It’s odd, the way my novel is writing itself. I write in short bursts, for what reason, I couldn’t tell you.
I develop a beautiful flow, find a sweet new piece of the puzzle to slot into place. Then, the door closes. I do not know why it’s working this way, but I’m learning to trust that this is the way this novel wishes to be born.
I am resisting a little.
A big part of me gets cross. Just keep writing. Now. Today, this minute: push through the stop sign and write some more.
I’ve just sent some picture book manuscripts off to a literary agent. I feel a lot more confident in the process since having completed the picture book course last year, so that’s my next aim. To have one of my word babies published to a wider market.
I have such fond memories of childhood reading…publishing books for children would be an absolute honour. I love writing picture book texts. I find the challenge of condensing what could potentially be a long story into a short and lovely thing to be very rewarding.
Since uni, I’ve become a little addicted to the art of culling. Culling words, that is. For some reason, I find it extremely satisfying. Taking a clunky sentence and seeing how many words I can remove from it, in order to make it shine. You’d be surprised how many words can be culled without having a negative effect on the sentence. In fact, culling words often brings a sentence more power. Hence, the satisfaction.
Australian summer and there I was, sipping a glass of wine beneath the gumtrees, wrapped in my best winter scarf and topped with a little woolen hat. The wind: shocking.
It’s not unusual for the country town we’re holidaying in to reach these frosty temperatures at night. I’m certain we’ll look back in years to come with fond memories of swaying gums and whirls around the caravan park on bikes, but I also think we’ll marvel at Mother Nature and her wacky sense of humour. During the day, it is not unusual for the temperature to reach forty degrees celsius and beyond, some years, and yet the blankets come out when the sun falls. It’s quite funny, really.
It reminds me of Melbourne (my hometown) and her ability to display every single aspect of all four seasons in one day. The rest of Australia laughs at our expense, but the truth is: Melbournians gladly identify with this peculiar trick of the weather. We happily declare it one of our most impressive party tricks.
I’m breezy and happy, today. After a solo journey back to Melbourne, earlier, to celebrate my beautiful Grandma’s 90th birthday (and a nice big heart-opening drive back, listening to music) I’m so grateful for all the experiences that have brought me here. To this place in my life, I mean. Not just to this dodgy little caravan park in the middle of nowhere.
I am reminded of the worth of life experience each time I feel the beautiful glow of wholeness beneath my skin. Each time I feel the spirit rise within me; the times I’m ready, and quite able, to speak the truths my heart knows to be absolute. I am not perfect. Life is not perfect, and never will be. But I am here, and I am grateful for these exhausting family days (and even you lot fall upon the grateful-o-metre of me…aww, sigh. Like, really, you guys. x) so a girl couldn’t ask for much more to help drift me through my days.
Right. Off to drink my tea and snuggle up with, what is turning out to be, one lovely heart-filling book.
How are you all? (We’re good, Brooke. How are you?) Oh, I’m fine, thanks for asking. Ha ha ha. I’m being an idiot— I’ll shut up now. 😛
I’m popping in with the ‘me’ version of me to let you guys know I’m doing another ‘video thing’ on IGTV (Instagram) tonight, giving a writers perspective on The Catcher In the Rye. All the nerdy goodness, my gosh. 🙂 I’ve filmed the video already and will be uploading it tonight at about 8pm Aus. time, so feel free to check it out, if you’d like. _brookecutler_ is my tag name.)
And guys…I was serious about the ‘how are you all?’ I hope everyone is staying safe, and feeling mentally fresh in the face of all of this muddy tar that’s been heaped onto us from virus land. I’ve been remarkably unaffected by the whole thing— basically because I choose not to watch the news (that and because I’m still in a bit of a spiral of my own mud that there’s not a lot of leftover space for me to indulge in collective aches and pains.)
I know and respect the realities of the situation, however, and I take precautions in order to keep myself and everyone else safe, but ultimately I feel like it’s my job to help lift people out of this thing. And If I’m taken down by other people’s fears, I’m no good to anyone, I don’t suppose.
