Random thoughts Scribblings

On the benefits of membership in a local writers group

Writing is a solo sport. “Sport?” I hear you laugh. Yes, I argue. It requires discipline. Improvement of skills. Goal setting and achievement reaching. And, let’s face it, the noun ‘sport’ is just so much stronger than the noun ‘activity’. And it’s my blog, so I get to say what nouns get used. And today, I want to use the noun ‘sport’. So there.

But that’s not the point. The point is, that it’s a SOLO sport. One done by individuals, not teams. And as such, this sport that writers practice, is – by its very nature – a lonely one. And that’s okay. We understand that.

But it’s not good to be alone. To grow, to develop, to improve, we need community. Others. To help us, to hone our skills, to give us instantaneous feedback, constructive criticism, to inspire and encourage and tell us straight when we’ve completely screwed something up and need to give up and start over.

And that’s where a local writers group comes in. For me, at least.

There are a dozen regular members in the group I’m a member of. Writers of fantasy, of bush ballads and other poetry, of romance. writers of biographies and autobiographies. Writers of history. Radio script writers. And me.

This morning, our challenge was to rewrite a short event (read ‘news clip’) into a much longer, more sensational piece (read ‘feature article’). This was fun. The 34 year old Berlin-born burglar of guitars, amps and other music equipment from a Philadelphian storage locker back in March, became a far more sinister figure in my retelling of the news event. He morphed into a Nazi-background, revenge-seeking criminal mastermind, intent on world domination through his dealings in Weapons of Mass Destruction. And that was just mine! Others’ entries ranged from watermelon-wielding elephants to boganvillea intent on injuring their owners. What lively discussions ensued!

And that’s my point. Writing is lonely. And I find it essential, if I’m aiming to improve in this sport that I’ve chosen, to un-loneli-fy myself. To be a part of a vibrant writing community which so inspires me every fortnight.

I love it. Am I the only one, I wonder?

Anyway, have a great day, dear reader! 🙂

— KRidwyn


Life Random thoughts

How tough are you?

8482383303_d7900da0bb_mI like to think of myself as tough. Mentally. I know that I have me a pretty strong willpower. Physically? Not so much. Emotionally? Nah – I’m kinda a marshmallow, really, when I’m honest with myself…! But mentally? I know I’ve got “grit and determination” in spades. So when I first heard about ‘Tough Mudder’ I thought ‘Wow! That would be FANTASTIC!!!’

In their own words, “Tough Mudder events are hardcore 18-20 km obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie” and some more: “To get through mud, fire, ice-water, and 10,000 volts of electricity you’ll need teammates to pick you up when your spirits dip. To get over 3 m walls and through underground mud tunnels, you’ll need teammates to give you a boost and a push. Tough Mudders are team players who make sure no one gets left behind. To that end, all Mudders℠ are expected to uphold our ideals and exhibit teamwork and camaraderie both on the course and off it.” (Find out more here)

My opinions haven’t changed, even though I’ve looked into it quite a bit more. It’s tough. It’s muddy (remember Emu Gully, Jo?) and it’s a challenge-and-a-half. So I’m up for it. Circumstances have prevented me from forming a team for this year’s Sunshine Coast challenge in August, but apparently they’ve signed up for a 5 year contract, so I’m planning to be one of the first to register for the 2014 event.

Bring it on!!!!!

CC image courtesy DVIDSHUB at

family anecdotes Life More about me

A rainbow *sob*

Yesterday was a memorable day. My pretty much non-verbal, autistic, Mr 3 blew me away.

“Mummy? When [it] raining… when it stop… [we see] rainbow. Okay?”

Precious words from the gorgeous lips of my (no longer non-verbal!) little man!!! It was lunchtime, and he was busy munching on his favourite sandwich – sprinkles – and we were listening to the pelting of the rain on our tin roof. And he just started talking, right out of the blue (well, grey, actually, if that phrase is referring to ‘sky’ LOL). He’d obviously been thinking about when the rain would stop (although for most of the day, it just poured and poured and poured; the type of rain that you think will never ever end) and he verbalised what he’d been thinking about.

