Friday, September 16, 2022

Fearless Friday - societal conventions

When I went on a writing retreat... way back, months ago... I started another story in the Glebe Gannets series (Team Player was the first one, and so far the only one). This one is about an older woman and a young footy player. He doesn't fit society norms - and I don't wnat to give him a label. 

I've got a notebook filled with scribble, and last night I managed to sit and type some. I was thinking about societal standards and conventions when a Rugby League story ran across my twitter feed and got me thinking.

I grew up in a time when societal conventions were quite strongly adhered to - although they were breaking apart. I was someone who questioned all these stupid standards that stopped me doing things, so I've not been good at knowing what these standards are or caring too much about them. However, most of my family group and many friends, care deeply about them.

As I wrote this story, Ashton has no clue about standards and is questioning Angie all the time about "why?" His questioning makes her question too. So she's coming to realisations as she patiently explains things, and sees how silly her explanations become.

This is kind of where I think we are in a society too. There is a generation of youth who don't really understand or give a shit about convention. There are an older generation who hold dearly to convention and will die defending them. Then there's a bunch of us in the middle who have started dismantling, and can see both sides.

And back to the Rugby League story. A female Indigenous player made some social media posts (I haven't seen them) about the Queen's death that offended many people. She's been penalised for this. One journalist went so far as to call this 'the most reprehensible thing in Rugby League'. 

The most reprehensible thing? Lordy! After some of the things that have happened in rugby league, I think that's a ridiculous call. But anyway...I'm not going to delve into that.

I think this is a case where societal conventions are confused by social media. 

In the collective of society, the Queen's death has been mourned across the world, with the media saturation and perpetuation of the grief incredible.

If you're someone who ignores the media (as in news, commercial media, etc) and has social media as your point of reference, then the people who are in your social media 'group' are the ones you take your cues from. They're the ones who are setting your societal conventions, so to speak.

If your social media is curated to being only the things you're passionate about, believe in, and support - then you may have a different view of what's accepted in the wider community, than what the wider community sees.

I have a wide mix of people in my social media feeds and I skim it rather than devour it. So I see a lot of varying views. And I like that. I like to think about things from different perspectives, and develop my own thoughts (or open my mind to other ideas). There was a huge outpouring of grief for the death, but I also saw a lot of people who were not grieving at all and saw this as a time of change.

At present, the wider narrative is about the grief, sadness, loss and what a wonderful woman. The world media has ensured that. But what if your social feed was not showing that? How would you know?

Societal conventions are constructions that exist because it's a majority held belief. There is always going to be people opposing every convention (I think that's human nature). 

How do we deal with these people? In most cases, they're punished for not conforming.

I'm not sure that we should be dealing out punishment for non-conformity.

And that's where Angie and Ash's book lies... me treading a path of non-conformity, and wondering if I've gone too far! Maybe that's why I'm struggling to write.

Hmmmfff...I just hit myself in the face with that thought! That is most likely the case. Every idea I have at the moment is treading a fine line in non-conforming. I'm struggling with myself as to whether or not I should "go there". Huh!?!?! This is almost three years of mulling and I think I've finally seen what my 'unable to write' problem is. 

Fearless Friday needs to be Fearless every day.

Thanks for reading the thoughst of my rambling mind.

Cate xo

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Remember me...?

Oh My Goodness!

How on earth do months vanish? How have I gone from blogging 3 times a week to once every 3 months?

I don't know what's happening to me but I cannot fit everything in. I'm not even sure what I've taken on that is taking up my time...but it's a struggle to get through what I need to do, without getting too caught up in the want to do list.

Are you like this too?

When I do up my bills, I see that work has increased. That's a good thing for my debts, bills, and expenses :) but not so good for my mental health and sanity! 

I've probably been walking and taking photos more too. When work makes me cranky, I grab my backpack (camera bag) and off I hike. I come back ready to face whatever crazy task I have to do.

I have a few scribbled words still happening when I get a chance.

I haven't typed up a whole notebook of scribbled story from my retreat...but it's on my To Do list (the Want one, but maybe I need to move it to the Need one!).

