In the bustle and hustle of modern day life, peaceful settings to do our writing is sometimes an elusive thing. Over the centuries many writers have sought refuge in gardens, both private and public. I certainly find that the peaceful environment can be conducive to writing in the generation of new ideas, the consolidation and development of existing ideas or even as places to actually write new material.
In today’s photo I’ve shown a very peaceful garden in the grounds of the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to have a tour of the hospital when we were in Ethiopia a few years ago. You can read about our experience on my travel site here.
The women who come to this hospital have suffered terribly because of this horrible condition. A simple operation usually solves the problem and their lives are transformed. The peaceful hospital facilities, including the wonderfully kept gardens, are a vital part of their rehabilitation and healing. It was amazingly serene in these gardens considering the noise, smell and turmoil of life outside of the hospital grounds.
- Write about a garden you know well, and explain how it impacts your writing.
- Visit a favourite garden, take pencil and notepaper and record your feelings, or even write a poem about what you see.
- Visit a well-kept garden – private or public – and take a camera to record what you see. Use some of the photos to inspire your writing.
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.
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.
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.
The man shown in the photo above is an inspiration to me – and should be to everyone. While visiting Addis Ababa in Ethiopia a few years ago – our daughter was teaching there – we had the chance to visit the leprosy medical facility. We particularly wanted to support the residents by purchasing items from their craft shop. Some of the people there do amazing things, often with the hindrance of fingers missing.
This man was happily weaving a floor mat. He was full of smiles – communicating his cheerful attitude to us even though we couldn’t speak each others’ languages. The most amazing thing however, was that this positive attitude was demonstrated despite having only short stubs for fingers and thumbs. All of them. Not one was fully functional.
This man continued happily with his work, content with his lot despite the hindrance.
What a lesson for me – and many others, I’m sure.
Too often I grumble that I can’t do my writing because it’s too hot, or too cold, or I’m not well or the chair is uncomfortable or no editor will like my story or poem. Too often I allow really lame excuses get in the way of what I believe God wants me to do: write.
What hinders you from writing? Is it a real problem – or just an excuse? If it’s a problem – deal with it or get help. If it’s an excuse… well, I think we all know how to deal with that!
Read more about our visit to the leprosy facility on Trevor’s Travels here.
Most people suffer from a variety of illnesses during their lives. I’ve certainly had my fair share of them over the last twenty years especially. Some people experience multiple illnesses and at different stages of life. Other people have a severe disability of some sort. Coping with prolonged illness or a lifelong disability can have many challenges, disappointments and frustrations.
On our visit to Ethiopia a few years ago we took the opportunity to visit the craft shop in the grounds of the leprosy hospital. All the craft work on sale was produced by leprosy victims as a part of their therapy and rehabilitation. These ladies in particular were proud to show off their wonderful handiwork. I wrote about our visit here on my travel site.
How do you cope with illness? Or a disability?
- Write about a time you were very ill.
- Write about caring for a loved one with a serious illness.
- Write about how you would cope with a disability?
- Write about a friend or family member suffering a severe illness.
- Imagine dying from a serious illness. Write your own eulogy or obituary.
The following post is an excerpt from my journal written while on holiday in Ethiopia last December. We were visiting our daughter who was teaching at Bingham Academy, an international school in Addis Ababa. After leaving Ethiopia we travelled to Morocco and Spain. I’ll write about those countries soon.
Saturday 10th December 2011: Addis Ababa
We are becoming acclimatised to the altitude here. Both my wife and I had the best night’s sleep since arriving. Our daughter also slept well after getting little sleep the night before due to her pain.
We were able to sleep in for a while and didn’t go for a walk before breakfast. After eating I wrote several long emails, including a newsletter to family and friends.
At 9:45am we all bundled into a school van to go shopping for the day. One of the staff members was the designated driver. His wife and two of their three children came too, as well as another of the teachers.
Our first stop was at the ALERT Leprosy Centre. Our main interest was to visit the shop to buy some of the craft work made by the patients. We also watched some of the people doing their craft work, including an endearing man weaving mats despite having no fingers. My wife bought several items but had to leave some things she wanted due to not having enough cash. We decided to hire a driver next week to return to the shop.
From there we visited a silk shop attached to a very nice private house with a magnificent garden. I took a few photos of the garden and several birds while my wife bought herself a silk scarf and a bead necklace for her birthday.
Despite much confusion and several phone calls to other teachers, we eventually found Sishu, a lovely restaurant near the centre of the city. Our hamburgers were great despite waiting a long time due to many customers.
We then drove the short distance to the craft shops near the main post office. These catered for the tourist trade and were amazing for the variety of things sold, from T-shirts to swords. We bought several carry bags while our daughter managed to find several items on her Christmas shopping list.