I’m over at Agent Mystery Case today with a guest interview about my writing process and blogging highlights. I was really honoured to be a part of this wonderful project. Go check it out and leave some comment love! You know you want to (I mean, it’s a Sunday, right)…
Did you know Shakespeare turns 450 today! I know right, if he were a zombie, that’s an awful lot of slow-moving carrion to get through.
I’m a huge Shakespeare fan. In my theatre days, I have to admit a particular penchant for playing such characters as Hecate and Lady Macbeth—you know, the classically mad ones (with a side serve of witchypoo). This is a skill I’ve certainly put to good use as a parent.
In truth, no-one really knows the date Shakespeare was born. He was baptised on the 23rd April 1564, so that’s his generally accepted birth date. He had three kids and probably used some, if not all, of these pearlers of Shakespearean wisdom on them.
- On listening to your kid rabbit on for 10 minutes about the new Alice Miranda book but not really saying anything—Brevity is the soul of wit—Hamlet.
- On your kid whinging, “but whhhhhyyyyy”—Every why hath a wherefore—Comedy of Errors
- On your kid swearing black and blue that they “will make my bed tomorrow”—Action is eloquence—Coriolanus
- On finding a festy chocolate gold coin stuffed between two couch cushions—All that glisters is not gold—The Merchant of Venice
- On discouraging your kids from ever having a love life—Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps—Much Ado About Nothing.
- Same as #1, but with slightly more esotericism—Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice—Hamlet
- On the fundamentals of growing up to be a functioning adult—This above all: to thine own self be true—Hamlet
- On your kids moaning that they wanted a rabbit-shaped easter egg, not an egg shaped one—How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child—King Lear
- On your kid missing the school bell for the 5th time that week—Delays have dangerous ends—Henry VI Pt. I (my personal fave play!)
But wait, there’s more! You didn’t think I’d let you off an Elizabethan dramaturgical lesson that easily did you? If you like these, go check out my original list—10 Shakespeare Quotes you can Use on your Kids.
That’s all, or to quote Shakespeare—”All’s Well that Ends Well”.
Today, I’m giving back a little. This would ordinarily be quite lovely, but I may have partaken of too many birthday bubbles last night, so. Make of that what you will.
If you visit Melbourne Mum for the laughs (or the gaffes, or the self-deprecatory shenanigans), then you’ll love these characters—10 parenting blogs that make me chortle on a regular basis:
- The 40 year old Dad. I love a blogger who is not afraid of the word “f*ck”.
- The Bloggess. The doyen of written humour, get into her now if you’re not already. Metaphorically speaking. The other way would be a bit weird.
- Five Frogs Blog. A bit edgy, a bit nerdy, Michaela has a similar offbeat sense of humour to me.
- Have a Laugh on Me. Em is just a funny bird. Finitum.
- Mumabulous. Crumpet abounds on Mumab’s blog. I am very much in touch with her about these things. You can never have too much of a good thing. More Benedict? Why yes, I’m glad you asked—I’ll take two.
- Pinky Poinker. Pinky comes at you with unexpected humour guns blazing.
- Potty Mouth Mama. I’m still peeved that she nicked my name way before I started Melbourne Mum, but she’s nonetheless a funny broad. Hey, I’m nothing if not conciliatory.
- Reservoir Dad. Fellow northern-suburban Melburnian who tells it like it is, upended testicles and all.
- Slapdash Mama. Randomness from the royal house of slapstick parenting.
- A Study in Contradictions. Kylie has a beautiful soul and she’s a thigh-slapper as well. Which is a perfect marriage, really. Don’t worry, I’m not getting any “ideas”.
Do you have a favourite funny blog/blogger? (go on, say me, me, just say it’s me. Oh OK, choose someone else, then).
Hey, I’m hosting #laughlink NEXT week. Come back and share a humorous post and get in on ALL THE CHORTLES.
There has been something hinky in the water/air/blood/moon this past week.
