Friday, December 28, 2007

Gramma's Diary Has a Home!

Regular readers will remember how exciting it was for the Australian side of the family to get to read my Gramma's diary from Canada ... well the story continues. The diary has been doing the rounds of family and recently returned to me again.

This time it had been with the namesake of its original owner. My sister was named after my Gramma you see ... so she really enjoyed having a read and finding out that they had some things in common. My sister was lucky enough to know and love Gramma (she died before I was born) ...

Anyway having had her turn reading it, my sister made a beautiful box to keep the diary in - hand painted with her folk art. It was SO OVERWHELMING to receive this! It is painted with my Gramma's favorite flower (the pansy) and has a photo of Gramma and my sister (as a baby ) on the top. My sister did a stunning job and I am still feeling really emotional about it. She also wrote out some memories she has of Gramma so I have left those with the diary ... who knows what generations will do with it in the future, but the stories will be cherished, that's for sure.

So Gramma's diary now has a real home ... and is in the pride of place in my office for all to see ... I just hope Gramma doesn't mind us all reading it!

Thank you Esther for such a wonderful gift for ALL the family ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Lights are on in Madison

Regular readers have heard about Madison Town before ... it's Stuart's model railway town ... his hobby ... his deal ... but as a writer I can't help but give every little model person a name and wonder who lives where and why the young boy is skateboarding while the other kids are at school ... I see it a little child-like I think ... almost as if it all comes to life when we aren't around.

Of course the other option here is that as a writer I am in need of the men in white coats to take me away too.

What's important, here in the season of Christmas, is that Madison town has its own Christmas lights! Not enough to have lights in our house and yard, Madison had to be all gussied up too!

You gotta love this time of year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Christmas Journal

Of course there is such thing as a Christmas Journal! How else do you think Santa keeps himself organised to get around to doing everything on his list?

Christmas Journals are often a mixture between an organiser for the Christmas Season and a perpetual annual journal ... sometimes only used for one year, more often dragged out year after year in December.

Some start as Christmas Card lists in a book, or lists of presents and present suggestions, menus, and shopping lists. Even without ramblings of what went on each Christmas, a book of these simple lists can be enough to bring back the memories of Christmases past.

If you don't want to buy a blank notebook, or can't find one that is Christmassy enough for you, then you can always cover an old notebook in your favourite Christmas wrapping paper from this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sex and the City

They say when you are looking for something ... you will find it ... often in amazing places!

During my research for New Century Notebook, there have been plenty of references to writing about sex in diaries.... it's a part of life! Some came from members of the Erotica Writers Association and were linked to erotica writers using the diary form to create stories and adventures. Others were from run-of-the-mill folk who just wrote about sex in their diaries. It often came up as an issue people were worried that others might read about. One woman wrote about a sex diary that she and her husband kept for fun - and to keep their sex life interesting.

As you know I have been looking out for references to diaries and journals in the movies ... and had a little giggle when watching an old episode of Sex and the City ... where Charlotte's doctor gets her to keep a Vagina Diary because she thinks her vagina is depressed ... Typical Sex and the City it was a fun perspective ... but that got me to thinking about people who are asked to keep them for medical reasons ... I haven't had any responses from people in my research who use diaries for medical reasons somehow linked to sex ... So if you are out there please feel free to email me for a copy of my survey - I think this would be a useful inclusion in the book don't you?

Oh and for Sex and the City fans ... the new movie was announced in Australia today ... cool huh?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Every kind of art is a journal in the end ...

This week's diary quote is from Pablo Picasso. It reminds me that for all artists, the journal is represented in many art forms. I don't know many artists (including writers, poets, sculptors, photographers etc etc etc) who only ever do one art form ... we all have our addictive art, the one we can't live without ... but we all experiment with our left over creativity in other ways too.

Most artists keep a visual or written diary of some sort ... and for most of us it is part of living, breathing and eatings ... however I also think its important to acknowledge our particular art as a journal of sorts too ...

Which brings me to the quote for the week .... with thanks to Picasso ...

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Encrypting Your Diary

It seems the theme of "who might read my diary" is a pretty common one when talking about where you might keep your journal or diary.

