Chapter 43: The Suckiness of accidental Prophecy

From So You Are… Pregnant!

Those who dropped the “You’re just pregnant” comment did so only once…

(she says like a Mother dragon who just charred a city of naysayers to the ground and breathes in the ashes of her handy work).

So You Are… Pregnant! By Molly Meary, Page 35: Soldier On

I wrote this. Before GoT Season 8. Before the GoT finale. Before I’d seen the finale. Before I’d read 5 billion spoilers on the finale. Before I read the 10 billion complaints about the finale.

Wayyyy before any of it I penned these words, typed them, formatted them, nurtured them, loved them. I was proud of them.

This is the absolute truth.

It’s not the greatest time to be a Game of Thrones fan and even worse timing to be a writer making weird-ass predictions about one of the worst parts of the ridiculously famous series. But the shittiest of them all is that my book isn’t even a bloody fantasy and I still can’t use it because it literally looks like a direct rip-off!

I really loved that line – almost as much as I loved Daenerys (I am one of the many die hard nerds who was going to name my daughter Khaleesi. She came a close tie to my favourite winery at the time – Amberley. Yes. Priority parenting) and it was perfectly placed in my little rant-fest about people making the “You’re not dying – you’re just pregnant” comment whenever a preggo declines a party or literally needs to rest because of the bullshit strain of being pregnant. Which is a privilege and a miracle and millions of women go through it and all that – but this was in context with many non-preggos being judgy a-holes.

I was sure not to put “Mother of” because even though it’s a tiny hat tip to the legendary Daenerys, the focus was on pregnant women and the intense power they yield especially when unfairly provoked. While the Mother of Dragons is of course a power house Mum – the potential copyright of George. R. R Martin’s creation, the show and their part in revamping dragon mythology – was neither a breach I needed, nor the point I was trying to make.

My dragon is the mother and only she is in control of her own fire and certainly doesn’t take orders to unleash it. From a personal perspective I relate to that loose cannon pregnancy vibe. I wanted to conjure an actual dragon mother for the reader and that feeling (I certainly experienced) when pregnant women are pushed just that bit too far and a powerful, unexplainable force churns deep within the womb and any naysaying fckwit in our bellysphere are in danger of a singeing from the fiery maternal tongue sword. You know.

Charred civilians aside, this actually did come from a peaceful place. My writers group was knee deep in our Fantasy anthology, so inspiration was in the air and I wanted to filter that into a very reality heavy book. It was really birthed from good old fantasy cliches and it doesn’t get more cliched than bloody dragons.

All was fine and dandy until the MoD herself flipping flame balled Kings Landing and my girl power one liner flopped on the floor like a bag full of slugs.

I could hear 19 million naysayers crying “Charlatan! Thief!” from their keyboarded towers and instant troll-fearing-goo-puddle-melting for insignificant and anonymous me-me. No thank you.

So what does a little fish do when they write material so close to something so huge but just didn’t get it out there first? Devastating yet super simple – re-write. Delete. Write a ‘poor me’ blog post on these first world issues and literally get back in my lane, which compared to that lot, is more like a dusty fire break than anything of real use to everyday traffic.

It’s just easier this way at this stage of my game and as I said in Chapter 64 – I am a life long subscriber to loserism. I know how to bend the knee, roll it over, take it up the foofah and still keep my sense of humour about things.

And seriously – if I can’t get bloody comma placement concepts how the hell am I going to comprehend the legalities of copyright (cue super intense google search) let alone be bothered taking on writing royalty, or bothering to ask permission for a wee little pregnancy book that probably 33 people will buy and that will mostly be family.

So we scrap.

Scrapping has been my method with most grey areas so far including the bastardisation of lyrics, quotes and just about anything that lifts my writing but uses others peoples material in order to do it. And while the free loving hippie in me sees this methodology as nothing more than admiration and building up fellow artists and their craft, clearly the world has lost its plot with IP and those who came before have muffed it for the rest of us.

I guess it forces better writing which is fair, but some lines are like giving away the best puppy from the litter because someone in a way better position than you called dibs on it. Waaa! I really loved that fricking line.

Okay. Cry baby is done now.

Onward!

Update! The final draft: It appears I got over the above –

Those who drop the “You’re only pregnant” comment do so only once (she says like the Mother of all mythical fire breathing creatures who just charred the Town-of-Too-Much-Talky to the ground).

Noice… nup, can’t say that either!

