When I grow up (and some regulation trivia).

Responding to Emily’s Writers Reveal prompt, ‘When I grow up’, my piece is told from the perspective of a teenage girl, Summer Black, a fictitious yet real narrator. Unfortunately there are too many Summers in our classrooms and playgrounds. And the world isn’t always kind to them.

When I grow up

Our theme this term is ‘growing up’. Miss asked us to write an essay on what Scout learned in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, as well as a story beginning with the words, “When I grow up”. It’s an easy topic for me because I’ve already thought about it. A lot. It’s the only thing stopping me giving up. It’s my dream…I hope it will happen.

My new room has a view, a vista of the railway track. It’s bleak (trains aren’t pretty and they’re noisy, cutting the quiet with their dull clatter), but at night my window’s view transforms. When I lie in bed and look up, I see the opaque sky is remote and its vastness dwarfs me. On the sky’s black velvet carpet, silver gems are spread and sometimes they smile at me. When I stare long enough, I seep into the blackness – the dense infinity. The night sky makes me wonder, gives me hope.

When I grow up I’m going to be happy, I’m going to be skinny, I’m going to be happy. When I grow up I’m going to be happy and I’m not going to be me.

Miss Martinello gapes, “Summer, can I talk to you about your story…are you okay?” I meet her gaze with a perky shrug. “Perfectly, Miss. It’s fiction, right?

“Right.” She hesitates, touches my hand, a bird-like caress revealing her feather kindness – like a bird’s wing. I like Miss.

When I grow up I’m going to be happy. I’m going to shed the layers of fat, eviscerate the lard to the hard muscle and bone below. No one ever sees my muscle and bone. Not yet.

“Summer Black, Summer Black, she’s a slut, slut’s so fat!”

It’s Recess and I eat my apple, nibble at the carrot. Rabbit-like. My teeth are large – straight and white but they’re swamped, diminished, in my fat cheeks. No one sees my perfect teeth.

Mum wants to pack treats for school, choc-chip cookies, doughy rolls with cheese, but I won’t let her. I can’t eat at school. Fat people can’t eat in public, it’s a universal truth. Not unless they want to be vilified. Miss said ‘vilified’ was a good word – “expressive” – but it’s an ugly word for an ugly past-time.  So while my stick friends pile in chips, sausage rolls and pasta – hot and tempting from the canteen – they judge me.

“Summer Black, Summer Black, she’s a slut, slut’s so fat!”

“If they’re your friends, Summer, what the hell’s going on?” She doesn’t swear, my mother.  ‘Hell’ is about as bad as she gets. She believes one needs to lead by example. But she’s tall and slim while I’m my father’s daughter. Ex-father. So WTF?

“Summer Black, Summer Black, she’s a slut, slut’s so fat!”

I shielded Mum so long but not forever. All through my fat days, I tricked her. But when I started to purge, when the weight dropped and I resembled one of the wraiths from my favourite zombie movie, she gleaned something.

“Sweetie I’m worried about you, you don’t look…yourself.”

She means I look ill, crap. It’s the black arcs below my eyes, my pasty skin.

She clutches at straws, my dearest mother. “You’re not staying up all night on Facebook?” She has a vague but prevalent unease about social media. It’s a valid point. The schoolyard taunts were nothing to the trolling…

“I’m fine, Mum, and by the way, goths pay good money for this look!”

She laughs but it doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Summer Black, Summer Black, she’s a slut, slut’s so fat!”

I never should have let Jed touch me. But he was popular and I thought I’d be popular by association. Stupid girl! Stupid girl! Too clueless to know he was Claudia’s. Well not yet, but she had her eye on him…she’d baggsed him. I should’ve known he’d post it – thinly-veiled, no names – but they knew it was me. He even used alliteration, probs thought he was clever. “Fingering fat-girl totes not fun!!” Oh the irony, I didn’t even like him. I would blame the vodka shots but that’d be the coward’s way. It was me, Summer Black following Jed into the dark, enticing room.

All my problems coalesced after that. My group, of which Claudia is the leader – Queen Bee of the second coolest group in the Year 10 playground – led the pack. And deer-in-the-headlights-me was such an easy target.

