I know it’s been over a month since I last posted and things have been rather irregular lately, but there’s a reason for it.
Lots of things are changing, in a good way (which I hinted at in a previous post “Seasons of Change”). However, it’s the good changes that you have to fight for the most. You see, the things that you really want in life definitely won’t be handed to you on a silver platter.
You have to fight for it!
Sure, the news might report on an “overnight success” story or two, but these are either complete and utter blind luck or, the more likely scenario is, you never saw the years of hard work those people spent working towards their so-called “overnight success”.
There will be setbacks.
There will be times when you need to stand back and change your strategy.
There will be times when people (including yourself) tell you to just give up, that the dream is too big, that the goal is so far out of reach that it’s beyond the clouds in the sky.
That’s when we need to stand back and them them all to go and get stuffed!
Continue fighting for it with everything you have.
Sure there will be times when you even doubt yourself, so in that case, take a step back and remind yourself that “you’ve got this” and keep on fighting.
As long as you keep on working towards your goal or dream, you can never really fail. The point is that you fight for it, don’t sit back and say “It’s too hard” or wait for someone to hand it to you on that magical silver platter, there is no silver platter.
You need to do it for yourself, you need to fight for it.
So whatever it is, get out there and fight for it!
Here I sit, with my laptop repaired and restored, except for a few minor issues (DirectX or something). New super-fast and super-quiet SSD, rather than the old faulty HDD that caused all the issues to begin with.
I finally feel the hunger to write again, to express my thoughts and imaginings through words. To create, to explore and to escape the world for just a moment, all through words.
Things are changing for the better and I’m not just referring to the laptop issues.
Change is definitely in the air, both literally and figuratively.
While the nights are still cold, the days are warm, sunny and full of promise. When winter came along it brought with it the feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, but the season for change is upon us again.
Some changes happen naturally, others are triggered by a series of events and happenings.
Change is not always good perhaps, but change is necessary and this is seen in nature.
No matter which season you enjoy (or detest) the most, each season plays a necessary role in renewal of the earth.
This is the same for us. While some changes get us feeling down, they often lead to others that leave us feeling renewed and full of life again.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu
Now here I sit, the changes of spring making an early appearance with flowers cautiously poking out of the ground, testing the air and revelling in the sunshine.
These are good changes.
Being able to comfortably write again at my laptop, renewing my hunger to express myself through words.
These are good changes.
Making decisions for our family, about our future.
These are good changes.
In life, in nature in everyday living, we go through seasons of change.
One of my many cherished memories as a child was watching the Disney version of the story “Pinnochio”, actually any Disney movie, really. “Pinnochio” was like many Disney movies, that were not only enjoyable but also taught us many life lessons. No one can forget the iconic scene where Pinnochio’s nose grew every time he told a lie to the blue fairy, so much so that his nose sprouted leaves!
But the part that stuck with me most from that movie, isn’t that Pinnochio became a real boy or anything like that, but the part when Jiminy Cricket tells Pinnochio about wishing up n a star.
“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you”
Lyrics from “When You Wish Upon a Star” copyright Bourne Co. music Publishers
As a young child I remember looking up at the night sky and wishing upon the first star I saw. Sometimes they were outrageous wishes that a child makes, like wishing for a pony or an endless supply of chocolate, but as I got older the wishes began to change and sometimes it was a wish for help and guidance or perhaps to do well in exams or something of the sort.
As a child, there was something magical about wishing upon a star, the belief that if our heart truly desired what we were wishing for, that it would come true. When I didn’t get the pony or the endless supply of chocolate, I was not disheartened, I didn’t feel let down, nor did it lessen my belief in the power of wishing upon a star. Not at all, I told myself that the reason why my often outrageous wishes didn’t come true was due to the fact that it was not truly my heart’s desire, my mind wanted those things, but my heart did not.
This became a turning point in the types of things that I wished for. I moved away from the material things and started to think what it was that my heart truly desired and you know what, more often than not, those wishes actually came true. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence and the magic of wishing upon a star isn’t real, perhaps it’s just a way of focusing on what our heart truly desires and taking the steps towards those things.
Maybe the magic is real, maybe it’s not.
I however, choose to believe in the magic, even if it’s just a way of holding onto a part of my childhood.
I believe in magic.
I believe that when we wish upon a star, anything our hearts desire will come to us.
