Recently I entered the first chapter of my WIP into a competition being run by a publisher. Last week they sent me an email with the results and, even before I’d opened it, I knew what it would say. The first few words came up in the teaser in my inbox. “Dear Wendy, thank you for entering…” Then my brain auto-filled the rest. “…unfortunately, your submission was not chosen as one of the winning chapters.” I’ve had enough gentle let-downs now to know the drill. And, it’s all part of being a writer.
But I was wrong! This wasn’t an email letting me know that I hadn’t been selected. This was an email letting me know that I had WON!
I had to read it twice just to make sure. Then I jumped around the house a bit. Then I ran outside to tell my kids. Then we went and bought celebratory sparkling apple juice to have in wine glasses at dinner (I don’t drink). And I printed out the email to show my husband, who read it when he got home from work and his mouth did this:
Yep, we are not shy about embracing our feelings in this family.
The truth is, we can’t always win. But when we do, and especially when it’s as a result of our own hard work, it really is an awesome feeling.
My little dot on the map has been over-run with peach-faced cockatoos. They screaming overhead, grazing on the school oval and tearing the trees apart. I love them.
My husband is not such a fan of the mess they make though and thus, on Saturday, he had as out in the garden brandishing hoses and squirting water at any cockatoo that looked like it might be thinking about landing in our trees or on our roof. He was like some crazy one-toothed old man you see in movies. However, they outnumber us about forty to one and after some initial success he let us give up.
I once read that one of the most important career related decisions a woman can make is who she chooses as a partner – someone who values her career as much as his or her own and is willing to do things to support it, or someone who sees their career as most important and can only take what they need to sustain it, not give what their partner needs. What this comes down to is mutual respect. Seeing each other as equal partners where, when one person succeeds, they both succeed.
11 years ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life and married my husband. We’d been together for four years before that and, to be honest, if he had’t proposed when he did we wouldn’t be where we are today. But he did, and here we are.
We’ve weathered our fair share of storms. We are incompatible in every way but the important ones. We’ve embarked on the journey of parenting and eight years in have managed to produce two beautiful little boys without killing each other (or them. Some days it’s a close run thing though). He lifts me up, makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, forgives my weaknesses, leads when he must and follows when he must. Apart, we are still whole but together we are so, so much more than the sum of our parts.
Truly and as trite as it sounds, everyday I love him more.
Australian’s love a long weekend. This weekend it’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (but not actually the Queen’s Birthday) and we’ve spent it visiting family. Both my parents and my MIL and SILs live in the same area, so it’s easy to visit them all the same time.
It’s also exhausting.
I remember when I used to sleep in on a public holiday, have a relaxed brekky and spend the day doing generally very little or spending time with friends. Ah, those days are gone. My children get up between 6 – 6 30 am every day. EVERY DAY. But, that said, I think my days are more interesting now.
My dad turned 70 last week. That’s a big deal. Seven decades, a world of travel, military service, one wife, four children, countless adventures. Sometimes, listening to my dad I realise that the world has both been transformed in countless ways and yet has stayed so much the same. He’s part of the baby-boomer generation, literally born into a world recovering from war. I wonder what pressures that must have put on a whole generation of children and what scars their parents must have been carrying with them.
Of course, life is one big adventure. We do our best to find our way with the map we’ve been given, often it’s a bit a tattered and has ‘here be dragons’ scrawled in the corner, and the guides we’ve found, also a bit tattered. For most of us, the vast majority, the adventure has it’s white sandy beaches and mosquito ridden swamps. For some of us it’s all swamp, sadly.
I hope when I look back on 70 years of adventure I can say it was pretty awesome, and I hope that I have achieved as much, and am as loved, as my dad.
I love April. March is a bit of a tease, flashing us with sweltering days and then blindsiding us with a burst of cold weather but April is all mild days, crisp as an apple off the tree, and cool nights touched with the scent of wood smoke. It’s the perfect weather for getting outside, gardening or making mudpies (or a little of both).
