Friday, August 30, 2019

Phallic Friday - sex ed

I'm in the last week of my OWL for RWA (ie an online writing workshop for Romance Writers of Australia) on Getting Comfortable Writing Sex. I can't begin to tell you how exciting it's been...and when I put it into words, I sound kind of nutty, but let me try.

18 people signed up for it. I thought it might be just me, so that was a relief.

Not many of them have been interactive, but 2 people have been really chatty. We've discussed published sex scenes - about 10 - and looked at what's worked and doesn't work for them.

We had a discussion about word choices, which was really interesting. There are so many words that people find objectional/offensive/uncomfortable. And everyone's different with their tolerance levels too. Such a great discussion.

Both people who've been active, have had lightbulb moments (what a thrill for me). Both have written a sex scene and shared it. Both have stretched where they thought their comfort zone was. One has taken the feedback and written more sex scenes that have so much more in them, that it's fantastic to see that development. The other has gone back to look at spicing up their whole manuscript because they enjoyed writing their first sex scene. Can you believe that?

Never in my wildest dreams did I hope that my course could have that impact - okay, maybe in the wildest dreams, but not the realistic ones! And I'm thrilled. We haven't done anything except read and discuss published sex scenes. But these writers have been open-minded, willing to discuss and push their boundaries, and I'm so grateful for their enthusiasm and openness.

I've taken a bit of a leap of faith, and I'm running a similar course with a face-to-face group with writers in general (not romance writers). The leap of faith is that I've only asked for a guarantee of petrol money, no payment for a 4-6 week course. Funding was applied for, and apparently this course was quite a volatile proposal that caused much debate. Should public money be used to fund sex? In the end, the answer was no.

Even if it's not funding sex, apparently writing sex scenes is still the same as funding sex.

I'm a little sad about that.

But it's not unexpected. There's an article on the ABC News website today, written by a 20-year-old, about the lack of sex education/discussion in society (you can read it here). And I just finished watching a TV series on SBS called The Hunting, (you can watch it here), where the theme was sexting and lack of discussion/education around this topic (also the law, patriarchy, racism, and other riling topics were touched upon, and sometimes not resolved much to my annoyance). SBS has also put out an education package to help with people who want to help discuss the sexting issues with kids/teens/others (you can find that here).

I hope things might change in the future, and that sex may not be such a taboo topic that we shun it or shy away from thinking about it or presenting/discussing available information.

And I hope one day that I might be able to receive funding and payment for a writing course, even if it discusses writing sex scenes!

Did you watch The Hunting

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Toado

It's an age since I've done a wildlife post, and an age since I've been swimming/snorkelling, so I'm going to traipse down memory lane here.

I'm not a great fan of winter because, although the water isn't freezing, the air is cold and it makes swimming uncomfortable...unless you have a wet suit and then you can manage it the swim and getting changed - under a warm shower!

In teh bottom left of the photo is a toado (as I call them) which are properly called a Common Toadfish, but they're also called a Weeping Toadfish according to the Australian Museum Website (you can find it here).

A weeping toadfish because of the marks beneath their eyes...which I have to say I've never noticed. Not when snorkelling, or when fishing and catching these pesky things! I must have a better look next time.

I call these pesky because we always caught them when we were fishing as kids. They put up a pretty reasonable fight, so you'd think you had something good...but a toado. It was so disheartening. At least they're easy to get off the hook, even with their prickly skin. My sister changed our view on them when she caught one on an empty hook - that was pretty fun. I'm pretty sure she also caught one on bubble gum, although maybe that was another kid. Anyway, these guys are a fishing kid's joy/pain!

They have a great coloured camouflage system too, like sharks, where the top of them blends well into the ocean background (sand, rock, weed) when you're looking down on them. If you're looking up, you see their pale underneath, which makes them tricky to spot. Really clever.

And as it warms up here, I'm a bit keen to get into the water again. I have had a couple of quick ocean dips this winter, but I haven;t snorkelled since May/June when I thought it wouldn't be so cold and yet I was chilled to the bone!

Roll on summer fun.

Are you a fan of winter? How about toados?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Weird Wednesday Wonderings

This is just a random weird post of me trying to sort out my head.

So, I did a thing a few months back, where I rented out space to a young guy who needed a place to stay so he could keep the job he loved.