Even now, I still wish upon a star, my wishes now mostly consist of the health and happiness of my family. Still though, every time I look up at the night sky, the first star I see calls forth these words,
Whether they be spoken, written or expressed in song, words evoke a range of emotions.
Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, excitement, wanderlust, calmness, a sense of peace or even agitation and restlessness.
So many emotions, with just a few words.
But they need to be the right words, in order to evoke the desired emotion.
Words can call forth memories, reminding us of better times, or perhaps of sadness.
Yet the power of words is sometimes lost.
Lost in translation perhaps or beyond the understanding of the audience.
You see, in order for the words to be powerful enough to evoke the range of emotions, they first must be understood. If the words are too complex for the reader (or listener) then the power of them is lost. If the words are not in the language of the reader, then again, their power is lost.
Music however, is different. Music is a language all of its own, instinctively understood by all, no matter their age or language(s) spoken.
The notes, the key, the instruments used and so on, are the words, understood by those who can hear it.
Even the very young can understand and interpret the language of music. Some are more fluent in this language than others, for some this language comes naturally, for others it is something that is developed over time.
Even an infant can interpret and respond to the language of music, through the expression of emotion.
Don’t believe me?
Take this for example….
My youngest, who is now four, has always been particularly fluent in the language of music. Even as an infant baby he would cry when certain songs were played and express happiness or content when others were played. He would sob (not scream and cry, but sob) uncontrollably if someone was to sing to him “rock-a-bye baby”. He was the one-year old who would be listening to a Disney CD and would also sit sobbing quietly, tears streaking down his cheeks when the song “Baby mine” from Dumbo would play. As he got older he became more able to express the feelings evoked through music by saying Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” made him sad, but also like he wanted to cuddle and sleep.
Have you ever heard a piece of music that evoked such strong emotions that you just couldn’t handle it? A piece that hit you “right in the feels?”
For my youngest and I, that song is “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins.
There’s something about that song, it’s a combination of the music and the words, combined with the imagery of the old bird woman that gets me every time, no matter how many times I hear it. I can’t even sing along without getting choked up, which can be a little annoying when it is one of my favourite songs.
The beauty, the pain.
“Though her words are simple and few,
listen, listen, she’s calling to you”
“This song makes me cry,” he said from the backseat as we listened to the soundtrack in the car. All I could do was nod in agreement, because for some reason, it has the exact same effect on me., no matter how many times I hear it.
I’m also that person who chokes back tears during musicals, especially at the theatre. Sometimes they’re happy tears, sometimes not, but always they are an expression of thanks. Thanks that I can experience and interpret the language of music and words.
Words are powerful tools for evoking emotions.
Music with the notes, key and instruments are just as powerful, perhaps even more so, as they can be understood by many.
So when music and words are combined, either for an audience or perhaps to bring out the emotion in the words as you write, music is a great and powerful tool.
Feed the birds.
Feed your creativity.
Use music to find the right words.
Because music and the right words have a power that we can’t always explain.
Recently I’ve been battling with the dark cloud that is self-doubt and what a dark cloud that is.
You see, a couple of months ago I spotted a writing competition for emerging novelists. To enter you needed to have at least started a manuscript with the intention of completing it, provide the first three chapters, plus an outline of the remaining chapters and a brief statement as to how the prize (of $10,000 and a year mentorship from a top publishing house) would help launch your writing career.
How awesome, I thought. Even if I didn’t win, it would be an amazing experience, I thought to myself. Entries didn’t close until July, so I had plenty of time to prepare my entry.
But then the clouds began to gather and rather than face my fears and tackle the increasing self-doubt, I did what I do best… I procrastinated and then procrastinated some more.
And now here I sit, wondering whether or not I’ve blown my chance at one of the biggest opportunities a writer can come across.
One of my children’s favourite movies of late is “Sing”. I also quite like the movie myself and don’t exactly object to listening to the soundtrack in the car, especially one song in particular sung by the angsty teen punk rock porcupine voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The song titled, “Set It All Free” tells the story of Johansson’s character not letting her ex keep her down or tell her she doesn’t have what it takes to be a star.
Stickin’ to the plan that says I can
Do anything at all
I can do anything at all
Whilst I’m definitely not some angsty teen and I don’t have some ass of an ex holding me back, the moral of the song I think is that we shouldn’t let anyone tell us that we can’t do it, that we can’t achieve our dreams, and that “anyone” also includes ourselves.
