THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 1: LONELINESS
Has anyone ever felt lonely before? Trapped in a dark world, that seems to provide no opportunity to escape it? A world that slowly eats away at you and cripples your self-esteem. Self-thoughts become more negative and soon you fish for complements that you feel will make a difference but only make you feel worse.
It is a place I find myself in now. A place I have been dragged into and like quick sand, feel that the more I struggle with it and fight it, the further it sucks me into its bottomless pit of despair. It is a place we put ourselves in, and in other cases, it a situation that is sprung upon us. In my case, it feels like a bit of both.
I have had the unfortunate baring of witnessing loneliness take over different members of my family. In its own little way, it had lead them to despair, conceded with the position life has given them, and afraid to see other people’s happiness as something they to can have. Depression becomes the gradual ruler of your body and misery becomes a companion rather than a momentary obstacle in your path.
How do you combat such a powerful and corruptive force? This will differ for many people, but in my case it was something that is so simple and helped reignite a passion I had long forgotten. I had found it in the simple tapping of different keys on a keyboard and the music I created wasn’t in sound, but in imagination. It was my passion to write.
It was only yesterday that a great man I look up to, and see as a great role model as a teacher, a father, a coach, a friend and as a person told me that passion is the most important thing in a relationship. I thought about this for a moment, and while others may not, I do agree. Without passion nothing can be achieved, nothing can drive you to become better, to improve, to live. Writing is that one thing that when I am infixed in my trance, my world of imagination, I feel like I can be whoever I want to be. I feel free, happy and content.
And that is how this book came to be written. I had moved to Canada to leave the world I had lived for thirty-five years behind and branch out to discover an unknown world. I had become set in my ways, and this was due to being lonely. I worked from 8:30 to 6 because I had nothing to look forward to when I got home. I then took work home as a distraction. This lead to me losing my passion for what I did. It created low job satisfaction, built up stress, and sometimes was responsible for uncharacteristic unprofessionalism in my job. I needed to break free of this black hole I was in and when the opportunity to do a teaching exchange came along, I took it.
Calgary, Alberta had me at hello. It felt like I was surrounded by a world of positivity, kind souls who enjoyed the spoils of natural beauties, varied activities and made everything fun. I was seeing new things, experiencing new challenges and living in a way that back home, I saw was someone else’s life. Early on, not knowing many people I had some time to myself, but rather than the negativity of loneliness controlling me, it was the positivity of inspiration that had take command.
I was no longer bringing work home with me and my extra two hundred and fifty hours of the year of unpaid devotion to volleyball had freed me up and allowed me to rediscover my writing passion. I had jotted down a few notes about an idea and really had not thought about them for a good while until I stepped into my new home for the year. Now a simple idea suddenly returned to me like I was catching up with a long lost friend and the time to start turning a simple idea into a novel had arrived.
It’s ironic that the simple idea was inspired once again by a period of loneliness. As a kid, there is only one word to describe me, and that is different. Although I had friends, I would do different things to what normal people did. I actually remember acting out a fighting scene I had seen on TV by myself. I’d hit myself and fling myself back to the ground. I got up and did it again, wanting to make sure I performed it perfectly, in my mind anyway. I did this on countless occasions not really aware of what surrounded me or who may be watching. I never really considered that this would have looked pretty strange to most onlookers. Didn’t realize that fifteen years later that the movie ‘Fight Club’ would have a similar idea that lead to a cult group of men taking life’s frustrations out on each other and feeling freed of their internal pain would be created.
I also had a speech impediment, which to most people who could speak normally would also find quite different and strange. I also lived in a world of fantasy; I found my made up world a much better place than reality and that is where I lived for a majority of my youth, in my own little world. One of these worlds was at primary school. When I was 5 years old I used to hang out alone in the schoolyard. My differences and strange characteristics left me with little choice. Most lunch play times I would climb up the good old tri-shaped tyre climb to talk to my pine tree friend Dragon (as I had named him). I spoke to him about many different things, mostly gobbledygook, but at that time, this tree felt like my only friend.
It is a memory that was not triggered until I was speaking to a beautiful ex-volleyball coach at a small tapas bar in McLaren Vale. We had been working at ‘A Day on the Green’ a music concert as a fundraiser for the school Volleyball program. It was an interesting day, trying to park cars, then help them all leave in peaceful and harmonious fashion. Naturally, we all needed a drink to unwind from the day’s festivities.
This lead to the conversation with attractive ex-volleyball coach, a beautiful girl with brown hair and green eyes, amazing skin and a free spirit for life. Life wasn’t going to dictate her, she was going to dictate her own life and that is what really made her attractive to me. She was a good eight years younger than me, but our conversation and even relationship of sorts at the time was more like a friend or older brother, which was playful, fun but professional.
After turning a quick drink into three we somehow got discussing the continue conundrum of me being single. After trying to consider my thoughts on the matter, she came back with the simple fact that there was simply no mystery to me. You are too open, share things willingly. I was also too nice! Girls want some mystery she told me, you need to be more mysterious. I cannot tell you whether it was the three drinks I had digested quite quickly or some other force of nature, but this memory as a kid suddenly came back to me.
“You want mystery! I’ll give you mystery. I am going to write a book.” I quickly thought back to a moment in time that could inspire a story and the memory that was triggered somewhat surprised me. I had not thought of this memory for many years but it was in that instant it came to me. It was then the basic idea of the story came to be created. She was very complementary at the time and thought the idea was good. I went home and the next day I was writing the idea down but due to the ridiculous workload of school, the idea was gradually placed down on the computer and wasn’t really going anywhere.
There were times I had moments of inspiration and ideas would pop into my head. I would write these down on the back of old envelopes, scrap pieces of paper, even pull over on the side of the road and type a message to myself or leave a note on my phone. Again, whenever this had happened I felt an injection of life flow through me, and my ability to battle any problem was overcome. My mind felt clearer and I felt more positive about myself.
So while loneliness has caused me much emotional pain, it was also the reason I was able to create an idea for a story and had the opportunity to write it. While that moment at the tapas bar had sparked the concept of the story, it was my arrival in Canada that the idea was sparked into action. ‘The Treeman’s Curse” had begun its journey of becoming a reality.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 2: THE BULLY
I remember the first moment I sat at the table in the study room of the Condo in Calgary. I looked out at the large pine tree covered in snow and smiled as I began to sift through my notes, create a treatment and characters and begin writing that first chapter. I took a deep breath, smiled then allowed my imagination and sudden inspiration to control my fingers as they frantically typed at the keyboard.
