Friday, December 14, 2018

Fearless Friday - doing stuff

This week, I've been doing stuff. This time of year, it's kind of mandatory, isn't it? The difference for me this year is that I'm chilling about it, and I'm soaking it all in. I've been pushing my comfort zone a bit - not just with activities I'm doing but also with how much I'm doing.

This time last year, I had just gotten my voice back after 14 months of no voice, weird hearing, not good balance and general crappy healthy. I think it's taken a year to trust myself to do things and not end up sick again. That sounds insane when I say it. Pacing (ie limiting what I do) has been part of my life for the past 10-12 years and it's been allowing me to function.

Over the last 12 months, I've moved from pacing, to some weird thing where I manage my emotions and reactions. And I can't tell you in logic, sciencey type words what that is or how I do it or why it works. So the left side of my brain is freaking out a bit... but my right side is totally happy. And that's I think maybe what I've been doing, listening to the panic less and allowing the creative fun to happen more.

It's what I had to learn to do in writing stories - and what I'm still actively working on (letting go of making sure everything is 'real' and 'tried and true' and 'prove-able'). So it makes sort of sense that it'd be the same for my personality and life.

This week I met up with a writer who came to my recent workshop. We had a cuppa. We talked writing and life. We had cross-over events in our lives, weird things we each understood, a connection.

This week, we've started doing a project together (the other me anyway). And I'm kind of chilled about it - most other projects with writers I get keyed up and worried and doubt myself. This time I'm telling myself that I know my process. I know I can do this. I can work with these girls. I've done this stuff before. It's going to be fun and I'll learn more.

Last night, I went to a Christmas Party for a business I'm not yet doing any work for - but there is work planned for next year. Just a little job. I felt uncomfortable going because I'm not working for them yet, I don't deserve a Christmas Party when I haven't done anything to earn it. But that's a non-truth I'm telling myself. Christmas Parties aren't just for those who've earned it. They're a place to be. To network. To meet colleagues or potential colleagues. A relaxed atmosphere to discuss things outside of the business environment. I have to get over my own mind. I have to change the way I think of things, look at a bigger picture, be more creative, spontaneous and fun.

I had the best night. I hardly knew anyone when I went. Now I know most people's names, I know some people more than I did before. They were all lovely people who oozed joy and peace and happiness and relaxation. I learned a little about another culture. I had a baby dropped in my lap, replaced by another baby. I shared a kitchen with fellow people more comfortable in the kitchen working than partying - actually, most of the people were in the kitchen working! And I heard a voice that made me melt (not sure I should tell the new colleague that her husband's voice had that effect!!). I think his voice is going to go into a story, a Cate one, because I seriously think this voice could make for some seriously delicious sex scenes...if only I can describe the sound in words. [Oh, now I write that I remember another guy I met through work years ago had that impact...and I did try to describe his voice for The Virginity Mission but I wasn't able to do it. I wonder if I have more skills now and can manage it?]

This past week of being fearless has been busy and productive. Open and full of sharing. Joyful and filled with the Christmas season's spirit of peace and goodwill.

I can't wait for next week!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fearless Friday

I'm gearing up to try something new in 2019.

Since Jan 2011 when I first had a story published, I've been wrestling with so many things. I'm a natural born worrier...or so I've told myself. But in the past year, as I've done all sorts of 'weird shit' to try to get healthy, I'm beginning to realise I was never a worrier as a kid - that's come as I've grown up and been expected to fit a certain mould and it hasn't fitted me well. That's why there are two of me in my writing life - Cate who says what she feels, and Catherine who is circumspect and does what she's been told is right.

Which me is me?

I think Cate is more of the true me - the one's been tucked deep inside because she's not quite what society/people/friends/family expect.

Catherine is me too. I'm not for a minute saying she isn't. It's just that Catherine has tried to mould to fit in. She's careful and considered, second guessing everything, over thinking everything, and ultimately getting sick doing all that.

So, childhood me was always pushing boundaries, asking questions about why things were done in such a way, writing letters to object to things, begging to be allowed to do things that weren't allowed (not that it worked, ever!). I was insatiably curious, couldn't consume enough knowledge, wanted to talk with and question everyone. Was eager to discover why everyone didn't have the same interests as me.

When I was heading to high school, Skylab was falling. It was a monumental thing in my life. I tracked it every evening, often with Dad. Read about it in the newspaper and kept an ear on every news story about it. Would it fall in Australia? Would it wipe out people? If so, what then would happen to the space program? There were so many questions. I went to the high school interview and they asked me a question about current affairs - I can't remember exactly what it was, but probably something like, 'tell us something you're interested in at the moment' or 'what event most interests you from the news'. I went into a Skylab discussion...oh, no, monologue. The Principal of the high school my parents were going to send me to, had no knowledge of Skylab. When we left that interview, I asked to attend a different school. That didn't happen, I went there. In Yr 12, I sat my Physics HSC practice exam and my elective was not in the questions. 30% of my mark, did not exist. Fuck! I'd spent a term studying a syllabus that didn't exist. That's how much attention they paid to science - and my life was science.