What I think about sneaks who read another's diary is surely obvious on this blog ... boil in oil, burn at the stake etc .... If you think your diary is at risk there are some lovely techniques you can use to encrypt your handwritten diary (electronic ones simply need really good passwording systems) or hide it.

Here are ten tips:

  1. Write in another language (great practice too!).
  2. Write your life as if it were a short story - use fictional characters for the main people in your life.
  3. Create your own code (you know the kind you had as a kid ... A=5 B = 13) for entries that you are really concerned about people reading
  4. Keep your diary where no one else goes ... eg if you are the only one who does the vacuuming keep it with the vacuum cleaner!
  5. Write in a notebook that doesn't look like a diary ... an old school exercise book for example.
  6. Buy a really boring old book at a second hand shop ... calculus or something ... and write your diary in the margins and spaces of that book.
  7. Don't fall for the "between the mattress and the bed" hiding spot ... its more obvious than you think (especially to pesky little brothers and sisters).
  8. Write and burn.
  9. Change your hiding spot regularly ... one person in my research even had a decoy diary!
  10. Don't bother writing one at all if it stresses you so much. :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekly Diary Quote ...

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another"

James Barrie (1860-1937). Author of Peter Pan ....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Movie Journal!

Sometimes you take a chance when you watch a DVD ... you never know if the movie will be any good or not ... and if you're me and into researching journals and journal use you never know if there will be a journal in the movie or not!

We watched Turistas on the weekend. Bad choice. Horror movie, pretty poor all around. HOWEVER all was not lost! This John Stockwell horror is about a group of tourists stranded in Brazil after a rickety bus with a rough driver wipes out their transportation on a cliff ...

I'm not here to tell you about the movie ... but about one of the characters ... and the journal of course. One character is writing in her travel journal. It appeared to have some pics and well as small amounts of writing in it. She was working on it when the bus crashed ... everyone turned over again and again .... and she got out of the crashed vehicle, totally overturned ... and next shot she had her journal in her hand again! Terrible editing, but I was pleased to see the journal survived ... I saw little point to the journal in the movie so was surprised at the billing it got in terms of air time. But pleased nonetheless of course.

Ahhhhh travel journals. One of the original types of journals kept ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Summer Journal

The Christmas season is upon us ... and here in Australia it is also the beginning of long days, warm days and nights, and thoughts of the coming long summer break. Even for those who don't take a long holiday during summer, there is a sense of holiday in the air even in the busiest of workplaces as soon as December hits ...

December 1st marks the beginning of summer. For a few years in a row, a dear friend and I kept a summer journal. We would meet on Dec 1 (the first time was at a gorgeous cafe in Northbridge, whose name escapes me, but whose Strawberry Shortcake I still lust after). An entry would be made on the 1st and we would set some summer goals - usually ones about enjoying ourselves over summer.

We would then take turns having the journal and writing in it. There was hardly more than a dozen entries each summer ... but we did this for years. And then each Dec 1 became even more fun as we re-read past entries, and had a laugh or two before setting more summer goals.

I can't remember when we stopped doing this. But I do know she still has it in a box of goodies somewhere ... and I might just suggest we pull it out again this summer ...even if just to read ...

Writing with a friend you love and trust with your summer secrets, is one of life's really special memories ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Diary Quote for the Week!

In Hollywood now when people die they don't say, 'Did he leave a will?' but 'Did he leave a diary?'

Liza Minnelli

Friday, November 16, 2007

To Do List Vs Journal

Journals take many forms ... and one is the notebook full of to do lists. Always a fun way to record part of your life, while also being useful. There is a To Do List blog (recently published as a book ... congrats!) .... worth a visit for to do listers!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Journal Writing Conference

For those of you in North America (or planning a trip next June) there is a Journal Conference coming up ... special topic writing to heal ... check it out here! (And if you go you must tell me about it!).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diary Quotes

I'm searching for quotes about diary and journal writing ... will share some here ... (do send me some if you know any). Can't help but start with good old Oscar Wilde ...

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. " Oscar Wilde

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Beach Journal ...

