Talking About a Clementine Ford Article

Yesterday I was browsing Twitter, ignoring the mountain of work that I have to do. Twitter is an awful place. It really is – I find it’s like watching a disaster unfolding around me, and I cannot look away. I am utterly fascinated by the hatred I sense towards people like myself. People who have *gasp* different opinions. And yes, it is hatred. I have had to work hard on not feeling like I am a worthless, disgusting, awful person due to the things I read, hear and come by due to Twitter. It is like being slammed by a constant barrage of people screaming how much they hate your existence without even realising they’re doing it.
I came across a Tweet promoting an article written by Clementine Ford – “The men’s march organised by a woman” Now, I am terrified of Clementine Ford. She scares me, so much. Yeah, I’ll admit it – I am down right scared and intimidated by her. The values I uphold as an individual, she rips apart. (I’m sure she’s a really nice person IRL.)

Don’t get me wrong, she has VALID points to make – always. I am not here to argue over that. I was raised to not walk outside at particular times at night, I was raised to carry my key’s in my hand when I did. I never questioned why. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. I just presumed everyone protected themselves. At my one and only self-defence course my male teacher took me aside and told me “Kylie, the first thing I am going to teach you is the first thing I teach every woman. How get out of a guy’s grip.” 
I never forgot what he taught me. He drilled it into me. Time, and time again, he made sure I knew it.

Okay. So. I’m going to all tell you the story of how I was almost kidnapped by a sex offender when I was fourteen. I have never shared this story, because, well, I don’t really have anything to back it up – but it’s life:

This was back in the day of MSN, Elfwood and dial up internet, before I was aware that there was strangers lurking on the web who meant harm. I was a very innocent, naive little girl. I was, frankly, stupid. I started talking with a guy online, had no idea who he was, but gradually, as time went on, he shared some photos and kept asking to meet. I was like, yeah, nah, I can’t, I don’t have that sort of freedom. Which I didn’t.
I was a very, very lonely, depressed girl – but I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone.
With my refusal to meet up, I thought, well, that was the end of that odd friendship.
Hm. No. It wasn’t.
I had a routine back then – due to everything that had happened to me at face-to-face school, I had started doing home-schooling, and I took walks to the local shops, pretty much everyday. I knew my area VERY well and if there was one thing I did pride myself on it was being very hyper-aware of my surrounds. I might have even stupid online, but I was hyper-aware in-real-life. Which is why, on one particular day as I was walking home from the shops, with the rain beginning to pick up, I sensed a large four-wheel-drive pull up.
A man wound down the passenger window, urging me to pause. “Hey, you live on ***** don’t you? How about you jump in and I’ll take you home, it’s raining.”
I froze. Dead on the spot. That wasn’t my street. That was a fake street I gave out to people who I didn’t trust (oh, did I forget to mention I did that? Yeah…)
This man looked like an ordinary man, in an ordinary car, but his fingers keep twitching on the wheel. I really didn’t like his hands. I had never seen him in the area before. I had never seen the car in the area, and I prided myself in knowing faces and cars from all my walks. I smiled. “No thanks. I like walking.”
With that, I turned away and continued walking.
Now, I bet you’re asking yourself “KYLIE, DID YOU GO TO THE POLICE?!”
No. Actually. I didn’t even tell my parents. I was fourteen…I just, sorta shrugged it off and never really thought about it again until I was in my early twenties and it hit me what could have happened that day.
There was another occasion in the city, after a friends birthday party. I was dressed up to the nine – in an outfit I would NEVER fit into anymore. I looked gorgeous. I wish I could tell twenty-one year old me she was beautiful…
Anyway…
I was standing on the curb waiting for my parents to pick me up, my friend had gone off to continue the night clubbing and I didn’t drink or club so, it was an early night for me.
A group of drunk men walked past. Stopped. And walked back. I could tell they had every intent of making a total scene and I – being the most inexperienced and sheltered person on the face of the planet – had no idea what to do. I kid you not, two police men took that moment to walk right across the road and plant themselves on either side of me like guards. They did not say anything to me, they just stood there. The drunk men walked away grumbling.
Those police men stayed with me until my parents came.
Heroes. They were my heroes.
The point I am trying to make is that if you dig deep enough, women have stories – women have lived life. So, I do understand where Clementine Ford comes from, I just do not understand her hatred and her viciousness. It is perhaps that misunderstanding that makes me fear her. I doubt she would be welcoming to my position either, after reading the above article and seeing how hostile she is with women who don’t toe-the-line. I mean, obviously I am not a Trump-Loving-Aussie (that’s a bit weird if you ask me) but I do wish we allowed for a little bit more leg-room and less mob-pitch-fork destroying in society.

