Letter to My Daughters – Remember to Thank Your Mum

Dear Girls,

If at any point in your life you end up on a stage accepting an award and being watched by a world-wide audience of millions, don’t forget to remember to thank the woman who made it all possible.

That’s me, in case you are wondering.

Yes me, the woman who endured nine months of dehydrating vomiting, followed by excruciating labour and let’s not even talk about those first sleep-deprived years.

The woman who went into debt to pay for flute, clarinet, drama, singing lessons – even when we had no idea if you had an iota of talent. Talk about faith!

The woman who spent YEARS sitting in her car waiting for your assorted activities to end.

The woman who put up with every tantrum throwing, eye-rolling, uncommunicative moment of your adolescence with a stoic dignity (OK there may have been a few moments of screaming retaliation but the world doesn’t need to know about those).

In case you are confused about what you should say let’s all remember when Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 Oscars

In 1971, in Bossier City Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative and work hard and do something special. That girl was my mother and she’s here tonight. I just want to say ‘I love you mom, thank you for teaching me to dream.’

You can hear the entire speech here.
Right there in that moment is where Jared’s mum got to forget about all the sacrifices involved in raising children and had a second to sit back and go “thank God it all worked out in the end”.
He forgot to thank his publicist but that’s OK because she DIDN’T GIVE BIRTH TO HIM.
So remember girls, whether it’s the Oscars or the Port Macquarie Hastings Community Awards, if you ever get awarded for anything I WANT MY MOMENT. Just sayin’.
High five to all the mums everywhere.
PS Having your kids young has it’s benefits, you get to look smokin’ hot at the Oscars when your son wins a gong.

This is what happens when you wander into the internet

So all I did was click on one little article from the Guardian about the Aussie anthem Throw Your Arms Around Me by Hunters and Collectors. It’s on my “songs I want at my funeral” list. Of course I had to watch the video.

Which reminded me of the time the Doug Anthony All Stars did a version of it at a charity concert in memory of a friend who had died.

Which reminded me one of my favourite television shows was Good News Week.

Oh the memories. Whatever happened to James O’Loughlin? So I duck off to google him.

Reminded me of how much I used to enjoy McDermott singing at the end of each episode.

So I ended up with a McDermott duet with Bill Bailey of Whiter Shade of Pale.

Then this.

Why can’t I remember that girl’s name? Google symptoms of early-onset alzheimers.

Now I’m wondering what McDermott is doing now. Apparently it’s art and some comedy/music performances at the Fringe Festivals.

Why doesn’t someone give McDermott a late night chat show (but only if he’ll sing at least once each show).

Of course all of this takes me back to other memorable music moments on shows I loved.

The last episode of the original Spicks and Specks for instance.

And so the time sucking vortex of the internet has captured me again in a nostalgic swirl of memories, music and really funny TV shows.

This is why I need to disable my internet access when I’m supposed to be writing.


The Corby Media Frenzy

I’ve spent the morning watching the rolling coverage of Schapelle Corby’s release from a Bali prison where she has spent just over nine years serving a sentence for importing 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into the country.

A pretty, 26 year-old when she went in, she’s emerging a decade later as, reportedly ,a fragile woman with some serious mental health issues.

Throughout the experience she has always maintained her innocence. There were claims baggage handlers placed the drugs in her boogie board bag, and another school of thought is her father committed the crime and let her take the rap for it.

I have no idea one way or the other on her guilt or innocence.

What struck me this morning was the role of the media in these high-profile stories. The media crush as she was led from the prison to two other locations for final processing was frightening to watch.

Reporters ended up doing crosses about the “chaos” and “scrum” and how terrifying it was, the irony that they were creating the situation seemed lost on them.

You really wouldn’t want to find yourself at the centre of a story of high media interest.

And God forbid you happen to have no media experience, little money, no network of contacts and be without a university degree to fall back on for creating articulate, savvy “grabs” on demand for the cameras.

It appears Channel 7 has won the much coveted rights to the story, with journalist Mike Willesee whisking Corby away from the final processing centre to an undisclosed location. Although they were going to have to somehow lose the motorbike riding camera crews trailing them for it to remain “undisclosed”. Reports have it the Corby’s were asking over $2 million for the first interview.

Now of course the debate is starting over whether Corby should be benefiting from her crime by receiving payment for her story.

Yet looking at the mayhem of the release it was obvious that once the final documents were signed she lost her police transport and escort and would have been left unprotected in the middle of the media frenzy if her family hadn’t done the deal, which looked like it included private security to get her the hell away.

The media is a vital cog in the democratic process of a society. They should be asking questions, investigating situations, digging deep to find out the truth of stories.

Yet I think it is important they consider the role they play in building up stories and, sometimes, crafting rather than reporting the events.

The Schapelle Corby case is a genuine story from many angles.

However, the media presence should recognise its contribution to the story.

By all means report on the story but don’t take a “holier than thou” attitude about what all this attention is doing to Corby, or try to blame the Indonesian media for the large contingent of jostling reporters or the Indonesian authorities for not taking the necessary precautions against the tide of cameras and microphone waving journos.

At the end of the day the media is a powerful force where judicious editing can add sway to any story, you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of it.


Interesting Reads

I’ve ventured back into the social media sphere this week and here’s my eclectic mix of articles ‘n stuff that I found of interest.

A nice wrap of my generation in – Generation X’s journey from jaded to sated.