Bought the perfect journal for beachy summer journalling ... the shells are real ... the string is string! :-) Love it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Student Journals

I 'fessed up to my student group today! I am marking papers from the lecturing I have been doing this semester and left some of the best till last! The student journals. I confessed to them that I love reading them - and had told them this in the first workshop 12 weeks ago ... I've been honest. It is such a privledge to read their musings, hear about their growth, and see all the things they experience and learn. Better still they are only a PASS or FAIL. I can't hack it when journals for tertiary students are given a GRADE. Defeats the whole purpose ...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Journals in Movies

Why would you use a journal to create the back story in a film? There are so many techniques at hand to make back story connections ... but the journal brings a sense of privacy, hiding information, personal troubles and feelings with it.

I watched Lady in The Water last night and the main character Cleveland Heep is a janitor. While he is central to the entire story, it isn't until another character finds (and reads!!!!) his journal that we find out about his past... and perhaps help to explain a little of his life as it appears in the film.

While I would never condone the reading of another's journal ... it's use in the film provides back story while at the same time showing us a little of the pain that the main character has in his life.

Good old journals!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beach House Journal

Here's an idea I have been trialling for the novel I'm writing ...

I have been writing the journal of the main character. Not that it will appear in the end novel (well I don't think it will) ... It's purpose is to really get into the head of the main character and include descriptions of the beach house where most of the story is set.

Apart from being fun it is useful in many ways. I suspect its possibly a good writer's exercise as well ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guilt Journals

Journals suck you in.
A set of blank pages, ready to be scribbled on with witty rantings can set off a whole new set of responsibilities in your life. Bloggers seem to suffer from the same fate.

Just because you CAN write every day, doesn't mean you HAVE to. Even when you use a dated journal ... who said you have to fill every page?

Yet so often in the journals (and blogs) I have been reviewing people apologise for not writing regularly ... or after a long break. So what?

I don't know about others ... but I have enough REAL deadlines to deal with, without feeling guilty about taking a break from writing a journal/blog/diary ...

So here ... have a day off!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Month and Book Crossing

October is Book Month ... time to make a new commitment to setting books free.

I'm sorting my office this month coz we are getting new carpet ... which means I have to move my entire library! Sooooooooooo to make it a more positive experience I have downloaded a page of ten tags and will release 10 books!

If you don't know about Book Crossing .... then the time to check it out is now!

Tomorrow morning I set one free up at the uni and see if one of my students gets it ...

Reflective Journals - one for the students

I know I am a journal writing purist when I get cranky about student assignments being set as journals ... and then the students are told exactly how they are to keep this journal, what to write, how to set it out! Worse still ... it is given a mark. Ouch.

I also know I am a realist.

Assignments must be graded in the big bad world of tertiary study and journals are a useful tool for students to learn for reflection - either in study or for their future professional lives.

Having waxed lyrical ... here is a useful article on line about writing a reflective journal.

I'll talk more about grading these in a future blog entry ....

Final Sense

Big thanks to Final Sense for the new Template.

No thanks to Blogger for loosing my last one and not replying to my request for assistance!

If you are looking for a new Blogger Template pop by to Final Sense ... they have 100s of lovely ones to share.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Writing Habits

Some of my writing habits have really taken a beaten. Blame getting married and having a great honeymoon, blame taking on more 'other' work than was conducive for writing, blame procrastination. Doesn't really matter what I blame ... they've taken a beating.

Every writer knows the key is to write daily, edit yourself harshly, live creatively and curiously, and read read read ...

I have been doing all this. Just not as much as I possibly could have. So the holiday is really over ha ha!

I've still had some nice pieces in magazines like Flourish and Perth Today tho ... but some of my bigger projects that are just for me have taken the beating ... No more I say. No more!

Oh and I'm back in blog land too!!! (While I was away the blogger fairies stole my template and everything in it ... so excuse the randomness of my new template!).

Flourish in Spring!

Spring Has Sprung .... Where have I been?

Blogging just took a little back seat for awhile tis all!

(While I was away the blogger fairies stole my template and everything in it ... so excuse the randomness of my new template!).

This month I've had some nice pieces published in magazines like Flourish and Perth Today ...

Check them out ... Flourish is really setting some great new standards in women's magazines in Australia - lots of encouraging and uplifting articles and less celebrity gossip ... so much to read in each edition and not all full of ads.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Holiday Is Over

Well the holiday is well and truly over ... and testimony to that is the lack of action my blog! No I haven't given up ... just catchin' up.