My grandmother has been staying with me for several weeks while having radiotherapy for breast cancer. During this time, we’ve had many discussions about what life was like back in her day. When I was a little girl, one my earliest memories of my Grandmother was of her reading me feminist literature. I basically learnt about feminism and the Suffragette Movement from my Grandmother.  Frankly, women today have little concept (I feel) of what living under a patriarchy means. The stories my grandmother has to tell from just her lifetime is chilling, and that’s not even mentioning the stories of my great-grandmother. We have come so far in just several generations, these are things to be celebrated and yet, all I see is a continuous tearing down. However, perhaps this is just because I have always been overly sensitive – I don’t like to see people hurting.
I was once told that I saw things in black and white because I only saw the pain people were in and I wanted to instantly help those people. I thought it was an interesting observation to be given.

Anyway.
It’s always interesting to see how the world keeps rolling on, how the internet is causing us to pull further and further apart and form ever more increasingly hostile sides.
I am gradually becoming more inclined towards the idea of leaving it all behind to become an author who just sits quietly in the shadows, watching everything pass on by.
It sounds much more peaceful.

Keep well,
KL

 

Winter Kisses

I’ll admit – I am in a bit of a procrastination streak at the moment. I am avoiding sitting down to rework Book 3: Messengers – goodness – I don’t even think that will be the title anymore. I am just that unsure about the entire book now.
It isn’t that I don’t like the book, I think it’s totally fine, I just think it needs work and I’m just…dreading having to think about all that work. Every time I visit the cafe, ready for a ‘session’ in which to tackle this enormous task I just sort of think ‘NAHHHHHHH’ – I’ll just do this other book that no one will ever read. ^^;

Then when I get home, having promised I’ll work on the Book I just find other things to do.

Ah well, I know this has happened almost every time I’ve done a book so I’m not too worried. Eventually the whole terror of the situation will have settled and I’ll have rethought the book in my mind. Then I’ll be able to craft it all over again. It’ll be a much stronger story when I’m done. I don’t like writing something I regret later. ^_^

Besides avoiding Book 3 – editing on Book 2 of Northlands Rebellion has begun, and it’s already very exciting. Elle always has this way of bringing out a diamond.

20180603_1233431.jpg

Aislinn didn’t think much of  being outside, apparently. 

There has been gardening to do, whenever the weather has permitted it. While I am a huge fan of the winter months, I am not overly fond of being cold, but I am learning the wonders of a raincoat.

20180621_162125

On the winter solstice (21st of June) I did a practice run for my Burning of the Yule Log that I am having with my family this Sunday. Yes. I know – it’s not Christmas – but everything is upside down in Australia. You might also be wondering? Why are you burning a Yule Log Kylie?
I’m a romantic, fantasy author, okay, I think old fashioned traditional things are just lovely. Also it’s an excuse to have my family over – and I finally have an open fire place to do something like this in.

20180626_112544

I made this to go on my fireplace. It needs a little bucket to hang from the hook still, and for my Dad to hang it up. I’ve got great plans for some signs in the garden too. I can’t wait to start on them.

20180623_115605

What I have also been doing is repainting these beautiful old gnome’s left in my garden. I started on this adorable house. I first had to sand back the crusted paint as much as I could – which took a lot more effort than I thought.

This is the final result. I have to admit, I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. It turned out better than I thought it would. It gave it a new lease of life. And yes, I did paint the gnome as a Red Shirt from StarTrek. He’s got a little StarTrek symbol on his hat.

20180626_141613

There was also this concrete duck that had lost its beak and one of its feet. I had contemplated what to do with it for awhile. Finally I decided to just rework the entire duck into…a DRAGON.

It is now Dragon-Duck. I’ll give it a good paint and a varnish and add it to my growing collection of dragons in my yard.

