Thank You Naysayers
mo•ti•va•tion [moh-tuh-vey-shuh n] –noun
1. the act or an instance of motivating.
2. the state or condition of being motivated.
3. something that motivates; inducement; incentive.
encouragement, inclination, provocation, inducement, persuasion
What is motivation?
In my mind motivation means… finding the encouragement, persuasion or inducement to accomplish a task. The task can be anything that comes to mind. It could be a long term goal as in a university degree or something mundane like vacuuming the floor.
People find motivation in various forms and generally in more than one way. Some are motivated by desire, they perhaps desire to make their parents proud of them or they simply desire to be rich.
There are a gazillion motivational speakers in the world making a fortune from people who perhaps only need to have faith in themselves rather than rely on a stranger to tell them how they should accomplish their chosen goal. These speakers are generally people who have overcome great odds to accomplished something. I’m all for them getting their gazillion dollars – most of them deserve it. A perfect example is a young Australian man born with no arms and legs he has just written a book ‘Life Without Limits’, he visits schools to speak about how happy he is and how his disability is not a disability at all. Someone we could all listen to and learn from.
Self motivation is powerful but not too many people can claim to be self motivated, most need urging. Goal setting and visualizing the end result are very positive motivators a positive outlook and self motivation go hand in hand… but, do motivators need to be positive?
I say No. I have accomplished quite a few things… and my motivation has been… I am embarrassed to say… rebellion. As a kid I was told more times than I care to admit that I couldn’t do something because…
A. I wasn’t smart enough
B. I wouldn’t be capable of doing it
C. Too hard, it will never get me anywhere, why bother.
Being a rebellious child/adult has proved helpful. I love to prove the naysayers wrong. So what I would like to say is Thank you Naysayers, without you I wouldn’t have done half the things on my list. I wouldn’t be a fulltime artist and I wouldn’t be a published author. Revenge is sweet – even if it is only in MY mind.
So if you’re after some motivations take a look on the internet and check out the hundreds of useful sites … OR do what I do and get busy, prove them wrong.
When is a conversation sacred?
At different times in my life I have shared personal thoughts and intimate details with friends. These shared details weren’t necessarily to be public knowledge… I didn’t swear my friend to secrecy but REALLY when you confide in a friend you think they will keep the information to themselves.
con•fid•ed, con•fid•ing, con•fides
1. To tell (something) in confidence
2. To give as a responsibility or put into another’s care; entrust
To disclose private matters in confidence:
If fact the word confide is part of the word confidence….go figure.
Trust, now there is a word we should focus on here… who out of your friends would you TRUST with potentially damaging information? Have you ever thought about it?
I am lucky; my friends with whom I have confided important details of my life have in the most part kept my thoughts/conversations to themselves. Mind you one or two of the more embarrassing things I have done (like boiling milk in a kettle) and confided to my friends remain close to the surface and are occasionally shared (to my horror) as amusing anecdotes at parties.
This morning I had the television on as I prepared the kids for the school bus. The show’s host Koshie was talking about the dangers of texting on your phone as you drive the car… very unsafe, illegal and frowned upon. He was slamming the people who are ‘stupid’ enough to do it and then the bombshell….. He said earlier that morning he was talking to two of the women he works with and told how one of them has to lock her phone in the boot of her car to stop herself texting/driving and the other’s children yell at her each time she does it.
Now the question is… did these women tell their stories to Koshie in confidence, did they realize he would ‘out’ them on national television? I don’t think they told him expecting him to share their failings as mothers, responsible adults, and respected television personalities.
What do you think?Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (1)
The Scales of Life
In life we have many decisions to make. These decisions can be miniscule but sometimes they can be enormous – life changing. Some of those decisions affect other people in ways the decision maker can sometimes be unaware of. Occasionally, a seemingly minor decision by a person can have far reaching effects.
