Monday, November 29, 2010

Happies...

  • We all enjoyed a lovely visit with mum last week!  I really do wish we lived closer.  The boys loved seeing her, Dave appreciated her doing the dishes!  And we had a fabulous time talking all things writing!
  • In related news, my main supervisor will receive the final draft of my thesis today.  This doesn't mean I'm finished, so please hold you congratulations for now.  What it means is I've got to wait for her to read through it all again and get back to me with the changes she feels are absolutely necessary at this stage.  When I've completed those and it's been handed to the examiners, THEN I'll be finished.  For now though, I've done all the work I can do until my supervisor comes back to me - it feels really odd not having something I should be doing right now...
  • We spent a lovely afternoon with MIL at her house yesterday in celebration of her 82nd birthday.  We left her with a pile of books (which should last her a fortnight, tops, at the rate she devours books!).
  • Erik and Luey are going on camp on Wednesday morning and are so over-the-top excited!  I love that they're excited because I used to dread school camps.  They'll be in a cabin together with six of their closest friends...  I just hope the teachers can cope!
  • I re-coloured my hair yesterday.  It's just amazing how much better life looks from under a firey red fringe!
  • Ari is spitting out sentences like coins flying from a jackpot win slot machine!  Yesterday he woke up, slapped Dave's arm and announced, "Dad, I want toast!", I said to him, "Well, where do you go for toast, then", and he goes, "I don't know".  Mind you, the other day, mum was watching a re-run of Star Trek on TiVo, and predicted aloud that a character would be killed, "You're dead, mate, you're dead..." Seconds later Ari wonders through the lounge room chanting, "You're dead, you're dead..."  Gee, thanks Mum!
  • Ari sings "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" all day long, it's definitely his #1 favourite song.  He's quite happy to share it too, if you start by singing one line, he'll sing the next, then wait for you to sing the third line and so on.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still here!


Yes, I'm still here, though in the past week I've been ACTUALLY working pretty hard to finish up my manuscript and write the exegesis.  I've been up through the night for three of the last four nights, and this morning I finally manage to finish the exegesis - at least to draft stage, though there will only be one draft, which will now be edited within an inch of its life before being submitted.

Mum is coming to stay with us for a few days tomorrow night.  She has a conference, so we don't expect to see much of her, but I'm hoping to pin her down in the late evenings to give the manuscript and exegesis (and all the other bits and pieces, including the bibliography) a final going over.  Then I'll put them on disk and send them back with her.  I'm considering saving the files as PDFs to prevent something untoward happened to the formatting in the printing stage.  Mum will then have the responsibility for getting the two volumes (manuscript and exegesis) printed out so they can be handed to the examiners.

The end is in sight, but in the meantime, keep watching this space.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The food processor brain of this writer...

Last night I realised one of the challenges I face with writing to a deadline is that my brain seems to work a little like a food processor.  At one end I stuff information, experiences and ideas into it.  Those bits and pieces are pushed through a processing system that chops and mixes and mashes them all together, and at the other end the finished product comes out - a little like coleslaw; all ready to be dressed and presented.

It's great in that my intuitive mind works well to take a little bit of this and put it together with a little bit of that, producing an appealing end product.  The problem is, the process cannot be rushed!  If I stuff too much information, experiences and ideas in the first end all at once, I clog up the system and it grinds to a halt. So, I have to carefully feed my mind piecemeal, so it can properly process stuff as it receives it (this process has slowed somewhat as I've gotten older, too, I must say).  Alternatively, if I try to open the machine half way through processing and extract the contents, they're likely to only be half processed and even less than half as appealing as they would be if I just let the process take its course.

The time it takes to process all the information, experiences and ideas and fit all the pieces together so they come out looking appealing is sometimes longer than I have until the looming deadline, and so it becomes a matter of letting the process work for as long as I can to get the best result possible, but having to be prepared to not let the process finish in it's own time, and present a less that ideal product at the end because there just wasn't enough time...