In striving to meet our goals and dreams, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, holding ourselves back. Perhaps out of fear, fear of rejection? Fear of accomplishing our dreams and moving on to the inevitable “now what”? Fear of the unknown? Often it happens unconsciously, we don’t realise that it’s not the world and those in it that is holding us back, but ourselves. Whether it be through procrastination or perhaps finding excuses not to take that next step, we are the ones telling ourselves that we can’t do it, that we are not worthy and holding ourselves back.
What we need to do though, is set it all free. Let go of our fears and stop holding ourselves back.
Cos I’m here and I’m never letting go
I can finally see, it’s not just a dream
When you set it all free, all free, all free
You set it all free
I can do it, I am worth it, my dreams are not just dreams but goals. I need to let go of my self-doubt, set it all free and realise that it doesn’t matter whether I succeed on my first go, the point is to keep trying, to keep at it, because if I do that, then there’s really no such thing as failure.
Yes it has been a while, I know I’ve been missing for quite some time. I hope we can move past this. I have so much I want to share with you, but first I need to know if you can ever forgive me for staying away for so long. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my prolonged absence, I could give you a hundred excuses as to why (and they would be mostly true) but instead I’m just going to go with a straight apology and hope that we can move on.
So, I’m sorry. Sorry I’ve missed around six weeks of blog posts. Sorry that I’ve been absent from facebook and twitter (I’ll get around to following back I promise) and I’m sorry that some of my more recent posts have been below par, except this one, it was pretty good.
Now, let’s move on. The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “When other girls first saw Beauty and the Beast, they wanted the prince, but I wanted the library.” This couldn’t be more true, besides the amazing songs in the original and in the new Beaty and the Beast, the one thing that always stuck in my mind was the size and beauty of that amazing library. I guess it was a bonus that the prince and the library ended up being a package deal though.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love of books. The words, the smell, the covers and different styles, the ability to transport you to any place in any time. Books are truly amazing and libraries present us with endless possibilities to escape, to learn, to dream. As a child in primary school, my favourite time of the week was when our class went for our library lesson. Unfortunately in schools these days, library lessons with the teacher-librarian are virtually non-existent. Yet, it was a totally different story when I was in primary school, actually even when I first started teaching, it was different as well. These days the students usually go to the library once a week to borrow a book or two.
However, when I was in primary school and in my early teaching career, students went to the library once a week for an actual library lesson with the teacher-librarian, while the classroom teacher had some release and planning time. The library lesson consisted of some modelled or shared reading, reminders of how to respectfully use the library, including how to replace to books on the shelves in the correct section with the spine facing outwards, how to select a book that might interest us by reading the blurb etc. and when we were older we were taught how to utilise the library for research purposes.
Unfortunately, in today’s modern technological age, the appreciation of libraries and teacher-librarians in schools and the community is quickly diminishing. Many councils have chosen to close their local libraries all around the world and no matter how disappointing it might be, there is little that can be done. For those who wanted the library rather than the prince though, the home library is the solution. Whilst the average book lover will never enjoy the grandness (in size, furnishing or number of books) of the library in Beauty and the Beast, nor be able to match the vast catalogue of a council library, the words, the smells, the escape, the ability the transport you can all be replicated in a home library, something I am working on in my own house.
I have quite an extensive book collection, which is constantly growing, much to my husband’s dismay. To transform this book collection into an inviting, comforting space to escape is the next step, however, I might be needing a bigger house! I have the shelves, I have the desk, yet it seems that everything gets shoved into this room on its way to being packed away as well. I’ll get there in the end though.
So from the girl who wanted the library, get the library, build the library, be the library… Well perhaps not be the library, but find your little space to escape, because we all need to escape every now and then, even if it’s just for a little while.
This week I am still at a loss as I wait for my computer to be fixed. You see my husband is a total computer nerd, but in an, “I also like body building” kind of way. So he looks good while fixing computers and playing PC games 😉
So the good news is, he can totally fix my laptop AND save my data, but the down side is him being able to find time to fix it for me. So until then, I’m limited to using the WordPress app on my phone.
I guess this has sort of been a blessing in disguise, as I found some short stories I wrote on the MS Office app on my phone.
After a little editing (on a much smaller screen, mind you), I’m ready to share one of these short stories with you all. This story was inspired by actual events, but of course, is still a work of fiction.
I pulled up next to the obnoxiously orange ford ute at the traffic lights and waved excitedly at the male occupant.
He waved back, looking a little confused, but as I began to wind down my window, he followed suit.
