Well, what a week it has been, but not really in a good way. It’s been a bit of a trying week, but now that it seems to be over (hopefully), it’s made me appreciate things just that bit more.
I definitely appreciate the happy moments with my family that little bit more, the times that make you laugh and smile. I’m thankful for that my kids are still little enough to want to play and spend time with their mum before it’s considered uncool.
I’m also thankful, more than ever, that I chose to actually do something about the countless stories I have swirling in my mind. Being able to write down Thomas and Rose’s story, gives me great pleasure and I’m so glad I chose to seize the day and just write, even though my everyday life is more than a little hectic.
Perhaps I should have waited for a better time, perhaps I should have waited until I had more time to devote to my writing. Perhaps when my children were older, perhaps when I was retired from my day job and it wasn’t going to take me a year to complete a first draft. The truth is though, there is no perfect time, you just have to go with it and steal as many minutes to write as you can.
If you wait too long for the perfect moment, the perfect moment will pass you by.
Take every minute you can and cherish it, be thankful for that moment where you can create and explore different world, different characters, different times.
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”
― Steve Maraboli
So here’s what I think: don’t hold the stories within you, waiting for the perfect day, the perfect moment when you think you have all the time in the world to write. Do something about it now, because all the time in the world might not be as long as you thought. If you steal as many minutes as you can, you’ll get there and you will cherish each and every minute you have to write just that little bit more.
So no excuses, no regrets, no waiting for the perfect moment. Seize the day and embrace the writer within!
This week I’ve been procrastinating, but not from writing Lonely Hearts, I totally nailed that this month! Instead, it’s been uni work I’m procrastinating from. The problem is though, it was my choice to return to university and pursue a postgraduate degree in Education.
At the time I chose to pursue a post-grad degree, I was trying to find a direction for myself. When I decided to apply for further study, I was someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s teacher, but I wasn’t sure who I was for me, if that makes sense. So in 2012 I began studying part-time and online to be a Master (of Education)- see what I did there? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I must admit that I’m a little over it now. However, now that I’ve started, I’m not quitting because I want the pretty certificate, darn it! Plus, I only have two units to go.
So I’m a mother of three young children, who works part-time, studies part-time and writes and explore my creative side whenever I can find a spare moment. Although in reality, I don’t really a spare moment as I’m sure there are many things I am supposed to be doing, like right now I should be writing an assignment that’s due tomorrow.
One of my twitter followers, @ZaraJacobs who also happens to be a writer, commented that they don’t know how I find the time to write, study and everything else that is my life. The truth is, I have no idea how I actually get time for any writing. I don’t have Hermione’s time turner unfortunately, but somehow I find time to write, study, mother and everything else.
Furthermore, I finally feel as though I am becoming more and more myself. I’m no longer pretending, no longer being someone I’m not, in order to conform to some societal norm.
I am who I am
I am a mother, wife, teacher and I am a WRITER!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde
That’s right! I AM A WRITER and I don’t care who knows it!
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Bernard M. Baruch
Writing and creating is a big part of who I am and since embracing the writer within, I am getting to know the real me and feeling more like myself. I know I still have a long way to go on this journey, but I intend to cherish every moment of it and I look forward to each and every experience along the way.
Unfortunately though, I need to now finish something that I started and I have a five minute critical reflection of the nature of and approach to wellbeing in a school I need to write and record and upload by 5pm tomorrow. So, nothing like a little pressure and time constraint in order to get things done.
Just remember, don’t be afraid to be true to yourself.
What another amazing week of writing I’ve had. I’ve still been procrastinating from my Uni work of course and finding out I have a three day extension is not going to help the matter, but I’m so excited with the progress I have made with Lonely Hearts.I haven’t written anywhere near as much as I did at the beginning of the month, but the progress I’ve made has still left me feeling pretty awesome.
This week’s post is going to be a little bit of a self-reflection, I’m not looking to the past or pondering the what-ifs, but rather reflecting on the now and what the future has in store for me.
I’m up to a point in Lonely Heart’s where Rose has bared all (emotionally not physically, it’s not that type of story sorry!) She’s revealed the source of the darkness that plagues her, the darkness that haunts her dreams and fuels her anxiety. Rose has just been through such a traumatic experience, that brings the darkness of her past with such clarity, that she realising that the two horrible experiences are connected in some way.