So, what else has been happening?
Well – I have some crows? Yeah…two crows are nesting in one of the trees out the back. One day I was sitting at my kitchen table, working away, and I hear this ‘Tap, Tap, Tap’ at the window. I turn around and there is this crow, staring at me through the kitchen window. It taps several more times, as if indicating the empty cat food bowel just sitting in front of it through the window.
I started laughing.
I got up, got out some cat food (because yes, you can feed that to crows) opened my door and set a plate out, sat down next to the crow as it happily gobbled away.

The next day it came back. “Tap. Tap. Tap.”

I looked up. Oh. Two crows! I have two crows! One was busily looking around for twigs to make a nest and the other was once more demanding food.

Thus for the past few days, like clockwork, I get a “Tap. Tap. Tap.” On my living room window.

20180627_1409101

20180625_142018

I do believe they’ve made a nest in the tree where I park my car. So I hope they don’t get to territorial when Mrs. Crow has her babies – or I at least hope they know who I am.

20180625_192634

And life continues to slowly move forward here in the Writer’s Cottage. I’ll keep you updated on the next books. Thanks for stopping by.
Keep well,
Best wishes,
Kylie

 

The Spirit Prevails

20180616_1501330

Can I write a review of a book I published and written by my Nana, Gwenneth Leane?
Yeah. Sure I can, when I feel this strongly about the subject, I think it’s okay.

The Spirit Prevail’s is the type of novel I wish had been around when I was doing Aboriginal Studies at school – instead I was just doing boring sheet work, and getting told off for not being PC enough (apparently my Aussie slang was, well, you know, slang. And yes, I have never forgotten being called out in class, even if it was over the phone, and being told off, because of my country slang. This memory is with me for life.)
I wish we’d had a book like this: personally dictated by an Aboriginal but transcribed by a White Australian*, therefore making me, a White Australian, able to grasp the incredible and profound world that opens up within the pages of the book. It is eye opening. I highly recommend this book. It is a really fascinating journey, learning the life of an incredible woman who stood up to great oppression and fought for her people.
I am honoured that I got to meet her, and I just love hearing stories from my grandparents and parents about their times travelling with her.

*I really don’t like using the term “White Australian” – I’d much rather say European Australian, or just break it down even further, but, in terms of understanding this book and the cultural significance of ‘white Australian culture’ at the time this book is set, it is the most fitting term, even if it has been co-opted in our most recent generation.

You can pick up the paperback version on Amazon.com and for the Aussies Amazon.com.au

You can also find it at my Etsy shop, The Comfort Library, if you’d like a signed version from my Nana.

Scribbling Characters

The Mirror’s of Tikal is the second book in Northland Rebellion– the sub-series to Chronicles of the Children that started with Orphans and Outcasts. I’ve been having a lot of fun rewriting it – as I finally feel like the merging of Chronicles of the Children Book 3 and eventually what transpires in Book 5, is slowly coming together, and it is all very, very exciting. I can’t wait to write it all. It fills me with so much excitement.

If you have read my series, you’ll know a lot of what goes on has been spread over a long period of time – and Chronicles of the Children is really set in just a fraction of Livila’s history.

The focal character of Orphans and Outcasts and The Mirror’s of Tikal is Denvy Maz; the old Dream Master of the Northlands, who has lost his immortality due to a binding yoke placed upon him by Twizels. Denvy is one of the environmental programs created by the Zaprex Nefertem to replace the Elemental Titans after the Thousand Sol-Cycle War. It is Denvy’s history, why he fled the war, and what happened between him fleeing the war, ending back in Pennadot to be captured and shipped off to Utillia that is pretty much the immense chunk of history that needs to be filled in.

Denvy Colour_Small.jpg

I often get asked ‘Why Chronicles of the Children?’ It sounds like it’s a series written for children. It’s actually really simple – the over all series is about the children of the Zaprexes, and the family’s that emerge out of those children, and the impact those children have on a world history. And I’m not always referring to biological children either.

GigSkri

In The Mirror’s of Tikal I decided to start weaving in some of the history that shaped Livila after the Thousand Sol-Cycle Wars.
In the ‘prologues’ before each chapter, you’ll be meeting Disgleirio – an ancestor of David and Daniel – who took it upon himself to raise up Pennadot after it’s collapse from the vacuum left by the fall of the Zaprex Empire.

Dig01

Disgleirio get’s his own ‘Prologue’ novel called ‘The King who Wanders‘ – but you know with how much writing I have to do, I don’t know when I’ll write it, so this is the best I can do to weave the story quickly into the narrative – as past events have ripples that alter the future. (For anyone wondering, Disgleirio is Malik’s younger brother…and it is to protect Disgleirio’s children that Malik establishes the Mahvash.)

