A little tableau of trivial importance.

IMG_1367 Poppet sent me this. It really isn’t the sort of thing a girl should send her mother, being inappropriate on all levels. I sniggered then began doubting my parenting skills, while acknowledging how hard it is to raise children to be decent, well-rounded individuals. Parenting is a challenge, requiring an abundance of these liquids qualities: wine, patience, ingenuity, Buddhist-calm, kindness, alcohol, patience, resourcefulness, tolerance, humour, energy, Zen, empathy, champagne, liquor, aperitifs, patience. Unlike the classroom, where you’re on call for a 50 minute period per grade per day, parenting is relentless. And just when you think you’re through the taxing early years, they morph into teenagers and cause you more worry and angst.

This quote by Oscar Wilde is food for thought: “Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”

Skeleton tree.

Skeleton tree.

A few posts ago I was going on about the beauty of Autumn leaves. Well, our Chinese Tallow tree is a skeleton that signals winter. It is no longer “Winter is coming”, winter is here. (BTW I’ve seen all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones and I don’t recall it ever being Summer. Did I miss it, is it just me?)


So after the hottest May on record, I’m welcoming the cold and its accompanying haute couture uggs and trackies, but especially food like this, Mini Cottage Pies. Cool weather makes me hope global warming is an illusion…

Blossom and Poppet. Lots of selfies go on Blossom’s ‘story’ on Snapchat. For blog Poppet tells me Shapchat is all about the narrative and not just fleeting photos to interest and dazzleI obviously misuse Snapchat because I just send the 3 people on my list, photos of the cake I’m about to eat so they’ll be very jealous.

But seriously, dog or Ewok? Those ears are growing exponentially! It’s a pity the Star Wars prequels and sequels have waned because Blossom might have scored a cameo appearance. IMG_0962The Pecking Order: In the little coop, chicks Lasquisha, Lacy, Cinnamon and Princess are fast growing into hens. IMG_1384 Lasquisha continues to dominate. Not content with pecking her minions on the head, she now jumps on them.

I'm Lasquisha and I'm GORGEOUS!

I’m Lasquisha. Get in my way and I’ll jump on your head.

A similar dynamic exists in the big coop where Madam Peck is bullying the new pullets, Cherry and Merry, who’ve taken refuge in the shed.

"Has she gone yet?"

“Has she gone yet?”

"Don't mess with me!"

Madam Peck.

For an ex-battery girl, she has a lot of attitude. On the one hand, it’s great she’s recovered from the first traumatic 18 months of life in a tiny cage. On the other hand, you’d think she’d be more sensitive, a little kinder to her flock. This is probably what George Orwell meant in Animal Farm – the oppressed become the oppressors. A grim world view…but on the plus side, there are DUST BATHS. In the chicken world dust baths aren’t just fun, they eradicate lice and other parasites. (I wonder if it works for headlice?)

Chook equivalent of bubble bath.

Cherry and Merry in dust bath (equivalent of bubble bath).

Our local florist had this quotation written on her blackboard and it reminded me of the concept of average and our endless quest to rise above it.florist quoteBlooming is an individual thing and everyone’s blooming is different. I see it in the classroom when the ‘under-achiever’ has a good idea that sometimes eclipses the confidently brash student’s idea. The tentative smile of delight on her/his face – the bloom – is wonderful. 🙂

And while I’m on the subject of average, a few months ago in A Waiting Game I wrote excitedly about a manuscript that had survived the publisher’s slush pile – the first harrowing step in the process to turn Word document into book. Well, the waiting is over – my manuscript has been jettisoned declined.

Image courtesy of Amalie Howard

Image courtesy of Amalie Howard

The word rejected is never uttered in these ever-so-polite letters. How the world loves euphemisms! “We have decided not to proceed with an offer of publication at this stage”. Evidently, and I say this with no sarcasm (for they do know their stuff), my ‘book’ lacks structure and its context (Sydney in 50 years) needs work. Oh well, back to the drawing editing board. It was the first draft, so what was I expecting?!

I’ve found that in publishing – for self-protection at least – you shouldn’t be too optimistic; hopeful and doggedly persistent, but never overly confident or presumptuous. But manuscripts are a bit like babies, they make us a little protective and sensitive to criticism,. So I’ve devised some rules:

  • Rule 1: let go of ego.
  • Rule 2: develop the skin of a tyrannosaurus.
  • Rule 3: share manuscript with an expert – a paid mentor or a clever friend who will tell you the truth, even though you will hate her/him forever be hurt or offended and probably both.
  • Rule 4: Give clever friend a VERY nice present.

My 1 year Plan:  EDIT. Don’t waste time. In spare time (after school work, family and urban farming duties) be more disciplined, EDIT, refuse coffee/drinks with friends. Work harder, EDIT, avoid being frivolous, EDIT, avoid whiling away hours on social media. EDIT.

I don’t need an epiphany to tell me that this 1 year plan may not run to schedule.

Over to you. What is your biggest challenge and what do you need to be more disciplined about? What virtuous goals are on your 1 year plan?