Let me demonstrate…. Last week I was in a shopping centre and was scanning the CD and DVD walls in a large store. I happened to walk down a high walled isle that had obviously recently been vacated by someone else – that someone else had left something behind…. The most disgusting smell in the world! I couldn’t escape, it went up my nose, and into my mouth… it was in my eyes, my clothes. I ran from that isle, I couldn’t get away from it. I could taste it and I wanted to be sick, I wanted to wash my face and my arms. It coated my tongue. Just thinking about it now gives me the heebie jeebies.
So, somebody had made a minor decision, their decision had effected me in a very bad way – I’m sure people were looking at me as I reacted to the offensive taste in my mouth (a well dressed lady crazily wiping her tongue on a hanky).
As adults we make a hundred decisions a day, from what we eat for breakfast to weather we want to donate money to a charity. Some decisions though, are life altering. We are very lucky to be in a position where we are free to make choices, in some places in the world choice is a rare thing. And nature has taken away so many choices for people in the disaster stricken areas of the world. And sadly, the people in those areas are most likely in such traumatic shock that they may not actually be capable of making major decisions at all. They will be in survival mode; the decisions made will be what keep them alive and sheltered. Let’s just hope the decisions made for them by the powers that be are the right ones.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I made a discovery yesterday, it was a real eureka moment, a moment of luminous thought, an epiphany. Let me start at the beginning…
If you read my blogs you would know that I am an artist (took me many years before I called myself that). A long time ago I made the resolution to one day enter the holy grail of Australian art competitions – The Archibald Prize. To be in the running for this award is, in comparison to a writer, being in the running for a Pulitzer, so let me tell you it is daunting. The Archibald Prize is a portrait competition and has strict guidelines as to who can be the subject of the portrait – they have to be a distinguished person of letters, arts, politics or science and they have to have had at least one sitting with the artist.
As an artist I am lucky enough to have access to the Hon Bob Katter Member of the Australian Federal Parliament. About six years ago I met Bob at the local show and asked him if one day he would sit for me – when I thought I was ready. Late last year I decided the time was right and called Bob on his promise. He was happy to oblige me. Bob for those that don’t know of him is an independent Member of Parliament and our last Federal election saw him as a VERY important figure in Australian Politics. He is also quite a character, and is quite recognizable in his Akubra hat, jeans and boots, a real Aussie cowboy.
This is information is the foundation of my epiphany.
Yes, to enter a painting into the Archibald is daunting… but you know what? I found filling out the entry form and writing my bio more intimidating. It wasn’t that the questions were difficult – they weren’t. It wasn’t that I had reservations about entering – I didn’t. It wasn’t that the entry fee was too high – it wasn’t. It wasn’t that I thought my painting wasn’t good enough – I have no delusions about winning, I am proud of myself for having guts to enter. It was the bio, having to write about myself – tell the judging panel (or Archibald people) why I felt I was good enough to enter the holy grail of art competitions.
My epiphany happened when I discovered why I felt this way.
I realized that I can have one of my paintings on the wall and not everyone will like it and there will be someone out there who could have done it better – or different. I can have a story published and not everyone will enjoy it and I KNOW there is someone out there who could write it better.
I’m OK about that; people aren’t judging ME, they are having a personal opinion…. But the bio…. That IS so I can be judged…. What if they don’t like me?
Let’s add light
This morning I watched breakfast television whilst I made the kids school lunches and got them ready for school. The screen showed the tsunami and earthquake stricken Japan. We have friends that live in Sendai the hardest hit area. I cannot express just how worried I am; let’s just say the word vomit comes immediately to mind.
In the past couple of months Australia has seen its fair share of natural disasters, New Zealand too, I wonder where it will stop.
The rain continues to fall here in North Queensland; local people who lost their homes in February with Tropical Cyclone Yasi have had over half a meter of rain in less than a week. As my own family went through the same conditions less than five years ago I understand how they must be feeling – but even when you are living in tough conditions your heart goes out to those that are possibly (highly likely) doing it tougher.