It’s not so conducive to actually sitting down and writing but hey, there’ll be time for that when May and June roll round and winter cranks into gear. At the moment I’m enjoying some time with the kids while school holidays are still on, tucking into what the Easter Bunny so kindly left us and doing a little polishing on the manuscript I’ll be talking about with a publisher at the writers conference next month.
Where ever you are in the world I hope the weather is being kind to you.
I have been missing in action for the first half of this month. B2 turned four (where did those years go?), we spent time visiting family and I tried to wrangle my character, Sam, through the minefield of relationships in his life – you know, just the usual like friends and family and his dead father’s secret second family. But all of this left little time for blogging.
On top of that, and pursuant to my last post, we’re still house hunting. This is becoming less fun, I can tell you. The anticipation and, to be honest, the potential to sticky beak through someone else’s house is fun but the feeling of, ‘no, not this one’, is less so. But then, how privileged are we that we’re in a position to be house hunting in the first place.
So, how’s your March been going? I’ve been amazed by how quickly the year has been flying by. What about you? And how are your New Year Resolutions faring?
Today B1 started school. In Victoria we call in Prep and so now, instead of saying that I’m the mother of two pre-schoolers, I’m the mother of a prep and a pre-schooler.
When I was teaching, and bare in mind I was a high school teacher, I found parents somewhat strange – like exotic animals whose behaviour I didn’t really understand. To be fair I was in my early 20s and closer in age to their children then I was to them. I found their expectations (voiced or otherwise) overwhelming. Some of them were protective to the point of bubble wrapping their house, others wouldn’t have known where their children were five nights out of seven. Some of them were dumbfounded by the change in their children following the onset of puberty and were looking for answers – answers I had neither the training nor the life experience to give them.
Now my child has started school. I spent the first six months of his life wishing the time would pass quicker – please sleep, please feed less, please smile, please laugh – and now I don’t know where the time has gone. How did it pass so quickly?
And boy do I have some high standards for my son’s teachers 😉
If your little cherub has started school for the first time this year and you’re feeling a little lost (and maybe a little cheated by Father Time) then know you’re not alone. Like me, you might find it helps to remember what a big, exciting, adventure your child is beginning and that education is a gift and a privilege that not all children in the world are lucky enough to be given.
If you live in a cricketing country then you’ll probably have heard of the sad passing of Phil Hughes. Whether you follow the cricket or not, the loss of a young man in such a random way is heart wrenching, and the grief of people from all walks of life and across generations is a powerful example of our shared humanity.
Personally I don’t follow the cricket, the only thing more boring is golf and televised parliamentary sittings, and it would be wrong of me to pretend that I knew anything of Phil Hughes’ career. But I do know the impact he had on my husband, a man known for his reserve, who is a true cricket fan and an avid fan of Phil Hughes. A man who was truly shocked, stunned and saddened by Phil Hughes’ unexpected death.
From an authors perspective, it’s interesting to observe human nature and behaviour at times like this and, when emotions are new and sharp, to notice feelings and thoughts that you might otherwise have ignored. It’s an education to see how shared grief (or shared joy, fear, anger etc.) is expressed both publicly and on a personal level.
From a persons perspective my heart goes out to Phil Hughes’ family and friends and also to Sean Abbott and his friends and family who are undoubtedly going through a difficult time.
I enjoy writing children’s picture books. B1 in particular gives me any number of ideas for new stories and I can then share them with my own little ones.
Invariably though, if I write a story with a family, there’s a mum and a dad. This is probably because I grew up in a ‘traditional’ family. My parents have been married for over forty years, and when I say ‘parents’ a mean my mum and my dad.
But there are lots of different types of families. Families with two dads or two mums, families with single parents, families with grandparents as guardians. All sorts of different families providing children with happy, healthy, loving homes.
So, does that mean there should be more diversity in the families portrayed in children’s picture books? I think so but I’m curious what you think.
And to be honest, I’ve never written a story with same sex parents. I’m nervous about hijacking a story, which is aimed at entertaining children, with a statement aimed at parents. But that said, it would be nice if diverse families were represented more…