ABOUT ME – Trish Nankivell

I’m an Australian wife and mother, born in Ireland and aspiring to be a fiction novelist.

Eric & Trish May10
My beautiful husband xx

This has been a dream my entire life – but it is only now in middle-age that I have begun working on that.

Blog writing (I call them articles) began when my husband Eric and I took long service leave in 2013 to base ourselves in Spain – and I kept a travel blog. More personal and humorous than what I write in Random Thoughts.

This site, Random Thoughts, compels me to write when I have particular topics that irk or inspire me – and I’m trying to bring in some lighter subject too.

Since being introduced to Friday Fictioneers (Flash Fiction) I endeavour to write 100 words based on a ‘photo of the week’ and seeing what it inspires you to write. I don’t follow it every week; I mean to, but then it’s suddenly too late 🙂

Through National Novel Writing Month @NaNoWriMo I’ve written two draft novels in 2015 and 2016. This April 2017, I’m working on the 2016 novel – editing, adding more words and rewriting (all at the same time). Completion is winning in nanowrimo –  not quality of writing – so it’s a fun goal setting and writing experience. Especially good for procrasti-writers! 😀

I’ve great ideas for improving and evolving my 2015 novel, but that needs to wait its turn; and I always notebooks with my scribbled ideas around the place.

In 2017 I’ve enrolled in a few courses through the Australian Writers’ Centre @WritersCentreAU – Blogging for Beginners and How to get more Blog Readers, 2 Hours to Scrivener Power and Copywriting Essentials. I also enjoy following their podcast ‘So you want to be a writer’, available through iTunes.

Another great podcast I’m following is The Bestseller Experiment @bestsellerxp, also available through iTunes. These two Marks endeavour to write and publish a ‘bestselling novel’ in one year – and in the process they gather useful information and interview a huge range of people to do with the industry of writing – authors especially, but also people who provide information on ‘how to find your voice’, ‘kindle direct publishing’ and ‘how do I get an agent’. But, I have to say, the author interviews are fantastic – Joe Abercrombie, John Connolly, @SarahPinborough (hilarious and rude!) Michael Connelly, Ben Aaronovitch and Joe Hill, Michelle Paver and Joanne Harris. Loving it!

Hope you enjoy these writings; they are the beginning of my future! Trish

MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT – DREAMING

MILLIONAIRE HOT SEAT – DREAMING

Hello all my friends out there!Hot Seat

Well, if you didn’t know already you’re about to hear that I’ve made it to an audition for Hot Seat. In Melbourne, this coming Tuesday 11th April.

In case you don’t watch TV quiz shows – Hot Seat has evolved from ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ and is still hosted by Eddie McGuire.

So clearly, this audition is on my mind and I had a crazy dream last night.

The main crux of this dream is that I sat down (at a long meeting table) with the other wanna-be contestants and we were presented with our written test. AND I COULDN’T DO IT!

There were random and wild reasons why I couldn’t do it …. and here goes the story 🙂

An assistant to the show gathered us up and lead us to this meeting room, and then put a sheet of questions (the exam) in front of each of us, and left the room.

I look down at the first page – and can’t see anything on it! It was blank – a grey page, not white – and empty. I look around at the others and they’re all heads down and working away. I make a disgruntled noise, like ‘I don’t get it!” 🙂

Funnily enough in this dream, even though it is an exam situation, they all engage with me. And they’re going ‘what’s wrong?’.

“There’s nothing on any of my pages!” I say, and I then look over at the pages of the people closest to me, and their pages are also blank – but these guys are answering questions. The assistant comes in and asks what’s going on. And I show her my page!

“There are questions on there, Trish” she says.

“No there aren’t,” I’m becoming quite cranky and flustered by now. “Um, maybe you could turn the lights on,” I say.

“The lights? It’s bright enough in here,” says the assistant, huffily.

“Well, I have terrible eyesight, so maybe that’s it,” I answer and one of the contestants gets up and finds the lights. Voila! I can see. Thank God!

