It’s been a hard day

I’ve not had much time over the last few days to do anything other than renovations.

The last time we did some much needed renovations was 15 years ago, when the driver of the repairs was a very badly leaking patio which the original builders tried twice to fix it, and failed miserably.

I came to the conclusion that if anything, if you want something done properly, then you have to do it yourself.

Then, a look through the house brought to light a great many other problems that over the preceding years.

The list grew:

Rebuild the patio

Completely remove the kitchen and replace it

Completely remove the main bathroom, and replace it

Chang a rather strange split roof in the main bedroom and make a bigger space for the bed

Completely rebuild the walk in wardrobe

Add ducted air conditioning

Replace all the doors, and I mean ALL the doors

Replace all carpeted floors with tiles

Repaint all the walls, doors and windows

Replace the curtains on all windows

That took nearly a year to get done and made a huge difference to the house we owned, making it much more livable. 

Needless to say, tens of thousands of dollars later, it was done.

Now, 15 years later, there was a new list:

Build a carport

Refresh and re point the roof tiles

Have the brick exterior rendered, and change colours to black roof and cream walls

Add security shutters to all the windows

Completely re landscape the front garden

Dry wall the exposed interior brick walls, and close in the cathedral roof

Repaint the rooms with a lighter shade, namely Antique White

Repaint all doors and windows.

Renovate the kids bedrooms to now accommodate grandchildren

Replace curtains with Venetian blinds

Scrub the floor tiles, especially the grout

It’s been a long list, and a year or so in the doing, and I’m now down to the final painting, floor scrubbing, and we’re looking at new blinds.

Then I can get back to writing, which I have been missing terribly.

Leaving a legacy…

I’ve been reading a few blog posts off and on today, and one that caught my eye was about leaving a legacy.

This I presumed to be ‘something to be remembered by’.

I have always suspected that when I pass on, the memory will not linger very long, except when someone, in the years ahead, pulls out a an old photo, and says, “Who’s this old man?”

I’m sure the answer would hover somewhere between “You don’t really want to know,” to “He’s the eccentric side of the family.”

The thing is, I’ve discovered that children in this family seem to have an insatiable appetite for discovering information about their forebears. It also seems to be that the school they go to makes a big deal about the children learning genealogy, and get an assignment either in year 5 or year 6 where they have to trace their forebears back as far as they can.

I have to say I’ve always been curious, but never really did anything about it, except go back a few generations, i.e. those people we could remember, and, yes, we had eccentric aunts and uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers.

But my older brother, he got the bug, and went into genealogy in a big way, got himself a university degree, and then takes a trip or two overseas every year delving into the murky past of the Heaths and the Auhls.

The Heaths apparently came from Dorset in England, and the Auhls, somewhere in Germany. He told me, but I’ve forgotten, but I do have a file somewhere that tells me.

And being in Australia, it’s like gold if you have a forebear who was a convict, but unfortunately we didn’t, though I recently learned one of our forebears who came out to Tasmania, was a pseudo Luddite (he was arraigned as guilty by association, but he was no Luddite) in the 1860’s.

But finding a legacy somewhere amongst all those relatives is no mean feat, because it seems none of us were famous, and I haven’t broken the mold, or at least not yet. I might still get to be a (famous?) writer or blogger.

So I am sitting here wondering what the real definition of legacy is, if it can’t apply to wealth or fame. Could it be the next generation of Heaths, the grandchildren? Could one call them a legacy? We will no doubt eventually leave them behind to continue, and maybe one of them will be famous.

The youngest has a desire to be an artist, and she is quite good at drawing, The middle granddaughter wants to be a scientist, and is doing well at school. Of course, there are the middle years, where boys are not yet a distraction, so who knows what the future will bring. As for the eldest, being 16 going on 17 is just too hard.

How could you possibly know at 16 or 17 what it is you want to be? When I was that age I had a choice of being academic, ie maths and science, or hand’s on, a carpenter, sheet metal worker or mechanic.

