Vale, Corinne Hampel
It has been far too long since my last entry here.
Sorry about that.
Sometimes life gets in the way. Writing articles here became a very low priority. I hope that you haven’t missed me too much.
In the latter half of 2017, I became the full-time carer for my wife, Corinne. She had experienced many bouts of illness in her life from when we were first married – some 47 years ago. Her health deteriorated rapidly in the last few months of last year and we had many trips to the local medical centre as well as many drives to Adelaide for treatment – some 80 kilometres away (about 1 hour).
We were pleased to be able to celebrate Christmas as a family; our daughter who is currently teaching in Ethiopia flew home, and our son and family drove over from Sydney (about 15 hours’ drive). It was delightful to have the grandchildren here for this special occasion.
In the middle of January and after the second round of radiotherapy, my wife went downhill very rapidly. After a short stay in the local hospital, my wife passed peacefully and pain-free from this life on the 21st January 2018. She was surrounded by immediate family. Her funeral a week later was well attended by a wide range of people from many different aspects of Corinne’s life. It was a celebration of a life well lived with an impact on the lives of so many people.
I have written an obituary on her website, Mallee Native Plants Nursery here. She was a keen admirer and grower of Australian native plants. Her website contains a wealth of information on our plants and how to propagate them. I will maintain this site, for the time being, adding some new articles from time to time. Her nursery has now closed down and there are no plants for sale.
Her interest in our plants rubbed off on me and it complemented my interest in birds. Both of us loved sharing our flower photos and she grew to appreciate our beautiful bird life too. One of her favourite birds appears at the top of this post. She loved seeing all the birds in our garden, including the Eastern Rosella shown above whenever one of them came to our bird bath.
The photo below was taken at Christmas time in 2017. She was helping her two grandchildren to put the icing on the honey biscuits made especially for the occasion.
I plan to get back into sharing my writing, book reviews and hints about the writer’s life here on this site over the coming weeks and months and – I hope – years. Last year I bought myself a new camera and this is proving to be more than I had hoped for – so expect many more photos to be shared as well. I am not yet ready to get back into travelling, but I definitely have plans to do so.
In the meantime – good reading and writing.
Effective Creativity: Editing and Getting Published for Writers
An exciting and interesting event is being held next week from Monday, July 3rd to Friday, July 7th, 2017.
This five-day intensive will be held at Tabor College of Higher Education in Adelaide, South Australia.
If you live in Adelaide, near Adelaide or can get there next week, this could be a break-through event helping you on the path to publication.
Whatever you write, however you communicate, now you can do it even better…
Effective Creativity: Editing and Getting Published for Writers
It’s an Intensive: an exciting 5 days where you’ll get to learn from, and with, publishers, editors, agents, academics and established authors who’ve achieved genuine success in the traditional and new media worlds.
The Intensive will focus on the rapidly changing and exciting world of modern publishing and communication. Topics will include marketing yourself as an author, editing and proof-reading for writers, and understanding and making the most of the complex world of digital and traditional publishing (see below for full program).
The 5 days will blend academia and practicality and is open to all interested. With sessions from 2pm-8pm daily and with dinner provided, it’s perfect for those who work and should provide plenty of networking opportunities. The Intensive can be attended as a full five-day program, or you have the option of attending individual days. Dinner and refreshments are included in all ticket types.
Important information: I will be there all week – and I happen to be one of the presenters.
You can see the whole programme and make bookings here. This event has finished and bookings are closed.
Congratulations and Happy Anniversary
This site, Trevor’s Writing, is celebrating its 11th Anniversary today.
It hardly seems like eleven years, but time flies when you are having fun. The start of this blog was soon after I retired from 35 years of teaching. (You can read more about me here and here)
Loyal readers – I salute you
Over the years I have been adding various articles here about writing, reading, publishing and many other things along the way. Sometimes I have posted regularly every few days; at other times I have gone weeks and sometimes months between posts. To anyone who has remained a regular reader – I salute you. Such patience and loyalty should be rewarded, but sadly, all I have to offer you are promises.