My goal from the start was that I want this book to be used as a class novel in schools around the world. I wanted to start the first chapter creating a story that would suddenly lure the reader’s interest and tickle their curiosity into reading further. I wanted to have an issue or discussion point right from the start and it was yet another journey back to a dark time in my past that helped structure the main character of Jonty and help give the story the start I had desired.
A lot of people may assume that I was pretty well liked at school and that I made friends easily and was even quite popular. Well, they would be correct in some way, but in both primary and secondary school, the start of my schooling was somewhat different. Learning how to fit in social settings, and the sudden improvement in my sporting abilities in both cases helped to create a more successful later half of my primary and secondary schooling years. However, the psychological damage the early periods had on me I feel have had a lasting impact and have lead to certain dreams not being realised and particular character flaws occasionally awoken.
My social skills and inability to fit in was strongly related to my overcoming speech impediment, my inability to think before I would say and a lack of confidence. It didn’t help that at the age of 7 I had a reading and writing level of a 4 year old so trying to express myself clearly and precisely was a big issue at the time.
My first four years in primary school were not easy due to one particular person. Even thinking back now, his treatment had more psychological scarring than I thought possible. His name was Troy and I was the easy target that regularly got picked on, yelled at and made to feel worthless. It took a while for me to develop my sport skills. This had a lot to do with my slow cognitive development, and even in my two favourite sports of AFL football and cricket, my ability to kick, catch and hit a ball was not very strong.
It just so happened that everyone at the time played soccer at recess and lunch. Troy would bring his own ball to school, so he could control who played and who didn’t. I remained hopeful each day but the general routine was him getting in my face and yelling quite aggressively “You are not playing!” It was rare, but on the odd occasion, a young lad named Trevor G, who was Troy’s best mate would say the teams need to be even, or put him goals to try and include me, but generally, no support came forward and I was to live with the embarrassing shame of sitting all by myself and watching the group I called my friends play soccer.
On the days Trevor convinced Troy to let me play, I was told that if I let one goal through, that I was out and replaced. If I was on the field, make that one mistake where I caused a turnover and the other team scored, I was not playing. For someone still trying to fit in, a number of personal development issues and an eagerness to fit in, I was desperate to succeed. This also built up a large amount of pressure and stress.
As it would happen, I missed a goal kicked by a team that Troy wasn’t on, he kicked me out, angrily yelling the three words that have left a permanent scar my brain. Make a bad skill error, the same treatment. It made me feel worse. When I wouldn’t leave, searching desperately for someone to stick up for me, he would push me away, yell in my face to get off the field. On the odd occasion a tear would build up in my tear duct, other occasions I just lowered my head, stooped my shoulders and trudged away.
There were other ways he would bully me in the classroom as well, which made me feel nervous around him, intimidated by him and destroy my self esteem. As I said, this definitely had an impact on my football career at South Adelaide where the pressure I built up to perform crippled my ability to improve. Whenever I didn’t understand certain work assessments, constructions or situations, I used to have fits of rage, which on occasions still casts a shadow over my generally laid back and friendly personality. It even impacted on my running career, where anyone I thought I could not beat, I gave in to them.
The answer was simple! I needed a bully to start the story; which lead to the creation of the character, Felix. I quickly researched the type of games kids played in the time the book is set and used that to help structure the first chapter. I hope that I show the impact that a bully can have, how it can isolate someone and cause them great internal suffering, but I also wanted to have karma represented to show that bullying does not pay. This lead in perfectly to creating the mystery and intrigue of the Fearful Forest and what hidden devilry lay within its darkness, well I hope it did anyway.
So the first chapter had been written, the initial setting of the story completed. I felt mentally exhausted after writing it, but after reading it on a few occasions I was quite happy that I had achieved what I had aimed to do. The journey had begun.
JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 3: THE FORGING OF AN IDEA
I was talking to one of my Volleyball coaches at the time for some reason about why I was still single. She basically told me straight out that there was no mystery about me. You are to open and give everything away. Maybe this is where I have been going wrong lately!! Since I had taken a couple of sips of ‘Dutch Courage’ in the form of a particular type of beverage, I told her straight out, “Well, I’ll give you mystery!” It was there I began to make up, pretty much on the spot the story of the Treeman’s Curse.
I quickly thought back to a moment in time that could inspire a story and the memory that was triggered somewhat surprised me. I had not thought of this memory for many years but it was in that instant it came to me. When I was 5 years old I used to hang out alone in the schoolyard. My differences and strange characteristics left me with little choice. Most lunch play times I would climb up this piece of climbing equipment made purely of old tyres. It’d get to the top and start talking to a pine tree that I had named Dragon. We would talk about all sorts of gobbledygook but at that time, this tree felt like my only friend.
It was then the basic idea of the story came to be created. The idea of the underground creatures, the cursed tree men but the story I elaborated on that particular night evolved a lot more once I got to Canada. She was very complementary at the time and thought the idea was good. I went home and the next day I was writing the idea down but due to the ridiculous workload of school, the idea was gradually placed down on the computer and wasn’t really going anywhere.
There were times I had moments of inspiration and ideas would pop into my head. I would write these down on the back of old envelopes, scrap pieces of paper, even pull over on the side of the road and type a message to myself or leave a note on my phone. Again, whenever this had happened I felt an injection of life flow through me, and my ability to battle any problem was overcome. My mind felt clearer and I felt more positive about myself.
What crippled the ability for this story to begin its journey was work. I hated work at the time. I felt like a person that had no life and was giving every bit of energy to people that didn’t really appreciate it. Stress built up and that fear of failure I spoke about in my previous blog lead to me to make emotional decisions that were unprofessional and not me. It was a version of me controlled by fear and created by the lonely life I was leading. I hated work with a passion! The only positive I had to look forward to was a chance of winning a job or going to Canada on an exchange. The idea was suddenly clouded by the negativity of life and the fast approaching fear of leaving the life I knew to one of the unknown.
The best year of my life without any question will always be the year of 2015. It was the year I felt alive, free, was learning, and to be honest, appreciated and accepted. This may sound harsh to my close friends who have accept me for all my quirkiness over the years, but I mainly mean from a outside public and my students. I felt like I was making a difference for the first time in my life. I felt rewarded and appreciated for the efforts I had put in. This was both professionally and even in AFL football where I learnt to enjoy it as I did in the backyard as a kid. As Santa said in the movie ‘Rise of the Guardian’s’ ‘I had found my centre’. That centre to all my happiness was writing.
