How do you generate post ideas?
Writer Lois Roelofs shares tips on memoir and nonfiction writing from Phillip Lopate.
Apologies for not posting recently friends. Have been feeling pretty ordinary due to a severe lack of sleep which may be blamed on the Women’s Cricket World Cup and the Lord’s Test Match being on my tv combined with battling a lung and sinus infection which I caught in Canberra.
It did, however, give me time to ponder a few questions that have been on my mind for a while. How do you define friendship? What is the true value of friendship? Who do I consider to be my true friends?
Now I do realise that these are fairly deep philosophical questions and while I am not a philosopher in any sense of the word, given the events of the last few months, I have very quickly realised that my definition of friendship and what it means to be a friend has changed in a rather significant way.
The definition of friendship is shown below:
My two best friends are two people that I have known since I was a very small child and am still close to this day, Beth and Roslyn. Beth and I have known each other since we were three as our brothers Simon and Philip were the same age and her family lived a few streets away from us. She was also friends with the kids that lived across the street from me (who I was also friends with) so our friendship grew and thrived from then to the present day
Roslyn and I first met as five-year-olds in Kindergarten at Holy Trinity School Inverell in 1982 (yes we are that old so no jokes please!!) We were polar opposites–She was quiet and rather mousy while I was loud and outgoing (go figure!!) and we became fast friends. Even now she lives interstate, distance has never posed a problem as we are in constant touch via email, letters and cards exchanged for birthdays, Easter, Christmas and at other times.
As word got out about Dad’s illness and the fact that I had to pretty much cancel all plans so I could get to Tamworth as quickly as possible, another side of friendship started to emerge. Facebook friends were contacting me to render assistance, offer support, to let non-Facebook friends know what was happening and why I would be pretty much uncontactable for the foreseeable future. One such friend was an old school friend who lives in Tamworth with her family and one I am ashamed to admit, I lost contact with many years ago.
I had just posted the first “Tamworth Update” and was sitting at the hospital trying to work out what needed to be done and how long I was going to be staying in Tamworth when my phone pinged with a Facebook Message from my old school friend Bec. She said that she was down the road from the hospital and was coming to take me out for a little while and that she would also not take no for an answer. My mind was reeling from seeing Dad and even though my mind was screaming that I needed to stay close by, I gratefully accepted the invite.
We ended up at a little coffee shop a couple of streets away from the hospital where we spent an enjoyable time catching up over coffee and cake. I didn’t realise it at the time as I was very much on emotional overload, but Bec was an example of what not only true friendship was, but that it didn’t matter that we hadn’t caught up in years, she would come running if I needed her and nothing was too much trouble.
Another friend who also showed her true worth during this time was my ex-neighbour Sandra. She was back and forwards to Tamworth with her husband and very kindly took me food shopping. It was little things like these two examples which made me realise how lucky I am to have friends like these.
I love this quote from Cookie Monster which sums up how I define friendship.
I hope you find someone (or more than one someone) to share your last cookie with friends.
This may be helpful when the dreaded writer’s block strikes
For Andi Diehn, her blog provides a much-needed space for reflection.
I was talking online to a friend of mine about the blog a couple of days ago. She said that she had been enjoying it but what she loved about it most of all was that I wasn’t hiding the fact that I have depression. It struck me as being an interesting thing for her to say, but as I mulled over the statement, I realised how true it was.
In my family, we were taught from an early age to call things as we saw them. The phrases, Call a spade a bloody shovel and You’re not backwards in coming forward were often heard when people spoke of the family. Even now, if I think someone is being an idiot…I’ll tell them no matter the consequences. Better to be honest than a liar!!
As a student of psychology, I am fully aware of the stigma that can and often is attached to mental health issues. I have seen too many young friends commit suicide due to them. When I recognised that I was becoming depressed after dad’s passing, I knew I needed help and took myself straight to the doctors. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is highly unusual as I hate going to the doctors, even when sick. Added to this is the fact I hate taking medication of any kind, even my daily dose of antihistamines for my ongoing sinus issues. So imagine how much I’m enjoying having to take medication to help me sleep!!
My aim in writing this blog is to be brutally honest about what I’m going through in the hope that it can help others who find themselves in the same boat. If offence is caused I offer my apologies in advance but I don’t see the point of sugarcoating things just to make people feel better…trust me… it just doesn’t help. I just hope that I can help one person see that they are not alone.