And then, WTF. The questions don’t make ANY SENSE. First of all this should be a multiple choice exam, like the show format. What I see are columns of letters and blanks and on a further page, numbers and blanks, and further along still there are random questions – but no multiple choice.

I stare (blindly) at the letters and blanks – it’s like on Pointless, where they offer a category, say ‘Famous Musician Eric’s’ and then give letters and blanks and you have to work out the names of their bands, or songs or their surnames – yeah? But these are letters and blanks – with no context.

I tell you, I’m pulling my hair out now – and there’s a lot of hair to pull out! I’m freakiHot Seatng EFFing and carrying on – and I grab up my exam and dash out of that meeting room. As an aside, by now we aren’t the only ones at the table. There are people gathered at the other end – famous people like Mark ‘The Beast’ and Anne Hegarty ‘The Governess’ from The Chase, and they’re all talking loudly and laughing and causing a HUGE distraction.

I rush out and find another room close by, with a large table, and I plonk down on it with my exam. Directly in front of where I’m sitting, there are curtains or sheets or something dumped there, like they’ve come in from the clothesline. And within seconds, OMG, I’ve got my paperwork tangled up in them. For fuck sake! I’m standing there shaking out these EFFing sheets and the assistant comes up “What are you doing, Trish?”.

“I’ve got my EFFing exam lost in these EFFing sheets,” I’m yelling, tears pouring down
my face and I’m almost bald by now. And then, a most amazingly transcendent thing happens …

David Duchovny appears at my side! Ahhh, he is the host of my Millionaire Hot Seat dream and he now asks ‘What is wrong here?” And after that first lustful, breath of air, I revert back to the screaming harridan and begin to get stuck into Mr Duchovny about the absurdity of this audition exam.

“It doesn’t even make any sense!” I cry out, waving the papers (now recovered) about. “What the fuck are all these As and Bs about – random letters with no context. What have they got to do with your show format? It’s a lot of bulldust and I’m over it. Leaving now!”

David speaks to me calmly in his lovely Duchovny voice (Ahhhh) and I’m momentarily distracted by that …. but then I turn around and leave. I find myself outside with a long bridge to cross and I begin running across it. I’m running, running and David is chasing me with long, loping, sexy action movie type running – and I stop suddenly. Shit! I drove the other contestants here. We car pooled. (I know it doesn’t make sense. It’s a dream! I don’t know any of the other contestants!) 😀

I can’t run out on them; that’s not fair. So I turn around and start to walk back, head down, fists clenched and breathing hard. And David starts talking to me as we walk back. He begins by telling me I’m lazy, I’m giving up, what a loser! Ha! My inner demons haunting me in my dreams.

Then somehow it comes up between us that perhaps if someone read out the questions, because clearly my problem is that I have bad eyesight :). If the questions are read out, then I’ll be able to complete the test! You beauty! For a few seconds … and then it hits me, I still have to deal with all those EFFing letters and blanks, which don’t make any sense at all.

The dream ended. Sorry folks. Clearly, I have entered panic mode! I thought I was only worried about my appearance and how I could sound interesting when speaking into a camera for a minute (part of the audition, if I make it past the test). But no, no, no – arrgh.

Well, bring on Tuesday is about all I can say. Fingers crossed – I could use $1M, or $250,000, $100,000 – I’d settle for $10,000. 🙂

Ciao, Trish

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Winner

nano-by-the-numbers

National Novel Writing Month 2016 (NaNoWriMo) and another small novel down. Two years in a row for me – and that is the great thing about the program. A want-to-be author, who has only started blogging since 2013 and not done any creative writing since she was a teenager, has now written over 100,000 words of fiction.

When you are a wife and mother (and most often at work) you put aside all the dreams – at least I did. My desire to write is deeply buried; with my creative muse. And all things practical take precedence.

Even as things have changed, it has been hard to realise that I now have the time and my own permission to pursue this area of interest. Lee Child only wrote his first novel in his mid-40s, so a late start is not unheard of. Of course, Mr Child’s total life and career background has been fertile ground for his imaginative and action-packed thrillers. For me, a simple mummy-type background hasn’t been a breeding ground for amazing ideas J!