I have next to no control over the process itself...  In a sense it's a bit like a slow cooker as well.  You heap in the raw product, add water or stock, and let it simmer away until the contents are perfectly tender and amalgamated.  You can feel it bubbling away, and you can sort of smell the aroma of what promises to be a hearty and tasty meal, but if you take it off the simmer too early, it'll be undercooked!

I can feel the ingredients simmering away in there, I have hints of what the final product will look like, I sense the sauce is thickening, but I'm also looking at the clock and soon I'll run out of time!  I think I need to give this meal a bit of a stir - maybe turn the heat up a bit, see if that helps?

Man, I'm getting hungry!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Freud has much to answer for!

I was going to post this photo yesterday as part of a rant about how I've supposedly screwed my children's psyches up for life by breastfeeding each of them to the age of 4.5, or there abouts, when each of them decided to wean.

I ended up not posting that post because it seemed kind of fruitless in the face of overwhelming squeamishness in our society (mass media influenced Western society) regarding long term breastfeeding.

The truth is though, we (our society as described above) seems to have many, many ISSUES with our bodies, and our relationships with one another regarding our bodies and this is probably a much larger topic than can be covered in a mere blog post, but I wanted to put down some thoughts regarding this - in reference to parenting in particular.

If you look at the photo of my three older boys above, you'll see boys who just wouldn't stand out from the crowd as unusual in any way.  As a friend likes to put, we "pass for normal" in mixed company and honestly, I think my children are profoundly NORMAL.

Like most typical boys their age, they think jokes about bodily functions are incredibly funny.  They like top 40 music, and all the regular popular movies.  They play with Lego, read Captain Underpants, ride their rollerblades, scooters and bikes, and given half a chance would jump at the opportunity to have a Wii or a Playstation (but, unfortunately for them, they have mean parents).  They all have friends who they hang out with both inside and outside of kindergarten or school.  They're boisterous.  They can be very sweet and helpful one moment, and talk back and irritate one another the next.  They love mum and dad hugs, but not in public because, you know, they've got to be "cool" in front of their friends.  They're all outgoing and optimistic, except when they're shy or feeling a bit like the world is out to get them.  In short, they're NORMAL.

And all this despite the fact that they were breastfed to 4.5 years, and two of them slept in mum and dad's bed until they were 2.75 and 3.5 years respectively.  Despite the fact that their mum always sleeps naked and their dad just in his undies, and both mum and dad will walk naked from the bathroom to the bedroom on occassion.  Despite the fact that they followed us into the toilet until they were 6-7, and showered with us occassionally until that age as well.  Despite the fact that, when asked, we answer all questions about bodily functions honestly.  Despite the fact they've seen my breasts every day, well beyond the point of weaning (they see me breastfeed their little brother several times a day), even when I'm not walking from the bathroom to the bedroom after a shower.

Despite all this supposed exposure to "sex", because the naked body automatically spells S E X in great big capital letters (according to much of society), they are normal.  They can look both my husband and myself in the eye.  They hug us freely.  They don't blush or run and hide when we talk about our bodies.

An anecdote from today...

Ari had just gotten up from his nap, and we were in the kitchen getting him a sandwich when Bryn comes in, climbs up on a kitchen chair and starts reminiscing about the time when Dad took him with Erik and Luey to drop them off at school, and Jennifer was visiting, and when he and dad got home, Ari was born.  Then he asks me, "Where did Ari come out on your body, mum?"

I said, "Ari came out of my vagina."
He asked, "What that?"
I said, "Well, you know how you have a penis and I don't have a penis.  Well, in about the same place you have a penis, I have a hole called a vagina, and Ari came out of my vagina."
At this point Bryn turns to Ari, who is sitting next to him and announces, "Ari!  You came out of a hairy hole!"

This description made me laugh, and run to my computer and post this all over Twitter and Facebook (coz, that's what I do)...  I was still laughing at it a few minutes later, and Erik and Luey wanted to know what was so funny, so I told them.  Then they laughed, and started pointing at each other and chanting, "You came out of a hairy hole!"  Then Luey decided I definitely shaved before I had him, which I told him I certainly did not!

