Archive for October, 2007

A very significant day

Today is a very significant day in my family.

On this day, 27th October 1841 my ancestors set foot on Australian soil for the very first time.

I was not aware of this special date until recently. Last weekend we had a huge family reunion, something that was 166 years in the making. My great, great, great Grandfather and his family left their homeland in Prussia (now Poland) and travelled on a perilous journey to the new colony of South Australia. The fledgling settlement was not even five years old. They left their homeland behind forever because of religious persecution. The new land offered freedom, opportunity and the promise of a new beginning.

It was a brave move indeed. On the long journey to South Australia my great, great, great Grandfather died on the ship, along with one of his children. Another family from the same village also travelled on the same ship. The mother and four of five children also died on the voyage. It seemed that their brave adventure would come to an end before they had even arrived.

Not so.

Within the first year of their arrival, these two families merged into one through marriage. The rest, as they say, is history. The descendants now number over six thousand and the family has had a significant impact on the development of this state, and of other parts of Australia.

With the launch of the family history book last weekend, the bare bones of the history and heritage of my family has been well documented. I enjoy reading historical accounts but this book could only tell part of the story. During our celebrations last weekend I couldn’t help but think that the story of my family’s epic struggle for survival would make a wonderful novel or series of novels – even a film.

I didn’t really need another writing project, but this one is just begging to be written.

Writing interrupted

I sometimes get annoyed when things happen to interrupt my writing time. There are occasions, however, when the needs of people and certain events are far more important than my writing.

This week and next week my blog entries here will be either sporadic or non-existent. There is a good reason. I think I’ve mentioned on a few occasions that I do relief driving for a friend who has a courier business. This is such tiring work with long hours that I really do not get much time for writing. A few days ago the head of the company rang me to ask if I would do relief driving for another courier in a nearby town. This poor fellow has severe back pain and is facing an operation soon. I was pleased to help out by agreeing to relieve him for this and next week. It has been a steep learning curve.

So I apologize to my regular readers.

Normal services will resume as soon as possible.

Just a thought – about dreams

There is only one sure method of turning dreams into reality; it’s by a process called “waking up.” Ashleigh Brilliant.

Do you have a dream about your writing?

That’s good. Dreams are good. Translating those dreams into concrete goals is even better. Achieving those goals is the best. Turning those dreams into reality is exciting and very rewarding. To do that, however, we need to “wake up” and get on with the task.

Dedicate your waking hours to achieving your writing dreams and turning them into reality. Otherwise, your writing dreams remain just that – dreams.

Dream deeply then wake up – and good writing.

Promises, promises, promises

I try not to comment on political matters on this blog. The topic does not really interest me all that much, and politics is not what this blog is all about. Many other blogs cover the topic far better than I could ever achieve, and many more cover it far worse than I could ever imagine.

Why write about it now? Last weekend the Prime Minister of Australia announced that he was calling a Federal Election to be held on November 24th. So now the false election campaign we’ve been assaulted with over the last six months has been replaced by the real thing. Promises are flying everywhere. Each party tries to outdo the others in the generosity, attractiveness and appropriateness of their promises. Those hopefuls who are attempting to be elected for the first time are especially full of dreams and hopes and promises.

In fact you could say that politics is a very promising career.

The problem with promises is that they are generally fairly worthless. Anyone can make a promise. We all do. We all make promises willy-nilly, often not pausing to think about what we are promising.

The true value of a promise is whether or not we keep it. People who actually carry through and keep a promise are getting as rare as quality television programmes. A person who actually keeps a promise gets my vote every time. A person who follows through, who works hard at achieving the stated promise and who is true to their word is someone to admire and be thankful for. This applies not only to politicians; it applies to everyone.

Promises and writing

What has all this to do with writing?

Have you ever set some firm goals with your writing? Have you written down these goals and said to yourself: “I’m going to do this and this and that?” That kind of statement is like making a promise to yourself. Did you keep that promise? Did you work hard at fulfilling that promise? Or did you let yourself down?

If I do not keep a promise I have made to another person, I not only let them down, I let myself down as well. I damage their trust in me and that is so hard to repair. In some circumstances the broken trust cannot be repaired.

Politicians are expected to make promises. Many people expect that many of those promises will not be kept. Normal people, however, expect you to strive hard to keep your promises. Perhaps we should try even harder to keep the promises we make to ourselves.

I hope you fulfill a promising career in writing.

“People don’t always keep their promises: that’s what makes people who do keep them so special.” Ashleigh Brilliant.

Good writing.

Writing Hint #39: Take up a hobby

I might be only guessing at this, but I think it would be safe to say that many writers started out treating their writing as a hobby, something they did in their holidays, weekends or any spare time they had during the week. Most start out writing on a casual basis in between all those things life throws at them, including a day job.

Now there is nothing wrong with that. I did that myself for nearly thirty years. My day job (elementary school teaching) sort of took over every aspect of my life. Writing was confined to short bursts here and there, usually during holiday breaks, or on weekends. It was a hobby only. In the last fifteen years it has gradually become a passion, and now that I’ve retired from teaching the passion can reach its full potential, for I now have the time. It is now no longer a hobby.

That causes a problem. Writers who allow their writing to take over their lives so that it is no longer a hobby have just destroyed the only thing that gave them relaxation time. The demands of writing regularly for a blog is one good example of this. Blogging can consume all of your previously spare time. You may be starting to resent the very thing that gave you such pleasure in earlier days.

Get a life

Alternatively – get a hobby. A non-writing hobby preferably. Something you can get passionate about and use to re-create yourself. An activity that recharges your batteries. I was fortunate that as I became more serious about my writing I developed an intense interest in birds. I now take every opportunity to get out into the Australian bush and go birding. Now I write about birds on my Birding Blog – but that is not a chore, it’s a real delight and a pleasure. Into that mix I’ve also taken up the hobby of photography as well, something I’d dropped for many years. Now when I take off outdoors with my camera, notebook, bird field guide and binoculars, I know I’ll not only be out to enjoy myself, I’ll also get so much material to write about that the writing becomes a sheer joy once again.

Good writing (and don’t forget to have good times of relaxation as well).