An old man

old man

Who is this old man? Does he have a name? Is he rich or poor – kind or mean? Where does he live? Is he educated or just street wise? Is he loved and has he known happiness?

***

I joined a creative writing group today and we are tasked with writing a story with the topic of “An old man”. I found this unidentified image on the internet and I want to delve into his life and personality so he becomes alive in the story I am yet to write.

From looking at the photo, what do you see? Do you think he has had a hard life? Does he have any secrets? Is he famous? Perhaps I can use your observations in my story :-)

Things were not as they should be

Augustine Street Cohuna Victoria 001My elderly aunt was being cared for in the dementia ward of the local retirement village. It was about four years ago that I visited her from Western Australia. She had very few personal items with her and she asked me to go to her home and bring some toiletries etc back for her. The staff also gave me a short list of items she needed.

I opened the door to her home – it felt a little strange without her there and it had a musty smell about it because the doors and windows were shut tight. On the list was some talcum powder. I checked the bathroom and there were several tins of powder but they were all empty. I decided to treat my aunt to some nice new toiletries instead.

Much to my surprise, my aunt was very upset to learn there was no talc in her bathroom. She believed that someone had broken in and stolen it. Things were not as they should be!

Unfortunately this event came to be a symbol for me of her dementia. She really believed that someone was stealing from her vacant home. I could believe that, but I couldn’t believe someone would steal talcum powder (and leave the empty containers in situ).

It was true that something was not as it should be – sadly it was my aunt’s deteriorating mental and physical health.

Is perfection over-rated?

No matter how much personal growth I experience, there are times I am disappointed when I don’t meet my own expectations. I don’t know where this comes from – but every so often this little voice tells me I am not good enough. Is this something we all struggle with? How do we silence that voice of doubt?

Perfection

Power-less

Yesterday we lost power at about 1.30pm. Fairly unusual for this to happen. It was cold without the air-conditioner. As time went by it became obvious this was more than a short-term power failure. My husband and I spend a lot of time on our computers and I was right in the middle of doing something when the computer shut down. I worried that I lost all the work I had done.

As it got closer to dinner time I worked out we could still have a hot meal as we have gas burners. We have plenty of candles and candle holders so I gathered them together so we were prepared when it got dark.

We had no TV, no computers, no tablet, no music – except for those downloaded from the smart phone. Only trouble was it used the battery up. My Kindle battery was nearly flat. Anyway we had an early night (no electric blanket), confident that the LED lights on the alarm clock would start flashing and signal the return of power. It didn’t happen.

This morning was very cold and we dressed with several layers of clothes. I boiled some water on the gas stove so we could have coffee. Our showers were OK as we have gas hot water. But … no hair-dryer! Bad hair day coming up! My electric toothbrush worked OK because it was charged up.

We went out for coffee (had to walk as the car was locked in the garage and we couldn’t get it open). We hoped we would get home to find everything OK but the news was worse than we expected. The power came on very briefly and we managed to release the car from its prison before we lost power again.

What to do? We went back to our local pub for lunch and met several of our neighbours there too. At about 3:00 pm the power came back on. We restrained our excitement in case it didn’t last, but it has, so far.

There are a few theories/rumours about what the problem is. It appears that the generator for our village has broken down and a new part is required and it is not available in Australia. What? Anyway, the hired generator is working OK for now.

I never realised how much I take electricity for granted :-). The more comfortable my life is, the harder it is to deal with challenges like this. I am very grateful that I have so many comforts on a daily basis and it is a good reminder to not take them for granted :-)

money box 003

 

I am not the only one …

We had some friends stay over for the weekend and it was lovely chatting and catching up on the news.

I found myself saying more than once, …Ha, so I am not the only one who does that(thinks that/fears that etc.).

It occurred to me how valuable it is to have friends where we can share these inconsequential things and realise we all have much the same fears, hopes, dreams etc. It is reassuring that whatever our experiences in life might be, it is likely shared by many.

Lake Ballard near Menzies

Lake Ballard near Menzies

Perhaps this is the basis for our friendships.

NB The photo was taken by me at Lake Ballard (a dry salt lake) in a remote area north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The sculpture was created by well known sculptor Antony Gormley from the UK.

A successful life …

I just came across this image below while looking for some words of wisdom.

It is a fairly simple philosophy but well worth considering!

for a successful life

What do you like to talk about?

