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READ WRITE INSPIRE. Welcome to my Words, a place devoted to making Reading and Writing for children more Inspired.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Made it

Following the last post which endeavoured to enlighten, enrich and enhance the lives of others, I now just have to share that which has enlightened, enriched and enhanced my life this morning...I WON.

Happiness is a numbness from the toes up, trembling fingers, nervous butterflies in my tummy and watery vision. I stop to ponder how many other fledgling writers must have experienced these sensations before me. Thousands no doubt, but that doesn't dilute the sensational news that my story, PS WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS? was chosen as one of the winners of the Morris Publishing Australia Full Publishing Contract Competition.

Elaine Ousten and the good folk at Morris Publishing have deemed the story credible enough to be shared with the world at large and I am thrilled to be able to make this happen with them. Can we do it? I've no idea....after all this is my first publishing contract. But somewhere amidst those butterflies is a tiny voice whispering...Yes you can.

Dim's Useful Clayton's Writing Tip # 1 (the tip you have when you've something useful to share that is not about writing)

Owing to several inscrutable Chinese genes floating throughout my system, I have a typically inherent inability to throw things away coupled with an innate abhorrence of wasting anything. So it happens, I am able to share with you a 'waste not want not' tip you may wish to adopt in the interest of recycling.

You know those incredibly expensive yet scent rich oil diffusers that always seem to last 20 days less than the prescribed 30 days? Well, once the oil has diffused, instead of chucking out the bamboo reeds, tuck them in between towels and sheets in your linen. Slide a few into your smalls drawer or tie a ribbon around a couple and hang them in your wardrobe.

The pervading scent gently perfumes your linen and clothes in a way that out lasts the scent of fabric softener and because the reeds are impregnated with oil but no longer wet, there's no danger of them staining anything.

If you like a subtly scented world in which to exist like me (because it helps me feel good and feeling good helps me write gooder... er... better), then give this a go.

Because they say blogs should be helpful...Hope this helps.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Welcome to the world

Any writer will tell you that the moment an idea is hatched and comes to life on the page for the first time, is a wondrous and momentous occasion indeed.

For me, the first draft of a newly conceived picture book is cause for minor celebration.  Nurturing embryonic thoughts into fully developed words and stories is nothing short of miraculous in my world.

Any new mother will tell you that the immediate moment after birth, after the pain of extraction and delivery is over, is full of indescribable wonderment and joy. And like a freshly written manuscript, a new born, whilst largely ungainly in appearance, fairly wrinkled in places and in need of a good buff up, is undeniably the most beautiful thing its creator has ever laid eyes on.

My urge to share that beautiful first draft is comparable to an equally mad belief that the rest of the universe cares, wants and needs to see photos of my new born child in spite of no genetic link to it whatsoever.

I reluctantly suppress my desires. There's plenty of time yet to share the brilliance with everyone. And truth be told. It's not that brilliant. We still have a lot of growing up to do - together. It's just the exaltation of giving birth; the pride, the surging hormones, they often cloud ones judgment, making it hard to see past the memory of that first glimpse of what you're certain will be your greatest life's work ever.

But now it's time to put my baby to bed.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Start as you mean to Finish

Two weeks ago, school holidays began for Miss 6 with a Slushie; cola flavour if you please. Yesterday it ended on the same flavour. I indulge her. What's a little extra sugar on the holidays anyway, right?

The consumption of this latest cupful of artificial colours and flavours took place at an 'old' new favourite picnic spot of ours in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Hinze Dam. The reason for heading out on such dismal, cold, grey day: Me. I was restless and reluctant to relinquish my hold of the school holidays in favour of the rigorous, routine the new school term was about to unleash. In short I needed a change of scenery. So we packed the picnic basket and umbrellas and headed for the hills.

Revamped Picnic area (on sunny day)
We were not disappointed. Scenery 10/10. Facilities 10/10. Information 10/10 (cool visitors' centre) Slushies 10/10.

And were we fazed by the drizzle? Not at all. We timed our walks, including a trek across the dam wall, in between showers. We gazed out over Sheltered Bay and Pelican Point as mist melted across the water like butter on hot toast.

And we revelled in the solitude of our surroundings; well we did until four wagon loads of visiting Indians descended. God love their cauldrons of steaming rice and fragrant curries. Certainly put our humble sandwiches to shame.
Hinze Dam

After they'd left and my lot had trooped off to do their own thing, I enjoyed ten minutes of unexpected serenity. I stared off into the green filled horizon of the picnic area, mesmerised by the rhythmic drip of raindrops on the shelter's tin roof and the lemony scent of wet eucalyptus. And I realised that all endings must have beginnings. That's necessary. That's important. Realising where these endings and beginnings are is not quite so important. Unless you are so desperate to find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that you've forgotten that rainbows are actually round. True.

In short: I may not have picked up the pen much over the last two weeks. But for us writers, it's as much about the preparation as it is about the actual writing at times. For me at least. School holidays, minutes of solitude, watching my little girl skip under a pink umbrella with her cola Slushie, all allowed me to sweep clean the desk of my mind so that the next thing I write on it will be clearer than the waters of the Hinze Dam.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

What's Up Doc?

I admire the Mums who work over the school holidays with barely a minute to spare at the holiday care centre doors. I applaud the Mums who juggle toilet cleaning and activity time with their youngsters and still manage to get their hair washed - once a week. I stand up on my chair and cheer loudly for Mums (and Dads for that matter) who can find islands of solitude from which to WRITE whilst supervising happy holidaying kids.

You know who you are. You welcome the brief hiatus from routine time keeping, lunch making and shouting imperatives with open lap tops and crackling creativity. You rack up absurd word counts, conjure up amazing plot twists and spend real quality time with your favourite characters, beside your family members of course.

Me, minus the cool boots and pink ears and clean hair
Oh how I envy your productivity, your drive, your courage.

Me, well, I want all these things too. But my school holiday time always seems to dissolves into a revised routine of time keeping, picnic lunch making and slightly less shouting. With precious little time for anything else. Sorry hair.

However it also involves numerous big girl / little girl days out, shopping, train trips to the big City, more shopping, unplanned excursions to the beach, play dates, sharing strawberry ice creams, cooking sessions, singing ridiculously loudly to our cranked up favourites, and at this time of year, more chocolate Easter eggs than Santa has long red pants. And I like it like that.

She's only young once. Writing is fun. School holidays are more fun.

I have the rest of never to write.