Archive | January, 2012

What’s So Good About Writing?

30 Jan

What’s so good about writing?

I can think of many virtues.

Firstly, the process of writing is both interesting and absorbing. More than most activities, to be effective, it requires concentration:  stimulation of the little grey cells. Its degree of intense focus carries with it, I believe, the potential for therapeutic benefits, since it tends to rule out the mind’s ability to drift back to other, unrelated issues. In other words, if you are overwhelmed by problems, and you decide to write something on a topic without any links to whatever it is that troubles you, chances are you’ll feel better: more relaxed: by the end of it. I base this proposition on personal experience.

Secondly, writing tends to satisfy our urge to create. What’s more satisfying than reading, and re-reading, a page well written by yourself? Doesn’t it tend to foster self esteem? Doesn’t it help you to believe in your own abilities, your own virtue? To love yourself, as some analysts advise?

Thirdly, writing gives us the chance to reach, influence, and perhaps inspire others. Whether it be a serious article, a humorous story,or a piece of poetry, the potential for it to be read by, and therefore connected with, another human being makes it a mind-boggling tool. As someone once observed, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” What a powerful instrument!

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What Makes a Marriage Happy?

29 Jan

What makes a marriage happy?

If someone could invent a formula or write a prescription for such an outcome, my guess is they’d make millions.

With today’s society struggling with increase rates of divorce and separation, and still others toughing it out in less than blissful unions, I offer my thoughts.

My idea of a happy marriage involves  a situation in which both parties respect and care for each other. It certainly helps, too, if they have compatible goals, mutual interests, and complementary temperaments.

Vital, too, is empathy: a oneness with the other. The wonderful feeling that flows when life’s hardships are comforted by caring hugs, soothing words, and meaningful kisses, is immeasurable.

Loyalty, too, is up there as a vital ingredient. For each partner to have the assurance that the other is on their side adds to the sense of stability and strength that a good marriage brings.

Have I forgotten the most important quality? Yes, of course: it’s love!

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It’s Here! The National Year of Reading 2012!

26 Jan

As Friends of The National Year of Reading 2012, I’m delighted to see events being planned and carried out here in Australia to highlight the advancement of literacy.

Where would we be without the written word, and our ability to read and comprehend it?

Certainly, the easy spread of information depends on it: but more….

Isn’t reading one of life’s greatest pleasures? Do we not feel a profound sense of satisfaction at the end of a  well-written, enthralling story? Don’t we feel that we are in contact with the thoughts and ideas of others, yet at the same time being stimulated to form our own opinions, and gain our own insights?

Isn’t there something to be said for reading, where one is actively engaged in the journey of discovery, against sitting back, watching and listening to  television or cinema?

Hail The National Year of Reading 2012!

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Be Inspired, Baby Boomers!

22 Jan

Are you one of my generation: a baby boomer? Looking for inspiration: a sign that time need not wither thee?

I offer my experience of the last twenty four hours.

Last night, I danced for hours to the stirring strains of a great Sixties band, doing my best to keep up with those young enough to be my kids!

After a mere four and a half hours sleep, our alarm bell rang, so at just past first light I’m up and getting breakfast for Ron and my pets.

Eight a.m. sees me queuing to register for four swimming events. By eleven-thirty it’s all over, and I’ve recorded one of my fastest times ever in the one kilometre race, and a rather slick time for the hundred.

Am I proud of myself? Wouldn’t you be?

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Has it Been a Long Road for Me?

19 Jan

Has it been a long road for me? A fellow Australian writer asked me today.

How can I answer that?

Truth is, it’s only lately that I’m starting to get somewhere.

Consistent newspaper publication of my ‘letters to the editor’ spurred me on to writing books. Praise from my readers, mostly locals, and most of all, the enthusiasm and support of my husband Ronald Sharp, the well-respected creator of the Grand Organ in the Sydney Opera House, kept me motivated.

A number of libraries bought my books, and patrons seem keen to borrow them.

Yes, the road is long, especially when you take into account the years of formal study, the decades of observation, and the effort of  finding the courage to put my skill on the line!

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‘A Taste of Life and Love in Australia’ Makes it to Amazon Ranking List!

18 Jan

It’s with immense pleasure that I report that my second book, ‘A Taste of Life and Love in Australia’, has at last been given a ranking on the Amazon best sellers list.

Always one of my particular favourites, ‘A Taste..’ has been wistfully awaiting this recognition. Sure, at last look it’s number 332 thousand odd, but a start’s a start! I guess even ‘Gone with the Wind’ never began at the top, either!

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Calling all Fans of Ron Sharp!

17 Jan

Calling all fans of Ronald Sharp, the creator of the Sydney Opera House’s Grand Organ!

Are you aware that he alone edited my five published volumes, in his own distinctive way?

Speaking just a few days ago, he likened it to pauses in music, aiding in our understanding of what is happening.

Have I aroused your interest? Then, why not check out a book or two. Simply Google and type in my full name. Once you’ve found an site, just click to look inside. Who knows, you might even be tempted to buy!

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Happy 13th!

13 Jan

Some say the number 13 is unlucky, and Friday the 13th is especially seen in a superstitious light.  But, fingers crossed, this Friday the thirteenth is panning out quite well, as has previous thirteenths, be them Monday, Tuesday or whatever.

A friend…dare I say fan? of mine asked me to sign some copies of ’25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia’ that she planned to give as belated Christmas gifts.

Show me an author who doesn’t enjoy autographing their work! And especially, when it comes with positive feedback about the volume!

She told me of her enthralling interest in ‘A Question of Trust’, one of the earliest stories in the series: that it seized her imagination as she wondered which way the heroine, Alison, would go in her relationship with new partner Roger. She even suggested that it would make a television drama.

Carrying these gratifying notions home with me, I re-read the story and investigated its history in the creative sequence.

Turns out it was the first story I wrote and included in the series, and it came into being, you guessed it, on the 13th!

Yes, the thirteenth of October, 2010 was indeed an auspicious day, when my new career, new venture, as an author of books really started to evolve!

Happy 13!

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Simplicity: That’s My Style

12 Jan

‘You are your style’, or so they said, way back when I studied writing. So, how do I see my own style?


And, it seems others share my view. For better or worse, I aim to write clearly, and for the enjoyment of readers. Sure, there are plenty of literary buffs who just love to mull over hidden meanings, and smile upon innovations that dismiss punctuation, or require immense concentration and effort to decipher and interpret. Very likely, these readers would reject my style as pared down and basic.

Still, others who appreciate ease of reading, which goes hand in hand with comprehension, may well enjoy my volumes of Australian Short Stories. Not to mention my most recent volume, ’60 Questions, Insights and Reminiscences’: the quickest and easiest to digest of all my offerings.

Here’s to 2012: the Year of Simplicity!?

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My Book and Me: At a Library

9 Jan

Margaret with her third book of Australian Short Stories

Whether mundane or exhilarating, life’s events come and go. Not surprisingly, first-time experiences seem to linger in our memory, especially those with happy associations.

As I stood today in a local library, gazing at my third book, ‘The Essence of Life and Love in Australia’, on display amidst a wealth of literature, I felt the strangest sense of amazement.

A mere eighteen months ago, the idea of having a book published seemed almost ethereal. Sure, I’d studied writing, way back when I was in my twenties and thirties. And yes, our local paper consistently published my letters. But books were something else, something permanent, almost reverent.

So, looking back, if anyone had said that, by now, I’d have five volumes in print, and that most of these would have found their way onto library shelves, I’d have scoffed incredulously. And yet, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The moral?

You never know what you can do, unless you try!

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