I did work as a builder for a while, but moved to night switchboard operator/postman, shipping clerk, services manager, and then computer programmer, which none of my learning while at school had any bearing on, except perhaps for maths.

So I’m guessing my legacy was my children, and their legacy is their children, and so on.

As for fame, I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

How do you fit an author’s biography into a few simple words?

Every year I come back to revisit this, and each year it becomes a harder issue to deal with.  All that’s recently changed is the number of characters you can use.

I’ve been trawling the endless collection of twitter descriptions provided by their users, noting that there is a restriction of 280 characters.

How do you sum yourself up in 280 characters?

I don’t think I can, so like everyone else, I tend to put down a few catchphrases, something that will draw followers.  I’m thinking the word ‘aspiring’ will be my catchword.

I’m aspiring to be a writer, or is that author?  Is there a difference, like for instance, one publishes eBooks on Amazon, one publishes hard copies in the traditional manner?

The thing is, I want to be different from everyone else.  The real fact of the matter is that I’m not.  Like every other writer, or author, I put words on paper, and some people will read them, and a whole lot of others won’t.

And it’s not because they don;t want to, it’s simply because they don’t know my work is pout there.

So, the question is, how the hell do I make myself heard?

Taking the tradition route, saying I’k a father, I have children, I have a long suffering but accommodation wife, that hours of shutting myself away is a necessity, but creates hardship on others, how an I different?

What is it about me that makes me different from anyone else?  Am I different, do I want to be different?  Certainly I want to be heard, so do I shout at the top of my vices from the top of the highest hill?

Perhaps it would be better if I was a retired policeman, a retired lawyer, a retired sheriff, a retired private investigator, a retired doctor, someone who had an occupation that was a rich mine of information from which to draw upon.

Retired computer programmers, supermarket shelf stackers, night cleaners, accounts clerks and general dogsbody s don’t quite cut the mustard.  A mundane life does a writer not make.

Perhaps I need a ‘killer biography’.  Does it mean that I have to be a ‘killer’?

Anything has to be better than the self-confession above, and it begs the question, should we try to embellish our personal history in order to make ourselves more appealing?

All very good questions which deserve really good answers.  The pity of it is no one wants to address them.

So maybe it’s time I take a leaf out of the book of one of my characters, and become larger than like, be the character that people want to read about, the one that translators them from their everyone mundane life, if only for a few short hours.  AS a writer, perhaps I simply want to be something, someone other than myself.

And there you have it, in a nutshell, why I write.

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

Does our education define us?

It’s 2am here, and I’m feeling philosophical, instead of being sleepy and going to bed.

It’s probably the problem most writers have when they’re working on a novel, a short story, or a blog post, or something else.

The other day a thought ran through my mind, whether or not my first school was still standing and if so, would it remember me?

Probably not.  I went there in 1958, I think when I was five.  I stayed there till I finished Grade six and then moved onto secondary school.

In those days, we could stay at secondary school till Form four and then, if we were 15 or over, we could leave.  I went to a technical school, i.e. one that taught a trade, rather than going to a High School which was for the more academically minded and who would go on to University.

But in my day, you had to have rich parents to get into a University, and we were decidedly poor.  It was a technical trade for me, and become a builder was to be my lot in life.

I wasn’t very good and sheet metal, the precursor to plumbing, or machine ship practice the forerunner to being a mechanic, or technical drawing, the forerunner to being a draughtsman

I could have just as easily been a farmer or gardener, it too was on the curriculum.

Where is this going?

Oh, yes.  My old primary school.  Yes, it’s still there, and it still looks like the gothic nightmare it used to.  Gothic or not, I guess those years in that school were good, and I don’t seem to have any bad memories, except,. of course, of the teachers, but that’s only natural.

secondary school, that was a nightmare, so different, and much like going to university, with different classes, different teachers, different rooms, and a lot of other kids who were older, larger, meaner, and made the navigation of early teens an annabilus horribilis four times over.

So the question did my education define me?

