Forging ahead with fictional endeavours: ~ Write a life on a page and hurry not to its grave; abhor not the coming age, for eternal is the next page. ~ Read what you will, I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Posts tagged ‘opinion’

Here comes Christmas!

volunteerday

Just in case you were not aware: CHRISTMAS is here. Or so the stores would have you believe. If they had their way you’d start shopping after Easter. Of course that has affected which articles are being published. This one to the left has been the last one to be published for this year so far.  The last few weeks it seems they have been converting much of their broadsheet space to advertising spots or making way for the Christmas theme.  I’ve noticed only a few columns are being published the past few weeks and all of them are about *Christmas*, directly or indirectly.  With luck my next article (that I still have to write) will make the cut. It’s a community piece focus on The Multicultural Playgroup’s Christmas Party. Fingers Crossed. 🙂

The only other writing I’ve down this week has been for my first assessment for one of my modules. The Presentation worked out really well so I thought I’d share it to – WWDPass1. The purpose was to share our experience, state our learning goals, and write a reflective comment on why it is important for human services workers to know how to work with diverse populations.  I thought it was a silly question!

Reporting…Reprt-*freezes*

I’ve been quite busy with my journalist adventures this past 2 weeks.  I wrote a piece on the Halloween bash of the playgroup I volunteer with that actually drew the attention of the local Observer, the parent paper of the Advocate in which my articles are published.  As a result my article was heavily paraphrased by a senior journalist and published in the Observer on the 6th of Nov.  I should be a little annoyed that I was not quoted as a source, but it was paraphrase so well I couldn’t feel it; I was also elated that my story had got that much attention.  It was great for the charity, WIN, and for the Multicultural Playgroup.  Even better, they still ran my article in the advocate on the 9th.

On Friday the 30th the Multicultural Playgroup opened it’s doors to a horde of monsters for their Halloween bash. The happy assortment of creatures took a break from their normal routine with a costume party. The days activities included a craft session with copious amounts of glitter, and a witches cauldron full of eyes, insects and goop. There was also slimy spaghetti worms to be squished, and small haunted house for the little ones. A few children even added to their costumes with face paint. Not even family members could resist joining in the gooey fun. This Halloween celebration arranged by Marie Daix, WIN’s Project officer, and Debbie Flaherty, of Playgroup QLD, went down just as well as the tasty featured treat – banana-ghosts that were quickly fashioned (and eaten) by little hands.

Of course, the popular celebration is not just a favourite with kids and families in Australia. Halloween is now one of the more widespread celebrations globally; celebrated not just in the western cultures, but in various Asian, European, and middle-eastern areas. It is know under a variety of different titles, such as ‘the hungry ghost festival’ in China and Singapore, ‘All souls day’ in Italy and ‘Noć vještica’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Though each celebration contains it’s own unique style, each is celebrated for the similar purpose at the same time of year. This makes Halloween a frighteningly fun way to break down cultural barriers by engaging in a little harmless horror.

It is a great feeling to have some of my writing published outside my own blog. 🙂  It has also brought more attention to a local charity I think the community really needs. After the Halloween articles the Observer did a further two pieces about other projects WIN has created.  It actually feels like I made a difference.

However, I aware more then ever how important a continued media presence so I’m trying to do two articles a week for the next few weeks because I will be starting my Master’s soon and will likely have to reduce my frequency of publication.

What-to-remember from the Journalism newbie

The issue with news articles is…

They are subject to bias, and editor demands. The articles I currently write are for ‘Welcoming Intercultural neighbors Inc.’ (who use ‘WIN’ despite the fact that it is also a major news network here.). As such my articles wind up subject to two bouts of editing.  First by WIN, who have their own agenda, and then by the advocate editors, who decided its worthiness and are liable to cut out extra ‘fluff’ or superfluous subject matter.  I was more aware of this when I took the role so I’ve always kept articles short and sent them in an extra day early so that if the ladies at WIN decide they want changes I have some extra time to alter the article.

This week this tactic proved it’s worth.  My original article (here) landed back in my inbox with this extra info added.

…WIN steps in to bridge the gap with this upcoming employment workshop facilitated by Lyndal Hansen and Donna Burton from Many Rivers as a guest speaker, both with expert knowledge of the Gladstone labour market and cultural differences.

Within her 14 years as a Director and Lead Consultant for Amarna, Lyndal Hansen has managed a number of large scale projects, as well as building her business.