Especially not my beautiful bubs, who so completely need their Mum on the tracks and chugging along. Speaking of my beautiful bubs, my little miss three-year-old split her forehead open on a door frame the other day. The gash was deep, you guys. Oh my goodness. My baby. Eight stitches and she smiled through the whole ordeal, the beautiful muffin. I’d so appreciate you sending her some super healing love hearts. x
Do I have any more nonsense to waffle? I don’t think so, but I’ve so loved this little waffle session— maybe I’ll come and do more waffling at you over the coming weeks. I really have felt an intense need to ‘be there’ for everyone, because I understand that people will be reacting differently to this whole thing. If I can entertain, or hold space, or just ‘be here’ for anyone who needs any or all the above needs met…I’m so ridiculously happy to do that.
I always miss you guys when I go floating off into Brooke- land.
And I’ll always, always cherish coming back to our special, quiet place.
‘Look, Sun! The humans are telling stories again,’ said Moon as she picked through the glimmering blue ripples at her feet, sorting each loose shard into piles of keep or discard.
‘Oh goody! You know how I love storytime,’ said Sun, as he slid off the swing and left it to dangle between the car cloud and the witch cloud.
‘Oh, Sun,’ Moon’s heart fell as her eyes drifted back to the group of humans gathered below. ‘Today, the humans are talking about our beautiful friend, Raven. But instead of seeing his beauty like we do, they are frightened of him. They’ve put him in a little box called ‘Black magic and death.’
‘Well, why would they do a ridiculous thing like that, Moon? Raven is no different than Cat, or Dog, or Fish. The humans have put them in the safe, family, home box.’
Moon smiled gently into Sun’s eyes.
‘Sun, humans tell stories for all sorts of reasons. And often the stories they tell hide the truth of what actually exists in front of them. When we look at Raven, all we see is a beautiful bird, because we’ve never put Raven in the box of black magic and death. The humans can’t help but see him differently, because that’s the box they were told he belongs in. ‘
Sun gazed at the woman that gently glimmered before him. How he loved her for the new eyes she had given him, and even though he didn’t know how he knew, every storytime brought them closer to seeing the truth of their own shared story box.
I’ve had thousands of best friends and hundreds of mortal enemies.
I’ve been married a hundred times and divorced a hundred times more than that, probably. I’ve had lovers aplenty, built homes, mucked stables…and all this time, I’ve insisted I am an alone person. Oh no. I have never been alone, not for a day of my whole life long.
Books are sneaky like that, aren’t they? They introduce us to friends as real as the ones that stand before us, and they break our hearts just as deeply as a lost real-life love might. Books are a powerful force, and they are as real as reality itself: because, actually, what is reality? Our mind’s perception of a scene laid out before us.
That description of reality sounds an awful lot like our experience of a book, don’t you think? The difference being: a book gives us longer to sit within the scene and hold it up against our real life for review. True reality, in contrast, usually comes and goes in a flash.
I invite you to open your mind and your heart to the idea of a book and its characters being as real as any other aspect of reality. Think of how beautifully full life would be if we all embraced that idea. No one would ever be lonely— our books would see to it that we’d have a friend for every day of the week, or at least for whenever we really wanted one.
Think of a book as another room in your house, a room filled with the most beautiful, quirky, joyful friends you could ever wish to find. That’s what I’m going to be doing from now on. And that’s how I know that I’ll never truly be the alone person I always thought that I was.
Yes, I do believe you are perfectly capable of anything you choose to do in this life. It’s okay it took you a while to figure that out. You were meant to take a while to figure that out.
Yes, I do love you. So, so, so dearly. And yes: this absolutely is the greatest love of all, because I love you even when you think you don’t deserve to be loved. Oh. You’re totally welcome, girlfriend.
Yes, I forgive you for forgetting how wonderful you are from time to time. Humans do this odd thing, at times (what silly duffers, you are.) Rest assured, the universe won’t allow you to linger in the cranky pit for too long. Your smile has too many other smiles to welcome into the world.
