Saturday, 31 January 2015

Awards and a Blogheard

In November 2014, I decided to take the plunge and get involved in NaBloPoMo ( National Blog Posting Month at ) I wasn't sure what I was in for. To be honest, I really had no idea what I was even doing. Still don't, but I'm having fun making it up as I go along. But it set in motion a great many wonderful things.

Early in the process — very early, I think it was probably while I was still working out the how the hell to post to the site — I was browsing through comments other writers had left when they signed up for the challenge and I happened upon another blogging newbie: Edwina's Episodes I left a comment to say I was in the same boat and more than a little bit worried about falling out. She responded. And so began my first experience of having a blogging buddy on the other side of the globe.

To be honest, I'm not even sure how/when I happened upon Breathing Life I cannot remember whether I found Mary-Anne while browsing through the long list of daily submissions, or whether she found me. Either way, I'm glad it happened. It was Mary-Anne who introduced me to the concept of having a blogheard — we both love to play with words and create new ones to better represent what we mean. Mary-Anne has become central to my heard. She too lives in the other hemisphere, in somewhere almost the antithesis of The Rock.

We three bloggers who promised to post every day of November 2014 have become connected as the threads of our words stretch around the world to knit our lives and thoughts together. Brightly spun stories. Knobbly grey confessions. Cashmere soft dreams. All of them unique.

Edwina of Edwina's Episodes is not Edwina. That is to say, Edwina is her middle name. I know at one point I read her regular moniker, but typically, it fell into the post-menopausal blackhole in my brain where it clanks up against all the other things I've forgotten just enough for them to irritate the be-hooey out of me. So Edwina will have to suffice. Edwina is prolific. And in the same time that I have accrued a band of followers that a camel could count on one foot, she has amassed a small nation. That and about a squillion blogging awards from her loyal folk.

Generously, she has in turn nominated me for two of said blogging awards. The Real Neat Blog Award is, like me, a newbie to the blogosphere. The Premio Dardos, which means 'prize darts' in Spanish, seems to have been doing the rounds since about 2008. This award is given by one blogger to another as recognition of 'cultural, ethical, literary and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing'. Wordy... but kind of cool.

The 'rules' of these awards require me to answer a few questions about myself, then nominate a number of other blogs for the award. I'm still building up my list of blogs that keep me coming back for more. Maybe I'm a tough audience. Anyway, I'm going to thank Edwina-who-is-not-Edwina, answer the questions, but bail out of the nominations. I promise I'll post a list of blogs I've been wandering around somewhere down the track. Promise.

So, thank you Edwina-who-is-not-Edwina, and here are my responses to what you asked of me:

What inspires you to write/create your blog?
It had been too long since I’d written for the sheer creative pleasure of it. And the Black Dog had been more than circling. I was suffering from repeated ravaging. So I began to blog with the intention of using it as a part of training myself in the skills of positive psychology.  I like me the writer.I like Wendy of the Rock, and I'm having fun hanging out with her.

What would be written on your epitaph?
 Well at least she tried.

Do you have a favourite season and why?
I love spring. There are more animals and birds about. I love birds. Birds are amongst the best things about where I live. I have conversations with them all the time.

Are you a realist or a dreamer?
A realist with a few dreams.

Would people describe you as shy or outgoing?
That depends on context. Most people would say I’m outgoing, but that’s a lie that I sustain.

What song best describes you?

Who would you love to be for a day?
Nicole Kidman: To look like that AND come home to Keith…. Sigh… 
But I would never call my daughter Sunday Roast.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Lucky Dip

  One of the writing prompts at the masterclass yesterday was 'Lucky Dip'. It sort of summed up the day. I didn't exactly waste my money; I definitely plucked a few shiny treasures to bring home from the grab-bag but mostly I ended up with a pocketful of semi-useless but pleasantly diverting plastic trinkets. 

Anyway, my consciousness stream wasn't flowing especially creatively yesterday, and this topic somehow became glued in my imagination to Forrest Gump's mother's metaphor about Life as a box of chocolates. Which, in turn, prompted me to ponder what advice I would give myself about how to act when I find I have selected a mandarin cream. I don't love mandarin creams...See what I mean. My stream was more like a dribble of consciousness yesterday...  

So here's what I told myself:
Dear Wendy
When faced with the mandarin cream dilemma, as I see it, you have three possible choices. 
1: Just eat the damn thing. Without fuss. Without drama. Be a big girl. Suck it up.
2: Give it away. Offer it to someone else whose taste is different from yours. They might enjoy it.
3: Chuck it. No big deal. 
I do hope this approach will be helpful to you as you navigate the lucky dip of Life. And always remember there are only a few of those Turkish delights you so adore in every box of chocolates. 
Yours sincerely, 

This morning, reading back over my scribblings, I decided that I'm going to take my own advice. 

My mantra for 2015 is going to be:
Choose it. Share it. Or piss it off. 

Now although I'm perfectly content with that mantra, there's always room for improvement. And I have no doubt there are plenty of Mrs Gumps out there and I'm equally sure there are more than three choices to be made. Help me out here. What's your approach to the lucky dip? 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Breaking the Ice

The last time I went to one of these workshops I spent the day battling myself.

It began with one of those introduce-yourself- to-the-person-beside -you-then-introduce-that person-to-the-group exercises. I know it was meant to be an ice-breaker but all those get-to-know-each-other activities ever do for me is make me freeze. Honestly, who ever enjoys those things? ... except maybe the facilitator who gets to finish her coffee or find the right file or get the damn projector working while everyone chats uncomfortably.... She and that annoying extrovert sitting to her left who is going to make me want to  poke sharpened pencils in my ears by the end of the day.  They both love it. The rest of us feel our tongues start to swell as they suck every drop of life-giving moisture from our mouths. 

I was the second last to speak. The last person introduced. The facilitator looked distractedly at her watch, undoubtedly tossing up what to leave out now this session had run overtime, as Jacqui from Alphington introduced me like this:
"Gosh... Um... Well everyone's been so interesting that I've actually forgotten what Wendy said about herself." 

Yep. Just dress me in beige and bring me a cup of dishwater. Wendy the Dull. Wendy the Forgettable. Wendy of the Clan White Bread with the Crusts Removed. 

It was the perfect moment for a retort that would have made Dorothy Parker proud, a scathingly witty one-liner  that would sum up exactly who I am. But of course that didn't happen. The cliff crumbled beneath me. 

I began to make word-like sounds in my own defence. Pathetic pallid word-like sounds floated limply around me as the internal speaker, woofas and tweeters pumped to 11, screeched: "See! You don't fit in. You are not worthy.  Leave. Get out. Disappear. "

But I didn't run. I stuck it out. I didn't enjoy it because I wasn't able to engage. I couldn't quell that critical bitch in my head. But I did persevere... in spite of her. 

And tomorrow I'm going back to the cliff top for part two of the workshop.  I won't be with the same group of people, but if Jacqui from Alphington happens to be there, I swear this time I'm going to push her off.