I had a good year in 2012!
Below are some of the special moments captured on film.
If you hold the cursor over the photo it will tell you more about the event.
Wishing everyone health, happiness and lots of fun blogging in 2013!
Today I cleaned up my computer! You would not find my desk if my office filing was anything like my computer filing. You would not get in the door! It is easy hide electronic mess. I had folders labeled random docs, random excel docs, random PowerPoint docs!
I had a My Documents folder that had a My Documents folder, that had My Other Documents folder….get the picture! Well, there are random pictures too! I decided not to go there today!
I got more ruthless the longer I was at it. I kept information for years, that I MAY NEED ONE DAY! Work stuff from several employers ago. There were job applications, work projects, samples of work I have done. I couldn’t even bring myself to read most of them.
A moment of enlightenment arose among this frenzied clean up! Much of the information was EVIDENCE. It was to prove that I could do something, or that I didn’t do something, or evidence of ability for job applications etc. And so much of it was not really ME. I believed I needed this stuff to be who I thought I ought to be.
I don’t need to do that anymore and I feel so grateful for that. I worked for Government for a long time and for a long time I found it really tough going. Not because the government was bad, mean or corrupt. I found it to be soul destroying. I wanted to make a difference through what I did at work – at times it was possible to do that. A lot of the time it was just really dysfunctional and incredibly frustrating. I stayed because it gave me security – it was a trade-off. Not uncommon – I guess most people do that at work and in life generally to some degree – we have to do that to survive in our society.
I am self-employed now – I earn a lot less money but I am a lot happier. I can be true to who I am. I can work hard and be satisfied with my personal effort, knowing that I did the best job that I am capable of. Most of my work involves writing applications for funding for community groups. I get to WRITE and people pay me to do it! The time just flies by when I am on a project – I experience that sense of being “in the flow”. I look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone.
I find the writing I do in my blog actually does help me to write for other purposes. I am not daunted by a new topic (project) and I just start writing (and editing) and after a while it just seems to come together. My experience working with government gives me some insight into the sort of stories they want to hear. Hopefully there will be some positive outcomes for all.
Hierarchies rule in Government organisations. I put a lot of work into a document to go up the General Manager for approval. I provided a draft to my line manager and she changed it significantly and sent it up-line to the General Manager. I didn’t see the changes she made. Next thing I knew was the General Manager came to my desk and shouted profanities at me for the content of the document. I was dumbfounded – it was in front of all my work colleagues in an open plan office. My manager was in an office close by but did not intervene. I felt like I couldn’t say that the offending content was the work of my manager, not me – but that would have been dobbing her in, so I just sat there and copped it.
At the time I just shrugged it off and got on with my work. I knew an injustice had taken place but hey, that’s what the workplace is like, isn’t it?
No way would I put up with that sort of behaviour today. I would stop him in his tracks by indicating I wasn’t about to take what he wanted to dump on me. I would insist that we go somewhere private to have the conversation. I would not take the actual and body language he used. If he failed to respond to those requests, I would go to my Manager’s office and involve her in the discussion. To be honest, if these things didn’t work, I would leave my desk and either go home or seek help from Human Resources staff. When it comes to fight or flight, I definitely lean towards winging my way out of the situation
OMG – I am so glad I don’t work there anymore!!!
In the first half of 2012 I commenced university study in a professional writing course. I did two units and I passed both but felt I didn’t want to do any more. It is not cheap and it is a lot of work and pressure.
Mid year break came along and I had some time off to reflect. I decided I WILL do the last two units this semester (which starts today). I am studying online and it requires some discipline to keep at it.
Last semester one of the activities was about grammar. I did a lot of research and thought I had it sorted but I only got 4.5 out of 10 marks! No doubt there is some debate in writing circles about what is right and wrong in grammar. I reviewed my work and I could see the mistakes I made but I still don’t feel confident in it.
I decided that I need to take this more seriously. I NEED TO LEARN! I can see that writing is like any other creative pursuit where skill is developed over time. If I want to be a professional in this field then I will have to put in the effort to lift my standard in writing. Can I keep up the motivation? I hope so – it is up to me.
