#548 Returning to Island time

I wrote a post very early this year about a photo I took while on holiday with Hubbie at Phillip Island, many many many years ago.

Not only did this photo stay with me due to it being taken at a highly creative and deeply personal awakening time for me, but its strong and subtle message of taking it easy while being on an island, sang an especially sweet song. It spoke of not just relaxing into the moment, but allowing all worries and stresses to melt away as you succumbed to the slow-down pace of a more mindful part of the world.

Well today after about 5 years, we were back at Phillip Island.

Then it had been a still and sunny, though cloudy January day.

Today it had been a grey, incessantly rainy, and hair-flailing windy August day.

Then there had been an abundance of tourists everywhere lapping up the scenery.

Today there had been few overseas people about, the streets mostly empty and quiet.

Then the shops and cafes had been bursting with livelihood and excitement amongst the best time of the year.

Today there were more shops blackened and closed, than were open.

Then I had taken my sweet time to take the best shot possible of my favourite pic, angling the camera just the right way to get the best light, while using the poster’s message to take it slow and take it in, in my task.

Today I had forgotten about the poster on the passing building until we were nearly past it, and I made Hubbie slow down in the middle of the round-a-bout while I made a mad scramble for my phone and took a hasty shot of it again.

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I didn’t even get ALL the words in.

And yet I didn’t care. The people, conditions and comparison didn’t matter to me: all that was important was that the poster, the message was still there. And as long as that poster was in that same spot, that meant it was always going to be island time.

And it forever will be, rain, hail or shine.

(The background tree photo on my SmikG blog is of the Phillip Island iconic trees on the main strip, an ode to the time when an especially important story and group of characters came to life in my head…

#416 A Writer’s Dream

Today, I officially became a writer.

This is because I lived out a dream. The dream, of all wannabe writers out there.

It all started a few days ago.

During the week my boss had asked me if I could do a 9-5er on my next shift, being Saturday. I usually work early shifts on Saturdays, for 2 reasons:

Getting to work early means I get out earlier, therefore having more time to spend with my family later, going out/shopping/dining/coffee-ing/

Also, leaving the house so early means that baby girl is still sleeping when I leave. She wakes up, MIL is there, they cuddle in bed, and all is good in the world. Hubbie and I both usually work Saturdays, and this routine is great. There are no tears, no tantrums, no pathetic displays, from ANYONE. And baby girl is unfazed too… because she doesn’t see us leave.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Likewise, don’t rock the boat. Having her still asleep when I leave the house is MORE than perfect.

Working a 9-5 shift however, posed a conundrum. Would I get up later? Undoubtedly so. This would cause possible issues. Would baby girl cry as she watched me leave? Would she have a hissy-fit, therefore making the rest of my MILs day exceptionally hard?

Simultaneously, as all this was circling around in my head, a work friend of mine was telling me about how she loved the bakery, Banjo’s. Being Tassie-born, the bakery there is prevalent, a part of most people’s upbringing, providing her with much nostalgia and sweet (and savoury) memories. However where her old grounds has a Banjo’s on every corner, in Victoria there are only two: one in regional Victoria, and the other in the town of the Morning, my new home turf.

I was telling her how I would bring in some special requests next time we worked together, saying I would drop by the bakery before my work shift to satisfy her Banjo cravings, when suddenly, an idea started to emerge.

It crept up and up, like a flower rising to face the sun’s beams, ’til suddenly, everything was perfect and the thought was standing there, alone, shining in all its immaculate glory.

This morning, I got up with Hubbie, and left the house almost as normal. By 6:30, I had parked minutes away from home.

Across from Banjo’s.

And inside I walked, with my…

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Laptop.

Ding!

It has been my long-held, deeply sought after ideal to write in a café. This dream of mine was so strong, it was there even before I realised I wanted to be a writer. I mean, the dream kind of came with the lifestyle choice. The vision of being cosied up in a café, writing to your heart’s content, eating food and sipping on coffee while the world rolled on by, and idling there like you had nowhere pressing to go, well that just looked so absolutely unreal and fantastically special for me.

I didn’t think I could get to do anything like that, ’til long long long after I had another kid, and then they were both in school. So like, 5 years or something.

But, it happened.

I sat in Banjo’s for over an hour. It wasn’t the kind of café I had dreamed of writing in, but today, for my first time, it would have to do. I ordered an egg and bacon toastie and while I waited for it (they were still opening so they couldn’t make my order straight away- I had been warned) I sipped on some oj, and I typed.

And typed. I wrote personal stuff. And I reviewed my story, squinting at the screen critically and re-reading several passages 15 times, ’til I realised, I NEEDED TO EAT.

Driving to work on an empty stomach is far different to writing on an empty stomach. The former is a default activity that requires little effort when it is a regular route. The latter requires the head.

