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Showing posts from September, 2010

The turn around...

This is my fourth attempt at writing a blog post in the past two days.  
Yesterday's two attempts were aborted because I felt too much shame about my state of mind.
Today's earlier attempt was very angry about the shame I'd felt about the first two attempts and how it's so unfair that people can't say they're struggling because no-one really wants to hear it, and the latest trick for shutting someone down when they're feeling crap about their life is to point out how much worse other people have it, and how lucky they are to have it as good as they do, even though they happen to be wondering if life really is worth struggling through.
There is no real effort to meet people where they are.  Either you pretend everything is fine - as per a blog link I received on Twitter yesterday (which has also been making the rounds on Facebook.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, look here)...  Or you admit your life feels like it sucks and then you prepare yo…

What makes a good ending?

This is a serious question to my readers, and I'd really love your input!

I'm working on the final draft of my manuscript at the moment, and amongst the myriad of things to look at, I've been told the ending of the book is a bit abrupt.  I won't dispute this because I'm the student and am well and truly prepared to learn.  What I want to know, is what is the right way to end a book.

This is an adventure, but I've purposely left it a bit open at the end because I have a sequel in development already.  Being that I have a continuing story in my head, I can't neatly tie up all the loose ends and do the "and they lived happily ever after" thing, because, frankly, I want my readers to be desperate to get their hands on the next volume.  Still and all, I don't want them to feel like they just had a door slammed in their face, in case they become disillusioned and shirty and decide they never really liked the first book that much anyway...

So, what …

Boys catch up (in photos) and why we love warmer weather!

Pivotal moments...

I started thinking about the process of finding a literary agent this afternoon.  Being a complete novice, I'm really just feeling my way along in the dark.  I came across this interesting piece about the need for, and the process of finding, a literary agent in Australia.  Sounds like it's not just a matter of flicking through the yellow pages (or a writer's magazine) and calling someone up.  I'm not very good with new stuff, and less so with contacting new people, so the thought of having to "put myself out there" is a bit scary.

However, talking it all over with Dave, I realised for me this is a kind of "now or never" moment in my life.  That is not to say there is a point when it would be too late (Okay, perhaps if I died, it might be a tad late to find an agent), but rather that knowing me, knowing what I'm like, if I don't do this now - if I don't make a move to get this manuscript published in the next 6 months (make the move, not…

Can a person fundamentally change personality - without brain injury?

There is a fairly strong agreement in development circles that humans; that is the part of humans that makes each one of us a unique individual, whether this "mind" is anchored firmly and exclusively in brain matter (a product only of our neural activity), or whether it that part of us many like to call our soul or spirit, is a result of nature (that which we inherit via DNA from our ancestors) and nurture; how we interact with our immediate and wider environment.

This development of self, from one's genetics and one's interactions with the outside world, would suggest that beyond a certain point (perhaps the first seven years of life?) our base personality is irreversibly formed, and from that point on, we can not change our basic view of, and therefore reaction to, the world.

A leopard can't change its spots, is how the saying goes - I believe.

Ok, so what if you REALLY want to change your basic personality.  Is that possible?  Can a person will themselves to be…

Perfectly Imperfect Family-Work Balance...

Joining in the party at Picklebums and sharing a part of my perfectly imperfect life, today...

Today was, officially, the first day of the Spring holidays, and in true Melbourne fashion, it just wasn't sunny, nor shiny, nor warm outside.  Dave had a training session to go to, so that left me with four children who were about ready to sell each other into child slavery by 8.30am.

Today, we spent many, many hours doing this...


While I ignored this...


And this...


The former involved enough yelling, accusations of cheating, and demonstrative refereeing from The Mother Figure, to send The Father Figure scuttling off to the supermarket almost a soon as he got home from his training session.  Also, I'm sure I saw an insulation van pull up outside our neighbour's place.  Peaceful and picture perfect it was not (the photo at the top was taken after the fact because I couldn't pick up my camera during the day for fear of having it knocked out of my hands by flailing outbursts o…

I tweet, therefore I am...

Dave and I caught up on an episode of Big Ideas last night, a lecture by Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield on the plasticity of the brain and how today's screen culture may be creating significant (not always positive) changes in brain development.

She strongly emphasised she was neither a Luddite, nor a technophobe, and that there were evident positives to children's, on average, 2000 hours of screen time (time in front of tv, computers, and hand held devices, including smartphones) per year, however, as she put it, with every gain, there is a loss, and often gains are actually outweighed by losses.

She explained that studies had shown a link between low frontal lobe activity in the brain and issues such as obesity, schizophrenia and reckless behaviour in people with acquired brain injury.  Basically, she said that people who live in a highly sensory oriented way, tend to live more for the NOW, for the moment, and the pleasure of the moment, and be damned the consequences. …

Pyjama family, or not, which is yours?

I took this photo this morning on my iPhone (so apologies for the quality, iPhone indoors takes pretty crappy photos, I must say, but I had it at hand (as always) and it was a photo opportunity I couldn't miss)...

When I say "this morning", I actually mean it was between midday and 1pm.  It's a Sunday, and they're still in their pyjamas, which many would forgive because it is a Sunday, and also the first Sunday of the Spring holidays.  That said, it could be 3pm on a Tuesday (if they weren't going to school on a Tuesday) and the picture would be much the same.

Lately, I've become quite conscious of the fact that we're a pyjama family.  Mostly because one of Luey's friends often pops by with her mum directly after school (on their way home) to ask if Luey can come over to play.  After being caught in my pyjamas in the middle of the afternoon on a couple of (consecutive) occasions, I felt compelled (without any prompting from her) to explain that wh…

Just not this week...