When he'd been here for some time, something happened. Actually, a whole lot of things happened. But in a nutshell, I got really busy doing things and even though I noticed things were slipping with him, I didn't know how to ask without prying so I left it. I did most of the usual things I'd been doing but I didn't do any extra, or ask any questions.

Then he left his job. Left our place. Something happened and he was gone back home.

I'm left wondering if I did enough. Wondering what on earth happened. Did he really love his job and then fall out of love with it so quickly?

I remember being a kid, and yes, these things happen. You drift in and out of things. Permanence isn't necessary because there's a whole world to explore. You aren't bound by commitments.

Although, I was bound by duty - or what I perceived was my duty. I was taught that commitments were things you couldn't break and I often took these teachings to the nth degree.

I was a Brownie Guide and when I was 8 years old, I made the Brownie Promise which was quite a solemn oath that I took very seriously - and I find even to this day, it often plays in my mind. The words were: I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God. To serve the Queen and my country. To help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law. The law was: A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.

They're pretty full on promises for a little kid to make. And I was promising to put everyone before me - which kind of grates at my nerves today.

These promises have very much shaped my life.

When I was the age of the young man who stayed with me, I had an opportunity to quit what I was doing and take another path. I didn't take the other path, not because of any deep thoughts, but because I'd be breaking my commitment to what I was currently doing.

When my jobs have been detrimental to my mental health, I've hung in there ... because I'd made a commitment.

I wonder what my life would be like if I'd not taken the Brownie stuff to heart and followed opportunities as they arose.

I wonder what this young guy's life will be like and if in time, he'll wonder what would have happened if he'd stayed.

Maybe life is all about these sliding door moments. Destiny is all about whether or not we manage to slip in the closing door, or stay right where we are.

I have no answers to any of this. It's just random musings to get them out of my head.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fearless Friday - promo

I'm just back from the annual RWA Conference, this year it was in Melbourne. It's such an incredible weekend of information, friends, networking, catching up on industry news, meeting people, talking, and all sorts of book/writing things.

This year I had a mission. As the other me, a friend and I had a book out - for writers. So I planned to do promo and generate some interest at conference. I had a heap of magnets to give away and a box of books to sell.

The layout of conference wasn't really conducive to people picking up freebie stuff. And people don't really pick up freebies. So, I grabbed all my courage and I roamed around at morning tea shoving magnets in people's hands.

I don't know why, but I feel like a beggar when I do that. I wonder if I had to beg in a past life, because it's massively uncomfortable for me to face down that fear/discomfort. Actually, it is a fear, because I'm waiting the whole time for someone to yell at me and chase me away - I'm not quite sure who would do this, but it's still that fear in me.

And then I had to leave early, and I had about 60 books that weren't looking like being bought and weren't going to fit in to my luggage restriction for the flight home. What to do!?

I shoved them in unsuspecting hands.

And yes, even giving away a book I still felt like a beggar. I know it's insane. But I did.

I gave away quite a lot of books, facing down all that fear of someone yelling at me.

This week is recovery week.

I love conference, but man it takes it out of me!

I'll try to get post some notes of what I learned next week - my brain might work by then!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Connecting with Strangers

I don't know who said this, and googling didn't help me this time, but I love this quote:

People are only strangers if you let them be strangers; otherwise, they’re only strangers for an instant.

It's coming up to RWA Conference time, so meeting people is on my mind. I went to my first RWA Conference in 2009... and shared a room with my Critique Partner. We'd been working together for a bit over a year, and yet we were meeting face-to-face for the first time at conference - and sharing a room! Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But it was awesome!

For quite a few years I've shared a room with someone I've not met face-to-face, and it's been such fun. It's the whole 'getting to know you' after already kind of knowing them through their online presence.

The wonderful thing is that most people's online presence is just the same as their face-to-face one! That's always astounding, even as it seems obvious.

Recently, I've had a boarder share my home, and it's been a similar kind of thing. You know someone from chatting to them in a work situation, but you get to meet them on a whole different level in a out-of-work space. I've really enjoyed that experience, and I'd do it again too (you know, if it was entirely up to me).

This RWA Conference, I'm sharing with three people I've never met face-to-face, but they all know each other. It seems crazy that you can chat to people for years online and never actually manage to meet up... but I'm rectifying that! And I'm so looking forward to it.

How do you go with strangers? Do they quickly become friends?