All Hallows Eve

The veil between our realm and the spirit world is very thin tonight. So we can all dress up like ghouls and blow a kiss to our ancestors.

I think children like to be scared a little in childhood to help them learn to manage their fears and develop the strength they will need in adulthood. My youngest daughter loves cemeteries like me. We often wander through our local grave yard talking about the families buried there and how children her age frequently died 150 years ago. We’ll go trick or treating in the same street as our local cemetery. Call me crazy, but I’ll be looking out for signs from my dad tonight. I think he may drop by.

Miley, the latest version of the Virus

I’ve come to this pop culture party very late, but I want to weigh in on the debate about what is wrong with Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball mini fillum. It sucks. And not because she’s writhing around licking a hammer, although that is wrong because she’s not at a hardware store. No, it’s because it’s all been done. To death. At the risk of sounding like an old ‘back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Madonna got her boobs out for the 24th time’ fart, it’s tired. I’m from the if you’ve seen one pair of boobs you’ve seen ’em all school of feminism so I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Miley’s naked body, but Miley’s clip is creepy.

Old, balding tosser dribbles over young girl and tells her the storyline for her clip is provocative, original and daring. My flesh crawled when I googled the man’s name. He is 48 and a know pervert according to Doctor Wikipedia. Women 40 + are used to this kind of boring; male directors who don’t think they have to push their female star to actually act or perform or take us on an emotional journey because she is pretty, this style of ‘directing’ has been around as long as film (watch Rose Byrne in Two Hands or Angelina Jolie in most of her movies if you don’t believe me). No Miley, as cute as you are, flashing flesh is not enough, I want a storyline too. Copying Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares To You video and faking the tears shames you as an actor, and the fact that a director’s cut exists says it all. I think you’ve been manipulated by a wanker who thinks he’s an artist. And that is very sad.

10 Single Mother Truths

1. You hear the words ‘insufficient funds’ on a daily basis and it doesn’t freak you out; and the words ‘transaction approved’ make you jump for joy

2. The word you use most when talking to your girlfriends is ‘overwhelmed’

3. Parenting is all about selling options to your child. Single parenting is begging for the sale for your sanity

4. After wondering why your shopping seems a bit cheaper than usual, your day is made when you get home and discover the checkout person hasn’t swiped five of your most expensive grocery items

5. You lie awake at 3am wondering if you should go back to the shop so you don’t get charged with shoplifting. The thought that your children only have one parent weighs heavily on your mind

6. If your children go to their father’s every second weekend, your house is clean 26 times per year

7. Your children develop a sudden fondness for whichever fruit costs $28 per kilo (because it has to be airlifted from Belize) and be invited to four different children’s dress up parties around the time that your hours at work get cut back

8. Disneyland Dad suddenly has money for fancy restaurants with his new girlfriend while you struggle to find ‘imaginative’ recipes in the ‘700 Ways With Baked Beans cook book for dinner every night

9. The words tax refund cause you the same excitement as the words ‘Saturday night and it’s time to partay, get your disco boots on’ did a few short years ago

10. You have to be physically restrained from strangling your 20 something male stoner neighbour when he tells you he’s exhausted because he woke up early to get a surf in before he took his girlfriend out for a late brunch

One Hit Wonders Part Two

I forgot so much fabulous music in my original post I could’t live with myself if I didn’t highlight other neglected 70s classics like Pussyfoot’s 1976 hit The Way That You Do It, Noosha Fox’s S-S-S-Single Bed and Lene Lovich’s Lucky Number. Or what about Patrick Hernandez’ Born To Be Alive or Player’s Baby Come Back from the golden age of smooth disco? My current favourite is Divine’s 80s hit You Think You’re A Man? My list of wonder hits is so very, very long if I read it out loud the accompanying soundtrack would be the Bee Gees’ song Tragedy (except they were no one hit wonders). What are your favourite 70s and 80s tragic tunes? Or 50s, 60s, 90s or current one hit wonders?