It started off with just my travel blogs, where I would tell the intriguing tales of my early adventures of trying to survive the unique experience of snow and -20 degree temperatures. All these unique and new experiences suddenly ignited the spark for the story of ‘The Treeman’s Curse to be written. Visiting the beautiful national parks and being surrounded by so much positivity was something I had only experienced on my Contiki trips in recent times. It was like a dry lake suddenly tasting too much water. Ideas flowed through my head about the book to the point where I was writing them down on anything and everything.
I suddenly had the story structured, the basic characters planned I was ready to write my first chapter. I still remember it now! I was upstairs in my exchange person’s study room and ironically a pine tree was staring back at me from outside of the window.
While it wasn’t by itself, it was surrounded by many friends to be truthful (as was Dragon, my imaginary friend when I was 5), it inspired the idea of the lonesome tree being surrounded by a huge forest in the background. It also reminded me of the time I felt like an outcast and alone. I was also suddenly brought back to my childhood of when I was bullied and instantly the idea was sparked to begin my book.
The chapter felt like a flowing force from brain activity to keyboard. Like butter spread over hot toast, our bodies and souls had molded to become one. Nothing distracted me as I found myself locked in an unbreakable bubble and Chapter 1 was completed.
For some reason I felt over anything else I had written that this was going to be something special. I had made the pledge to myself, the commitment that I was to write a book. I had noticed Balboa and Hay House publishers send me the odd email about self publishing but to be honest, that felt like a dream away, and all I was doing at the time was just doing what I loved: to be creative and write.
It was the next few months that the rest of my travel’s and my reflection on my past would stimulate the creation of what was to be my first book.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 4: WHAT HAVE I DONE?
WHAT HAVE I DONE
It was around 7:30pm on a weeknight, somewhere close to April 30th. I was staring at my computer screen, flicking between a bunch of emails and a website. This website, was not just any ordinary website. It was one that had the potential to impact my life in many different facets. This small period in time in my life was where I pondered one of the biggest risk-taking decisions of my life.
My thought process at the time was only distracted on two occasions; both occasions it was the vibrations of my phone on the table beside me. The person on the other line was a representative from Balboa Press who was eagerly awaiting my decision. The website taking up a considerable amount of screen space, was that of Balboa Press.
I studied the page with pricing packages for self-publishing, running more numbers through my head than Russell Crowe’s character in a beautiful mind. I then flicked back to email conversations I had previously encountered with Balboa, then looked at the depressing sight of my finances in my bank accounts. This monotonous activity occupied at least the next hour as I pondered whether it was possible to afford such a big commitment.
Once I was locked in, I was one step closer to realising a dream: To publish a fantasy fiction novel. However, this financial commitment would rob me of many travel opportunities in Canada, and the fact I had just bought a temporary car, meant my finances would considerable dwindle.
I was only about a third of the way through writing my book at this point and in the past I had been known to start a lot of projects and just not see them through. The words of my great friend and a teaching mentor Paul rang through my head countless times as I weighed up the decision. “Gonna Princi!” He had labeled me this on a number of occasions; mainly for saying I’d go for a run, or a bike ride with him then back out. This decision had more relying on it that the fear of my deteriorating waistline.
My head was a bowl of mixed thoughts; being stirred rigorously as it deciphered through seemingly complex decision making process about the special offer placed in front of me. If I failed to commit, it would be a good year before Balboa would offer such a special, which was nearly a 40% saving on their regular asking price. Ambition and impulse conflicted with sensibility. Sensibility conflicted with travel opportunities, and bank accounts depressingly told me I could not compensate all three.
It was the second phone call interruption where I took a deep breath, and waited for the mixed thoughts in my head to settle into a decision. It was ambition! Before I knew what I was doing, I was putting through the first monthly payment and I was now committed to creating a manuscript to write a novel.
I suddenly found myself in a Jekyll and Hyde moment. A multi personality discussion with myself had erupted, where some members of the conversation were excited and others concerned. I had never been one to take risks. I was always quite conservative, which had robbed me of many opportunities to experience life-fulfilling moments. Exhilaration and excitement pranced around the small kitchenette next to the dining room, a smile beaming from ear to ear shouting “I’m going to write a book.”
It would be a matter of seconds before they were suddenly transformed into doubt and concern, which summarised all my fears in four words, “What have I done?” This conversation lasted a good ten minutes before I settled into a more rational state of being.
I moved backed to the dining table where my computer awaited my next demand of its services. It was to bring up the word document that contained my progressive manuscript. Inspiration and motivation flowed through my frantically typing fingers as I continued a journey that now had a foreseeable purpose; the transitional phase of where a dream would one day become a reality: I was to publish my first novel.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 5: HISTORY BEHIND THE CHARACTERS PART 1
It has been a fascinating adventure doing my book with the two Year 8 English classes I had last Semester. Their feedback was extremely in-depth and in most cases students of the suitable reading ability (Year 7 or higher) enjoyed the book. I did have my knockers and found that generally speaking it was my more academic or more experienced readers who failed to be stimulated or lured into the adventured I have attempted to create.
If I had my time again, I would have waited until I finished teaching it with the class before publishing as their feedback actually would have strengthened the book. The class did reviews of the book and most of them gave me anywhere between 4 to 5 Stars out of 5. My more advanced students, however were scathing and quite critical and were more in the 1 to 2 ½ star range. The general feedback was that this book would be an awesome movie and from the way we used to read it out loud, you saw the students were more gripped and intrigued by what was going on as the picture painted in their minds.
The have been two interesting constructive comments I received from the students as a whole. While some like the overly described way I have written components of the book, others have mentioned it has crippled the flow of the story and can be frustrating as they just want to move on further into the next sections of the book. The other was the names of the characters, one which my more astute students pointed out do not match the time period the book was set.
I loved debating and explaining with students the little constructive comments which most of them were not backed up with evidence, maybe even pedantic, looking for things without considering their purpose or possible link to later events in the book. The character names, however, did get me thinking and I think it’s important I explain the history of the names.
Names of characters can be the difference between an instant drawing to them or a lack of enthusiasm. If it’s the latter, then your writing skills and explanation and journey of the character throughout the remainder of the book will have to be quite good to draw the reader to relate to them. Jonty and Crystal were the names I would actually like to call my children, if I actually get to experience that amazing moment. Obviously my partner or wife in future would have a say in this but it was something I had visualized that they could be called.
It is not coincidental that the Grandmother of the story is named after both my grandmothers. My Nan was a sweet; kind and loving person who I didn’t get to see much. I always looked forward to the drive to Minlaton on the York Peninsula to catch up with her. One of the regrets I do have is that I didn’t see her as much as I would have liked.
