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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Writing, competitions and Procrastination

Yesterday I entered a short story in a local competition. It was the first time I’ve entered a short story competition. Last year I entered a poetry competition but didn’t get anywhere.

Stories had to be between 1500 – 3000 in length. I found it almost impossible to get to the 1500 mark! Eventually, after many drafts and much editing I managed to write 1512 words. It is a succinct story with what I hope is a twist. Once I hear the results of the competition I will publish it here. Until then it is meant to be unpublished in any arena. I’ve checked the website and they don’t give any indication of when the results will be published, so I guess I just have to be patient.

I haven’t written very many short stories. In fact, the one I’ve entered in the competition might just be the first I’ve ever completed. I always liked the idea of writing a novel, but after successfully finishing one short story I think I’m eager to write more of them. I like the idea of thinking of a plot with a twist. My brain has been working overtime devising different scenarios.

Even if I don’t win any prizes, I’m satisfied that I can tick off one of my goals. As soon as I learnt of the competition I decided I was going to enter it no matter what. Procrastination almost immediately visited me and became my constant companion. I found it difficult to find the time to write. Then my plot wasn’t good enough. Then the twist wasn’t twisty enough. Then it needed editing and once again I had no time. But I pushed Procrastination aside and forced myself to hit the keyboard.

Procrastination’s final effort to stall me happened on the last day for getting entries in. I had to take my youngest son in to the radiology clinic to get an MRI on his shoulder and planned to stop on the way home and put in my entry. Even though I had taken my entry with me, procrastination kept telling me not to drop it in. It was too much of a detour to take, too far to drive, too much traffic to get through and there would probably not be any car parks when I got there. Luckily I’m learning how to ignore Procrastination!

I found two quotes about Procrastination that I can relate to:

“The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.” ~Author Unknown

“Procrastination is opportunity's assassin.” ~Victor Kiam

I hope I can continue to ignore Procrastination and grab all opportunities with two hands!

Wish me luck for the competition!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My youngest son

That’s my youngest son, number 31, about to take a mark. He loves football and always has. We let his two older brothers start football when they were 8, but he begged and pleaded so much that we let him start at 6 and he hasn’t missed a season.

Last week, at the 18 minute mark of the first quarter, in the last game of the season, my youngest son dislocated his shoulder. It was the same shoulder he dislocated at the beginning of the season. One minute he was going in to tackle his opponent, the next he was staggering off the ground, holding his arm and screwing up his face in an attempt not to show pain.

This time the trainers managed to get his shoulder back in place in the clubrooms. He later told me he would have put it back in himself rather than go to hospital again! They encased his shoulder in ice, gave him some painkillers and he watched the rest of the game from the sidelines.

His team had the lead right up until the end of the game. Another shoulder injury, no players left on the bench and a few mistakes, and the game ended with the other team winning by 8 points. It was pretty devastating. We looked back at the stats later and the man my son had been defending kicked 4 goals after my son left the field. Prior to that he had only had one kick and one point.

So now we once again begin the endless round of physiotherapist and remedial massage therapist visits. My son will soon start the endless repetitions of exercises. It will be at least 6 weeks before he can start any sort of training or sport again. It’s a good thing that the season is now over and preseason won’t start until around November / December.

Of course it’s an inconvenience too. My son is booked to go for his driver’s licence soon. We shall see if his test has to be delayed or not. The end of his last school year is approaching and, having injured his right shoulder, he is unable to write which doesn’t help for school work, revision or exams. Not to mention that he can’t play Playstation!

Through it all my youngest son has made me so very proud of him. Yes, we both felt initial disappointment and frustration, but he is starting to rise above those feelings. He is trying to be so very independent in a one armed way. There isn’t much I have to help him with. Strangely enough he can manage to put more dishes in the dishwasher with one arm than he ever could with two!!!

When my youngest son has healed and his shoulder is back to normal, I hope he finds the courage to put this disappointment behind him and move forward to achieve his goals, whatever they may be. I hope his inner voice only ever speaks positively to him and that he ignores any negativity around him. I know he can achieve great things, I hope he knows this too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My middle son

That’s my middle son in the photo about to kick the ball in from the boundary line. He has always been the most patient and least mercurial of my children. I remember him as a kid striving to keep up with his older brother. What he lacked in talent he more than made up with determination and patience. One time he spent hours and hours mastering the art of rollerblading. His determination won through and he was soon rollerblading everywhere.

My middle son is the one I turn to if something needs fixing around the house. He’s not home very often, but when he is he kindly looks at whatever problem I have and tries to find a solution. The solution is sometimes unorthodox, but always works. If he says something can’t be repaired I believe him because I know he has tried to find some way to make it work.