At no point did any of them seem uncomfortable with the discussion of how they were born, and this is because they don't view our bodies as being exclusively sexual, not do they view sex as something dirty, or taboo, to be hidden (honestly, I don't think they think about sex much at all, just yet).

The much troubled Sigmund Freud, who successfully
projected all his own issues onto modern society.
It seems that Freud, who, let's face it, had many, many issues regarding sex and sexuality has infected many of us with the fear that our children will be forever crippled psychologically if they catch even a glimpse of our naked body beyond the age of about 2 (after which most of us can recall very early memories), and therefore all natural practices such as breastfeeding beyond infancy, or discussing conception, pregnancy and birth of a child with the child, should all be avoided because it will lead to adults who can barely function in future relationships, or in society at large.

It seems to me it's the people who were brought up believing their bodies natural functions were unnatural or taboo who have grown up psychologically crippled.  Without our bodies, we could not reproduce, survive and thrive.  We should love our bodies, not loathe or fear them!  That's what I want my children to grow up believing...  Maybe that isn't normal, though - then I guess I reject this new definition of normal!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The lull after the storm.

Last week was a full on week...  No wait, that was the week before.  I've managed to lose an entire week!  Somewhere between getting tattoos, a house inspection, the school fair, and this moment, I've mislaid an entire week!

Hmmm, okay, let me backtrack and try and figure out where it went.  Okay, so there was the fair.  Then on Sunday, I finished the edits mum had sent me on Thursday.  When I rang her on Monday, she had no voice!  She was also not at work, but at home - sick!  So, no more edits have been forthcoming from that corner of the world, but I'd much rather mum got better, anyway.  Instead we decided I'd better get that pesky exegesis out of the way.  So, I joined our local library (where Dave has what would amount to a $9000 fine owing - that's 30c a day, per book, for three book overdue by three years).  When the lady asked me if I'd ever had an account at that library before, I smiled and honestly said, "No.' So, OK, I used to share an address with some guy who owes you nine grand, but lets not talk about that, what do you think?  She was VERY careful to show me the hefty fines for overdue books, though, I noted.

First things first, I'm going to write a bibliography for the exegesis.  So far I've collected over 30 books and articles to alphabetise, Harvard style.  I was going to do it yesterday, and today, but bibliographies don't exactly inspire me to overcome procrastination.  I promise I'll do it tomorrow.

What else.  Oh yeah, there was Bryn's school transition session.  He got to check out Ms S's class, which thrilled him no end.  Ms S was Luey's third teacher, and Bryn just adores her!  She is lovely, though after the kinder parent-teacher meeting on Friday, I have a feeling Bryn has about as much likelihood of being put in Ms S's class next year, as I have of winning Sandown.  The school transition was on Thursday, and then on Friday we had the parent-teacher meeting for Bryn at his kinder.  The teacher opened the meeting by handing us her assessment of him typed up over three A4 pages (to be sent to his school for next year) and said, through tight lips, "So, if you could just read this, keeping in mind it's all true, and all stuff we've already spoken about..." Boded well, huh?

The contents of the assessment basically said that Bryn can be very obstinate when he feels unsure of what is required of him, or how he will perform during an activity.  It said he needs strong, clear boundaries.  It said, he can be slow to start an activity, and avoids participating in some activities altogether (such as singing with actions).  It also said he actively participates in discussions, though he can go off topic a fair bit (!), that he loved practicing for performances for special visitor days, and he was an enthusiastic participant in the incursions and excursions.

Uh, yeah, so he's basically your average 5 year old.  I think she was expecting us to be somehow terribly upset by what she'd written.  Despite having prefaced the reading of her notes by suggesting we'd discussed his difficult behaviours previously, there actually had never been a time when we discussed his behaviour except the one day I helped out at kinder where he COMPLETELY LOST THE PLOT, which seemed to really upset the teacher much more than it upset me.  It surprised me, because well, he's never done that at home, but considering Erik used to lose the plot like that several times a day for 3-4 years in his preschool era, it certainly didn't concern me that Bryn did it once...

