#1989 The Pandora’s Box feedback

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.

#1987 The multicultural writing workshop

I was meant to attend this multicultural workshop today in person, but alas, COVID.

It had been rescheduled many times, and by the time today came I think the organisers felt we could all wait no more.

Put it online.

I had my tea ready, my writing tools, position by the window… check. ✔

We explored using a language other than English within our writing: whether that be a language we’ve lived with at home, a language we’ve inherited, or a language we’ve learned from living in another place. We experimented with techniques and read poetic examples of other writers who have dabbled in this method of the multilingual writer.

We had a couple of writing exercises too, and I wanted to share one of those with you. In exploring language, and what another language meant to us, and how it defined us… my memory led me to a perfect example.

My childhood example:

“My childhood can’t pinpoint the part at which I learnt to speak English or my ancestral tongue. They are both blended and merged, swirled together in a kaleidoscope of colours; mixed together like the Croatian walnut roll, ‘orehnjaca’ my Mum made. The walnut filling was a distinct layer, separate from the dough, and yet you couldn’t have one without the other. It was perfect as a whole.

Old footage has me at my third birthday, my mum and godmother encouraging me to repeat the words “spider, yuck” after someone had used a rubber spider to scare my arachnophobe sister, consequently scaring me too in the process. I repeated these words to the camera, my childlike voice coming out clearly tinged with the European dialect I was accustomed to.

In the next breath my godmother was laughing about my fear of “debeli kum” and she and my Mum broke up in unrestrained laughter. Spoken so I didn’t understand, but I knew precisely what they were saying – my “fat godfather” as they had coined him, who I was petrified of, perhaps not so much for his size, but for his warped German accent when he spoke Croatian, and his loud bellowing “mwa ha ha ha” laugh as he joined in on their laughter and teasing.”

Thanks for reading. 🙏

#1960 The 5th (8th) album

On the weekend I headed to the record fair, that happens at this local music store on the last Saturday of every month.

To be honest, I wanted to find a bargain Robert Palmer, much like I had found a $2 Laura Branigan months earlier, and lo and behold it’s a truly great album. I love listening to it again and again.

Also, I was still coveting a good Johnny Cash, but those are hard to find. The Folsom Prison one would be incredible, but I’ll just have to hold out some more.

So we searched and searched. I did see a Cash, but he was singing with another group, and I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for. I had just discovered something Hubbie would like – The Boys Light Up album by Australian Crawl, and when this guy across from me moved away from one record bin, I told baby girl “go and check that out for me.”

She knows our taste, and she knows the artists we are after.

Immediately, she goes – “Mama, Queen! The Game.”

My head snapped up. I’m sure the couple next to me flinched. I said “hold onto that one honey.”

Tee hee hee.

And so it was, that we went home with the Aussie Crawl and yet another Queen album. I did a count earlier, and this is my 5th studio album of theirs, not including the two greatest hits I have, and one Queen Live Radio specials one too.

I have a collection of records and CDs, but when I find something that’s a steal, in record form, I have to have it.

There are pros obviously of having a portable CD, but there is just something magical about putting a record on and letting it play through the house.

‘The Game’ was $35, and when you consider that it is in pretty decent condition, and Queen records sell for at least $60 in store, if not more, I honestly can’t believe it didn’t get snapped up sooner.

This studio album is their 8th, and contains the hits “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

I put it on tonight.

The theme is soft rock, and the sound of the bass guitar follows through some songs, making itself prominent in the opening riff of “Another One Bites the Dust.” The ode to rock is made transparent in one song where they literally sing that they love rock and roll, and all in all, on first listen, I love this album.

Oh God. Is there any album of theirs which is not brilliant?

One day I will write an article about Queen. You bet I will. Watch this space…

#1919 More fiction under my belt

I’ve now got my trifecta of footpath fiction, done, dusted, and PUBLISHED.

🤩

I headed on down to Rosebud today to find the other two pieces that have since been chalked on the footpath, as part of the Mornington Peninsula’s initiative for local writers to pen a 6-word micro-fiction containing the theme ‘community.’

(Note – I knew I had written two back when I submitted late last year, but in fact I had done three, and completely forgot about it!)

The first was:

“We hid. We waited. Now shine.”

The second which I discovered today:

“We walk these streets better together.”

And the third recent one? Check it out:

“Nature shines brighter after the storm.”

I actually love that one soooo much. Read the metaphor within.

There have been some major storms of late. I’m looking forward to skies clearing up, and everything looking better than new.

Everything looking sparkling, abundant, and BRIGHT.

(Check out @smikgwriter on insta for all the pics…)

#1892 Published at your feet

😁😁😁😁

(Fuck, something has to go right in my life about now…)

Excusez-moi my F bomb, but after a certain amount of time, zero Fs are given.

I walked up to my wonderful words today, to see my story come true before my very eyes.

Yes, that is me, I am breaking smikg protocol and displaying myself for all (or am I, really, am I? 😉)

I participated in a wonderful initiative last year by submitting some works towards a community project… the writers club I am part of teamed up with the local shire to get writers to create a mini fiction, no more than 6 words, on the theme of community, to be drawn and displayed along the streets of Rosebud.

Why, having my words out there for all to see? How could I miss the opportunity!

After finding out yesterday that yes, it DID happen yesterday, I headed on down with Hubbie today to pinch myself.

You know what’s funny about that photo? The sun was shining DIRECTLY on the SHINE part, but the photo didn’t show the light and dark well so I got Hubbie to like, hug me from the side so that we could block out the sun… can you see his outline? 😂

I got a little teary, I won’t lie. I’ve been longing to be published in some form for so long. And even this, on the footpath, just 6 words… it makes me so happy. It’s given me the much-needed boost I’ve needed, in the midst of life difficulty, frustration with everything, and very regular bouts of writer’s insecurity, like “am I good enough?” “my writing isn’t as good as theirs,” and “who’s going to want to read this?”