Skri
You’ll also meet Skri Mazaki – a distant relation to Skyeola and Chans – an outcast Tech-Talker of the Batitic Empire, one of the few remaining Tech-Talkers left after the Dragon ordered the execution of all technomancers during the Thousand Sol-Cycle War.
Have you been wondering where that Dream Stone Skyeola and Chans have, came from? How it relates to ANYTHING in this saga? Well. Oh. Well. Wonder no more, readers. In The Mirrors of Tikal you’ll learn about how and why the Mazaki Brother’s have a Dream Stone, and in Book 3 of Chronicles of the Children just let…let…it sink in…
Also, pay really close attention to any further mentions of Skri Mazaki because I promise you, his existence is practically the most important thing to the plot of Chronicles of the Children Book 5. Yes. It’s going to get complicated.

World-building – world-history – character scribbling – and eventually writing everything down into a narrative is truly satisfying.
Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to tell you my stories and share my world with you.

 

Tolerance

Tolerance fascinates me.
What tolerance has morphed into fascinates me, it also frightens me a little, but mostly, I am fascinated by things. As an author I tend to be very fascinated by changing cultures, by the world in general. I really enjoy thinking…a lot…I can just sit and spend time thinking in silence.
Thinking is a lot of fun.

Anyway.
Tolerance.

What does that word evoke in you?

For me, it used to mean two people of differing opinions having a level-headed discussion. It means respect no matter who you are. It means treating another person as you, yourself, desire being treated. It is acceptance on both sides, despite each others differences. We learn this – or should have learnt this – from a very early age, within kindergarten, play school and eventually high school. But, I don’t know, maybe I was lucky in living in an environment where I did learn it.
Tolerance is a foundation stone for a multi-cultural society.

Tolerance of today has become something vastly different than what it was. It is now far less of a respect now, it has become a demand, and it is a lopsided demand. There is no equality to the tolerance of today – there is inequality – we are wanting a society that desires more equality, but we are losing our tolerance.

I want to be tolerated again. If my opinion is different, ask me why, let me explain, I will have a reason – I think a lot – and if you don’t like my reason – that should be okay – I am neither going to harm you with my thoughts, my words or my rationality.
But then I remember – we live in a society today where apparently words are as sharp as swords, and someone can find themselves facing a prison sentence for saying something that might be deemed as “hate speech” so – perhaps – my fears are just. Maybe I should just continue to pretend to be who I am not, for I know that the courtesy of tolerance is not returned – that though I accept, respect and listen to everyone I come in contact with, even if they are saying things that scare me, goes entirely against everything I uphold, that tolerance would not be returned in the slightest.
So instead I wear a mask. I feel like I end up lying, and I hate lying.
What then, I am left wondering, is worse?
Being unable to voice my true opinions to people who I wish would accept me as I accept them, or lying to keep myself safe.

Have I become part of the problem?

Maybe this all come out of me thinking to much. I do have a lot of time to think. However, it really does fascinate me.

 

Melbourne Supernova

20180419_072530.jpg

Melbourne you have been amazing. What an experience this adventure has been. Heading off early in the morning for a long road trip, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. This entire weekend was just one big unknown for me.

I am grateful for the opportunity though. Meeting wonderful, creative people, getting a chance to talk to those who love what they do, and just sharing and basking in such a great environment that is the buzz of a Supanova convention. The organisers do such a great job putting it all together, and I really do have to thank them for giving us such a great opportunity to share our work with everyone.

On bump-in day we – my fellow author friends who I was adventuring with – headed for the Grand Pavilion within the Melbourne Showgrounds. It was overwhelming, to say the least. The Grand Pavilion is an enormous tent – reminding me of a place where a circus would perform. I felt so small. So much like I didn’t belong. It was a very strange sensation.

20180420_110236.jpg

Setting up was a lot of fun. I had my little spot between Katie and Karen. We shared two tables.

It was then back to base to rest. Saturday was going to be a big day. Like I said – I really didn’t know what to expect from you Melbourne – where you going to buy books? My aim for the weekend was to sell out of Book 1. Did I achieve this aim.
Yes. I did. So. Thank you, awesome people of Melbourne, for helping this author achieve that goal. I am so, so, so grateful! I really hope you enjoy the first book!

