I had a consult today with a man from this publishing house.
It was regarding my manuscript that I had submitted for a competition a couple of months ago. Though I wasn’t on the short list of people who won the prize of professional development for their manuscript, I had purchased the feedback component where I got some positive and constructive thoughts on my YA work.
Before the session, I had been really idle, patiently waiting, not feeling any urge to re-work it or do anything proactive like that.
I was just watching the box, so calmly.
But after the consult? I felt like this:
The box had exploded! My mind was buzzing! More more more my body told me, the words and thoughts of the story and what I could do just whirring around in my mind, to the point that I had to sit right down and do something about it.
Enter draft #546, or something like that. 😂
I love the passion and resurgence of emotion that has awoken in me, and I sure as hell need it as I go through the work of re-drafting, yet again.
It may seem tedious to some, but as Liz Gilbert would say, it’s my flavour of shit sandwich.
I was going through old family photos this evening as I searched for photos of my Dad over the years, for his official birthday today.
I don’t know about you, but I get sucked into a time warp when I start doing this. I go through one year, then another, and another… suddenly I’ll look up from what I’m doing and be like “woah. Where am I?”
Like I’ve just woken up or something.
Photos transport you. I love going through them, and I’m trying my damndest to keep all my photo albums documented and in chronological order, though I’m very behind… but still trying.
And in thinking about photos, I realised that their ability to transport you to different times, and with different people, make them invincible.
They defy time and space.
They live forever.
It immediately made me think of words. Words live forever too. Think of the words you read by a poet 200 years ago… they breathe new life when you quietly repeat them in your mind, the meaning travelling through centuries to make its way to you.
And music. I LOVE music. Think of all the songs you love, from singers and bands that have long now gone, the words and the melodies that you continue to belt out in your car, when you’re doing the dishes, or in the shower… their lyrics and the music continue to live on through you, when you press play on your device, or decide to go acapella, wherever.
Art. Art is what it is. I love art, creativity, in all its forms.
Part of the reason is, IT CAN NEVER DIE. People, words, songs, they will always be revived when they are recalled, read, played.
Of course, they are passionate expressions of creativity, and that is simply the most beautiful thing. Even photography, it captures a moment in time, something that nothing else can quite do, and helps you to recall sudden scents, sights, a dress you used to wear when you were young, or a place you used to visit, and no longer do…
Photos can do all of this, and it was this I was reminded of when passing through the many years of my Dad’s life tonight.
They remind us of all the times of our life, when our own memories fail us.
How many other wonderful things will be captured by photo, that we are yet to live?
Things aren’t perfect, and they can always get better. But I find myself at a point where I feel like despite everything, there is nothing else to do BUT keep going.
Keep yourself distracted with passions, personal pursuits. If some things aren’t working out, well then find what IS, and run after that at full-speed.
But also, don’t be hard on yourself. I found myself the other night nearly crying with despair to Hubbie.
“And I want to do this, and do this, and I’m trying to do this, and then I’ve got my book! Then I want to do this, AND this…”
The list goes on and on and on.
We put sooo much pressure on ourselves.
We want to create this perfect family life. But we have to also work, and make money. Maintain the house. Cook wholesome food. Clean. Wash clothes every second of every day (or so it seems). Feed people.
But also chase your dreams! Be fit, exercise. Eat mindfully. Take time out, but don’t waste a second!
Play with your kids. Give yourself me time. Take walks. Sleep in. Keep in regular contact with family, friends.
What the actual fuck am I to do with all that?
Something has GOTTA give.
I’ve been giving so, so much lately. I can only do things, and move forward in incremental steps, and it’s these tiny baby steps I’ve been taking that are making me feel like things are actually moving.
Snail place, but still moving forward.
And that leads me back to, don’t give up.
It’s so tiresome and banal, telling people to not give up. I’ve felt like telling people over the last shit year who’ve passed out that quote, to piss off and shut up.
But I find it to be true, too true. Even in super-crawl slow-mo pace, I find it to be the most factual of all things.
Keep your head up. Look at what positives you can… even if it’s the blanket on you right now. A hot drink. Sun peeking through the clouds. Someone sending you a nice message. A cute cat.
I am skilled in the art of looking for things in the smallest of spaces. I should know. It’s awfully difficult, but it can be done.
And I guess, it’s nice to be passing out this advice, instead of looking for it.
You know, Hubbie and I made a vow to each other a long time ago…
And no, I don’t mean the church ones. No, in these ones we said –
“We will fill our homes with books and music. We will never feel bad for buying that creativity that makes us so happy.”
Yet another record sale yesterday morning, and I picked up 8 buys for a very good price…
I guess it all depends on if you like the music, on whether you think the $75 is good or not?
Our style absolutely VARIES.
Stuff for me, stuff for Hubbie, stuff for US.
The spectrum of taste goes from one pendulum swinging wildly all the way to the other side. Pop, rock, 70s, 80s, French, even a daggy CD soundtrack, all feature in the assortment I bagged.