People close to me are feeling overwhelmingly emotional, unsure, and questioning. There has been soul-searching, quests for meaning, vigorous headslapping over the pointless “Grass is Always Greener” mentality. I have heard stories of people feeling fundamentally unfulfilled once they become a parent. I’ve heard stories of beautiful, intelligent people dying in their 60s, having raised wonderful capable kids, but having forgotten about themselves. We encourage our kids that they can do anything, that they are capable of doing whatever makes their hearts sing, but do we live that? We sacrifice a little piece of ourselves when we parent, but we don’t need to crucify ourselves onto martyrdom.
I explored this recently in my own heart. My urge to be creative sometimes supersedes my role as a mum and that brings with it guilt—inner torment if I’m going to get all dramatic about it (and trust me, I’ve been dramatic about it). With all of that comes the practicalities of making a living, the painful and unfair comparisons with people who are childless and doing it—making their mark on the world with (what we believe is) envious freedom. It’s enough to drive someone to tantrum. Oh wait, done that too.
It’s about a Legacy. What is your Legacy going to be? Once you become a parent, you don’t get to relinquish all those dreams or the urge to be immortal in some way. It’s mentally and physically tougher to find the time to do it, but it’s do-able. Some days I wake up feeling melancholy about getting older, about the burden of motherhood, about not having enough time to splatter my Legacy all over the World. But I get up, suck it up (sometimes unwillingly, sometimes with tears), and continue my writing. Is my writing going to change the world? Maybe not, but if it comes from an honest and entertaining place, there’s no reason why it can’t. Your Legacy doesn’t need to be creative—it can be philanthropic, it can be changing the world in little, but significant, ways—moving people, making people feel something and making yourself feel all of it.
At the end of the day, if we’re not feeling something, we’re dead. And no-one wants to be a zombie*.
*Unless it gets you a gig as an extra in The Walking Dead. That would be the only caveat.
Lately I’ve been in a bit of a dark and emotional place, entirely self-inflicted I might add.
You see, I write dark/horror fiction. It’s my favourite genre, and one I love to read. But when you get into a book like “The Handmaid’s Tale” or some Edgar Allen Poe, you spend a few days in that headspace. When you are writing said genre and descend headlong into constructing a dark, oddly terrifying world that you have to live in for a while (at least in your head), OMFG, it really affects your mood. Just ask husbando.
So to celebrate the many dark spaces in my brain at the moment, I bring you 6 things that cheered me up this week (somehow 6 seems like an appropriate number).
1. Watching the live stream of Bastille at Coachella. OK, Dan Smith takes self-deprecation and lack of self-confidence to a whole new level, but he’s a masterful storyteller with a beautiful voice. OK. Crushing a little bit. I cranked their live gig up on Saturday on our big in-lounge screen. Oddly, some of his music is very haunting & melancholy, but hell, watching them live made me wickedly happy.
2. My 8 year old daughter Scout drew me this little somethin’ somethin’ while I was having a writer’s blocky type meltdown thingie wotsit. This child is a keeper.
3. Having a girlie’s drink with one of my bestest buddies. A belly laugh can be all you need to sweep one out of a funk. I laughed ’til I cried, we talked silly girly crushes and got our cathartic on. HELLS yes. Girlfriends rock.
4. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I took a girlfriend to see Three Stuffed Mums at the festival, which was really quite hilarious. I must be in a pretty black place though, because, whilst it was funny, it also made me a bit depressed. I love being a mum, but I also want to 1) retain my pelvic floor 2) do more than just be a mum and 3) not have to ever smell teenage boys.
5. Game of Thrones “Honest” Trailer. OK, it’s puerile, amateur and is probably only going to appeal to the diehard geeks out there (and those who have already seen S3), but I really did wet myself. So much for that pelvic floor.