The first novel in 2015 About Lucy sits in the romance genre; and is still in draft mode and needing beefing up. At the rewrite, it will change and not be as light, with a bleak beginning; but that will be the impetus for the rest of Lucy’s journey and there will still be room for the light and funny parts. A lot of rewriting to be done. And ironically, I only began to imagine what to do with a rewrite as NaNoWriMo 2016 approached; when I was supposed to be thinking up the next story.

The Shimmering is the 2016 effort and is again a romance, but with a foot in the door of ancient Ireland. In fact, the novel is set in the modern age, but there are faeries living ‘almost’ among us – remnants of the Celtic Gods. And my main character, Jenny, is a direct descendant of these Celts and therefore unwillingly becomes the main attraction in a supernatural happening – called, The Shimmering.

I think this second book has more depth to it. I’m happier with the quality in this second attempt at writing a ‘novel in a month’.

I have two ideas for the next stories rumbling around in my head and while I’ve got the writing habit happening, I shall begin on them. The first is an imagining of losing a young child at the airport – and how that happens; how do we react and what happens to the child (how does the child handle it?). The second is a ‘zombies living among us’ story. I know; Zombies! I read eclectically and clearly, I’m going to be an eclectic writer J.

I’ve written on this site before about NaNoWriMo and how it is a vehicle to get people to write – who otherwise mean to, but procrastinate, think they’re not good enough, it is something other people do, etc. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month – from 1st November to (pens down) midnight 30th November. You’re a winner if you reach that 50,000‑word target.

I tell people I’m a winner, because I achieved the goal of 50,000 words. Most people go ‘oh yeah, that’s good’ or ‘good on you’; but I don’t believe that they realise – me and the other ‘winning’ participants wrote a small novel in 30 days.
Out of a beginning number of over 400,000 (I don’t know the 2016 numbers, but in 2015 there were 431,626 adult participants) only so many finished. In the entire world. And I was one of them! You can see from the graph that it is a small number of people who reach that 50,000-word goal.

 

I have a way to go before I’ve got something that’s publishable (basically, I’ve written two first drafts) but this is a massive achievement for me.  @nanowrimo #nanowrimoworks 😀

When is it okay to hunker down and look after yourself?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated in June 2016 that ‘at the end of 2015 there were 65.3 million refugees; that is, one out of every 113 people on earth and that was an increase of 5.8 million on the previous year. This is mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts.’  http://www.unhcr.org/emergencies

An article by Reuters in December 2015 estimates:

  • 2 million refugees fleeing wars and persecution
  • Almost 2.5 million asylum seekers with requests pending in Germany, Russia and the United States
  • An estimated 34 million people were internally displaced – with Yemen reporting the highest number of newly uprooted people at 933,500 – after civil war erupted in March 2015
  • Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan; as well as Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Congo and Iraq – have all lost people through displacement, due to violence.
  • Many refugees will remain in exile for many years. The chance that a refugee will make it back home (today) are lower than at any time in the last 30 years.

These figures are only those for refugees brought about through the violence of war and fighting.

This week the news is about 90% destruction in parts of Haiti through the passage of Hurricane Matthew. The numbers of dead are high, but it is the number of people who are displaced and have nothing – estimated 300,000 that is worrying. This is a country that hasn’t recovered from the earthquake of 2010.

Historically Haitians escape to the US, due to poor lifestyle and corrupt government, but are routinely returned to Haiti because it is decided the refugees ‘do not suffer reprisals when they are returned’. However, anecdotal stories would suggest this is incorrect

emergencies2

* * * *

I’ve barely touched the tip of the refugee iceberg with the above notes. Let me tell you though that I worry about a world where so many people are displaced, unhappy, persecuted – with nowhere to feel safe. They need somewhere to belong and while some countries have opened their arms – such as Germany and Italy – they do so at the risk of their countrymen rebelling and at the risk of losing their own cultural identity.