I have been hoping to score an Edith Piaf album, and although it’s not in her native French, I can now listen to her sing La Vie En Rose in English…
Hubbie got lucky with Dragon and Goanna, both records he has been hanging to get…
And I couldn’t say no to the singer of Gloria, Laura Branigan, for the steal price of $2…
$2! A loaf of bread is dearer.
And nostalgia called, so much so that when I saw the ‘Grease 2’ soundtrack, the sound of Michelle Pfeiffer singing Cool Rider started floating through my head, and I HAD TO…
So much varying music has been floating through our house this weekend, and I have a certain soft spot for Creedence Clearwater Revival at the moment. Their style encompasses blues/swamp/country rock, and if you listen to their songs, you’ll be sure to exclaim “did they write that?” or “Ohhh, I know that song!”
Today one of my all-time favourite songs made me happy.
Well it almost made me cry… but happy tears.
It’s really hard for me to pinpoint one song that I love, out of ALL the songs. I mean, they all give you different feels, and are meant for different occasions, right?
You have seasonal songs that you love. You play them repeatedly for 3 months, and then think of them fondly (or not so fondly!) when you hear it half a year down the track.
Then you have those songs that you love, but you have to be in the mood. A lot of my favourite artists fall into this category.
I love Madonna, but I have to be ‘in the mood’ for her.
Same for Prince.
The list goes ON and ON.
Yeah, I love these guys. But you have to be there, to feel it.
Then there are those random songs. The ones that you love so hard, that you can’t play them too much for fear of overkilling them and suddenly becoming immune to them. These songs feed your heart, your soul.
Whether they make your feet dance and your arms rise up in joy, like my ‘Diamonds For Her’…
Or whether they make you weep sadly, hand on your heart, like Sia’s ‘Unstoppable’…
Or whether they make your heart wanna burst with happiness… like the song I heard today.
‘O Sole Mio.’
It’s one of my all-time favourite, treasured and protected songs, held closely to my chest, so so personal, and also, from one of my all-time favourite movies.
Only You. The movie that stars Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. It’s a romantic comedy which affected me early on in my teens when I first saw it, and it seems the movie has affected me in more ways than one, over the years…!
But this song. Ohh, this song. You know I heard this song, in St Mark’s Square in Venice when Hubbie and I honeymooned there, many moons ago. And it made me all teary, knowing I was hearing it, in Italy, played by a band, LIVE, in such a romantic setting, knowing it was the same country that the characters of Only You have a journey in!
The version on the movie soundtrack that I listened to today is performed by Quartetto Gelato. The voice and power behind it is so strong, so moving, that when listened to, you can’t not get a tear in your eye (or 200) listening to the depth and breath of passion in his voice when he sings the song translated to mean “my sun” or “my sunshine.”
I was just there, this afternoon, trying to pick myself up while washing dishes, and then I put on this… this song. And it filled me up whole, entirely, the way all great all-time favourite songs should do.
I have a whole collection of stuff I suddenly inherited (i.e. it was ceremoniously dumped here after my parents suddenly sold their house – or you could say I just failed to take it with me since I moved out of there 11 years ago 😬) that I’ve been slowly going through and checking out, for the past week or so.
There is a throw pile. Old bags, lots of school paperwork, dozens of plastic coin change bags (remember those?)
There is a donate pile. Think a glass chess set that I bought my Dad for a birthday, I think, which he never used… why did that end up with me again?
There is a maybe pile. Like these glass/photograph coasters, or that dancing sunflower with the saxophone that used to work on battery, but is struggling now…
There is a ‘whoops this isn’t mine better check with sis/parents’ pile. VHS tapes, some kind of charger?
Then there is the KEEP pile.
OMG, the keep pile. Loads and loads and loads and loads of PAPER STUFF.
Old diaries. School work. Reports. Assignments. I have so much, and I still have one big bag of folders to go through.
What kinds of memories have I found?
All my work payslips pre-2007. ALL OF THEM.
All my high school reports.
The letter my Jeans West Work Experience manager wrote back to my teacher when I was in year 10… “she learnt to apply herself in the time given, but she was a bit shy.”
Ha ha, so me.
Uni assignments, oooh, I’ve loved these. I have a script for a 5 minute film called Doggy Day that I wrote and planned myself. I have an interview I did on my Dad on his life and immigration to Australia which I got good marks for. An article about the RSPCA that I should have sought further help on to get publication, judging by my uni teacher’s comment in the notes. Damn, should have chased that one up.
And so many textual analyses of books and film, oh my goodness.
High school diaries and notes with Hubbie’s name written over them. 😍💖
Psychology, Philosophy, and Ancient History handouts.
My old work pass.
I opened one of my old diaries at whim, to see what day I’d end up on. One entry had me in 1999, 16 years old, where I had met with one of my oldest friends at our local milkbar and we’d ended up walking to the house of our primary school friend who we didn’t see much anymore.
I wrote how we had sat in her bedroom, it had been a bit weird at first but then we’d relaxed and it had turned into the good ol’ days and all the memories we shared.