Chapter 42: Dear Constance

FOREWORD

* * *

One day I hope this page is filled with the words of Constance Hall. Originally I was going to beg her to write me a foreword even though she doesn’t know me from Bob. But life is life and I poured a year long plan down the toilet because I didn’t want to send her a half-arsed version of something I believed was worthy of her time. I thought I’d send it to her in January 2019. But then school holidays had my writing life put on hold and I presumed she was probably going through the same. So I waited until February. But then she started training for bloody Dancing with the Stars and how in the holy hell was she going to find time to share her opinion, let alone give a shit about some random trying to get a book out into the world? The woman has enough to deal with. In the end patience (dickery little arsehole that it is) has been the key. So I hand it over to the universe to weave some woo-woo magic in the hopes that my work finds its way to Constance and she thinks it’s semi cool, relevant and relatable enough to pen me an encouraging word. Hopefully she is in a space to receive it and see it for all the potential goodness it will bring to humans in general. Why Con? Because she’s a cool, courageous chick doing good for the world despite all odds and a pioneer of this unapologetically beautiful evolution revolution thing. Get on it. 

Dear Constance

I originally had that cemented with pride at the beginning of my book So You Are… Pregnant! It was my way of being appreciative in a passive, non-mosquito-y way to someone who had truly inspired me to get off my arse and tell my story without being a wuss.

Very early on I had a solid plan to finish off the book and approach you to publish it and/or collaborate on further topics in the series (which would still be an awesome partnership to forge). You would read it, love it, love my nutso sense of humour, ask my family to hang out in your oasis and we’d talk shit about our kids and all things goddessy, sit on the beach and write, you’d paint, I’d show you some Bollywood moves, maul your dog and baby with kisses. You know. Super casual hopes.

Many years ago something weird happened with my awareness of you in the world. I wasn’t a hater, I just seemed to skim unawares on the outskirts of your rise – like something was forcing my mind not to look or pay attention. I realised how bizarre it was when I started writing my story. It wasn’t until I’d finished draft 4023 that I finally bought a copy of your first book and the woo woo made sense. You sounded like me. You’d lived similar experiences as me. You were me. You were the voice of so many of us, hence your deserved success.

I became paranoid fearing the Queen army possibly calling my authenticity out – our stories are quite similar, but I got over it quick – because that’s the point. You bravely shared your story at a point in time when it still wasn’t totally “acceptable” for a woman to do so and in such a balls and all manner and that generated a necessary revolution. One that paved the path for others to not only share but relate and connect through shared experiences – good and bad. Your perspective resonated with so many, just as mine does when I share it.

I too keep coming across the same collective trauma, ideals, joy and goals and my consistent driving force since I was a kid has been to help people thrive and heal through humour. It’s my super power and I’ve seen it’s effects light up women, men and children time and time again – in person and via the written word. So I went for it – mindful of not stepping on any of your lovely, creative toes and presuming I would never reach that level of success anyways. Now – none of it matters as there are so many women’s voices out there following purpose and passion. Comparing and competing is no way my thing – and you have proven time and again that embracing, elevating and empowering others is defo your boat floater.

At the very start of my journey you were a massive part of my goal setting plan thingy and I 100% believed that by the end of it I was going to drive to your home town and somehow get the manuscript in your hot little hands. I even concocted a SWAT plan involving my besties Uncle and Aunty to casually hand it to you in the baby aisle at Woolies. I didn’t need fangirly, stalker contact, I just wanted to make sure it only went to you.

I was fully prepared for you not to give a shit and probably not entertain the “publishing” element of my plan. If you were interested in that game you would have gone down that path already. But, I was so confident my tale would resonate, that you might hopefully want to meet me, realise I’m not an arsehole and chuck me a little blurb in return for a donation, or something like that.

In my mind, no matter what response I would get from others when I shared my master manic plan, I had never been so sure of something before. I was gonna do it and you were gonna read it and regardless of the outcome, at least I had a crack.

Lots of curve balls came both our way and to this day, I am still formatting the bastard book. But the little foreword that could – still remained in pride and place until 10 minutes ago.

The other day when I was watching an Insta story you mentioned how people constantly use your name to promote their own stuff and your tone was irritated and over it. My heart sunk. Of course that happens. Why hadn’t I seen myself in that light? Maybe because I didn’t consider it as a leg up – more an appreciative nod to someone I admire, without wanting anything in return. But was it really any different? In some ways it could be considered worse. A foreword in an actual book, set in stone (in print version at least) and if the book becomes popular I’ve put you in a position where you may feel obliged to respond and who am I to presume you even want or have time to give a shit about any of that?