Japan, a country of millions, a country of tech savvy city dwellers have been in the space of hours reduced to homeless, hungry and frightened people. Nuclear reactors are exploding, aftershocks keep happening and all the time the people are concerned there may be another tsunami.
Whilst I was watching these events unfold time after time on television – all the while hoping to see something fresh and hopeful I wondered how the people in Christchurch New Zealand were fairing. They are still reeling from the earthquake; at least (one small positive note) it is not freezing cold like it is in Japan.
I chased the kids out the front door to the bus at 6.58 (the bus is always on time at 7) and suddenly I felt a wave of wellness wash over me. From one muddy puddle to another stretched a beautiful rainbow. It is the first rainbow I have seen in weeks, possibly months. As I looked at it glisten I felt tension leave my body, fresh air filled my lungs and I felt good. I wondered if the rainbow was Mother Nature’s way of telling me my friends in Japan would be ok. I wondered if the people in Sendai or Christchurch saw a rainbow like this it would have a similar effect on them.
Please enjoy my small rainbow video, and while you do, think of those that need one.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
International Writing Sprint
On Moday morning I am going to take part in the International Writing Sprint. A Facebook initiative by Anita Heiss. At 9am the plan is for us all to write for an hour at the same time, UNINTERRUPTED!! Like an on-line writing group. Might be fun, might be productive, might turn out to be a waste of time. The plan is that next Monday, March 14 we all start writing at 9am (ESDT).
If you are in Brisbane that will be 8am.
Houston: Sunday 5pm
NYC: Sunday 6pm
Although I am in none of those places it will be 8am for me too. The kids will have been gone for an hour and I will have the house to myself … I should find it productive. If you too would like to be a part of this event go to Facebook and look for the International writing sprint – everyone is invited.
I have listed on the facebook page that I plan to (in that hour) write my blog and then work on a picture book. Though today I have been thinking that perhaps I should consider working on my novel. The golden bones I wrote about in a previous blog. I think my characters need fleshing out some more, they need to be more real. Or perhaps, I should do that today as it requires more thinking time and mulling it over time than actual writing and leave the sprint for my organised mind (I have several minds I think).
To be honest the antagonist in my story pulled me up short when I initially looked into his background – he is a manipulative and self absorbed man who has little compassion. It was strange, while I was writing him and getting into his mind it was as though he was letting me and knew I was there, luring me deeper into his thought process – it kind of scared me. I had to constantly move away from my computer and clear my mind of him. Like when you are reading a suspense novel and have to take a breather. Is this normal to feel this way or am I just a little strange?
As I mentioned in the Golden Bones blog, while I was writing, my characters took over the story and did things that suprised me, although, it showed their personalities quite clearly so I could build on them and guide them into actions – I saw what they were capable of.
Maybe I should make sure I write with the lights on and the dog next to me….Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
This morning we were awakened by the telephone. As we are a family of early risers it is unusual for this to happen. After running around half the house in search of the hands free (convenient) phone my husband came to find me. With a smile on his face that made me wonder who it could possibly be on the other end he handed the offending implement to me and said “It’s America.” A thought had sped through my mind it was perhaps the friends in Japan I had emailed the previous night, in fact I wish it had been them, the earthquake and tsunami yesterday are a nightmare.
Anyway, the phone call was from America, and the smile on my husbands face told me it was good news – so who could it be. It is amazing how quickly thoughts rush through your mind. ‘Hello?’ A breathless and excited voice on the other end told me I had won a prize… a trip for the family, yes the family, to Orlando Florida with a cruise to the Bahamas. 7 days in Orlando staying at the Hilton with passes to Disney, the Epcott Centre, Sea World and somewhere else I can’t remember; and a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas, all meals included, then another 4 days at Fort Lauderdale Hyatt – Wow.