“Summer Black, Summer Black, she’s a slut, slut’s so fat!”

It’s why we left, Mum and I. Left the neighbourhood. New school. At this school no one knows about my dark days, my fat days, my slut days. Except Miss, now. But I can trust her, even though she’s alarmed by my story. I’ve said it’s fiction but she knows. Some say going to a new school is just shelving your problems as you take them with you. But I see it as a fresh start. Everyone thinks I’m weird though, coz I hang in the library most lunch times. If the truth’s known, I’m scared. The steely bluffness is all front.

I still purge, but not as often and I hope one day I’ll stop. I closed my Facebook account but maybe I’ll open again soon. You miss out on a lot of stuff without FB. I’ve kept my Instagram but I only ever post skies. I like skies, they give me hope. They let me see that the world is beautiful, underneath.

 

Now for something less heavy – some regulation trivia:

I’m having a little break from blogging because I want to finish editing my manuscript. Even if it’s never a book, I want to finish. I’m halfway through but keep getting side-tracked into work and other frivolous things such as social media, coffee with friends, painting my nails. Oh and eating cake. Marie Antoinette has a lot to answer for.

But before I say my temporary adieu, I’ll post some pics. First a food-selfie. Love this self-indulgent genre. As if the world cares what I (or anyone for that matter) eats! In this case, it wasn’t even me. It was a random stranger’s breakfast trifle…and it looked so pretty.

Stranger's breakfast trifle.

Stranger’s breakfast trifle.

Blossom update. It’s official, I hate Blossom. She ate my berry muffin. Losing shoes I can cope with, losing triple-berry muffins I can’t. 😦

Contrary to appearances, I'm bad.

Contrary to appearances, I’m bad.

Note from Blossom: Please don’t tell my Queensland boyfriend Pablo but Freddy proposed and he’s already organised the cake… As well as ho-bagness, polygamy possibly runs in my family. 😉

Artist's rendition of Blossom and Freddy's wedding cake.

Artist’s rendition of Blossom and Freddy’s wedding cake.

And speaking of ho-bagness, this photo is from a new flirtless dog park. It was a bit boring.

No dogs to flirt with here...

No dogs to flirt with here…

Teaching Stuff:

One of the advantages of teaching is the longer you’re in the profession, the more you’re beyond embarrassment. As a new teacher I stepped terrified into my delinquent difficult Year 7 and 8 classrooms, with only a strong coffee and flailing courage to fortify me, as I plastered my steely ‘Sergeant Major’ face on. Over the years, I’ve made quite a few errors on the black/white board, (pointed out gleefully by stuents), worn non-matching earrings, different coloured shoes (it was dark when I got dressed), walked into class with my zipper undone halfway down my back and on another occasion with my dress caught up at the back – Jennifer-Hawkins-style (but without the fetching view).  I don’t think it’s possible to shock or humiliate a teacher after a while. You have lots of things said to you – a couple rude or mean – but mostly nice, weird, endearing and funny…or hilair.  The big perk of teaching is, it is always entertaining (Pinky’s latest post on Hector’s ear is a case in point!) Working with kids isn’t ever boring. When naughty challenging Year 10 student Jay said, “Hey Miss, does my neck look buff?” I, naturally, replied, “Yes, Jay, very buff.” The class cracked up but Jay looked quite pleased to have a buff neck. They didn’t get back to work for a while but it broke up the boredom of deconstructing a poem. 🙂

These moments mightn’t be as good as as expense accounts, free lunches or fancy company cars, they’re better. 

And as far as reprimands go, I pick my battles, carefully. I’ll never say to a gum-chewing student as one teacher did once: “If you don’t stop masticating, Thomas, I’ll castigate you!” (Kids aren’t aren’t great with sarcasm or malapropisms). 🙂

Finally, a sunrise. No photo-shopping, au naturel.

View from my room.

View from my room.

So enough about me, what about you? Did you ever embarrass your teacher?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT and joining Grace and FYBF. 🙂

 

A tale of Twitter woe.

