“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
There was such a mixture of grief and intrigue when I spotted this chopped down tree at Port Arthur. After walking through the bush admiring and photographing the soaring blue gums and almost feeling one with them, I was grieved to see something so beautiful destroyed.
Yet, fortunately it’s not often that I get to see inside a tree. Despite loving trees, I still have that child-like fascination with counting the rings and peering inside this hidden, inner zone. Is this where trees store up all their secrets? Where they write down all the stories they hear whispered by the wind? Part of me, believes it is and I wish I could translate them all.
Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share.
It’s already Sunday night for me and Monday’s looming ahead like a dreadful hangover. So, no coffee for me tonight and I recommend you also join me for something decaf.
How was your week? I hope things went well!
This week I decided to package up the sunflower seeds and drove them up to show my daughter’s class. As her school is a 45 minute drive away, I carefully put the sunflower seedlings in a cardboard box and secured them with the seat belt. I wasn’t taking any chances. They arrived safely and I was quite thrilled with how the talks went. I spoke to my daughter’s class and the one next door largely about the importance of acts of kindness and how it only takes a small gesture to show we care. I spoke about how the journalist and photographer who salvaged the seeds from the war zone and brought them back to Australia via quarantine, took great risks so the family and friends of the MH17 tragedy could have a special reminder of their loves ones.
Wednesday, I attended the funeral of an absolutely beautiful lady from our Church. She was in her mid-70s and has been fighting cancer for about 6 years. Now, I can tell that she really fought that cancer like Gethsemane Sam with both barrels blazing. Yet, all that time she continued to look after her disabled daughter and be an active member of her family as well as the Church. She was well known for her cooking and made us a few meals when I’ve been sick as well as helping out with the kids through an after school kids’ club. There were times I used to drop them off and go straight home to bed and sleep the entire time they were gone. I really wasn’t well. So, you could well imagine what she meant to me and how much I loved and appreciated her from the bottom of my heart. I truly wish I could be more like her and fill her shoes. It’s rather intimidating, but I think people can pick up when your intentions were good even when your efforts fall short.
Thursday night, dancing started up for another term. Instead of ballet this term, our adult class is doing lyrical dance. No, this isn’t where you start singing as you dance around the room. Lyrical dance is a style that combines ballet and jazz dancing techniques. It is performed to music with lyrics so that it inspires expression of strong emotions the choreographer feels from the lyrics of the song. This style concentrates on an individual approach and expressiveness of such emotions as love, joy, and anger. It does not concentrate on the dancer’s precision of movement. http://www.omahaschoolofmusicanddance.com/what-is-lyrical-dance-15-interesting-facts-about-this-contemporary-style/
Yesterday, I attended the awards ceremony for the local short story competition I entered a few months ago. I’d written a short story based on a murder in Sydney’s Balmain in 1903 and it had repressed memory and what I thought were some clever ideas and yet it didn’t even rate an Honorable Mention. I have to be honest and say I was pretty upset by the result but I’ve since revisited it and read more about writing short stories and have identified some changes.
How was your week? I hope it went well and that you also have a great week ahead.
As a writer and creative, are you meant to go down the direct route, immediately producing that book in record-breaking time? Or, is so-called “procrastination” part of the creative process…a required element to add to the quality and longevity of your work?After all, as creative guru John Lennon once said: “Life is lived while busy making other plans”.
These contradictions often go into battle at the back of my head and I’m constantly coming across this tension in other writers as well.
Recently, I was reminded of this tension reading this quote by Moliere:
However, is this true? Or, is it just a nice saying?
I consulted the Google oracle to see what its great wisdom revealed and found this research report by Bryan Black, an assistant professor of forestry at Oregon State University, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore. His research shows that even within a species, the oldest trees grow the slowest, even as youngsters.
“Faster growing trees may put all of their energy into growth and burn out before they can achieve really old age,” he said. “Slow-growing trees may invest a lot in producing strong wood and defense mechanisms against insects and disease and never rise above the forest canopy.”
Rapidly growing trees may occupy space more quickly, reach sexual maturity earlier, and are more prone to frequent, catastrophic disturbances, including flood, fire and windstorms, Black said. They also die at a younger age. Meanwhile, the slower growing trees channel their energy into structural support and defense compounds, don’t burn out from reproducing, and slowly-but-surely outpace their mercurial cousins.http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/feb/study-finds-oldest-trees-grow-slowest-%E2%80%93-even-youngsters
So, this research suggests slow and steady ultimately wins the race. Well, that is, if being a long-lived tree is your goal.
