Archive for the 'The Writer’s Life' Category

Life’s little blessings and a mulberry tree

In my saner moments, I really appreciate life’s little blessings. And a mulberry tree.

Let me explain.

Life can be tough at times and, like many people, I’ve had a few tough moments. Still, when I compare my life to that of many others, I’ve got it really easy. Sure, I may have a few serious health issues – like diabetes, for example, a condition which is a beast to manage and keep on top of. I have also had a few aches and pains in recent years, and arthritis is becoming my daily burden. Still, this goes with the territory of advancing years. I try not to regret the passing of time; reaching my age is a privilege denied many. Sadly, too many people die well before my age, and I am still going strong. For now.

We live in a peaceful country with a relatively stable government (with all its faults). When I see the television news and watch what is happening in other countries, I realise what a blessing it is to live in Australia. When I go travelling like I did recently to visit my son and family in Sydney, I experience what a blessing it is to live in this beautiful country of ours. Just being able to travel freely, unhindered, without any hassles is a great blessing. The wonderful scenery is an added bonus.

Then when I spend a few weeks living with my grandchildren, I once again realise the blessings that come from the little things in life. Like when my five-year-old grand-daughter leans over and hugs me, telling me that she loves me. Or when my eight-year-old grandson meets me at the bus-stop with a huge grin and begins relating the events of his day at school. These are precious moments and truly a great blessing.

“But what about the mulberry tree?” I hear you ask.

Good question.

My son is not a gardener. Despite that, he and his family have a magnificent old mulberry tree in their back yard. Right next to the kids’ trampoline. At the moment it is loaded with fruit. Delicious fruit. Yummy, good for your tummy fruit. Sweet, dribble down your chin kind of fruit. And while I have spent many happy hours watching the children do all kinds of  gymnastic tricks on the trampoline, I have been drawn magnetically towards the tree for a morning or afternoon snack. Another of life’s little blessings.

And it’s no use denying having eaten the fruit. The evidence is quite plain to see on my fingers. Talk about being literally caught red-handed. Memories of my childhood have come flooding back too. I remember climbing up my uncle’s huge mulberry tree to eat, and to collect the fruit. My cousins and I would come down from the tree, fingers, hands and arms stained and clothes in need of a good soaking. What blessings there are in such memories.

Good writing,

Trevor

PS: for the health and nutritional benefits of mulberries click here.

It’s been a long time between posts

Hi there, readers.

Are you still there, waiting on my every word?

Mmm… maybe not.

It has been a long time since my last post here. Goodness – was it really April the last time I wrote anything here? How time flies when life gets in the way. Life has certainly thrown a few obstacles in my way over recent months which accounts, in part, for my lack of posting here.

last April 

Way back in April we had four weeks holiday with our son and his family in Sydney. This visit was timed to coincide with the school holidays. Our grandchildren are ages 8 and 5 and we love spending quality time with them, especially during the school breaks when their parents are otherwise occupied. It’s an exhausting pleasure, but we delight in it every day we are with them. Being a grandparent can be challenging, but it is wonderful. I keep reminding myself that it is a privilege and blessing denied far too many.

Terrible storm creates firewood

On returning home to South Australia we had an extremely busy and exhausting few months. First of all, we had a terrible storm which flattened many of the trees on our property. I spent many hours cleaning up the mess left behind. A wonderful by-product of all that chain-sawing will be felt during winter next year. All that extra firewood will keep us cosy and warm.

A wet, wet, wet winter

On top of all that work, we had the wettest winter for many years. We live on a rural property of five acres. The grass kept growing and growing and growing. We live in a moderate bushfire risk region, so I am conscious of keeping the grass under control.That means many hours of brush cutting and mowing on the ride-on mower. We used to have some four-legged “lawn mowers”, but sheep need constant care. I hated seeing them get fly-blown, and a dog attack some years ago left me devastated.

Sorting, packing and cleaning

In the midst of all that, we had five trips to Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Our daughter has been teaching in the local high school there for the last 15 years. We loved visiting her during that time. On this occasion, however, it was to pack up all of her belongings ready for a removalist to take everything away. This took many days of sorting, packing, and cleaning. All of her things are now in storage in a shipping container in our paddock. It will stay there for the next two years while she teaches overseas. She is teaching at an international school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. You can read about her adventures on Rose’s Travel Jottings, though she hasn’t updated the site for a while.

