tears.

I have a dream – to finish my book and publish it. Compared to a solo trip sailing around the world, it’s a walk in the park, and doesn’t compare. Regardless, Jessica’s journey has taught me this:


In order to get anywhere – you need a map and a destination. Otherwise you spend your whole life bobbing aimlessly around in a sea of words getting nowhere.


Having a map doesn’t always mean you will stay on course. Plotting a book is similar to sailing. When the big winds blow you off course, you need plot points to get you back in the race.

To get from Point A to Point B you need discipline to stick to the course. You also need daily maintenance. You must write everyday to keep the story focused and moving forward toward the final destination.

If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Jessica showed me this in the most amazing way I have ever seen.

To fulfil a dream, not only do you need courage, you also need to take risks, have faith and trust in the process. You also need to believe in yourself and your dream, despite what others may say or think.

You have to study your craft, inside and out and then launch yourself out of your comfort zone in order to keep on learning.

Passion helps keeps you afloat. Without it, you drown and your dream eventually sinks.

The power to imagine is often our greatest lifeline.

Watching Jessica chase and achieve her dream has inspired me beyond words. It has made me realise that the hard work will be worth it, and that I just need to keep believing that one day, I will set foot on ‘Pontoon Published’ .  For now, she has refilled my sails and given me a hefty nudge toward my dream. I take my hat off to this young girl and send her waves of gratitude for showing us such great human spirit. God bless her and all who sail with her!