My Grandma was an interesting person and was one that thrived on being the centre of attention. Very loving and would do anything for me, not to mention she made the best schnitzel and meatballs you will ever taste. I actually lived with her for a time and she spent many weekends visiting us when we were kids with my Nono. Both meant a lot to me and I was glad to name a character after them.
Chilliana is based around the name similar to that of my ex-girlfriend. It did originally have something to do with my initial background story mentioned in Chapter 2, but I also wanted to come up with a different and unique name for this particular character.
I wanted to owner my four best mates who live in Melbourne and Canberra in some way as well. The first I named the mountain range after but his character and reasoning behind the name will be explained more in prequels (if I get the honour and chance to write them). Another mate I named the Wind Wolves leader after him. The third I named the head of the Tree Guardians after him. A question by my students that was brought up quite regularly: ‘Why is Hargos the only Tree Guadian not named after his weapon?’ Well, that gets explained further on in the book, not in words but in the actions of the character.
My fourth mate originally had the honour of being named after the lovable mole Muddy. His name was Jatod but I had to change how I honoured him due to a big issue with copyright. The Todd boys were originally named the Jackson brothers, but since there were five of them, the link to a famous band of musical brothers probably would have had me in hot water. So I changed their name from the Jackson Five to the Todd boys.
I then had the dilemma of naming the mole that would eventually go on to be my favourite character to write and create in the book. It wasn’t until I thought back to my Australian Rules playing days that the name came to me. I was playing Aussie Rules football in Canada and since it was my last year of playing the game I loved and grew up with, I had some time to reminisce about the career I had.
It is actually a pretty interesting story in itself, but it made me think of the club where I had the most fun, felt like a home away from home and was quite relevant to the habitat that Muddy, as he has become to be known, lives in.
Moles do live under the ground and Myponga Football Club was traditionally known to be a mud pit in winter. There were games that I played there where finding a blade of grass was like finding a needle in a haystack. Hence why the club’s emblem was known as the Mudlarks. It was then that the name came to me and the rest is history.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 6: THE HISTORY BEHIND THE CHARACTER PART 2
There are five men in my life who I feel have had the greatest impact on my life, each for different reasons. There are other friends of mine who I plan to honour in sequel’s and prequel’s but these five people have helped to change the way I view life and how to handle different obstacles that are thrown my way.
I was an average runner at eleven years old. I used to go to Little Athletics cross- country events and get thrashed by minutes by the better runners. I then decided to change my tactics a bit, go out as hard as I can and see how long I could maintain it. This caught the eye of the second running coach I ever had, Graham. At that point, I didn’t know he was going to be the biggest influence on my life. He taught me many life lessons, including about hard work, training and commitment, pushing the boundaries and reaching new levels, and about the importance of self-belief.
My weak mind and self-confidence would always battle against the positive and challenging though processes that Graham threw at me, but when I conquered them, the feeling of achievement was simply amazing. I remember one session where he set for me nine lots of three hundred at Brighton’s Little Athletics Track. The aim was to run them at forty-five second pace for each one with a 100-metre walk recovery between each. It came to the ninth and final run and he said, ‘I want you to run forty one seconds’, in his cool calm, matter-of-fact manner.
I looked at him with horrified eyes; my lungs, gasping for breath, my body, fueled by the lactic acid taking over my body like a spreading disease. I instantly thought I couldn’t do it. He simply said, in a calm voice ‘Yes you can!’ and walked over to the finish line to get ready to time me. I ran forty-one seconds for my final run. This man was responsible for turning me from an average cross country runner to winning the Under 15, 1500m at the State Little Athletics in a time of 4 minutes and 26 seconds. The saddest regret in my life is I haven’t seen him for over seventeen years due to my life changing pathways but he will always be one of the most important role models in my life.
Stack is named after one of the greatest teachers, role models and people the world will ever meet. His ability to work and communicate with people of all personalities and guide them to become, better, people, to achieve goals, and be positive and successful is phenomenal. I have been lucky enough to be inspired, mentored and guided by John for over twenty years. He has the ability to see the potential in all people and encouraging them to find it and use it. He is always someone I could turn to and this is why I have honoured him in this way.
Pacrat is named after another great mentor and friend who has had a similar influence on my life as John. He would be the unofficial best primary Physical Educator in South Australia and quite possibly the country. His positive outlook, encouraging and kind nature has seen some of the best athletes in the Fleurieu region of Adelaide go on to great achievements. His school has been known to be state champions in a number of sports and his knowledge of skill development, student and people management and fun and lovable personality makes him such a great person. I have been privileged to call him a friend and mentor.
A friendship I value so much and has been so important to me represents the fourth brother Wongo. Simon and I hit it off straight away with his cheeky personality along with his amazing knowledge of the teaching craft. He is always someone aspiring to become greater so he can serve to become a greater impact on others. His achievements are for the benefit of others. He strives to do the best he can for everyone. He is always someone I can turn to for words of wisdom and guidance and have done so many times since I’ve known him. There are two people I call my brother from another mother so to speak and he is one of them.
Biln is named after another friend Kev, who I have known for a good twelve years. He is the kind of person who will do anything for you out of the kindness of his heart. He is a great friend to lesson and chat to as we have shared similar stories in love in the past. That understanding helped both of us through a tough time and although he is moving overseas, he will always be a great friend I can call upon in times of need.
Dilsian is a combination of the names of my second brother from another mother and his father who we nicknamed the Silver Fox. Dillon and I hit it off immediately and just understood each other from the start. We both loved our sport, both had a competitive push and both loved to explore different avenues and adventures to life. His father was Mr Cool, just an infection personality who had many stories and comical humour, which always generated a few laughs. These two also reignited my love for rock and roll music, which Dillon loved pumping up at high volume whenever he was home. Every moment with both of them has been memorable and positive and no matter how long we have been apart, we always hit it off when we catch up.
There are so many others I hope to honour at some stage in my novels. Even a student at Fairview asked me to name a character after him and if I write the sequel, he will discover that this will be the case. The band of ‘cheeky boys’ aka ‘naughty boys’ at Fairview also may have characters named after them. I have a couple of other great mates who I also intend to honour who mean just as much me as those I have honoured to this point.
While this may not be the best way to name characters, the book in a way has many different journeys for me. Having a chance to write it though gave me a chance to help make them a big part of it and say thank you for being a big part of my life.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 7 – THE INSPIRATION OF LIVING IN CANADA PART 1
It says on the back of the book that my time in Canada was an inspiration for the way the story was written. My teaching exchange was no accident, I was meant to go and experience its beauty and meet its amazing people, but I feel deep down inside I went their to achieve a dream. The amazing Rockies, with its pine trees, lakes, and mountains that seem to go on forever, helped to inspire the setting of the book, with Elbow River that flows through Kananaskis Country an inspiration for the setting for the Swirling River.