The idea for this post came from some questions raised by Eric Tonningsen‘s blog Awakening to Awareness.

So, what do you like to talk about? I don’t mean the casual exchanges and polite conversations with people who pass through our lives.

I have a real desire for deep and meaningful conversations – usually in a one on one situation. I like to think about possibilities for our shared future. I search for answers to the questions about why we still go to war knowing the enormous costs – especially to loss of life, property and our shared interests and history.

I also love talking to children aged from about three years old and above. I love the simplicity of how they see the world and I marvel and how much a child can see from such an early age.

It is also good to hear the wisdom of people who have lived a long life without becoming embittered by it. There is so much we can learn from our elders.

People who have hit rock bottom in their lives can also have a great clarity about what is important and how to do it – or at least where to start that journey.

Issues such as euthanasia, the death penalty, the customs and beliefs of other cultures and religions are also stimulating topics. I do not like to argue and very much believe in the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. I can sustain a conversation with someone whose views are totally different than mine and accept that they have the right to believe as they choose. I also hope others will offer me the same respect.

Scientific topics are interesting but my depth of knowledge is limited. I try to keep an open mind. I also  hope the scientists will keep an open mind as well and not defend their ideas for the sake of protecting a point of view. Science itself is evolving and we learn new things each day and sometimes dispose of past beliefs in the process.

I also like to listen to good jokes. I am not very good at telling them though :-)DSC00512

 

Do you ever think “I can’t do it”?

I am currently reading “The Confidence Gap – from fear to freedom” by Dr Russ Harris and published by Penguin Portfolio.

I bought the book some time ago and read some of it and then left it sitting on the shelf. I have had some confidence issues so I thought I had better read some more. I am getting more out of it this time. I am learning (again) about listening to my thoughts and the chatter that goes on in my head. I sometimes think things like, “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”, or thoughts along similar lines.

The author suggests we listen to our thoughts and then acknowledge… I just had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”. He recommends a range of strategies to help us get unhooked from our thoughts. He says that when we fuse with our thinking we cannot see the difference between who we are and what we think.

The next step is to say to myself … I just noticed I had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”.

It is amazing and sometimes alarming to listen to the array of thoughts that go on in my head. It is so easy to undermine our selves by giving credibility to these thoughts. I am not my thoughts however if I get hooked into thinking in a particular way that isn’t helpful then I allow these thoughts to decide how I live my life. I think I will read some more …

Ferguson Valley 046 (Copy)

Weekly photo challenge: Extra

Too much rain can have devastating consequences. These photos were taken during a wet season in Fitzroy Crossing in the early 1980′s while I was living there. People were cut off from food supplies, the bore pumps were flooded and ironically there was a shortage of water for household use. One of my neighbours was bitten by a venomous snake and had to be driven through the flood water to get medical help. I wouldn’t go outside to the clothes line as I heard something splashing in the flood water and was worried it could be a crocodile. After some time, the floods subsided and the big job of fixing the infrastructure began – until the next big rains!

We all need hope for the future

Many years ago while going through a difficult time in my life, I found great comfort in the following verse …

HOPE

I still find it to be uplifting today. After all, hope always provides us with a reason to keep going.

The Daily Post – Terminal Time

You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?

I experienced something similar to this a couple of weeks ago. I decided to take a short flight to Perth in preference to driving and staying over night in a hotel before catching my 10.00am flight to Melbourne. I arrived at our small Busselton airport (5.45pm for a 6.45pm departure) only to learn that there was a BIG delay in departure time. In fact, the plane was in Perth and waiting delivery of parts (anticipated about an hour’s delay) before it could leave Perth.

I decided to wait at the airport and not go home and come back later. There were only four passengers heading to Perth. I soon learned though, the plane had to fly south to Busselton and then Albany before doing the return flight to collect the four of us waiting.

I had a good book to read so at first I wasn’t too worried about the delay. One of the staff asked me if I would like a tea or coffee and proceeded to make one for me in their staff room. I was very grateful. There was a vending machine and I bought a Cherry Ripe. Life was feeling pretty good.

Some time later we learned the flight had left Perth so at least things were moving. The mood lightened. There was a man in his forties also reading and another woman of a similar age. A young man in a wheel chair, well-known to the staff as he flies to Perth once a fortnight to visit family, kept up a lively banter with everyone.

