Grandmother

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I recently read a book which correlated rather surprisingly with my life. I was not expecting it and indeed, at one point put the book down finding it too heavy. Still I did not connect why. Not until the next day while shopping and thinking of nothing in particular.

It happens like that. Sudden realisations seemingly out of the blue. But they’re not really, because the mind is always working, whether we wish it to or not.

The book in question is Amanda Curtin’s Elemental. This book is a wonderful read and if you are looking for a story with a strong historical bent, then I urge you to read it. There are certain similarities between the book and my family. Not the same, but enough to give me pause.  Enough for me to look at my own life and what I have been ignoring.

You see, my grandmother is not well. In fact, she is dying.

Every time I see her, she is frailer in body but remarkably stronger in spirit. It is confronting, seeing someone with such a large presence in my life slowly slip away. And it is slow. She can’t walk far now, needing a wheelchair if she leaves the house. She stops people visiting when she is feeling too weak and that’s fine, she needs to put herself first. But her life is ending and it is bittersweet.

She has not been well for a long time. But how do you say goodbye to someone who is still here?

Every visit feels like a little part of her is gone. But. She is still my grandmother who laughs at rude jokes, even if she doesn’t eat much anymore. She is still the woman who taught me ballet steps and how not to cook. The woman who cried endless tears when Princess Diana died, bore 4 children and adopted another. She is my grandmother and she is still here.

And that is what Elemental has taught me, appreciate what we have right now, even if it is bittersweet.

I’m lucky. I’m 34 and I still have all my grandparents alive. But this first one leaving me is hurting. I need to make the most of the time she has left, the lessons she has taught me and the ones she is still teaching. She is a strong woman and one day, when the time is right, I will tell her story. It is the least I can do for her.

Have a lovely and creative week everyone xx

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Hello my lovelies 🙂

I’ve been quiet on here but I have written a few articles over on Her Heart. The latest two are connected and talk about hashtags and how to use them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Take a look here and here and let me know what you think, also if you have any tips to add.

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Hope you are having an awesome and creative time and if not, here’s a big virtual hug. I hope things work out for you soon xx

Writing Changes

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

When I first decided to take this writing gig seriously I understood that I had lessons to learn and improvements to make. What I really didn’t understand was that my reason for writing would change, nor the mental changes that would happen along the way.

So my original reason for writing was to provide solace for readers, the way my favourite writers do for me. Sometimes you simply want to escape your life for a little while and reading is the perfect solution for that. Little cost and you don’t have to go anywhere but you still feel like you’re having an adventure. But now, while I still want to do that, I actually want to also write for the story’s sake. I have this burning need inside me to tell a story and I really want it to get out. I have no desire to be burnt alive and that’s rather what I feel like will happen if I don’t write creatively. It’s odd and I’m not being light hearted with my words when I write that, the feeling is rather strong and I couldn’t stop writing if I tried.

Now, last week I had a little panic attack about all this.

For the past month or so I have been doing morning pages. For those of you who don’t know, morning pages is a concept where you write whatever is on your mind first thing in the morning (or whenever you can manage it, some people do it on their morning commute, others once the kids are dropped off at school etc.). Most people fill out 3 A4 pages by hand, the only requirement being that you write whatever springs to mind and do so by hand, not typing. I prefer to set a timer for 15 minutes and go for it. That’s just a personal preference and what works for me.

Now, back to the panic attack. I realised one morning, while writing my pages, that my well of creative inspiration was nearly dry. Why? Because a lot of my inspiration comes from my emotions. Completing my morning pages has effectively calmed that down and I don’t have this storm to draw from anymore. Cue panic. But by the end of that morning’s pages I had figured it out. My writing is actually stronger for this because I can focus on the story and what it needs, not what I need. Yes, I’ll still be emotionally connected to my story, but it won’t be everything. I really think this will benefit me and my writing. First test: Furious Fiction.

The Australian Writers Centre had their monthly competition out over the weekend and I’ve entered it using this new way of writing. I’ll let you guys know how I go! What I will say is that writing the short story for the competition was very different compared to how I normally write. I was able to look at the story while I was writing and understand what was working and what wasn’t straight away. I still wrote the first draft and let it sit over night, but it was odd to find myself editing as I went.

Usually I write the first draft and think it’s freaking awesome lol. I type the end and think it needs no editing. Experience has taught me otherwise and the reality is that when I’m at the half way point, I know it still needs work, but something about reaching the end convinces me otherwise for a little while.

Have you had any moments like this? The thinking things are great and the panic moment. It really did scare me before I settled down and realised it was a good thing. My default setting with my creative side is panic when something changes, time to re-frame that and be more positive 🙂

Hope you all have a happy and creative week lovelies xx

If you want to enter the Australian Writers Centre monthly Furious Fiction competition, you can do so here.