For regular readers ... here is a pic which integrates both my holiday and past postings ... I had the pleasure of having cuddle with Elmo at Sea World on the Gold Coast here in Australia while we were away. regular readers will know that Elmo is rather important to me ... see previous blog entries with his picture!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We did it!

What does one say about eloping?

(Photo courtesy of Ferrettography)

We had the perfect setting and day - Queensland turned on the sunshine and blue skies, the resort provided a perfect backdrop, our celebrant provided an intimate service for exchanging vows and rings, and our visual historian photographer gave us momento shots and a fun morning of picture taking.

I really just want to thank Stuart for the privilege of being his wife ....

The pictures are the closest I could ever get to recording the event ... words don't cut it ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eloping to the Gold Coast

We're off for now ... I reckon this is a good enough reason not to be blogging for awhile!

(Yes I'm taking TWO journals with me!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Favourite Artist

Here is my latest aquisition from my favourite artist - Isabella.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Birthday Journals

I need to clarify something for friends and family ...

It doesn't matter how many journals/blank books/pens/things to decorate journals with that I have. It is never enough.

Therefore being given a gift of one of the above IS the perfect gift at all times!

Here's my latest aquisition ... a birthday present from Clare - THANKS CLARE!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Writing Implements

My New Century Notebook research is currently looking at the implements people use to write thei diary with. The usual things are like pens, pencils, crayons, coloured felt tip pens or other drawing implements and also the good old computer of course for Bloggers!

My research is also taking me up some strange pathways however ... like what do people write on ... other than notebooks. I've had lots of feedback about writing on old notebooks, napkins from restaurants and the back of tickets etc ... But there are some weird and whacky things people write on too (I'm leaving the whakiest for the book by the way!) ..

Any stories out there abou twhat you write your diary notes on????

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Diary for the Day

Hey if you are interested in diary writing (and why else would you be here?) ... then I have found a little treat for you.

First I must say I am a little peeved I didn't know about the Keep a Diary for a Day project run by the UK National trust for their project 'History in the Making'.

However having got over that (!) the project was run for 17 October 2006. The idea was that people in the UK would record their day (in a diary or on a blog). What a fantastic present to tomorrow's historians ans sociologists.

Here' the link to a BBC interview, which while it is advertising the project, is a really interesting interview about diary writing. I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who do you trust your diary to?

Imagine being able to read the diary of one of the Jacobite's who plotted the 1715 rebellion ... the plotting, the reality of the underground battling, the fears and the motivation to rebel.

Imagine reading it written in the hand of someone who was actually there ....

Imagine having this diary bequeathed to you. Having in your hands, not only the story of the rebellion, a piece of history, but also the story of your ancestors long forgotten.

Imagine honouring the diary so much that you donate it to a library to care for it and preserve it for generations to come. Not any library. The British Library no less. Despite its worth being a five figure sum ... imagine donating it for posterity.

Imagine how you would feel when you went to visit the diary, only to find that it had been ruined. Oil spilt across it, the leather cover cut off, and most of its contents totally illegible.

Not happy I imagine.

It wasn't even a diary from my collection and I feel really sad ... and cranky ...

Here's the story from the Times if you want to read the original.

Friday, June 01, 2007

While we are talking postcards ...

Some of you will know blogging duchess Anji (!) ... and even if you don't ... she has a really lovely site about postcards - she is an expert and buys and sells as well as collects.

Check her site out at Time and Oft - it is like going to a post card museum.

Friday, May 25, 2007


After writing yesterday's post about Post Cards I went to my Post Office Box, only to find a post card from my god daughter Isabella from France.

Here it is ... a picture of a pirate ship, with the skull and cross bone flag and all.

I love the Island with the palm tree, but I especially love her drawing of the Australian flag.
Thanks Isabella. If you double-click on the picture you can make it bigger. You are a fantastic artist.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Not sure if the phenomenon is anywhere else ... but all the best cafes and movie theatres have free postcards these days. In a rack, with advertising on them SOMEWHERE, but many are really cool and the advertising is no more than a line on the back. For those that have heaps of verbiage on them, they are often still worth picking up for the picture on the front.