Losing cultural identity doesn’t sound too bad – does it? Globalisation is the holy grail in this modern age – globalisation equals loss of cultural identity. However, I believe that there is a genuine and healthy need to nurture cultural identity – and that is for both the country that has accepted these refugees and for the refugees , within their new country.

I’d suggest that the healthiest and happiest people are those who celebrate their cultural uniqueness. They know who they are, their people, their history and where they belong.

Those who are ‘lost’, who haven’t been nurtured in the wealth of their heritage; perhaps they have moved around a lot and don’t have a sense of community. These people ‘suffer’ in their lack of identity.

* * * *

I sit here in ‘comfort’; that is, I’ve a roof over my head, food on the table, clean water. There is money for movies and a book and too much takeaway. Financially, we are in ‘start-up’ mode again, due to a recent relocation, so we feel poor. However, we have prospects and as long as we work hard and continue to have some luck, we’ll be okay; because life in Australia is safe.

Yet, I continue to despair at the plight of refugees. Previously I have written about my disgust at the way our Australian government handles our domestic refugee intake and how government and media encourage us to fear refugees. The media certainly encourages us to fear people based on religious beliefs or ethnicity.

The question remains – How do we help these people in dire need while keeping our own freedom, culture and security intact? And I still don’t know the answer.

I feel “How dare we be comfortable” when so very many people are suffering. At the same time, I’m not willing to give up my freedoms or comfortable life; so, stalemate.

Murder & Mayhem Part 2 – and the Winners are!

Not me! Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Oh well – I had high hopes. I was so excited to see my ‘name in lights’ after entering my first ever writing competition – however small the competition was.

Why did I think I had a hope in hell of winning, or running up or shortlisting? Who knows? It comes to mind, that this is somewhat how the contestants in X Factor or Pop Idol, Australia’s Got Talent and so forth, feel. Somebody has told them they’re great singers, dancers, comedians, etc and they believed it. They’re good! More than good; they’re sensational! 🙂

And while I didn’t necessarily have a posse of arse-lickers telling me how wonderful my fiction writing was – I was happily confident that they were great! 😀

Anyhoo (as my daughter would say) I didn’t make the short-list and upon reading the winning entries, I can see why. I write plain.

And coincidentally, in the last few days I’d been thinking that already – I dream in full technicolour, with fantastical story lines and characters, and movement between worlds and bigger than life adventures. Yes, they generally present in logical order too; which isn’t the case for everyone, as I understand it.

However, when I write – I write as my personality is; plain, straightforward, logical and pedantic (?). Yes, the stories make sense; yes they have a beginning, middle and end and spelling is excellent and the characters believable. But is there ‘life’ to the stories? Are they too much ‘in the box’ and not ‘outside the square’?

I can see upon re-reading of my two short stories where I lacked. And number 1 was that I wrote them and sent them off, without editing/rewriting! 🙂

So, congratulations to the two winners! See the link below to read the winning stories and the 10 shortlisted items also and see which ones you liked the best. I enjoyed the 2nd winner AND the story about the engineer and the swimming pool tickled my quirky bone! 😀

http://www.writerscentre.com.au/top-10-crime-thriller-comp-winners-and-notables/

Remember the rules were: Character of your own creation, using the words umbrella, softly and birthday with fewer than 149 words. And crime themed; the character had to have committed some sort of crime (big or small). Read my previous article Murder & Mayhem, to read my entries.

smily-thumbs-up

Loving FREEWRITE

 

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Freewrite – pride of place on my Writing Desk

Shall I write my first blog out of my Freewrite? Well, yes, I shall. smily-thumbs-up

It is SO exciting. Ordered back in May 2015, I missed out on the first round of orders and therefore it meant a wait of more than a year. And luckily I’m a patient girl (and trusting) because when you spend several hundred dollars on an item and you don’t get your hot little hands on it for many months, it does cross your mind “Hmm, is this is a scam?” It wasn’t!