There were a number of different places and experiences that shaped chapters in the book. I will describe them and when you read the book, see which events relate back to parts of the story.
Drumheller is a place that is about 130km north of Calgary where I was living and is famous for a number of little historical features. The 11-bridge drive to a saloon, the suspension bridge, caves as well as having one of the biggest dinosaur museums in the world. If you ever visit Drumheller, the big T-Rex look out is something kids will definitely enjoys.
One feature that could my attention were the Hoodoos, oddly shaped limestone rocks on the outskirts of the town. The road out there was surrounded by large ant mound-like hills. The place was quite different to the green picturesque Rockies, and to most people, the dull desert coloured mounds probably would not impress.
On my way home I discovered another amazing feature a few kilometres from the town centre. Horseshoe Canyon, its name obvious by the shape of the canyon, you couldn’t help but stare in wonder of it. A series of mounds and hills with a number of paths weaving in and out of them instantly stimulated my sense of adventure. I actually returned there just to walk through it, also to help me with the description of one of my chapters in the book.
COUGARS ON THE PROWL
In this instance, I am not talking about the name given to older woman seeking the attention of a younger male stag. This relates to the surprising but scary situation that cougars were known to occasionally spotted in some areas of Calgary. The day after I had visited Drumheller I actually walked the 14km track that surrounds Glenmore Reservoir. I thought it would be a great way to listen to music and learn the latest Les Mills RPM release, which is a class I am trained in and have taught for a couple of years. It wasn’t until I got to an area called Weaselhead that I started to feel quite uneasy.
Large bamboo like reeds, and skinny dead tree branches surrounded me at this point of the walk. The gloomy weather and the fact I was alone created that sense of imagination that I was being watched. The trigger of this was the discussion in the Phys Ed staff room at Fairview about Cougar attacks in different areas of Calgary including Fish Creek and around the reservoir. Cougars were sneaky, and clever in the way they hunt you, and generally preyed on small children or tiny dogs. Needless to say that every sound I heard in the dimly lit part of this track made me feel on edge, like I was being hunted.
It was the Calgary Marathon and I was just walking around 17th Avenue socking up some of the atmosphere of the event. I actually stumbled across the Lavender Festival, where parades, and a number of tents and marques where erected selling a variety of different gifts. There were food trucks with many varieties of foods and a hint of a cowboy theme as Stampede was only a couple of months away.
I actually ran into a fellow exchange teacher from Adelaide who had just completed the 10km course. Her medal actually made me quite jealous as it was big and shiny and would have been another good memento to take home to remember my amazing experience. She was with a friend who was giving me some ideas about what other cool landmarks I could go see while I was there. The first was the Okotoks Boulders, followed by a place called Frank’s Slide.
Frank’s slide is on the way to a place called Field and was once a big mining place, particularly in the early 1900’s. The sad story is that due to the mining inside the mountains, an avalanche occurred, sending rocks to crash to the ground covering a 3km distance. Underneath this rubble was a small town that was completely buried by this disaster. Again, most tourists would just drive past it and think not much of it, but seeing the rubble and reading the story of this catastrophic event had me quite intrigued.
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
One of my goals on my trip was to go see the Northern Lights. It was a phenomenon I had heard much about and the pictures I had seen made me want to witness its magnificence in person. I had decided to go to Whitehorse in the Yukon. It was a town of a few thousand people, and one, in some cases, yet to get up with the 21st Century. It had an odd feel about it and was a place I did not feel safe walking the streets at night and was know for some of its interesting and more colourful characters.
It also had the luxury of being located in a place where one of the most enchanting night-lights show occurred within the season of late August to late April. I had gone in March when it was predicted that the Aurora was visible 24 out of the 31 days of the year. I had booked two nights to go see the show, and on one of those nights, in a large clearing that was surrounded by pine trees and had the outline of mountains visible in the distance I was able to witness a show like no other.
Whether its was the amazing green colour, with it was a misty cloud in the distance or the bright trail of light that circled parts of the sky, it was the most beautiful night sky I had seen. Even the spike of light, that gave the feel of the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz that crept over the pine trees was quite spectacular, however, the highlight was when the sky opened up to reveal bright white lights dancing in the sky. It truly is like God opening up the heavens and allowing those lucky enough to be by his side were dancing around and waving at the earth below. A must see for anyone who goes within the vicinity of this natural creation.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 8 – THE INSPIRATION OF LIVING IN CANADA PART 2
THREE VALLEY GAP – BRITISH COLUMBIA
While on a drive in BC, I took my mum and sister to stay at a place called the Three Valley Cap Chateau. It is based approximately 12 kilometres from Revelstoke, a popular ski resort in the winter and was surrounded by a beautiful lake high mountains and the train track that the Rocky Mountaineer rides past. One of the tourist attractions nearby is a place called the Enchanted Forest.
Now while it is more for kids and families, the story of how these little artistic creations portraying some famous Nursery Rhymes and fairytales had us quite intrigued. The artist had used bits of left over metals and rubbish to turn simple pieces of metal into amazing designs. The place also had a rock climbing wall and high ropes course along side it and for all the plant lovers out there, a nice walking trail that showed you the different range nature that grew in the area.
Since I had based the Tree Guardian’s around pine trees from my experiences with them as a kid, I was more interested in the four types of pine trees that grew in the area. The Fur, White, Cedar and Hemlock types of pine trees had me constantly thinking about my book and the setting of the Fearful Forest and I found my mind distracting me from the beauty that surrounded the area.
THE ALASKIN CRUISE
Another part of my trip with my mother and sister was when we went on an Alaskan Cruise. While Alaska is part of America I still managed to find some inspiration from our seven-day cruise. Skagway is one of a number of ports that were famous for being docked by many sailors, its interesting pubs and a place to begin the journey for looking for gold during the gold rush era.
On a bus journey that followed the old train line that was used back in those times, we came across a black water hole, barely 20metres long and 10 metres wide. What was amazing about the water was just how black it was. It actually looked like pools of tar on either side of the road.
According to the tour guide, the leaves of the spruce trees that fell onto the ground, got caught up in the run off of water from the mountains and they helped to transform the water to the colour. The run off and the colour helped trigger an adjustment to the story, which I instantly rewrote when I returned back on the cruise ship.