These picture postcards are really handy for quick notes to a friend to say thanks .... bloggers are probably amongst the worst when it comes to sending hand written notes, and people love getting things in the "real mail".

I also use them as bookmarks, for covering books and boxes, decorating and just plain note taking ...

Look out for some near you! Of course if you're crafty, hand made ones are really cool too. Here's a great web site where I found this book.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pepys ' Diary On-Line

Historians, writers, readers, students of literature will probably all know of Samuel Pepys - his famous diaries about life in London in the 17th Century were published and are now often referred to as 'the' journal to demonstrate that journals/diaries are a significant form of literature.

I love the internet ... having a 17th Century Diary
at my fingertips? WOW.

Now while I know this might not excite ALL of you ... it's worth sharing that the full version of Pepys Diary is not only available on line, but Phil Gyford has it set up so you can do amazing things with it ... like read a diary entry for today's date (every day!) and search it for topics.

Journals for Everything!

Since I started my research on journals and journal writing (including blogs), I heave learnt so many uses for the many beautiful notebooks I own!

As a self confessed addict, the answer to the "what do you want for ... (eg mother's day!)" question ... is always a notebook or journal. I'm kinda past the standard kind of thing and do like something a bit arty or different these days ... but then the resurgence of journal writing has seen many stationers design some really beautiful mass produced ones as well ...

The thing that never ceases to surprise me is what people use their journals and diaries for ... I learnt yet another new one yesterday
... no longer do we write of the Bridget Jones' style of "Dear Diary , today I ...."

(tho many people still do that of course) ... it is more a shift to notebooks and recording handy things as well as thoughts and feelings ... I have at least eight on the go at a time, and most writers I know do seem to have an extraordinary collection of the things ...

So what do you do with yours?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Elmo!

Mother's Day is on its way ... and I just wanted to say how great it is to be Mum!

Happy Mother's Day (for Sunday) to All the Mummy Bloggers!

I love my two kids like nothing else on earth ... and hey why wouldn't I when my ADULT daughter gives me an Elmo as a present? Life couldn't be any better could it? He sits on my desk reminding me to have fun ... and when the puppies are getting bored sitting around with me in my office? I turn him on to do the "Birdie Dance" and love to watch the dog's inquisitive reactions ...

And then of course I get back to my work ...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How Many of Me Could The World Handle?

Need an excuse to dabble and procrastinate on the net for a minute?

Try this :-) Means nothing of course. Not even sure why I did it. Beats "goggling myself" I suppose!
LogoThere is
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Listen

A client asked me the other day ... "What do you think is the most important gift we have as humans?"

I believe it is the ability to listen.

Whatever it is you are hearing today ... really listen. Whether it is your own thoughts, the voice of a tired friend, a stressed child, or a loving spouse ... whether it is a song, or sounds of nature ... whether it is silence or din.

Really listen.

It changes everything.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Technorati Authority

Good old Technorati are shaking it all up again! No seriously, this is an interesting one. For those of you with a blog registered with Technorati (and if you aren't then you should ...)... Technorati no longer has that "blogs that link here" status for member, but rather an 'authority' status. It is pretty much worked out the same way, but relies more on currency of links. Here's the link to a description of the new authority thingy ....

The implications? All the more reason to link to each other when you are interested in someone else's blog
... keep the blogging conversations active ...

surely it was one of the things that brought you to blogging in the first place?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One for the Mommy Bloggers

There's a new Q & A at the e-zine for mums motherinc. I pitched the idea, name and all, to the editor at motherinc ages ago and now they have it set up for Mums looking at returning to the workforce which is fantastic. I'm the first guest advisor so check it out ... there's lots of other useful resources for parents on the site too.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Top 100 Aussie Blogs! (And I'm # 50!)

Isn't it great that a country with 20 million people can produce such great blogs!

Check out Meg's Dipping into the Blogland blog with the unending job she has created for herself of listing Australia's top 100 blogs ... what a job! good on you Meg!

Hey I was happy to see that last week I was ranked number 50!

I mean how cool is that ... lots of great Aussie blogs to check out and heaps from over here in WA as well.