Head requires food.

I didn’t have a coffee either (some coffee snob I am) since I can’t drink it on an empty stomach  – the beans just rattle my head. When my toastie did come, I scoffed the deliciousness down, and then all was good.

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I had still been productive though, and written about 45 minutes of the time. As I headed off I took some things with me: some snacks and some lunch for work… and also, a 6 pack of hot cross buns for my work colleague.

They’re currently sitting at her desk, waiting for her surprised face to turn up. She didn’t work today, but she sure as hell will get a lovely Happy Easter surprise tomorrow on her work shift.

And there you go, 3 events coincided brilliantly together this morning to create a happy harmony. I left the house early as preferred to keep baby girl in her happy routine; I got some memory-making buns for a work colleague; and I lived out my fantasy of writing in a café.

Gratitude done, by 7:50am. Is that a record? No, of course not 🙂

Now that I’ve broken the café-writing seal, I think a lot of re-occurrences will now follow… I may just volunteer for more 9-5 Saturday shifts… and I do have to get the café food arrival timing correct, and make sure I get coffee next time, and a proper window seat…

We can’t get these things right the first time… that would leave out the fun now, wouldn’t it? 😉

#316 Family beach time!

Finally! We hit Mount Martha beach today as a family.

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I am super grateful for that. We have been living in our Sea Change location for almost 3 months now, and given our unmatched schedules, opposite work routines, and lacking Melbourne summer, all 3 managed to reverse itself and collide today for a superb, super-hot, sandy-toed and salty sea, time.

The seal has now been broken. There will be more to come… not just these holidays, or this summer… but like my book, or my life, or our house, or even my parent blog SmikG… this is a work in progress.

You have to have fun, whilst on the journey of life 🙂

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#315 Holiday time

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I saw the above poster on holiday in Phillip Island many years ago, and photographed it, loving the sentiment and everything it encapsulated.

That short trip has been with me for many years now, and now that we’re somewhat closer to the area, I can’t wait to go back. It’s the place where my creative juices were flowing prior to the commencement of my first book, where I sat and read at the beach, pondered life, and started to create a small universe inside of my head.

Maybe that’s why the quote remains with me; or maybe it’s because it beautifully captures real life, while on holiday.

My personal definition of the quote is to live without routine, take things slowly, and live completely in the moment.

It’s what I said to Hubbie yesterday, but in our own personal terms: “Relax, you’re on holiday time now.”

If you’re not on an actual island, well holiday time will have to do. Same same. And today I’ve taken even more of a backseat as I sink deeper into holiday-mode.

All general stuff, nothing specific. Which makes it more of a holiday time, as everything has been inhabited by the holiday vibe, rather than one thing. You need to throw yourself into holiday time, you know, and really live it, not just apply it to one thing. I think I’ve done well today, by:

*Aimlessly shopping on whim

*Running through the cactus sprinkler with baby girl

*Coffee times two

*Ice cream, not because I wanted it, but because ‘why not?’

*Sipping on cider on the front porch as I stared at the water at 8pm, thinking I really should start preparing some food to eat

*Easy leftovers for lunch and dinner

*Putting my feet up after dinner, because, I never actually do it, AND

*Generally inhabiting a bit of a lazy tone.

Because I can. I’m on holidays, this is holiday time, and I will milk it for all its worth.

 

 

#95 2 years of Word

I’ve been practicing the written word for as long as I can remember… in grade 2, copying my favourite story in class, word for word…through my teenage years, capturing the angst and desperation of those turmoil-fuelled days, with words in my diary… and in recent years, trying to take in all the words of books written by authors from all around the world, while trying to capture my own unique take on the word, via the creation of fiction, more personal writing, and blogging.

I’ve been doing all of the above for well over 2 years; many, many more in fact. But it’s my anniversary with joining WordPress that has come to the number 2 today.

I do have another, unread blog still floating around in cyber-space that was my primary outlet of online expression prior to this one, but it’s only once I joined this online community that I said ‘Ok. No more anonymity (well kind of…) time to express myself and say “Hello World. This is SmikG, your writer speaking.”

Which is how my first WordPress blog, SmikG, came to fruition: my online writing presence as a writer, where I could write about the things that pleased or angered me. Personal pieces, book reviews, and a hefty portion of food reviews abound this blog that I’m still building up. I’ve got much more I’d love to do with it, but all in good time.

Then, in late Feb of this year, I decided to jump on board the expressive gratitude bandwagon and start a project that had been milling around my head for ages… which is how this blog, carcrashgratitude, came to be. I’m now so close to the 100 mark, and knowing that I’m reaching yet another blog/writing/gratitude milestone makes me happy and grateful.

