The Writer Looks for Her Song

This weeks arrivals in the mail!

The highlight of the week was receiving  package of books that I had ordered on line, including my favourite poet, Maya Angelou!

I am busy reading them now.  The Murphy book, Pearl Verses the World, was just lovely~ so looking forward to meeting Sally on the 26th of August and asking her to sign it.

This week I put a notice up on my social media space, ‘Gone Writing’, and then disappeared to write and edit.  It ended up being more editing than new writing, but it was a productive week nevertheless.  I also contemplated singing more, and listened to lots of music, from Enya to Adele, whilst writing, .

I had put my novel away for a while and was ready to come back to it fresh, restructure and then move back into the book and finish that all important first draft. I knew that later in the week I would be at an editing workshop put on by SCWIBI.  I spend a lot of time at my computer so it is always precious to catch up with writing friends, both old and new.

This week I  spent time working with youth.  They always inspire me when they grow in confidence and engage with topics of peace and ending war with optimism.  I have been working with this group for a year and a half now and they are just going from strength to strength.

If I have a chance I will pop back into the blog to say a little about the inspiring Think Like an Editor workshop, where we covered topics like ‘writing from the heart’ and finding our unique ‘voice’,  and ‘writing for the joy of it to practice, with no pressure of publication’ to improve our writing, but this is a quick blog just to say, the less I blog for now, the more I can work hard on those all important writing projects.

Thanks everyone who is a blog follower!

Feel free to look back through old poems and stories, etc in this space. I might even do some reposts of favourite blogs.

June

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Leonie Tyle receiving thank you  gift from Sheryl Gwyther at Think Like an Editor

 

At Learn to Think Like an Editor Workshop with some other  writing participants Charmaine Clancy (organiser of the Rainforest Writing Retreat) and new friend Margaret. Saturday 12th August

Pacing Yourself – When Creatives Get Busy

So this has been a week of longing to creatively write and being busy with so many other tasks.

I have the longing of this girl staring into the banana field.  My finished novel and books are somewhere in the distance.  But now I need to use that longing to walk into that path and continue, and to keep searching for pockets of time to write.

I managed to figure out a new approach to a tricky picture book idea and write half of it down.  Then another task demanded I do it.

I gave myself one session on my novel, but longed for more.  But Sunday is looking good to continue on this.  The novel is ticking away in my head even though I am not writing it.

I kept editing a piece written for my brother’s memory.  A writer generously gave me the tools to find the most moving and emotional way to write this story.  Sometimes writing can take a lot out of you.  I understand now why my memoir (which I have done a lot of work on) needed more time.  I think I now know the way to write it, although I don’t have time for it just now.  I realise it is going to be a roller coaster ride to write, so I will have to brace myself for that one.

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My brother

I know that Sunday writing session is going to be great!  But I want to build up my writing sessions to be more regular and give them some priority.

I am working on a project which is shaping up to be interesting and helpful to others, and just have to bring together the whole proposal and find the funding.  I will allocate some time to it in my work diary.  I just love it, and hope others will as well.  The team for this project are just wonderful and I look forward to sharing our plan with you.  I do love collaborating.

I’ve had some wonderful guests from the Sandcliffe Writing Festival on the blog, and tomorrow I am on a panel.  Doing some more rehearsal for it today!

I am loving the energy these blog  visitors bring and am delighted they are happy to be in this space, and am set to have more of them.

It has been empowering to connect with many other poets for children.  Two so far have guested on the blog.

I just found out one of my childhood friends will be in the Sandcliffe Writing Festival audience.  So excited about catching up with her and it will help having her and a few other people I know there and know some of the journey until now.

Those who are there at the beginning often understand just how hard you have worked, and how many obstacles you have had to achieve your dreams.

I love guest blogs,  interviews, and connecting to other creatives, and so a huge highlight for me was meeting Melissa Lucashenko who I had heard so much about for so long.

I’ve completed some more reading for a spirituality and arts course (including writing) online and journalled some poetry ideas (again really keen to do more work on this once this week is over).  I have a month to do a creative piece for my assessment for that.  Thank you creative journal, as I know there is something in you that I can develop now.  Why do study when I have so much else to do?  The course has enriched my creative practice and given me a new found sense of purpose and direction.

I wrote one blog this week,  inspired by a conversation with a writing friend about the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.  I think I will come back to this topic again, as it intrigues me my grandfather and other relatives possibly were there for that time in Australian history.  I wrote a photo essay about visiting Bullimba to drop off some books.  Sometimes just doing fun things like this give me more energy.

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On top of this is the usual balancing with life, and stopping to discuss philosophy with my daughter in the kitchen, and movies with one son, and life in general with my eldest who is a third year uni student, as well as meet with my children’s teachers and thank them for the work they are doing to educate my children. Too often as a society we don’t thank teachers, we choose to ignore the wonderful work so many of them do.  Being married to a great teacher makes me appreciate their role so much.  He works so hard, and cares so much about his students that he inspires me every day.

