Brothers …

I am the youngest of five children with two sisters and two brothers. This story goes back to when we were kids.Somehow my brothers had me twisted around their little fingers.

For example they would con me into polishing their shoes. I would spend ages doing it and waiting for their approval which was very hard to get.

I remember we had an old cupboard in our yard (no longer useful in the house) and I used to love playing “house” (as a good 1950’s girl would do) and the cupboard was the central prop. My brothers got some ferrets (which I didn’t like at all) and they convinced me that they needed the cupboard to keep the ferrets in. I think they may have given me one shilling (ten cents) in exchange. I think they got the better deal!

My brothers had a lot of friends that used to hang out at our place. As long as I remained inconspicuous they didn’t mind me tagging along. That was fun and had a sense of danger!

Another time they had some friends around – I was a bit older, about 12 I think – and they dared me to smoke a cigarette. They were all smoking and promised to give me 10 shillings if I could smoke a cigarette and do the draw-back. I was a willing student and to their surprise they had to hand over 10 shillings. It went a long way in the 1960’s. That was my first ever cigarette (it was a roll your own one at that), and unfortunately I later took up the habit. I have been off them from a long time now.

The other memory I have is of my stubbornness when it came to swearing. I absolutely refused. They tried many times to bribe me without success. The first time I was known to swear effectively was when I was in my late 30’s in an argument with a politician!

Both brothers joined the armed forces around the time of the Vietnam War – one in the Royal Australian Army and one in the Royal Australian Navy. I didn’t see a lot of them at that time.

I think I am lucky to have had two brothers and two sisters. I believe it has helped me in being able to relate to men and women plus lots of interesting memories from growing up.

The five of us – taken about 15 years ago.

Day 1 – Creativity Challenge

Click HERE if you would like to join me in the Creativity Challenge!

Today my challenge will be to write a short post about the following topic:

“What is the best lesson you have learned?”

When I was in my early 30’s my marriage broke up and I found myself in a situation where I had few possessions (including money) and three young children to take care of. I was also living in a remote Aboriginal Community in Northern Australia.

The lesson I learned is that I am stronger than I think I am. Sometimes I just pretended that I was strong and often that was enough. I also learnt that I was the only person I could rely on to get through the difficult time.

When I rang my Mum to tell her what happened she said that I shouldn’t even think about coming home. I was quite shocked at the time but now I realise that the path I did choose turned out to have a lot more going for it than if I had returned to my home town in Victoria.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That was about forty years ago. My sons grew up with me in Western Australia. We did miss (still do) having extended family close by but it forced me to go out and meet people and in many ways enabled me to rebuild my life without the constraints and limitations I would have faced if I had returned ‘home’.

As I get older I see many people on their own – having lost their partners and perhaps their extended families. I do feel passionately that we need to be aware that some people suffer from loneliness and isolation. This is even more so with Christmas approaching. I find Christmas a bit challenging however I try to make the most of it and put in a little effort! I don’t think I am alone in this!

Random thoughts on Real Estate Writing :)

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I recently resigned from my part-time job as a Real Estate Writer with our local community newspaper. Each week I would visit three properties and write an article on each one. I also edited about a dozen small articles written by the real estate sales reps.

Real estate writing has a bad reputation however it isn’t that difficult to write up an honest description of a property with a focus on its positive attributes. Below I will include a copy of a PDF document of words I put together for reference when I was stuck.

Here are few random thoughts from my nearly three years doing the job

  • There is no need to say HUGE 2ha block of land. It is either 2ha or it isn’t!
  • Houses don’t BOAST! They may have a delightful kitchen but they don’t BOAST about it!
  • It is important to vary the first word in each sentence. It is so easy (when under deadline) to find that just about every sentence starts with ‘The’ or ‘It’.
  • Use Word’s thesaurus. It can really ruin an article if every item is described as ‘stylish’ when there are so many other options available.
  • It was useful to read other publications to expand my vocabulary. New words for me included “chic, bespoke, sleek, splashback, pendant lights, skillion roof …”
  • After a some time in the job it took a lot to wow me. A three or four bedroom home could range from around $300,000 to $2million plus. They were still functionally much the same!
  • Some sales representatives attempted humour in their writing – I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a professional comedian – even then it is questionable!
  • I did a quick (extra) edit to ensure that every sentence ended in a full stop. I used to cut and paste so much it was easy to misplace a full stop.

Here is my handy Real Estate Words List

 

On Writing

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I came across this passage recently while researching about writing memoirs. It really struck a chord with me.

According to Elizabeth Sullivan, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco:

Writing creates a mind-body-spirit connection. She also said that when you use your hands to pen or type something directly from your brain, you are creating a powerful connection between your inner experience and your body’s movement out in the world.

Source and for more information about Elizabeth Sullivan CLICK HERE

 

You really should write a book …

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When I tell people about some of the places I have lived and things I have done and seen, many suggest that I should write a book. But would it really be of interest to anyone?

