Gnomes and Destiny


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When I was nineteen, I started a business, selling my art and poetry, as well as crystals and curiosities at markets and on consignment. I was extremely busy during this ten-year period, particularly when I reflect on all the surgery I had at the same time! I lived in a grungy, funky part of Sydney, and would often walk down the street to hang out at the all-night bookstore and grab some fabulous Indian food. I was into ceramics, and had my Greenware fired in the kiln of a nearby business, before painting them. I only managed to hang onto two of my pieces from this time. Before I left the area, I retrieved them from the shop where they had recently been placed…

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I haven’t paid them much mind in the intervening years, only to gift them a smile as I passed them in my living room. I have pared back my commitments since Christmas, and have made time to clean and reflect, de-clutter and organize my home. I stopped yesterday and studied my little friends, reflecting on a time when I had created and painted, written and pottered. I recalled the nights spent painstakingly painting them; the joy I felt when what I had created was bought. I looked closer, and noted that they hadn’t been cleaned for a while. Getting a wipe, I lovingly set to work. I turned them over, and there on the base was my daughter’s name, a daughter I wouldn’t have for another decade. I don’t know why I had thought to send them off with the following: Painted with love by E.Rose.

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A chill went through me. When I had finally fallen pregnant with IVF, I had another name altogether picked out for this baby, if it was a girl. In my eighth month, I dreamed of her, and she said that her name was E. Rose. (full name obscured to protect privacy). I changed her name accordingly. I had no recollection of ever signing my work with her name years before. How many hundreds of times had I done so? I called to her and told her the story and she was as delighted as I. “You knew me even then! You loved and wanted me before I was here!” I certainly did. Slowing down and having time to notice my little gnomes gave me a great gift. My daughter was intrinsically entwined in my younger years, letting herself be known, even on an unconscious level. When you say “I can’t do this anymore,” and allow yourself to slow, it’s amazing what you notice. Gnomes may even hold a breath-taking, thrilling message, just for you.

Life, it happens.


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What a month it has been. There you are, minding your own business, attempting to keep your home, career and life in order, and a big pile of manure is dropped from afar. I had eight further titles planned, ranging from children’s books to adult fiction and also an historical novel set in Sydney. That one is particularly interesting, having interviewed some real characters a while back, who told me some unknown goings-on in the city of sails. Will I continue working on these titles until they are ready to be brought into the light? You bet! They came into my mind for a reason, and I will see it through. I have to find a publisher, and I have to believe that it shall happen.

After my publisher folded, life became dark and heavy, as though I were cocooned in a grey film. I am a butterfly, dammit! I fought hard to metamorphose from a caterpillar! Back to the drawing board, back to the beginning. I have done it before, many times. Spending weeks in Intensive Care units at thirteen years of age, learning to walk again, starting a new cycle of IVF… I can do it; however, it doesn’t mean I like it. How many times can you dust yourself off? Hundreds of times, as it turns out.

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We lost this little guy this morning. His name was Snowball, and he was a real character. My daughter found him in a store where rescue animals are sold, and fell in love. I did too. He would look at me in disgust when I fed the other guinea pigs corn silk, and grab the juicy corn cob from my hands and run off with it. He broke into the girl’s side of the yard (partitioned off), and when I witnessed him “hugging” one of the girls, I asked him what he thought he was up to. I thought he was just being a bit full-on with his affections. He impregnated every girl, and soon we had lots of his babies. He was the Garfield of Guinea Pigs, either sleeping or eating. We would set him on the floor and whilst the other piggies would run, he would walk a few steps, then plonk down. He was poorly two nights ago, and we rushed him to the vet. They operated that night, as he was unable to pee. For two days we waited for news of his recovery. Bless you Snowball. You filled our lives with joy for the time we had you. The vet refused to take any money, which was incredibly kind.

I am sitting up in bed, sick with a bad virus. So much to do but with no energy to do it. I think it’s my body’s way of saying I have to stop for a while. Stop running and stop over-committing. Of course, as a mum home schooling her child, I can’t just crawl into bed and build a blanket fort, but I can slow down. I can plan our next house move whilst doing so, and I can dream at the same time. As I wrote in my book, just as I thought my story was winding down, I find it has only just begun. If you are going through hell, my advice is to keep going. Eat well, hydrate. Do only what is necessary. Let the world wait for your second-wind and recovery. This is exactly what I intend to do.

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It’s okay to stuff up!


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This term has seen us hit the ground running. I thought I was on top of things, planning the weeks in advance in my diary and calendar. Attempting to sort through email. However, when more assignments come in, and appointments are running late, it all goes to hell. I noticed I had a heap of unanswered messages in my ‘Others’ folder on Facebook. Some were important, and not just from yucky old men who thought I was “lovely.” I no sooner had handled these unexpected messages, than the email box filled up, then Twitter, then Pinterest, then Facebook… I felt like Lucille Ball at her chocolate factory gig.

Getting through one task, then something else demands your time and energy. I still held onto the fantasy that I had it all under control. My endocrinologist advised that I need to slow down, and spend an hour each day exercising. I need to take preventative measures for my health. It all sounded great, and heck, my doctor said I could stop once in a while. It was prescribed.

That was until I discovered I had lost a whole day! I thought it was the 2nd Feb, when it was actually the 3rd! “You are only a day late,” a snooty receptionist snarled when I ventured into my appointment. Crap! I had missed a whole bunch of things. I glanced at my phone. On top of the 500 emails waiting to be read was one notifying me that an old friend had passed away. I teared up, and my daughter hugged me. “Just because you lost a day this time, doesn’t mean you will do it again,” she consoled. “You just need to prioritize and think about what is important in your day.” Such wise words. How did she get so mature and clever? She is right. I feel like I can’t stay on top of everything, no matter how much I try. I want to be a terrific friend, a fabulous mother, a consistent writer and respond to all messages swiftly. It is entirely unrealistic though. I can only do my best. We can only do our best. I believe intention is most powerful. My friends know that they are loved and will wait for me. My daughter adores her eccentric mother…

My friend Russell was a curmudgeonly former newspaper editor. We had some great times throughout the years. He was of an older age when he passed, but gee those years of life still zoomed by. My daughter is right (as is my endocrinologist). Slow down, breathe, walk and prioritize. Even it means losing a whole day now and again. The appointments were rescheduled. I was forgiven, and it wasn’t the end of the world.