I haven't blogged in a few days because, well, quite frankly, I've felt drained.

Melbourne weather leaves a lot to be desired after sunny days in Adelaide, and I'm feeling frustrated about a number of things that I am not in the position to "make happen", but must resign myself to being patient and waiting for.

I have the Dalai Lama on my Twitter feed.  He's a new addition and I'm not a buddhist, so I feel a bit funny about having him there, but what's to say that wisdom can't be sourced from all over the place, hey?

Last night the Dalai Lama tweeted (Okay, Dave and I are fairly certain the Dalai Lama isn't actually sitting in a cafe somewhere fiddling with his Blackberry or iPhone, but for the sake of continuity...),

It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of difficulty
I read this out loud to Dave and his response was, "Well, then we should be just about to breach enligh…

Coming home...

I have come home...

I have not just come home from another thesis related trip to Adelaide.  No, no!  I have come home to me.  Those 60 hours in Adelaide turned out to be a "coming home" in so many other ways in my life.

I got to spend time with my mum.  I get along very well with my mum, now that I'm all grown up, so being able to spend time with her in her home, surrounded by so many of the artifacts of my childhood, was indeed "coming home".

I also came home in the sense of finding like-minded people who are obsessed with many of the same topics and issues that I am enthralled by.  Spending time with writers of all ages (most considerably older than me) was like drinking at an oasis after a long trek through the desert!  This is no poor reflection on my friends, by the way, but it is true to say that my friends do not share many of my interests, and I do not share theirs (because I'm a bit odd, you know).

Which brings me to another facet of "coming …

Cultural Airbrushing...

Post-modern censorship has come up time and again in conversation for me, recently. So much so I feel compelled to attempt to put all my thoughts down in a blogpost, perhaps to clarify the issues for myself, if not for anyone else.

What do I mean by Post-modern censorship?  Well basically, the picking and choosing of things we like in culture and society, and then the discarding of everything else because either it doesn't suit us, or it outright offends our sensitibilities.

Ok, so I hear some of you already saying that you have every right to pick and choose from the wide range of options out there - might I suggest this is because you belong to the "Options Generation"; the children of Baby Boomers, who were offered many choices by their parents and told that "there is always another way".

This way of thinking has many advantages!  First of all, it gives the individuals a sense of empowerment, a sense of freedom from restriction, and open possiblities; which …

Parenthood - The Roller Coaster Ride...

Yesterday was Father's Day.  In this household, it was a very low key affair.  Dave is not well at the moment, he has an upper respiratory infection, these often lead to bronchitis with him, so right now it's just wait and see and take antibiotics which will probably lower his future immunity.  Anyway, where was I?  Father's Day.  I got up unusually early for me, because I was heading out to a fascinating talk at the Melbourne Writer's Festival (pretty much about whether or not we have a soul, though the word soul was never actually mentioned).  Erik reminded me it was Father's Day, and I emitted a few expletives as I realized I hadn't wrapped Luey's present to his dad, or put money in the cards from Erik and Ari...  I made some toast and coffee and left them to go cold (you know, for Father's Day authenticity) while I made a hash of wrapping Luey's present in my semi-comatose state, and then rummaged through my e'er-empty bag for some money (ma…

Anyone suffering from "Active Laziness"?

So, I'm currently reading "The Beginners Guide to Living" by Lia Hills.  It's about a boy who becomes acquainted with philosophy through the need to answer questions about living and dying and the meaning of life after his mother is killed in a car accident.

In the book, the boy is introduced to "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche.  Within the pages of the book, the boy is introduced to the concept of "active laziness", the need to keep busy in order to avoid thinking about one's own mortality, or even about other important things, like what makes the individual happy.  Or, in other words, it's easier to keep oneself distracted than face one's own demons - and for people who believe they have no demons to face, are you alive?

There is always plenty of discussion to be found about the fast paced nature of today's society.  The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, launched back in 1992, reflects on how people today…

Clues in our bodies...

Somehow the comparison of the various hands in our household came up this morning.  Five of us were at home, and Luey was at school.  Erik and I realized our hands were the same length from the heel of our palms to the tips of our fingers.  His hand, however, was all finger length!  Dave remarked that he had piano playing hands, or artist hands (which is really quite perfect for someone who loves to draws), but also that they were very, very different from his own hands (Dave is a rather skilled artist in his own right, he just hasn't done any art in a couple of decades.  Dave would, however, differentiate his learned skills from Erik's natural ability.).

On comparison, we also realized Erik's hands really weren't shaped like my hands either (and I don't have an artist gene when it comes to drawing or painting or pottery and so on - I'm a writer, and beyond typing, you don't need your hands for that).

We were compelled to then compare Erik's hand to Bryn…

Forgotten thinking...

As I walked home from the bus stop this morning, after yet another enjoyable lecture by Jostein Gaarder (who immediately left for Sydney afterwards), I was struck by this thread of sadness that had wound itself around me as I left Federation Square.

The thread was attached to the joy I have felt these last few days in immersing myself in the Melbourne Writer's Festival sessions, and hearing other people talk about the things that move them and provoke them.  This morning, I had a long held opinion completely turned on it's head by a suggestion that just had not occurred to me over the past few years of thinking about the topic (global warming).

It felt amazing to be challenged like this and to find enjoyment in a new, well argued, point of view that directly challenged my previously held opinion.

Thinking on matters a world away from everything I've been thinking and discussing and debating for the past decade or so was WONDERFUL!

It was like taking my shoes off and curling…