Donna will introduce Many Rivers Microfinance Limited (Many Rivers), a not-for-profit organisation that supports aspiring business owners with microenterprise development support and access to finance in order to see the potential of people and communities realised.

This interactive workshop is aimed at educating workers about the Australian employment system while giving much needed advice about anything from job seeking to resumes and interview expectations.

This pressure to find employment…

A lot of this is good and belongs in the article. However, it demanded a rewrite because of the clear difference in writing styles and the lack of concision.  Some of is, perhaps, superfluous to the ‘news worthiness’ but they wanted it so I worked it in.  I ended up with this –

With unemployment in Gladstone reaching a 5.1% high not seen since 2013 the pressure is on for job-seekers. Yet local employment agencies are not fully equipped to deal with our communities diverse migrant labour force, whose needs cannot be met purely through translation services. WIN steps in to bridge the gap with their upcoming Employment Workshop facilitated by Lyndal Hansen, Director and Lead Consultant for Armarna, and featuring Donna Burton, from non-profit organisation Many Rivers, as a guest speaker; both of whom have an expert knowledge of the Gladstone labour market and the impact of cultural differences.

During WIN’s interactive workshop Lyndal will share wisdom garnered from her 14 years managing large scale projects alongside building her own business, while Donna introduces Many Rivers Microfinance Limited: a project devoted to assisting aspiring business owners with microenterprise development, and accessing essential financial support in order to achieve the full potential of individuals and communities. Though the workshop is aimed at educating workers about the Australian employment system and providing advice about anything from job-seeking techniques to resumes and interview expectations, the workshop achieves much more by providing the knowledge of what help is available to those who need it.

This help could not come at a better time. Australia is in need of a skilled workforce yet in the push to be gainfully employed migrants often settle for jobs below their skill level. This is commonly the result of a lack of sufficient knowledge to cross-over their existing skill sets and experience into Australian terminology. It is here that WIN’s workshops show their true benefits, assisting migrants to re-frame their capabilities to suit the Gladstone labour market.

WIN host their next workshop on the 5th of November at their office Tank st. Interested parties are urged to contact the office on 0487 422 142/ 07 4903 1931 or admin@win-australia.org.au to secure a place.

I managed to sort out the issue I had with the opening lines, which is great!  But, even though I really tried to get the flow back, the article now really feels like a patchwork quilt.  There’s bits I know I could take out and still achieve the same aim.  It’s also a bit on the long side and I feel that if it is used it will most likely  be cut by a good 50-100 words.

I wonder, is it really a learning experience if you predicted that something like this might happen? ‘:) I will certainly try to make a list of an extra questions I need to ask in future, and possible bank up some extra articles just in case ones not going to make the cut in time.

Skills re-claimed

There is nothing worse for the writing process the a sense of lethargy and a  teen.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make deadline for this weeks article because I’ve been woefully out of it because of tiring myself out volunteering for the Multicultural playgroup (the subject of my last article) and for the RSPCA adoption day.  Better yet, this afternoon when I attempted to start the new article proper, my teenage sister was left with me and insisted on interruptions every minute (not an exaggeration!) Blew my patience, and my ability to concentrate right out the window.  So I gave up and took her (and the dogs) for a walk before I blew my stack.  I’m actually surprised I finished writing this one tonight…

Local unemployment has risen 1.4% since last September, reaching a high of 5.1% not seen since 2013. The pressure for job-seekers is on. Yet local employment agencies are not fully equipped to deal with our communities diverse migrant labour force, whose needs cannot fully be met purely through translation services. WIN Inc. steps in to bridge the gap with employment workshops run by multilingual specialists with expert knowledge of the Gladstone labour market. Their 5 hour workshop is aimed at educating workers about the Australian employment system while giving much needed advice about anything from resumes to interview expectations.

Australian culture has a firm belief that migrants ‘earn their keep’. This pressure to find employment mean migrants often settle for jobs below their skill level at at time when we need skilled labourers. This is often the result of a lack of sufficient knowledge to cross-over their existing skill sets and experience into Australian terminology. It is here that WIN Inc.’s workshops show their true benefits, assisting migrants to re-frame their capabilities to suit the Gladstone labour market.

WIN Inc. host their next workshop on the 5th of November at their office Tank st. Interested parties are urged to contact the office on 0487 422 142/ 07 4903 1931 or admin@win-australia.org.au to secure a place.

I’m not entirely happy with this one; I wish I could have come up with a better entrance line. However it is entirely representative of the local state of affairs and leads to a logical comment on the article focus sooo… I should be pleased it links nicely and leave it as it is.