I know there have been children at kinder this year who have had much more difficult behaviours than anything Bryn could conjure up (being obstinate pales in comparison to being hostile and aggressive, quite frankly), so I'm thinking maybe the kinder teacher had already had an earful from several other parents who might not have been happy with their children's reports.  She might have been pleasantly surprised then, when we were happy with the report and agreed with her completely on her assessment of Bryn (although perhaps, we're not as concerned about his "difficult" behaviours as she is).  She seems to think he got away with a lot more at kinder than he might at school.  I think she is worrying unnecessarily!

The upshot is, Bryn might not get the lovely Ms S, though, in as much as he's been assessed as needing strong and clear boundaries, and unless Ms S's style has changed somewhat in the past year since Luey was in her class, her more whimsical approach might not be considered clear enough for Bryn.  I'm personally hoping he gets into Mrs P's class (who I also wanted for Erik, but didn't get, Erik's teacher turned out to be great but unfortunately, she moved to another school this year).

OH!  Can you see where Bryn might get his "going off topic a fair bit" from?

This week we also found out that Dave did not get the job he'd interviewed for.  That really put a dampener on things around here.  Dave hasn't applied for another job yet, which he really does need to do, but I think the rejection really took the wind out of his sails.  I had several hours one night of wondering if anything will ever change for the better for us now.  In the end I just had to stop thinking about it, because it's all so depressing, and depression just doesn't get you anywhere...

So, anyway, this past week was a bit of a lull, after the one that preceded it.  I was low on energy, but thankfully it was a warm and sunny week, so that kept me relatively buoyant!

This coming week MUST be about writing, writing, and more writing.  My aim is to get the exegesis written by next weekend.  Only 8-10 000 words, the hardest part is just organising my thoughts.

The following week has to be about the finishing the manuscript, no matter what.  Mum will be coming to Melbourne on Wednesday week to attend a conference on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  She's staying with us, but we won't see much of her as she needs to be at the conference at 8am each day, and finishes at 5pm.  Still and all, I want to send the exegesis and manuscript back with her to be bound and handed in by the 30th of November.

Tomorrow is mine and Dave's wedding anniversary.  Twelve years married.  Thirteen years living together.  Fourteen years together.  It's bit significant to me because it means we've been married as long as my parents were - and happily so, for several years longer than they were.  We don't do much for our anniversary.  Some years we've gone out to dinner, but it's not something we do every year, and we won't this year.  Just another day at home with our kids...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Theories of Creativity...

I've been given the go-ahead to get started on my exegesis for the Master of Arts (Creative Writing) degree I'm attempting to complete this year.  Thankfully, the university has provided a nice little one page outline of the kinds of topics that should probably be covered in the 8-10 000 word paper.  One point indicated that the student (me) should consider the theories of creativity with regard to the novel they have written for the thesis.  I have to admit, I haven't actually read a lot about the theories of creativity (was that in one of our coursework units, I don't think it was!).  So, last night I found myself Googling and acquainting myself with the various theories, of which there seem to be quite a few!

One article led to another and then I came across a really interesting (to me) article by one Robert J. Sternberg titled, "The Nature of Creativity", where he writes, amongst other things,


Personality. Numerous research investigations
(summarized in Lubart, 1994, and Sternberg & Lubart,
1991, 1995) have supported the importance of certain
personality attributes for creative functioning. These
attributes include, but are not limited to, willingness to
overcome obstacles, willingness to take sensible risks,
willingness to tolerate ambiguity, and self-efficacy. In
particular, buying low and selling high typically means
defying the crowd, so that one has to be willing to stand
up to conventions if one wants to think and act in creative
ways (Sternberg, 2003a; Sternberg & Lubart,
1995). Often creative people seek opposition; that is,
they decide to think in ways that countervail how others
think. Note that none of the attributes of creative
thinking is fixed. One can decide to overcome obstacles,
take sensible risks, and so forth.

