horse pulling overloaded cart

how it feels some days

So what have I been doing all this time? Putting too many things in my wagon – that’s what!

Most days I sail along but others, I must admit, I feel a bit like the poor horse in this picture.
I’m teaching narrative at the University of Queensland, and yoga to the performance dance students at the Queensland University of Technology (yes I’m a yogi). I also teach both writing and yoga privately and edit other people’s work,as well as marking homework, looking after my family and keeping the household reasonably hygienic. And helping out my sisters with their small children and new baby.

I’ve also been busily organising a family trip to Europe to visit relatives – a first for all of us. Very exciting.

This has meant not much time is left for my own projects. I have a new short story half-written, and have gone part of the way through reading and marking up the draft of Dear Madman I wrote at Varuna. Oh how I long to return there to have some uninterrupted time to sit and ponder and immerse myself in the Madman’s world so I can better whip the manuscript into shape. A novel is a huge thing, you need time and space to hold it properly in your mind, to be able to figure out how best to bring it to life.

Today I have to agree with Toni Morrison,

“We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.”

She’s right. I’d rather have an A+ for finishing Dear Madman. An A+ for prioritising my own work.
Find some time for your writing today. See how good you feel when you do!

Oh, and Child of Fortune (the Cambodian novel of many names), is being read at a few major publishers as we speak. Getting a major publisher and some royalties coming in is one way to make sure my own work comes first. So cross fingers.


I’ve just finished reading a wonderful book,  Writing Begins with the Breath by American writer and yogini Laraine Herring

It’s filled with practical advice and useful exercises for helping you delve deeper into your writing practice – how to write from your heart rather than the analytical mind.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is “to write what we are given to write, we must disappear.” Love it! Not only must we get out of the way, we’ve got to dissolve completely.

Reading Laraine’s book was like discovering a new wise friend who knew the bumps and hollows of the writing journey well.  I’ll finish with an excerpt from her  epilogue.


Build your foundation by reading, writing, engaging with other writers, and revising.


Stretch yourself. Submit your work. When it comes back, look at it again. See what you can do to make it better, stronger, more precise and aligned. Send it out again. When it comes back, look at it again. Continue on.


Return often to your foundation. It’s easy to lose sight of the basics if you are reaching too far forward. You’ll topple over without grounding yourself.


Stretch. Collapse. Stretch. Collapse. Stretch.

Remain steady.


Love to all,