Monthly Archives: September 2016

A time to dream

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A wave of chocolate-scented air engulfed me. The brown cosmos nodded in the flowerbed as the small wind softly caressed their petals.  I sat on the step, the book had fallen unheeded, from my hands, onto the cracked and broken concrete. The cream pages were creased and crumpled where they lay.  My eyes were focussed on a point on the horizon. I watched as the dot appeared. At first, it didn’t seem to move and then it approached growing larger by the second.  I felt my heart beating in my throat, a little flutter like a butterfly caught in a web. The tickle of my heart made it difficult for me to breath. Totally oblivious to everything around me I sat there, so still, in the hot sun, unaware my skin was beginning to change colour from pink to red.  The dot was changing in shape as it grew closer it was like watching a dream unfold slowly ever so slowly, dragging out the suspense second by second, minute by minute until I felt compelled to  rise to my feet and start walking towards the growing shape.

At first, I hesitated and then walked more quickly, my feet did not feel the sharp stone cutting into my flesh and then I began to run. To run as if my life depended on it. The shape shielded behind the shimmering heat haze changed from a dot to an oblong and morphed into the shape of a man.  I ran through the haze and burst out on the other side. He stood there his arms outstretched. I flew into his safe embrace. He laughed and grabbed me by the waist and lifting me into the air he held me at arm’s length before enfolding me in a hug so tight it almost hurt.

‘I’m back my sweet, I told you I’d be back,’ he said as he held me close, ‘I’m back.’

I kissed the stubble on his cheeks and threw my arms around his neck and cried, he must never go away again.

He set me down and lifted his pack from his shoulders and placed it on the parched red earth. He swept up a fistful earth and threw it into the air.  He laughed.

‘I will never go away again I promise,’ and taking off his hat he placed it in my hands. I looked at the badge with the rising sun and ran the feathered plume through my fingers, his boots were dusty and his khakis were stained with sweat. We turned and hand in hand walked slowly towards the house.

She was shaking my shoulder, yelling, ‘Mum, mum, wake up, wake up. The Prime Minster is on the radio making a speech. Peace. They have declared peace.  Dad will be coming home.’  I opened my eyes and blinked, I had been asleep. I looked out across the paddock and could see a dust cloud hiding the truck driving down the track. It was the postman’s truck.

Time to give back

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Time to give back

om-swastiastu-greetings-baliIn June this year,  I was  fortunate to be one of four students to  receive a non-academic bursary, funded by the Sunshine Coast Readers and Writers Festival (SCRWF) to travel to  Bali later this month  and present as a group member at a fringe event,  part of the International Readers and Writers Festival Ubud  .http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/

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I won’t pretend that this has all been plain sailing because it hasn’t and there have been a number of times when I have felt like walking away.  The reasons have been many and varied, but I haven’t walked away.   I have made a commitment and I will honour it to the very best of my ability.   I am reminded often, there is no such thing as “a free lunch” and a “job worth doing is worth doing well.”  I would never give less than 100%.

It has been a struggle,  the demands of a final semester at University  have been intense. The requirement to write my application for my  post graduate candidacy for the Master of Professional Practice  Creative Writing   and my assignments and presentations for the final semester, which is shortened by 4 weeks due to travel,  have all collided head on  with the obligation to the SCRW Festival and the preparation for Bali. There were also the constraints of juggling family, business and existing community commitments.  The joys of being a busy person.

It’s not all about  conflicting deadlines, there has also been a financial cost despite the generous bursary. Insurance, passports, photos,  vaccinations, travel to and from meetings etc.   All these put a strain on an already tight budget.  People make the mistake of thinking retiree and a student, got it easy financially.  No way think again.

There are personal costs,  positive and negative.  Like all groups. the entire process has gone through the norming, storming, forming  process, tempers have flared, egos have been bruised and words have been said that would have been best left unsaid.   I am so fortunate to have had the support of my partner through all of this, and to  be working with my best friend and to have made new friends as a result of the process.

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To be part of the first SCRW Festival was an amazing experience.  The friends made and the relationships and networking opportunities. WOW.  Unfortnately I did not have the opportunity  to attend  many of the events I wanted to attend – next year I will be better organised.  The Festival was a success despite the  competition as there were many other events scheduled at the same time. Most of these were scheduled after Festival date had already been locked in.

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Going to Ubud  is an incredible opportunity, the like of which I will never be offered again. It offers all of us the ability to network and learn new skills. To be in the centre of the writing world in Asia. The festival runs for four days – four days packed with workshops and lectures – four days overflowing with creative energy.

As I was pondering on all of this, I realised the  true gift of what has come my way. How lucky I am to be doing all of these things. The opportunity for growth I have been offered not just as a writer,  but as a person.  The words of the theme of the Ubud Festival really hit home.  I AM YOU – YOU ARE ME – WE ARE ONE.

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With that in mind, I thought about how to give something back  and that was when I thought about  our  mentor’s grass-roots charity project, BOOTS FOR BALI.   The following event has now been planned and is taking shape . Its success will be a win-win for everyone concerned . A chance to give to those less fortunate.

Saturday October 1st 9.00am
Landsborough Market and (SCRWF) Bursary Winners support BOOTS FOR BALI
Four University of the Sunshine Coast students are heading for Bali this month take part in the Ubud International Readers and Writers Festival. They are also supporting BOOTS FOR BALI, a grassroots project that supports children in the Bugbug/Samuh region of Bali. This project commenced in 2008 and provides for the educational and sporting needs for the children in these villages. It has recently been expanded to work with special needs children. Come along to the Landsborough Market, Old Landsborough Road, hear the students speak and support Boots for Bali. The Bursary has been provided by the Sunshine Coast Readers and Writers Festival. The founder of Boots for Bali, well known Sunshine Coast identity, Eileen Walder, will talk about how Boots for Bali began. Admission is a gold coin donation and Morning Tea will be provided. We are collecting football boots if you have any that are no longer needed please bring them along. https://www.facebook.com/Boots-for-Bali-123997825529/

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Come along and support this event.  Make a day of it. Hear the students present their work for the UBUD Festival and visit the Hinterland. Support Boots for Bali and Check out the Landsborough Market and then head down to Beerwah – Check out the Tower Green Market and at Beerwah Books and Bits show your student card for 10% discount. Try one of the great eating venues in Beerwah for coffee and snacks or have an old fashioned pub lunch at the Landsborough Hotel. Then head up to Maleny for an afternoon of shopping and check out the Botanical Gardens. So much to see and do in the Hinterland. Talks commence 9.00am sharp.

To my partner Bernie – thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me always to follow my dreams

To my  group members –  Jade  Kate Kiarna  – what an adventure we have embarked on

To our mentor –  Eileen  thank you  does not seem enough

To the founder WendyO  and the executive committee of  SCRWF –  Thank you for the opportunity . We will do SCRWF, the Sunshine Coast and the University proud.

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Sunshine Coast Readers Writers Festival

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A post from Lynne Kelly. I was fortunate to  meet this charming lady at the Festival.  This is a very interesting read and if you haven’t read her book  The Memory Code, do yourself a favour it is a great read.

Aboriginal affirmation at Coolum Beach