I cannot begin to discribe how many awesome characters I saw scattered around. I only managed to catch a hand-full of pictures (I got bolder as the weekend progressed). It really cheered me up to see anime characters I adored. I love it that I can go into a place and be around people who love the same things I love. It’s just a really wonderful environment.

20180421_124155.jpg

The highlight of the weekend, though, may very well been meeting the amazing woman who edits my novels. We’ve “known” each other for about five years now but we’ve never met. She drove her whole family an hour and a half up to Supanova, and I was just so happy to finally get the chance to meet her. I imagine I was a bit awkward – as usual – but it was just so lovely! Thank you so much Elle for coming to see me! It was really, really wonderful. I wish we’d had more of a chance to chat. I’ll have to come and visit again. ^_^

20180420_141437.jpg

I wish I’d had more of a chance to explore Melbourne, and I hope that if I do come back someday, I’ll get that chance. Just the small bit I have seen is so…well…Melbourne. Everything is just that little bit the same, but just enough difference that it throws me off when I walk around. It’s not like being in another country (I’ve done that) – it’s weirder – it’s as if…it’s like a parallel UNIVERSE.
I feel like I’m in the show SLIDER. ^_^

It has been a great couple of days. Thank you to everyone who has made it possible.
To Katie for looking after me.
To Matt, Karen and David for all the fun and laughter. It’s been a real blast.
But I have to admit, I am really looking forward to the long drive home tomorrow, and a cuddle with my cat at the end of it.

This Hobbit does enjoy adventures, but the best part about them is getting home.

Danger, Will Robinson

Recently I have been watching the new Lost In Space series on Netflix.
Lost In Space is one of those nostalgic series for me. I remember my Dad showing me some of the early 1967 episodes, and telling me about them in great detail, and then when the 1998 movie came out it was one that my family borrowed and rewatched several times – this was back in the era when we went to Blockbusters and borrowed a VHS still. Feels like ancient times…

I loved Lost In Space because it reminded me of two stories that have always been a favourite of mine:
The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe.
These two books were profoundly meaningful to me.
The Swiss Family Robinson I highly recommend – it is dated – as you would expect – but if you are a Christian with an understanding of grace, reading it with that outlook, things the father, William, says, become so much more clearer. It is also a book that made me love my family and cherish my siblings so much more.

Robinson Crusoe is also very dated – but just as interesting – being also about someone lost at sea. I loved Robinson Crusoe because Crusoe was a hero to me, someone who I would have hoped I would have been if I found myself in the situation he was in. He took a terrible situation and just kept moving forward, day by day.

So, Lost In Space, was like a science fiction version of these two stories and I LOVED that.

Now having an updated version of Lost In Space is fantastic! I am so happy. And they’re doing a great job. I cannot recommend the series enough. The character’s are wonderfully crafted, and the changes they have made work extremely well to bring the story forward into this century.

The relationship I was pegging all my hope on was the relationship between Will Robinson and Robot and I feel that has been realised fantastically – so I’m very happy.

However, what I hadn’t been expecting to run into was…this problem…a problem I keep running into with series these days: you don’t need to make the male characters weaker to make the female characters stronger. I’m serious about this. STOP DOING IT.
Stop curtailing the men.

There is a reason why The Walking Dead is one of my favourite shows. Rick, Daryl, Glenn are incredible men and they are allowed to be men alongside incredible women like Maggie,  Michonne and Carol. The writer’s have never had to make the men appear weaker, or submissive, to highlight the female characters because the female characters shine bright and amazing on their own feet. That’s great writing.
Now, Fear The Walking Dead…that’s a whole other story. I stopped watching that show because of the relationship between between the husband and wife was awful. What purpose did the husband serve, can I ask? His wife practically did everything, and that’s fine, it’s FINE, I’m not saying women can’t – I’m saying there is an imbalance – if you’re writing a husband and wife team, let them be a team, don’t curtail the man to raise the woman up. She can shine on her own. Stop making women seem like we need men to be beaten down so we act rough and awesome. Watching that show I just kept wishing they’d kill the husband because he was being so darn useless.
And I am not saying men can’t act differently – I am NOT saying that – what I am talking about is a balance in how you write characters. If you have a TEAM of characters, a husband and wife TEAM – you need to make sure one is not over-powering the other, that they both have a purpose. Heck, in Fear the Walking Dead it would have been awesome if the husband had actually been the one who looked after the kids, etc. etc but instead the Mum seemed to do that as well, so it just got really…like…okay…so…what does Dad do? Everyone hates Dad? Can Dad be like…awesome too? I’m talking about an ebb and flow, a give and take, otherwise it’s just a mess…
To me anyway…