 

Inspiration Found Me

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In last week’s post I committed to not posting every week. Yet here I am posting a week later, ah the irony. But why, after stressing myself out about the commitment, am I disregarding it? That would be because of one Holden Sheppard.

Read on to find out what happened.

Holden published a blog post on Friday the 29th June that really resonated with me. I was in a writing funk full of self-doubt and this post helped me climb out of it. In it, Holden had given himself permission to write horseshit because he figured he could fix it up later.

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. – Jodi Picoult.

He also spoke about self-sabotage. Hello, let me introduce you to the Queen of that particular kingdom (that would be me). Case in point, hitting the first target for Rosie and then coming to almost a complete stop on it. For no reason other than I was starting to feel completely inadequate. Perfectionism also reared its head and that paralysed me even further. So I followed Holden’s lead and gave myself permission to write horseshit. It felt rather freeing to do that. I’ll let you know how it works out when it comes time to edit!

One other thing happened that helped pull me out of my self-doubt. A lovely person contacted me via Instagram, saying that my latest article at Her Heart Poetry had inspired her and that it had helped her after a very stressful month. I can’t tell you how much that made my day.

You see, that article had been hard for me to write. I was mentally exhausted and my mind was all over the place. If it wasn’t for my sense of commitment and Her Heart’s Editor in Chief, Samuel, that article would have never happened. I was very close to throwing my hands up in the air, saying fuck it and calling it quits on the whole thing. It is very rewarding to know that I eventually got it done and that it has gone on to help someone.

It amazes me that both incidents happened within 24 hours of each other. They have, in turn, inspired me to not give up. That although writing is hard sometimes and I have self-doubt over it, I love it. It also reminded me that when I write from the heart I honestly feel free and like I have found my version of paradise.  And who would want to give that up?

You can read Holden’s awesome post here.

My Her Heart post can be found here.

Have a fantastic and creative week everyone xx

A Little Update

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Hello lovely people! What’s happening in your part of the world? In my part (Western Australia) it’s winter and I’m freaking envious as hell of all the summer pictures I’m seeing from the northern hemisphere. Don’t worry, I’ll return the favour when our summer rolls around 🙂

Okay, now that I’ve complained about winter, let’s get onto the writing part.

I’ve signed up for Camp Nano (you can more about what that is here) and am sharing a cabin with an awesome crew of writers I’ve met on twitter. They are so funny and I’m looking forward to it. Especially as I’m in the midst of writing a first draft so having a cheer squad for the month of July will be fantastic. That deadline of August 24 for Rosie (the first draft!) is starting to feel very real.

I’ve got a few articles up on Her Heart which you can view here. The first draft of Rosie is coming along nicely and I’ve hit the quarter of the way target. I’m looking at several writing competitions for short stories and poetry, which I’m seriously considering entering so long as it doesn’t interfere with Rosie.

Now to other news.

My personal life is rather stressful at the moment for good and not so good reasons. My grandmother is very sick, my husband is about to start a job which means he’ll be home every night (he’s worked away for over 80% of the year for the last 5 years) and a few other things are also happening. Consequently I’m not going to commit to posting every week.

My novel is my writing priority and I can already see that it is proving difficult to juggle it, this blog and my personal life. So it’s time for a temporary reshuffle. But fear not, I’ll still be here, I’m just not setting a time frame for posting.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you guys have a happy and creative day.

P.S. I’ll still be posting articles on Her Heart every second week 🙂

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Review

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is based on a true story. One of horror, hope and the human survival instinct.

It is a story that didn’t make me cry but is one that is still with me days later. I have no doubt it will be with me in 20 years time. You don’t forget a story like that and the reality is you shouldn’t. The atrocities committed need to be remembered so that they are never repeated. That is the most important thing about history after all, learning from the past.

Morris was introduced to Lale Sokolov, the main protagonist, with the words, he ‘might just have a story worth telling.’ Might was a vast understatement. Lale was the man who tattooed the numbers Auschwitz prisoners had on their left arm, forever marking them as inferior in the eyes of the Nazis. Make no mistake, Lale had no choice in the matter and wore a number tattoo himself. What sets him apart is his utter determination to survive and his love for Gita, a fellow prisoner.

It is hard for me to articulate exactly how Lale’s story has affected me. The overwhelming sense of speechlessness and awe is an odd mix that has made me appreciate my own life and the freedom I have.

A heartbreaking and inspiring tale of the human spirit, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is written in a straight forward manner. There is no need for elaborate language when you consider the sheer bleakness surrounding this time in history. Similar in concept to Schindler’s List and the red dress in an otherwise black and white movie, the language in this book allows the story to speak for itself.

Well my lovely people, this book knocked me around a little. Not surprising considering the subject matter. If you have read it please let me know your thoughts, I’m keen to hear other’s opinions on it.

Have a fantastic and creative week everyone and appreciate every moment xx