It’s tulip time in my part of the world! Aren’t they glorious?
The Australian bush.
Here is what transported, transfixed and transcended the everyday this past week.
A hummingbird dress. I want one!
We are in the midst of floods in Sydney at the moment. The following advice is important if one finds oneself on a flooded road!
Vintage Clothing and a Ballerina! https://www.buzzfeed.com/xmonix/this-ballerina-is-mixing-ballet-with-vintage-2efu6
Things I have found inspiring throughout the week. Look at this fellow below!
A fabulous article on Sydney’s Vivid Festival by Elissa Blake. If you are planning to go, read this first!
“Smile!” Murta called. She took the boy’s picture with a Box Brownie. They fidgeted with the bow ties. The lads were clothed in tuxedos on the occasion of a ball. Their charisma could light up the Harbour Bridge, the moon and stars combined. Her three little sons loved these young men. Murta was comforted that they would mentor her boys…
She had been seven months pregnant with her fourth when her husband called her inside. He wanted to talk. His slacks swished as he walked to and fro, his hair smoothed into place with Bryl Cream. “I have enlisted,” he said gruffly. “They will need medics.” Murta’s heart sank. Rex, Robert and Clint had signed up too. He coaxed her to have the baby induced. He demanded to meet his child. He held the boy to his face, and grunted in approval.
‘Darwin is under attack! Get the hell out of Bowen! Do whatever you can to make it to Sydney,” his cable read. Murta grabbed her keys, her four boys, and drove like hell. She wondered if the sky was going to fall, the world end. The dirt roads were horrific, and the newborn wailed. She cut a path through cane fields and rampant bush. She exchanged her jewellery for fuel. She arrived home to Sydney, and sank to the green axeminster carpet. She prayed it might swallow her. Clint and Robert had been killed, and Rex was badly injured. Murta wept and stroked the picture of the boys on the mantle. Ma Ma arranged to have a stained glass window erected in their church. It featured Sir Galahad in his armor, his face that of a young man, unbroken, unyielding, perfect.
A letter arrived from Murta’s husband in 1945. It was sticky, and stained from tobacco. He was leaving her for another woman. She wore silk stockings and applied French perfume from a crystal decanter. The boys were not to see their father again. He died in QLD, a decorated politician. Murta never said a bad word about the man. She has relished her autonomy; enjoyed her own company, though on occasion, lamented the death of romance.
The war had made accommodation scarce. She was vying for a granny flat with another lady. The woman noticed the softly-spoken boys assembled in a line behind the fey. “You take it love, you need it more than I,” she smiled at Murta. Murta found work off Broadway, training as a secretary at an export house. She remained there until the late 1970’s.
Rex hobbled, his hip shattered in the war. He and his wife had been Murta’s dear friends until their death’s in the early millennium. Rex would help the homeless in a soup kitchen connected to the church. He used to pause at the stained glass window, tracing the outline of Sir Galahad.
Murta loved tequila, tiramisu, honey, chocolate and steaming-hot coffee. When you sauntered back home at a hundred years of age, it was still a shock. I expected that you might live forever. Thankyou for your adventurous spirit (which saw you misbehave to such an extent that your father sent you on a boat to England). Your adventurous spirit saw you learn to drive, and with a friend, make your way to Scotland as a teenager! The brave Knight and fair maiden ventured deep into the ocean. The folks that have been invigorated with the spray of their concern rest on the sand. Rex, Robert and Clint hold hands with Murta. They are plunged into the lupine liquid, and the ocean carries them away.
In my travels, I met an extraordinary young lady called Celia. She started Stained Glass Wolves on Facebook. It is for ‘victims and survivors of abuse, homelessness, domestic violence and the people who support them.’ There are two projects on the hop at the moment, Basic Love Packs and Knitting to Spread the Love and Warmth. The mascot is The Mistress of Awesomeness and she certainly is! Apart from everything else she does, she is also a singer-songwriter.
Celia is 28, and lives in Sydney. She is currently an AIN, working in a nursing home, and is also studying nursing at university. She believes in true equality, love, loyalty, compassion,truth, genuineness, dignity and justice. She has three specific missions in life:
1. To run her charity, Stained Glass Wolves, and reach out to the broken.
2. To sing and write.
3. To be a qualified nurse educator specialising in brain trauma and also making specific care plans for individuals; working with families, carer’s and the client to make a manageable plan to give that person the best quality of life.
Celia has qualifications in mechanics, and in the hospitality industry. There is nothing she can’t do, teaching herself to knit via YouTube. As a child, she was abused in every way a young girl can be, and was told that she was worthless. She refused to believe it. How she healed, and what she has done, are truly inspirational. She has suffered depression, nightmares and flashbacks, but miraculously survived. The heart seared with great suffering often becomes the heart with the greatest capacity for love and compassion. Nobody came and rescued her from the thatch of thorns where she lay. She retrieved herself.
