First day in Ireland

I’ve travelled to Ireland to immerse myself in Irish contemporary life: the culture, climate, feeling of place and rhythm of the people. The novel I’m writing has only a small section of it set in Ireland but for it to be authentic, and for my Irish-born, Australian character to be authentic, I had to come and feel it, see it, smell it, hear it. I hope that I can absorb enough of it to pass on the detail in my story.

So today, I’m filling the creative well. I went to The Portrait Gallery in the National Gallery of Ireland to see the portrait of  Graham Norton (Irish broadcaster, comedian, actor and writer) painted by the winner of Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year last year, Gareth Reid. I enjoyed watching this art competition so much I just had to follow up. I was secretly hoping the artist might be there too as I’m slightly in love with him (those dreamy artist eyes and all that Irish talent).

I thought a bit of history and architecture might help too, so I checked out the Christ Church Cathedral. Wow, there’s an amazing amount of royal history there, which I won’t go into but did you know that Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus was first performed here back in 1741, or thereabouts, by the top choir in the land? I felt like I was really touching history with this fact as I could imagine the emotional charge in the sound of all those voices and the organ filling the vast space.

The rest of the day was pretty much a walk in the park and along the busy streets full of cafes, pubs and boutiques. The city of Dublin is a thriving modern hub set in predominantly old buildings with short doorways. It’s city of charm and character.

Stepping Out

I’m lucky enough to call coastal Sydney, Australia, home. There are few cities in the world as lovely – so I’ve heard.

My daily experience involves a walk along the cliffs and beach promenades.

The ocean spray can be cold, salty and wet. A summer north-easterly wind can cool the hottest of days. A cold front of thick grey clouds, thunder and chilly wind from the south will send most people running indoors, but I love a good storm. The ocean can be dark, blue-grey topped with messy white splashes obscuring what’s beneath the surface. Or, on the perfect days, when there’s only a light, sea-breeze, the waves roll gently, the clear aqua-green revealing the sand, seaweed or perhaps, dolphins, beneath.

I never tire of this experience. On the warm days when the water temperature is 21-24 degrees, I make time to swim. It makes me feel alert, fresh and appreciative – alive! Diving into the sea is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Walking along the beach in my cossie, relishing the sun, the sound of the waves and the wet sand under my feet, benefits my soul.

The sea is one aspect of Sydney that makes it great. There are many others but I’ll share them another time.

Feelings

It’s been said that when together, men talk about things, women talk about feelings. I agree with this generalisation but when you combine men and women, things and feelings also combine.

This blog will talk about a lot of things but there will be a lot of feelings involved. Whether I talk about creativity or relationships or roaming through the bush looking at trees, there will always be the unspoken question, How do I/you feel about this?

Under the title Matters of the Heart, I’ll cover topics that interest me as a middle-aged woman. I tell you this not to deter you but to help you understand my viewpoint.

Clarification: I don’t wish to imply that this blog will only be interesting to middle-aged women. I can have an engaging and credible conversation with a middle-aged man (whom many of my friends are) or a young man (whom my sons are) or a woman of any age including the ninety-six year old neighbour and twenty year old niece. But the point of view I express comes from age, experience, education and observation as seen through the eyes of a woman. And that means with feeling.

Under the category Matters of the Heart, there’s going to be more feelings than the other categories. I’ll discuss relationships, grief, joy, duty and other women’s issues. I’ll be as authentic as I can without being shocking, at least for now.

I believe women (and probably men) frequently go through a change of life at this age, and I don’t mean menopause, although that can help. (I wonder if the Chief of the Universe actually created menopause to shake women out of their complacency and get them motivated to begin a new stage. I suspect there’s a male version of menopause too!) Restlessness, risk-taking, activism, addiction and reinvention are all common side-effects.

I want to discuss it all. So please share your thoughts with me when I post a new piece. I want this to be a hub for discussion and interaction. Agree and disagree. Be female, male or neutral. It’s all good! Just put some feeling into it!

 

A Change of Course

 

Auburn Clare Valley May18 (14)

Bio:

For my first blog, I’d like to share with you why I’m doing it.

This serves two purposes: one to let you know what it’s about so you can decide if it interests you and two, so I can figure out why I’m doing it.

Since the question was put to me at a 50th birthday party, ‘What are you going to do now that your youngest child has finished school?’ I found myself wondering. My role had been professional-perfect-wife and worthy mother. My husband’s journey and the growth of our children had always come first. I supported them fully.

Suddenly, with this question, I was like a wriggling caterpillar in a cocoon, desperate to emerge a free butterfly.

It’s common in middle age to assess what the rest of your life will look like if you stay where you are. Some people are content, some complacent, some apathetic, some restless and some miserable.

I felt I was shackled, like the life force was being drained from me. I tried to gather together good enough reasons to stay but in truth it wasn’t working. I was terrified but bundled my fears into a box, gathered my strengths and dreams, and took a giant leap of faith.

As an emerging writer, I want to find my voice. Writing has become as necessary as breathing.

Being a social creature and a middle-aged woman, I’ve developed an interest in understanding people and relationships.  Age, introspection and self-help books have conspired to put me on the road to wisdom. The more wizened I become, the more I want to share.

The natural world – scenery, environment and creatures – is my passion. I need to be outdoors every day. Taking photos is a spinoff of the beauty I notice. The desire to travel and explore gives me extra impetus to blog.

So this blog is about life, relationships, women’s issues, creativity, nature, travelling and writing.

I hope you’ll join me.