There are days when I think, this is the easy bit. It’s still so early into my gratitude ongoing life challenge, that I worry there will come a day where there is just nothing absolutely new or fresh or novel to write about for that current day. Say on day 95, today, that isn’t such a problem. However when I’m up to day 1195, I might be struggling to find something I haven’t already explored in some capacity.

This thought keeps the wheels turning in my head. I don’t want to think of having to call it a day due to lack of content… but seriously? That day is inevitable, right?

And then glass half-full gal kicks in.

No!

The whole challenge of this, I remind myself, is to try and find a little piece of gratitude, no matter how small, no matter how specific, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may appear to others… as long as it is something I am appreciative for, then it totally matters.

It’s my challenge to be grateful for things, often the exact same thing, but in a million different ways, from a million different perspectives. (Take how many times I’ve already posted about coffee here, for example). That’s not just my challenge as a writer, to find ways of being creative even when I am lacking in any writing juices, but it’s my challenge as a person, to find things to be happy for, even on low days, dark days, sad days, and boring days. It’s a hard challenge, and I haven’t even hit the hard part yet. I’m a happy person, and my heart sinks thinking of the hard parts. But I have to try. Hope is the song of my heart, so I will have that to help me through.

So today, I’m grateful that I’ve reached the 2 year milestone with WordPress, yes… but I’m also grateful that I have had the material to keep me blogging for this period of time.

And you know what? As a writer, if I didn’t have the material to blog…

I’d bloody go and find it.

#92 Candle inspiration

Today I wrote. By candle light, I wrote, and created.

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Inspired by something I had read in Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I liked the idea suggested by her of using something such as a candle, as a common ritual when starting to write, and used time and time again can help you write and get into the right headspace.

Today, something was telling me to do ‘my book.’ Not catch up on my blog, my food reviews or book reviews, not even to write letters… but to work on my first work of love and dedication. I’ve been fearful that the idea had left me (an idea suggested by Gilbert in Big Magic, a book to be reviewed in the near future), but I think it was more that I was stuck in a chapter where I didn’t know where else to go. And today, by the light of my Mozi candle light, I started a new one.

Coconut and Pineapple. That’s the scent. It’s fresh, gentle and sweet, refreshing and calming yet uplifting too. I’ve used it when I’m either editing or writing ‘my book,’ so as to associate that smell solely with my most personal of writing projects. I use it when I need to get down to business. So far it’s worked.

So, what am I grateful for today? I’m grateful that the idea has not left me; I’m grateful that the writing flowed as it did this evening; I’m also grateful for my little writing space, in the corner of our kitchen looking out onto the greenery in our yard; but also I’m so grateful that a little candle helped me find my way.

Because even though I didn’t know where to go, when I started writing, the words came. And that’s the moment when I breathed a sigh of relief.

(#43) The A-Z April Challenge: F – “F%^k”

So, you get the picture.

I really hope I don’t offend anyone here. But I’m being true to myself, so I won’t lie… there is nothing more satisfying than a good “f%$k.”

Now hang on. Just wait. What I’m talking about very specifically here is the expression. Most people see me as a very sweet, friendly, quiet type of gal. A bit of an introvert, to those that don’t know me well. One that would never offend or upset anyone. A people pleaser. Smiling. Helpful. A go-to girl for whatever you need.

And then an email comes through at work to all the members of our department, from an incompetent bastard, and I’ll say loud enough for them to hear “Are you f*&king kidding me?”

Being the often-clumsy person I am, I’ll knock my foot into the bed (note: always) and swear under my breath “f#*king hell! Ouch!”

And I’ll be driving behind some snail in the right-hand lane doing 10 under the speed limit in peak hour, and I’ll motion to him like “can you f%^king drive any faster you arse?”

Yep, I think you get the picture.

I actually, swear more than hubbie. I try to curb it around baby girl, and she’s not repeating everything we say, just yet. But I just find, no matter what other expressive negative term for a ridiculous event or being I use, there is nothing more satisfying than when a flying “f$%k” comes throttling out of your mouth with such force that you immediately feel whatever frustration you feel unloading ten fold.

I know what some writers out there say. They say that you’re not that good of a writer if you submit to swear words rather than other words that are not profane. I struggle with this concept since I’m writing my YA series, and I want to try to capture the speech of the ‘youth,’ while not pissing off their parents at the same time.

If you swear in your writing, you are not trying hard enough. You are lazy. You’re not very good at all. In fact, you probably shouldn’t be writing.

I blatantly ignore these people. I figure it’s all about the balance. You don’t go nuts using foul language in every second sentence of the page; but only if you find it necessary, if you feel it really adds to the character or situation.

Like real life I suppose.

So whether in writing, or the real world, I am grateful for this word. For a word to hold such expression and make me feel so much better after the fact of uttering it…

Well Fuck.