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boy and joining Grace for FYBF.


34 thoughts on “A little tableau of trivial importance.

  1. Great collection of life bits! I love love love Blossom’s ears! I also love GOT, and no there is no summer, and winter IS always coming! Funnily enough, or perhaps just quite coincidentally I recieved a rejection letter from a publisher yesterday too. I am on a publisher hunt now but probably need to have the same plan as you, edit, edit, edit… Mx

  2. I think it’s great your manuscript made it past the first hurdle – so many don’t!

    And I love Poppet’s joke at the top – it sounds like you’re doing a great job with her… Sassy but not smutty!

  3. I love that flower quote…might steal it. Also, as for being rejected, you know the story of John Kennedy Toole and A Confederacy of Dunces? Rejected by one doesn’t mean it’s not great…good for you with coming up with a plan, but keep submitting it regardless. Even Harry Potter was turned down by many publishers….

    • Please do steal the flower quote, Lydia, I did! And thanks for those inspiring words -I just need to adopt a better work ethic, as I’d rather do virtually ANYTHING than edit… *takes a Snapchat of Blossom*

  4. Good luck with your editing! I know exactly how you feel about it, I absolutely hate re-reading my work even once. Plus it really is so easy to get distracted. It sounds like you’ve got a good game plan though, so I’m sure it will go well. 🙂

  5. Well I’m glad to hear that you’re trying to take the rejection with a reasonably good outlook, still sucks though I bet. GREAT advice though, and the ego one is hard, when I was a young journo I used to be gutted when they changed my work, now I’m over it! That first meme is GOLD!! I LOVE IT. Bet you have lots of yummy eggy dishes at your house thanks to chooks!

    • Hi Emily, we were enjoying the eggs but now it’s cold they’ve momentarily stopped laying. This always happens with seasonal changes…chooks are such sensitive creatures! We’re into curries and soups at mo 🙂

  6. Ah… pecking order… now I get it! Blossom could be friends with my Chihuahua, Pablo who resembles Yoda with his wrinkled forehead and massive ears! She’s so sweet, and spoiled by the stunning Poppet by the look of it. You should be grateful Poppet is even sending you memes. I get nothing from my lot. I think the fact she sent it to you reveals good parenting.

    Twenty years ago I wrote a short book for a competition and my feedback was, “Crass”. How utterly insulting was that? Me? Crass? I decided to write children’s poetry instead and sent five poems away to one publisher and one poem was published. I was happy after that. ‘Stick that in your craw, I’ll bloody give you crass!’ I thought. I didn’t bother writing anything else for twenty years I was so chuffed. Look at me now… out there and proud to be crass!

    • Haha, so tacky memes are good parenting, thanks Pinks, I’ll bask in that compliment!

      How dare they say that about your story, I’ll bet it was hilarious and very entertaining…who cares about crass anyway? I like crass.

      Very impressed with a published poem, Pinky, it’s SO difficult to publish poetry. I had some teen novels published with Penguin in the nineties, but it’s all a blur (or a dream). So hard to publish now!

      (Please keep up the crass/witty blog!!)

  7. I like to think that with each rejection, something bigger and better is going to happen. although, I must admit, my biggest challenge is to just get out there and get my free lance writing recognised.
    Keep editing, keep believing that it WILL happen!
    Love the florist’s quote. Beautifully written. x

  8. A great attitude, Grace – positive and feisty. I’m sure you will make your free-lance happen – I think it’s happening already! In my case, a certain self-discipline re editing is required… 😦
    Yes, the florist quote resonates – it made me stop in the street and write it down! 🙂

  9. You are a very cool Mummy! I think it’s wonderful that Poppet can send you memes like that. I have a similar relationship with my mother and hope to have one with my daughter as she grows older. And I also think it’s awesome that you use snapchat. I haven’t gone there yet, but well done you!

    So you say parenting gets harder after the early years? Oh deary me what have I let myself in for?

    All the best with the further development of your book, and well done for copping the rejection (calling a spade a spade with you) on the chin (this time, anyway.)

    Winter will be over soon enough! Happy weekend and enjoy the upcoming school holidays!

  10. Great post. And a great way to start with the quote that you have used.

    Coming to the aspect of ‘Rejection’ and how adversely it effects most of us. It ends up making us feel inadequate and the fact that we seem to have lost out. But when you think of what rejection really signifies, is it not really more to do with the ‘Rejector’ rather than the ‘rejected’? If this be true, then is Rejection not really about a mismatch of what is required and what is available, more an adult- adult negotiating process rather than a Adult to child verdict pronouncement? As we shift our perspective in this manner, how does it make us feel?


    • Thanks, Shakti for your insightful observations. I do agree that the whole concept of ‘rejection’ is more complex than we think, involving an understanding of perspective and our own reaction to it.

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  12. Late to this post, Lee-Anne. One person’s rejection is subjective, I don’t care how many double majors or first class honours in literature they may have. Keep at it. I’m sure your MS will be shinier and even more polished after all that editing!

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