So, that's me.

How are you doing?

Here I am on a walk on the poor flood affected beach near home. It's winter and a cold wind, even if the sun is shining!


Friday, April 22, 2022

Fearless Friday - writing

You're probably aware that writing and I have not been too friendly these last couple of years. Ideas are there but not the words to flesh them out. I've been taking photos instead and doing little scribbles and just seeing where life takes me creatively.

But I've been invited to a writing event. My heart is so full of joy and excitement. I've been preparing for some time now, but in the back of my mind I was scared it would get cancelled or borders would close down or something disastrous (and you know, that may still happen, so I'm not over the fear of that yet!).

In this whirlwind of writing joy, I began to write again. Just a few lines, just for a few days, but words have started the slow trickle out.

And the story I've begun has been percolating for some time - way back when Team Player was being 'birthed'. It's a Glebe Gannets story, with one of the guys we met briefly in Team Player. A young guy, like Lyle, called Ashton.

His story idea came to me in a whoosh! He's a bit different - he's blunt, unapologetic, a footy nerd - some might say he's 'on the spectrum' but I don't want to label him. He's just uniquely Ashton. And he's young, I mentioned that, right? Somewhere between 18 and 20. So young.

But he meets this woman. God, it's so intense because she lets him be. He's usually told to shutup, be different, calm down, whatever. She just smiles and lets him talk. She lets him be Ashton. But she's not young. She could be his mother but he's not worried about that - she is though!

It's a story about shame - her shame. Her shame at wanting a younger man. Her shame of being seen as a footy groupie at her age. Her shame of sex. Body shame. Ageing shame. So much shame.

I'd tried to write it but it was bogged down in her feelings of inadequacy and awfulness - even though she was a successful woman. And I hated that. I couldn't write it.

When I began recently, I began writing as Ashton. Wow! What a change. I can depict her as a strong sexy incredible woman. That's what he sees. That's who is attractive to him. And her fears have to come out verbally, because he's pretty shit at picking up cues.

I don't think I've written (anything published) from the male perspective before, and I hadn't been comfortable doing it either. But Ash is a chatterbox and he's happy to tell this story. He wants to burn through this bullshit shame. He wants to love fiercely. He doesn't give a shit about age.

Maybe the last few years of no words has been about me changing my perspective and breaking out of my own boxes with how I write. Maybe I stuck myself in a place, and even if I wasn't completely happy there, I told myself that's how I had to write. That's how it worked. That's how the world worked. I have a few story ideas that aren't 'normal'. That are breaking out of what I usually do. It's thrilling and terrifying all at once.

Now, as I'm getting ready to go back into the writing community, I'm hoping that I can hold this new me. That I can keep this new (for me) way of writing and not get lured back to that corner where I hid.

So, wish me luck! I hope Ashton will keep yabbering at me and keep me away from shame and society's view of the non-sexiness of older women :) :)

I went to the footy last weekend too - I wonder if being in a crazy-high footy crowd also boosted my writing mojo!?



Monday, March 14, 2022

Potholes

I know it's not Saturday, but I am on my soapbox! Expressing thoughts with no answers.

We've had A LOT of rain recently and our roads are filled with potholes - some of which are huge. People have been bleating about them constantly. Council was out as soon as the rain stopped and any flood water receded, to fill them up before opening the road again.

I was driving on Saturday, dodging potholes, and it got me thinking... potholes are a reflection of our society and how we deal with issues. Let me explain.

Roads are fabulous things - they get you quickly from A to B and allow many to travel the same/similar paths without a huge amount of wear/erosion (on vehicles or the path). Yet, they cause runoff when it rains, so that water accumulates at their edges, leading to preferential flow - a major issue from the excess rain we've experienced (as well as potholes, the landslips have been huge). Roads also ensure everyone travels in the same manner (i.e. we're confined to a narrow path where tyre pressure is largely along the same part of the road, where most people brake/slow in the same place, etc). So, we have something great, that also has a few negatives (kind of normal, right?). 