AUTUMN IN THE ROCKIES
One of the fascinating parts of the Canadian Rockies is its ability to have a completely different look in each season. One of the recommendations I was given by my Phys Ed Coordinator was to go to Moraine Lake and hike up to Sentinel Pass. Although this great hike is in amongst the freshly smelling pine needles of the trees and has some great views of the lake, the steep zig zaging 3km of the journey leads you to a section that made my jaw drop.
The Larch trees are known for their leaves to turn yellow in Autumn, and their colour is so bright and unique. If you were really lucky, there may have been a mix of green and red leaves as well, another one the Rockies amazing must-see features.
Apart from being a great school to work at with fantastic staff and students, Fairview was made up of two different programs. One was a Tradition Learning style, where students sat at their own desk, wore formal uniform, stood up to speak in class and great teachers who came to visit while the other was French emersion. As many people known, Canada does have a French influence in the East and more of a British influence in the west, so I was surprised to see it practiced in many schools in Calgary, Alberta.
The language had always sounded beautiful to me and I couldn’t help but listen as both students and teachers throughout the day spoke the majestic words. I had no idea what they were saying but the language had suddenly inspired an idea that I could use for my book. I actually thought the way I used it would probably not get discovered, but one of my students at Willunga, who went through all aspects of my book with a fine tooth cone actually Googled the phrases I had used and discovered that the spells spoken by the Thorn Queen were in fact the French translation of her commands.
A MEMORY FROM KILKENNY
I hadn’t thought about this memory for quite some time until I was writing the book. This memory actually occurred in Kilkenny in Ireland when I was on a Contiki tour with a friend of mine from work. The hotel we stayed at had this interesting looking restaurant. It wasn’t the creamy coloured paint that covered the walls of the one room dining area that had me intrigued, but the effect of what looked like tree roots waving in and out of the upper wall and roof. I had seen nothing like it in my life but had thought at the time the design of it was quite spectacular. It gave me the feel that I was eating in some underground cave, and surprisingly added to the dining experience.
IT FELT LIKE IT WAS MEANT TO BE
There are a number of other experiences in Canada and America that helped shape the book and helped to put the finishing touches on my story. The memory that will always stick in my mind though is my walk Ketchikan. I did an amazing trek through the rain forest that overlooked the murky port of this Alaskan town, (famously known for having snow or rain 300 days a year).
This trek however, was no the memory that stands out in my mind, although it did cause me to change parts of my description of the forest. It was when we walked past a house that had decorated one of their trees with a face, that I thought that this book was meant to be written and was destined for greatness. See how well you can link the experiences to the influences they have on the book, and remember, adventures of our own can lead to creating a world that everyone can share.
See if you can link the event I experienced with the influence it had on the book. I will be interested to see how many you come up with.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 9: MY OLD MAN
“What was the most significant moment in my sporting career?” If I was ever asked that question, the answer would somewhat surprise. Most people consider moments such as team or personal successes as this answer to this question, but for me, this was a moment that will live with me forever and one that relates to one of the key issues addressed in my book.
It was the day I played my first match of Aussie Rules against grown men. It was only a trial game, but before then I had always played against people my own age. I was in the final 23 that would be cut back to 21 for the U19 South Adelaide Panthers who were affiliated with the SANFL. Unfortunately for me I was one of the two that missed selection.
I found myself with no game, and no club to have a practice match with. The coach of the U19’s organised for me to play with a team in the Great Southern Football League called Strathablyn, and so I found myself driving with my dad to a place called Jervious, playing in a team with a bunch of complete strangers. I didn’t even know what the coach looked like or what the team colours were.
I’m not one to blow up my own tyres, but this was probably the best game I ever played. I did things that I never knew I was capable of performing. It was like the ball and I were magnets that were always attracted to each other. Wherever I went, the ball followed. I was unstoppable!
That was not the significant moment that I referred to. This happened moments after the final siren as I walked off the field and looked up into the proud expression of my dad. There was a smile that forced its way through his beard and a gentle nod of his head. I can never explain the exhilaration and euphoria that flowed through me on that day.
There is no greater reward in life than when a parent expresses how proud they are of you. That’s all I ever wanted as a kid, was to make my parents proud. The unique bond between father and son is one I cherish. However, my relationship with my dad became so what distant not to long after that moment.
My dad, due to his personal life pursuits, pretty much disappeared from my life for about 8 years. He lived and visited different countries, lived in a different state of Australia and conversation and contact between us was rare at best. It wasn’t until about 2013 that he came back into my life with more regularity with 2016 being the first year in a long while that he or I have remained in Adelaide at the same time.
The relationship between the Treeman and Jonty represents my feelings towards this fractured time period between us. Both the Treeman and Jonty had changed so much in their time apart as had dad and I. Their relationship was strained at first to a point where Jonty refuses to speak to the Treeman, which is how I felt for a long while towards my dad, based on some of the choices he had made.
As the book progresses, time begins to heal the old wounds, and the blood bonds between a father and son are slowly mended. This subplot in the book was at times hard to write, as emotions would conflict with the flow of the story, but it’s the one subplot that means the most to me. When my dad has finally read my book I hope he will understand what it means to have him back in my life.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 10: MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR.
I had always assumed that the package would be the only financial investment I would make on the book. The package seemed too good to be true. Promotional materials would be made for my book, including bookmarks, business cards, postcards, even a small video. The big catch for me was that the book idea would be promoted to movie producers as it has always been my dream to have one of my stories be made in to a Hollywood film.
I still remember the dreams of visualizing my book sales, and the movie being made. I even knew the Hollywood actors that would be performing in the roles. It was around this time I reignited my infatuation with Harry Potter and decided that I needed to read the books to see how and why they were so successful and captivating to millions of people.
The more I read the books; it became apparent that I needed to do a lot more research. Researching different themes related to the book was exciting helped to structure and strengthen the story and make it sound more believable. My creativity was being tested, as I knew that I had to be unique in my storytelling, with the themes used in the book; I needed something to capture the imagination of my audience.
Suddenly, the book wasn’t just about writing. It was all about ensuring that the correct structures were in place, the characters were consistent, that different twists in the story were resolved. I now was striving for perfection and the time I had to invest was a great deal more than I anticipated.
MORE THAN I BARGINED FOR – PART 2
My English Coordinator told me a few years ago that authors write a number of different drafts before it gets to the publishing stage. Being naïve and probably disrespectful to the art, I just nodded my head and pretended to agree. Now that I was actually involved in the process, I began to understand how write she was.
I also new that I needed to have someone look over my work. The danger of reading your own work is that you become attached. You proof over your work as if it has been written perfectly where a fresh set of eyes sees the flaws and the wholes in the plot that you have not considered, neglected or forgotten to include. The way you phrase your words, sentence structure, paragraphs, character dialogue may not be as consistent as you presume and comes across unrealistic.