Molding our young.

And here it is, my second news article!  I see no reason why it shouldn’t be published in some fashion if The advocate can’t find room for it in the already full broadsheets.  My writing seems to have focused strictly on the non-fictional at the moment.  While this is a learning experience, I’m missing fiction.  I’m going to make myself do so flash fiction this week, damn it!  The following article is one I submitted last week for possible publication.  I’m currently working on another on behalf of Welcoming Interculteral Neighbours Inc.

Gladstone cultural diversity has seen a steep rise over the past few years, yet we only have one playgroup that reflects the changes within our community. The Multicultural Playgroup, run jointly by Playgroup QLD and WIN Inc., establishes a safe niche for children to learn and play while creating a place of mutual respect, and dignity for family groups. For these families, the playgroup makes a refreshing change from normal as children are encouraged to use both languages in the very same social activities provided by other playgroups. Through exploring the various cultures in a social context these children form an accepting community at an early age – preparing them for a future where communities are certainly going to become far more diverse.

The early years of childhood are important to the development of a child’s social awareness of their world. It is during these formative years that children learn how they should cope with others who are ‘different’ from them. This makes is the best period for forming healthy inter-cultural interactions. As such it would be a mistake to think that the Multicultural Playgroup is purely for those of different ethnic origins. Many Australians could benefit from a deeper understanding of our neighbours, and this playgroup provides a perfect forum. Any and all are welcome to join us. The Multicultural Playgroup is free and runs at the Neighbourhood Center on 105 Toolooa st every Friday from 9:30-11:30.

For more information please visit us at Welcoming intercultural Neighbours at 10 Tank st, Gladstone. We can also be contacted by email at admin@win-australia.org.au or by phone on 0487 422 142.

I feel that this one is an improvement on the last article; flowing more fluently with the structure of a proper news article.  This style is not a bad fit for someone already experienced with the concision of flash fiction.  Hopefully, practice will make perfect and I will be able to get fiction written.  Of course, I’ve been keeping myself busy with work for both WIN and the RSPCA and prep for my course starting in November.  I like to be busy, clearly.

I need more hours in my day.

No rest for the wicked. I always wondered about that idiom. But I’m certainly not finding time recently. I’ve had to go down to Brisbane twice since I moved up here. 600km trips to see specialists. Oh What fun. Gladstone lack many medical facilities because of it’s rural nature. I even had to go to Rockhampton (2 1/2 hour drive) for my routine MRI because the local MRI unit can only be used for emergency purposes (or if people can afford to shell out $180 that medicare won’t cover). I’m also starting voluntary positions with the Rspca and Welcoming Intercultural Neighbors INC. (WIN). I’m trying out as an Adoption Officer for the former and a Reporter for the latter. Both should be interesting experiences and it will be good to have some work to do again. I’ve also gone ahead and jumped into the crazy pool by applying for a Master’s of social work. Full-time. I will be testing my brain function on soooo many levels with this work load. Any hour work requirements I have to almost double to account for inability to concentrate/memorise and fatigue. -_- If there is any wickedness here, it is my own inability to sit still. Then there are these two hairy babies.

ladymaxiecutieThe dainty, little Border Collie is Charley, and the big, boof-head is
Max. I’ve been helping look after them since I moved in with my grandmother. They require generous walks and lots attention. I have to be careful these days, because they know where I sleep. IF I try to hide around walk time they sit outside my window and whine loudly!

Charley is a 12 year old lady, and is very timid. She was runt of the litter and my Aunt snowwhiteadopted her with her big, bully of a sister, Pepper. Charley has always been dainty for her breed and that make it easy for other dogs to pick on her. Even my sister’s tiny chihuahua has her cowering in fear. When I moved in, she would hide in the background because Max would constantly push her out of the way when pats were being given. She’s a lot more confident now and surprisingly excitable. Her favourite spot is sleeping under someone’s chair. When bush walking she always trots back to check on me and if Max dares to come over while she’s getting pats she now snarls. She has show herself to be possessive and easily gets jealous. She is a little bit deaf but even in hearing range she can be a little bit cheeky and does naughty things frequently.

maxieMax is 8 but still acts 8 months. He’s used to being babied and has no qualms about pushing his way in for pats. He even expects me to go over and pat him while he’s lazying around. He’s a big dog, and causes himself issues because he’s very excitable and has a tendency to jump up. For some reason he thinks touching his ears is an invitation to play-fight so it’s impossible to get any medication in. He loves playing with his tyre-chew toy, gambling about and lazing in the sun. He has always been far better behaved then Charley. He’s really a big sook and wants to be friends with everyone.

