Monday, March 17, 2014

Someone's Had A Little Work Done

Welcome to a new look and new Girl on a Soapbox. To those that are hoping for more issues and debates, I'm sorry, but I lost the love for writing non-fiction awhile ago. I used to love books and fiction and used to stay up to all hours and write until my eyes were blurry and in my absence of blogging on here, I've gone back there and I'm happy.

I have been working on a historical MS for years on and off but the research was weighing me down. I have these awesome characters that have become good friends of mine over the years but their stories are restricted by facts. I would be sitting at my keyboard writing and then I'd stop and ask myself, "is that possible?" "would that have happened?" The stopping and starting, like a kink in a hose was restricting the flow.

Then, I started a new project and then anther and over the years I have started several projects, one that is nearly completed and another that is only a few chapters in. This blog will force me to be honest about my writing and help me stay on track. Writer friends and my writers group are also helpful but I'm hoping this blog will also be helpful to other writers.

One thing I love about the internet is that it connects you with like-minded people everywhere. I enjoy hearing about how other people write and  their journeys. I'm hoping that this blog will interest and link other writers on this crazy journey that we thought would be a good idea: writing a book.

Monday, December 31, 2012

BLOG: 2012 – REFLECTION – 2013 – HOPE

New Years Eve holds so much hope and good intentions. Next year I’ll exercise more. Give up smoking. Learn a new language. Write more. Then, new years day rolls around and you’re hung over and nursing a sore head and talking in hushed tones and then you say, I’ll start tomorrow but tomorrow comes and goes and all your good intentions and vows go out the window. Until next year.

All I wanted for 2012 was a healthier year.  2011 had been particularly low as my body decided it would wage a war against me that I’m still battling. The only good thing that has come from it was that I now am in tune with my body now that I know when I have to stop and take it easy. So 2012 was showing a lot of promise . Then, on New Years Eve I woke up with a cold that turned into a sinus infection that then manifested into a middle ear infection. I got over it but then I was admitted to hospital to have my wisdom teeth out. A week off work and shiny blue and yellow skin later, I resembled the elephant man.

Forgetting to listen to my body I pushed through the warning signs to rest and then woke up one morning not being able to swallow, cue tonsillitis and more antibiotics. Having said that 2012 was a very big year for me. My best friend proposed to me and we bought our first house. Both as it worked out, in the same week. Now with a mortgage and an impending massive promise to make I’d say we've had a huge year. Change also came in the way of work as my role became more challenging and varied, draining what energy I had left to write.

As regular readers of this (very vacant of late) blog will know I also got back into fiction in a big way. I was still was getting fired up about issues but I had lost the love to write about them here. I hope to write more on this blog in 2013 but you may find that it’s still issues mixed with my ramblings on life and writing. The biggest inspiration for me this year, which I hope to carry on next year, was finding a Ernest Hemingway quote: 

Work everyday. No matter what happened the day or night before, get up and bite the nail –Ernest Hemingway

This is what I hope to carry into 2013. I’m by no means old but I see the window of having the freedom to write freely disappearing and I intend to make the most of it in 2013. I have so much I want to do and say and hopefully, god-willing you’ll be seeing a lot more of my name in 2013.

Thank you for reading this and I wish you all a very safe, happy and healthy 2013.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote Of The Day

"Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young."

-Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bye Bye For Now Now

WARNING: The following is a first world problem.

I had such high hopes for 2011 and then illness got in the way. I was hoping 2012 was going to be a lot better (health wise I have been much better (touch wood)) but then my writing had other ideas.

While I was sick last year, my love of fiction was re-fueled and I finally decided to concentrate on the manuscript I had been flirting with for the better part of 10 years, and make it a serious and steady relationship. It requires a lot of research and I have set myself a goal, but to achieve it, I need to knuckle down and start bashing it out.

I had always loved a good debate and writing opinion pieces at high school and then uni, but over the last year (with mostly thanks to my book club girls) I have discovered fiction again, and fallen head over heels in love with it all over again. My non-fiction writing has now taken a back-seat while I try to make fiction work.