That’s where Lost In Space is bothering me a little. It’s falling into this trap – and I can sorta see why they’re doing it with the back-flashes and I don’t want to spoil it…
But it is bothering me a little.
Maureen Robinson (Robinson Mum) is amazing, she can apparently seem to do everything. She also likes to be in total control and that’s a great character flaw as well as strength, I can see how they’re playing to that.
John Robinson (Robinson Dad) is ex-military and that alone should give an indication of what his character should be like. He’s ex-military–but he keeps getting walked all over by EVERYONE. I like his character – don’t get me wrong – he actually reminds me of my Dad. A quiet, reserved, tender man, who *adores* his family. His family is everything to him. He would go to the ends of the earth for his family – his children are his world – but my Dad knows when to stand up for himself and he’s not ex-military. Someone from the military I keep expecting to at least have a bit more of a backbone.
If I was to be honest, other than Will and Robot, he is my favourite character simply because of just how much he reminds me of my Dad.
But then Maureen is also pretty awesome…
They’re a well written cast all round.

However, I am seeing this imbalance in a relationship and I am not sure if they’re doing it on purpose – because I know they’re supposed to sorta not be getting along – or if it’s just something I keep picking up in how husband and wife teams are being written in tv-shows today.

If you have been watching the show I’m curious as to your thoughts.
Perhaps I’m thinking a little bit to much about it.

All in all – it’s a really great remake and I highly recommend it.

Cheers,
Kylie

Happy Birthday

So. Here I am; twenty-nine years old.
My Dad called me this morning and asked me if I felt twenty-nine . Nope. My sister say’s I’m only allowed to whine about getting old when I reach thirty. Okay. Now. That number just scares me. Not because it’s old or anything, it’s because I feel like by the time you’re thirty you’re supposed to at least have…I donno…gotten married, had kids, or done something like that, right?
My mother commented the other day while we were driving to see my little sister, after mentioning my birthday, just how vastly different our lives were. She was married at nineteen, had all her four kids by thirty. ALL HER FOUR KIDS BY THIRTY. ALL OF THEM.

So yes. Needless to say; my mother and I have walked very different paths.

However, there are things I have done that my mother hasn’t done, and it is good to sometimes look back on those memories and remind myself that even though I haven’t fulfilled the dream of settling down with a bunch of little kids running around yet, I have had some pretty great adventures despite my difficulties.

IMG_0406.JPG

Look at me being so contemplative…

In 2009, before we really knew what was going on with my health, and just as I was starting to deteriorate – we went on a family holiday to New Zealand (my third favourite place in the whole world). This family holiday has remained one of my fondest memories. My parents noticed my lack of odd stamina on this trip, which I suppose helped in some way towards my eventual diagnosis – I also fell down the camper-van stair and twisted my ankle and created the family-meme that I *always* fall down stairs.

Siblings.jpg

My little sister, Melissa, little brother, Michael, (Me) and older brother Andrew. Hah, I just realised we should have done this by age, but we didn’t. Mel should be in the middle with me. We’re so short compared to our bros. 

Somewhere between 2010 and 2011 I went on a trip to England, Ireland and Scotland. I actually can’t remember the year…I have it recorded as 2011 but I don’t trust that anymore after my computer lost it’s hard-drive.
This was my adventure of a lifetime – and – in TRUE Kylie fashion what did I do? I tripped over and busted me knee (see, see!) I ended up in a hospital in the middle of London at Midnight for an x-ray. The ride in the ambulance was fun though, as the paramedics were really, really lovely. The whole experience was actually pretty interesting.
My poor parents though – second day in and they get a phone call from me, “Ah, yeah, um…I’m in hospital.”
Anyway, a wrapped up knee layer and a pair of crutches had me right back on track and I was on my tour. So I couldn’t really run around as much as I had hoped, but I was going to make the most of being in in the countries I loved so, so much.