Rose feels protected in Thomas’ presence and draws from his strength in order to tell of her experiences, together they shine the light into the darkness that haunts her. Baring herself in such a way, should have been an incredibly difficult thing to do, she was leaving herself open and vulnerable, reliving her painful past, but with Thomas by her side, even though it was still difficult and painful, it was also empowering as if it was in that moment that she began to free herself, to rid herself of the darkness.
Rose has come to realise however, that even though Thomas gives her the strength to face the darkness and bare her soul, it is not so easy for Thomas, his darkness is stronger and runs much deeper than her own. She hopes that with time, she can give Thomas the same strength he gives to her and together they can face his demons.
Writing about Rose baring all, got me thinking about a few things. Through writing, even in fiction, the writer bares their soul for all to see. This is one of the most frightening things about writing, when you share it with others you bare yourself to them, leaving yourself open and vulnerable. On the other hand, it is also one of the most exciting things about writing.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
Through our words and our characters, we reveal pieces of ourselves for the world to see. Perhaps that is why I kept my writing hidden for so long, because I was scared. Now though, I look to the future to the moment when I am ready to unveil Thomas and Rose’s story, in all its entirety, to share their story and also to share a piece of myself. The thought of baring all still frightens me, but I now refuse to let the fear consume me. Just as Rose draws strength from Thomas allowing her to face her painful past and bare all, I too am able to draw strength from others. I draw strength from those around me, those who support and encourage me and I draw strength from joy I experience through the characters I create and the worlds I make.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
– Stephen King
So, go forth my lovelies and no longer have fear. For the freedom that accompanies being true to oneself far outweighs the terror of baring all.
I had just bared my soul to Thomas, shown him the darkness of my past and something which I thought would be the most difficult thing to do. Yet in that moment, with Thomas by my side, it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. Together, we shone the light into the darkness, exposing the demons in an attempt to banish them once and for all.
In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, let me just tell you all what an absolutely amazing week it has been! Firstly I have completely smashed this months word-count goal and it is only the beginning of the month. I’m sure my writing will need some serious editing later, but I am focusing on getting Thomas and Rose’s story written down, the editing and fine tuning can come later.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway
My social media reach has also increased dramatically this week, I am now sitting at over 800 followers on Twitter, 93 likes on Facebook and 87 followers on this here blog! I know it sounds like I’m bragging a little (and perhaps I am) but it truly is an amazing world we live in. I know I’ve said it before but it’s amazing to be able to connect with so many wonderful people including fellow writers, published authors and reading enthusiasts.
Julieann Dove is one particular person I have had the pleasure of connecting with very recently. After coming across each other on Twitter, we have also been busy checking out each other’s blogs (you can check out Julieann’s blog here). Julieann is a contemporary romance author and her comment on last week’s post has given me that little extra push I needed to keep charging ahead and to stop with the wondering and the what-ifs, so thank you so much for that Julieann! It’s time to stop looking back and keep looking towards the future, to reach for the stars and beyond!
Of course, I have also been procrastinating this week, but it’s not what you think I swear! I haven’t deviated from The Plan, instead I have been using my writing in order to procrastinate from uni work. Week four of semester is about to begin and I haven’t even started a single reading, so hopefully my lecturer in charge doesn’t come across my little blog! I promise though, it’s only because I need to get to the store and buy some ink for my printer so I can print of the course content, which I am planning to do today. After I write this blog post and do a few other things of course.
Seeing as though I have already obliterated this month’s word-count goal, I’ve rewarded myself by writing down a short story that has been swirling around in my head over and over for the last few weeks. The first time my mind dreamt up this short story, it was so vivid that I could feel every emotion, every moment of angst and even the intense pain the main character felt. Over the weeks the vividness of this story has not faded so I thought it was one that I definitely needed to write down. I would like to share it with you all now in its entirety as a thank you for your support.
Smooth Stupid Criminal
It was a hot summer’s afternoon and Annie was grateful for the air-conditioning in her car as she drove down The Northern Road, her three children asleep in the back, exhausted from the heat outdoors.