I also realise that writing a post about it is of similar ilk, however, this was an epiphany moment, a reminder to be a decent human and it felt worthy of a share.

You were not only part of my plan all along, but the inspiration behind much of it. This is not in any way a ploy for attention, or a tactic to sell books, or drive traffic etc. It’s more a light bulb moment that no one is on tap just because you have similar ideals to them.

This has all come about from my chicken shit inability to communicate with other humans where I am in a vulnerable position to fail. No idea why I’m like this, I’ve been successfully failing most of my life. In the end – if I put my little faux foreword in – I’d be unravelling all the things I admire about you and why I find you so relatable. It would be a cheap move. If our paths are meant to cross they will. But, I’ll leave it to the stars.

So I thank you profusely in the THANKS and hope you can feel the McLovin.

x

Protected: Chapter 41: Writing Exercise – The Eless

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Chapter 39: The Bus Driver

Zooroup

Zelda yanked at her shirt, cursing her poor packing efforts. Tight tops were all the rage back home and she had stocked up at the winter sales. The only flowy garments she owned were either long sleeved or too outdated to be considered “retro”. It seemed sensible to load her suitcase with nothing but summer clothing.

She couldn’t wait to escape the cold, wet days for sleeveless Mediterranean nights.

Zelda pulled her collar until the familiar sound of stretched elastic pinged. Dressing had become a strategic exercise and an unwelcome education. The deplorable worship of women here seemed limitless and a foreign unquenchable fetish for the female form – inescapable. An unseasonal heat wave didn’t help her mission to go unnoticed. She could down play her cleavage, but it was impossible to hide her frame without sweating profusely and risking heatstroke.

As the bus floated across a narrow bend comfort over consequence was proving costly. Zelda had been failing the art of transparency for some time, but now innocent people were in danger because of it. She murmured the mantra a German tourist had shared with her.

– Never let their gaze linger too long. Be invisible… quickly. – 

Not the most empowering sentence and it could have used a few specifics.

She steadied herself pointlessly, watching pebbles crash into the rocky terrain below. The occasional tourist screamed “overload” as the vehicle veered towards what felt like their impending doom.

Zelda glared at the driver’s mirror. For an hour she tried distracting herself from him, a vile man old enough to be her father gawking lewdly, rarely bothering to cast an eye on the dusty road. She clawed at her clothing, but with every touch the driver became erratic and the passengers more panicked.

Zelda shunted her chest into the backpack and slumped in defeat. A sympathetic tourist offered his seat and gently patted her shoulder. He too struggled to balance himself against the violently jerking vehicle.

“Bumpy ride! I am Akashinga. Where are you from?”

“Zelda from Australia,” she answered, instantly warming to his welcoming smile.

“Ah, this is good people. I have many friends who have move there. Good, good. I thought you might be from here.”

“Definitely not.”

“But they think you are, no?”

“I think so, yes. But I doubt it matters to them.”

“Mmm,” he patted her shoulder again and held tightly to the railing, knuckles ready to burst through his skin. Zelda sighed. She didn’t have the heart to tell him his kindness had created a bird’s eye view for the perpetrator. Shoving her ear buds deep she pushed manically at the volume until her cheeks vibrated. Her long hair draped chaotically, but with the Zimbabwean guard close Zelda finally felt something resembling safety.

She closed her eyes. It seemed an age since they boarded the bus by the ocean side. Her mouth gaped as the boat disembarked on the shore of the mountain. She paused a moment, taking in the commanding landscape as the crew eagerly offered their hands, nudging one another to earn her favour. One twirled Zelda theatrically pulling her tightly against him.

“Just go with it,” he ordered hotly in her ear. The older tourists cheered. Zelda feigned a smile, wrangled her fingers from his grip and flicked the backpack over her shoulder. Pouting, he flapped his arms theatrically for the jovial group then slyly stroked her breast. They applauded obliviously as Zelda pushed at his hand.

“Fuck you,” she hissed.

“Yes please,” said the crewman, licking his lips and returning to his duties. Zelda glared at him, stretching her shirt.

“Think he liked you,” a passenger called out. “Oh to be young again.”

Zelda ignored the comment, cradling her waist.

“You should be so lucky, dear,” said another tourist.

“What? Lucky for being touched up against my will?”

“What a pessimist. People pay money for that type of attention,” another woman chortled.

“I’m not one of them,” said Zelda.