I have had issues in the past of wanting to do everything myself and for a while that is how I felt with this project. I soon realised that if this was to be successful, I needed help to get there. I needed someone I could trust, was intelligent and had read a number of books in my genre to look over my work.
My sister was the first person that came to mind. I hadn’t considered anyone else, even though one of my best mates is a proofreader for website content. The English Coordinator was also another option I could use but I felt that she would not have time to look over my idea. I was impulsive, I wanted to get my idea out there, share it to the world. I wanted out by Christmas so people would capitalize on a ‘novel’ idea for a gift.
My plan was to complete the manuscript, get my sister to make corrections then send it through to Balboa. Once the manuscript was sent, there was no turning back. After now going through the whole process, a lot of me wished I could go back in time and hold off to my impulsiveness. As it turns out, I was naïve and my narrow minded thinking impacted on the future costs and the quality of my work.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 11: THE PRICE YOU PAY
My sister did an amazing job at editing. We had conversations of how maybe this should be a career path she should take or do on the side. Her ability to clean up phrases that didn’t make sense, sentences that were too long, read over material that did not make sense or had not been connected back to events earlier in the story was brilliant.
While her notes and her feedback was extremely beneficial and helped developed my understanding a great deal, I made the mistake of getting only one person to read it. I thought about getting mum to read it as well but wanted to leave it as a surprise for her when the book was finally published.
If I were more focused, I would have passed it on to my mate in Melbourne, the English Coordinator for a read through. The only danger if I had passed it on is that the style I wanted to implement may be tampered and suddenly it becomes just another book.
What really shocked me is the impact that student feedback could have had on the overall outcome and writing of the book. I discovered how powerful, thought provoking and valuable it would have been to trial the manuscript first with a target audience when I was to far along the publishing process. These are all lessons that I will implement if and hopefully when I write either the sequel to the Treeman’s Curse or another of the many stories I have planned or written in movie script form.
If I had followed these steps, the future costing of the book I did not see coming could have been avoided. I had submitted my manuscript and had a proofreader sample some of the book to give me some initial feedback. While their feedback was somewhat positive, they had mentioned to be careful of over describing sections of the book. They had also recommended I have a line editor read over the book to correct some phrasing issues.
I thought that this was a wise choice at the time but feared the expenses of going through such a process. I had just hit a few hundred dollars in my saving and still had 5 months of my teaching exchange to go. I was eagerly awaiting a tax return to get me out of a potentially problematic situation.
I looked up the costing for it on the Balboa website and saw it would only be 3.5 cents per word. I had assumed that meant per error that was corrected and thought that even at on average 30 errors a page I was looking at anywhere from $250 to maybe a $600 expense.
THE PRICE YOU PAY – PART 2
I had arrived at Fairview School (where I was teaching in Canada) about 20 minutes or so before the day was meant to commence when I received a phone call from a Balboa representative. I said that I would purchase the line-editing package and waited to hear about the process. What I heard was the person on the other side of the phone calculating the price of the expense. I was a little confused by this at the time. ‘How would they know what it would cost if they haven’t done the edit yet?’
This was another example of my naivety. As I have found out, Balboa does not do anything until you have paid in full. This had been the case for beginning the package and was also the case in future payment schemes I will talk about in future blogs.
The weather on this particular day was quite cool and cloudy but that was not what made me freeze in my tracks. It was the sudden mention of the price that was responsible for that. It turned out that the price was for how many words were in your manuscript. I had eighty six thousand of them! My draw dropped, my eyes stared out at the barred windows along the walls of the old, traditional, long, two-story single building of the school.
I felt like I had been shot and that the numbness had completely paralyzed me and hidden the pain I was feeling. I knew that I had to go through with it, but the financial burden was going to be too great. I couldn’t go somewhere else or retract the manuscript away as I had already submitted it. I was now in a dilemma of travel experiences versus book expenses.
As it turned out, I did purchase this package and had to pay it off monthly. I was no longer saving money but haemorrhaging it. I had jumped into the deep end of a pool without reading the signs and looking at the colour of the murky water below. At the end of it all, I got a guarantee of up to a 3% error count as well, which was about two and a half thousand errors that could still be within the pages of the book. It started to feel that I was now in over my head.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 12: ATTEMPTING TO WIN MY TARGET AUDIENCE
One of the hardest goals of an aspiring author or any form of artist for that matter is to get noticed. You want your work to be appreciated, respected, entertain, as well as connect with your audience. Just recently, I had a text message from my mum who informed me that my cousin’s son Ned had just completed reading my book and he really enjoyed it. He even took the book to show and tell and told them about the book and how he was in some way related to the author. Apparently he had some difficulty explaining our bloodline connection, which I had a little chuckle about.
Further gratification for my work was given to me, ironically on the same day from my dad, who has now had the chance to read most of the book. He found himself seeing the themes and the connections of parts of my story to my real life situations, and even found himself becoming hooked on the plot line. While it is nice that family and friends have given positive feedback as well as constructive, the key audience is the out beyond the supportive community.
One of my highlights from this whole journey is my friend Gina sending a video to me of her lovely daughter Mia, singing the lullaby that Daphnia sings to Crystal at the end of Chapter 3. I even had the teacher I exchanged jobs with from Canada sending me a message of how one of the students in the Home Room we shared had read my book and really loved it, while others were contemplating purchasing and reading the book.
Seeing people interact with and enjoying parts, themes, or the entire package the book offers is a fantastic feeling. However, my biggest test occurred when I returned back to my South Australian School in 2016.
Given two Year 8 English classes for the first Semester of the year, I thought, even though the book was not yet published that I could use it as a resource for the classroom. It took most of the year to complete the complete task set for six different text types, but the two I decided to focus on for this unit of work was connecting the book to Recount and Persuasive/Exposition text.
It was a nervous buzz for me as I went through the process of anaysing the front cover and the blurb and getting a mixed opinion about how successful it would be at capturing the initial attention of my target audience. Only 20% of 54 students in both classes felt it would grab their attention.
Since the book was not yet published I was forced to hand out copies of the rough edit that was about to be processed for publication. While students were intrigued by initial part of the story, they began to find errors, or make suggestions of improvements, and voice their excitement or distaste for the book.
I actually worked on the book with the two classes for about 6 weeks before I finally gave the all clear for the manuscript to be published. In that time, I had a mixture of enthusiasm, skepticism, scathing remarks mixed in with some great constructive feedback that helped to finalise or tweak parts of the book. Even now I have plans to tweak the book and send it to a publishing company that can help to promote it more globally.