In December 1982 our family moved from Melbourne, Victoria to Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The photos you see are from around that time. It is situated about 400 km east of Broome and is about 2,524 km from the state capital of Perth. The population was predominantly Indigenous and we came there to work in the community store. My former husband was there to help the manager as storeman. In 2006 the population of the Fitzroy Crossing town-site had grown to around 1,500, with a further 2,000 or so people living in up to 50 Aboriginal communities and out-stations in the region. The main industries in the area are tourism, cattle stations and mining.
Prior to European occupation Fitzroy Crossing and the lands and valleys around it were the home for a number of Aboriginal language groups including the main group, the Bunuba People. Other groups include the Gooniyandi people, the Nyigina and the Walmakarri people.
I discovered I was pregnant not long after arriving from the long car journey from Perth. It was good news and we settled into the community fairly quickly. I assisted the adult Indigenous women with some classes in reading and writing. I had no earlier experience in teaching however I learnt on the job.
The lack of resources tends to make us more creative. We did activities together and then wrote stories about them in their own words. The women already spoke 3-4 different languages and were very capable of taking on one more. They were very keen to learn. Some of the ‘students’ had suffered leprosy in the past and as a result, some of their fingers were missing or disabled. This created a challenge in learning how to use a pen or pencil for the first time however they showed great determination.
This experience started me on my journey of writing and involvement in adult education for many years following. The countryside is stunning with its vast contrasts in colour and extremes in temperature and tropical downpours in the rainy season (October to April).
Living in the region was a really memorable experience. I am sure I will still be telling stories about it when I am in my rocking chair Some life experiences are like that, aren’t they?
Sources: Photos are my own and some of the information I gleaned from Wikipedia.
I will be doing four units over twelve months. It is an online course with no face-to-face contact. I didn’t research the course very thoroughly so there is a little apprehension. It is much easier to take on a challenge if it is what I want – so I hope I got it right
The course consists of four units and they are:
They DO sound interesting! I did similar work during my career with the Government so hopefully it won’t be too challenging. A little bit of challenge is ok but not too much!
People ask me why I don’t do a Creative Writing class. There are a few reasons, with the main one being I am not comfortable in that area. To be creative I would have to loosen up a bit, let my imagination flow, get totally absorbed in the process – I find that to be a bit scary. Also, the course I have chosen may offer earning potential down the track, without having to write a novel!
I read more non-fiction books. I like my books to be about real people and real stories. That is why I like to read autobiographies. I sometimes enjoy a good detective novel or mysteries for a change. I am now re-reading “1984” as my son downloaded it onto the Kindle he very kindly gave me for my birthday. I find it interesting (and a bit gloomy) to be looking back at 1984 and not looking toward the future. It was first published in 1949 and written by George Orwell.
Anyway, I can’t wait to get started on my study in February. I only work part-time so it won’t be a problem finding time to do the work.
I actually started a Uni course with this same university in 1985. I withdrew from it due to the demands of being a single-parent of three young sons. I never dreamed that the opportunity would arise again and I am really grateful for the opportunity.
Have a great day!
What a loaded question this one is! It is true that we are encouraged to keep on going, no matter what. I said that myself in a recent blog.
Do you remember a woman rower in the Olympics in recent years – she stopped rowing and let the other members of her team down? There was outrage at the time. It spoke to me though because, even though I am not into rowing, I sometimes get to a point where I feel I can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to keeping rowing. I remember being advised that rest was not what I needed when I felt like that, and it wouldn’t do me any good to STOP! Most often I listen to that voice and keep going and most often I feel better for it.
In 2010 I said to my partner, “I really can’t do this anymore”, referring to my full-time, stressful job. The time felt right and still does. It was a good decision for my physical and mental health and general well-being. So what made it ok to stop then?
Well, I think all the ducks lined up – so to speak! These included:
So, I made the move, and I still need remind myself to keep actively involved in life. I have found some part-time work and will be doing a writing course in the new year. It was a big risk in many ways and I do miss the friends I had in Perth. The risk was minimised though because we gave it lots of thought and looked at the positives and negatives very honestly.
