The End of Spring

It’s difficult to believe that tomorrow is the first day of summer. We’ve had rain everyday for a week, although we’ve also had sunny afternoons which have been humid as well. I’ve been wearing a cardigan to work, and yesterday, we even switched on the air conditioner (on heat).

Today is no exception – it’s dark and overcast, but not cold. Not that I’m complaining. I’d prefer this weather to heat and humidity anyday.

I just heard on the radio that we’ve actually had snowfall in the one place we receive snow in Australia too – the Snowy Mountains. However, they are saying that these are normal spring conditions and that it’s the first time in many years that we’ve had normal weather. Sounds weird, but who am I to disagree.

The biggest shock of all is that it’s only a little over three weeks to Christmas Day. Now that is scary!

Double Congratulations

Today my niece, Melissa, turned 13 years old. She’s now a teenager and young lady. Happy birthday, Melissa! I hope your day was magical. πŸ˜€

However, Melissa is celebrating more than one special event. Today, she also sat for her Grade 7 exams at the Conservatory of Music. In August, she was the special guest of Roger Woodwood at a concert he gave in our local area. It was a night we’ll all remember and I will treasure my signed programme because it’s not every day you watch a 12 year old perform magic at the piano.

Next year, she will sit the Grade 8 exams and then she will move on to achieve her diploma. After that, the musical world will be her playground.

Melissa, your family is very, VERY proud of you. Congratulations!

A Writer’s Soul

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.
~Virginia Woolf

Whilst looking for inspiration from those who have gone before us, I came across the above quote by Virginia Woolf. It reminded me of a discussion on my message board about using yourself as a character and I thought I’d write about that and some other stuff I’ve been thinking about lately.

It’s true that every manuscript we write has a part of us in it. How could it not? As the author, we are using our own knowledge and thought patterns, and often our values, to get a point across. But have you ever used yourself in one of your stories?

I have.

However, the story was written by me, for me. It was not meant to be read by another set of eyes. It took me a long time to realise that, and I can tell you now that trying to take a person out of a story and replace them with a completely different person is hard to do. I tried it but the story lacked something essential…my soul was missing.

That story has been shelved and I’ve moved on, but I learned a lot during the rewrite of that manuscript. It’s only now that I realise that.

This brings me to the next part of this post. It’s a topic Deborah Woehr brought up a few days ago, and it made me think about writers, blogging and how we want people to perceive us.

This is my online diary. What is a diary? It’s a place to put your thoughts. A diary is never meant to be read by other people, so what does that mean? We censor our words. In writing a manuscript we hide behind words, but in writing a blog entry we censor them instead. Why can’t a writer just write what they feel? Be honest and open, and to hell with what the reader thinks? Some writers do, but no one can tell me that they never censore what they write. If I was told that, I wouldn’t believe it for a second because most of us care what people think. We don’t want the reader to think badly of us, and in the event that we might be published one day, we don’t want our words as an unpublished author to haunt us.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the loneliness of writing. What I was truly thinking and feeling never made it to the screen. I read those words now and cringe – they mean nothing, they sound vague. However, if I had allowed myself to write the post I really wanted to write I would have hurt people. I don’t even know if those people read this blog – maybe they don’t, but I couldn’t take the chance and I’m left with a post that means nothing. Yet, the people I didn’t want to hurt have hurt me, so why do I care what they think?

Part of our soul is in every word we write, so make sure the words are worthy of reading.

2006 – Year of the Writer

Not officially, but for me, 2006 is going to be the year of the writer. I want to have several manuscripts ready for submission by the end of next year, and I’d like to see at least a short story published. Hmmm, means I have to write a few; better get cracking.

This is serious and here’s my plan for the next few months:

1) Do the final edit of the short story for the 2005 Anthology in December 2005.
2) Collect all the 2005 Anthology stories in January 2006 and start submitting.
3) Finish edit of Cat’s Eyes by January 2006.
4) Write a short story (up to 5000) for the Women’s Weekly short story competition. Due beginning of February 2006.
5) Have Cat’s Eyes professional edited in January/February 2006.
6) Start writing Disappearance (sequel to Cat’s Eyes) in February 2006.
7) Do final revision of Cat’s Eyes and start submitting no later than April 2006.
8) Continue planning book 3 and another stand alone novel between now and when Disappearance has been written.