No-one seemed too bothered about the delay and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. About 9.00pm a female staff member stated she was putting in an order for some food and asked us what sort of pizza we liked. The food and soft drink arrived close to 10.00pm. We all enjoyed the pizza!

The plane finally arrived to take us to Perth at 10.20pm. I arrived at my friend’s place at around 11.30pm. I felt bad that I had messed up their evening but it was out of my control. They kindly drove me to the airport in the morning. When I had checked in I decided to call my husband and let him know everything was OK but I couldn’t find my phone. It was getting close to boarding time and I was a little panicked. I realised I must have left it in the security check point – I was right! The rest of the journey was fine except that I lost my e-ticket at Melbourne Airport but one of the staff helped me out! What a journey :-)

life above the clouds (2)

To learn more about the Daily Post Prompts click here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/terminal-time/

 

Confidence

Life seems so much easier when we feel confident about what we are doing. Confidence doesn’t guarantee competence but it is a good start. Here are some thoughts about confidence …

C is for capable. I have the basic knowledge to do the task at hand.

O is for often. When I do something often I generally become more confident in my ability.

N is now. I will focus on the task at hand, now, and not try to do tomorrow’s work today.

F is for follow. It may mean following a recipe, some guidance, a style manual, or the instructions in a manual.

I is for interest. If I have a genuine interest in what I am doing, my interest will help me feel more confident.

D is for determination. If I aspire to do well – chances are, I will succeed if I am determined enough.

E is for elements. If I understand the basic elements of the task, I can then tackle them one by one until the task is completed.

N is for new. I am always be open to learning something new. It is ok to acknowledge I haven’t done something before, however, I am willing to learn new things  – in fact, I love to learn how to do new things!

C is for cheerful. If I can approach whatever I am doing with a cheerful attitude, my chances of success are greater.

E is for effort. I need to put in some effort and do the work that is required to the best of my ability.

Put all these together and you cannot help but have the CONFIDENCE to do whatever you need to do.

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Five ways to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed

Cosy wood heater

Cosy wood heater

Here are some things that work for me when I feel overwhelmed …

1. Close your eyes and listen … try to hear sounds nearby and then further and further away. Focus on listening without judgement.

2. Stop what you are doing and focus on a small task – something that you can make a start on immediately. Decide to focus on that task only for a short period of time. It could be for five minutes, an hour or a day.

3. Keep breathing. If you are in a public situation and feel overwhelmed, just breathe as normally as possible, say little, smile occasionally and keep doing what you are doing. No one will ever know the inner turmoil you may be experiencing and maybe they don’t need to know.

4. If practical, get outdoors in the garden, beach, parkland etc. Being outside in the fresh air can do wonders for the spirit.

5. Allow yourself a ten minute nap (might be a bit hard if you are at work). Sometimes time out helps improve clarity and perspective. Keep it to a short nap though as you don’t want to indulge negative emotions that may arise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wants to be a housewife?

There isn’t much talk today about being a housewife. In fact, it is often seen to be an offensive label. How can anyone be a wife of a house, after all? There are attempts to change the image to names such as domestic goddess or similar. Is it what we do when we are not in the paid workforce?

But really … most of us live in houses and most of us like them to be clean and livable. Someone has to do the work, and fair enough if it is shared among the family. We want clean bathrooms, washing done, floors swept and the cupboards stocked with food and supplies.

Why is it that I don’t mind doing domestic tasks for someone else but would rather not do them for myself sometimes. Then there is that regular question – what do you do for a living? I can respond with information about the one day I go out to work and skip the details for the other six days of the week.

Scaling back from full-time work has raised these issues with me, surprisingly in a similar way to when I first left the workforce to start a family. There seems to be some fear that being out of the workforce may cause me to disappear into thin air – to stop existing in a way that is recognised in our culture.

I believe our culture needs to value this role more and recognise the contributions, big and small, of people who are not in mainstream, paid work.

What do you think?

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St Kilda Pier and Luna Park

After spending a wonderful week with my son, daughter-in-law and two gorgeous grandsons, I spent two great days in St Kilda with my two sisters. We walked, talked and ate  – and had lots of laughs!

It was good to get home again and appreciate all that I have, with a renewed enthusiasm.

Is there a point to blogging?