Have been a huge fan of Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford (of Mike & The Mechanics fame) for as long as I can remember and am fast becoming a fan of Tony Banks’ awesome keyboard skills. Rediscovered this song a few weeks ago after hearing it on IHeart Radio and thought it was well worth the share.
Following on from my previous post about finding my true north, this evening I took a huge leap out of my comfort zone and returned to the scene of some of the greatest moments of my life.
For ten years, on the first and third Mondays of the month, you would find me attending Toastmasters meetings. I even had the honour of being the youngest President in my club’s history and being crowned the club’s “Toastmaster of the Year” but, as I was also studying at the time and near the end of my degree, some things had to be let go and sadly, Toastmasters was one of them. However, I kept in regular contact with my club and promised that I would eventually find my way back to meetings.
One excuse followed another and with dad’s passing, it never seemed to be the right time. Even with the depression that I am now suffering from, I decided that tonight was the night that I would take a leap of faith and head back to Toastmasters.
I am not ashamed to say that it took a huge effort for me to get dressed and head out the door. I very nearly talked myself out of going along with nearly having a massive panic attack, but I got out the door and heading to the meeting.
To say I was very nervous about going back after all this time would be the understatement of the year!! I was nervous about how I would be received and how members would react around me after dad’s passing. But all this evaporated after knocking on the door and seeing the delight on faces of those I considered true friends and the warm hugs I also felt. It was truly as if I had never left and I found myself giving a great deal of consideration to re-joining.
Getting out of my comfort zone may have been one of the hardest things I have done, but it truly exceeded every single expectation I had. It was truly as if I had never left and I’m sure I’ll be attending more meetings in the future (and who knows….I may even become a member again).
I have been struggling to think of what to write in this post. Sure, I’ve had plenty of ideas but none that seemed quite right. I thought of writing about the truly awesome time Mum and I had at Questacon while we were away (don’t worry, that will definitely be a post for another time) or the pros and cons of being a coffee addict. But I was watching one of my favourite shows, “Gotham”, when a quote struck me as being perfect for this post.
“You must find your true north Master Bruce.” Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne.
True north is defined as “the direction north according to the Earth’s axis, i.e.. not magnetic north as shown on a compass.” True north differs to magnetic north due to magnetic abnormalities that occur all over the earth and a compass will never show true north due to these changes. However, the point Alfred was making to Bruce was that only he could find his true path in life no matter what that ended up being (and we all know which superhero Bruce becomes!!) He would guide him along the way but only Bruce could make the ultimate choice of what or who he would become and the man he would grow up to be.
Up until recently, I was fairly confident in knowing where my true north lay. It was heading me in the direction of further study in my chosen field, Criminology in order to start me on the path of achieving my dream of either becoming a forensic scientist or the state Coroner for the state of New South Wales. While I am sure that this is and will be where I’m heading, the pull of my magnetic north is threatening to pull me away and derail my dreams.
Now I know you’re all thinking that grief takes time to deal with and rationally I am fully aware that you are correct in thinking this. I have often thought of how many times I have mindlessly said this to people I know who have been dealing with what I am currently going through. My only hope is that I know when enough time has passed and can find my true north again, heading towards my ultimate goal.
I hope you find your true north too friends.
Okay . I’m going to put this out there from the get go. Grief sucks. There…I said it!! It sucks BIG TIME!! Having said that though, there are some “good things” to come from it.
Now that’s out of the way, one good thing (if you can call it that) that has come from dad’s passing is that I have finally been able to get my hands on photos from birth to the present day of my younger brother and I and tonight I hit the mother lode and found my baby albums!! I have been wanting to get my hands on them for years and given that I am a scrapbooker, the information and photos contained in them will be very useful.
Given that I was born over 40 years ago, it’s quite amusing to see what baby me looked like along with seeing how young my parents were when I was born. Seeing how young my now deceased grandparents were when I was born (I am the eldest grandchild on my mother’s side of the family and the youngest granddaughter on my father’s side) was another highlight. I’m not sure if I’ll take the photos and cards out of the albums they’re in or just leave them as is.
Any thoughts friends…would love to hear what you think.