"Australian's all let us rejoice ..."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Long Table Lunch

I was invited to the Celebration of Women Long Table Lunch yesterday ... the invitation came from the lovely Debbie, Managing Director of Aurenda and her team of injury management specialist... and what a great day it turned out to be. We are finally getting some rain here in WA which is fantastic, and the downpour didn't affect the fun atmosphere created by the organising team. 850 women (well there were a couple of brave guys) attended the lunch which has been designed to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation of Western Australia and commemorate courageous Western Australian women who have sadly lost their battles with breast cancer.

There were auctions, raffles, great music by Our Generation, fun comperes, respectful commemoration and some serious fund raising going on - and a collection of WA Women getting together to have fun while supporting such a worthy cause.

I think it's a shame that we have to fund raise for something like this ... but there you go, the support by Perth's business community was outstanding ...

What a lovely way to start the week ...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Journal Circa 1939

I have this lovely piece of art in my hands ... an old journal from 1939. I usually only collect journals with some writing in them, but this one is so lovely ... a hardbound book with a partial leather binding ... it's an executive journal, from England.

I love that journals (even blank ones) seem to record some of the most ordinary parts of our day.
And to be honest, the best parts of most days are the ordinary ... aren't they?

Here are are some interesting facts from April 27 1939 ... It was the 117th day of the year ... and there were 248 more to go until 1940 ... It was Thursday ... The sun was expected to rise in London at 0542 and set at 2015 - with lighting being up at 2115 (hmmmm what did people do for that hour in between one must ask?). It also says "High water London Bridge 8.16am and 8.38pm" .... anyone got more than an educated guess as to why that information was important? What is very quaint ... is the saying for the day (don't forget that this is an 'executive's diary'):

"What a slow and gloomy affair the day's shopping would be if the housewife could not believe a word she was told".

More later ... when I stop giggling.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

So sad ...

I can't believe it ... I have released two books into the wild for the Book Crossing project ... and while I know they have been picked up ... there is no journal entry for either of them ...

I hope those little books are doing ok .... travelling all alone out there ...


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Musing

I am not a proponent of war. But I support the democracy I call home here in Australia, and that means understanding that sometimes we might choose to fight on foreign or home soils.

I am not a proponent for glorifying killing at any level. But I do support the celebration of ANZAC day and the spirit we have created around the ANZAC legend.

You can't be Australian and not be moved in some way by ANZAC Day celebrations.

Here in Perth, on a cold wet dark morning, over 40,000 people met for the simple dawn service in Kings Park. Thousands more went to other services around the State and the rest of the country. Aussies also travel to Turkey as a pilgrimage ... all in the name of the spirit of ANZAC.

You can't help but be moved and want to make sure that somehow we retain the lifestyle we have created, as Australians, and to better it somehow. From the ANZAC spirit of mateship, larikinism, courage to adventure, they are all qualities that make Australia what it is today. Anzac Day makes me less cynical than I do after listening to daily news reports of senseless violence, wasted water and natural resources, and the inequities that exist on a day to day basis.

For today, ANZAC day ... I feel like I can think about the things we all have in common here - and how proud I am to be Australian - even if I wasn't born here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Another writer in the family

They say creativity runs in families, and I suspect its true. Seems most of my brood have a creative streak in one of the arts ... and use their talents in various ways.

I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised ... my dad was a magician, my mum a music teacher, my sister is a painter, and I have a brother that ties flies for fishing that are pieces of art. We can all hold a tune as well.... but I was the only one that ever
seemed to write or had a calling for writing (hey guys .... leave a comment here if I am wrong here and you have just been hiding it for years!).

But of course you need to look further than this when it comes to the creative stuff ... and my Uncle Stanley was a keen letter writer and also a poet.
I never met Topper (as he was known by family) as he was killed in action in the second world war, but his memory has been kept well alive for all us kids, by my mum who loved him dearly. My brother was even named after him ... (the mad fisherman, fly tying brother)

He was in the Canadian Forces as a Private in the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. At once point he was stationed on Kiska, an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

Have a read ... even on a hot Aussie summer's day you can feel the cold from this poem he wrote ...


Maybe God was tired, when he made this little Isle,
He took the things left over and put them in a pile.
He dropped them in the ocean, and paused then for a spell,
Then said, "I'll call it "Kiska". This earth must have a Hell!