What a tear-jerker moment!!!

And what made it more special? Posting about it on Facebook and getting SO many supportive comments and ‘Likes’ from online friends. It was just SO incredible to be able to share it with those who know me, and know Mr 3 & our situation, and to see that they were as touched as I was by it. One comment especially made me think. Katherine Howard, I’m looking at you! She mentioned that it was “a lovely observation to verbalise” – and I couldn’t agree more! The idea of the ‘rainbow’. The beauty, after all the miserable-non-stop-rain; the happiness after the perpetual dreariness; even the promise of hope from the original Noah-and-the-Ark Bible story . It perfectly mirrored what had just happened. My little man, talking, after so many months of not. So unbelievably precious!

Wow. Just wow! It was a special, special day. 😀

Thanks for letting me share that with you, too, dear readers – and have yourselves some incredible days today, too! 😀

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Vive la #PLN!

Yesterday I met more of my PLN – hooray!!! I had met @fionawb a couple of weeks ago, and she had graciously invited me to her birthday party – so I cajoled Hubby into meeting new people (he’s spent the last four weeks in a CPA-exam induced cocoon, only emerging on Thursday, and to be honest, prefers the hermit life to the social butterfly one), dragged the kids with us, and drove down to Brisbane.

I must admit, it’s rather strange meeting people in real life that you’ve already gotten to know a little via social media. Even Fi surprised me with her “Shall I introduce people by names? Or with their twitter handles?” question – but I have a feeling that that question is one that gets asked more and more, now that social media is becoming so prevalent throughout all cultures, all societies, even all age groups! But it was *so* good to just fall quite easily into conversation with @rachwray (and of course, have some cuddles with #babywray!) and @jzgarnett – it feels a little like you’re ‘starting’ a friendship kind of half-way in! But it’s great. The ‘ice’ is already broken, so to speak!

So yes, yesterday was a good day. Apart from my three cherubs terrorising #twoboycats and wanting to eat all of Fi’s chocolates, I was immensely happy to have connected IRL with people who inspire me in the twitterverse.

Thanks for a great day, my friends! And thanks SO much Fi for inviting me!

Bloxham Marketing momentous events Work


I blogged last week about @fionawb. Well, in our catchup last Thursday, we realised that we would both be attending Balls on Saturday night just gone – she to the Caboolture Hospital do, me to the St James Lutheran ZehnBall in Hervey Bay.

Saturday then became a day of to be remembered! I had been trying to organise an UpStyle for a couple of days, however with the Torbanlea Races, the Xavier Ball and the Star of the Sea ball ALL on Saturday, getting an appointment had been impossible. Even the incredible Jenny Venier had been trying for me, without any success (she tried at least a dozen!) because everyone was just so busy. So early Saturday morning, I received an email with the number of yet another salon to try. And, of course, they were booked out, but they suggested yet another place – Summer Jade, in Pialba – which I called at 9.49am.

They said that yes, if I could be there by 1pm, they could squeeze me in. And here’s me, on the Sunshine Coast, a good 3 hours drive away, not even packed!!! I said ‘yes’ as quickly as I could, threw some clothes in a bag, kissed the kids and Hubby and ran out the door. Jumped in the car, started speeding away – and had gotten 8 k or so when I realised that I’d left the dress at home. Arrggh!!! Screaming u turn (yes, I *did* contemplate just buying another dress up there in Hervey Bay, but quickly killed that idea off as divorce-worthy when Hubby found out) and I was on my way home again, calling mum (who was staying to mind the kids) and getting her to get the dress and wait out by the gate for me.

On my way once again, it was now 10.24am and I knew that I wouldn’t make it by 1pm. So this time I did *not* stop to tweet what an idiot I had been (Ghylene, are you reading this?! LOL) and just drove. Fast. Very fast.