As she stopped at the traffic lights, she leaned forward to adjust the position of the air-conditioning vent in an attempt for rid herself of the horrible sweat patches in the armpits of her shirt. Now that she thought of it, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to take the kids out for a play at the Regatta Centre on such a warm day, but at least they had fun and were now giving her a few moments of peace and quiet, even if was just on the ride home.
As the light turned green, she took her foot off of the brake and was about to press the accelerator when the passenger door opened and a thin man jumped into her car. Trying to hide her rising panic she said, “Ummm, can I help you?”
The man looked at her, his features jaunt and withdrawn, dark circles under his eyes. Obviously a junkie, she thought to herself, “Just drive bitch!” was his reply.
Trying to remain calm, Annie continued to drive down The Northern Road in the direction the man had pointed. The man fidgeted as she drove, his leg jigging up and down and he was constantly sniffing and rubbing his nose with the back of his index finger. He seemed to be on edge and Annie decided that she needed to keep this man as calm as possible, she would take him where he needed to go and then hopefully he would leave them alone. The last thing she wanted was for him to become angry or violent and wake her sleeping children. This was not a situation she wished them to witness and so keeping her voice low and trying to steady the thumping of her heart she asked, “Are you going somewhere in particular?”
The man lifted his shaking hands to his face and rubbed his forehead as if he was trying to remember where he was heading, “Yes, Smith, Smith Street, ummm, number twenty-seven.”
Annie let out the breath she hadn’t realised she was holding, “Ok, Smith Street, right, I know where that is.” She could do this, she told herself and Smith Street wasn’t far, just a few blocks further down The Northern Road on the left. She would take him there, he would get out of the car and that would be it and her young children would be none the wiser.
As she stopped at a red light the man become more anxious his leg jigging a little faster, “Can’t you go any bloody quicker?”
“Well I can’t really go through a red light, you don’t want to get in an accident or draw attention to yourself.” She saw his rising frustration and tried her best to settle him down, “Look we’ll be there really soon, Smith Street is just a couple of blocks further and then you can be on your way right?”
It didn’t work, he became more frustrated, more anxious, “You, you’re talking too much, you talk too much, shut up, SHUT UP!” he began to yell at her as he shook his head with his hands placed on either side, as if he wasn’t just telling Annie to shut up.
Annie quickly glanced into the rear view mirror, her oldest child beginning to stir, but thankfully falling back to sleep.
“Look, I will take you to where you need to go but please, keep your voice down; I don’t want you to frighten my children.” She pleaded with him hoping that despite his current condition, he would have some sort of conscience and would spare her children from this ordeal.
How wrong she was, seemingly from nowhere the man drew out what seemed to be a steak knife. Annie tried to remain calm and concentrate on driving, forcing down her rising panic, “Put that away, there’s no need for that we’re nearly there now.”
The man held the knife up and shook his head again as if talking to someone else, “No, no can’t, just shut up, stop talking, you talk too MUCH!” Suddenly he thrust the knife downwards, driving it into Annie’s left thigh. The searing pain almost overwhelmed her as she stifled her scream and tried to keep the car safely on the road.
Blinking her eyes rapidly, she tried her best to focus on the road ahead and make the left turn into Smith Street. The man began hitting himself on the head, “Sorry, so sorry, shouldn’t do that, just talk too much, you, you’re quiet now.” With tears running down her face she pulled the car over at the address he had given her and through gritted teeth she spoke through the blinding pain, “We’re here. You can get out, now.”
The man’s leg stopped jigging for a moment as he looked at the window and confirmed that they were indeed at the address he had given her, getting out of the car he mumbled, “Thanks for the lift.”
Laughing and obviously delirious with pain Annie replied sarcastically, “Yea, right, anytime.”
As she watched the man run into the house, she glanced in the rear view mirror, her children thankfully still asleep and oblivious to the situation. Taking a deep breath and trying to ignore the excruciating pain in her thigh, Annie began to think of what the hell she was going to do now. She needed an ambulance, that was for sure, but she didn’t want to wait out the front of the house the man had just gone into. As once the dispatch officer would hear that it was a stab wound they would surely send the police as well and who knows who or what was in that house. Whoever lived there, she didn’t think they would appreciate the arrival of police at their property, the people inside might be armed and she didn’t want her or her children to be nearby when that happened. She would definitely be giving the address to the police, but as soon as her and her children were well away.