WARNING 1: Stop reading/looking right now if you don’t like cute dog pics.

WARNING 2: This post contains inappropriate material (as in a dog smoking and the use of the offensive sexist term ‘ho-bag’).

I'm an upside down kind of a girl!

I’m an upside-down kind of a girl!

Blossom McWoof’s life on Twitter was briefer than Tony Abbott’s red speedos. No, I’m not segwaying into politics, I’ll leave that to Ed at the Tunnel Presents… He lampoons with great wit and panache.

Less than 36 hours after setting up her profile, Blossom’s account was closed with the hurtful words “that user is suspended”. OUCH or I should say, WOOF! Twitter needs to work on their interpersonal skills and bedside manner. They didn’t reply to my email in which I lamented this brutal closure and politely requested they reconnect, but perhaps @BlossomMcWoof wasn’t big enough to warrant a reply (with only 3 followers and one of them was her mother). But it was early days – it takes a while to build a decent following…well a week, at least.

7 month old Blossom hadn’t trolled anyone in her short Twitter-life, not even a DOG, but she’d flirted outrageously with Queensland bf, Pablo Escobark.

My Frenchy Look.

I am Pablo and this is my Frenchy Look.

While Debonair Pablo’s Frenchness was intensely alluring, that minx Blossom was also attracted to his drug-lord persona. She’s that kind of a girl – excited by life in the fast (and dangerous) lane…

Pablo - Mexican drug lord.

Appearances are deceptive: I am Pablo, Mexican Drug Lord.

Trouble is Blossom’s Sydney boyfriend, Freddy, doesn’t know about Pabs. So perhaps it was for the best Twitter stepped in.

Flirting with my Sydney  bf (don't tell Pabs).

Freddy on left. Please don’t tell Pabs! Plea to Pabs, please don’t tell Freddy!

Are we bored yet? Hope not, there’s more…

Blossom’s mother is Poppet and there is a striking family resemblance:

Poking my tongue out at random strangers is fun!

Poking out our tongues at random strangers while driving is fun!

Plus we share a penchant for taking selfies:

Love is cuddles.

Is this my best angle?

Unfortunately Blossom has a tendency to be slutty (which we’re hoping she’ll grow out of). Although de-sexed a month ago, she jumps on her brother and tries to hump cuddle him. It’s not as bad as it sounds – they’re not blood related (no incest here). Nate (Nathaniel – why oh why do Pet Rescue give their dogs human names?) isn’t very impressed.

Give me a break!

Give me a break!

Pets seem to acquire more inventive nicknames than people. Matriarch Coco has the funniest repertoire I’ve ever heard. 🙂  And speaking of nicknames, Poppet has taken to calling Blossom ‘My little ho-bag’ (teen-speak for femme fatale). At least ho-bagness doesn’t seem to run in the family…so far, it’s confined to Blossom.

For my next post, I’m writing about flirting (human, not dog). Alana wrote brilliantly on this topic recently. Apparently the definition of flirting is “acting amorously without serious intent”. Watch this space.

Addendum: As I type, Blossom has just wrecked a 5th pair of shoes (my favourite flats). Grrrrr! If she wasn’t so cute and adorable I’d sent her off to the glue factory (as Napoleon did with poor Boxer in ‘Animal Farm’).

Pre-Blossom:

Lovely bead-studded bow.

Lovely bead-studded bow.

Post-Blossom:

Droopy beadless bow, dripping with saliva.

Limp and droopy beadless bow, dripping with saliva.

Do you have a cute or destructive force in your house? Or both?

Joining Trish and My Little Drummer Boys today for Wordless Wednesday and linking with Grace and FYBF.

A little story (and some regulation trivia).

Continuing on with my short piece, The Appointment, because I am too lazy to think of another blog topic and also because I like stories and wanted to see where this writing prompt would go.

Image credit.

All credit to: Urban Circus.