One of intriguing parts of this ‘field test’ was how one class was quite entertained by the book with more than half of them quite enjoying it. The other however, was less than impressed with my fantasy tale. This occurred for a variety of reasons, such as reading levels, emotional state and application of students at that time, enthusiasm for reading, a liking for the Fantasy genre and preferences in writing styles.
While I had written predominately to capture a more male specific audience, I found that both genders were entertained by it. Reading levels was the key impact on interest. My ‘at level’ students mainly enjoyed the book, with my more advanced and lesser-developed students falling in the ‘not impressed category’. In a couple of cases, I was told in no uncertain terms that my book would be better used as kindling to start a fire!
Whether the feedback was positive or negative, the experience of analysing the book with the target audience, was quite a great learning experience, not just for the students but for me as an aspiring writer, teacher and as a person.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 13: IN DARKNESS, LIGHT CAN FLICKER
Like ‘The Ring’ at the beginning of J.R.R Tolkien’s fantasy fiction classic “The Lord of the Rings’, my book has faded out of recent memory. It has felt like it has gone from fact, to rumour and now dwindled away into a myth. While it has never been far from my mind and the goals I continue to want to achieve with it are still in my plans, life has become the obstacle that has put up a blockade in its progress. A lack of confidence in the end product and the rushed process to get it completed also has stalled its potential growth. Eight and a half boxes full of books remain sealed and untouched in my spare room, waiting to be unleashed upon the world, and yet, the opportunity to allow this to occur has not come to pass, until recently.
I have been training at the popular gym franchise Functional 45 (aka F45) for a good 9 months. In a way, my journey there is similar to the path ‘The Treeman’s Curse’ must take: Happy where I was, but with hard work dedication and more attention to detail (in my case: diet), you can achieve great results. I had become complacent with the book, satisfied that I had the achievement of being published and understood, and allowed the conclusion: If I had completed the process properly, instead of just a great story, it would be eradicated of its inconsistent and below standard writing in sections of its pages. It was an advertisement via social media that sprung some life back into the book’s sails: The opportunity had been presented.
At first, like most of my mindset had been with the post-production of the book, were the thoughts of darkness. “Why bother?” “No one wants to read it.” “The book has weaknesses, and best they are rectified be I once again release it back into the wild.” “You have already spent $13,000 on the process, cut your loses and move on.” However, a changed thought process, inspired by my experience at F45, I decided to take up the opportunity being offered. They were looking for people to donate gifts towards goody bags to give to new and existing members as part of the celebrations. It was mainly discount vouchers or business promotions of sorts they were looking for, but I thought I would ask one of the managers whether I could bring in a few copies of my book to give away. To my great surprise, she said yes!
I thought I would donate a boxful of my book; hopeful members that had children, who like to read, may take a copy. What generated from this experience, I could not have fathomed. Kids, who came on the day of the first birthday of celebrations, along with some of the members, were quite excited by the fact I had attempted to write and publish a book. While some where more excited by the bouncy castle, the yoga stall, and the free samples of awesome smoothies from Agatha’s, a local café down by the beach near where I live, my book had become a talking point much greater than I could have imagined.
Before I knew it, I was signing books and before long, the box had emptied. It was another chance to get the book out to the public and hope to receive some feedback, which in turn, would aid me when I go through the long, slow process of rewriting and improving it to send to a publishing company. Since that day, I have had members come up to me and let me know what chapter their child was up to, or even read the book themselves. One member has even written some feedback, which I plan to read today.
This little spark, whether it was a successful venture or another failed attempt to lure the book out into the public eye, has helped ignite my passion for writing again. In the dark and gloomy times of the book’s life span, light has again started to flicker in its journey to becoming the book I know it can be.
THE JOURNEY OF WRITING A BOOK – POST 14: THE INJECTION THAT REINVIGORATES YOU
There is always a time when people battle with what I like to call a low point. Whether it is work or finding the motivation to pursue goals or a general enthusiasm for life. In my case, it was my ability to reconnect with the Treeman’s Curse Project.
In one of my most recent blogs, I spoke briefly about my trip to North Queensland and how the whole experience, along with the people around me inspired my reconnection to plot out the third book in the 5-book series. That inspiration injected my passionate to return back to the second book in the series and turn a half-completed draft into a completed one in the space of two weekends.
This, by no means to say I rushed it. A write can flow like an overflowing river when they are in the zone. They can live the experience and connect with all their characters, their situations, motivations and strengthen subplots that were once loose and had no real purpose. It also helped to set me up for the stages of writing the third epic adventure in my 5-book series.
To add fuel to this new invigoration and passion to continue and write the series was the feedback from a student, who I had passed my book onto during a parent and teacher interview. She was quite impressed with the book and even said her father was going to read it. Another injection of reinvigoration rose from the words of interest from a student who I taught two years ago. “How is your book going, Mr Princi?’ she asked with such enthusiasm and intrigue. She even could remember her favourite character and spoke of her fondness of him during our rather short, but warming conversation.
Amazingly coincidental, but through the share quirks of what life loves to throw at us, I have had the pleasure of meeting someone in recent times. It is truly intriguing how some people can have an instant impact on your wellbeing. While it is nothing more than a simple meeting, one that only may be a speck in the lifespan of my existence, this person has illuminated feelings I had forgotten could stimulate my senses.
Their simple presence takes my breath away, makes my stomach spin and bounce like clothes in a washing machine. The simple sound of their voice is so intoxicating that my ears tingle at even the simple sound of a cough or a sigh. Their smile electrifies even the coldest of hearts and their eyes sparkle even in the dimmest of light. Even though nothing more than friendship, the simple connection, in the short term anyhow, has also been the injection of reinvigoration that has spurred on my passion to write.
The trip to Australia’s tropics was more than just a chance to recuperate and re-energise the body, mind and soul. It reinforced what I already knew, but had forgotten: I want to write. I want it to be my career. Even now, I consider the ‘courses’ of action I must take to make this dream go from a hobby to achievable. My writing has weaknesses, but my drive to strengthen them is high. I regularly look at the Australian Writers Centre for appropriate course of action to increase my chances of being successful.
One habit I have been crippled by throughout my life is actions related to this word: ‘Gonna’. A mate of mine even nicknamed me ‘Gonna Princi’ as a reminder of saying things yet having no real enthusiasm to make them action. This injection of reinvigoration has revitalised my faith in the project, in my capabilities and my possibilities: I am read to turn this from a ‘Gonna try and succeed,’ to ‘I will succeed.’