And what a hell this "Kiska" is, so misty, damp, and drear,
and grows upon the soul, for there's no sunshine here.
Where the fog rolls up the valley, and the clouds drop o'er
the hills. Where the rain comes down in torrents,
and the wind is never still.

Where in your daily duties, you plunder in the mud.
Where the whirling, sweeping westerlies, coagulate your blood,
The dampness penetrates you, to the marrow of your bones,
And you wake up in the morning, with aches and pains and groans.

When in the dead of summer, you shiver in the cold, and
the hardships that you suffer, turn young men into old.
Where there's no entertainment, no music, joy, or mirth.
Oh! What a place this "Kiska" is, it's really hell on earth.

And in the midst of winter. When all is ice and snow. You
have your furry blizzards, when the north wind starts to blow.
It steals away your senses, it knocks away your pride.
If ever I get off this lonely Isle, I'll ne'er come back again!

(The Canadians built a monument to their dead to friendly fire, out of captured Japanese 13.2mm cartridges. A few years later, reportedly, Japanese fishermen broke the memorial.)

Kiska has an interesting history of its own ... click here if you're interested ... It's been listed as a National Historic Landmark by the USA due to its involvement in the second world war ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

TV Seredipity

There are some who say that unless your blog is totally about TV or entertainment, then it is poor taste and very low brow to discuss Television on blogland ...

Well right now I disagree. TV IS a part of my life ... as a writer I love reality TV for getting character ideas and good fictional drama is creatively stimulating ... so there!

Having admitted TV is a little joy I partake in I must comment on some serious serendipity happening on Australian TV (this is as low brow as I ca get ha ha!) ... my fav show in the whole world is West Wing ... (at the moment ... many dramas have been given this personal award from me in the past too!). For Aussie viewers it ends this week on ABC on Saturday night - it finished in the USA this time last year! I am addicted to the series and am seriously grieving already!!!


Life is always in balance ...

Because BIG BROTHER is coming back on Sunday evening here in Australia ...

There is reason to the Universe after all. *sigh*

Why would you live anywhere else ....?

One of the things I really appreciate about living the writer's life is making it your job to listen to people, watch people, visit new places, and observe everything around you as if you are seeing it for the first time.

I am mid interviews this week for a number of articles I am working on. All really interesting people with viewpoints that I really want to hear, and so much to learn from them. I love it! While you have to play the hermit a lot as a writer, you also have to at least have an interest in people ... maybe even like people!!!

One of the fun things about going out to interview people is that you go to parts of your own city that you haven't discovered before or haven't been to for awhile.
Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of going to the wharves... it brought back so many memories ... and was fantastic for people watching.

The woman I interviewed talked about Perth and Australia and the lifestyle we have here ... got me thinking ... and got me feeling cheerfully abundant about the ordinary side of Perth, the part I take for granted - the temperate weather all year around, the white sandy beaches with turquoise blue waters, the parklands, the bordering wheat fields and desert, the south west forests and the laid back life style. I honestly ask myself ... why would I live anywhere but Perth?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cartoon Diaries

Gees I wish I could draw!

I've always wanted to be able to draw - I've tried and tried and tried. I even suck at playing Hangman I am so bad at drawing ...

Cartoon diaries are a really interesting genre of diary.
You could say that they started with the cave drawings of ancient times. Other examples include the political cartoons in the local newspaper - chronicling the events of our time.

The advent of a personal cartoon dairy dates back to the 1960s - and to continue on today.

Here's one you can check out (Where this pic is from) ... Spaniel Rage... very creative and emotive in a way that I sometimes think words fail to achieve (did I say that as a writer? Wow!).

If anyone has another example I would love to link to it ... as a non drawer I am totally intrigued by the whole concept ...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Release Your Books ... Set them Free!

I am releasing this book to the wild!

I joined Book Crossing ages ago and have been meaning to release a book ... finally I get around to it. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I have been reading Susan Howatch's Starbridge Series. I ended up with two copies of Scandalous Risks so one is now off in the wild ...
n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

You can trace its journey on Book Crossing.

Read and Release at

All you readers and writers out there ... set a book free. It's fun. You might want to check out "wild releases" in your local area on the Book Crossing site too ... it's kinda fun to see where people are leaving books in your local area. What goes around comes around remember?