Brain malfunction

simpThis one is a true story.  IT happened to me while I was in Brissy.  I was out with a friend shopping and she left me looking after her youngest while she went off to look at other shops as I said I felt a little tired. I’ve been busy dealing with forms, appointments and I made a possibly silly decision to apply for a Masters course in Social Work recently so all my ability to write has been drained away by those activities.   But I wanted to post something so I went with a memory.

The woman pushed the pram out of the clamor of Big W.  Though it was lightweight and contain a child not yet 2 it now felt much heavier then when she had started out. With gritted teeth a focused stare she searched out prospective sitting places.  Her head was buzzing. Brushing back a lock of her dark fringe to rub her temple in an attempt to stymie the headache and blooming energy she felt, her eyes settled on the closest seat: an uncomfortable metal number belonging to one of the numerous sushi cafes in the Westfield shopping centre that she still preferred to think Mt. Gravatt’s Garden City shopping plaza.  The need to sit down pushed all complaints about the centers re-branding out of mind as she parked the buggy by the closest seat.  A glance from a cashier warned her it was easier to pay for something, then sit there as an uninvited guest. The buzzing surge grew louder as she selected food and processed the transaction as quickly as she could, all the while fighting the urge to hurry the poor woman up. She began to rush to pick her purchases up as the buzzing grew stronger. She Needed to sit down before she was caught in a dangerous position.  As a bolt of sensation raced down her leg the woman knew with a sense of dread that she was too late.  A split-second later the strength went from her right side as her leg started to convulse. With a reflex act born of practice the woman threw her left arm over the counter top to cling to it for support.  Much too her own surprise her arm started to convulse as well; from a distance it looked as though she was waving at someone across the way.  Only those close, a customer and the woman who served her, paused to throw worried glances in her direction.  After a panicked moment of indecision, the woman hurried over to ask is she was alright.  With a hint of exasperation the result having a seizure while being expected to explain what was going on, She simply said “It’s a seizure.  If I lose consciousness support my head and call an ambulance; other wise I just have to ride it out.”

Writing process; you know you have one.

Cloze eys and throw Tablets down thrat.

… …
Smck self awake.
Guzle coffee.
Stair at papier.
Play wth omputer.
Sheepard thoughts.
Draino more cooffee.
Run Spellchecker.
Panic at red underlines.
Engage Insane Streak
Mwhahahahahahahahahahahaha
Baaaaaa
Free Write Any Outrageous Thought That Enters Mind.
Begin thought processing
Sip coffee; guzzle water.
Re-read.
Horrible Realization.
Re-write.
Re-write again with smidgen of sanity.
Put Away before ruining Re-written version by re-writing again.

I suspect that in itself proves my creativity streak and my insane streak are one and the same.  I’m still alive, settled in in my new living circumstances; though I suspect it will be a long time till it feels normal.  But that’s a state I’m now adjusted too since normality keeps spooking like a chicken when a hungry fox appears.

I’m hoping to get back to semi-regular posts now. But I’m in no rush.  I’ve let myself get out of practice with writing so I will have to get back into practice first. Start slowly I think

A touch of grace

A touch of grace

Spiced with tales

Steered by time

Travails crooked trails

Wonder in discovery

Bind everyday

Driven, excited.

Playing in the fray.

Life’s shuffle brings

Pain and pleasure,

Crossroads and fog

To hide fairy treasure

Grace is fleeting

Days gather as dust

No time is wasted.

To higher powers we entrust.
Now free of burden

The adventure without measure

Beckons the explorer

To the true treasure.

Finally some writing to post. Bit of poetry but it involved thought! Lol The neurofatigue that comes with brain injury has been beaten back, this time anyway. This one is actually tied to recent events in my life; as can probably be seen. I have been thinking a lot about my cousin, whom we sadly lost last month. I think it needs work. :/

I started to writeszzzz

Pillow days: days in which we ignore the responsibilities clawing at us and go back to bed.

I am slogging through my possessions, now inconvenient, wondering how I still managed to accumulate so much. Some of the clearing is refreshing. There are things that needed to go. Sadly, though, I have to say good bye to my loyal Dyson. I can just feel it giving me an earful from the closet! It’s lucky I still need it for now; the other junk is lucky I’m struggling to function today. 🙂

If you could take only a suitcase with you, What would you put in it?

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