The idea of the Freewrite is that you write – without social media-type distractions, write without editing (computers allow you to edit as you go and therefore can derail you from the ‘actual’ writing). This is a modern-day ‘word processing’ tool; solely for writing.

The keyboard; ah, delight! It has those large, deep keys of olden day electronic typewriters, that tangible sensation of keying in words and the ‘click-clack’ soundtrack. Heavenly!

It sounds romantic (and actually I feel it is romantic) to say that writing on a typewriter is so much better than on a modern keyboard, with a soulless screen in front of you. There’s a sensuousness; a connection that you don’t get in front of a computer.

The Freewrite is a weighty machine for its size, but that appears to be a positive as with a rugged aluminum body, it doesn’t feel fragile.

Oh and the Freewrite has an e-ink screen (like a Kindle) so you can use in bright light – sit outside under a tree or alfresco at your favourite cafe – and clearly see what you’re writing; oh, and it is portable. Doesn’t have a carry‑case, but has a handle and off you go!

The Freewrite saves as you go – first to its own memory storage and then when you switch on the Wi-Fi – to the cloud. Freewrite uses Postbox and you can then sync your writing to any other cloud service you may be using – such as Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive. You can be offline to write and then switch back to online to upload your work.

As I mentioned previously, this ‘writing’ tool discourages you from wasting time editing an ongoing piece of work – because you can’t edit. You can back space – but there isn’t a delete key.  There are no cursor keys, so you can’t navigate back to a mistype, spelling mistake or a sentence or paragraph you’d like to retype! You can do that later – and so your synced writing can then be downloaded to a standard word processing program and prettied up – editing and adding photos, if required.

So when the finished version of this short article is uploaded to my WordPress blog – there will be a photo of my Freewrite sitting on my writer’s desk. Right now, of course, I can only contribute the words.

It is so exciting; I can’t believe how exciting it is. I have a deadline for the coursework I’m completing at the moment – and I need to be finished in time for National Novel Writing Month #nanowrimo in November – but NO! I want to play with my new toy; I mean write!

Out go my old IBM electronic typewriters – this compact unit replaces them. Not their romanticism, but their heft, reliance on accessories (ribbons, golf balls) electricity and space – and their lack of portability. You have been replaced, my dears! smily-pink

Come National Novel Writing Month this November – my next 80,000 words will be written on this gorgeous machine.

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I’ll let you know further down the track how I’m going with it – and if the love affair continues.

Hasta pronto! Trish

 

 

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MICRO-AGGRESSION – Charade or Truth

A year later and this is still a burning issue with our son and his girlfriend (specifically that we have a history of racism and manipulation).
We want to welcome his girlfriend with open arms to our family – and we’ve been trying to do this. She is a beautiful and intelligent girl. When they’re ready to make babies – they will be so cute! 😛
However, today my husband and I are going to a counselling session. I’m not sure whether it is to work out strategies about how to deal with this situation – or teach us that we’re wrong. But it is at the request of this couple.
They haven’t yet answered my request for specific examples of what we’ve said or the way we’ve acted that has made them uncomfortable, to help us identify areas for discussion with the counsellor. Anyway! 😦
It means that in our discussion with the Counsellor, it will be all from our side and therefore unbalanced and if she only hears our side of things, she’s not going to fix us! 😀
Please don’t come back and rant at them – they’re young and trying to find their way (I guess). 😀 xx

RANDOM THOUGHTS by Trish

Hello again! Well, I’ve been on an up and down emotional roller coaster since early August 2015, when my beloved youngest son and his girlfriend thought to take offense at a comment I made on my Facebook page.

I was in a new town, having relocated from country Western Australia to NSW and was looking for a beauty therapist. Now there seem to be a large number of salons offering beauty treatments and massages here run by ‘Asian’ ladies and this was new to me. They seem to be particularly Thai in cultural background and one day I walked into a salon looking for someone to do a manicure and pedicure.

I entered the premises, to find several women and some children seated on the floor and sharing a meal or snacks. There was no sign of the typical beauty salon paraphernalia – you know what I mean? Products, seating…

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