The Appointment – Part 2

Although feeling a little adolescent, Miranda silently chanted her mantra as she stepped onto the train: ‘You’re okay’. She’d had a few mantras over the past three years since “that awful business”, as her mother had put it. Kathleen O’Sullivan had only censured her daughter once but her bewildered expression stung more than any curt retort. Her father hadn’t said a word, but the look on his face spoke volumes – tomes. He’d already had his piece when she’d moved out and in with Jimmy: “’Shacked up’ with more like! You’re a fool, my girl, if you can’t see the real Jimmy…the man beneath that smooth front.”  Patrick O’Sullivan was proud of his only child. She was the first, the only, member of his family to go to university, but somehow that made the shock of her decision to live with Jimmy worse. It was 1963 and not yet commonplace to live in sin, at least not for good Irish Catholic families newly arrived on these vagabond shores.

Jimmy was everything that her father wasn’t. At times (not often, for she’d tried to expel him from her mind during the past two years), she’d wondered if that had been the attraction. Where Patrick O’Sullivan was dour and economic with his words – joking rarely and only in a grim, scathing fashion – James Nelson was warm and loquacious. Charming. There was no avoiding the fact that Jimmy was charismatic, despite the pain it cost Miranda to acknowledge it. He laughed a lot and had a way of looking into her face with a peering intensity that made her feel as though she were fascinating. No one before or since had ever made her feel that special.

Her mother was less critical and inclined to hope that Jimmy would do the right thing. She hinted about an engagement and Miranda’s heart ached that she couldn’t produce one just to satisfy her mother’s dogged sense of convention. She herself didn’t mind, so heady was her adulation of Jimmy. “Mum, I don’t care about the ring…it isn’t important. He loves me!”

Miranda blushed to think of it now. Enough! She swept the rogue thoughts from her head and opened her briefcase, withdrawing the contract and smoothing it over her knees. Is this skirt too short? She’d been a bit daring but then it was an informal kind of affair. Affair…what a faux par – a Freudian slip! It was an interview, an appointment, that was all. Miranda couldn’t work out which was the more daunting word for her meeting. She felt a bit like a schoolgirl, not a junior partner at Bradley, Stein and Parker.

Her heart began to pump at an eager staccato pace and to deflect her nerves, she at once began scanning the document. She knew just how much reading she could accomplish on the forty minute commute.

….to be continued.

Image Credit

All credit to: My Darling Darlinghurst.

Regulation Trivia.

On writing.  Apparently adverbs are the enemy. Experts of a high calibre have warned writers and would-be writers (who are writers anyway as they write), to avoid using adverbs because they’re clumsy and bad writing. My friend Pinky is working on a novel and she’s been advised not to go down the adverb-path-of-ruination, however, I am sceptical. J.K. Rowling got away with an abundance (but then she was J.K. Rowling) yet Stephen King hates them. Jane Austen rarely used them but ‘Adverb’ was Charles Dickens’ middle name. That probably gives us modern wordsmiths scribblers carte-blanche. 🙂

I’ve only included ONE adverb in the above little piece and feel very virtuous. But before I become overly pompous, I’ve used twenty four adjectives! 😦

Food Selfie. I frequent a lot of cafes because I am a decadent and self-confessed cafe whore. Also, it’s easier to meet friends in cafes rather than subject them to my inferior coffee and cake. I recently blamed Poppet for taking ‘food selfies’ and posting them on Instagram but if I’m honest, snapping pics of nice food is a teensy bit addictive.

I simply had to take a photo of this when I caught up with some friends in the school holidays (that was 2 weeks ago, but we all know I’m a bit slow with posts). This gastronomical experience was a first for me – a Scone in a Pot. BizarreA purist would be appalled as I don’t think it’s etiquette to dig scones out of earthenware pots. 🙂

Scone in a Pot (bizarre)

All credit to: ME!!

Enough about me, what do you think? 🙂

  • Do you to prefer to have friends over instead of going to cafes? It’s certainly easier when you have young children. But then you miss out on all the gossip when you’re stuck in the kitchen frothing milk and opening packets serving freshly baked muffins.
  • What’s the rule on adverbs and adjectives? Do you like your prose richly descriptive or spare and economic? Seriously, life is too short to stress about parts of speech – even in the interests of your epic masterpiece!