Closing her eyes for just a minute, Annie gathered all the strength she had left and decided on a plan. Her brother James worked just a couple of streets away at a mechanic’s workshop in Batt Street, he would be able to help and also look after the children. She would drive there, getting away from that house and on the way ring for an ambulance asking them to meet her at her brother’s workshop.
Looking down at the knife still sticking out of her thigh, she resolved to leave it where it was until the ambulance arrived, not only would it be painful to remove, but it also seemed to be stopping her from bleeding excessively. Plus, isn’t that what they said on TV and in movies, to leave it in until help arrived?
Relieved to finally have a solid plan, Annie put the car into gear and pulled away from the kerb, heading in the direction of James’ workshop. Using her car’s Bluetooth, she dialled triple zero, turning down the volume so it was just loud enough for her to hear and not wake her still sleeping children, “Police, fire or Ambulance, what is you location?” The emergency dispatcher’s voice ringing through the speakers made Annie for a small sense of relief that her plan was working. She just needed to remain conscious and calm, despite the pain in her left thigh, that was actually beginning to dull, no doubt from the adrenaline.
“Ambulance, Penrith, New South Wales.” She wasn’t sure if that was the answer she was supposed the give when the dispatcher asked for her location, but she guessed it would do.
“Thank you, putting you through now, please hold the line.”
As Annie waited on the line, she felt an overwhelming sense of relief as she pulled onto Batt Street and could see James’ workshop just up ahead.
“Ambulance, what is your emergency?”
Taking a deep breath as she pulled into the small industrial unit complex, where her brother’s workshop was located, she told the dispatcher her name and explained exactly what her emergency was.
Honking the car horn to get her brother’s attention, he came strolling out of the workshop, with a puzzled expression on his face as the dispatcher asked, “Do you know your exact location Annie?” She wasn’t entirely sure of the exact address of the workshop so she took the phone off Bluetooth and handed it to James as he opened the car door and saw the knife sticking out of her thigh, a look of horror crossing his face.
“Ambulance, tell them the address.” She managed to bite out the words, the pain returning to her leg with a vengeance. Nodding he grabbed the phone, telling them the address of the workshop.
“What the hell happened?” James asked, returning his attention to Annie, who currently had a steak knife hanging out of her thigh.
With beads of sweat running down her forehead, Annie gave her brother the short version of what just happened, “Junkie jumped in the car, demanding a lift to Smith Street. He got a bit nutty on the way and decided to stick a steak knife in my leg.”
James looked at his sleeping niece and nephews in the back, thankful that they had not witnessed the scary situation and wanting to keep it that way if he could, “Right well, ambulance should be here any minute and I guess they’ll be sending the cops too and you can give them the address you took that dirt-bag to.” He took a deep breath, taking in the sight of the knife again and the blood seeping out around the wound. He never did like the sight of blood, it always made him feel a bit queasy, but he was trying to keep it together for the sake of his sister and the kids.
“Does it hurt much?”
What a stupid bloody question, Annie thought, but she didn’t say that to him, thankful that he was here and the children and her were safe, “I have a steak knife sticking out of my leg, what do you think?”
James smiled, “Yea, right I know stupid bloody question, sorry sis. Ok what do you need me to do?”
As the ambulance finally arrived, Annie left James with instructions to call their mum to come and look after the kids and also to have someone pick up her husband from work and let him know what had happened.
The police arrived just as the ambulance officers were helping Annie out of the car, after giving her a hefty dose of pain relief and stabilising the knife that was still embedded into her thigh. After deciding it was safer for doctors to remove it once they were at the hospital.
Annie spoke briefly to the police, explaining what had happened and giving them address she had taken the man to.
One of the police officers spoke to the ambulance officers, “Guys do us a favour, tell them to be careful when they pull that knife out, it’ll hopefully have this guy’s fingerprints all over it and it’ll make our job a lot easier if we’re able to match them up.”
The ambulance officers looked the police officer with raised eyebrows, of course they’d be careful, they weren’t complete idiots, but instead of pointing that out they just nodded, ‘Sure, no worries mate, I’ll let them know.”