Works in progress
Over recent days and weeks, I have been working on a short novel for children. I hope to publish this soon, first as an eBook and then as a print book. Stay tuned. I have many more plans to self- publish many of my works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. As a side project, I am also adding occasional entries to my memoirs. At this point, I am not sure if this will be a limited publication for family and friends only, or more widely available. We will see how it turns out.
Works still to come
I have plans for many more posts here on this site, as well as plenty of self-published eBooks and print on demand books. I can see an exciting future ahead, so stay with me. Over the last 25 years, I have written well over three million words, a good proportion of those words are on my blog sites. In addition to blogging, however, I have many unpublished works – novels, short stories, poems, articles and plays. Many of these I plan to polish, edit and publish, with a little rewriting as needed. I also have a half dozen picture book texts waiting to be sent off to traditional publishers.
On top of all of the above writing, rewriting, editing, proofreading and so on, my fertile imagination won’t just stop. It keeps on coming up with great ideas to write about. Several ideas for novels have been bubbling away in my subconscious for months – some even years. Somehow, they must get written and out there for the world to enjoy.
I will keep the posts coming on a wide variety of topics, from publishing and writing hints, story ideas, writing prompts, poems, short fiction, book and film reviews and more.
Go to the sidebar or below the comments to sign up for my regular newsletter. It has been so regular, in fact, that issue #1 still hasn’t been written. (Sigh – that’s another thing I plan to write.)
Why not stop by and leave a comment or two?
Good reading, Good writing,
- Archives – over a thousand articles on this site – and counting.
- Short story starters – these are always very popular with my readers; they are designed to start you off with your stories.
- Poetry – read samples of my poetry
- Short fiction – read some of my short fiction
- Trevor’s Birding – my blog about Australian birds
- Trevor’s Travels – my blog about our travels in Australia, Thailand, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain.
Belated Christmas Greetings
Yes. I know that this is a few days late. Over the Christmas weekend I decided to take it easy and not do too much writing. It is good to have a little break from writing every now and then. Instead, I focussed on relaxing and reading. Over recent months I have read some very interesting books, and I will review the best of them here on this site as time permits next year.
This Christmas was unusual in our household. Usually it is a time of gathering the family together for a meal or two (or more) and a time of catching up with relatives we do not get to see very often. This year it was just my wife and me, so our celebrations were very quiet. Our son and his family live in Sydney and that is two days’ drive away, so it is not practical just to ‘pop in’ for a meal. Our daughter is usually home at this time of the year too, but she is teaching in Ethiopia at present. It’s not the easiest to ‘pop in’ from Ethiopia, either. She has escaped for several days with colleagues, enjoying a break at the beach at Mombasa in Kenya.
Late on Christmas Day we had a lovely phone call from our grandchildren in Sydney. They were in a local park trying out their Christmas presents – new scooters. I have many fond memories of Christmas as a child. The celebrations began a few weeks before Christmas with the school concert in the local hall. Here the children in the small town in the South Australian mallee rehearsed and then performed plays, musical items, and gymnastics displays on the small stage.
All the parents came along to this concert, the highlight of the school year. We proudly showed off our best school work for the year on tables and display boards set up around the walls of the hall. At one of these events, I can still remember nervously playing several musical pieces on the piano, my only public musical performance ever. The supper at the end was worth all the hard work in preparation.
Another event I always looked forward to at Christmas time was at the small, local Lutheran church where my family worshipped every week. For the weeks leading up to Christmas we would rehearse the carols and readings to be included in the Christmas Eve service. The Sunday School children would all be seated out the front of the church in front of the large decorated tree in the corner. This was always a native pine from somewhere in the district. It was probably a Callitris preissii, common in the region. It was decorated in the traditional way with tinsel and baubles. It also had little bags of lollies hanging all around, and the children were able to take one each after the service. The tree also had many candle holders with real candles in them. I was always terrified that the whole tree would catch on fire! It never did.
The programme on Christmas Eve always told the story of the first Christmas. This retelling year after year was always something amazing to me. As I grew older the special nature of the story of the Christ-child remained precious to me. We had readings from the well-known accounts of that coming of Jesus, plus soul-stirring renditions of the old familiar hymns and carols. The evening ended with the giving of prizes to every child in the Sunday School. I always looked forward to adding another book to my growing collection.