You know you’re a geek when:
- You describe the basket you put clothes into before they get sorted as “the landing page”;
- You get added to random Twitter groups named “Top Nerds of Twitter” and “Entertaining Geeks”;
- When you get into a tiz about something and need time alone, you tell everyone you need to “defrag your hard-drive”;
- When your husband explains that #3 makes no sense, you rephrase it to “reconfigure your hard-drive”, but insist that #3 is better;
- You are shitty when husband’s interstate work-trip prevents you from going to Adelaide ComicCon to see Benedict Cumberbatch (OK, this may lean you more towards the die-hard fangirl, but, Sherlock);
- Your husband has to explain to you that you don’t get to call yourself a geek, other people do, but it’s perfectly OK to call yourself a nerd;
- You are disproportionately excited about the new seasons of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Sherlock and about 10 other cult TV shows;
- Your idea of perfect birthday presents for your 8 y.o are a microscope and a thesaurus;
- When you do quizzes, you refuse to look up the answers on the Google because “it’s cheating”. You then go and do a wee, slip into your Mind Palace, and come up with the answers;
- Anha, mai ki ohara ma timvir, biatches!
Linking up with Michaela for our NEW Laugh Link!
And remember, Laughter has been scientifically proven to be GOOD for you (unless you have a mouthful of vomit)!
I think we were all born natural storytellers before sh*t got in the way—self-consciousness, self-doubt, disinterest, shame, adulthood. I was a gifted fibber as a kid, belying my mother’s insistence that I “couldn’t possibly look her right in the eyes and tell her a lie.” It was always a game, a challenge to get away with the most outrageous yarns I could possibly tell—oral, written—my imagination was on a serious steroid trip as a youngster. But then I grew up.
Given my one-time writing voracity, I got to thinking about why it’s taken me so long to tackle this novel—this wonderful and terrible story that I find myself drawn into, sometimes at the expense of being a normal person. I thought perhaps I was too busy being a jetsetter, ex-pat, actress (ooooh, in so many ways), corporate denizen, student, mother blah blah blah. All of those are valid, but there is something else. An incident that happened to me in childhood that put me off writing for years.
When I was about 13, I wrote mostly poetry, short stories and plays. Plays were my favourite—dialogue-driven, perfunctory, quick and dirty. Of course, at 13 I was also going through a *cough* tricky phase. First unrequited crushes, first discovery of the awesome sh*t your body can do, oh lordy, yes that stuff.
And that stuff, the really dirty sex stuff that only 13 year-old virgins can dream up came out into my plays. It was a joyous process (*double cough*) and some of it was quite disgusting I’m sure. Personally, I blame Judy Bloom.
One day, a schoolfriend and I went to see the Ray Martin show in Sydney. When I arrived home that evening, my mother was sitting in our downstairs rumpus room with her back to me, crying, my plays in her hand, torn and wept upon. I got into so much trouble for writing about what should have been a voyage of marvellous discovery. To this day, I still remember the way she was sitting and the look of total devastation on her face—the horror that her baby girl would right such lascivious content. And I remember my utter mortification.
For years after that, I was scared to write freely, and even now I’m still self-conscious about showing my unfinished writing to others—more specifically, my much-loved others.
And sorry, mum, this novel has a whole hell of dirtiness in it. Word.
Do you have an early writing story to share?
Daenerys Targaryen. Game of Thrones protagonist and self-styled Dragon Mama. She is the ultimate people manager. OK, she might bang on too much about her goddamn dragons, and has an outrageous sense of birthright entitlement, but modern managers, even CEOs, could learn a great deal from her:
- The Kid aint no Micromanager. She freed the Unsullied slaves from Astapor—giving them the choice to leave on their own terms or follow her in her quest for the throne. In return, they committed to her (their emancipator) absolute loyalty. Don’t really see that happening to Alan Joyce.
- She is not afraid to terminate dead weight. In today’s workplace, there is the annoying tendency to “manage out” low performers and questionably ethical employees by way of retrenchment rather than termination. There are no red-tape redundancies for Daenerys, HELL NO. She facilitated Viserys’ death, and had her dragons massacre Kraznys mo Nakloz. But, you know, they were arseholes and getting really annoying.
- She leads by example and is a role model for a flexible workplace. The Mother of Dragons brings her babies to work every day, without any ambiguous workplace agreements “permitting” her to do so. Sure, the dragons are workplace allies (with killer breath) and lay down her megalomaniac foes, but I’m sure you could use kids to the same advantage. Gastro, anyone?
- She is cool under pressure. Daenerys doesn’t take no shit from nobody. And she’s not afraid to use a double negative if it serves her purpose. She has a goal (the Iron Throne) and will strategise and charm her way all the way to it, whilst protecting those who have committed to her.