18 February 2014 006 (Copy)I am home again after spending some time away visiting my extended family. Sometimes the topic of blogging comes up. People often ask me the following:

  • what is a blog?
  • how do people find my blog?
  • why do I do it?
  • what does someone have to do to start a blog?
  • what do I like about blogging?

I find it hard to respond to these queries as there are many answers for the points. Blogging has become a part of my life over the last few years and I am reluctant to let it go.

I try to explain about some interesting people I have met through blogging and their eyes seem to glaze over. I have learned a lot from other bloggers. I am more aware of where people are geographically located and I know more about cultural differences in other places in the world. I have also learned how much we all have in common.

My technology skills continue to grow as I keep blogging. I noticed in my recent online studies that I wasn’t daunted by some of the technical challenges that would have overwhelmed me if I didn’t blog regularly and look after my site.

I don’t worry about how many people read my blog and/or comment. I get a buzz when it happens, but it is not the motivation for my writing. I enjoy the interaction with like-minded people, whether it be few or many.

I enjoy sharing insights I have about life – I haven’t had any ‘aha!’ moments lately but sometimes they come out of nowhere and it is good to share.

The fact that I blog makes it easier for me to sit in front of a computer and write about other things as well. Tomorrow I will be working for about four hours in my job with the local paper. I HAVE to write and get it done in that time. There is no time for me to sit staring at a blank screen (or do any rewrites for that matter).

So, I have told you some of my thoughts about blogging – now I would like to hear from your point of view, if you would like to share.

cheers

Lorraine

Launch of my short story

I have been absent from WordPress in recent weeks as I worked on finishing my unit of study with Edith Cowan University online. The unit is Authorship and Publication. The main submission for assessment is my ebook, Beyond the Crossing.

As it is my first short story I decided to make it available as a free ebook to anyone who would like to read it.

With assignments now completed,  I can start preparing for my trip to Victoria on Saturday. I am staying with my son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons for a week. After that I am spending a couple of days in Melbourne with my two sisters. Click on the link below to go to the page where you can download a copy.

Click HERE to go to Beyond the Crossing.

Flowers

I am very grateful for my family every day, but today was extra special. Wonderful to speak to each of my three sons and two grandsons, great lunch with Andrew and Rachelle and Rogue. And here are the flowers I got too …

 

Perserverance

I am feeling a bit stressed about completing my writing studies in the next two weeks. I still have a few hurdles to jump over and know I have to work hard to achieve a good result. I confess to a great fear of failing. In reality, failing this unit would not make much difference to my life but I will be really disappointed in myself if I don’t succeed.

PV1There is also a sense of loss at completing my studies. It consumes my time, energy and interest and there will be a gap in my life once I am done. I find this hard to explain. Maybe it is about being part of something bigger – a sense of belonging to a student community (even though the study has all be online).

PV2

Then there is that great sense of achievement at completion and success – or gratification describes it more accurately – overcoming something difficult and feeling stretched and experiencing some personal growth.

PV3

Finally, for me, study is about wrestling with something in my mind – that is not about ME – something bigger than myself and something that better engages me to the world I live in, day-to-day.

So – PERSEVERE I will and hopefully I will meet my goal of a qualification at the conclusion of my study but also greater knowledge about writing and the industry.

And… if I don’t pass – the world will not end – I will have still learned a lot – and well, let’s wait and see…

All I can do is do my best :-)

Poverty of Spirit

When I look at the conflict in the world I despair about our future.

I think the quote below sums it up very well. I include myself in this. I really do value the opportunity to connect with other bloggers in the international community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our politicians  could do as much?

Martin Luther King Jr

Learning by doing

Today I searched for quotes to motivate me to continue my work on a current writing assignment. I need to have a 2,500 word draft piece of fiction ready for editing by Monday at the latest. I have written about 3,000 words so far but it lacks energy. I need to do a lot more work on it. I am basing my short story on some of my experiences living in outback Australia.

about study

 

Weekly photo challenge: Letters

If you are interested in letters, then this is the book for you!

IMG

Do you have a favourite letter? Mine is the letter g

My apologies for the lack of a photo for this photo challenge!

 

Life is good, but …

I must be the most ungrateful person around. I have just landed a writing job for one day a week. I am really enjoying my studies even though I am feeling under time pressure a little. We are having guests for the weekend and I need to tidy up the house. So if that is all I have to worry about, then I am a very lucky person. A bit of hard work and a little stress in the next few weeks won’t do me any harm at all.