“What a sour one you are…”

“It’s just a laugh,” called another.

Zelda shook her head and pushed further back in the line. The women took the last remaining seats and flirted loudly with the middle aged bus driver.

“Ticket,” he grunted provocatively. Zelda shoved the paper into his large calloused hand that suddenly grappled at her wrist. 

“Don’t bother with that one! She’s a prude,” one of the women called once more.

Zelda swung the backpack abruptly across her shoulder and ignoring the cackling women made her way down the aisle. 

***

The bus swerved and shunted along the narrow road and Zelda knew every jolt, every violence was meant for her. The air was stifling. She tied her hair in an unflattering style and looked up. The driver stared furiously. The backpack blocked his view. Zelda smirked contently. Until patrons began to scream.

… Continues in So You Are… An Anxious Avocado! The second book in the So You Are… Series! Coming soon.

Chapter 38: My Brain & the Rules of Writing

My son recently brought home a punctuation and grammar word sleuth. Initially it was an exciting moment where I could finally be involved and contribute in the homework sphere.

“Ask Mum. She’s the writer”

We had to google most of the answers.

Epic. Fail.

In the past few years of my boy’s education I have most definitely taken a back seat in the homework segment of the parenting curriculum. I get rolled out for anything involving costumes, public speaking, news, history projects and right brained creativity which sadly becomes more scarce the older our kids get. This year’s homework has been math heavy and good ole Mum dissipates into the shadows every Monday afternoon when stained and crumpled homework is reluctantly dragged from the school bag.

So the G&P word sleuth was a big moment where I was supposed to finally bring some knowledge to the table.

Shamefully “Mum the writer” has a dark, dark secret. I have eff-all clue about grammar and punctuation. It has abandoned me. A subject I dearly loved and conquered as a child, one of the very few where I was actually in the “those who getteth it” group – has at some point sodded right off.

I hadn’t really noticed until I began immersing myself in writing circles again and fears of dummy exposure came back to haunt me. It was mortifying. I had finally reacquainted with “my people” and suddenly basic G&P terms had me flatlining before fellow writers.

Oh the shame!

Alas, all that the sleuth exercise did was highlight my 1984 skill set no longer cuts it. Flashbacks ensued and there was primary school me – heinous haircut, disproportionate gangly limbs, one big arse chomper I could whistle through, crammed into a stinking hot asbestos ridden demountable staring at a blackboard that looked like it too was sweating – that was the last time I saw the word simile.

Ironically the night before the homework puzzle simile was referenced in an episode of Russian Doll.

Nadia: “Me and cocaine are like oil and vinegar. I just think I’m not good at mixing substances.”
John: “Or metaphors.”
Nadia: “Did I not say like oil and vinegar? Is that not a fucking simile?”
Brillance Credit

Brilliant maybe, but no help to soup brain over here. Queen Non-retainable.

My So You Are… Pregnant! book is a beautiful butchering of the English language that even progressive, hip millennial editors would struggle to find the literary faux pas littered throughout – as anything but illiterate rubbish. The gamble I’m taking is – in order to communicate with the widest possible audience – it has been written more like a text message, or a social media post, or an email to a mate, rather than a piece of “proper” literature. Not because I’m a snobby wench who is dumbing things down (if this website proves anything – I am the poster girl of dumb, anti-snobbery), but more to encourage and give a chance to those who don’t really dig reading – to pick up a book worthy of their time and eyeballs.

I want the reader to feel like I am sitting in front of them telling the story – with all my silly theatrics, but without the stuttering, or hour long search of forgotten words from my sieve brain.

I want them to experience the same reactions I get every time I tell someone the tale – the shock, the sadness, the joy, the empathy, the questioning, the anger, the laughs… all of it. Because So You Are… Pregnant! is a “creative non-fiction” and things are often very grey-area-y, all that delicious word-bastardisation is far more powerful left alone and set out into the world untampered to do what it will.

However, I don’t want to release a bucket of sloppy shit with inexcusable grammatical errors that make me seem more nongy than I already am. There’s a level of forgiveness when reading blog/fb/insta posts with the odd error etc and it’s become the norm to scan over and move on. But, if you’ve paid for something, a certain expectation of professionalism is just good manners and I refuse to launch a half arsed effort to an audience who deserve better.

Here lies my never ending conundrum that from an outsider looking in may mimic OCD, but it truly is an inability to wrap my head around correct editing.