My middle son is an apprentice Electrician. He is in his second year of his apprenticeship and is enjoying his work. I’m so glad he has found something that not only interests him but also gives him enough money to be independent. He might live at home (for the moment) but he has a full life outside of home with work, friends and his sport. I am proud of the man he has become and I treasure the times he is at home because they far too infrequent and usually consist of sleeping!

This week my middle son takes off for a ten day holiday in Thailand with some of his friends. It’s a destination I’m not comfortable with and he knows that but at nearly 20 years of age (one week to go) he is more than able to make up his own mind. I’ve talked to him about the dangers – political riots, unrest, bombings, drugs, sex and all the rest – and there’s not much more I can do. I do trust him, I just don’t know his friends well enough to trust them and I certainly don’t trust the people in Thailand.

No, I’m not racist. I am realistic. Thailand is going through its own political struggles, the people are exposed far more to corruption than we are in Australia and their way of life is totally different to what we are used to.

In the end I have to have faith in my son to do the right thing and faith in the Universe that nothing bad will happen to him. He can’t wait to go away and I can’t wait for him to return!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I’ve forgotten to believe in fairies

When I was a child and a teenager and even a very young adult I didn’t have a care in the world. It was easy to live, love and laugh. I could walk down the road with a swing to my hips, a smile on my lips and the world spread out in front of me to enjoy. I believed in fairies, Santa Claus and angels. Life was so simple then. As a family we weren’t wealthy and my parents never gave me any pocket money, but I didn’t seem to want for much. Somehow I always had money to spend and friends to spend it with.

I moved out of home at 17 and tried a number of different jobs. I moved to another state at 22, got engaged at 23 and married at 25. Our first son was born when I was 28. By the time I was 39 the marriage was over. But through all those years I was still having fun. There was so much to fit into life and I was determined to squeeze in what I could.

But somewhere along the way life became more complicated, or maybe I complicated it. I can’t even pinpoint when it happened. Suddenly the money stopped flowing quite so easily and instead of fairies all I can now see are endless piles of laundry to wash, pantry shelves to fill and meals to cook. The horizon is a never ending collage of grey and there is not a rainbow in sight.

Instead of planning a new adventure, I’m calculating how to pay the bills. Instead of going out in the world, I’m cleaning the bathroom.

Last weekend all my boys were at home being their usual brotherly selves. There was much wrestling, dancing, singing and general jumping around going on and all I could think of was potential holes in walls or broken light fittings.

What happened? When did I stop seeing fairies in the garden? When did I stop enjoying life? Where did my sense of humor go?

I’m pretty sure I have to find those fairies again. I don’t think they have totally disappeared. They must be hiding somewhere. I’ll be looking for those angels too and hoping that Santa Claus shows himself this year. After all, it’s all about belief isn’t it? The belief we have in ourselves, in our family, in the power of the Universe... and fairies.

Maybe, if I just clap my hands...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Election Blues

This has to be the most boring election I’ve lived through so far. No matter where you look the leaders of all parties are dull, colorless and boring. Julia’s red hair is the most vibrant patch in a field of grey conservatism.

What happened to the great orators of the past? What happened to the leaders who used words as their friends? The ones whose voices were their instruments of power and they knew how to use them with passionate energy. What happened to the speech writers who drew upon emotion and feeling?

In this election we have no great speeches. The leaders’ voices don’t rise with passion and fall with emotion. They don’t thump the lecterns to make their point, they don’t raise their fists and they don’t ever let feelings get in the way of their bland intonation and soporific statements.

Our leaders are too scared to sound anything else but “normal”, whatever that is. They are too scared to make promises that might antagonise sectors of the community. They are so intent on staying in the dead centre of conservative Australia that they look dead themselves. There is no passion, no belief and no strength behind these leaders. They have been given their boundaries and they make sure not to straddle any fences.

How can we trust any of these leaders to govern our country with strength and passion if they are too scared to show us how they really feel?

How can we choose between these various shades of grey?

Are these leaders of ours a product of our making? Have we been so apathetic with our governance that politicians think we only want bland, colorless leadership?

Are we so selfish that all we think of is what we can get out of each party? So we sit back, listen to their promises and try to work out which one will give us more money or more benefits and vote for them without any consideration for the country or our children or their children?

Maybe it’s about time we looked at ourselves and changed our mindsets? Maybe we should decide what we want for the future and not for the now? Maybe we should think of our children and our grand children and their children? Maybe we should do what’s best for the environment and for those who are worse off than ourselves?

We really should do something before we end up with a progression of dull, colorless, boring cardboard cut outs of leaders and our country loses its passion.