The girl in the salon had asked me to call her at midday, and just let her know how far away I was. I called her at 12.03 and said “yes, I’m coming as quickly as I can! According to my iPhone, I’m 65 km away and it should take me 57 minutes to get there!” I think she was rather surprised at my intensity – but that was because I’d just seen roadworks up ahead. She told me to ‘not speed’ (Ha! I’m quite a lead foot…) and I continued my nervous, excited, “I hope I get there!!!” race.

The minutes ticked away; I got closer. And I refreshed my iPhone maps and realised that I might make it after all. In fact, I probably *would* make it after all. In fact, that I would probably make it with a minute or two to spare! LOL! By now, it was 12.45 and I was about 10 minutes away.

So now my attention turned to the directions, seeing as I’d never been there before. And then my phone died – I’d forgotten to charge it before I left, and for some reason the car charger seems to have disappeared…

Long story short, yes, I made it. And was up styled, and then made it to the Silver Sands Apartments (via Subway, because by now it was well past 2 and I hadn’t eaten since 6.30am) and got to sit. And tweet. And laugh at all the #rollonourballs tweets that @fionawb was sending!

6pm arrived before I knew it and it was time to frock up and head out. Like any good girl, I had planned on visiting the bathroom prior to leaving, however that was curtailed when I opened the door and discovered my visitor!

Quick phonecall to management, and a quick decision to ‘visit the ladies when I got there’ and I was off.

And the ball was a blast!!!!!

(Me – after. – Yeah, I know. I’m awful at talking selfies… but  LOOK!!! I have CURLY HAIR!!!!!)

Bloxham Marketing Life

Good times!

Today I am over the moon to be spending a goodly part of my day with the amazing, the brilliant, the irreplaceable Mrs Jenny Venier, making a virtual tour of the fantastic St Paul’s Lutheran Primary School. Roll on, happiness!!!

Random thoughts Technology


I’m about to celebrate my 2,000th tweet. And I’m pretty stoked about that. I love twitter. I miss my tweeps when enforced absences keep me from checking my tweetstream. I know that I can’t write as fluently, coherently or beautifully as fionawb did in her post about her use of twitter, but I can and do echo her sentiments. And I’m pretty stoked to be hitting this 2,000th milestone!

Tweet on!


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I love my kids. To bits. Deeply. And forever. But man! It’s good to get a night out occasionally!

Last night was such a night. I left the “Mummy!”; “Mummy!”, and the “Mummy!” to Daddy for a bit, and escaped with a great friend to the movies.

It was raining. I didn’t care. I got wet. I didn’t care. It was dark, and cold. Again, I didn’t care. I was out, and I was in excellent company, and I had no kids.

The movie was hilarious. “This Means War“, the latest Reese Witherspoon rom com, a little like the ‘Spy vs Spy’ of my older brother’s Mad magazines, back when I was a teenager. But funnier.

I think my taste in movies has changed over time. Although I have NEVER been able to handle horror movies – they don’t do anything for me at all – I used to quite like thrillers. Romantic comedies were alright, and I cold happily pay the money to see a kid’s movie, but my favourite were action flicks. Anything with Bruce Willis; later on Vin Diesel, or Jason Stratham. Now, not so much. Yes, action flicks are still great, but I can’t do too many thrillers any more. Maybe it’s that I see enough tension in my day-to-day life that I don’t relish it in what little time I give myself for leisure time? I’m not sure. But now, it’s more the superficial light-hearted “escape” that I seem to prefer, as evidenced by last night’s choice. And the time before that it was “What’s Your Number” – another click flick, escapist, triviality.

Still an’ all – last night was great. I got home and the kitchen was a mess, toys covered the floor, and life returned to normal, but I knew that for a couple of hours I had escaped. And been rejuvenated. Which was wonderful!

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From the archives… my thoughts on ‘folksonomies’

Again, another interesting piece from my first-ever blog…

Is ‘the author’ a dying breed? Just one of the disadvantages of folksonomies.