Safely in the back of ambulance, Annie began to drift into a pain relief induced haze, feeling all warm and fuzzy and the pain in her thigh just a cloudy memory.
Annie woke with a start, taking in her surroundings. As she focused on the sights, sounds and smells around her. She realised she was in hospital and began to remember what had happened. As she tried to sit up, an excruciating pain shot through her leg and she looked down to see it was covered in a bandage from the top of her thigh to below her knee.
“It’s ok, I’m here. You’re ok.” The familiar voice of her husband was a sound she welcomed as she turned to look in the direction she heard his voice. He stood tall next to her as he came closer and held her hand. Feeling comforted by his presence, she lay her head back down on the pillow.
“How long have I been out?” She asked, looking out the small window behind him and noticing it was pitch black outside.
“About twelve hours or so, the doctors had to operate on your leg, apparently the knife chipped the bone or something and they had to operate to fix it.”
With the haze lifting she began to recall more details, “The kids, are they ok?”
Kissing her on the forehead, she noticed her husband looked exhausted, but then thought she probably didn’t look so hot herself right now. “The kids are fine, they’re at your mum and dad’s place. They think they’re having a sleepover, I thought we’ll let them think that for now and then we can figure out how to explain all this.”
Annie nodded, “Yea, good idea, thank goodness they slept through it all. Did they get the guy? The police I mean, did they catch him?”
Her husband smiled, “Well that’s a bit of a funny story actually. The police stopped by while you were in surgery and filled me in. It seems he wasn’t the smoothest of criminals actually. They went straight to the address you gave them after speaking to you. Turns out you dropped him off at his dealer’s house and the idiot was still there. The dealer had no idea the guy had gotten a lift and he wasn’t too impressed when the police swarmed his property, as you can imagine.” Annie nodded, listening to her husband retell the story the police had told him.
“Yea, well turns out the police have been watching this property for months, knowing that something was going on, but they didn’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant. What happened to you though, gave them more than enough of an excuse to enter the property.”
“Glad I could help.” Annie said, her sarcasm returning in full force.
“My Annie, always happy to help and always full of sarcasm.” He quipped, smiling at her.
“Well, anyway, long story short, the guy and his dealer have both been arrested and have been refused bail. The finger prints on the knife gave them enough hard evidence of what happened and turns out there was several outstanding warrants on both the guy and the dealer, so they’re pretty much screwed. The police will be by to get a statement off of you when you’re feeling up to it, but really it’s just a formality, they already have more than enough evidence to put them both in goal for a fair while.”
“Yea, sure of course, that’s good.” Annie spoke slowly, still exhausted by everything that had happened.
He looked at his wife, his heart filled with love and pride at her strength and ability to protect their children. He was thankful that they were all safe and the person responsible was caught and would pay for his actions.
“I guess he really wasn’t a smooth criminal was he?” Annie said sleepily, drifting off the sleep.
This week has been a bit of a crazy one. It’s probably because I’m now older and (hopefully) wiser, but the world is a very different place to what I thought it was when I finished high school. Heck, it’s even different to what I thought when I finished university almost ten years ago.
In my final years of high school, I had dreams of becoming an Early Childhood teacher and opening my own preschool one day, something of which I’m glad never eventuated. Instead I ended up becoming a primary school teacher, but even though I do enjoy teaching I am beginning to wonder what if I had taken a different path. What if I had gone down the writing path sooner? Where would I be now?
I know it is rare for writers to be able to make a sustainable living off of their work, but it’s not impossible. It makes me wonder that if I had chosen that path ten years ago, would things be different?
I’m not regretting my past choices, this is not what I am saying. I still enjoy being a teacher, most of the time anyway. I’m just in a ‘what if’ mood and wonder how my life would be different if I had chosen to follow a different path.
On another topic, I’ve had a pretty successful month in writing my first draft of Lonely Hearts and I was able to reach this month’s self-imposed word count goal! Not sure how the next month will go though, because uni semester has now started back. I only have two units left to complete to finish my masters degree! I’m sure I’ll end up using my writing to procrastinate from my assignments though, so perhaps I will end up with another successful month of writing.
Here’s a little something I’ve been working on while I’ve been having little breaks from writing Lonely Hearts.