Real stories from Australia's craziest family.
Saturday, 23rd FEBRUARY 2019
It’s really lousy how intrinsically linked self worth
is to money.
I’m currently selling my time for a wage to support my family. I’m grateful for the job, it was hard to get one. I thought the job would ‘make ends meet’ til my book came out and I got my writing career off the ground.
I've since looked up the word 'career' in the dictionary - the definition never mentions money once. I should have looked the word up earlier.
suggested song for this blog 'ruiner' by methyl ethel
Over the years I’ve jokingly warned friends interested in writing a book that being a writer is like having a part-time job every day of your life that you don’t get paid for. I thought all that would change once I got a book published, but so far the joke is on me.
Maybe that’s why I’ve felt a little lost lately, because up until publishing I could keep the dream alive.
I had hope.
Faith, Hope and Love. If you had a privileged white education like me - heaven forbid - you probably heard that passage read out of the bible in assembly more times than you heard your parents say they love you.
Faith, Hope and Love… the story of three young virgins who were taken away in a van and strangled.
zoinks!! It really amazes me what an impact social media can have on your mental wellbeing.In January while I was on holidays someone was really nasty to me on social media for no real reason and sent me a personal message saying that ‘sarcasm didn’t become me’ and continued to say I was nothing like my mother before blocking me.
A troll had run into my house and bit my toe. It hurt a bit and I shrugged it off, but I have since realised the troll succeeded in infecting me with a bitter poison.
Friends of mine who are big on social media had warned me about trolls. They’d told me I should straight away block anyone if they were being negative or nasty. But I hadn’t done it, not once. I’d had an ‘open door policy’ on the internet.
One of the key concerns I had with the world and the direction I saw us all heading was that we were a planet divided. Naively I thought we all had the same goal – to love one another, and I thought that if we just kept that happy ending foremost in our minds we’d navigate a path to unity. Building a bridge of conversation I felt, was the first step.
I never wrote for money, but I've always written for love.
And then I got blocked. I GOT BLOCKED. Me, the person who hadn’t taken the bait on social media, who had responded with carefully thought-out comments and a joke, well after the adrenaline had spiked, had been blocked.
And as much as I tried to shrug it off – it pissed me off.
It pissed me off because it was obvious the person didn’t know anything about me and had never read a scrap of my writing. Had 'friended' me only because of my mother's fame, and had the hide to think he knew anything about her too.
But most of all it pissed me off because it hit with a bullseye the open-wound of my youth – the wound of not being seen.
That wound was the reason I’d dressed in black for most of my adolescence, and was the reason I’d fled to England the minute I could leave home desperate to find a space not completely taken up by my mother, bless her soul.
My mother, bless her soul. She knew all this so she left me alone. She was wise and determined and she had a loud voice and wouldn't be silenced. She was unafraid to look different and encouraged me to put more black eyeliner on when I started dressing as a goth. She was creative and never shirked doing the work. So I did what she would have done, I just got on with it.
I stuck to my goal of writing one blog post a week, but published none of them.
I told myself maybe I just needed a break from writing so I put my head down and kept on with my job to pay the bills. I continued to smile at strangers in the street but started to notice how many people didn't return it. My sense of humour began slowly to evaporate.
Joy, the forth virgin to stumble into the hands of a serial killer, was starved from my life like oxygen from the Murray-Darling River, leaving me with all the charm of an endless supply of dead bobbing fish.
All the fish were dead, bar one.
drought and the filthy greed of humans results in mass fish deaths february 2019, murray-darling basin.And so on a Thursday night I took a couple of friends to an evening I’d had marked in my diary – the Stella Prize Longlist Party.
It was the only competition I’d bothered to enter my book ‘Catch A Falling Star’ into. I knew I had about as much chance of winning it as Charlie Bucket had of finding a golden ticket, and actually my chances were much worse than this, because Roald Dahl wrote fiction.
But still… the prize on the Stella website sounded sweeter than a lifetime’s supply of chocolate, first prize of $50,000 would “buy a writer some measure of financial independence and thus time, that most undervalued yet necessary commodity for women, to focus on their writing”.
Faith and Love were well into rigor mortis, but Hope clawed out of the
I was at the end of the line of my writing ‘career’, well past the point where I could do it just for the love – I had three kids to support, I was in debt up to my eyeballs. I couldn’t remember a holiday where I didn’t have to cook or wash up.
Hope wandered doe-eyed into the dark, sweaty auditorium amidst a throng of interesting women, many dressed in black, all with hearts sewn onto their sleeves, just like her.
170 entries. One hundred and seventy women who had all achieved something next to impossible – writing and publishing a book! I knew why Hope had risen from the dead – the prize was more than money and time, it also promised recognition and respect. If I just made it onto the longlist, if ‘Catch A Falling Star’ was one of the precious twelve books chosen – I would be seen by these women who were all just like me.
I wanted to get to know all of them, wanted to ask what the hell possessed them to write til their biros bled, ink stained blue to their elbows. I wanted to get to know every one of these insane, lunatic women – I loved them like inmates, like blood brothers!
I loved them up until the longlist was read out.
The experience reminded me a lot of high school... I forgot how draining it was to be told by Aunt Lydia someone else was better than you, again. The loosers tore their hopeful hearts from their sleeves as they left the auditorium and buried themselves in social media to avoid eye contact.
But at least Hope had been put out of her misery. Hope was a pain in the arse. She was exhausting and facile and only wore black to fit in. She was phoney and a total bore and I for one was glad to see her gone. Maybe now I could get on with my life.
My friends, my dear wonderful friends, sought to comfort me with swearing and laughter.
Fuck competitions! Fuck writing! We’d quit our day jobs and open a bar on an island instead, we wrote the cocktail list on the drive home - Bitter and Twisted, Sour Puss, The Sore Loser!
And the signature cocktail, a shot of tequila served with a slug of botox straight between the eyes – Hope Is Dead.
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with my mum Jeanne Little