My dumb arse non-comprehension of G&P is hindering this process and really BOGGING shit down! Currently COMMAS are my absolute Achilles heel and I am most definitely not alone. Recently I was so over comma placement I actually typed into Google where the fcuk do i put commas and it was hilarious how many others are clearly paddling along the same creek.

When the fuck, should you use a comma? on Reddit

and my personal favourite

I’ll put a comma wherever, the fuck, i want

This has helped, but even he waffles on and my mince mind goes on a mini vacation the more academic sounding explanations become.

My journey is a long one because I basically don’t comprehend information in the conventional sense and the sacrifice of brain nerve endings in the past (that were probably never fused together properly in the first place) has defo not helped-o.

Attention smart people… or rather, people who comprehend relatively simple concepts without experiencing aneurysm type symptoms… if you are out there and you’ve either been in this blind situation and made your way through,

OR

you’re just an empathetic clever clogs who finds none of it complicated and like helping the clueless – here are some insights from the blurry front line.

The following information is not helpful. At. Effing. All.

Use commas to separate independent clauses when they are joined by any of these seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet. Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.

Honestly, it reads like French Martian to me and I wager a million other poor delusional people out there struggle with it too.

Exhibit A – the shit that comes up in a Google search is a red flag something has gone amiss with the peasants when dealing with comma placement and general comprehension of use. From a personal perspective these are possible reasons of why the clueless remain so:

  1. The majority of us were taught this information at a young age in the hopes that it would have the same planting in our brain and become second nature knowledge like reading, writing, walking, talking etc but for some reason, did not stick
  2. Many of us were taught to insert comma where there is a pause/breath – which apparently is not remotely correct now.
  3. Alcohol – kills brain cells and information learned along with it
  4. Mr Mackey had a valid point
  5. The brain commonly discards what it deems unimportant in order to make room for evolvement. Having kids probably stripped me of literary tools and clearly I took too long to return to what would now have been a handy well to tap into
  6. I could very well be on a spectrum of dyslexia and have thought this for a long time
  7. I’ve spent too much time on the right side
  8. I am just not that bright

Let’s run with number 1 for now.

I do remember nerding out over English at a young age and I adored the grammar and punctuation tasks that always lead to some sort of creative writing activity which meant we weren’t focusing on sucky maths. This was an environment that one could thrive, embed and retain information, yet I can no longer access any of it without a sharp pain in my temple.

During the 2.3 second stint I did at uni it was expected you had all this knowledge firmly implanted. Where lecturers would scoff at the very notion of students having zero comprehension of the laws of writing and publically humiliate those who dared expose their incompetence in front of a theatre of hundreds. I had never been so silent.

That level of horror is a distant memory, but the fact remains that the rules and a sound comprehension of them is necessary if you want to be a writer and not look like a moron when in the company of other writers and humans over the age of seven.

To be void of the basics is to lack the tools to create work that is readable – much like this jaggedy post. What is the point of literary genius if your sentences are disjointed because you lack the knowledge of where things need to be to achieve FLOW.

A woman I hope one day will be my publisher and mentor recently said,

“Why does everyone get so bogged down in grammatical correctness? That’s what editors are for and they’ll throw half of it on the floor anyway. It’s your story we want. Everything else can be fixed later.”

I contemplated proposing.

However, there is a fine line between an editor doing their job and them having to do your job because you’re an incompetent ninny.

These rules shall not beat me!

…and I know I’m not alone. Google does not lie. Okay it does, but the amount of search results, blog posts, and general natter surrounding this topic clearly proves there are some major grammar and punctuation epidemics out there. No longer will I be the only self loathing G&P deficient turkey in the village! I need a retainable crash course! I need a little street cred in front of my kids.

SOS.

Please send help!

Any quick fix course recommendations are thoroughly appreciated.

Chapter 37: We Used To Walk As One

I went to a workshop recently run by Fremantle Press who I hope to be published by one day. It was lovely, interesting and extremely useful and I had a break through. I finally discovered the thing about my book that has been dogging me for some time –

Explaining what the hell it is about.

When I started writing The Warder’s Cottage I wanted to write a version of Fremantle I struggled to find. Mine. I wanted to take my childhood where I’d imagine families and children traipsing up and down the staircase a hundred years earlier and filter that essence into the story. What were they like? Were there any children? Who were they? What kind of lives did they lead?

My research would bring up the occasional tale of baby boomers sharing their unique experiences of growing up in eras irrelevant to my story; one steeped in seventies hues and echoes of the Victorian period.

