Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

I was raised a Catholic and unwittingly consumed all the usual religious teachings over my formative years, including the most ridiculous of all: ‘turn the other cheek’. For years I think I actually believed that heaven would be attainable if I gave the horrible people I met (between the nice ones that is) the opportunity to be horrible…again.

My Zambian friend once said to me that I had the patience of Job. She was right, I do…or did. Most of my blog readers would know this year has been monumental for me. In January, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and have spent most of this year fighting through some pretty hard treatment yards. When I look back on the person I was before cancer, and now, a lot has changed.

One of the most significant of these changes is in my tolerance of people who offend, who are rude, who have no self-reflection compass, who are arrogant and thoughtless or those who believe competitiveness and ruthless self advancement (of the materialistic kind) is ok. Just like Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” creed, ego-based behaviour that seeks to dominate or compensate for an undiagnosed failing within is not excusable or ok.

Post cancer diagnosis and treatment, that good little Catholic girl has finally been erased. There is no more ‘turn the other cheek’ for me these days. Life is too short, and peace of mind and happiness are gifts that should be fiercely protected.

And the Gordon Gekkos of this world? Well let’s just say they can make friends with like minded people. It’s one party I won’t be lining up to attend.

Every morning multitudes of people wake up and reach for their phone to check their facebook newsfeeds. On their specially crafted reel of favourites, they’ll scroll through and maybe like or share content with other users. Instead of going to websites, perhaps even newspapers now, people open facebook for connection to society and the world.

It’s the portal to end all portals; one that sucks us in and keeps us there. There are quizzes and tests to take on facebook that predict everything from which movie star you look like, to the year you are going to die. It’s both infotainment and a humongous time waster.

I took one of the tests once – the one about which celebrity you look like. I got the ‘grumpy cat’ – a facebook famous identity. Yes, it’s a real cat who looks grumpy and has more than 8,000,000 followers.

Are we stupid to devote so much time to an artificial and I would say influential learning environment? As of the third quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.55 billion monthly active users. While the grumpy cat mightn’t have much to teach us, the news, lifestyle and new age sites might. Just about everyone – artists, authors, the Dalai Lama – is on facebook.

I remember when I first started out on facebook. I liked Oxfam and the RSPCA, spiritual sites and the New York Post. As newspapers realised the news distribution had entered a new era, they too began to build their facebook platforms but the twist for them is they don’t control the advertising dollars. Facebook does.

And it is attempting to control our memories now too. Aside from the greeting facebook gives you when you logon in the morning, it is now providing you with ‘anniversary’ posts for you to share – so you and your friends can reminisce.

What’s next? Hopefully it won’t attempt political influence though I’m sure there are subtle signs there if you looked.

I would really ‘like’ to take a break from facebook for a week. It would take real discipline, as I’m one of those people who reach for their phone and newsfeed each morning upon waking. Someone once likened that to reaching for a glass of whiskey. They might be right.

It’s raining here. The air is still, although the clouds overhead are heavy and grey. Despite the lack of sunshine, it’s comfortable, warm and welcoming within my humble abode. Such luxury; to have the time to write this blog post. This time last year I was toiling away, completing multiple jobs, juggling people and deadlines, in an office where my colleagues were equally busy, stressed and strained.

In February this year I made the decision to take some time off and focus on my health. 2014 had been a tough, tough year and it, along with a backlog of decades of hard slog, child raising and getting through a long and merciless to do list, had taken its toll. I was sick and I needed to get better. So I removed myself from the stress of an executivebless level job and burrowed into my home haven. Six months later, there is no resemblance between the me of last year and the me of now.

Often it takes a health crisis to bring on an epiphany. My realisations are simple – all he best ones are – I’ve realised that the things I was focusing on and allowing myself to be burdened with were really very trivial. We are given a short time here; no-one is immortal though we tend to act like we are, and yet we waste precious energy on the people and situations that don’t matter.

I used to worry about the office politics or get resentful when I was overworked. I stressed over my children, money and the future. I looked for approval in all the wrong places, and for the wrong reasons. I missed the moments that mattered because I was too preoccupied with my worries. I was tired all the time. The truth? I was holding onto the edge of the cliff by my finger nails. Looking back, I wondered how I kept going.

Now, I’m in the now. I am conscious of the rain, getting heavier on our tin roof. I have my dog at my feet. He understands my slightest expression. I answer a text from a friend, wishing her well. I have quality interactions with my friends now – I used to fit them in vaguely and infrequently before. I have time for my writing and to immerse myself in literary journals, books and the writing craft generally. I notice the passage of time, and indeed the interplay of time, and I hold it in my vision, grateful that I have it.

I don’t take anything for granted anymore. The now is my sanctuary and it sustains me like my previous chaotic, high achieving, life never did.

I have had a few momentous happenings this year also. After years of slogging away with my creative fiction writing, I am beginning to gain traction as a creative writer. Earlier this year, I was selected among 25 other writers from around Australia for a writing mentorship program. The judging panel thought my non-fiction manuscript had merit. Just this week, I also found out that my horror novel ‘Blood Visions’ would be published by Whiskey Creek Press, an imprint of New York based Start Publishing. Also, one of my short stories ‘Dark Star’ was chosen in an upcoming, and successful, horror anthology series.

All these happenings are welcomed and gratefully received, but they are not the main game. The main game for me is to continue to live without complacency, and within the full awareness of the gift of life.

My novel ‘Blood Visions’ is due out in November. If you would like to read more of my writing in the horror genre, you can head over to Amazon to find my collection of horror short stories ‘Evil Imminent’.

Bloggers share a lot of information with their readers. They share the good times and the bad and they invite people into their most intimate thoughts, feelings and fears.

Over the years I’ve written columns for newspapers, about my experiences with juggling motherhood with work and even a column called “Chinwag”. More recently, my columns covered diverse subjects from legal rights to parenting and good health.

This blog is dedicated to exploring what it takes to be human and a writer. It gives me satisfaction to touch on subjects we’ve all experienced and to find a common ground. Today, I’m feeling sorry for all those who are going through tough times. Whether it be ill health, emotional despair or grief, the one thing you need to know is that Iphone4 794you’re not alone.

If that’s the way you’re feeling, take a look around at your family and friends and see just how much they care about you. Sometimes people don’t tell you nearly as often as they should that they care, but they do. And it’s hard to interpret someone else’s feelings when you are sitting in the lonely corner.

There’s a way out of that corner. It’s simple; it’s just love.

So remember next time you feel you’re alone, you’re definitely not. There’s love around you for sure. You just need to open your eyes and see it.

I’m venturing outside now to play with my dog Koster. He’s a wonderful companion and a real member of our family. Dogs are unequaled. As animals they have evolved to form a unique relationship with humans. They understand love, loyalty, affection and companionship.

They give and they respond to love. I think they learned that from humans.