This certainly seems to ring true for me!  I seem to be constantly "seek[ing] opposition"!

This morning I ran into a dad from our school.  His older son goes to one of the highschools we're considering, so I asked him about it because Erik will be starting highschool in a couple of years time, and apparently everyone starts seriously looking into highschool when their child transitions into grade 5 (which is this coming February for Erik).

We'd pretty much decided on one highschool in our area but then heard a few things about it that made us think it might not suit Erik at all.  Erik is very artist - creative - and like a lot of creative people, he tends to view life differently to his peers.  He's not academically motivated.  He is not sporty.  The other highschool in our area apparently has quite a good art focus, but it seems they also have two streams of education; accelerated and regular, and according to the dad I talked to this morning, the accelerated stream might get all the funds, attention and so on.  Erik would not be in the accelerated stream, so would that mean he'd left to fend for himself?

Honestly, I wish Erik would choose NOT to go to highschool.  At this point, that seems very unlikely.

This morning Dave and I came to the same conclusion; we want Erik to enjoy his secondary education, not to loathe it.  So, we're thinking of staying with our current first choice of highschools, but only for years 7, 8 and 9, and then he can choose from the local Tech or Tafe, or seek out some other option such as an art apprenticeship...There is certainly no reason for him to be restricted by what highschools have to offer.  By the end of year 9, he'll be 16 and eligible to do excelerate yr10 certificate through Tafe and VCE, he could finish those by the time he turns 18 if he wants and go to Uni, or whatever.  I'd much rather that than he feel imprisoned by the school system for grade 10, 11 and 12...

So, yeah, I guess it's good our creative child has creative parents who seem to seek opposition!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The stupidsticious side of Law of Attraction...

Some years ago there was a lot of hoopla about the release of "The Secret".  Oprah went and well and truly got her knicker in a knot over it and dedicated more than one of her shows to telling the entire world about The Secret...  Not much of a secret if the whole world knows, Oprah.  The truth be told, the whole idea of creating one's own reality through perception and practice never was a secret.  Not to anyone who thinks beyond what's for dinner, and does my bum look big in these jeans?

In case you managed to live under a rock during "The Secret" phenomenon (lucky you, it was hell out here!), it was basically a bunch of very entrepreneurial types selling "the secret to life long happiness and success" for the small fee of something like $125 for a book and a DVD (which immediately was pirated and circulated to all and sundry, but they still managed to make a mint from their clever idea).  I mean, you don't have to be Einstein to know that hope sells.  Hope sells better than sex!

Pretty much "The Secret" was that whatever you focus on in your life increases.  So, if you focus on the good stuff in your life, and being happy about what you have in life, your happiness will grow exponentially.  Likewise, if you focus on how miserable you are, then you'll find yourself getting more and more miserable every day...

This is NOT a secret!

Law of Attraction is basically the catch phrase for attracting what you focus on into your life.  I've lived my life by this "law" for the past 20 years (so, apparently, that makes me one of the "exclusive few" who were in on The Secret before someone wrote a book about it - still waiting for my cut of the proceeds, here...  Hello?).  You decide on your goal, you focus on your outcome and then you take the opportunities that present themselves for that outcome to be reached.  The thing is, you don't just sit back and think, "I want to win the lotto", if you want to win the lotto, you have to play, and I'd say you probably have to play as often as you can - which means sinking a fair chunk of money into your goal of winning the lotto.  If, on the other hand, you want to be financially well off, you'd better forget the lotto and start using your money a bit more wisely...  Know what you want, and make the most of every opportunity to see your dream realised.

Some people believe you think it and without doing anything to make it happen, the molecules shift in the universe and it happens.  This is more metaphysical, and I won't dispute it simply because it has been proven that you can change the shape of a water crystal merely by thinking about it...

