A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
A quick note to anyone who’s here because they’ve clicked on a link from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge… Welcome and thank you so much for stopping by! My posts for the challenge can be found on my Blog page here. Please feel free to say hi so that I can connect back to your blog. I’ll look forward to hearing from you and to reading all you have to say on subjects from A to Z!
When I was a child and people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, “A journalist”. This wasn’t strictly true. What I wanted to be was a writer. But I had to be practical – I wasn’t brought up to be a dreamer. I had to make a living. And how could I possibly make a living from writing if not through journalism?
In spite of my attempts to keep my feet firmly on the ground I did dream of flying away, beyond the seas that surround my homeland and out into the great unknown. I fantasised about working as a foreign correspondent, visiting exotic “overseas” locations (for everywhere, to an Australian, is overseas), and getting paid for the privilege of writing about what I saw when I got there.
When I was at university I got a part-time job as a copywriter in a local newspaper group. But when the group offered me a cadetship – kind of an apprenticeship in journalism – I knew that I didn’t really want to go down that path. I didn’t have the patience to stay in one place and learn how to be a journalist. I needed to get out there and experience the world. So I declined the cadetship, finished my degree and flew off into Japan’s rising sun, where I got a job erm… teaching English. And since then the writing has forever taken a back seat to the practical pursuit of payment.
Then a few years ago, I found myself living in a country where I was not allowed a work visa, and the pursuit of payment became impossible. I was forced for the first time to consider how I would spend my time in the absence of paid employment. Suddenly I found myself living the life that I dreamed of as a child – I was living in an exotic foreign land with nothing left to do but write.
It took a few false starts and stumbling first steps but at last here I am in my own little corner of the internet, where I get to write down some of the things I’ve experienced as an eternal expat, and show you, through my camera lens, some of the things that I get to see. I think if I’d started writing a book as soon as I began my break from full-time employment, I’d have been wracked with insecurity and self-doubt. But here in this cosy little corner, I’ve been joined by a beautiful group of people from over 50 countries across the world – isn’t the internet amazing?! – each of whom has quietly encouraged me to keep pen to paper and carry on.
My comfortable little corner keeps changing as my interests and plans expand, although I expect it will always be a combination of words and pictures, occasionally with more emphasis on one than the other. What started almost a year ago with some thoughts about St George’s Day has now become the home to many thousands of words which previously just swirled aimlessly around in my head. I’ve also created Writing and Photography pages, where I can share both pictures and pieces that I create for forums other than this one. And my latest project is to make spoken-word recordings of all of my posts, so that people who prefer to listen than read can still be subjected to the contents of my head!
I’m so grateful to everyone who’s encouraged, read and contributed to these pages. It’s thanks to you that I no longer describe myself as a trailing spouse or as unemployed, but as a writer. Thank you so much for that most extraordinary of gifts.
When I turned eleven my sister Luli gave me a beautiful Hobbit notebook. It had sepia paper and gorgeous drawings and plenty of space for me to write down my own thoughts. I remember very distinctly the day when I was lying on my bed thinking about what I could write in the book. It was on that day that I experienced, for the first time, that lovely, “That’s it!” moment, when I had to jump up and quickly write down the words that had sprung to mind. I don’t really know, now, what the words meant, but I still have the notebook and can read those first words that I excitedly wrote in it:
The sentimental values to which this book belong
Shall stay in here forever to foretell a gypsy’s song.
OK, so it’s not Shakespeare – give me a break! I was eleven! – but I was excited about writing then and I’m still excited now, over 30 years after I took those first baby steps.
I’ll be sure to keep you informed of new projects as they happen, but for now feel free to scroll through my Blog pages to see if there might be anything of interest to you there. Please bear in mind as you read that I still think of myself as that West Australian girl with a dream of travelling to faraway lands and writing about what she saw when she got there… What an extraordinary joy that life has given me the chance to live the dream.