So, as you can imagine, writing has taken a back seat over the last six months. I have still managed to write regularly in my personal journal and I have certainly kept up with my reading and planning. Over coming months I hope to announce some wonderful news about my writing. I also plan to add many more posts here on this site, and on my other blog, Trevor’s Birding.

In the meantime – good reading and productive writing.

Trevor

PS: I am also planning on publishing a regular monthly newsletter. This will contain news and articles not included on this blog. To subscribe, go to below the comments section at the bottom of each post. I’d love to see you subscribe.

 

Sweet moments in life

Life can get very hectic at times.

That is true for many people, me included. Although I retired from classroom teaching just over 12 years ago, I seem to be as busy as ever. Not only am I trying to establish myself as a blogger and writer, I also have many community responsibilities, especially within the life of the church we attend. Still, it is a lifestyle I have deliberately chosen, so I shouldn’t complain.

Family

At least once, preferably twice annually, my wife and I plan a few weeks into our busy schedule to travel to Sydney to visit and stay with family. Our son and his family live there and we love spending time with our grandchildren, ages 7 and 4. It is during these times that I set aside extra time to spend with family, especially the children. While I am totally dedicated to my life as a writer, I realise that the times spent with the grandchildren are some of the sweetest moments in one’s life.

Grand cuddles

Both of our grandchildren are at the stage in life where they love cuddles with both sets of grandparents. We try to ‘visit’ frequently via Skype and through telephone calls, but you cannot give a hug or cuddle over the phone or the internet. That is why they love having us visit for an extended time. This time it will be a day short of four weeks. That’s great.

And only a few nights ago I was sitting on the couch watching a video with the children. Both were snuggled up to me. The youngest held my fingers in her little hand. The oldest was leaning against my shoulder. ‘How wonderful is this,’ I thought, smiling inwardly. Sweet moments like this do not come along every day, especially when we live over 1300km away  – two days’ hard drive.

Contentment

While both of our grandchildren struggle from time to time with life’s issues, sometimes resulting in emotional melt-downs, these are far outweighed by the precious moments in each day. These are the sweet moments that should be a part of every child’s life. These are the delightful times of pure joy which should be in everyone’s lives. These are the times when a shared experience, a moment of laughter, a sharing of a song or the relating of the day’s highlight which can bring sheer contentment.

Treasure those moments

These special moments must be shared and treasured.

They can sometimes be so fleeting, so transient.

They are moments denied so many people in this world of ours.

Try to look for life’s wonderful blessings, those precious and sweet moments in life.

Trevor

 

Happy 10th Birthday to Trevor’s Writing

CONGRATULATIONS.

Goodness, me.

Is it really ten years today since I started this site about writing, reading and books?

Today is the tenth anniversary of Trevor’s Writing. Originally, I started blogging because family members wanted to keep up with what we were doing. This very quickly changed as I saw the potential of such a site very early.

Around the same time I started two other sites, Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels. I bit off a little too much, but over the intervening years, I have written over a thousand articles on these sites as well. More recently I have maintained and written many articles on our church site here.

I decided that I would use this site as a platform to share my writing, share my ideas about writing, sharing insights from the books I was reading and bringing to my writing my extensive experiences as a primary school teacher. I had retired only a few months earlier. In retirement, I planned to write as close to full-time as I could manage. It had been a dream of mine throughout my life. Now I had the time.

Over the last ten years I have included the following on this site:

  • Poetry, including many haiku
  • Short stories – mainly flash fiction up to about 500 words
  • Reviews of books and films
  • Writing ideas and hints
  • Short story starters to help my readers who are writers
  • Writing prompts to start the ideas rolling for writers
  • Reflections on the writer’s life
  • Personal reflections on attempting and achieving my Master of Arts Creative Writing degree
  • Outlining the process of writing my novel which was the main component of my MA degree. I actually quoted portions of this site in my thesis paper.

How to access articles on this site

Readers of this site can access the articles in a variety of ways:

  • Use the search facility at the top of each page
  • Use the cloud of topics in the sidebar
  • Click on the Archives button at the top of the page and scan through all the articles (now over 1000 of them)
  • Click on one of the items under Contents on the sidebar
  • I also post quite a bit on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – click on the buttons near the top of each page to follow me.

The Future

What am I planning on this site in the months and years to come? Basically, more of the same. I am also planning to publish a range of eBooks. Stay tuned.

Good writing.

Trevor

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 northMalala 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.

Happy reading.

Good writing.

Trevor