Count your blessings

If your kids are healthy, hug them and hold them tight. You have won the lottery as a parent.

Ooooh Jasmine

This week I went to the movies to see Blue Jasmine with a fellow gay divorcee, and I think this Woody Allen film should come with a trigger warning. If you’ve ever been in a long term relationship which turned out to be a total lie, Jasmine may freak with your head. Every time Jasmine’s anxiety made her pop a Xanax, I kept looking at the audience before I could decide whether to laugh, cry or yell out, ‘Yes! This is what a relationship with a narcissist will do to you.’ Cate Blanchett is brilliant as Jasmine but I didn’t laugh much as it was so close to home. I was reminded of my own hospitalisations and escape four years ago. I left the theatre feeling very anxious and I’m glad my friend and I had a chance to ‘debrief’ afterwards. When she remarked, “That was just like our relationships, except on a grander scale,” I finally felt like I could laugh.

Sorrow Comes Unsent For

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, time to remember the babies I will never know. I wrote a story about one of them entitled Sorrow Comes Unsent For for an anthology of miscarriage stories called The Sound Of Silence.

This extract is taken from the blog of the book’s editor Irma Gold when the book won the Non Fiction award at the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards:

“An anthology about miscarriage seemed an unlikely winner, but win it did. The judges said:
‘The Sound of Silence was the stand-out winner on every level. This book proved to be compellingly readable, boasted good production design and evidenced careful, respectful editing. Although neither of the judges initially expected to be taken by this volume, both ultimately found it absorbing and uplifting. The writing was of the highest quality and deserves a readership well beyond its niche market. In short: An inspirational book and a clear winner.’

Their assessment recognises so many aspects of the book. For me, editing The Sound of Silence was a privilege. Many of the 22 writers had not previously been published, but they worked with me through the lengthy editing process with such grace and enthusiasm. This award acknowledges their strength and courage in telling stories that will help others affected by miscarriage.”

To buy the book click here:
The Sound of Silence Book

This is the trailer for the book:

Because I am a girl

In a world where Destroy The Joint often triumphs over misogynist Twitter trolls, it’s easy to think that we girls are winning since we decided to put our knitting down and come out of the typing pool to run the world fairly, but we are a long way from the ideal of equal rights for all.

Today is the UN International Day of the Girl child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.

Consider these facts;
1 in 7 girls is married before the age of 15
Every 60 seconds a girl dies giving birth
Girls are persecuted more than any other political or religious group
Around 90% of child workers are girls aged 12-17
Girls are three times more likely to suffer from malnutrition than boys
One in every four girls are sexually abused by the age of 18

And these from the UN website:
The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.

Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child recognises the power of the adolescent girl, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls,” said Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General. I donate to Plan Australia, their Girls Fund is doing great work in the world.

I may be just a girl but I hope we educated gals in the west can go to bed knowing that we gave our sisters in other parts of the world an equal chance. As my 20 year old daughter said four years ago,
“What if the cure for cancer is trapped in the brain of a girl like Malala and it can’t get out because she’s not allowed to get an education?”

A long pause

Let us stop for a moment as we remember today was the birthday of the playwright Harold Pinter. The fabulous modern showgirl David Lee Roth was also born today.

As I reflect on my single mother status and wonder if I should be married and living in happy couple land, I think of famous marriages in history:

On this day in 1975 Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton celebrated wedding No. 2.

Thank you for the music

Bloody cancer has taken another creative being. Rest in Peace Philip Chevron, your music will live on. Whether on the main stage at Glastonbury, or crammed onstage in a tiny pub in Sydney, The Pogues were a brilliant live band in their heyday.

Meanwhile in Australia, notorious Melbourne underworld figure, ‘hitman’ and teller of tall tales Chopper Read has also succumbed to the big C. Thanks for the laughs Chop Chop, we will miss your storytelling but maybe not your murdering ways.