Hard work

The power of giving up or letting go …

I met a friend for coffee yesterday afternoon. We hadn’t seen each other for a while. We talked about what work opportunities were about and what we both have done recently. I said to her, ‘I am not looking for work at the moment. I just want to focus on my studies.’

We parted and I walked the short distance home. I had only been home a couple of minutes and the phone rang. I had applied for a writing job last October but wasn’t successful. The newspaper rang me to ask if I was still interested and if I would like to come in on Monday for an interview. It is only for 8 hours a week and could be fun. I will wait and see how the conversation goes on Monday.Capture 6This was the first time in four years since I left full time work that I actually stated that I am not looking for work. Isn’t life funny sometimes – the way things work out?

 

 

 

 

 

An early attempt at fiction …

I wrote this piece for a recent assignment. I passed – not quite as well as I would have liked to. Oh well … It was based on research from the newspaper on the date of my birth.

2 NOVEMBER 1954
My sanity is slipping away. It wounds my pride, but I call Mum on Sunday, 31 October 1954 and beg her to pick Peter and me up from the farm the next day. My Mum is thrilled I have come to my senses.

Jack breaks down when I tell him I am leaving him. He is devastated. He says, ‘My life is nothing without you and Peter.’ He slowly turns away and Peter follows him to the kitchen. I think Peter is with Grandma Irene but Peter trails a few metres behind Jack. Irene is preparing for the Melbourne Cup BBQ on Tuesday and sees them both heading for the scrub, and smiles.

Jack returns alone around 11.00am.

‘Jack, what have you done with him?’ I screamed, as I pounded his chest. ‘How could you even think I would do anything to hurt Peter? You and Peter are my life,’ he replied. ‘He is only a baby – two and half years old, for God’s sake! Where is he?’ I shrieked hysterically.

Jack and I met on New Year’s Eve 1950. He was twenty-seven and I was nineteen. He is 5’8’’, slim build, fair curly hair, and deep brown eyes. His sister, Hazel, and I were nursing at Princess Margaret Hospital and she was a matchmaker. Jack was in Perth to enlist in the Army to fight the communists in Korea. It was the start of an incredible, magical romance.

My parents disapproved of Jack and said, ‘He is an uneducated, farm labourer and not good enough for a Claremont girl.’ I turned my back on them and married him in June 1951 in the Anglican Church in Boyup Brook. Jack worked on their small sheep farm just out of Boyup Brook, population around five hundred. We stayed with his parents.

His parents supported his decision to fight Communism and he would earn about £12/6 a week. His first posting was with the 3RAR, based in Japan. He left us on 1 October 1951 knowing we were having a baby. I was distraught. I was not ready for this! Especially with Jack away and living with his parents. Regardless, Peter was born, healthy, on 17 June 1952.

A telegram arrived not long after with the disturbing news of Jack’s capture by the North Koreans. He remained a POW until the war ended on 27 July 1953. When Jack came home in August ’53, he was a broken man – just skin and bone, sullen, and withdrawn. He took solace in drinking each day until he passed out.

If I keep loving and caring for him he would get well surely? I would find a quiet place and sob my heart out. I missed my friends and family in Perth. They wrote infrequently about their dances and trips to the theatre.
***
News spreads that Peter is missing. Jack’s father calls the police and asks the neighbours to help search in the thick scrub beyond the farmhouse. By midday there are around one hundred people scouring the nearby scrub. Peter is wearing summer shorts and singlet. It is around 69 degrees with a chance of rain. I stay at the house while the men search the scrub, I pray, ‘Oh my God, find him please!’

Hours pass and the searchers return with no news. It is nearing 6.00pm when they see Peter running through the bush towards them. Jack and I quickly race towards him and we both hold him and each other, sobbing with relief.
Just at that moment, my parents arrived in their BMW …

Distractions

I have looked at old photos to research information for my writing assignment. It was great to see the photos again because it prompted my memory about so many things I had forgotten. One of them cashew apples. We had a cashew tree in our yard – you couldn’t eat the nuts without baking but the fruit was really yummy.

I found this photo of my Mum taken in 1983. She traveled by bus from Victoria to Fitzroy Crossing to be there when I gave birth to my third son. That is an incredible distance to travel by bus – around 3500 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of her as I was in hospital a lot longer than anticipated. I think I spent one or two days with her and then she caught the bus home again! What a woman :-). She was in her early sixties at the time.