I do wish I had a bit more time to catch up with friends, but there have been a few social media and email chats, especially to people understanding where I am this present moment in the creative and life journey.  I love that we all find a bit of time to support each other, even if it is virtually a midnight email or a catch up when we are selling our books outside a shop.

Dear hubby is a great sounding board.  Some times writing puzzles are worked out when we are just having a quiet chat.  Something about vocalising to him some things troubling me with a plot, or a character helps the problems unravel. I am appreciative that he seems to help by just listening.

As for Book News

There’s been lots of great news, like a review in Australian’s Children’s Poetry.

Magic Fish Dreaming has arrived at a new book shop, Chapter in Yeppoon. (They aren’t open yet, but Magic Fish Dreaming is there for opening day!)  The book is now in ten Queensland bookshops.

I received a replenishment order for Riverbend Books, who had sold out, and also another library order from Peter Pal.  Hoping so much that sales continue to rise.

The new shops stocking the book love it!  Hope their customers do too.

I’ve been asking some successful indie authors for tips on how they streamline their distribution and printing, and save money.  They are just wonderfully generous in sharing this information.  Many of them are just so good at what they do and I hope to learn from them.

Contemplation so vital for the creative

Looking for Balance

As for the future, I am working hard to pace myself and find balance.  I don’t want to be skit, skatting, and not attending to my writing.  I want to find a rythmn to my creative day and somehow maintain it.

I want to plan far enough ahead to prepare well, and to have my bigger pockets of creative writing time.

I want to limit more of my time on social media, as once in there I just follow so many trails, of interesting things to look at and read, and I need less of that and more time writing!  True it is space of finding opportunity, and for that I am grateful, and true it does make me less lonely on writing days.

Maybe I need to be more lonely until the book is finished!

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Meeting Melissa – Highlight of the Week.

With perseverance I hope to get there.  Ah the life, work balance that dedicated parents, and peace seekers, seek.  True my children are teenagers now, but I like to be there for my family, community, students, and my spiritual self as well.

All the best to my friends, extended family, and readers seeking their balance in life. I like writing you letters on my blog as it allows me to reflect on what I can do to improve in my life journey.  It also lets you know why sometimes  I take so long to call, email, phone or visit.

I haven’t forgotten you but am just trying to find a balance and pace to fit everything together, in some cohesive way.  Somewhere amongst all the writing, parenting, community, connecting, there is the writing of the eternal spirit onto mortal paper.

Keep well and all the best if you too are striving for balance.

And thanks to all my understanding friends, whose kindness and care, gives me the courage to keep on with this quest for balance, and to write to the very best of my ability for the very best of reasons.

June

Lest We Forget – The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

My mother tells me my grandfather was one of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

That’s all I know of the story so far, apart from what is in the Australian War Memorial Records, and written by the army or historians.

There is so much history that could have been written but might forever be lost.

So we search for fragements in the often faded memories of those relatives who spoke to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Must we then imagine their stories from these spoken fragments, public records, and photographs, where so many faces seem to be from the village of my grandfather.

Will some historians who want written records, and identify verification from the photographs, discount our hand-me-down fragments and pieced together tales?

I am touched when a friend of mine says her grandfather was an Australian on that trails.

Maybe our grandfathers met each other.

We will never now.

Malolo was a Fuzzy Wuzzy angel.

He was my bubu (grandfather)

Lest we Forget.

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My Grandfather – taken by Mark Mosco

June Perkins

For more information

https://www.awm.gov.au (photographs in the public domain)

https://www.army.gov.au/our-history/history-in-focus/fuzzy-wuzzy-angels

http://www.kokodaspirit.com.au/the-fuzzy-wuzzy-angels/

http://kokoda.commemoration.gov.au/four-peoples-at-war/new-guineans-at-kokoda.php

http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’

Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven’t any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It’s a picture worth recording
that an artist’s yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

By Bert Beros

Can be found at http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html

Walking out the Writing Beginning Blues

June Perkins. Taken on my phone

Dear Readers,

Walking and thinking are truly a cure for a bad case of procrastinating starting something new.

Recently I have been  constantly perched at my desk, and sometimes a lovely green recliner chair in front of the fish tank (that is when I can ‘rent’ some time from my daughter who just loves this chair) planning and planning a new novel, character by character,  scene by scene, and furiously studying how to build scenes through reading a text-book.

I’ve been researching setting (more still to do) and yet the first pages remained unwritten for several weeks.

I’ve been writing other things; four poems, a short prose piece,  a short observation piece; as well as editing several picture books.

I’ve been reading quite a few books for children, young adults and adults to see what I like in my own reading and what techniques I like from other writers.

I’ve been avoiding my novel project.

But a couple of days ago I knew I just had to start doing the hard yards of writing and completing my first novel, lest this become the novel unwritten!

