Last weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending the first KidLitVic writers’ conference. It was incredible! I have never been to a writers’ conference before and it exceeded all my expectations. For the first time I referred to myself as a ‘writer’ in public. The audacity of it! To actually say to someone that I am a writer!
It was wonderful to meet so many like minded people, all striving for the same thing, in such an encouraging atmosphere. I felt like I really belonged and that I was part of a ‘tribe’. I’m hoping to keep in touch with some of these people and I’m so excited to see how their writing journeys continue.
I feel that my journey has taken a real step forward. I had a meeting with Marisa Pintado for Hardie Grant Egmont and she liked the initial pages of my book and asked to see more. To. See. More. Of my work! Can you believe that. I know it’s just a first step and that she might not be interested in the completed novel but…Oh my God! It really encourages me to keep on going. This isn’t the end of the journey, it’s not even the middle, but it’s a real step in the right direction.
If you’re a writer (confirmed or otherwise) and you have the opportunity to attend a writers conference then I highly recommend it. I had the most wonderful time and I’m sure you will too.
My dad turned 70 last week. That’s a big deal. Seven decades, a world of travel, military service, one wife, four children, countless adventures. Sometimes, listening to my dad I realise that the world has both been transformed in countless ways and yet has stayed so much the same. He’s part of the baby-boomer generation, literally born into a world recovering from war. I wonder what pressures that must have put on a whole generation of children and what scars their parents must have been carrying with them.
Of course, life is one big adventure. We do our best to find our way with the map we’ve been given, often it’s a bit a tattered and has ‘here be dragons’ scrawled in the corner, and the guides we’ve found, also a bit tattered. For most of us, the vast majority, the adventure has it’s white sandy beaches and mosquito ridden swamps. For some of us it’s all swamp, sadly.
I hope when I look back on 70 years of adventure I can say it was pretty awesome, and I hope that I have achieved as much, and am as loved, as my dad.
Happy Birthday, Dad.
I love April. March is a bit of a tease, flashing us with sweltering days and then blindsiding us with a burst of cold weather but April is all mild days, crisp as an apple off the tree, and cool nights touched with the scent of wood smoke. It’s the perfect weather for getting outside, gardening or making mudpies (or a little of both).
It’s not so conducive to actually sitting down and writing but hey, there’ll be time for that when May and June roll round and winter cranks into gear. At the moment I’m enjoying some time with the kids while school holidays are still on, tucking into what the Easter Bunny so kindly left us and doing a little polishing on the manuscript I’ll be talking about with a publisher at the writers conference next month.
Where ever you are in the world I hope the weather is being kind to you.
I have been missing in action for the first half of this month. B2 turned four (where did those years go?), we spent time visiting family and I tried to wrangle my character, Sam, through the minefield of relationships in his life – you know, just the usual like friends and family and his dead father’s secret second family. But all of this left little time for blogging.
On top of that, and pursuant to my last post, we’re still house hunting. This is becoming less fun, I can tell you. The anticipation and, to be honest, the potential to sticky beak through someone else’s house is fun but the feeling of, ‘no, not this one’, is less so. But then, how privileged are we that we’re in a position to be house hunting in the first place.
So, how’s your March been going? I’ve been amazed by how quickly the year has been flying by. What about you? And how are your New Year Resolutions faring?
I only ask because it’s been on my mind lately. Hubby and I have been house hunting – what started as a bit of fun morphed into something more serious just before Christmas and we’ve spent the last few months reading through real estate listings and viewing houses. We’re also considering land, in case we decide to build. But more and more I’ve been asking myself, ‘why?’
We like our house and we have a beautiful garden. We’ve planted fruit trees which, if we moved, we would never taste the fruit of. What is it we’re looking for? And if we bought or built a new house would we really be more content?
So, I’m asking you. Are you content and if so/if not, why? Is contentment just a state of mind and how do you know if you’re on the right path in journey towards contentment?
Resilience is the art of getting up after you’ve been knocked down. Sometimes it’s done with quiet grace, sometimes it’s done with fanfare and sometimes it’s done while your face is still red and wet from crying. The first is preferable, the last common.
There are people who say you need to know when to give up. Maybe. But I think that when it’s time to let something go then it becomes painfully obvious. Like when it’s time to move on from your first car – it let’s you know by refusing to start five mornings out of seven.
It’s much harder to keep going. Your confidence has been shaken, you doubt yourself and you’re feeling hurt and maybe a little badly treated. But you must keep going. Worse than rejection or failure is regret. So, dust yourself off. Have a cry. And then get on with it. You’ve got a lot more work to do.
Did you know it’s February? February! Already! And I must, must, must get back to work. I’ve got excuses. Of course I do. B1 has just started school, it’s summer and the weather is beautiful, my husband and I are thinking of buying a new house and the real estate sites keep distracting me.
But I MUST get back to work. Right now my main character is stuck in limbo, waiting for me to end is plight. His dad is dead, his little brother is in hospital, his older brother is lost and confused, his mum is heartbroken. He’s discovered that his dad had a secret family and his just discovered half-brother is missing.
And I’m enjoying the sunshine!
So I must get back to work!
Today B1 started school. In Victoria we call in Prep and so now, instead of saying that I’m the mother of two pre-schoolers, I’m the mother of a prep and a pre-schooler.
When I was teaching, and bare in mind I was a high school teacher, I found parents somewhat strange – like exotic animals whose behaviour I didn’t really understand. To be fair I was in my early 20s and closer in age to their children then I was to them. I found their expectations (voiced or otherwise) overwhelming. Some of them were protective to the point of bubble wrapping their house, others wouldn’t have known where their children were five nights out of seven. Some of them were dumbfounded by the change in their children following the onset of puberty and were looking for answers – answers I had neither the training nor the life experience to give them.
Now my child has started school. I spent the first six months of his life wishing the time would pass quicker – please sleep, please feed less, please smile, please laugh – and now I don’t know where the time has gone. How did it pass so quickly?
And boy do I have some high standards for my son’s teachers😉
If your little cherub has started school for the first time this year and you’re feeling a little lost (and maybe a little cheated by Father Time) then know you’re not alone. Like me, you might find it helps to remember what a big, exciting, adventure your child is beginning and that education is a gift and a privilege that not all children in the world are lucky enough to be given.
And it’s okay to cry…in private.
I’m hunting for an agent –
I’ve looked once or twice before –
I’ve read all the guidelines,
I’m sure I know the score.
Sure, I’ve known rejection,
I’ve felt it’s acid sting,
But this time might be different.
Who knows what time will bring?
God knows that I am patient,
I’ve been tapping away for years.
I’m giving it my all,
And with hardly any tears.
So I’m looking for an agent,
I’m on this path again.
Because you can’t appreciate success
Unless you’ve known the pain.
There’s something about a new year. It holds promise. You open up that new diary and marvel at all those little squares just waiting to be filled.
And I’ve already started filling them!
Among the birthdays and summer catch-ups there’s the KidLitVic writers conference in Melbourne which I have bought my ticket for. So. Ex. Cited. It makes me feel like a real writer! I can’t wait to meet other writers and to hear what the publishers and people in the know have to say.
January in Australia brings heat, fire and flood but it also brings the smell of gum leaves in the north wind, blushing tomatoes and nodding daisies. It’s easy to feel positive about 2016 when there’s such a nice opening number.
I hope your, and your loved ones, year is as wonderful as ours will be.