Recently some paving contractors did a job at the cottages and posted pictures of their efforts. I shared my tale and they commented how old the place must be because the doorways are so low. I never thought of Henderson Street as being from any time period other than the 1800’s, which as a child with a vivid imagination and the amount of Sullivans I was viewing – it’s weird I didn’t.

I’m neither here nor there on the topic of ghosts, but as a kid in that house I was constantly sprinting from one lot of shadows to the next. There was an aura of the really old and unknown and that is what I wanted to ring through. Thankfully when I started to dig a little deeper the dates all aligned for what I hoped would be an accurate, yet interesting tale.

This background of my part in the story is all rather easy to explain. The rest not so much.

What is your book about?

(Cue spluttery, fidgeting, eye twitching nervy cliches.)

Well.. it’s three parts… each part representing the three main characters who all have something in common with the Warder’s Cottage. It’s not actually about the Warder’s Cottage per se, more it is used as a vessel to orchestrate these women’s lives …

and this is where I trail off.

Here is the long and short of it:

My first protagonist is a faerie. She has been banished from the Faedom and meets a Viking who has also been banished from his people and thrown overboard en route to Iceland. The pair forge a bond and he promises to help her fulfill her quest which is this:

Re-write the current path of the humans future in which man and woman are no longer in balance or connected to themselves, each other, earth, life, source.

Super light. Nothing too heavy.

She must produce an heir, train her up in the quest mission so that she will carry on, do her bit and pass it on to the next gen and so and so on. But this child (part 2 – protagonist) has no interest and falls in love with a prison warden with his own issues.

All these trials and tribulations make up the first two parts. The last part is heavily steeped in my own childhood and the third protagonist – Molly. But this was not a cutesy reflective memoirish thing about my life growing up in Fremantle, even though my interest and fascination was initially driving it that way.

Instead I used that experience to draw accurately from the time and space of Fremantle and the Warder’s Cottage itself – which (besides cosmetically) until recently was unchanging.

Molly is the key to picking up the pieces from the daughter (protagonist 2) and her shunning of fulfilling the quest. So this is a bit of a head cluster in itself and even though I’ve done the “describe your book in 3 minutes/30 words/back blurb…etc” I STRUGGLE to string it all together verbally with confidence.

It’s becoming more clear. Slowly.

The underlying theme that drives the book from woe to go was a surprise to me. At its infancy The Warder’s Cottage was about faeries in Fremantle, but this was the imaginings of mid-twenties me.

The #metoo and #timesup campaigns played a heavy part in the new direction of the story, however it wasn’t until I read Melanie Tonia Evans’ article about the quickening and the global feminine wounding that I realised how perfectly it fit with what I was feeling and trying to say.

This wasn’t a girl power/male bashing thing for me. I couldn’t turn these characters into fist pumping feminists if I wanted to because it would read ridiculously. I had demure women doing their own thing in a time when unless you were rich (and even if you were you still copped it) women were rather irrelevant and powerless.

The supernatural element gave me a freedom to gift my heroines with powers – mostly unseen by a society that would have found it very foreign or branded witchcraft. The powers lend to the underlying message, but like the message they are subtle and not smashing the reader at every turn of the page.

Writing an historical fantasy and having your characters behaving so out of character for that time runs the risk of becoming preposterous. Exhibit A – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – WHICH I ADORED… but questioned heavily at the same time. Zombies in Victorian England are believable. Victorian women behaving like highly trained assassins – probably not.

My characters don’t have mad ninja warrior skills and even if they did the reader wouldn’t see them because it would take away from the authenticity of Fremantle during that era and the story would become farcical. I owe it to Fremantle and myself to honour some basic rules.

My main character is on a quest – but what? Why is she banished and what would compel her to travel all the way from Orkney to Fremantle in 1850? Severely long story short – 1980s Molly who knows no distinction between gender roles and views the role through a rose hippie lense.

We used to move as one. We used to walk along side each other.

And this is what a lovely gentleman extracted when he was set with the task of interviewing me about my book. But it took a while. He initially made stereotypical presumptions and was really confused at what I – an apparent younger writer (in a room populated by mainly 60+ aged writers) – was suggesting…

“the whole women’s movement thing has happened for a reason, it’s a pattern, we’ve been here before, it keeps repeating because we get so close to the message and then get distracted, history is giving us the answers we’ve forgotten – we used to walk together, we used to create and serve and lift and move as one and no I don’t think women should rule the world but neither should men… it’s about the balance and getting back to the balance we once had instead of warring with each other over who should have power. In this alternative reality there is no need for warring because there is no need for that thirst for power – as it once was as it should be…”

and it took a long time to compute because he didn’t believe, or probably he was trying to wrap his head around what I was poorly communicating. I could see him trying to remove my emotional attachment and get to the facts.  He kept veering me to cliches.