The question of being “nice” was on my mind again after Lisa Lintern wrote about it here which reminded me about the time I blogged about it here. Then Jane Caro had her say about the importance of being brave over nice and finally this piece suggested you could be powerful, likeable and female. I still fear that nice girls do end up last though!

This poignant piece on always go to the funeral brought a tear to my eye.

While Reservoir Dad’s account of a recent bike ride with his kids made me smile.

What have your been reading (or bloggers what have you been writing) feel free to link in the comments?

A World Without Bookstores

bookseditIn my regional town our last mainstream bookstore closed down. We are left with a couple of Christian bookstores and one second-hand bookstore. Now Big W appears to be the main source of reading material.

It’s hard to imagine living in a place without a good bookshop but I guess that’s a reality today for many out-of-the-city places.

I still waste time dreaming of opening up a little bookshop/cafe but where once it might have been viable now it seems it would be financial suicide.

Although a quick google search generated a lot of ideas for how bookstores can compete in this new electronic world – a variety of authors offered their suggestions here while this short piece offered up some interesting ways a bricks and mortar store could embrace the digital world of book selling. This great article on the publishing industry explains how  people are reading more than ever, but are accessing books in new ways.

It was heartening to read that many of the ideas I had for my little bookshop were suggested in these articles.

  • Variety, sell not just books but stationery, scrapbooking supplies, art, even homewares.
  • Have a cafe for socialising and lingering amongst your products.
  • Events, turn your store into a centre for community activity, hold classes, author talks, book clubs, demonstrations linked to particular books or merchandise.
  • Embrace the digital with an e-book kiosk or QR code where customers could purchase e-book and download over free in-store wifi.

But I guess it’s easy to have ideas when you don’t have the pressure of generating a weekly income for yourself and your staff.

I suppose buying books now for me will have to be online, but I will miss the tactile experience of wandering around a bookstore, browsing through titles and stumbling across new authors.

Do you still go to bookstores? What is it that keeps you visiting (and hopefully buying while you are there)?


Signs I’m Getting Older

  1. I don’t put the :) smiley things at the end of my texts. Do you know how long it takes me to write a text? I’m not wasting more time on unnecessary key strokes.
  2. Still on texts, no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to abbreviate. I still write in full “are”, “you”, “because” and so it goes on. It just doesn’t LOOK right otherwise.
  3. While we are talking abbreviations I don’t like having to have a cheat sheet next to me just to read my children’s messages. My ability to recall what abbreviations meant stagnated at LOL and OMG and frankly I’ve never moved on.
  4. I now read about the death of famous people and find myself saying “they weren’t old they were only 60″ and when one of them is my age I go into a cold sweat and need a lie down. Seriously, nobody should be dying at 46.
  5. When I end up with a locum doctor I find myself wondering how the hell someone that YOUNG could have acquired a medical degree? It takes years and years right? These kids look like they should could still be playing schoolyard soccer.
  6. I find myself thinking that I could have just 10-15 years of working life left. Then I do the math and realise I will NEVER be able to afford to retire.
  7. I hear myself complaining about my aches and pains.
  8. I’m starting to quote my mother more and more.
  9. I’ve got plans for what I’m going to do with the children’s rooms when they move out. The will move out won’t they?
  10. I am waxing lyrically to my children about how the 80′s were the premier decade for music.
  11. I’m crossing things off the bucket list. I’m not actually doing them. I’m just making executive decisions that I don’t really WANT to spend a day traipsing through Peru. In fact I’m hearing myself say “there’s so much to do right here in Australia” a lot lately. When I start researching coach tours I’ll really start to panic.

How about you? Are you feeling young or old today?

Reading This Week – The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny – Meshel Laurie

This memoir of comedian and radio/TV personality Meshel Laurie takes a fascinating look into the world of entertainment and what resized_9781743314487_224_297_FitSquareit takes to survive its rejections and successes.

A kid from country Queensland Laurie dreamed of making it big in the comedy scene of Melbourne. This book chronicles the ups and downs of that journey.

In the decade I spent in Brisbane while I was knee-deep in nappies, bottles and toddler tantrums I was listening to Laurie on breakfast radio. Laurie and her colleagues never failed to make me smile, it was my sanity-saver. Yet in the way that is typical of so many performers while Laurie was on-air being funny and smart behind the scenes she was struggling with a sense of failure and despair.

I think this book should be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating a career in the arts. Laurie clearly documents the struggle of breaking into the industry, the difficulties in making a living, the thrill of “making it” headlining the bill at comedy venues, guesting on Spicks and Specks, being “the girl” on Rove, regular gigs on Can of Worms, then in the blink of an eye, the phone stopped ringing. The frustration and loss and the rebuilding of her career is where Laurie paints a really poignant picture of just what it takes to have a sustainable career is such a volatile industry.

What I loved about this book was the unique view it gave into the 1990′s comedy scene, the stories of the comedians we watch every day on the television, when they were still youngsters trying to make a name for themselves. It’s heartening to hear of stories of kindness amongst competitors.

Laurie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her own flaws and at times, as a fan, I struggled with that honesty, I didn’t want to find her unlikeable but there were moments when I really wanted to yell at my book “get a grip”. But “get a grip” she did, coming back stronger than ever … and you gotta love a girl who can turn her mid-career break answering phones in a brothel into a successful comedy show. That people is an artist!

Laurie does a great job of crafting a memoir of honesty, humour and insight and The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny is a good read.


This year I’m taking part in the Australian Women Writers challenge where I will be reading and reviewing books by some great Aussie Women. Take a look here for details on how you can take part.