When I relate this to my previous post — a lonely writer is a productive writer, for me anyway. πŸ˜€

Writing is a Lonely Business

When I first started writing, the internet didn’t exist. I would lock myself (not literally) away from my family when I tried to write during the day, but generally that wasn’t a good idea, so most of my writing was done at night when my children had gone to bed. I’d write in to the early hours of the morning, completely lost in the story…and I loved it.

In all honesty, and this will show you have naive I was, I believed I was the only person (who wasn’t published) who was writing a novel. πŸ™‚ Well, at the time, it sounded plausible. Then, I discovered the internet and a whole new world opened to me. I wasn’t the only person writing a novel, there were thousands of others. We found each other and learned from each other.

Yet, lately, I’ve been feeling lonely again. Even though I’m a member of several writing communities, the friends I made have dwindled away. It’s like being in the middle of a party but no one sees you, no one talks to you. Yes, writing has always been a lonely business but it’s never as lonely as when you know the people are there but you can’t reach them. One by one the people I respect are disappearing and although I greived for awhile, I now believe this is happening for a reason.

You see, 2006 is going to be an important year for me. I intend to take positive steps towards getting published and now I feel myself going back to the lonely existence I once had but perhaps that will be beneficial to me. In recent months I have come a long way in ridding myself of internet distractions and addictions.

Although it was painful to lose the friends I made, I have finally found a positive in there which I intend to use to my advantage.

Gaining Weight

My entire adult life I’ve never had to go on a diet but I’ve always watched what I eat. I rarely eat between meals, we rarely have take away, we always use skim milk and I always have three meals a day. I only feel hungry when I’m bored; I’m aware of that and fight the urge to nibble (and I usually win). During this time my weight has stayed between 50 and 55 kg (except during my pregnancies, of course). It climbed to 58 kg once, but it was quick to fall back to my normal range.

Two years ago I had a hysterectomy and since then, even though I have not changed any of my eating habits, my weight has been steadily climbing. My jeans and skirts feel tight around the waist, the blouses and t-shirts I wear no longer feel comfortable yet whenever I complain about it I’m told that I look good. During this time, I’ve done one thing that I feel ashamed of…I have NOT weighed myself because I was afraid of the result.

Over recent months the weight gain has depressed me enough to go out and buy an exercise machine. Well, it was due to that machine that I discovered I have a blood disorder and I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to use the machine. I continue to complain, family and friends continue to say I look good – some say I look healthier and that “middle aged” people do gain weight. Hmmm, don’t call me “middle aged”. Hang on, I’m in my 40’s so I am. πŸ™

Why do people lie? Does it make them feel happier knowing that my weight gain is making them look better?

Why do I say this? Today we went to my brother’s house and we were looking at photos of my son’s 18th birthday lunch. Not only did I get the biggest shock of my life at how “huge” I looked, everyone else didn’t even blink an eye when I showed my distaste at the sight of myself.

I’ve seen my own reflection in shop windows and have cringed, I’ve gone out and bought myself heaps of new clothes (in a larger size) so that I can feel comfortable again but still I haven’t weighed myself…until today!

I’m too embarrassed to tell you what I weigh and no matter how “good” other people think I look, I don’t feel good about myself. The reflection in the shop windows is not the reflection I feel comfortable with. Research tells me that for my height and bone structure I must lose 10kg, which will still mean that I weigh much more than I ever have in the past but it’s the middle age spread that needs taming. I’m not allowed to let my heart rate climb too high because my blood isn’t pumping through my body properly and I go dizzy within two minutes of strenuous exercise. I see stars when I’m doing nothing so what can I do? I can’t allow the weight to keep piling on, but what can I do to stop it?