Yes, I’m glad you’re worrying less and saying ‘bugger it’ more. If they can do it, you can do it. So…bugger it, off you go then. It’s well and truly your turn.
Yes, I am real. I am real, I am real, I am real, I am real. I have given you more than enough proof. Please. Believe me already. (It’s okay that you don’t believe me, btw. That’s just another one of those wacky human problems. Never mind. You’ll get there.)
Yes, I am always available when you need my advice. Haven’t you noticed? I tend to offer it anyway. Even when you think you don’t need it. Especiallywhen you think you don’t need it.
Yes, I write most of your blog posts. Yes, it’s okay that you take the credit. I am you, and you are me, after all. Confusing, I know. We’ll get to know each other more comfortably before too long.
Yes, your truth will shine now that you have given it permission to do so. Just know, however: your shine will look different to all humans. You must never expect others to see you as you do. For instance, your ‘shine’ will look grey to those who only see the world in black and white. That’s okay. Black and white eyes do not see incorrectly. They just see differently. Yes, you still have a thing or two to learn about this part.
Yes, I am responsible for half the books in your bookshelf. No. I’m not sorry. We needed them. Eeek. Sorry, trees.
Yes, this is the final point, until the next time you need me.
So much love, darling human girl. You’ve so totally got this.
Scratch that: we’ve totally got this. xx
The Soft Girl
(aka: your soul. Aka: your intuition. Aka: the actual you.)
I can’t imagine not reading and writing, just as I can’t imagine what it might be like never to breathe again.
Sometimes the words I write make no sense to me, or to anyone else that reads them. I don’t think that matters, now that I really think about it—no one understands the meaning of each individual breath they take. Well, at least, I don’t think they do…but I’m a big believer that anything is possible, and so I’m happy to keep an open mind on that one.
Words are the mirror that helps me see my life, and as I send my words into the world I offer that mirror to you so that you might see your life in relation to my own. I think that’s one of the gifts of books and reading the words of others: the opportunity to understand aspects of our lives, through the lives of others.
Through my own words, I see and feel my world.
Through the words of others…I see and feel my world from a different angle.
As simple as it is, I believe that humans and our words are the real magic of life.
I choose never to take that shared loveliness for granted.
I’m reading again. I’m reading a lot, actually. My goodness, it’s all the lovely things.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read for all the years books went missing from my life. I blamed it on the quick and easy of social media. How convenient it was to click onto an article offered by Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever platform I was virtually chillin’ my life away on.
I first discovered Facebook in my early twenties, and WHAT wonder IS this! My goodness. The possibilities of that place seemed endless. In fact, were it not for Facebook…I’d not have re-met the man who eventually became my husband (and super fun guy Dad to my two beautiful kiddlywinks.)
I became so ‘into’ Facebook at one point, I considered it a problem. I was desperate to get rid of it because it seemed to be sucking so much life out of me, but how to take the giant leap away? It just would not let me go. It was my curiosity for what was going on in the comment section that found me in the deepest water. I was becoming deeply affected by ALL the opinions, and consequently, I was very slowly disappearing beneath them.
Looking back, I see what the problem likely was. All thatsocial media drama must have been doing quite the number on my brain. No wonder the calm and quiet energy of reading seemed to have fallen by the wayside. My brain was addicted to noise. Not only was it addicted to the action…it was also addicted to being seen, to being heard, to being loved.
I don’t know when all that changed, but I know it was by happy accident. I think it was after the birth of my second child, maybe, when I was just too busy to even think about the delightful terrors gifted to me by the comment section. I was also in the thick of things with my Masters at the time—completely immersed in my little collection of short stories. It was such a swift and sneaky cut off, I don’t even recall the day I stopped and said, Facebook what, now?
And so, just like that, the addiction was gone. I will admit that I have really come to enjoy Instagram for the creative platform it provides (and the odd chance to share some of my bright and shiny pom poms with the world.) But I don’t see myself returning to that addictive social media space anytime soon. I lost far too much of myself there once upon a time—too many hours, too much of my calm and happy—to risk going back.
Not to mention my precious books. Sigh. Thank goodness I have them back again.