After the service the adults would gather outside the church in the cool of an Australian summer night. Many of the men gathered here had just a few hours earlier come in from paddocks and the hot, dusty work of reaping wheat or barley crops. They always enjoyed a yarn and telling each other the joys or frustrations of the latest crop, depending on what kind of season they had endured – or enjoyed. While I waited quietly – but always impatiently – for my father and older brothers to be ready to go home, I remember gazing into that great expanse of sky above, star-bright against the black depth of the universe.
Star of wonder, star of night,
Star of Royal Beauty bright.
(See here for all the words to this carol)
I was always impatient to get home after the Christmas Eve service. we had a tradition in our family that presents were to be opened on Christmas Eve after the church service. We changed that to Christmas morning with our own children, and the same applies to our grandchildren.
I would eagerly unwrap my presents, hoping all the time for even more books to add to my library. The next few days were blissful; heaps of delicious food, family visiting often and plenty of time to read, read, read.
May you have a happy and blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Happy New Year and some plans for 2016
Yes, yes – I know.
Wishing my readers a happy new year over two weeks into the year is a little belated. Never mind.
In reality, I have been a little distracted lately. And not just with the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Over the last three weeks we have had a constant stream of visitors. These include our daughter home for a few weeks after teaching all year in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Then we have also had our son and his family over from Sydney, including our two grand children, ages 7 and 4. They are lively children and a challenge to keep occupied. Our swimming pool has had a good workout and in that context it is good that the weather has been very warm.
Included in our busy schedule in recent weeks have been two family gatherings. The first was on the farm where I grew up which is now operated by my nephew and his three sons. It was a time of reminiscing and catching up; those present included my niece over from Perth in Western Australia and my son and family from Sydney. More recently we had a few days staying with my sister-in-law and family in Peterborough in the mid-north of the state. Once again, it was planned as a family gathering. Despite the oppressive heat – around 44C (111F) – we had a great time with plenty of great food.
Now it is time for life to get back to a little bit of normality – I hope.
2015 in review
At this time of year it is normal to review the year just gone, and to look at the year ahead. So what were the highlights for me of the year 2015?
- Reading: I managed to read a significant number of books, including some quite long works. These included Richard Flanagan’s brilliant The narrow road to the deep north, Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring I am Malala (read my review here), and the confronting Rosanne Hawke novel The truth about peacock blue.
- More reading: with the acquisition of my first eReader I ventured into a whole new reading experience. Books read on my Kobo device was a pleasant experience, and included The kite runner (a wonderful book) and The girl with the dragon tattoo (a gruesome and quite disappointing book – read my review here).
- Writing: the last year has not been a great one for me regarding getting my writing published. I had just a handful of articles published and no success in competitions.
- Blogging: With over 430 blog posts over five sites I consider the year to be reasonably successful. (You can access these posts here on this site, as well as Trevor’s Birding, Trevor’s Travels and our church site here.)
- Health: Multiple health issues over the course of the year have been a major limiting factor. Thankfully, I am seeing some light at the end of the gloom in this area.
- Biggest disappointment for 2015: not getting any of my books published, including some as eBooks.
Plans for 2016:
I haven’t actually had the time so far to list some goals for this year, but they are sure to include the following:
- Reading: continue on my programme of reading significant works of literature. currently I am reading The people of the book by Geraldine Brooks. I recently read two other books written by her: The secret chord and Caleb’s crossing.
- Blogging: at least 500 blog posts over the various sites for which I write.
- Poems and stories: I plan to submit many poems and stories to competitions journals, and magazines.
- Novels: I am still debating about whether to send my novels to print publishers, or to self-publish them as eBooks. I am leaning towards the latter.
- Non-fiction: I have many ideas for non-fiction books to be published as eBooks. Stay tuned.
- Health: I am working on improving my general health, fitness and well-being this year – with some help from my doctor and physiotherapist. I’ve already started losing weight.