It wasn’t at birth. nope. Please don’t get me wrong – I had a wonderful and very unique childhood and my life, leading up to the present – well like everyone, I have had my share of ups and downs. But as I will tell anyone and everyone who’ll listen (and yes this does mean I talk to myself a lot) I feel that my life really did begin a few years ago. It happened something like this.
I awoke one morning, on a birthday actually, with my epiphany – I suddenly realized I had to get my late father’s book published. He had finished writing it shortly before his death in 1993. The manuscript had passed between my brothers and me since with the hope that sooner or later one of us might actually have it published and do something about it.
When it landed in my hands for the umpteenth time I typed it out – then on the morning of that particular birthday I knew I had to get it out – this feeling was a tad overwhelming and I couldn’t figure it out – but I am presuming that my mother’s advancing age (late 80s) might have had something to do with that feeling. Fit as a fiddle usually (but then she was also the world’s leader in hiding minor details like life threatening health issues) – or so we thought. It was then that I also recognized my stumbling block – how do you get published? Seriously – how do you? Now this itty bitty problem just might have been enough to put me off altogether but for the memory of Dad’s passion for his writing, ancestry and the outback of Australia, not kept nagging at me. Added to that the thought of Mum and her pride in Dad’s efforts but not seeing them come to fruition – that did it. Google to the rescue. I found a self-publishing business that offered precisely what I was looking for. Full steam ahead. There was no stopping this girl now.
‘The Sawers From Pitcairn’ was published exactly a week after mum died in 2010.
Damn. But – I had tried and I was reassured that Mum knew that something had finally been done about the book, that it was close to release and that, I am told, made her a happy woman at point of death. Well, as happy as anyone can be when facing the end of life.
Thus was the catalyst for my writing. It was and is now well and truly in my blood and I am following a lifelong dream of writing and publishing books. Next off the rank was one about bullying. Having been a victim of this hideous phenomenon for six nightmare years in my teens, at a boarding school in Adelaide, I endured it 24/7. No escape. As yes had suicide entered my head I would have considered it – not really thinking that it would also have been a very tragic and final ‘alternative’. Some thirty years later history repeated itself when my niece suffered at the same school (her mother had been a day girl there and holds nothing but fond memories, which is how it should be, surely). Having had ‘Bullseye’ published I was encouraged to continue and try to ‘fight’ the system on behalf of victims nationwide. So this is what I am now doing, in conjunction with another victim and Mum, who is also one of the contributors to my book. It is lovely to be able to say we are at last making headway with our advocacy too. We have several different aspects involved in this and as we achieve each goal in turn, the feeling of success is wonderful. We are doing this in an effort to try to help safeguard the safety, health and well being of the youth of Australia. It is very slowly, but surely, working.
With this advocacy well underway and my second book safely ‘out there’ I was finally able to turn my attention to combining two of my passions – writing and the outback. As mentioned earlier I did have the most wonderful childhood – I grew up on a sheep station in South Australia. My primary education was provided by the School of the Air and correspondence lessons. I have written a piece, ‘Edge of the Outback’ which loosely describes my life out there. Now – my book on stations is a work in progress. To say I am absolutely thriving on it would be the understatement of the century. It is presenting the most enormous challenge but one that I am more than up to. I am meeting the most fantastic people as I progress – new contacts being made and the information is just pouring in.
Following this one I have one for which I have already begun the research, about an Australian maritime disaster which occurred about a month before the ‘Titanic’ but due to the latter, for former was completely obliterated. I was approached earlier this year by a couple who lost several family members in this tragedy – understandably they are wanting much more exposure about it and I will be writing this book for them. All such fun and also so necessary.
After that – I am looking at a book about tradies. This one also coming from experience – while I am still working on the approach to it, it will surround the experience of working in an office, alone (all my colleagues were moved elsewhere) while having the ceilings completely replaced by a group of around twenty tradesmen. I plan this to be humorous with a lot of input coming from the tradies themselves.
Every day something new happens or I discover a fresh approach to an old idea or problem. Yes, I do meet some very negative obstacles which do halt me, very briefly. Once recovered from the initial ‘blow’ that some of them can be, I simply take a step back, look at the problem, step to one side and move forward. Generally with a fresh approach to that problem. Onward and upward.
I do also have my share of health issues. Some of which have been very nasty and have pulled me right down – but this occurred pre-epiphany. I have been a chronic migraine sufferer – spanning a period of about twenty five years. Not pleasant. Not pleasant at all. I used to be completely debilitated by these – trying to raise a young family, in a strange city with a husband who travelled for work more than not and having these pains swoop on you, rendering you virtually useless. Not good. But I am relieved to say that they have all but disappeared. I still suffer from headaches and people who have never suffered from migraines would possibly consider the severity of today’s headaches debilitating – but not me. Not any more. I was also born with a heart condition. Nothing serious – apparently – medication does keep it under control but it’s there – forever lurking and ready to pounce.
But (and I know the rule is not to start sentences and never a paragraph with a ‘but’) – ‘but’ none of this stops me – nor does that rule. Might slow me down occasionally but life as it is is just far too good to let it keep me down.
LIFE IS GREAT. THE SKY REALLY IS THE LIMIT.