One of my favourite sayings is a good test as well: “Am I moving away from a bad situation or am I moving towards a BETTER situation?”
For me, it is not good to quit if I am only running away – I need to be heading somewhere with a purpose and a positive attitude.
We make decisions about hundreds of things each day. We don’t even think about it, most often. However there are some points in our lives where we make a significant choice to go in a certain direction. Today, I reflect on some of those decisions.
The choices made over the years are a tapestry of my life with the common theme of the English Language important in each decade and it continues to be so. Next year I am enrolled to do a course called “Writing for Professionals”. I hope that is a good choice. It is not about creative writing but it covers aspects to do with publishing and editing and much more. I will attach a link if you are interested in having a look at it: Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing
I have no regrets about the path my life has taken thus far and the decisions I have made. Life is an exciting adventure day by day and one can never expect what lies around the corner!
Yesterday I picked up a book in my bookcase called “Live the Life you Love – in ten easy step-by-step lessons”. It is written by Barbara Sher and published by Hodder& Stoughton. I only read a few pages and it really opened up my mind about something important to me.
Lesson 1 is “What motivates you?” This exercise asks the reader to look at a time in childhood where we were being creative and sought affirmation from someone, such as a parent or sibling. We are then encouraged to think about what response we got to our need for affirmation or encouragement at that time.
I remember when I was a young girl and I was obsessed with the music I heard on the radio. I decided I wanted to write lyrics for a living when I grew up. I felt I had found my vocation!
So, what happened to this childish wish? I showed a family member the words I had written for a new song and shared my dream with them. They didn’t believe I wrote it. They said I must have copied it from somewhere and that I couldn’t possibly have written it. No further discussion was entered into! I accepted the “fact” that I must be wrong and didn’t ever try to write another song. I didn’t question the response.
So, how could the response have been different? Well, if I was the parent at that time, hopefully I would have given praise and perhaps suggested starting a little book of songs and encouraged further efforts. As an adult now, how do I encourage myself to do well? Do I give up easily if I am not supported? Can I support myself more? Interesting questions worth thinking about.
How do you support your own writing efforts or personal goals? Do you rely on others to praise your work? What sort of encouragement would work well for you – in your writing or other aspects of your life. We are all different and no doubt the environment we grew up in can still impact on us today.
Food for thought
In around 1986 I was accepted into the WA College of Advanced Education (now called Edith Cowan University) to undertake a Diploma in Arts with two majors – Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies and English Literature. There were no fees at the time except for purchasing my text books. I had turned thirty, had three young sons to look after and the amazing opportunity to study. It was only part-time so I needed child-care for two lectures a week. The childcare was subsidized and was affordable.
I clearly remember the excitement and gratefulness I felt for this opportunity. Life was good. I had done ok at school but I left early at 17 and I found work, got married at 18 years and then had my three sons in my twenties. My marriage broke up in 1985 when I was 30 and my world was turned upside down.
In the last year of my marriage I did some correspondence studies to gain access to Uni. I worked with Indigenous women in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, teaching them English and we
had no resources and so had to develop our own. This is what sparked my interest in further study.
I can’t explain the exhilaration I felt at such an opportunity being available to me. I loved everything I learnt and couldn’t get enough of it. I clearly remember one day as I was walking back to my car (a HR Holden station wagon over 20 years old at the time) I was thinking just how fortunate I was to have this opportunity.
This past week I revisited the University for a couple of days as a part-time staff member. Who would have thought my life would have turned out like it did. I wanted to share with the people I met but there was no way to explain all the changes over the past 25 years. I was one of the first students in the first classrooms that were built there. Now it is like a metropolis with thousands of students and acres of buildings. It was alive and exciting however the contrast to 1985 was lost on everyone but me.
This caused me to reflect how our memories are very much our own. We hold a picture and a feeling inside that is unique to us at that place and time. I started to understand my parents generation and their talk of the past and how we cannot imagine what it was like. Our time on Earth is but a blink of an eye in the history of the world but it is a very special time for each one of us.
cheers for now