Now, back to that assignment!

Mum Fitzroy Crossing 1983

Two great things about writing fiction

In my current studies I am learning about writing fiction and really enjoying it. I am currently working on a 2,500 word assignment. I have the ideas in my head and some words on paper. On reflecting about this new interest, I found two really positive benefits:

1. I can use my own life experience and feelings and infuse them into the characters in my story. I can control the outcomes of these characters and explore avenues/roads I would have liked to travel. Also I can channel any sorts of emotional experiences into my story.

2. I have something to think about. If I can’t sleep, I can play around in my mind with the characters or the plot instead of thinking about worries or problems. If I find myself at a loss for something to do, I can expand my ideas or even come up with a new angle.

Birthday 2013 001

My favourite philosopher …

DSC00475

I found this quote and thought how appropriate it is in the information age!

As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Read more at Arthur Schopenhauer

 

As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/arthurscho133322.html#QGsP5sF1EYwmzSA3.99

Weekly photo challenge: Monument

My interpretation of monuments for this week’s photo challenge :-)

Wasted days and wasted nights

Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?

object 006 (Copy)

To find a way through the overwhelming confusion, I will usually do a mind map – basically writing down every possible thing that is on my mind. Often I will cover a page and it doesn’t have to be neat. Then I may group some sections together using different coloured highlighters. They may be a group based on topics such as: jobs needing doing in the house, assignments due, appointments to be made or to be kept.

When my page is sorted into chunks I will then put them through the following:

URGENT/IMPORTANT

URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT

NOT URGENT/IMPORTANT

NOT URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT

As you would expect, I then deal with the URGENT/IMPORTANT tasks first, taking one at a time.

Another strategy may be to negotiate for more time if you have a legitimate reason. You need to be kind to yourself and not apply too much pressure. By being under pressure and stressed, it will impact on your ability to do the task anyway – it may even block you from getting started.

When all procrastination is out of the way – just put one foot in front of the other and start doing what needs to be done!

 

Which story has most appeal?

As part of my studies I need to further develop some stories. I would really appreciate your feedback. Thanks :-)

SYNOPSIS – FANTASY
The Magic Tunnel

A little four-year-old girl finds a magical world just beyond Grandma’s back fence. Only Lindy knows the secret entrance. A blue wren whispered it in her ear and made her promise to keep it secret – even from Grandma. Lindy carefully lifts one of the pavers on the patio and jumps into the beautiful rainbow tunnel. The bright colours swirl like a kaleidoscope until Lindy reaches the giant rainbow coloured bubble. This is her secret, best ever, place to be. She is safe there and everything is beautiful and kind. The blue wrens also live in the bubble and they tell Lindy about all the bush creatures while they sit around a little table having a tea party.

SYNOPSIS – NON-FICTION
The Pros and Cons of Lifestyle Villages

The ageing of baby boomers is influencing many aspects of Australian life in the 21st Century with many people aged over 45 and over 55 moving into a Lifestyle or Retirement Villages. This is a big decision with lasting consequences financially, socially and health wise.The writer currently resides in a Lifestyle Village in Busselton and brings her personal observations to the fore. This book also draws on Australian and international research to substantiate its claims. Areas covered include the following chapters:
1. What are the financial implications of moving to a retirement village and what is a lifetime lease?
2. What legislation is relevant to Retirement Villages in Western Australia
3. Age considerations – when is the best time to make the move?
4. What are the expectations, and how does reality measures up?
5. Case studies with divergent points of view
6. Links to resources and further information

CULTURE SHOCK – FICTION
Up- side- down in the Northern Territory

John and Raelene live in the idyllic rain forest environment of Belgrave, in the Dandenong Ranges on the outskirts of Melbourne with their two young children, Nigel and Belinda. A unique opportunity arises, tempting them to give up all that is familiar and move to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory for John to take up a position as Store Manager for the remote Indigenous community of Numbulwar. The Community Store, owned and operated by an Anglican Mission, is in transition of ownership to the Indigenous Corporation. The township has around five hundred Indigenous people and around a dozen non-Aboriginal people who hold positions in health, education, plus the Store Manager. With no previous experience working with Indigenous people and no training provided, they quickly discover they are way out of their depth. As culture shock takes hold, they begin to question everything they once believed about their values and ideals. This is the story of  their enlightenment.