“Oh my gosh! Fancy seeing you here! Small world hey?! It’s so nice to see you again so soon.” I said with over-the-top excitement in my voice, my hands flapping around excitedly.
“Um yea… Fancy that hey..” He replied with uncertainty.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” I said in mock shock.
“No, I’m sorry I don’t.” He said with an apologetic shrug.
“Well I suppose I can forgive you.” I said with a silly girly giggle. “After all we only met for a moment, but I certainly remember you.” I said with a wink.
He looked at me questioningly, so I continued to enlighten him about our previous chance meeting.
“You’re the asshole that aggressively overtook me for doing the speed limit, barely missing the front of my car.” I said, still with a ridiculously sweet smile on my face. “And now we meet again, just seconds later at the next set of lights! Definitely a small world!”
I loved it when the dawn of realization formed on his face, as he suddenly figured out what was going on.
“Oh, green light!” I said as I waved and quickly pulled away from the intersection. I couldn’t help but laugh at leaving him behind looking utterly stupefied and embarrassed as I watched him struggle with the car’s gears in my rear view mirror.
Moral of the story: Driving like an asshole doesn’t get you very far, on the road or in life.
I’ve been quite absent the last few weeks due to some issues with technology and also because I couldn’t find anything I desperately wanted to write about so badly that I would sacrifice my thumbs and possibly even my vision in order to write a post using the WordPress app on my phone.
This past weekend we were all coming down from the excitement (and sleep deprivation) of celebrating my cousin’s wedding, when we heard that my brother lost a mate to the grips of depression.
This is not the first person my brother has lost and I’m not going to name names, out of respect for the man’s family and friends who are grieving. However, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge that it’s ok not to be ok.
The world needs to be reminded that even the roughest most “blokey of blokes” needs to know that it’s ok to talk, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help, comfort or to admit you’re not ok. No, not a sign of weakness at all. Sometimes some of us forget this though and even the “blokey bloke” himself needs to be reminded that it’s not weak to speak.
It’s not enough for us to say these things though, it’s not enough for us to say it’s ok not to be ok, we also need to act on it. Observe those around us, ask others how they are doing and really mean it. Asking, “how are you” should not just be a throwaway line, but a true question about a person’s wellbeing.
I’m not saying that we can save the world, but maybe, just maybe we can help to pull someone that little bit back away from the edge.
To all those we’ve lost, who saw no other way out of the darkness, we will always remember you. In your memory we will work together as a family, as friends and as a community, to bring mental illness out of the shadows and let everyone know that truly, it is ok not to be ok.
Everyday life has been getting in the way of my writing lately and it has been a while since I last posted, but I’m here now and hope to give you a little insight into my thoughts and views when it comes to my own writing.
You might have noticed that quite often, my blog posts are not perfectly polished, they contains typos, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. There is a reason for this.
You see, my posts are meant to provide an insight into the inner workings of this writer’s mind. To give you all a glimpse of what I am thinking and feeling on the particular day/topic I am writing on. I want these posts to be real and sometimes quite raw in emotion and opinion, and I believe this is something which can be lost in the editing process. There is such a thing, in my opinion, as too much editing, especially when it comes to an opinion piece. Through the editing process we can start to censor ourselves as we strive towards the point of polished perfection.
Now, some of you might think that there’s no excuse for poor grammar or silly typos in a published piece of writing, and yes, that might be true. However this is the choice I have made in order to keep these posts as real as possible. I do, of course, read through my posts before hitting the ‘publish’ button, but I do not overly-edit them and a simple read-through is not going to catch all of those nasty little typos.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t edit my manuscript or that I fear that editing it will diminish the realness of the characters I have created, definitely not. Writing blog posts and writing a novel are two completely different things. When blogging I am trying to capture the sometimes chaotic and confused reality of a writer, who still has a day job and supports a family. The feelings, actions, thoughts etc. are already there and I am trying to provide my audience with a snapshot of my reality. However, when writing a novel, the feelings, actions and thoughts do not preexist. I, as the writer, am creating these and through a careful editing process, the world of these characters is further enhanced not diminished.
So there you have it.
My aim is that my blog posts are real and raw, with the occasional (OK, sometimes more than occasional) typo and error, but this is my preference, rather than having a perfectly polished, but void of “realness” post.
My manuscripts, on the other hand, will be getting a completely different treatment though.
So write, read, edit, whatever, but do it your way.