But the dark side of thinking things into reality keeps me awake at night!  Really it does!  I have a stupidstition...  I believe that if you can make things come true simply by thinking or saying them, then that must also be true for lies...

Now this doesn't deter me from lying.

Yes, I lie.

But it does make me think twice about the content of my lying!  I've had some terrible lies come true!  Like I lied once about having my wallet stolen with a heap of cash in it (I'd spent the cash on something I didn't want to admit to and didn't have the money I needed to pay something I was responsible for).  Then a few years later I had my wallet stolen with a huge wad of cash in it!  Another time, I lied about not being able to get an assignment done because my mum was sick in hospital and - you guessed it - not long after I got a call from her, in hospital!  That's not all, but you get the gist, right?

So, I've never lied about someone dying, because, well, you know...

The thing is, sometimes I lie about stuff that I just shouldn't lie about, especially given that I firmly believe that my lies can become realities, too!

I've lied about my kids being sick, so I didn't have to go to some awful gathering that I just didn't want to go to!

I don't want my kids to get sick, and of course, kids get sick all the time, but I'm obviously willing to risk it just to get out of a tedious social engagement!  I mean, what's a cold right, or a bit of a tummy bug - but then again, what kind of evil, demented mother all but WISHES her child to feel crap because she doesn't want to be bored...

The process of figuring out a lie that sounds reasonable, relevant AND that I can live with possibly coming true when the molecules my lie disperses finally settle into their rightful home, is sometimes more taxing than just facing up the situation I don't want to face up to, so in one way the stupidstition about LOA lying has curbed my lying to a certain extent, so that's good, right?

Do you lie with gay abandon, or do you bargain with the Universe about what you're willing to allow happen so you can avoid the painful truth?

ps - don't tell me you don't lie, anyone who lies on my blog will immediately be besieged with bad luck until they come clean!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

To the Fair!

As luck would have it, when Erik first asked to go to school, it was only a fortnight before that years school fair, and so to get a bit of a sense of our prospective school's community, we decided to go to the fair as passive observers.  Keep in mind that for all of Erik's life, we'd planned to homeschool him, and really, neither of us was (or is) a fan of formal, organised education...  However, we were pretty impressed by what we saw at the fair.  Not only was it all splash and sparkles with fairground rides, a live band, a bar, show bags, face painting, and it's very own professional artshow, but obviously it was supported by a lot of very involved, friendly parents who seemed to enjoy each others company.  Children ran about and there was a very strong community atmosphere. It was quite reassuring...

Five fairs on, and we are even more impressed because now we're on the inside.  We know the people on the various stands and stall, in fact, we ARE the people for a couple of hours each fair day.  Our school has a fair every year, which I hear a lot of schools don't, and every year it's a fantastic event!  For our family the fair is pretty much second only to Christmas as far as family traditions go, and I have to say that I love it because it's something everyone in our family really gets into.  We have had sunshine every single year, which adds to the spirit of the event, but the best bit is, despite getting covered in fairyfloss while working at the fairyfloss stall, Dave actually SMILES involuntarily at the fair.  Our kids get to run around with their friends all day and do fun stuff.  I get to catch up with all the parents I haven't seen much all year (because the past year or so I haven't been at the school every weekday like before).  Something about this fair brings out the best in all our family!

Here are a few happy snaps from this years fair!

The Giant Slippery Slide - I sent Bryn up this and then thought, Oh no!
He'll freak out when he gets to the top...  He didn't, he LOVED it!

The Cha Cha - the only redeeming quality of this ride is that it doesn't
tilt as it spins around!

Littlest man on a mission!  Ari LOVED walking
through all the crowds, he's definitely not shy...

Luey - on the left - climbed all the way to the top
three times during his 5 minute session!

Contained!  Sometimes, mum needs a break too!
A break and an iced chocolate (or two!).

 People, people, everywhere!
The Artist Camp Fair Art Show - in our far too small hall - maybe next year
they have it in Tim's new Gym...  Lots of fantastic art!!!