It takes different parts of the brain to write fiction and non-fiction and I struggle to flick the switch from one to the other, to change gears so to speak and unfortunately, this blog has suffered. I will from time to time still check in and write when something that has really got me fired up, or I find something witty to share with you. In the meantime, become a follower and you will get email alerts when I do post something new.

I would like to thank everyone who has joined in on a debate and shared their thoughts. If you're new to the site, check out posts from the past and still feel free to comment as most are still relevant.

For now it's goodbye, or as the French say au revior!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Odd Spot - The Age

A ram jumped to freedom over a 1.5m fence at a farm in Northhamptonshire, England, broke into a adjoining paddock and mated with almost a third of the West Lodge Rural  Centre's 109 ewes in less than a day. Vets confirmed 33 pregnancies. The ram's name? Randy. 

*As published on the front page of The Age newspaper  07/01/12

January: Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

I had a brush with cervical cancer.  A regular pap test  a few years ago came back with an abnormal reading and I had to go back to my doctor. Normally I get a letter a week later from my doctor saying that everything was coo- coo-cachoo with my lady bits and not to come back for another two years.

When another test came back with abnormalities my doctor sent me packing to a gynecologist for more tests. Long story short it turned out I had pre-cancerous cells that needed to be removed. A day surgery later, and a few pap tests every few months, then yearly and now thank god, back to the regular two years where (touch wood) they have since been okay.

When I hard that I may have cancerous cells I went into overdrive. I googled cervical cancer and the worst case scenario (apart from death) was a full hysterectomy. I am by my own admission a drama queen and went for the worst case scenario straight away and asked my partner what he would do if I had to have a hysterectomy and we couldn't have kids. He smiled, wiped my tears and said we will have lots of puppies instead (yep, he's a keeper).

In hindsight, what scared me was the what if. What if I was one of those girls who didn't have regular pap tests and I didn't find out I was sick till it was too late? What if it was cancer? What if it comes back?

Cervical cancer is often over shadowed by its more widely known cousins Breast, Bowel and Ovarian, and the main reason for that is that cervical cancer is one of the cancers that is most preventable and curable. A pap smear every two years can eliminate up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer and a few minutes of awkward is the best way to protect yourself.

What causes Cervical Cancer?
The following is courtesy of the Cancer Council Australia website:

The cause of cervical cancer is unknown. Factors that put some women at a higher risk of cervical cancer include:
  • infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • being the daughter of a woman who used the drug diethylstilboestrol (DES) during pregnancy to prevent a miscarriage
  • smoking, which increases the risk of cervical cancer fourfold.

The National Cervical Screening Program started in Australia in 1991. Since then, the cases of cervical cancer has been halved. The recent introduction of vaccine Gardasil will also hopefully help future generations avoid abnormal test results, however the Cancer Council of Australia highly stress that Gardasil is NOT a replacement of regular pap tests.

Gardasil protects you against two strains of HPV which causes 70% of cervical cancers. The drug is most effective on women who are yet to become sexually active but talk to your  doctor about the vaccine and whether they recommend it for you.

British celebrity Jade Goody was the first person to really put a name to cervical cancer. Goody became well known in the UK when she entered the Big Brother house in 2003. From there she launched her own perfume, had her own shows and wrote two best-selling biographies. But to the rest of the world she became well known when she died of cervical cancer in 2009. Ignoring doctors warnings of coming in and getting a abnormal result on a pap smear checked out, Goody was diagnosed with cancer when it was too late. Treated for the cervical cancer part, it was then discovered that the cancer had spread and she was diagnosed as terminal. Goody herself admitted that this all could have been avoided if she acted when doctors wanted her too.

It was the wake up call that doctors had been waiting for. Regular pap tests are serious and could save your life as shown unfortunately in the loss of Goody's life. 

This post is designed to scare you. To scare you and your partner into action. If you or your partner are not having regular pap smears then START NOW. You don't have to have had and STI or STD to get cervical cancer as even the Cancer Council of Australia admits they don't know what causes it. I have friends who haven't gone for awhile because it's awkward. Yes it awkward, not painful, but wouldn't you rather a few moments of up close and personal with your doctor then the risk of losing the ability to have children or the loss of your life? 