 

The Prehistoric Animal Brigade

I have two gorgeous grandsons. Isaac will be 6 in July and Alex will turn 4, five days later. Always a busy, birthday week at their place :-). In early 2013, when Alex was two and a half years old, he recorded this song. I haven’t seen them in over twelve months because they live in the Eastern States, however I will be Grandma-in-residence for a week in May!

CLICK HERE for Alex and the Prehistoric Animal Brigade

I may well be a doting grandma but I really think he put in a five-star performance! Make my day and have a listen :-)

NaPoWriMo 2014

I read about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) 2014 in the WordPress News email and here is a link for more information.

April is Poetry Month

I decided to set up a blog specifically for April intending to write a poem a day. You may ask “What makes up a poem?” and I would not be able to give a good answer. I used to write poems many years ago and found it to be quite cathartic. Let’s see how I go with this challenge for April. My poetry blog can be found at http://www.andrewmarvellfan.wordpress.com

Andrew Marvell is my favourite poet and His Coy Mistress is one of his best, I believe. There is a link to this poem on the other blog  under the TAB for About this Blog if you would like to read it.

You may also like to join the challenge! I hope you do :-)

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More thoughts about writing

 

Recently I read that if fear is blocking us from writing we should write about the fear – merge it into our writing – use it.

In the same way we can deal with anger, anxiety, love and other emotions. So it doesn’t matter what state you are in…

YOU CAN ALWAYS WRITE!

PGJames

Torn …

Today I was thinking about the times when we are torn between two people, two job options, a parent and child, to diet or not, two roads …

The more I thought about it I realised that just about every moment we are having to choose which way to go. It is in navigating these choices that makes our journey what it is. It can be a pretty uncomfortable place to be if our loyalties are being tugged in different directions. Especially if you are trying to keep everyone happy :-).

I guess it is one of those Universal feelings we all experience from time to time.

Daily Prompt: I walk the line

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Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

  • live and let live is my number one guide to living day-to-day
  • my family and friends are my highest priorities
  • people are more important than things
  • perfection is over-rated
  • look after what you have and you will be rewarded with greater blessings
  • consider, ‘how important is it, in the scheme of things?’
  • some people need a little more support than others to meet a similar outcome
  • it is better to say nothing than to say something hurtful
  • all people have the potential for good
  • love can heal many sorrows but not all of them
  • create good memories each day you live
  • remember the person next to you may have a bundle of troubles you cannot see – be compassionate always
  • remember to smile as it may brighten someone else’s day and your own
  • sometimes the best advice you can give is to remain silent and listen
  • forgive others who may of hurt you – it may turn their lives around and you will feel better too
  • music is good for the soul as is nature
  • accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can.

How is that for starters? Do you have any you would like to add to the list?

That will teach him :-)

Recently my sister-in-law said she had a tetanus injection and that we should too. She works in public health and knows about these things. I couldn’t see the need for being immunised, but my husband thought it was a good idea. As I spend more and more time in my garden, he is concerned I may injure myself and has reminded me that I should have an injection.

I saw my GP today and while there, I told her my husband thought I should have a jab. She agreed it could be a good idea and then asked, ‘Has your husband been immunised?’ All I could do was laugh. As we came out of her office she called to my husband and fairly forcefully suggested he should join me in this adventure.

needleWe both have sore arms now but I don’t think he will recommend any more health treatments for me – unless he is prepared to have them as well :-).

If you are interested in knowing more about tetanus, here is some information from The Better Health Channel

Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that causes muscle spasms and breathing problems. Tetanus is uncommon in Australia because of the widespread use of the tetanus vaccine. Some types of wounds are more likely to encourage the growth of tetanus bacteria, such as compound fractures, animal bites, burns or any wounds contaminated with soil, horse manure or pieces of foreign objects. Immunisation is available and serious side effects or allergic reactions are rare.

 

 

Writing and research

The current module in my writing course is about doing research for fiction writing. Our tutor provided the students with a list of questions and instructed us to visit the State Library (Battye Library) to find the relevant information. It wasn’t a test of who could find the best material – the purpose was to encourage the students to physically get out there and find the richness of resources available to create interesting and informative stories. Accessing The West Australian newspaper on microfilm was an important part of the exercise.