No.  I was a builder for a while, but my aspirations led me towards office work, the sort where you start at the bottom and languish there till you’re noticed.

Failing that, you work for a relative, then get headhunted, watch that opportunity slip away, and become an IT teacher that leads to computer programming.

But, as they say, always have a backup plan.

Yep!  Writing.  Been doing it since I was fifteen.

Now, those years I was at school have provided me with a diverse collection of people who have become characters in my stories, and I’m still waiting for the know on the door from the process server to tell me one of them finally recognized him or herself and didn’t like my impression of them.

Hasn’t happened yet.

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

A twitter biography

Every year I come back to revisit this, and each year it becomes a harder issue to deal with.  All that’s recently changed is the number of characters you can use

I’ve been trawling the endless collection of twitter descriptions provided by their users, noting that there is a restriction of 280 characters.

How do you sum yourself up in 280 characters?

I don’t think I can, so we tend to put down a few catchphrases, something that will draw followers.  I’m thinking the word ‘aspiring’ will be my catchword.

I’m aspiring to be a writer, or is that author?  Is there a difference, like for instance, one publishes ebooks on Amazon, one publishes hard copies in the traditional manner?

Is there a guide to what I can call myself?

Quite simply put, but in more than 140 characters, married happily, two wonderful children, three amazing grandchildren, and a wealth of experience acquired over the years.

Actually, that sounds rather boring, doesn’t it?

Perhaps it would be better if I was a retired policeman, a retired lawyer, a retired sheriff, a retired private investigator, a retired doctor, someone who had an occupation that was a rich mine of information from which to draw upon.

Retired computer programmers, supermarket shelf stackers, night cleaners, accounts clerks and general dogsbody s don’t quite cut the mustard.

I have also become fascinated with the expression ‘killer biography’.  Does it mean that I have to be a ‘killer’?

Better than the self-confession above.  Should we try to embellish our personal history in order to make it more appealing?

It’s much the same as writing about daily life.  No one wants to read about it, people want to be taken out of the humdrum of normalcy and be taken into a world where they can become the character in the book.

And there you have it, in a nutshell, why I write.

 

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

Who do you think you are?

I have seen this television program once or twice, where a television personality digs into their past and sometimes they discover they had famous, or sometimes infamous, relatives.

I don’t think I would be so lucky, or unlucky as the case may be.

But, to be honest I haven’t really been interested in digging into the past.

On the other hand, my older brother has a keen interest in genealogy in general, borne from a desire to find out more about our family tree.

And he has gone back to the 1600s, for the relatives who came out from England, and no, they have no transported convicts, or at least he’s not saying.

Genealogy is a rather fascinating subject, and, I’ve discovered, is taught in university as a degree.  My brother has one now. 

What I didn’t realize is that I’ve been playing with it for years because in writing what might be called sagas you need to create your own set of mythical families, and then trace to forebears back in time.

I have one novel I’m writing that has required a family tree, and recently another for a story that required starting with a character who participated in the Eureka Stockade.  We had to create parents, a migration from England to Australia, and then construct a family tree through to today so we could write a story from the perspective of a fourth-generation girl at school doing a school project.

If that sounds complicated, believe me, it is.  But from my granddaughter who came up with the idea, she is very excited about it.

Much better than sitting in front of a computer playing games or a tv watching cartoons.

But once again I digress…

I have found a lot of genealogy stuff that my mother had been working on, and I’m taking it to my brother, and at the same time, l will get the latest installment on our family.

So far I’ve learned that I come from a combination of British relatives on both my mother and father’s side, the most recent my father’s mother who was born in England, and German from my mother’s side, her surname being Auhl.

No doubt, and with a great deal of irony, my relatives probably fought against each other in two world wars.

I’m sure more will be revealed on Wednesday.

But, the more I learn the more I feel inclined to create a fictionalized history with my family members as characters in the story.  At the moment a biographical account of the family would be reasonably boring since as yet no one notorious had been discovered.