Thursday, March 06, 2014
Sunday, February 09, 2014
You’d think, as a romance novelist, that I’d be one of the first people putting my hand up to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. The truth is that I’ve never celebrated it: not as a married woman, and not in my single days.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in love. I celebrate love. My home, for goodness sake, is filled with love hearts made of wood, fabric, glass and felt. I LOVE love! I adore hearing my husband sing love songs. I become engrossed in rom-coms.
And while it’s true that Cupid shot me 19 years ago with his arrow, and I’m still enjoying happily ever after, my desire to celebrate this Hallmark-endorsed day hasn’t increased.
In fact, every year I can’t help but shake my head at the untold money spent on chocolates and flowers. How easily us humans get sucked into commercialism! I love good-quality chocolate (though, to be fair, I’m a savoury girl and would choose something salty over sweet every single time) and my house always has flowers in it, but if a man was prompted to give me those things because of a date on a calendar and copious red reminders in every shop, then what would it say about our love?
To me, love is what happens every day of the year. Day in, day out, it is about respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, humour and companionship. How we live each and every day with our loved one means far more than a single day marked on a calendar. If I have to single out ‘romance’ days, I prefer to celebrate the anniversaries of my heart: the day my husband and I first kissed ~ April 16th 1995 (we moved in together the next day), and the day we married ~ December 29th 1996.
St Valentine’s Day has Christian origins, and was based on the saints named Valentinus. The stories were all based on martyrdom: hardly healthy grounds for love! The main story is to do with ‘farewell’. Is this really how we want to celebrate love? Obviously over the years the day has ‘evolved’ to be an occasion on which lovers express their affection through gifts. Mass-produced greeting cards have become the mainstay of this day.
One of the things that disturbs me most about this cultural tradition of Valentine is how it sets up those without a lover for misery, and perpetuates just how alone they are. How many heart-broken teenagers walk this planet lamenting the fact that the postman didn’t bring them a card? Doesn’t anyone love them?
If you’re looking for love, look inside you. Be the best version of yourself that you can be. There is no one on this planet (as wonderful as they might be) who is capable of plugging up the hole in your heart. Learning the art of self love is the key to all healthy and happy relationships. Believe in yourself. As your self value increases, you’ll find yourself drawn to people who carry a similar vibration.
Want to attract a loving, healthy and long-term relationship in your life? Write a list! Write a list of exactly what you are looking for in a partner or relationship. Write it down each day, in order of priority. It doesn’t matter if the priority changes each day. What is important is that you become clear and focussed about what is important to you. Many people go into relationships without understanding what it is that they’re seeking. Write what you want, not what you don't want.
If you're in a relationship that doesn't make your heart sing, but for whatever reason you don't want to end it, then use the list writing to create the relationship you do desire. Focus on what is important to you, such as ease of communication, affection, humour, companionship, empathy, understanding, common interests, sexual compatibility, and so on. Create the relationship of your dreams.
Life is too short for regrets, and for second-best relationships. YOU deserve the best relationship. There are seven billion of us on this planet. Believe me, there is someone out there who thinks you’re wonderful and would move heaven and earth to be with you. And it will happen, I promise you, when you believe that you’re worthy.
Sunday, February 02, 2014
The other night, the new Moon in Aquarius fell in my third house of communication. As an astrologer, I knew it was, indeed, a time to make wishes for my full-time writing career.
I’m taking deep breaths, and finding a new rhythm to my life. For the first time in 12 years, since selling The Mother magazine, I no longer ‘have’ to work on weekends. This is a novelty to me. My daughters thought it rather wonderful when we had a long, lazy brunch last Sunday. What a surprise they’ll have when they wake up later and discover it wasn’t a one off.
I arrived home from town yesterday with two new Rom-Coms and a couple of magazines under my arm, and felt such joy at the leisure time which awaited me. I think I’ll soon get the hang of this. Work and discipline come easily to me; play, not so much. It is, however, one of my goals for this year (and beyond): to play!
My current writing projects include continuing to work on my romance novels; awaiting the publication of a few non-fiction books this year: Cycle to the Moon ~ a journal for celebrating your Moontime; Apron Strings: Reflections on being a Stay-at-Home Mother, and my next recipe book.
My children’s books coming out this year include: Blue Jeans, illustrated by Susan Merrick, and Picnic in the Bathtub illustrated by Sara Simon.
Although I’m committed to being a full-time writer now, I am still offering astrology and mentoring sessions. These can be purchased through my website:
I will leave you with a lovely note I received this morning about my novel Bluey’s Café. Such a gorgeous way to start a Sunday morning.
I finished Bluey's cafe and what a lovely story Veronika! I loved how you used the diary entries, and your descriptive storytelling really took me to Australia and Bluey's life. ~ Susan.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
My younger daughter was chatting to me the other day about her ‘current’ plan to come a book acquisitions editor, and how she could even see herself wearing lovely business suits. I laughed and described my business attire from the late 1980s. Yes, you guessed it: high-heel shoes, padded shoulders, pencil skirts, permed hair (cringing as I write this).
These days, I go to work in my yoga pants (well, actually, I’m typing this in my pyjamas as I’ve not yet made it to the shower). Yesterday, I was thinking about how lovely it is to work from home, and that I set my own hours (I’m disciplined, so there’s no chance of me slacking) and can take breaks when I like: go to the movies, pop into the bookshop, go to the gym, walk through the woods with a friend, sit in the sunshine, hang out the washing…
The aroma of the root-vegetable and lentil soup I had on the stove made its way right through the house and up into my writing room. It sure smelt good. Unlike being in an office, I can eat lunch at 11am, noon or 3pm, depending on when I feel like eating, rather than when I am 'allowed' to eat. Ah, yes, how I love working from home. It also means that if the creative urge strikes at 4am I can either toss and turn or I can scamper upstairs and get to work. My autonomous working life suits me to the ground, and I can’t imagine ever having to go out to work for someone else again.