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I rocked up to Busselton library yesterday with my list of questions. I found myself in a panic for a few minutes, thinking to myself, ‘why can’t I just Google it?’ It was hard work looking through indexes of hard copies of books to glean a couple of sentences for the exercise. After about fifteen minutes I found myself lost in the experience and wanting to take home every book I picked up!

I spent two hours at the library and found everything I needed except the newspapers on microfilm. This morning I found digitalised copies of the West Australian on Trove at the National Gallery. My task then was to research what was happening in the wider world on the date of my birth. It is a fabulous resource and I spent hours reading through it and making notes. I then repeated the process with my mother’s date of birth in 1922 – again I found some great reading!

Ferguson Valley 015 (Copy)I now have until Monday to write a piece of fiction (500-600 words) based on, and using the information gleaned through the newspapers and library research. The story will be set on that date in November 1954. The assignment is due on Monday – feeling a bit under pressure to come up with a good plot. I can see some brainstorming, mind-mapping or whatever it takes, happening here!

From blogger to author – an interview with Peter Wells (countingducks)

You may know Peter Wells as countingducks on WordPress.com. Peter has very kindly followed my blog for a while and I always enjoy reading his. Just recently Peter launched a novel called, Living Life Backwards, published by PDMI.

Peter kindly agreed to be interviewed about his experience of transitioning from blogger to author. Here are my questions and Peter’s responses below …

1. Have you always enjoyed writing?
I’ve always been quietly creative in various formats, and used to write poetry when I was studying for my degree, but never considered it to be a professional ambition. I had no idea how that would be achieved.

2. Did you do lots of research and preparation before you started or did the story grow organically as you wrote it?
I’ve never done a millisecond of research for anything creative, ( Bows his head in shame ). I like to go for walks, and an idea will float into my head.

3. Did you develop your characters before you started writing or did they grow as the story grew?
The main character, and possibly a couple of others come out of my imagination, and then the number of characters can grow, depending on the plot and the need to people it with individuals who give it life.

4. Were you inclined to edit as you wrote or did you just get it all down and go with the flow?
I always try and write a set number of words in a day, although I have struggled with that since having my novel published, and the time pressure that produces. At the weekend, for as much time as possible, I always review what I have written during the week, so that I am always ‘refining on the go’.

5. Is there a connection between your blog writing and the writing of your novel?
There is a connection, in that the novels come out of Blog posts, and the character’s created within them. I tend to change the tone, because the novel is more reflective than comic in tone, thought humour peeps out of the ages at regular intervals.

6. Did you use an agent or go direct to a publisher?
My story is a little unusual as I was “discovered” as they say, by a publisher who came across and then followed my Blog for a time. When they approached me, I had not written a book, so ‘Living Life Backwards’ was written to order. I have to say, the publishers have been quite excellent, and taken away many of the challenges faced by new authors. Step forward Victoria and PDMI and take a bow!

7. Did you have to face some rejections before a publisher agreed to take it on?
Given my previous answer but that is not to say that could not happen. There is no guarantee of any book being published by any one publisher so, if you believe in your craft and your talent, facing rejection is a fact of life. Luckily I have been trained to deal with it over the years as a result of the reception enjoyed by some of the dishes I’ve cooked !

8. It is interesting that you have gone for a paperback book as well as an e-book? Any thoughts on why or was it the publisher’s decision?
All that was the decision of the Publisher: what I can tell you, apart from the words and story of course, is that the cover illustration, the editing, formatting, and the first paragraph of your book are the key to its getting attention. They should all be as good as you can make them, as shoddy execution can often blind the reading public to what might be an excellent story.

Flowers from Jeanne and Lee for my wedding in June.

 Wishing you every success Peter (countingducks) and thank you for taking part in this interview :-)

Daily Post: Mr Sandman

A recent Daily Post Prompt asked, “What kind of sleeper are you? Do you drop off like a stone and awaken refreshed, or do you need pitch black and silence to drift off to dream?”

So, what kind of sleeper am I? NOT GOOD!

I am nearing the end of Week 1 of a four-week trial in using some really interesting equipment to help me to sleep better at night. Teddy offered to model the two masks for me for this blog today :-). It is for the relief of sleep apnoea.

You can click on the link HERE if you would like to read more about it. I am feeling much better already :-)

About writing …

I think there is a lot of truth in the quote below. Do you agree?

Writing Quote

Sometime in the next few days I will do just that!