Erik cruising down the big slide.
Erik and friends on the Cha Cha - don't you love the affected "We too cool
for this ride" look!


Luey and friends in the Cha Cha.  Erik and Luey both spend much of the day
lining up for and riding the Cha Cha with their friends.  They both managed
to squeeze in eight goes on this ride, as well as getting around to everything
else on offer!

Bryn with green and gold hair spray (his choice)
and a Ben10 tattoo!  He decided not to get any face
painting this year...

Ari enjoying a snowcone by the side of the sandpit - funny story:  Ari is
sandpit phobic!  I put him in it and he cried.  Took him out, comforted him,
put him back in it, and he cried again!!!  Odd child!

Bryn going for broke on the Jumping Castle.

Bryn on the Chair-i-go-round!  Bryn kept saying, "
"I'm going on [insert ride name here], be back in a minute" and then he'd
take himself off and come find us when he was done.  That's how at home
he feels on the school grounds.


And last, but certainly not least, Erik posing next to his drawing that was
entered in the framed (official) section of the art show!  His first ever exhibit!
Later in the day, a couple of his teachers took him around to see other former
students work.  Students who had become career artists.  I thought that
was very supportive of them!
Dave and I worked out that between now and Ari going to highschool, we have 10 more school fairs to attend!  Whoo hoo!!!

Friday, November 05, 2010

There is no such thing as the "perfect time"...

I've been very cranky lately because I thought I'd be finished writing my manuscript and essay for my Masters degree by now.  I thought I'd be finished by the middle of November.  I thought it would be a hard slog to cross the finsih line and then I could shift my focus onto different things...

Instead, it's the 5th of November, and right now it looks like I'll still be working on this until the 18th (if not longer, because my deadline has been pushed back so many times now that I don't dare count on finishing at any specific date anymore).

I felt really angry and frustrated by this.  As a friend put it today, I like to work to a deadline, I like to leave things to the last minute, working under pressure works really well for me because I put all my energy and inspiration into the last push.  When the deadline keeps being moved, I just can't keep up that level of energy and inspiration over a period of weeks beyond the original deadline date, it completely wipes me out.

So, anyway, I was feeling resentful of all the delays, and wishing I could just finish the novel and be done with it, whatever state it might end up in...

Then I was thinking about this overnight (insomnia is my constant companion at the moment), and I realised the resentment didn't stem from the writing and editing process itself, but from the timing of it.  With life being as stressful as it is right now, financially and so on, I'm just generally distracted and so, having a deadline looming over my head is adding to that stress and I want it gone!

Then it occurred to me...  In the REAL WORLD, if I was ever as fortunate and talented as my student colleague Catch to get a publishing contract, there would be editing to be done and lot of toing and froing and back and forth and going over and over parts of a manuscript and in the meantime life would not stop, or be conveniently low key.  There would still be home stressors, sick kids, big bills, dramas and so on, and I would have no choice but to carry on anyway because that is the truth of writing - life always gets in the way, and the writer must always just pick up and keep going no matter what.  You can't publish a shite manuscript just because it would be easier to stop editing while your going through whatever life is throwing at you in the moment.  No one would read a poorly edited book.

So, I've decided I need to adopt a new attitude.  This manuscript will be finished when it is READY, not when I'm ready to be done with editing it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Big Week...

It's been a huge week this week, and it's not over yet!

Monday, I was supposed to be going to have coffee with the lovely Jayne, but instead I had to get up with the sparrow farts and trek two hours across town to eyeball my brother and make sure he was still alive and well.  He was.  For my trouble, he suggested we do another tattoo, and luckily for me, his flatmate had the anaesthetic I like to used because I REALLY don't like the idea of needles puncturing my skin.  The first tattoo went so well, he suggested we push on and actually attempt to finish most of the rest of the work I want to get done.  Mind you, by the time we got to the third tattoo we were out of time and anaesthetic, so I thought I would brave the pain - HUGE MISTAKE!!!  That Emla cream works wonders, you have to try it without the cream to know just how miraculous that stuff is!  Ouch!  We had the artwork for all the boys tatts, but not the one for Dave's so haven't done that one.  Also, although his flatmate offered us the use of his colours, I declined getting the colour work done because a) I want to buy the colours for Mike as a thankyou, and b) I would have had to stay the night to get the colour work done as well...