If you dream of being self-employed, follow your heart.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
As a culture, we’re not taught or modelled on how to cope with loss. Loss, of course, comes in many forms. There is life after gut-wrenching grief, and the way it shapes us can bring a depth to creativity which needs channelling in some way.
My father’s sudden death in a car accident 22 months ago, has influenced me in ways I could never have imagined. The engineering of my heart and soul is internal, of course, but the manifestation of those changes inevitably appears externally at some point. Our creative gifts beg to be shared with the world. In a way, this is the archetype of Chiron, the wounded healer.
It is an essential part of the human experience to experience loss, to endure the descent, and then to rise again. We discover that there is something more to us. Our authentic self must learn to show its face without apology.
One of the defining moments of my life was standing by my dead father’s body as he lay in his casket. I held his hand and thanked him for all the hard work he’d done in his lifetime. I said my words out loud, and the tears fell freely. Even to this day, there is a part of my mind which can’t quite reconcile how hard he worked (pioneering mining expeditions and leading 2000 men in the wild jungles of Papua and New Guinea) and that he’s now gone. He’s nothing but ashes. What was the point of all those years of working away from the family home? What was the point of working so hard like that when at the end of his life there is nothing to show for it?
His death has triggered two things in me which are, ironically, diametrically opposed. One is that there is no point stressing over anything: deadlines, faulty relationships, other people’s opinions, bank account balance and all the other mundane things about living on this earth. Part of me has felt like it is pointless having any ambition. After all, what am I actually striving for?
And then, right in opposition is a part of me that has more life in me than ever…a part of me which wants to continue to make the most of every precious day on this Earth. In appreciation of all this, it means living in the present moment, of course…but from within that particular gift comes the rising energy to explore the world, literally and metaphorically. I am thrilled to be alive! And yet, I am not scared of dying. When my times comes - whether it is slowly and with consciousness, or sudden - I will embrace that particular adventure.
Loss has brought meaning to my life, and it has released a creative spark which I guess was always there but for one reason or another has lain dormant all these years. Creatively, I’m not here to please my parents, my friends, my immediate family…just myself. I have, after all these years, come to realise that my creative juices don’t need anyone’s approval. The release of psychic energy that brings is huge. And I owe it to what has so far been the greatest loss of my life: a parent.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Wow, what a busy start to 2014. I have several things on my list of goals for the year, and by January 3rd, three of them had happened. Amazing! And trust me, they weren’t ‘little’ goals, either. The angels were genuinely paying attention when I wrote that heart-felt list on New Year’s Eve. No doubt the new Moon in Capricorn (my Sun sign) spurred things along on New Year's day.
I have sold The Mother magazine, and am preparing to focus on writing fiction full-time and building up my publishing business, Starflower Press, by specialising in illustrated children’s books. I still have several non-fiction books inside me (and partially written) that I intend to finish at some point, too. For now, I feel I have all the time in the world...and that feels pretty darn wonderful.
In the meantime, have promised myself time off after twelve years of working virtually seven days a week….but old habits die hard, and I can feel myself simply itching to ‘get to work’. Rest, I tell myself. You need it! A well-rested field gives a beautiful crop. I need to nourish, nurture, and ‘feed’ my soul if I expect anything useful to grow from my creative depths. If motherhood has taught me anything, it is this: fill your own well first.
My goals for the next month include: nurturing myself through walking in the woods (is this rain ever going to stop?) with my friend Sarah, meeting my friend Julia for a coffee, going to the movies with my husband, seeing a kinesiologist, and reading some novels.
I will have no doubt written about this before, either on a blog or in The Mother, but for years and years I didn’t read novels. It always felt like too much pleasure, and if I was going to sit on my butt (or laze in bed) reading for hours on end, then it damn well had to be educational. Non-fiction only!
I read voraciously as a teenager, devouring romance novels ~ such a wonderful antidote to boring secondary school. I would read them in my bedroom when I was supposed to be studying and doing homework. Then I’d hear my mum walking up the hallway and I’d shove the knight in shining armour into the drawer and bury my head into a biology textbook and studiously examine how to dissect a frog. Talk about going from princes to frogs! Over time, the guilt built up and up…and so for the majority of my adult life I denied myself the pleasure of reading fiction.
It was a few years back, when my adrenals crashed (too much stress from a personal issue) that I was bed bound and too exhausted to do anything. My daughters, bless them, bought me a whole stack of second-hand romance novels from a charity shop. I felt like I’d come back home. A dear friend laughs that I can read such ‘cheap’ fiction and yet have bookshelves filled with weighty esoteric tomes that absorb me for hours and stretch the grey matter. Ah, what can I say? I’m a woman of many parts. The truth is: the romance-novel genre is the most popular of all fiction, and for damn good reason: it’s a wonderful source of pleasure, and, unlike chocolate, it’s fat free!
I have to thank my first novel, Mosaic, for opening me up to the possibility that I could actually make a career out of writing fiction. I can’t begin to express how exciting my future feels. I feel all giddy like a little girl at Christmas, and oh how I love Christmas.
I will never again deny myself the pleasure of reading or writing fiction.
Sunday, January 05, 2014
|Winter's morning from my writing desk|