A week ago I posted the manuscript of my Cambodian novel to my Australian Society of Authors mentor, Judith Lukin-Amundsen. She’s busy with other work at the moment so it may be a while till I get her feedback. We’ve only had one meeting so far this year but from that one meeting I was able to look at the story from a whole new perspective. Judith is a bit magic that way. My friend Helena Pastor (a gifted writer of fast-paced, intriguing memoirs that explore social issues) has had Judith as a mentor before and again this year. She can’t speak highly enough of her either. I’ve got everything crossed Judith will like the major changes I’ve made and be able to show me even more ways to improve it. I’ve been working on this story since 2005 and I think its finally finding its proper shape.
At the moment, I’m calling it, “When it Rains” but it’s had many other names – including Bittersweet, Chocolate Brown Vanilla, Sugar Cane Juice, and A Lesson in Darkness. Which one do you like best? Any new ideas welcome! It’s based on my time living and working in Cambodia in the mid-nineties when there was still a lot of Khmer Rouge activity and Westerners were being kidnapped and killed. Despite the ever-present danger, I feel deeply in love with the country and its people. It’s the most intriguing, captivating, perplexing and frustrating place I’ve ever been. Recently, I found a wonderful book by Joel Brinkley, Cambodia’s Curse, which helped add another dimension to my novel. Thanks Joel! He’s writing a novel set in Cambodia too. Fingers crossed the two of us will start some kind of vampire-like literary craze!
Khmer sugar cane juice vendor
I’m so looking forward to seeing my story of Cambodia become a book too.
After I sent that off, I gave my blog a new look and even joined Twitter, thanks to the advice I received from the delightful Lisa at Twine Marketing. In just one hour she helped me focus in on what I really needed to do to pull myself together as a “brand”. As irksome as that initially was, I now realise it’s a reality of the modern writer’s world.
Soon I’ll get to my other two projects; a combined memoir and personal healing guide “First Aid for Your Heart”, and “Into the Fire”, the novel I’ve been working on over the past year. Oh yes, so much to do!
I gave my last remaining copy of Thrill Seekers
to my friend Luke Denham
, an extraordinary film-maker, who is now working on creating a knock-out promo clip for the book. Can’t wait to see it. I’d love it if you could “like” my Thrill Seekers page
on facebook and friend me too.
I finished teaching my Yoga Writing course
at the Queensland Writers Centre
on Tuesday. It was a wonderful experience with a lovely warm group of people who were willing to give everything a go. I learnt heaps and hope they did too. I look forward to teaching a one day workshop on overcoming Writers Block at QWC
early in the new year.
Life is good. Onwards and Upwards!
I was introduced to yoga in 1991 and began a regular daily practice in 1993 when I was given a print out of the Astanga primary series while living in Cambodia. I have maintained an active Astanga-based practice for the last eighteen years, through world travel, pregnancies and births, the demands of family and work, and life’s joys and sorrows.
The discipline of yoga has been instrumental in my writing. Not only does it relieve my body of the knots and tightness caused by sitting at the computer for hours every day but it also helps me weather the storms of rejections and rewrites and endure the endless waiting.
My yoga teachers and influences have included Iain Clarke at Paddington AstangaYoga Shala, Graeme and Leonie Northfield, Simon Borg Olivier, Clive Sheridan, Duska Jefed, Natalie Morris, Dave Ridgeway and most importantly my teacher for over eight years, Peter Douglass at Astanga Yoga West End, Boundary Street Yoga, and the Yoga Den. My practice has synthesised these teachings and is active, strong and safe with an emphasis on the importance of breath and core stability. I have over seven years experience teaching yoga at a variety of studios in Brisbane. Last year I ran my own yoga studio but found it was taking too much time from my writing, so now only teach privately.
Except for the upcoming course at the QLD Writers Centre!
I’ll be teaching a six week block combining gentle restorative yoga and easy writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing. It will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 till 7pm starting on the 4th of October. It should be lots of fun. You don’t need to be fit or flexible. You don’t need to have written anything longer than a postcard. But you do need to have a sense of humour and be willing to relax and let go, and see what it’s like writing in that state.
I’m really looking forward to it.
If you or anyone you know would like to give it a go, please contact the Qld Writers Centre at http://www.qwc.asn.au or call 07 3842 9922
I’d love to see you there.