Did I remember entering this competition…. Well I do remember answering a survey that when submitted entered me into some kind of Bahamas holiday competition. After a lengthy conversation about making sure I pack sunscreen and sunglasses I was passed onto another fellow who checked my mailing details for the tickets. Still Wow. After checking these details – yes they had them correct and yes this is soooo exciting and if I wasn’t excited I wouldn’t be eligible…. I was passed onto a third fellow for the final details of the trip. This guy was way less excited and required my credit card details. ‘Why?’ well they can give me the holiday but they cant pay the taxes … don’t worry they only hold the card number they don’t use it till you are on your way. I said I was not comfortable giving them those details, the explanation he gave was so convincing and as the holiday was such an expensive one why was I worried about a thousand dollars? A thousand dollars, gee let me think, that will feed my family for a couple of weeks for starters…. I was informed that my name not only had been ‘pulled out of the barrel’ I had been demographically selected…. To cut a long story short I stupidly gave them my credit card number and they were gone – click.
I checked on the internet for the company and yes, it is legit…. But guess what, it is time share. And my prize, to collect that I have to get my family to America, then in the clauses… lots of extra costs. I phoned the number I had been given – disconnected. I emailed them and asked they allow me to forgo my prize and not charge my card. Then I did the smartest thing I had done all morning, I called my bank, the company had tried to charge my card already but there were insufficient funds – by $10…. phew. I asked the lovely and very understanding bank lady to hold my credit card, in fact she suggested I just get a new one. So I am.Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (3)
Rejection re•jec•tion [ri-jek-shuh n] –noun
Rejection re•jec•tion [ri-jek-shuh n] –noun
The act or process of rejecting.
The state of being rejected.
Something that is rejected.
1545–55; < Latin rējectiōn- (stem of rējectiō ) a throwing back
refusal, spurning, dismissal, elimination.
To be rejected … can be a distressing, painful experience. Rejection in the school yard, rejection in a relationship or rejection in a job interview, any rejection if handled badly can lead to self esteem issues and in some cases phobias. People in general have a fear of rejection. I must admit that I do. I care, probably a little too much about what people think of me, I want to be liked and I want to fit in. When the calls of dinner invitations don’t come on the weekends I tend to get a little sensitive.
But when it comes to being judged by strangers, either as a person, or for my art and writing I have developed a rather thick hide. If I know deep in my gut that I have done my best… well that’s good enough for me. About twenty years ago (eons I know) I was in a pageant; the other young women were beside themselves the day we had private interviews with the judging panel. They were crying, throwing up, it was horrible. I found myself giving them a stern talking too (who was I to give advice). I think the reason I wasn’t affected the same way was because I thought contestant X was going to be crowned Queen (she was the obvious choice), so I was just along for the ride. I sat them down and made them listen to me, I told them the people sitting in the next room were going to ask them some questions, there were no wrong answers… the worst thing that could possibly happen to them is the panel don’t fall in love with them. They will not pull out revolvers and shoot them. They will not throw drinks in their faces – unless of course it is deserved. I told them to enter the panel room with the idea of making new friends in mind. I helped them fix makeup and the rest of the day went smoothly.
Another time (I have surprised myself) I received a large manila envelope in the mail, it had my handwriting on it so I knew it was my manuscript and book dummy for a picture book coming home – rejected. My sister and another friend were with me at the time and became concerned when after reading the rejection letter to myself I burst into tears. Brushing their concerned hands away I collected myself and told them I wasn’t sad, I was very, very happy. The rejection letter that I had expected to be a simple form letter was in fact a beautiful note from the publisher extolling their admiration for my work and asking me to send more. I was prepared for the rejection only to find that although that particular book had been eventually rejected, I as an author/illustrator hadn’t been.
As for my artwork and rejections… hardly a day goes by where someone doesn’t like what I do. And sometimes those people are very rude. ‘I like that painting – my five year old paints just like that.’ ‘If that were five dollars and not five thousand, I still wouldn’t buy it.’ ‘Yuck, that’s crap.’ ‘Jack, I really like what you painted twenty years ago.’ Now, this week I am sending a painting to Sydney, it is to be entered into the Archibald Prize – Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art prize. Am I afraid of rejection, no, I know I have done my best….