But to be published, just once, anywhere… it’s broken the spell. It’s crashed through the dam of insecurity, of doubt, and now the water is crashing down, happy and unbridled and free, and it wants to do it all.

I can just stare at that, like ALL DAY.

I will enjoy this moment, and hold on, as much as I can.

Yay. PUBLISHED.

Happy dance!

***Big thanks to @rondelle for her fabulous artwork, and @peninsulawriters along with @mornpenartsandculture for this great opportunity to try and inspire. ***

#footpathfiction

#1891 Happy-go-lucky day

I was glad it was raining and grey today.

A home day is what I needed.

A day to do… whatever.

I had a ‘maybe’ playdate penned for today… but when I saw the sky, I messaged baby girl’s friend’s mum, and wrote “we’re staying inside today.”

It was just what the doctor ordered.

And what exactly was it on his prescription list?

Make some chicken soup.

Make some muffins.

Set up Monopoly on the coffee table and come back to it 3 times during the day!

Do a work out and lie on the floor puffing with jelly legs afterwards.

And then, for some balance… TAKE AWAY!

🤣

I got a wonderful surprise when I found out I had been published too! Not in the traditional ‘print’ form, this outlet is not your usual writers go-to… but nonetheless, EXCITING. 🤩

More on that soon…

But, today was what I needed. Doing whatever, whenever, just chilling and taking it easy. Because tomorrow routine starts again, proper, when I wake up earlier to take baby girl to school!

Waaaa! Holidays went too quick… 😒😁

#1856 Writerly wanderings

Finally, a DAY OFF.

A day without jobs. A day without appointments. A day without anything really urgent to do, where I could just let my feet lead me wherever they felt the pull.

It was EXACTLY what I needed.

I dropped off baby girl at school. The clouds were parting, and the sun was already starting to kick in. I kinda drove aimlessly, yet at the same time knowing precisely where I was headed.

To the water.

I walked. I sat. I looked around. I thought. I felt the burn in my legs as I walked up stairs, up red-earth cliff faces that showed sand and dust so raw and bright as the earth’s core.

Later I went to the grocery shop… sure, a job, but I did it slowly, and ambled around the store, with more ‘me time’ in mind…

I got myself a takeaway coffee, and at home headed up to the balcony to research, edit and read and write, for almost 2 hours.

Ahhh.

I felt at home. When everything else around me crumbles and falls, things don’t work out the way I’d like, and the future feels uncertain, confusing, and I feel lost… my writing makes me happy.

It’s that one guarantee, that one escape, that one thing, that makes me so light and free.

It makes me feel at home. The process brings me such joy, and I don’t even need to tell you what I did the rest of the day…

Because wandering, writing, musing. Bringing myself back to centre, made me, ME again. That is enough.

😁💖

#1850 Fangirling Pam

I’ve had so much on that my beloved writing has fallen way, way, way to the way-side.

But when I was sent an email via the Australian Writers Centre, through which I participated in so many online courses a couple of years ago, advising of a free, yes FREE online Q&A with two esteemed authors, well I knew I had to MAKE the time.

One of those authors was Pamela Freeman. She was the tutor for one of the courses I took, and gave me such great, constructive yet motivational feedback that I honestly was RAPT.

Over the moon.

Tonight those attending (um, 300 or so Zoom attendees!) had the opportunity to put forward questions to be answered in the chat.

Guess who my question was directed to?

😁😁😁

And as she answered, she added at the end… “find me on facebook and we can talk about it there.”

Oh my. Out of all people. ME! Yippee!

And sure the answer was like, answered in a jiffee… but who cares.

Like, an actual real-life bonafide author. Sure I have writer friends who have been published in like, the last year…

But this. She is like, ridgy-didge. Proper. Has published a gazillion books and teaches courses, AUTHOR.

#1828 Balcony brekkie

So what else does one do when you’re locked at home, it’s beautiful weather…

Did I mention locked at home? 🤣

Well, kind of. Many Melburnians would agree with me. Others would call me over-dramatic, but I am a writer so…

LOL.

With not much to do, and with so much time to do it, I looked outside, felt the air, and said to baby girl:

“Why don’t we eat breakfast on the balcony?”

It’s a nicer experience actually, without the gazillion cars going by. I actually don’t really notice them, it’s only that Hubbie loves to bring it to our attentions time and time again.

The cars, oh man, the cars. God help us, THE CARS.

But now, during lockdown? There are minimal cars.

It made our tea, toast and toy experience that much more serene, peaceful, and chilled, up there, on a day where we didn’t do much, AT ALL.

Hey, maybe we schedule snap lockdowns once a month, just so we can get some time off? Anyone?

Ok I’ll duck –

#1819 Encouraging feedback

Simply and humbly, quietly even, my gratitude today is for something I’ve been slowly pecking away at for years and years.

Despite challenges, and hardships, and life being hard, so hard that I can’t even get a grip on all that I have to do… I’ve been oh-so-slowly doing little bit by little bit for my novel.

I got some feedback recently from a writer friend who read my novel, and her words were especially encouraging.

But I did what I do always when I get feedback for my novel – I first doubted it.

“They don’t want me to feel bad.”

“They secretly think it’s crap.”

“They said it’s great, but really they just think it’s mediocre.”

“They don’t get what I’m doing.”

And so on and so forth. But I caught myself saying these things, and said to myself –

“Do you really think that all these people who are telling you these things are lying to you?”

So I’m making myself believe not just in them, but in ME too. Because that’s where the fault lies.

And in doing so, well… I have to believe something works, right?

So, that’s made me happy.