Oh, is it reflective?

No

Is it a feminist fiction?

No

Is it about equality?

No.

You think we should be worshipping the goddess still?

No

You think women should rule the world?

No.

You think we should return to paganism?

No. It’s not a bra burning protesting man hating women ruling goddess pagan wiccan witchy worshipping anything. It’s not an attack or a shunning of any religion or belief system. It’s taking the original parts of those dogmas – instilled in good – and redirecting them away from being used as a means of control. It’s an alternative perspective; an altered reality. What would have happened if we didn’t turn from worshipping the earth, the goddess, the green man, the harvest and the cycle of all that surrounds us and is within us? While these aren’t the main focus of the book or the answers to the worlds issues now – they are an interesting point in our history to reflect on. A time when we did unite and flow – imagined or not.

So. Protagonist 1 misses the boat to influence man from turning away from woman and woman forgetting her purpose. She fails to create the world where we maintain the balance and co-exist in harmony. She attempts to instill the solutions and the answers into her daughter and eventually Molly. Who goes forth, writes her blog and her books and does her bit to get us back on track where we are no longer at war with each other. Where all the rubbish becomes obsolete. Where we step together as one. Where sexism, racism, fascism, persecution in all forms are just not there. Petty jealousies and one upmanship and competition and all that makes us do whatever it takes against others in order to get what we want – are non-existent because there is no need, no place for such things.

What if we didn’t turn from ourselves, one another, nature, source, within? What would our focus be on now? It’s a ridiculously broad question with so many variables one could go mad considering them all (clearly I’m half way there). In fiction it’s thrilling to create and imagine.

But trying to explain! Gobbledyfrickengoop! All I know is that every time I try it’s like someone puts a spell on my tongue to stop anything other than nonsensical rubbish coming out of my mouth. So hopefully it will come through in the book that no matter what level the reader is at something will resonate. Just as it did with my interviewer who shook my hand and said,

“Truly, thank you. I was not expecting any of that. That was absolutely delightful.” 

It was an amazing exchange between two strangers and it was a perfect example of what I’ve been trying to articulate. When he read it out the publisher seemed to light up.

“That’s it. That wasn’t there before and that’s something I would want to read more of. The childhood connection to the Warder’s Cottage and to Fremantle is cute and all, but “We used to walk together. We used to move as one.” that’s current. It’s relative and it makes me want to know more.”

It felt like I’d won a Nobel Prize.

Now I just have to write it.

Onward. 

Chapter 36: Writing Novelty

or… writing a fiddly, finicky, time consuming, complicated linky little muther effer.

I have a bad habit of biting off more than I can chew in every sense of the term. If no one’s watching and I can shove three bites of a sandwich into my gob rather than two – I will do it like the gluttonous time efficient sanga eating warthog that I am.

This also applies to most projects tackled in life and most recently with So You Are… Pregnant! Which, ironically was ONLY supposed to be a novella in order to relieve me of waffling on and on and racking up a word count that puts me into complicated categories.

An over eating over writer.

Suffice to say the follow up books in the series will definitely be more light-on from a bla bla perspective.

There are 2 issues that have prevented me from releasing this thing into the world a lot sooner than I had planned;

1: INTERNAL LINKS

&

2: RELIVING MY PAST

1: Internal Links:

Internal links are a wonderful phenomenon when formatting an ebook and even more funner when it’s a novelty style ebook. Initially when my link light bulb lit up I was elated at the possibilities. Twas short lived. 

What a head fCk.

If I had taken the less psychotic path and just written the damned book in normal chronological order, for normal page turning readability, like a normal person – I’d no doubt be ranting about something else as equally unimportant and first worldy.

I did not and as mentioned I am super talented at complicating uncomplicated things.

Exhibit A: Many moons ago I ran an arts room. We were learning about weather patterns and Wizard of Oz cyclones were hot in the kindy world. Instead of just getting out the edicol dye and creating a tornado in a bucket of water, I had to infuse my frenzyism into a simple situation.

We recreated the actual cyclone with 3D shit flying around and it ended up covering half the roof! It was a big room. We’re talking cows, farm houses, witches on broomsticks and every shade of gray in a multitude of mediums.

