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 ‘Thoughts’

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!

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Hope

deccay

copyright to Dale Rogerson

I’ve kicked my Nanowrimo off rather slowly with this little piece based off last weeks prompt for Friday fictioneers.  I’m a little out of practice when it comes to writing a story in 100 words, but I consider this part of my story/character intro for my current work. Not sure yet as to whether future fic will be related; it tends to get confusing if small sections are added sequentially.

*edit – Chissick is my best estimation of metal being drawn over a wet stone for sharpening.  I would re-write to clarify this better but it ends up too long.  This is the only problem with the use of ‘sound effects’ in writing; the audience has to recognise them in the first place. Oops on my part.
Chisssick.
“Deliah…?”
Chisssisk. “Yes, Isolde?”
Chisssisk. “The river is barely a trickle… The woods contain nothing but the corpses of trees…” Chissisk. “…Our fields can’t sustain the cow; let alone crops…” Chissisk. “I understand father’s tools but why keep the hunting tools sharp?”
Deliah gently placed her tools away. “Hope,” she paused, stroking the oiled, leather tool-wrap, “The rains will purify the land.  The river will swell; life will bloom.  Our field will be flush with crops.” Deliah smiled ruefully at her sister.  “When that happens I wish to hunt again.”
Isolde shook her head, and stirred the bubbling gruel; wondering how it would feed their family.

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.

Published!!

IMG_20151026_210102736My News Article was published! They’ve cut off the last paragraph (which was just contact info for the playgroup) and have left out my by line; but that’s all they’ve done. The rest is unaltered – it was fit for press use. ^_^

Now to write this weeks one… bleargh… I now have a standard bar…

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.

Growth spurt of the Digital Age

I’m trying to get ahead of the curve for my Summer course, due to start end of November, so I’ve been familiarizing myself with it’s E-learning environment.  A safe choice since I will be studying mostly online.  I was asked to comment on the video for an E-learning orientation. I ended having a good giggle because I went to a public primary school in an under-funded socio-economic area in the 90’s. How things have changed!

When I started primary school the use of devices for learning was extremely limited. Mobiles had only just come into existence.  Most of them were built like bricks and were limited to calls only. Touch-screen tablets were a flight of fancy fit only for sci-fi.  As for my primary school’s computers? Those were old for the 90’s… and use was restricted to early teaching games and touch typing programmed.  The idea of searching ‘the web’ for information was in its infancy and the few, now-forgotten, search engines were blocked on the few internet capable computers. It was to the school’s outdated textbooks children were referred, some of which were decades old in the 80’s.  I am 28 and the world has experienced a digital revolution.  I now walk around with a mini-computer more commonly known as the ‘smart’ phone. I have a table that is used, not just for on-the-go computer function, but as a media consumption tool – an idea that would have seemed ludicrous in the 80’s.  The essays and assignments that once had to be submit in awful handwriting on physical paper can now be completely drafted, revised and submitted via Electronics. Gaming platforms have advanced from the pixelated atari to 3D realistic platforms of Xbox to Ps4 with Virtual Reality on the near horizon.  The transition has not been seamless but the state of technology has been so quick we have not had the chance to grumble about the change.

The use of electronics as advanced so quickly that a growing percentage of successive younger generations no longer understand how to cope without tech.  Social scientists debate as too the nature of this revolution. Is it advancing our intelligence or is it limiting it?  While we know, do we understand; do we over rely on the knowledge that is so readily at hand.  Will future scientist become so adjusted to using software to do their thinking that they no longer understand the knowledge they seek?

The only answer I can give is a personal one: the digital age has opened up more doors for education then the world ever did for me, and my pursuit of knowledge will be coupled by a desire for deeper understanding.

New directions

I think I mentioned in my last post that I was volunteering for a few organisations.  I am currently working as a Reporter for Win, a local non-profit organisation aimed at multi-cultural awareness and integration.  I’m hoping to test my writing skills and breach into a new area of experience.  Here’s my draft of the article:

With the spring a new season of classes is starting at Welcoming Inter-cultural Neighbours (Win). The Gladstone based, non-profit organisation aims for community integration and looks to a more inclusive future. To this end, Win proudly offers English classes ranging from beginners level to prep classes for IELTS. The inclusive company also provides a variety of foreign language classes, computer classes and employment workshops to locals and migrant alike. Those who work with Win understand that adapting to a foreign community can be a daunting process and, often, where services exist they lack a multi-cultural perspective. Languages classes provided by Win are just one of the many ways the dedicated company seeks to bridge the gap.

Most new residents and visitors desire to communicate effectively as there is nothing more isolating then being deaf to the language around you. From my own travels, I know just how embarrassing it can be trying to make yourself understood with no knowledge of the local lingo. Quite often you find yourself lost, isolated or unable to navigate the social waters of the community. This can lead to missing out on important details vital to everyday life. Yet, despite the fact that English speakers spend formative years learning the language, we often demand that migrants learn it in a tiny fraction of the time. This is an unrealistic expectation. However, with language classes run by qualified teachers and friendly volunteers, such as those provided by Win, the goal of mutual understanding can be met more swiftly. The provision of better English skills also adds a vital tool to tool-box of integration and assists individuals to adapt to our community.

Whether you are a long-term community member looking to brush up, or a new arrival wanting to improve, or are looking to learn a second language Win invites you to visit them. For more information about classes and other services please visit http://www.win-australia.org.au/ or 10 Tank st, Gladstone. We can be reached via contact@win-australia.org.au, or 0487 422142.

I’m not sure yet if revision will be needed.  Even if the draft is sent to Paper as it is the editor may well alter it.  The last time I wrote a journalistic article I was in high school.  All I remember that it needs to informative, like an essay, but need to catch and keep the attention of an audience who usually skims a few sentences before moving on.  It made a change from fiction and I do need to get back into practice for more academic writing.  That said, I need to write more fiction too!

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.”

Three little kittens

attentive

Practice run at a new piece of flash fiction using last weeks VisDare, the buzz word of which was attentive. I really like these kitties. The cross looking one, in particular.

“Looks like scraps again,” Streak commented with a twitch of her nose, contentedly watching swallows in the birdbath.
“Not touching scraps,” Smudge growled, his claws unsheathing.
“Might be lucky; might get squidgy or crunchy stuff,” said Stripe, drooling slightly.
“Stuff they won’t eat? Foisted on us?!” Smudge scratched the window sill feriouciously.
“Not so bad,” Streak replied.
“Taste goes away with a bit of cleaning,” added Stripe.
Smudge leapt of the sill with a snarl. Within moments all birdlife in the vicinity was dead or flapping for it’s life.
Streak’s tail twitched with amusment.
“He really is easy,” Stripe commented as she licked a paw and washed her ears. The pair lazily stalked over to stake their claims.

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