I’ll leave you with a meme my Pinterest addict expert sent me. It highlights the perils of online dating superbly (another adverb – why oh why are they so bad?)

pinterest - pitbull

 

Next time, I am moving out of my comfort zone with a post entitled ‘My Friendly Stalker’, on flirting – a true story. However, on reflection, I may not as it shows my character in a very poor light…

Linking up today with Jess and IBOT because, well, it’s Tuesday. Joining Grace’s FYBF  for her bevy of blogging brilliancy. 🙂

*Clutching the baton*

While this post deals with the much vaulted topic ‘Why I Write, I must first be consistent with my reputation and blog title – Important Trivia – and start with a meme.

 

Image: Pinterest.

Image: Pinterest.

An array of dazzling blogsters, from the famous Mrs Woog to the infamous Pinks Pointer (JOKE), to that feisty queen of hawt hot (spelling counts – at least in my classroom blog 😉 ), the Fab Mumabulous…it’s now down to little moi. *Attempts stoicism under pressure to be entertaining and witty. Loses battle and buckles. Reaches for wine tea*

This move of Pinky’s has propelled me from blogging complacency to posting twice in 3 days. “Ho hum” you say but for a novice who only posts once a fortnight, this is traumatic!

As I’ve alluded to previously, I don’t have a niche. I am niche-less.  But rather than be scarred by this gaping hole of niche-lessness, I’ve acknowledged – like many bloggers before me – that as well as narcissism, blogging in any form, is therapy. Coupled with abundant coffee and cake, wine and cheese or magic tea, it is far more enjoyable to baring (or is it bearing??) one’s soul to an expert.

Work Stations (pretentious moi?)

I rather like the term ‘work stations’. It’s a bit like the ‘learning spaces’ that schools and education are fond of, and lends a certain gravitas to my frivolous penning.

I am incapable of remaining in one spot.

Desk, kitchen bench, gazebo and garden.

Desk, kitchen bench, gazebo, garden.

Down to the business:

Flippancy aside, I was flattered – honoured – to be mentioned by Pinky, whose eloquent wit is legendary in the blogosphere. However, such an honour involves reigning my usually wayward ideas into the semblance of order:

Why do I write?

In short, because I enjoy it. I didn’t write as a teenager as I thought I was much too cool for doing anything so nerdish. But one of my best writing memories is sitting beside the sandpit writing long-hand, while my toddler made a castle. I was lucky enough to have this manuscript published by Penguin as a little teenage novel – This Summer Last – a big fluke really, since it’s not high literature. It’s about loss and deals with the theme of grieving. Heavy stuff I know, but I’d just heard a true story about a family who’d experienced a sudden death of a child and I thought about how difficult this would be. I based my book around their inability to come to terms with the tragedy.

Again fortune beamed kindly on me and I won the Ashton Scholastic Award for Older Readers with Jake, about a damaged city kid, fostered by a family in the country. There was another book but before you hate me for all this insufferable bragging, they’re all out of print and only available in the National Library Archives. Haha, so much for fame and fortune! 😉

I got very busy with more kids and teaching in High School so writing took a bit of a back-step until recently when Poppet was badly bullied, (cyber and face-to-face). I wrote So Not Funny, as a parents’ and teachers’ resource, releasing it as an e-Book. I was advised to start blogging, but have never before used my blog space to promote my book (except now – please don’t hate me!)

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

I’m not sure, except that I am VERY flippant and much of what I babble about is either tongue-in-cheek, ironic, silly, or all of the above. I probably include too many chook and dog pics, but hey everyone has their Achilles’ heel.

 How does my writing process work?

Randomly. As the above fancy collage suggests (for a non-techno person aren’t you impressed?) I am hyperactive and can’t sit too long in one spot. So when I’m not in the classroom or attending to domestic/family/farming matters, I’m hyped on tea and writing something.

What I’m Working on.

I won’t bore you because I’ve already written a post about my brutal rejection by a large publisher for my latest literary masterpiece little manuscript, Non-Compliance. Suffice to say, I am EDITING. This is a painful process, involving a self-discipline that is quite foreign to my character. So, my writing consists of:

  • shopping lists.
  • marking students’ work and writing tactful suggestions on essays, stories et al.
  • new units of work to stimulate class into brilliant adequate English skills.
  • ‘to do’ lists (to make me a more efficient, productive and better human being).
  • posts – the best fun of all.