DSCN1560.JPG

Before I did my knee in. ^_^

DSCN3463.JPG

I know this picture doesn’t look like much – but I am the happiest person in the world right in this moment. I am in Scotland (my favourite country), surrounded by wonderful people, and we’re in the Highlands, and I’d just bought that hat. My favourite souvenir from the whole trip.

I have so many stories I could tell from my trip to England, Ireland and Scotland. It was such a marvellous adventure. I cherish the memories dearly, and I often think of it randomly – the memories just pop into my head and make me smile. I had never seen grass so green, I had never seen fields so fresh, and streets so tiny. When I got lost in the cobbled stone roads of St. Ive, hobbling around on my crutches, crying and crying, wondering if I would ever escape, it felt like a nightmare but now, looking back, I laugh at the hilariousness of it all. All I wanted was a Cornish pasty.

My next adventure was back to New Zealand for the release of the first Hobbit movie – can you believe this was in 2012. WOW. I travelled to New Zealand with a group of Lord of the Rings and Narnia fans for an epic trip to see all the movie sights. Made some good friends. My favourite part was probably getting the most epic tan ever waiting at the red carpet (mostly because it didn’t require me moving…at this point, I knew my stamina was bad and I just couldn’t do everything everyone else and it sorta sucked, okay, I hated it, so if I could join in something that meant standing still, I was totally there.)

DSC01893.JPG

Yeah! Red carpet event! Whoop!

DSC01359.JPG

The best day – by far though – was the visit to Hobbiton. If I can someday get my garden looking this wonderful I will be a happy, happy little Hobbit girl. This is my favourite photo from the trip – standing in front of Samwise’s house. 

Later that evening at The Green Dragon we were the first tour group to ever have a meal there. These are the wonderful things memories are made of.

 

We had an amazing guide – Mike.

DSC02619.JPG

Then – an adventurer came to visit me.
My most wonderful, best friend, Anouk headed all the way to Australia from the Netherlands. There are friendships that shape you, and define you, and bring out the best in you and the friendship I have with Anouk is one of those. We’ve been friends for…oh gosh…almost, I think it’s almost ten years now. I think. Meeting someone you’ve only known online is incredible. It was profound. It makes the world so much bigger, and so much smaller, all that once. The moment she left was heart breaking, and I couldn’t stop crying.
I am very grateful the internet opened the doors for me to meet such a beautiful person.

20150822_115140.jpg

Now I am heading off on another adventure in a week or so. Off to Melbourne. I know, I know, it’s not another country or anything, but it feels just as epic in my mind. I have never really travelled outside of South Australia much and this will be my first time in another Australia’s major cities.
I have a wonderful, amazing group of people I am heading off with for Supanova, and I am so looking forward to the new memories to add to my collection.

So I might not have done what I dreamt of as a little girl – fulfilled the dreams of my childhood – but looking back – I’ve had a pretty good run of it and I am so grateful to everyone I’ve met along the way who has shared these moments with me.

Thanks everyone.

Seasons of Change

IMG_20180313_112606_556.jpg

As the season changes in gradual Autumn colours the life of my family shifts once more. How can such joy come in such a tiny package? I am filled with an immense, overwhelming happiness when thinking about the newest member of my family – little Mordecai Gratez, born on the 9th of March.

At the beginning of last year things were so different and to just look upon my nephew gives me so much hope for the future, to realise that anything is possible. I hold onto that hope for my own life.

20180312_165905.jpg

My parents recently came around to my house to help with the garden – we called it a working bee – and it was really helpful to clear a lot away so I can begin building the garden back up again. We cut down some old, dead trees, took out some cacti. I am pretty much in the garden every day now.

IMG_20180312_170234_129.jpg

Dad was able to put my signs up. They look pretty adorable. ^_^

Having a house is an incredible change, a huge step, and I am still adapting to it, still having to pinch myself sometimes when I wake up in the morning and step outside. There is a lot to do, a lot of responsibility. Every day there is something to do. Paths to sweep. Garden to water. Floor to clean. Dishes to wash. Just something. Sometimes its something I can’t do because I’m not strong enough and I gripe about it for awhile and set it aside in my basket of ‘things Kylie can’t do’ – but I will get there, eventually.