So, now I have five tattoos...

My "Unity of all things" tattoo, at the base of my neck and
Erik's "transformation" butterfly tattoo on my right shoulder.

Luey's "Bringer of Light" Sun/Star tattoo
on my left upper arm.

Bryn's "Heart of love and serenity" on my
upper left breast.

Ari's "Eternal Gratitude" on my inner right forearm.
The boys tattoos have yet to be accented with red, blue, green and yellow ink, respectively.  I am also getting a soaring bird at the base of my spine, which is Dave's tattoo, but that one is still in the design stage.  Mine and Dave's tattoos will not be accented with colour - the boys are because those colours are the colours I assigned to each child as they were born, so they are significant to them.

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup Day.  Another day where things didn't go to plan.  Usually on Cup Day we have a little picnic with the boys and we all watch the race together, but yesterday Dave went over to his mum's to place some bets for her as her best friend who usually does this with her moved to Queensland earlier this year.  I stayed home with the boys and did a bit of cleaning in preparation for the house inspection we're having on Thursday afternoon (24 hours later, mind you, you wouldn't know I'd done ANY cleaning, which is so demoralising!). When Dave got home, he needed to go out again to shop for dinner, and I needed to nap so I could stay up all night editing my manuscript for the changes mum had suggested and passed on yesterday.  Half way through my designated nap time mum called because she needed me to check something for her on the net, so my nap was cut short, argh!  Then after dinner, I sat up until 4.30am doing edits.

Wednesday (today) I tried to go back to sleep after editing but was too cold, so got up and took a shower and had a coffee and went back to bed at 7.30am after Ari had gotten up and had his first drink of the day.  I got up again at 1.30pm, and have been pottering around doing nothing of any consequence.  The sleeping bags for Erik and Luey's camping trip (which MIL has generously offered to finance) arrived today.  We had previously received a donated sleeping bag from my dear friend Leah, but didn't have a carry bag for it, so took up a two for one ebay deal, which worked out to be very cheap indeed.  The new sleeping bags are not snazzy, but they just fine for a school camp.  This evening I have to take Luey to dance, then hopefully by the time I come home, mum will have sent me the rest of my manuscript with edits because I have to work through the night again to get it finish by close of business TOMORROW!  I'm just slightly freaked out about that, but trying to keep it all together because there just isn't time for a meltdown.

Thursday (tomorrow) is going to be MASSIVE, and every so slightly stressful (she says laughing a little hysterically)...  In the morning, after a full night of editing, instead of going to bed, I will be trekking up the boys school to submit Erik's art for the school "Artist's Fair Exhibition".  Dave was originally going to run this errand, but he will be heading off for a JOB INTERVIEW.  Last week when they called him and asked him to come in I was excited, now I'm just anxious.  We so badly need Dave to have a job NOW!  So, if you're reading this, please send us your best because we need it!  Then once we're both back from our respective errands, we have to make sure the house is spotless for the inspection at 4.30pm, AND I have to make sure my manuscript is all sewn up and sent off to my supervisor, EEK!

Friday, I'm meeting Jayne for the catch up coffee we didn't get to on Monday.  Bryn has kinder.  Dave has a driving lesson.

Saturday is the school fair.  Dave is working on two stalls, and I'm herding the hoards around for face painting, fairy floss, rides, and icecreams, oh and Erik's exhibition of his art (yay)!!!  In the evening I'm going to a party on the other side of the city to catch up with friends...

Sunday - well, on Sunday, I reckon I'll collapse in a heap.  But only on Sunday because on Monday I have to start work on my Thesis essay, which I'll have a week to write before submitting for binding...

Teenagers and the failing parent...