Now it’s my turn to pass the baton to two bloggers, and it was a difficult decision as there are just so many brilliant bloggers out there. I’ve chosen Deb and Susan, each accomplished and eclectic in her own way.

But just before I leave the subject of blogging, one of the things I love most about this type of writing is – corny n cheesy as it sounds – the friends I’ve made. And the comments. I think I can safely liken the high of a delightful comment to a hit of ice (in my cocktail of course).

Credit: Pinterest.

Credit: Pinterest.

I can’t claim credit for any of the silly pictures I include in my posts – they’re down to Poppet and a funny dog-friend. (I do, however, claim credit for being consistently silly).

Over to you. What’s your best skill – within or without the blogosphere?

Just added my link to the delightful Always Josefa and Maxabella Loves and their ‘Why I Write’ link-ups. Joining With Some Grace’s FYBF, as it’s Friday. 🙂

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.

The right time.

Meet Blossom!

Meet Blossom!

It’s been over three months since she died. Although Daisy was only a dog, Poppet wasn’t moving on, she was bogged down, bereft with grief. As mentioned in A Little Tribute, she couldn’t recall a time before Daisy. So, very impetuously, I jumped in the car and drove to a faraway place to rescue Blossom…and Poppet, who would never have made the decision to get another dog – she felt guilty and disloyal even thinking about a replacement. Blossom isn’t a replacement. Daisy was unique and so is Blossom.

Since this photo was taken, Blossom has matured morphed into a minx, creating joy havoc all over the place. Basically, the pic below encapsulates Blossom.

Who have you rescued lately, animal, vegetable or human? Or maybe you’ve been rescued rather than the rescuer – restored and revitalised by someone or something…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Trish and My Little Drummer Boys and linking up With Some Grace

SERIOUS and other important trivia…

Those of you who read this blog and they’re aren’t all that many, (but it’s QUALITY not quantity that counts right? 😉 ) understand that flippancy is my middle name. That my preference in writing posts is for tongue-in-cheek, self-mocking nonsense about chooks, dogs, coffee and Poppet, although anyone who is the parent of a teenager or remembers being a teenager, will appreciate that teenagers and in particular, teenage girls, are anything but trivial individuals. And indeed Precious Poppet is every bit an important and high-maintenance individual.

Autumn Perfection.

Poppet and Autumn Perfection.

 

S & M     D & M

Occasionally though, I do get a bit existential deep and meaningful and wax on about something weightier, more philosophical.  I’ve read a few insightful posts this past week or two on a variety of serious topics – too many to mention now, so please don’t be offended if I’ve commented on your post, but haven’t mentioned it here.

One on incivility in social media stands out: Let’s Talk Twitter and Trolls and Dinner Parties, shall we? Kat’s post looks at ‘trolling’ and general impoliteness on social media and urges us to engage in virtual discourse as one would do with face-to-face discourse, with good manners and decorum. This post made me think about life before social media and I got all contemplative. Of course, there was work, family commitments and writing a year ago, before I started writing a blog and twittering, and I was very busy but it was a different kind of busy. I didn’t jump with glee when I received notification of a comment or an email to inform me I had a new follower on Twitter. I was a rather simple creature in my non-virtual world. I didn’t squeal with girlish delight when my tweet was retweeted or avidly read a particularly warm and charming comment on my post. I was spared the pleasure, or pain…if my tweet disappeared unanswered into cyber space or my post languished comment-less. I wasn’t needy. I think I was a bit cooler.

Yet there’s so much good about social media – engaging with clever and interesting people everywhere – the sheer scope of talent and opinion is vast. They might not be real friends in the sense of those we meet up with regularly for coffee or brunch or dinner or just meet up. But real ones, nonetheless.