I have made a start and written around 10,000 words – a very brief summary of my life up until now. I am unsure where to go from here. I decided to do some brain-storming to flesh it out a bit. It raised more questions than answers, such as:

  • who is included and who is excluded?
  • should I use real names and my real name?
  • what are the ‘touchstone’ events that really must be included?
  • do I bare all about my struggles and challenges or are some things too private?
  • should I seek  professional guidance at this stage eg a literary agent or wait and see how it goes?
  • what is the secret of keeping it interesting?

I guess the easy road to take would be to keep writing the truth as I see it and perhaps make amendments down the track. 

It has been useful to put my thoughts down here to share with you as it now seems a bit clearer. I think I will start on the ‘touchstone’ events and see where that leads me.

THANKS FOR LISTENING 🙂

Ocean liners and polished boars!

Well, what do ocean liners and boars have in common? And what is a polished boar anyway?

Each Thursday I do some real estate writing and editing for our local paper. I edit short descriptions of various properties for sale. Because we are near the beach it is quite common for agents to state that there is room to park a boat or caravan. However, today an enterprising sales representative expected me to believe that there was room to park an ocean liner!

That got my attention! I then read on only to to find something even more interesting. The home comes with polished boars! I don’t know if they are naturally shiny or if someone regularly polishes them.

In case you didn’t work it out, I am pretty sure they meant polished boards 🙂

I found a picture of a not very shiny boar on en.wikipedia.org

boar

Getting Started on my Memoir

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I asked for ideas on memoir writing a little while ago and received some excellent tips.

Even so, getting started was still a  problem. I decided to do a mind map/brain storm and see where that took me. I looked at it from the following angles:

  • why do I want to do it?
  • how am I going to do it?
  • what do I need to do it?
  • when is this going to happen?

I then put a table together with those headings and answered the questions honestly. Once I had the first three thoroughly considered I set a time-frame.

At the conclusion I committed myself to write just two pages for each different period in my life:

  • 60+ (where I am at right now)
  • 50-60 years
  • 40-50 years
  • 30-40 years
  • life in remote communities in my 20s and 30s
  • 20-30 years (when my children were born)
  • teenage years
  • primary school years

My commitment is to do two pages for each of the above before the 30th June 2016. I have a whiteboard where I tick off the days that I write so it is quite visual.

I am really enjoying the process. I don’t have a goal beyond 30 June but I will consider that when the time comes. Whether it ever comes to print doesn’t seem important. I am enjoying reflecting on the BIG PICTURE of my life – the good and not so good!

I am also collecting (in one place) other bits and pieces that I may merge at a later date.

Just thought I would share the process I developed as it may be useful to someone else 🙂

 

 

Writing a memoir

I would like to write my memoir one day. I am currently collecting information and advice as to how to go about it. I have scoured my blog for passages that can be included. I have also read several memoirs to learn how writers tackle it.

My intent is to gather snippets of information/memories until I feel I have a good mix and quantity of quality information.

The purpose of this post is to glean advice and guidance from fellow bloggers. I am sure many people have travelled this road before me and will have some good advice of what to do or not do.

How would YOU go about it? Please share your thoughts/tips with me 🙂

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Bloggers, writers and journalists

Writing QuoteThere are so many different forms of writing! How can one learn to be a great writer? When I think about it, these examples come to mind:

  • news reporting
  • feature writing
  • creative writing
  • novel writing – different genres
  • short stories – different genres
  • writer of children’s stories
  • blogging – different themes and purposes
  • technical, business and scientific writing
  • personal journal writing
  • copy-writing for websites or advertising/public relations
  • advertorials
  • policy writing for governments and other organisations

No doubt I have missed some types and styles of writing. I wonder how transferable the skills are between them. And what about the status or culture around the careers of such writers? Bloggers vs journalists for example? Are the boundaries shifting?

I have experimented with creative writing and loved it but find it really  hard to access the creative part of my imagination/inner self.

I can write business reports and tenders and the like –  I get some satisfaction out of doing a good job but they don’t excite me very much.

This week I enrolled in a five-week course to learn about feature writing for magazines and newspapers. I am enjoying it so far. The massive changes in writing practices will continue to evolve. Where will we be in ten years from now? Will we still have hard copy newspapers, I wonder?

Staring at the blank screen …

I don’t seem to write much these days. Not only that, but I don’t get ideas like I used to. I want to hang in and write some more. I fear if I leave it too long, writing could become one of the things I used to do.

I’ve become a little shy in publishing so I am making the effort today. My tagline used to say, “If you want to write, just write!”.

OK – here are three good reasons to write regularly:

  1. It keeps the words flowing and once you get started the ideas will come.
  2. We need to build the habit of writing into our daily lives – some days it won’t be very productive but then there are days when it all comes together.
  3. It must be good for our brains to think and be creative or remember and relate stories etc.

I managed to write 150 words today 🙂

introverts