Was it necessary? Absolutely not. Was it epically impressive and admired by the masses? Yessiree Bob and a boost I probably didn’t need encouraged. Cue Halloween pumpkin pinata that needed a crow bar wielding former wrestler to crack open. I should have been stopped.

I am the embodiment of creation from chaos with equal measures of utter brilliance and astronomical failure. My catalogue of fail-fests are usually the result of burn out and the sheer exhaustion of trying to pull off really mammothly, overwhelming tasks usually beyond my skill set.

My visions are often too visiony and the kind, clueless bystanders to my mad genius moments – often too encouraging. The penny normally drops for the unknowing when knee deep in another batshit crazy idea. Climbing aboard my psycho surfboard former yay-sayers soon realise there’s no exit for rational thinkers and the only option is to brace for the ride and inevitable crash.

But my team of supportive minions are long gone and trying to bring this all together solo has definitely had it’s challenges. None so frustrating as uploading my master piece to Vellum, then half way through formatting pondering if its beautiful and user friendly platform offered internal linking?

To shorten this long, sad, pitiful rookie tale – no. No they fecking do not. Good news though – they’ve put me on the list of dumb arses who probably did the same thing. If there are enough of us they’ll rig it up eventually. So yay… she says beating head. They’ve ruined my editing theme song for me now;

Vellummmm….(I got that) Adrenaline momentum (vellummmm)* 

Anyhoo. Live. Learn. Fail. Learn same thing again. Re-do another million times until it sinks in as the cardboard coffin is lowered into my shallow grave.

For now – onward!

2: Reliving My Past

…or reliving every solitary moment over and over and over and over again like hell on earth – daily.

To reference the bonkers show Preacher, in hell the captives must spend the majority of their time re-watching the same moment of their life over and over for all of eternity. I had a similar experience and felt it monotonously for the last year and a bit… thankfully without Hitler, his racist plum cake and all the other mad shit on that show – that is.

Books need editing. I waffle like nobodies business so spewing my drama all over the page, while cathartic and eventually entertaining, that rubbish needed soooooooooo much culling/chopping/re-writing/re-thinking/re-living in order to make it remotely readable and it is this mentally draining task day after day that has been less than positive.

Trying to morph decades worth of tricky moments into a story that’s entertaining, informative, heart felt and real has taken it’s toll more than a few times. I have become more recluse in the relentless pursuit to finish the damned thing and move on with my life. I’m all for the trauma healing but reliving it all can shove right off. Really, really taxing.

The pregnancy itself was fairly standard and all the funny bits are a joy to re-read and even I find myself wondering how the hell did I string some of those memories together with actual humorous articulation! But re-reading, re-wording, re-structuring, re-forming, re-living moments and tapping into the rawness of my state of mind at the time was and still is full on.

Without revealing too much of the book itself, a perfect and less serious bit is the midwives during the birth. I catch my breath every time I re-read their role in it all and every single time I have to force myself from weeping. It’s overwhelming. The memories of them are scattered and filled with tears, pain, exhaustion and fear, but at the core is pure love and the most beautiful sensation of trust, kindness and care taking that formed between strangers.

“Naw, lovey. Ye’ve been pushin and pushin, best we hand you over now. You are a strong lass, you’ll do fine.”

“I don’t think I am.”

In the most beautiful act you will ever recall from complete strangers you met merely hours before, she kisses you on the forehead and the three of you embrace as you quietly cry together. You so dearly wanted them to deliver your child and lament this moment that was stolen by something as trivial as a pelvis.

On re-reading it felt like my chest would implode. I remember it so vividly. The words, the interaction, the lighting, the sorrow, the fear, the smells, the air – it’s intoxicating and I am there. I visualise way too well which is a gift and a curse of sorts.

My re-creation, whilst driven from purpose, has truly been one of the most mentally draining tasks I have ever undertaken in my life, because it is my life. A forgotten one I had set adrift like so much of my past I’ve not wanted to deal with. Fiction is way, way easier.

Coming out the other side and I suppose standing on the edge of whatever the story will rouse to those who read it – is surreal, healing and rewarding. Even if this thing doesn’t make a cent, what it has done for me mentally, spiritually and from a growth sense is worth the intense trauma and at times mind-numbing hard work it’s leached from me.

Again, writing for self truly is one of the greatest healers I highly recommend to all. No skill required. All the benefits.

*Credit: Venom by Eminem

Protected: Chapter 35: Writers Group – Writing Intimacy

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Protected: Chapter 34: Fangirling all the way to Sydney

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