The negatives, though, are often the causes of potholes (and slips). The excess water cuts into the soil at the edge of the asphalt/bitumen/concrete, which excavates and erodes. Often the ground beneath the road slips/moves/changes, and potholes appear (we're on largely sandy soil, so this is even more prevalent). Constant pressure in a spot (e.g. from braking) can also impact the ground below as well as cracking the road surface. So water runs down there and also erodes beneath. Potholes develop. Road edges crumble. The fabulousness of roads now has non-fabulous, and potentially destructive, potholes. So we run out after rain, and fill the hole, chuck a patch on top, and bob's your uncle! Road is right to go.

It's sort of like the Health System and the impact Covid has had on that. Nurses and doctors are buckling under pressure. They're required to work in dangerous situations (not just with ill patients, but understaffed and underresourced with a risk of contagion to themselves and their families), underpaid, undervalued, and with various levels of government assuring the public that it's not a system in crisis. Government filled the pothole.

The Education system isn't too different, with teachers required to do online teaching (without training or resources), then working in potentially contagious situations. Yet, it's fine, no one's health or education will be affected because measures have been taken (i.e. we've filled the pothole).

Yet, long-term, what young person is going to see medicine or education as viable, valuable, sensible careers after they've lived through this?

The potholes might be fixed, but one day, that road is going to have to be dug up and properly fixed (or moved).

It's bloody hard to look under the road when it's so fabulous and doing it's job. 

It's frigging difficult to imagine what we could use instead of the fabulous road.

But are we forever going to fill potholes?


Friday, February 11, 2022

Fearless Friday - society and poems

I've been participating in Post-It Note Poetry (#PINP22) for the last 11 days, which I've done each February for a few years. A friend organises it as a time to make daily words, even bad words, and each poem need only fit on a post-it note. It's shared on social media with the #PINP22.

This year, Jodi and Christina decided on a theme of Forbidden Desire. 

I was wondering if I should participate when an idea struck me. If I had 28 Forbidden things, and 28 Desires, I could pick one of each daily and create a poem using those words.

I suppose it is obvious, but it wasn't to me (!), but each poem I've created has been a 'critique' on society. 

I hadn't realised how much I had to say about so many different topics! And most of the 28 words I'd forgotten (as I created the lists a week or so before 1 Feb), but my subconscious must have been working on this for a while.

I guess over the last few years, this blog has seen me work out many frustrations at society, so it's probably no surprise that forbidden desires have resulted in this commentary.

I'll paste a few of the "poems" here:








Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Wildlife Wednesday - birds birds birds

I'm having a love affair with birds. It's been strengthening each year, but with different species coming into focus each year.

I guess I've always had a bit of a connection to birds. We had birds - canaries and budgies - as kids. Then I cared for a lot of birds when I was in WIRES. I was given chooks as payment once. And now I've got native birds all around me. So I probably shouldn't be at all surprised by my bird 'thing'.

These photos are from Sunday - yep, just one day when I wasn't really trying to take bird photos. They were just there when I had my camera.

How can you not love photogenic posers? :)

PeeWee or Magpie Lark

Eastern Rosella

Noisy Miner

Silver Gull or Seagull

Juvenile Seagull

Australian Pelican

Welcome Swallows

Welcome Swallow


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Chakra Birds

Last year, I put together a calendar for 2022 called Chakra Birds. It's not your normal calendar (but you wouldn't expect normal, would you?).

Each month, there's a bird to focus on, as well as a chakra energy point in your body. There's also a group where we're exploring different aspects of the bird, chakra, and energy.

So, for January, the bird is the Emu and our Chakra point is the Earth Star Chakra (which is not inside our body but is our connection to the earth). 

So we're looking at grounding, the incredible planet we live on, and emus and their weird characteristics that make them so adaptable across Australia.

If you'd like to join in on this weirdness, meet some birds, and journey through your Chakras through the year... grab yourself a calendar and join us. 

It's $18 for the calendar, $12.70 postage within Australia, and all the extras are free.

https://catherineevansauthor.com/product/2022-a3-chakra-bird-calendar/

And if you'd like to see more of the information involved, here's the page for April (Duck) and the Root Chakra.