She found her calling in nursing after encountering a 104 year old lady in a nursing home who inspired her. She applied to study, and a letter arrived from the ACU. She reluctantly opened it, thinking it was a rejection letter. They instead wanted to know why she hadn’t accepted her placement. She checked her spam, and there was an acceptance email! Check your spam, people! At university, she noticed there was a scheme, offering placement overseas to the student with the highest mark. She applied and was accepted! She went to Cambodia, volunteering in health camps, and also travelled to Georgia College in Atlanta. Like I said, inspiring. She is the rainbow after the darkness dissipates. A survivor in every sense. If you would like to learn more, visit Stained Glass Wolves.
I have had the pleasure of making a new friend in the form of UK author, Ian Probert. He has recently published his latest book, Johnny Nothing, a rollicking, enthralling book for ages ten and up (mind you, my eight year old daughter absolutely loved it, and was doubled over from laughing in parts)! It is reminiscent of Roald Dahl, and about the poorest boy in the world, who has the nastiest mother in the universe. It is available on ITunes and Amazon. When did you make the decision to become a writer? “I never really decided to be a writer as such. It was a gradual process. At school I was good at Art and English. I used to fill up exercise books with stories about vampires. It must have driven my English teacher to drink. I come from a working class family and becoming a writer was never really an option. After failing most of my exams at school I went from one dead-end job to another. I was a draughtsman, a waiter, a landscape gardener. I worked in KFC, in motorway service stations, telephone sales, in clothes shops. I was pretty aimless until I managed to get into art college to study painting.It was there that I started keeping a diary and discovered that I could write reasonably legibly. After art college, I managed to blag my way into a job at a newspaper. Somehow, they employed me as a sports writer. After that, I actually ended up editing sports magazines. My articles got longer and longer until it occurred to me that I ought to try my hand at writing books. I was very lucky. I got an agent almost instantly. A publishing deal followed soon after. I was rather blasé about it. In retrospect I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. As you know, it’s very difficult to get an agent to even look at anything you’ve written, and its even harder to get a traditional publishing deal.” Where did the inspiration for Johnny Nothing come from? “It’s a long story, the tale behind its birth. Basically, I was ill for almost 15 years without being really aware of it. I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s not exactly an uncommon condition, but can have catastrophic consequences for your life. I did this article for the Guardian on the illness. The end result of this was that I lost my ability to concentrate. I didn’t have anything published for more than a decade. I tried writing things, of course, but would always give up after a chapter or two. I thought I was getting old or something! When I was diagnosed and given drugs to combat the condition, I got the proverbial burst of energy. I wrote a lot of things very quickly indeed. Johnny Nothing was written for my ten-year old daughter. I think it was to prove to her that I could actually write. For years she had been hearing me drone on about how I used to be a published writer. I wanted to give her something that would make her proud of me.” What are you planning next? “I always think it’s a little reckless to tell people what you’re writing. The problem is that one can be really excited about a new project and bore family and friends to death talking about it. Later, when you’ve decided that the idea was actually pretty crappy, you then get people asking you how its going and you look a complete fool. These days I only tell what I’m doing to people whose job it is to know such information. That would be agents and publishers. Over the years I’ve never learned to show anything I’ve written to people until it’s actually on the bookshelves, or nowadays, on Kindle. There’s nothing worse than a friend telling you that they’ve written a book and asking, ‘can you read it and tell me what you think?'” Ian has produced a masterful story, full of darkness, hilarity and light. The hero will have you cheering as Johnny Nothing ends up being everything.
Friends and family say that I’m… I asked my daughter and one of the first words that came to mind was stubborn. She reminded me that in all situations, we look at each other, and state our motto, “the Angelou girls never give in, and never give up!” It has held me in good stead over the years, and I am sure stubbornness shall treat my daughter well too. I must say, that we are flexible, and despite having a fused spine, my spirit is capable of bending like a reed (at least one part of me is bendy!) Not only do I love listening to other’s viewpoints and beliefs, I am able to respect them. Stubbornness and flexibility, a good combo! My friends and family are spectacular! Unconditional love springs forth from them all, and I know I am valued. Great people… Back to stubbornness; I implore you to never let go of what you know you are meant to do. I started writing my book when I was an adolescent. Making notes, getting the events clear in my mind. When I lay flat on the rotorbed for months, I questioned why I had survived. When I slept, I dreamt of holding a book. Writer, I had to become a writer! I sent the book away when I was pregnant with my daughter, and it was accepted. The dear fellow had a small publishing company, and his sister had actually been in the same clinic as detailed in the book. We worked on the book together, then I received a call. My publisher had died suddenly. Crestfallen, the manuscript was put away. I sent it again when my daughter was two, and it was picked up by an international publisher. Then, the financial crisis hit. The accounting department were reluctant to spend any money on publicising a new author. I posted it off again, then moved house. A year later, I woke at midnight, and felt compelled to look in the spam email box! I didn’t know why the hell I was doing so, until I spotted it. It was from the publisher I had last sent the synopsis to. It said that they had tried my home number and address and if I wanted to be published with them, to please call! The spam were just about to be discarded! As I said, stubbornness and never letting go of dreams has worked well for me.