These are the 'little' things that happen over and over as you grow up that change you from a confident, wild kid to someone who becomes a conforming adult (or ends up in gaol/jail, or unhealthy, or crazy or dead).

I'm looking at 3 boys I know who are 11 at the moment. I see their insatiable curiosity, their thirst for knowledge, their desire to stretch themselves into areas of interest where schools would rather limit them, and it makes me depressed. Sad that society can, not 'can', that's too soft. Society demands that they limit themselves. Sure, if you're in the top 1%, you can be a genius... but if you're up there but not right up there, you just have to be average.

What worries me more, how do the kids who are below average go? Do they get lost in the struggle? Where do they end up?

Anyway, enough backstory. It's time for me to be fearless, like I was as a kid. To shed all the shit I've picked up along life, and find the true inner me. The kid with the wicked sense of humour. The kid who loved information and knowledge. The kid who asked questions. The kid who was proud and confident and didn't realise that adults judged. The kid who got hit down, dusted herself off and kept on playing.

And in non-kid terms, that means, it's time for Cate to be unapologetically me.

I know I've said this before, or probably hinted at it rather than been committed to blurting and doing. So why's this time different?

Heart racing fear - but so freaking fun!
I feel well - or more well than I have in 12 years. Because I'm not fighting a health battle, I feel like I can fight for myself. I feel I have confidence to face life.

In writing terms, it means I'm going to write my books, hard. I've asked a beta reader if she would work with me to make my books stronger, more romance-reader-friendly. She now has a bundle of my short stories to look at and give feedback. I've done up some covers. In 2019, I'll start self publishing them.

I'm going take control of Cate Ellink's career and work it as hard as I can. I'm going to face my fear of promo and publicity (I hope!). I'm going to try to be more focussed and planned (even though I suck at that too usually - but maybe that's a learned thing and kid-me wasn't so worried about plans turning to shit).

I'm going to try to blog here about Fears. All sorts of fears.

I'll also try to blog about the 'weird shit' I've been doing.

And I'll try to be brave and honest and to hell with society's expectations.

If school kids can protest for Climate Change, I can stick my head up in my little blog corner and do something too.

I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest, but them I fell in love!
I'm writing this so I'm held accountable. So my thoughts are recorded somewhere 'public'. If I fail, please point me back to this me who was brave :)

Wish me luck. And please feel free to join with me, discuss with me, share knowledge with me.

On to the next 12 months of FEARLESSNESS


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday - Purple Bubble-raft Snail

These guys were washed up on the beach in mid-Oct - Purple Bubble-raft Snails. If you want to see one in the water, there is a beautiful shot here on the Australian Geographic webpage.

These snail shells aren't terrible big, maybe the size of a 10 c piece but that brilliant purple colour leapt off the sand at me. And the texture of the shell is quite gorgeous, which I tried to capture.

The Australian Geographic article says that all snails start out as male and switch to female as they age.

The males have no penis, they just fertilise the female by excreting sperm in the female's direction. She then births live miniature purple snails.

The bubble raft is a mucous bubble, which the snail produces, that hardens and the snail attaches to it. If it breaks, the snail sinks and dies.

They float on the ocean, feeding on blue bottles and velellas. No wonder they all washed up together then!

Purple snails aren't just found in Australia, but all tropical and temperate oceans.

A nice way to travel the world - blown along on a bubble, riding the wild seas, and if you lose the bubble, you sink and die. Or you get washed up on the shore and die as you bake in the sun.

On that cheery note, I'll leave you. Have a great week!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Phallic Friday - a writing course idea

It's not often I have an idea and am propelled to go through with it, almost immediately, but that happened this week.

I saw that RWA were advertising for courses for next year. Writing courses, professional development, things writers might like. I almost skimmed over it and then my brain went 'ping!' Just like that, an idea popped into my head.

Usually I discuss my ideas with people, lose motivation when I think it through further, and talk myself out of it.

Not this time.

This time, I fleshed out my idea. I wrote it down. It just spilled out of me. I didn't show anyone - so it's probably nuts! - but I sent it off anyway.

My idea? Running a course called "Getting Comfortable Writing Sex".

I don't think sex scenes are more difficult to write than any other part of a romance novel - but exposing yourself, your intimate thoughts is incredibly hard. I've been on this blog for years now, writing on many Fridays about sex, so I can write in public, get used to exposing my mind, my intimate thoughts. And the catch is that I don't promote my blog! I write for me. I write in public, but really it's quite private (except for you Lily, and I think Joy). And this blog is what has given me the courage to write raunchy books then send them out into the world (and rarely read the reviews).

So, I thought a group of people talking openly, freely, about sex, might help other people. It might free up some of the fears so that writing sex and publishing those words, wasn't quite as terrifying.

It could be a space to learn about things, if that's what people need. Goodness knows, I've learned a lot writing the blogs - especially the fetish ones! And erotic authors are generous in their knowledge, so I'm sure if I needed, I could ask someone to come and give expert advice.

And if this idea doesn't fly, then maybe I can do it myself. Do you reckon a place to talk freely about writing sex scenes, and to share your writing, would help writers?