While I feel pressured to get that book out there, I have benefited from taking the extra time. I have grown so much as writer through the hours I am putting into my blog and have found my voice. Even more importantly, I have been dialoguing and chatting with my readers, while also reading and responding to their work. Through these exchanges, I’ve been unconsciously fine tuning my story. It might be taking me longer to write the book and it might even be taking me away from it, but I know that what I’ll write now will be much more relevant. It has to be. After all, I’ve spent the last 4 years listening as well as writing. Moreover, being able to hear readers before I write the book project, has to be revolutionary.
However, it takes a lot of courage to take your time writing the book. There’s so much pressure to publish just to gain any kind of credibility. You’re not a real writer until you’ve actually published the book…any book!
Yet, isn’t the ultimate credibility writing something worth reading? Writing something which changes your readers lives and minds and inspires them in some way? I’m sure that doesn’t happen overnight just like quality plants don’t mature overnight either.
Indeed, we’ve all seen backyard domination by the mighty weed. Is that what we want from our modern literature?
So, while I think there is a place for writing, writing, writing and getting that book out ASAP, I’m still a believer in “slow and steady wins the race”. That the tortoise will ultimately take out the hare but the tortoise still needs to make it through to the finish line.
That’s something I need to work a lot harder on.
What are your thoughts?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Thanks to Dr Gulara Vincent for reminding me of this quote. I am going to print this out and give it to my kids.
Have you found any inspirational quotes lately? Please share!
Featured Image: Rowena Curtin.
The sweetness of the flower lies within and I thank you for taking me inside your soul and bathing me in love. Acceptance is such a simple gift and yet it peels back the clouds, allowing the sun to shine in.
Hold onto love but not too tight for it needs air to breathe. Love is like a bird. It must be set free, so it can fly and spread its wings across the sky. Love dies in a cage.
Yet, you already understand these things. It is just when it comes to your little fledglings that you’re not so sure. Yet, you have taught them well. One day, they will grow too big. They must leave the nest and yet those heart strings always bring them home.
Of course, they cannot live on milk alone!
Meanwhile, you my friend who has been so focused on writing and chasing your questions to the end of the earth inside your head, must leave your cave. Re-embrace the world, wrapping your arms around her heart and shouting your joy from the rooftops. Don’t hide yourself away!
A Community of the Spirit
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
Open your hands if you want to be held.
Consider what you have been doing.
Why do you stay
with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?
For the security of having food. Admit it.
Here is a better arrangement.
Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.
Sit down in this circle.
Quit acting like a wolf,
and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.
At night, your beloved wanders.
Do not take painkillers.
Tonight, no consolations.
And do not eat.
Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.
You moan, But she left me. He left me.
Twenty more will come.
Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought.
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down
in always widening rings of being.
Lastly, I know that you have suffered much but you have also found out you have had it good. That there will always be somebody worse off. Never play self-pity’s harp.
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”― Rumi
I said: what about my eyes?
God said: Keep them on the road.
I said: what about my passion?
God said: Keep it burning.
I said: what about my heart?
God said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: pain and sorrow?
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Well, I’d better get this to you before your train departs.
Love and Blessings to you my friend. God is with you.
Smashing through my roof,
soaring through the clouds,
zooming through space
at the speed of light;
my reading pile grows exponentially.
Balancing precariously beside by bed,
a tower of teetering, twisted titles
fuelled by my nocturnal dreams,
it’s a marvel of modern engineering.
The weight of ambition
far too great,
cascade all over the floor.
from the writers’ glass,
but always overflowing.
Words to spare.
Trapped in a pressure cooker
somewhere in between
my nightmares and my dreams,
an alarm clock and a ringing phone;
my reading pile grows
higher and higher
like marauding weeds.
A mighty monument
dedicated to Summers past
when I had time.
I’m still waiting for the holidays,
which seemingly never come
I am no longer my own.
Yet, I haven’t forgotten
how to dream.
Book by book.
after the fall.
Because my love
has never died.
like an indefatigable knight,
I will charge on!
Rowena Newton 3rd January, 2016.
This poem needs no explanation, except to say that it’s very exceptional for me to share a poem straight away with anyone aside from my usual reader-in-residence, the long-suffering Geoff.
However, writing is communication and wasn’t intended to be something locked away but to be shared…especially with those who share your folly.
I’m sure many of you also have book towers built up beside your bed. which were, of course, constructed with the best of intentions.
I have so many unread books and yet, I keep buying more and blogging is only making it worse. I have ordered one book online over the Summer break and am about to head off to the local bookshop for another. They are:
Dr Wayne Dyer: What Do You Really Want for Your Children?
Ted Hughes: Grief is the Thing with Feathers.
I seem to remember posting not so long ago about bad habits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L80XYgxjIw8
Meanwhile, as I add to the pile, I am also intending to subtract. If I lived to be a thousand, I still don’t think I could get through all the books I haven’t read in this house.
And yet, I will not give up trying!