Eccentric. I can’t ignore this one! I dance to my own beat, a beat others can’t hear and I can only detect faintly. Still, it is there, and I must follow it. I talk to animals, and every night, when it is time to put my little birds to bed, I call out “birdie bedtime!” The budgies climb back into their house and onto their double swing and wait for me to close the door. The canaries and finches hop up to their perches and fluff up. I have my funny little ways. My friends can’t miss me down the street, as I am always colourful, even when I try to be demure.
I would lay down my life not only for a friend or family member, but also a stranger. In fact, that has nearly happened a few times. I am glad I did what I felt was right. So there you have it, stubborn, eccentric and willing to sacrifice everything. I make my daughter laugh, and am both irreverent and cheeky. After a long battle to reclaim my core, I like who I am.
Melyssa from The Nectar Collective has thrown down a challenge to share posts about our goals, challenges and wishes for the next week, month or year! Visit the person who linked before you, and write words of encouragement. Around and around it shall go! It’s school holidays at the end of next week, and I have to get sorted! The following is what I am aiming to accomplish.
1. I want to streamline my office.
2. Finish and send off three children’s books, which my little girl co-authored.
3. Exercise daily and work with weights so my muscles insulate these bones!
4.Plan escapes during the school holidays.
5.Organize a curriculum for my daughter for next year.
7.Have time for meditation.
8.Finish essays and projects I have been meaning to get to.
What are your goals?
I am great at my job because I love it! I have always loved reading and writing stories. I had my own newsletter called ‘The Weekly Mag’ when I was little. The subjects I chose to focus on were the environment and animals. I printed copies and distributed it for a donation, which I would give to charities. Hearing people’s stories is a privilege, and relaying them is a big responsibility. I believe that we need to table our stories, and share with each other. We garner strength and courage by doing so. I relayed on this blog a while back, the time I met a schoolteacher after my second spinal operation. I was sixteen years of age, about to endure the committal hearing, and had a lot on my plate. I feared I may topple. This lady wrote her story down for me, and as she sat with me, my eyes grew wide with wonder. She was also very young when she had been subjected to an horrendous act. She had endured the court proceedings too. She told me this as a woman in her thirties, with a beautiful life. At that moment, I could see myself surviving, as she had. What a gift she gave me. If I can do the same, then my life has been blessed. It is hard to open oneself up, and become vulnerable, but the alternative is far worse. What would the point be of all that you have learnt, been through and accomplished? We are each other’s beacon’s. I love writing, and am blessed to be able to do it consistently. Find what makes your heart sing, and do that thing!
I will stop:
1. The belief that anger is wrong. Righteous indignation feels very good indeed. When starting rehab after my spine was broken, I found feeling pretty ticked off gave me fuel. It has encouraged stoicism, and stubbornness which has helped me immensely. It is okay to be pissed off.
2.Beating myself up. How cruel we are. Wincing when we see a photo of ourselves, comparing our acheivements to others. I have come to the conclusion that other’s accruements have nothing to do with mine. They are two separate entities, so what does it matter what they have amassed, and when? I have my own travel itinerary.
3. Craving approval from outside myself. It has never been useful as a salve from self-doubt and inner longing. I have known people in the public eye, and they can be adored, asked for autographs, and generally told how excellent they are, but it means squat if one doesn’t approve of oneself.
4. Being disengaged. Appalling to be chastised by your child midway through her puppet show for paying more attention to your phone or laptop than her. Multitasking doesn’t work. Its true, that you can do many things all at once, but the attempt is half-arsed for all the endeavours you are undertaking.
5. Having no room for spontaneity. Seeing that calendar groaning from the weight of obligations… No time for reflection, having a cup of tea, a lovely surprise visitor. Not good at all.
6. Being all things to all people. Can’t be done.
7. My silly to-do lists on little scraps of paper, that I rebelliously refuse to read. A list of suggestions in a funky journal-wherein I state what would be delightful to accomplish within a month-is much less antagonistic.
I can think of many others, but this shall do for now. I have a daughter to pay my full attention to. What are you willing and desperate to stop doing?