I began to do more walking. Something about the fresh air, and moments to observe and day-dream suddenly lead to a productive writing session of the opening! As I walked the voice to open the novel became clear. That’s it!  I suddenly felt like the journey of writing this novel was on!

Now heading into my third day of writing I have four scenes,  and have established three central characters.  I have made a pledge not to miss a novel writing session every day, even if its short, it is the sticking at it that is going to get me through, together with some change of scenes, and thinking breaks when required throughout the day, and of course I do have other things to do, being a mum, running a household, being a tutor and conquering some other things in life to enable me to grow as a human being.

I am doing the first draft, and have a goal of when I would like to complete it.

The outline does make me feel more confident that I can do this, although the characters may do some dynamic things, but I have a compass for them to help us all make it to the end.

Switching from short forms to long forms and finishing long forms has been a bit of an issue for me, and a recent realisation that many of my short stories are novels, or novellas in the making is a jolt to the writing senses.  I have actually started three novels and not completed them.  I could sigh,  and say, ‘I just have to do this and make it through the first one!’  But I want a better attitude than that, and want that being in the flow writing experience. I do so love these characters and want to honour them!

On one of my trips out into the real world – I came across this random cafe poetry. It made me chuckle.   It reminded me this novel cannot be completed by being chained to my desk.

June Perkins. Taken on my phone

Wondering about the opening

Apathy sets in

Lingering on other tasks until

Kickstarting this dream with the first scene after a walk.

Well I can’t stop in too long to this blog because there is a novel waiting for its next scene and a few submissions to put in so as to earn a crust.

Yes, I am walking today, and who knows what novelistic ideas I will daydream whilst I walk through my next scene.

Have a brilliant week wherever you are, and don’t forget the power of a walk and dream session!

All the best,

June

Writing Group – First of Year

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I just love  my writing group.

I have been attending Write Links for three years now, and over that time, I have:

  • learnt more about the art and craft of picture book and middle grade writing
  • attended numerous professional development workshops with many established writers in the field
  • met the amazing Leigh Hobbs, whose characters my children and I grew up with
  • been on a writers’ retreat run by one of the members where I met John Marsden (who was doing a master class) and made friends with Robyn, Debbie, and many other writers
  • attended the CYA conference
  • pitched to an agent and a publisher at the CYA conference
  • made a successful ASA mentorship scholarship application and been being mentored for the last 12 months.

And those are just some of the highlights!

But one of the biggest things I love about my writing group has been the creation of some friendships that sustain me in the hours of writing.  I think of writer friends: Jocelyn, Ayesha, Ali, Jillanne, Yvonne,  Shannon, Sam, Rachelle,  Charmaine, Andrew, and Jacqui;  imagining and day dreaming,  drafting, researching, editing, writing, submitting and succeeding, submitting and being rejected, and because they just have so much passion for writing doing it all over again.

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Before and after the sessions today we were able to have a chat not only about how our creative endeavours are going, but also about life itself,  how it inspires and sometimes challenges the creative journey.

There was so much positive energy, and there’s often some great news of breakthroughs by our members.

This group of people were so supportive of Magic Fish Dreaming, and just gave me so much confidence that I could achieve my dream to have my book produced and out there.  My first supporter in the kickstarter was a Write Links member, and many, many members gave their sincere support.  Everyone is honest and I know they would not have done this if they didn’t have confidence in the book.  These are not only friendships I respect, but many are professionals, and have been traditionally published.

An unexpected treat of Saturday was a writer friend from Cairns, just happening to be passing by with her son.  Lovely to see you Carol.  The Cairns writers’ group run a fabulous festival that occurs every two year, and that I have attended twice, and they also published my poem, ‘Grumpy Fisherman’, (which became the centre piece of ‘Magic Fish Dreaming’ in my children’s poetry book) in one of their writing anthologies.  It was so fantastic to say a brief hello.  Carol could feel the warmth and energy of Write Links, and they in turn could sense I was seeing a significant fellow creative from my old home!

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I especially love chatting with dear friend Ayesha.  We both share a love of music, and poetic language.  Ayesha and I are thinking of having sing a longs between writing group meetings, and discussed mindful singing.  She showed me a book she thought I would like reding.

Music sustains me when I am having a challenging day writing, or in life.   It is great to have other common interests with my creative friends, and I am so looking forward to reading the draft of Ayesha’s novel and seeing it in print!

I love the way we believe in the value of each other’s work and keep encouraging and supporting.

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The generosity of members to share their knowledge is legendary.  At Saturday’s session Karen Tyrell  (long time member and empowerment author) and Luise Manning, both shared their knowledge on the grant application process at our first meeting of the year.

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Anyway that’s  my account of the first meeting for Write Links of the year.  Only another month to wait for the next one, or should I say to write and read my way to the next one.

A big welcome to all the new members;  here’s to a great year for all wherever you are in your writing journey.