- She will have your back. Being sexually discriminated against or bullied at work? Daenerys has your back, yo. Shocked by the treatment of the Dothraki slaves, she won them fair treatment, and we’ve already talked about her freeing 80,000 Unsullied minions. She sticks up for those in her army and those not in positions of power. But god help you if you are the bully. That can win you one hell of a negative performance appraisal—served up with a demotion and bubbling cap of skull-melting gold.
The best managers I’ve had are those who have ruled with a fist of iron for the boardroom and an open palm of mercy for their direct reports. Westeros may be a bloodthirsty den of sadism and double-crossing, but as CEO of her people, you can’t fault her.
And can you just imagine the on-site creches?
This competition has now closed. Congratulations to Effie B who has won a double-pass to see “Three Stuffed Mums” on April 9!
Why hi, y’all. You know I like a bit of comedy don’t you? It was the “parenting with a humorous twist” in my tagline that gave it away, wasn’t it?
Someone once said I should do stand up comedy. It was painful to watch said someone being assaulted with paroxysms of laughter—I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Theatre, even comedic theatre, oh sure, but Stand Up? HELL NO.
Luckily there are 3 mums out there who love it, are good at it and are bringing their brand of comedic parenthood to Melbourne.
“Three Stuffed Mums” is a show about a “physically stuffed” mum of a toddler, a “mentally stuffed” mum of a teenager and a “get stuffed” empty nester, who combine original songs and stand up comedy for a hilarious look at the oldest profession in the world—no, not that one, the other one—Motherhood. The three comediennes speak from a place of experience when they lampoon the hilarious highs and lows of life as a mum with all its peculiar flaws.
I’m giving away a Double Pass (tickets only) to see the Melbourne show on 9th April, valued at $50 big ones.
TO WIN, answer this question in the comments of this post by 5pm, Monday 31st March:
“Which of these 3 mums are you and why—the “physically stuffed”, the “mentally stuffed” or the “get stuffed”?
The results of the giveaway will be published on the Melbourne Mum Facebook page on 2/4/2014.
Details of the Double Pass:
“Three Stuffed Mums”, presented By Recharge Comedy Shows for Mums
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
6:30pm Wednesday 9th April 2014
The Upstairs Lounge @ Hairy Little Siesta
240 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Terms and Conditions (aka fine print):
The name of the promotion is: “Three Stuffed Mums” competition. | The promoter is Melbourne Mum in conjunction with Three Stuffed Mums. | This competition is open to Australian residents only. | All entries must be received no later than 31/3/2014 5:00 pm – AEST. | Comments submitted after this time will not be considered for the giveaway. | Only one entry per person. | Employees, immediate family members, retailers, suppliers, associated companies and agencies are not eligible to enter. | This is a game of skill. The winner will be awarded based on the creativity of their answer to the question “Which of these 3 mums are you and why—the “physically stuffed”, the “mentally stuffed” or the “get stuffed”? The 5 most creative/funniest answers, as judged by Melbourne Mum will win the tickets. | The prize will be in the form of two tickets which will be sent to the winner once address details have been provided after the competition has closed. | The results of the giveaway will be published on the Melbourne Mum Facebook page on 2/4/2014. | Prizes are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. | The total prize value is $50. | The prize is tickets for the Melbourne show only. Winners must make their own way to and from the venue. | Melbourne Mum is not responsible for prizes once they have been dispatched to the winner.
Last week I ran my first ever giveaway.
Thank you to everyone who entered (bloody relieved—I was a bit worried no-one would!)
Louisa of Brand Meets Blog has judged the WINNERS—the 5 most creative answers to the question; “If you were a circus performer, what would your signature performance/trick/talent be?”
A copy of “Toby’s Travelling Circus” will soon be winging its way to:
Michelle V. | Lara C.G. | Tegan C. | Melanie W. | Alicia
Congratulations to all!
* I have sent an email to all winners. If you haven’t responded to the email, please let me know your mailing address by this Friday 21st March. If I haven’t heard from you by then, I will award the DVD to the next person in place!