Anyway I know that not everybody has to like me or what I do. I think if rejection is taken gracefully then it makes us better, stronger people.
P.S. After I congratulated contestant X much to her confusion, I discovered it was me who had been crowned Queen.Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (4)
I didn’t do Nanowrimo this year… as it runs in November I guess I should say last year. I did do the year before, and have a story/novel because of it – or most of a story/novel – that I am really quite happy with. I say story/novel because as yet, what I have is the story, the bones of a novel.
A friend of mine…. A multi published author and writing tutor, told me recently that she doesn’t like Nanowrimo. ‘Why?’ I asked, horrified. Her answer was, understandable from a fabulous writer slash tutor point of view but not totally agreeable in my eyes.
She says there is too much bad writing done during Nanowrimo. How can the writer, (most just starting out in their craft) achieve 50 000 words in one month have the time or the energy to worry about structure, form, characterization…or do the all important revising. Any writer starting out with poor skills can become a poorer writer having given no time to agonize over the words they choose.
Well, yes, that can make sense. But, I for one love Nanowrimo. Yes my writing skills are … questionable, but during that month of intense writing two very positive things happened. The first was the change in my family. Each evening I was asked ‘how many words have you done today?’ I was expected by them to achieve my goal of 1667 words a day and they encouraged me for the first time. Basically they left me alone to write. The next positive thing was the story that grew out of four words.
For those that don’t know what NaNoWriMo is … on the 1st November writers having already enrolled on a website start to write – anything. The idea is to form a writing habit. Not necessarily come out with a novel – although that would be a bonus.
Anyway, the 1st rolled around and I had no idea what to write… so I had my sons find a couple of words at random out of the dictionary and I formed a starting sentence. And let me tell you, it ran away with me, characters created themselves, they took over a story I would never have thought was inside me. It’s not even a genre I would consider writing.
My friend, wonderful friend she is, picked at my story in a way only an investigating coroner could. I was telling not showing and yes, my questionable writing skills remained questionable. … But the story, its gold!
P.S. Now the golden bones will be laid out for closer inspection, I will thoroughly examine every aspect, maneuver bones to where they might belong, imagine the sinews that bind them together. The difference with my inspection of these bones and the inspection a coroner might consider is that these golden bones are not those of a corpse but a living breathing creature – stay tuned. (Oooh, I’ve just come up with the beginning of a new story)Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Can You Smell It?
Can you smell it?
There’s something in the air…. For a while there it smelt of impending doom mixed with danger. It seemed Mother Nature was having a hissy fit and throwing her weight around – a lot. Floods, mud slides, bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions…. My goodness she has been upset. She has swept away entire towns and reduced cities to rubble.
But the question is… can you smell it? No, not doom, but resilience. Human kindness and resilience. With each disaster we have, like the ants whose nest filled with water, risen above it, found our loved ones, cared for our neighbours and worked along side strangers.
I must confess to feeling blah and a little uneasy for a few months now. Waiting for forecasted tropical cyclones and then cleaning up after them. I had wanted to post new blogs most days but felt I shouldn’t if I couldn’t find positive things to write about. But today I realized, I should just write it like it is. And now that I have started, I have come to the conclusion that my blah was nothing but my imagination – the cyclones weren’t however.
The human spirit is amazing, we have seen people rush to aid strangers, often putting their own lives at risk. People purchasing rubber boots and gloves only to arrive at a stranger’s house to help clean away mud and debris, others that couldn’t give time but could help by donating money or blood.
It seems there haven’t been too many people in the world lately that haven’t been touched by a natural disaster in some way. Sadly a number of them have lost more than their homes or livelihoods, some, have lost loved ones. These people are the ones most in need of our help. But how can we help? We can be a compassionate ear, or a caring and strong shoulder, not judging, not giving unwanted advice, just listening.
What you may ask does human kindness and resilience smell like. It can smell like sweat, it can smell like a warm hug, but I think most times it smells like fresh air.Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (3)