My 16 year-old self wrote how it was weird, a bit sad, that someone we used to be so close to about five years earlier, we didn’t see much of at all anymore, and our conversations had turned to pleasantries and reminiscing of the past, rather than the stuff you typically share with your closest friends – “Did you hear what happened to her?” “Did you hear about the party last Friday?” – type thing.
And I observed in this diary, and wondered, if the friends I had then in high school, whether we would be like that one day, exchanging pleasantries and talking about the past as the only thing we could hold onto.
In 6 years time, would we be a bit awkward like that too?
I smiled. SmikG NOW smiled.
I smiled as I read, wanting to jump into the pages of my old diary and grab 16 year-old SmikG, grabbing her by the shoulders to shake her excitedly and tell her –
“Guess what? You stay friends with them ALL! A couple of them drop off, sure, but you’ll come to realise they weren’t real friends anyway!
Your true friends are still friends… not 6 years later, but even 21 years later!”
And 16 year-old me, would undoubtedly have gone –
And asked immediately –
“Who aren’t I friends with anymore?”
And this SmikG would have shook her head with a cluck cluck cluck and said.
“Dear girl… I think you already know.”
I’ve had so much fun going back in time, and it’s made me realise how much I’ve changed, but also, how much I am still exactly the same.
Still passionate about the written word, still writing stories, still experimenting in different forms, and still wondering about the future and life in general…
I wonder what SmikG 10 years from now would say to me now…
Amazingly, I was happy to spend the day in the kitchen.
I enjoy cooking. I enjoy baking. I like finding new recipes, experimenting, and watching it all come together, the product of my hands putting it all to work.
I’ve been devoid of passion as of late, but I’ve been working through it, and getting by, bit by bit. This makes me proud, as having significant setbacks, it is then no mean feat to get up and keep trying. It has been freaking hard, but like my whole covid series, I am ‘getting there.’
Today, I made a yummy lentil soup that I got from my bestie’s nutritionist facebook page. I’ve made it before, and I’ve been wanting to make it again, but like I said, the whole lacking passion thing was a bit of a killjoy for getting anything done, much less making a soup I enjoy.
But I didn’t stop there. I made this apple cake recipe that I found months ago, and back then I even bought the granny smith apples I needed…. only to have Hubbie eat them when I never made the recipe, because you know…
LACK OF ALL PASSION.
But I bought those 4 granny smith apples again this week. I was feeling better, my mental clarity was improving, my emotional stability was settling, and it was all coming together, very slowly, once again…
So I made this today:
I actually wasn’t sure if it was baked properly, and kept it in the oven perhaps longer than I should have, until I read the facebook comments on the video and realised it was kinda like an apple crumble, and therefore was allowed to have that gooey kind of soft texture running through it.
I am absolutely pooped from baking and cooking and washing dishes most of the day, but I feel really good too.
Many months ago after Hubbie finished watching the first run-through of the Chicago Bulls/Michael Jordan Netflix doco “The Last Dance,” he turned to me and said – “I’d like you to watch this with me.”
“I mean, I’ve watched stuff for you…”
Back when we were dating, I got him to watch the ENTIRE ANGEL SERIES with me. Of course I had already watched the series, and cried and laughed (mostly cried, with regular gasps) through it all, but alas, what do you do when you really LOVE something?
You want to share it with someone.
Even if that person is not into that genre AT ALL. Like Hubbie. 😉
He went through all 5 seasons with me. 110 episodes. At about 42 minutes an ep, that equals 4,620 hours of vampires, supernatural beings, long ranging story-archs, and a whole lot of funky shit and demonic deaths.
And what did it amount to? He didn’t mind it… but his one line, which I’ll never forget… “It was okay… it’s just not my thing.”
Fast forward to 2020, the world of iso and lockdown and having your butt planted on the couch. I knew he had a very strong case when he asked me to watch “The Last Dance” with him. And at only 10 episodes at roughly 50 minutes each, amounting to 500 minutes, well, I wasn’t going to lose much time.
Especially being in iso.
You know, if he had asked me to watch something basketball-related all those years ago when we were dating, I probably wouldn’t have been interested.
But now, I am a different person. I am ready. And also I realise, it’s not just about basketball. It’s about so much more.
I get inspired by passion. By the greats. By unbelievable stories. By incredible feats of triumph.
And tonight, after only 2 episodes in, I can see this doco has it all.
I was actually spewing at the end, because it was left at a bit of a cliff hanger. And I was like “ohh, damn it I want to know what happens!”
The difference between SmikG in 2020, and Hubbie in let’s say, 2006, is that SmikG is ready.
Do you get where I’m heading???
I am genuinely loving this series, and can’t wait to watch more. Jordan is a maniac of the game and true basketball legend, GOAT, all of it, and if you don’t know what that means, look it up, or better yet watch the Netflix doco!
I am seriously thinking of reintroducing Hubbie to Angel… do you think he’ll bite? (Pun totally intended). 😈