SERIOUS

I read several brilliant posts written on ANZAC Day and its significance and one lingers:  ‘Reflections on the selflessness and sacrifice of some ordinary Australians…’ I’ve never before read anything more lyrically worded on war and its devastating implications than that of Wing Commander Sharon Bown. Simply beautiful words. Then there’s Majoring in Literature, an erudite blog that’s good value, reviewing books with a close understanding of the text, combining travel and history, interspersed with beautiful photos.

And there was Deb’s interesting post on idealised TV shows and life envy: ‘Why I won’t be watching Offspring.’ I seriously believe ‘life envy’ has increased exponentially since the advent of social media. There might have been perfect people with perfect lives around before but we didn’t know about them. We were spared their perfection.

Bad Behaviour and Girls’ Schools.

Jonah Takalua has a lot to answer for. I recall when Summer Heights High came out  a few years ago and Year 8 boys thought it was funny to draw dictation on the black/white board. They chanted “Puck you, Miss. JOKE Miss!” with monotonous regularity until I wanted to send them all back to Tonga, except they weren’t from Tonga. They were typical Aussie kids just trying to escape writing essays.

Image courtesy of: futuremusicgroup.com

Image courtesy of:
futuremusicgroup.com

Jonah from Tonga is back. No wonder Pinky (that witty minx blogger I know) wants to work in a girls’ school. This post is HILARIOUS: ‘Why I want to work in an all girls’ school!‘  And you don’t need to be a teacher to appreciate it. (Apparently smiling – even the act of stretching your lips in a grinning expression whether you feel happy or not – releases feel-good endorphins that literally lift your spirits). I guarantee that after reading this post you’ll be giggling, very naturally. 😀

CHOOK UPDATE – THE STORY OF RED.

We bought Red, Snowy and Blacky as two day old chicks  all ostensibly GIRLS. Snowy and Blacky were feminine hens but Red was always a bit butch blokey. But hey we’re not discriminatory about gender in our family, feathers or no feathers. But when she he started crowing pre-dawn, a VOCIFEROUS TRILLING “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO!” it was time to take Red back to the farm (we’re in the middle of suburbia!) I should’ve noticed before this, especially when she he was mounting cuddling the other hens in an unplatonic way. The Sexer had got it wrong. (Bizarre as it sounds, there is a profession/job entitled “Sexer”. They look at chicks’ private parts and deem them male or female…Sometimes Sexers get it wrong).

CHICKIBABES.

growing chickadees

They’re getting bigger and have moved to a larger pen, but I’ve observed an undesirable hen dynamic: Lasquisha – the biggest and bossiest – dominates. Unfortunately, the pecking-order is alive and flourishing in real life. Lasquisha keeps Cinnamon, Princess and Lacey under control. She pecks them on the head for no apparent reason except to show she’s the boss…a bit like the classroom/playground bully, really.

I'm boss!

I’m boss!

Who is big and bossy in your life? Or are you the boss? And I’m not being sizeist either, I mean big in the metaphorical sense…

Linking up today with Rhianna and Thankful Thursday which has made me focus on the things I am grateful for: I’m thankful that Lasquisha can’t boss me around (I just can’t avoid flippancy!) I’m thankful that Poppet is no longer being bullied. And I’m thankful for the dying splendour of Autumn leaves. Is there anything in your life that you’re thankful for?

Joining With Some Grace for FYBF

Monument. A little tribute to Daisy.

Linking up today with FYBF and With Some Grace. Happy Easter!

IMG_0479

 

Monument:

  1. A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a notable person or event.
  2. A statue or other structure placed over a grave in memory of the dead.
  3. A building, structure, or site that is of historical importance or interest.
  4. An enduring and memorable example of something.

Despite the various definitions, the word “monument” makes us think of lofty statues and grand architecture. This little monument is something quite different. No crowds flock to admire its gravitas or muse on its symbolism and place in history. This monument – placed recently – engenders raw feelings about a tiny dog that passed in and out of our lives, so quietly and magically. It’s a tribute to Daisy:

IMG_0243If you look closely at the tile in the centre of Daisy’s garden, you’ll see a daisy etched into the stone.

Linking up today with Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument. Do you have a favourite monument? Is it grand or modest?