I'm here today because of a pap smear. 

Jade Goody photo by Eamonn McCabe

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"People say that you're going the wrong way when it's simply a way of your own."

-Angelina Jolie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does This Ad Sexualise Children?

This ad is the print campaign for Marc Jacobs perfume Oh Lola!, starring 17-year-old actress Dakota Fanning and it has just been banned in the UK for being in breach of the UK's code of ethics.

The Herald Sun reported on Saturday that the ad which has been running for months in magazines, may also be banned here in Australia.

Australian watchdog has received complaints about the content of the ad and Australian Advertising Standards Bureau spokeswoman Sari Mattila told the Herald Sun "Complaints about the ad focused on the age of the girl in the ad and the sexual overtones of the image."

Child advocate Melinda Tankard Reist told the Herald Sun the ad should be banned. "Lola is the nickname given by the paedophile Humbert Humbert for Lolita in the novel Lolita. The perfume bottle acts as a phallic symbol, suggesting possible penetration."

I'll be honest, when I first saw the ad I questioned where the bottle was placed but nothing more. Fanning is in a pretty, granted, short dress with hardly any make-up on. She's not made up to look years older then she is, but shone in her natural, beautiful state.

I hope the name has nothing to do with Vladimir Nabokov title character because then the choice of representative and ad takes on a very dark undertone. Is Fanning been taken advantage of here? Does this ad sexualise children? Do you find this ad offensive?

Which is more offensive: Fannings ad, or this UK Vogue shoot: the "model" is 10. Do you even take offense to it?

How about this little beauty for your baby (and yes, this is a baby sized t-shirt)

Should Fanning's ad be cancelled in Australia? Do you find the t-shirt above amusing? Is it all just Australia becoming so PC that we've all lost perspective? Or should t-shirts and photoshoots like the ones above be left on the scrap of paper they were created on?

Stepping off the box and handing the megaphone to you.

Cheers! And Handcuffs

The following is a true story and could fall under the headline of Odd Spot, but I thought the efforts of the Derbyshire Police in England deserved a post all of their own.

A British undercover operation has nabbed almost twenty suspected criminals after enticing them to call up for free beer. The Derbyshire Police apprehended the suspects after sending out letters to them urging them to claim a free crate of beer from a marketing company. The recipients of the letters had evaded arrest for crimes ranging from breaking and entering to sexual assault for several months so the police got clever.

The phone number on the letters put them straight through to police at Chesterfield police station where the police then named a time and place for pick up of the free beer. Instead of beer, the suspects received a one way ticket in the back of a divvy van.

Chief Inspector Graham McLaughlin stated: "These suspects are people who have managed to evade arrest for some time so we have used different tactics to find them."

Aussie crims beware, I believe this would work very well here too!

Quote Of The Day

"I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that."

-Lauren Bacall

Friday, November 4, 2011

Odd Spot - The Age

German police called to a weekend traffic incident found Jedi master Yoda from Star Wars at the wheel, much the worse for wear after Halloween celebrations. The green-costumed driver had his license confiscated. "In this case, the force was not with him," police said.

*As published on the front page of The Age newspaper  02/11/11

Monday, October 31, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."

-Henry van Dyke

Odd Spot - The Age

A cash machine in East London is offering its services in standard English or Cockney. The ATM, in Leytonstone, asks if you want Sausage and Mash (cash) in denominations including Lady Godiva (£5) Speckled Hen (£10) Horn of plenty (£20) or a nifty (£50).

*As published on the front page of The Age newspaper 31/10/11

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden where the flowers are dead."

- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Odd Spot -The Age

A semi- trailer carrying about 25 million bees over-turned on an American interstate highway, freeing the insects. Authorities closed part of the Utah highway for several hours after the crash. They warned drivers in the area keep their windows closed.

*As published on the front page of The Age newspaper 26/10/11