IMG_20180308_170952_646.jpg

Having my cat with me has been wonderful. I know it’s an awful stereotype that single women, who are writers, love their cats – but I do. Once upon a time, I was a on a drug called Zoloft, and this was back in the day before the knowledge that in certain people, anti-depressants could have an adverse reaction was common. Instead of giving me equilibrium, the drug threw me into a suicidal cycle. Very frightening for my parents. It was during this period of time that my mother brought me a companion – Aislinn. I was very lonely. So, so lonely. I had just left face-to-face school, feeling like I had failed completely in my education and started school via long-distance. I was alone. So my mother brought me a friend. Aislinn barely left my side.

Eventually my mother figured out what was going on with the drugs – she’s got smarts, my Mum – and coming off them allowed me to regain my mind. I don’t recall much of this time in my life (which is odd for me), it is a big, blurry whole of nothing apart from scattered fragments. I didn’t even keep a journal, and the few scratches of pages I do have are…frankly…the writings of a girl I don’t know. Someday I want to write a book about this but I really don’t know where to start. That’s the thing about having kept a journal from when I was eight. Where do I start?

I have always been really embarrassed about it, and I’ve never wanted to speak about it. Every time I go to the doctors, having a diagnosis of ‘depression’ is frustrating because, obviously, that was a LONG, LONG time ago and I am an adult now but these things stay on your record forever no matter how much you grow and change as a person. But I am growing and changing as a young woman, and realising I don’t need to be embarrassed for a past I had no control over, for the story that has made me who I am today. The strong, resilient young woman who wants to hold her head up high and walk out into the world without fear.

I still react poorly to most medications. Whatever the worst side-effect is, there is a high likelihood that I’ll get it. Just seems to be the way my body works.

But I got through all that, as difficult as it was, and here Aislinn and I are, still together, a cat and her writer. I’ve got a house, a cat, now I just need a husband to lift things in the garden and some children to play in it. Sounds simple enough, right?

20180313_171935.jpg

But I digressed – back to my original point – as I look upon my nephew, beautiful, sweet and so new into this world, his entire life ahead of him I reminded by his existence, that anything is possible.

So I live in hope.

20180402_163728.jpg

The seasons are always changing and I am looking forward to seeing what adventure lies around the next corner. As I wait, I will just keep gardening, writing and loving my family as the leaves gradually fall.

 

That Gift is Gone

It might surprise people who I interact with online to realise that I actually have very strong opinions about a lot of things, but that I silence myself – I suppose the saying would be I ‘self-censor’. I don’t say what I want to say because I am afraid – I am afraid of today’s society, the mob mentality that has been created due to social media, and because of friends that I love and respect. I would much rather let myself be told I cannot say something, cannot be someone, than loose friends – at least – that is what I keep telling myself.

Because. Well. I highly value the people around me. I consider everyone I communicate with as incredible – because you all are. Humans are incredible. Guys. We made it to the Moon, we have a Space Station, Elon Musk shot a freaking car into space. I can’t wait to see what we get up too.

Frankly, I hate hurting people. I always want to stand beside someone and offer support and be the best friend I can be – I was raised in a family of supporters and listeners and taught to *always* put the ‘other’ first, but this does have a negative, as we have discovered growing into our adulthood, we tend to get trodden on and walked over. We avoid conflict.

I avoid conflict.

I will choose words to make someone happy, to calm a situation, to appease people, to make sure they know they’re important.

It doesn’t help that I am very, very shy, so IRL situations are very rare. If you are one of the few people to have ever spoken to me IRL, congratulations on that achievement of a lifetime.

My mother once called us – my siblings and I – Peacekeepers.

But I don’t feel like I keep peace anymore. I feel like I hide. I hide my true-self behind a mask of smiles and flowery words on a screen, frightened of a world that would turn against me at a moments notice. If I tweet one wrong tweet, retweet one wrong person, if I write a character wrong or NOT include the right-type of character, use a culture wrongly in a book, say anything about my faith – I don’t know – ANYTHING – could get me in trouble. I have no idea anymore – and that is what frightens me.

I am a writer, and I want to write, I want to say things, I want the freedom to use my words and honestly I feel like that gift is gone.

I realise this is a really silly thing to worry about – but – it’s choked me up for a long time now, and I really wonder if the only way to get away from the worry of it all is to just delete Twitter, abandoned Facebook – other than for adorable pictures of nephews – and live free of those shackles?

Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just weirdly paranoid? I hope so. Then maybe I can just get over it and move forward. 😀