Imagine you’ve just spent the last few years of your life writing a novel. You’ve researched it; poured out your thoughts, ideas, and plans; agonised over characters, settings and  plot devices. Finally, after countless hours of Herculean effort, it’s finished. YOUR work. YOUR  effort. YOUR blood, sweat, and tears.

Should you have the right to feel some sort of ownership of that novel? Or those words? Phrases? Characters? Ideas? In my opinion, I yell out a resounding ‘YES!!’ (Of course I would, I’m an aspiring novelist.) However, there are many that wouldn’t.

Put a photo on flickr, and anyone can ‘tag’ it. Okay, that’s normal practice. Maybe, if the photographer hadn’t wanted their photo tagged, they shouldn’t have put it there. But they did, so they should accept the ‘standard practice’ on these types of sites. But what then, when it comes to something other than a photo? When it comes to something like that novel you’ve worked just so darn hard to create? Is it then fair that others can ‘tag’ this? Your work? I guess it’s all well and good if the tags are suitably reflective of the main ideas espoused: ‘historical novel’; ‘character-based’ etc etc. But what if it gets tagged ‘a piece of crap’?! How would you then feel? Because this is indeed a possibility – once ‘out there’, on the net, you have relinquished all control over your work. Completely. It’s enough to make you, the author, want to quit.

And another disadvantage? Finding your novel again! Say this piece of work that you had sweated over was ‘Les Miserables’ (which makes you, of course, Victor Hugo). Say hundreds of years have passed; hard copies of your novel have fallen into disrepair or worse. The only copies that exist, dwell in whatever the future’s version of ‘online’ is. But unfortunately, they’re impossible to find, because everyone has ‘tagged’ your work with classifications that are personal to them.

This system called ‘folksonomy’? I don’t agree with it. I can’t change it; and I know that I have to live with it; but I don’t like it. I’m with Daniel Pink on this one… “On the great library shelf in the sky, Melvil Dewey cannot be amused.”

#blog5daysAustenese random scribblings

#blog5daysAustenese – Day One

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an educated person with a love of reading, an interest in the pursuit of learning, and a possession of both time and opportunity in the form of a blog, must be in want of a writing challenge. The exploration of their writing prowess then finds its culmination in the subsequent compositions, and the responses of readers by the means of comments below the blogs.

Inasmuch as today, being the 16th day in January, marks the commencement of such a challenge, it behooves me to welcome my friends into this five-day season of Austenese blogwriting. I warmly congratulate you on your courage, your bravery in the face of probable ridicule, and your willingness to see a challenge through to the end. Of your determination to attempt the composition of sentences, the structure of which is markedly different to our own, I heartily applaud.

Lovers of Jane Austen everywhere, I raise before you these participants, and commend their efforts to you. Your comments, as a consequence of reading, appreciating, and approving of their work, will inspire them to even greater achievements in this challenge, and therefore are greatly desired by all involved. As each participant will be composing their thoughts on their individual blogs, these links, should you click them, will lead you to the correct destinations:

@jobeaz, blogging at Macaronic

@Girlwithshoess, blogging at Justgirlwithshoes

@kalgrl, blogging at Feral Librarian Tales

@jzgarnett, blogging at Randomly Yours, Julia

And finally, a word to our detractors. Each name you see before you is not, as may be reasonably supposed, a lover of Austen’s writing. Indeed, at least one finds the work of Jane Austen to be so far from pleasant as to call it horrid. It can be assumed, therefore, that in this #blog5daysAusten challenge, you the readers have greatly the advantage of us in this respect, that you are able to comment profusely, whereas we the writers have only our works to recommend us. I would entreat you, therefore, to be gentle in your criticism, or rather, join us in the task ahead and proudly hold your own head high in the challenge. More participants are readily welcomed. Simply comment below your intention to join, with a link to your blog, and compose five posts in the style of Jane Austen. Having tweeted your publication of each post using the hashtag #blog5daysAusten, and following other participants writings, there is nothing left to do but to enjoy the journey!