Tag Archives: fear

Sunday Breakfast as a Metaphor for Life

Sunday Brekky @ Beaufort Street

Sunday Breaky @ Beaufort Street

This morning I went for a leisurely Sunday Breakfast with my good friend Gael, who I met at a property investment seminar I attended some weeks ago. From the moment that I sat down next to Gael we connected, it was one of those organic friendships that sometimes just are from the moment you meet. Anyway, Gael and I were to join some other wonderful women for a discussion on where we are at with our investment strategy preparation. It is to be a regular thing, an empowering way to learn from and support each other in our journey towards replacing our incomes and then some through property. I have so much to learn, and for the first time ever I have put myself directly in the path of the people who want to share their knowledge with me. For the first time ever, I have said to myself “I deserve it”.

But that is not the topic of this post. This post is about an observation my friend Gael made about me and my tendency to wander off the true path and check out the shiny thing over to the side before I am fully done with the shiny thing right in front of me. I am something of a bowerbird in that regard, always looking for something to distract me. It is a recurrent pattern. This is not the first time a wise friend has observed this, however I am really ready to do something about it.

Gael is a coach – professional development, stress management, life … you name it, she can coach it. Gael offered to give me coaching around my writing as a career, and in a few short weeks together we have identified a pathway, and begun to implement strategies to keep me firmly on that path. I have a pressing deadline with respect to my manuscript (I can’t let the cat out of the bag yet), but if I can achieve it, it will be very worthwhile indeed. Every time Gael and I speak, one of the first things she says to me is “tell me about your book, where are you at with it”. Because writing and editing a work of fiction are such foreign things to me, I feel very unsure of where I am really “at”, and my fear of not being where I “should” be has tended to keep me going precisely where I shouldn’t be … and that is procrastinating, dabbling, tweeting, Facebooking, over-researching, reading, watching documentaries (occasionally even Big Brother?) … anything but writing and editing.

Gael used the breakfast I ordered to demonstrate her point. I ordered the breakfast bruschetta, which in itself is plentiful and satisfying. But then the cute Italian waitress asked if I would like a poached egg with that. I am sure I ordered it just to hear her speak her accent some more. But then I thought, what if I don’t want the bruschetta and what if it would be better with some sides, so I ordered a side of potatoes and a side of mushrooms. It was nothing at all to do with gluttony, as whilst I gave it a good go, I knew I could never get through the whole lot. It was about wanting to try as much as I could from the menu, as I wasn’t sure that I would be satisfied with just the wonderful bruschetta, with gorgeous fresh avocado, tomato and shaved cured ham slices … no way could anyone be satisfied with that surely …

It was then I understood perfectly what Gael meant about my use of distractions to avoid being unsatisfied. My pattern is to do that, get off track, and then when I am totally lost in the forest I use the drama of that to forget what my original quest was. Not this time damn it, I have a Gael to help me, I have the support of my children, and many friends, and most of all, this time I want this so badly that I am determined to just keep chewing (writing) one bite at a time, until I am finished. And satisfied.

Lost in Leederville with Lana Del Rey

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Thank you Lana for helping me find the voice of my story

So, the other night, after a difficult experience, after a big old cry on the side of the road (even the most upbeat gals sometimes get pulled down by their melancholy defeatist Ms Ego’s … the trick is to start the damn car and get back on the road), I found myself driving home in the rain and dark with a flat mobile battery, petrol light on and no idea where I was.  

I ended up taking a long drive through Perth’s inner Northern Suburbs, which I have never really been through, not having done much in Perth until now but work and study for a career I didn’t love.  I finally figured out I was in Leederville (still no petrol station in sight) so to distract from my panic that I would be stuck on the side of the road in my daughter’s 96 Barina, I started to notice the lovely facades of some of the lovely 1930’s buildings (among the not-so-lovely), all while listening to the lovelier Lana Del Rey sing about her honey liking the bad girls in “Video Games”.  

It came to me in a flash, the struggle I have endured trying to find a voice for my story.  Trying to find a muse for one of my main characters – the gorgeous but troubled prostitute who learns one dark secret too many.  As Lana was singing, it all clicked.  A writer friend suggested I check out the “Noir” style of writing after I read out some of my story in our little class, and explained that I was having trouble finding the “voice” for my tale.  I really like Noir fiction, and I was pretty sure that is what I wanted to write – with a more modern twist.  Herein lay the challenge – how to incorporate the Noir style with my fast paced thriller set in modern-day Western Australia and South East Asia.  I have been struck down with inertia and unable to move my story forward for fear of not obeying the genre norms and hence creating something that will struggle to resonate with a publisher for fear of finding an audience.  The other thing I am struggling with is how to write my characters in this style whilst still making them strong and memorable characters and not dishonouring my feminist heart.  Can victims also be champions?  Of course, whilst I have written this book totally for me, like most writers, I do (I really really do) want to score a publishing deal, as I think it is a tale others will want to read.  Besides, It is not a thesis for my undergrad women’s studies unit – it is a work of fiction!!!!

One of the aspects of Noir fiction is that usually the protagonist is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator.  Given that my protagonist is a detective with a bad girl side, I have been really scared that if I produce something that is as far from Noir as Tony Abbott is from Germaine Greer … Will I have to start all over again?  This writing gig is hurting my brain.

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But hey, aren’t rules meant to be broken, and besides my novel checks other Noir boxes… Other common characteristics of Noir include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist – check.  A typical protagonist of the Noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimised and/or has to victimise others on a daily basis, leading to a lose-lose situation – check.

Anyway, worrying about it now is not going to get the damn thing written … and I think I can make it work.  I got home and checked out more of Lana’s work – her little gem of a video for “Ride”, and found my muse.  

You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvb8wdBglpw … 

Thanks Lana and Leederville …

The first post …

The thing about “being” a writer … which I am of course, is that despite having an almost primal need to take myself on this bizarre journey out of the safety and security of 9 – 5 humdrum (with the goal to actually earning a living from my craft) … is that my rather annoying and very insecure ego wants to send me right back there. To do this, she employs all manner of crazy tactics – avoidance, procrastination and simply orchestrating moments of sheer terror that grips my chest like a vice. She tells me that I can’t do this and I need to go back to “real work”. ┬áMy ego is terrific at self sabotage – she does this in other areas too … like skipping … when my personal trainer yells at her, she just gets madder and trips up my feet even more!

My ego is a flighty bitch who can’t settle on anything, not even a simple background for a blog. Now, how do I tell Ms Ego that she needs to “shoosh her beans”, otherwise that’s what we will all be eating – beans? As the purpose of my writing is to pursue my passion whilst at the same time support my family, there is work to be done.

I know that to quiet Ms Ego, I need to invite Ms Certainty and Ms Determined to the front of the room, and give them the floor. So … without further ado, would you please make them welcome …

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