Do you ever want to do something and find you’ve ‘gone off it?’ You can’t get back into a book that you started. Maybe you started writing something and the inspiration has left you. That seems to be me lately. Not what you want to hear from a writer I suppose.
I have a new book that I’m trying to read, I’m one chapter in and the brakes are on. I have two articles that I’m trying to write. I have a character piece from Band of Brothers that just needs to have it’s first words on paper. But it has all come to that grinding halt.
One thing I have been working on is my next character piece for The Handmaids Tale. It is one of the major characters, my word count at almost 5000, it’s a big piece and should be finished soon.
So, what have I been doing this week? I’ve been doing chores that I’ve been putting off. A major one was a wardrobe clean out. It’s been all about being ruthless. When did I last wear it? Does it still fit? Is it likely to ever fit or am I clinging onto a dream? I was ruthless to the tune of 2 black bags. Once I had cleared out, I had room to put a few items back in the wardrobe that I had left elsewhere. The Queensland origin shirt made its re-entry as did a couple of Broncos tops. After all, it is the footy season.
When you look at it like that, maybe my attention is redirected. Maybe it’s the rugby. 2 games. 2 wins.
The Handmaids Tale: Why I write about it
When I write about something, I have to have some vested interest in it to start with. It might be writing about a historical event or person. It might be writing about something that has happened to me personally. But with The Handmaids Tale, it was a whole complexity of how’s, what’s and why’s that when combined together, tell you why I write about it.
I had heard a lot about The Handmaids Tale (THT) from its inception on TV back in 2017. However, I didn’t get to sit and view it until around 2020. Thank you Stan.com.au who had them all for me to binge watch. I started at series 1, episode 1 and off I went.
So, what was it that encouraged me to write about it. The answer to that is simple. Everything.
- The story lines.
- The dystopian setting.
- The brutality of the treatment of women.
- The subjugation of women.
- The removal of their children.
- The characters and their interactions and complexities.
- How the women dealt with the atrocities that were thrust upon them.
Writing about all of these different things allowed me to critically analyse what I was watching. But apart from a critical analysis of what I was physically seeing and how it was perceived, it also allowed me to look at the direction of the show as well as the cinematography. Analysing the show allowed me to look at how the juxtaposition of Serena and June was used in later series, with June being free and Serena being incarcerated.
Combining all those things together allowed me to see I was not just watching (and writing about) a standard weekly TV show. I was watching something special. Something raw and interesting. Could it happen? Author Margaret Atwood tells us that everything in the book has already been an event in history. Has it happened? Is it happening?
Birth rate decline is discussed in a study in the Lancet from July 15, 2020, who tell us, “With widespread, sustained declines in fertility, the world population will likely peak in 2064 at around 9.7 billion, and then decline to about 8.8 billion by 2100 — about 2 billion lower than some previous estimates”. Certainly, food for thought,
February 15th, 2023
Welcome to the second personal blog of February. Last time we looked at my first book. Now, we are having a look at my children’s book.
My adventures with Bruce came together incredibly fast. The boy in it was based on someone I knew. It enabled me to hear the words and picture the character as a whole rather than just words on a page. The story came to me overnight and I started to write. I didn’t stop writing until 10,000 words later when the book was finished.
A short ten chapter, easy read story, on a little boys quest for a friend. The hero of our story has a best friend but he lives too far away. All our hero wishes, is that he had someone closer that he could play with.
This story teaches you to not only to be careful what you wish for, but a few life lessons too. Learning how to gain trust from his parents, is just one of them.
I am often asked if Bruce is coming back. I did debate writing another ‘Bruce’ adventure, and still may in the future. There would be a different child in it though.
Bruce is available now on Amazon and costs just over $5. Grab a copy for the child you know, or the child in you. Don’t forget to leave me a review too.
February 1st 2023
“Ramblings of a Forty Something Widow’ was born back in 2019. My husband was sick and due to his illness and needs, I had given up work to care for him. During the quiet times of the day, I needed to fill my time and took on a writing course.
Writing was something I’d always done, but now, as things in life became more difficult, the writing gave me a focus. I had three sections on my course. Scoring high distinctions in the first two sections made me realise I was on the right path. Sadly, my husband did not live to see the final result come in. It was a 3rd high distinction.
Now on my own, I used my writing as my distraction. I’m not a talker about feelings (I get that from Dad) so my works went on paper. 35 poems later, they went to a publisher. ‘Ramblings of a Forty Something Widow’ was now alive. With sunflowers on the cover, it was published on October 30, 2020.
Of course poetry is not a big seller, and a new writer does not sell well either, but I am proud to say I did sell and still sell a few here & there. I have sold in the States, the UK and here in Australia. Does that make me a worldwide selling author? It’s out on Amazon now. It’s just over $5.
Buy a copy. Support a writer. Tell your friends. Don’t forget to leave me a review on Amazon too.
January 18th 2023
I am one of those people that rarely watches TV, but when I do, it has to be something worthwhile. The Handmaids Tale, The Pacific and Band of Brothers are great examples. I need shows to grab me from the start, but aside from that initial interest, there has to be something deeper.
The Handmaids Tale – I had heard of the TV series and the book but I was at a point in life, where there was a lot going on. Roll forward a few months and I started to play catch up. If I said I binge watched the show, well, that would be an understatement. I watched the three series that were on Stan and then (impatiently) waited for series four on SBS. I watched series four and most recently five and I loved it. I caught up literally too, by reading the book by Margaret Atwood and the follow up entitled The Testaments. Since then, I have been reviewing the book and the series as well as starting character evaluations. Looking at something like this encourages critical thinking and analysis, something that can only serve to improve my standards.
The Pacific – It took me two watches to get started with The Pacific. I have completed a character piece and reviewed the book that started it all by Eugene Sledge. My plans are to continue this in the same framework as my Band of Brothers section. Character pieces, interviews, book reviews, examination of the episodes and more.
Band of Brothers – I have always been a non-traditional girl when it comes to movies. I’m not a romance, comedy or rom-com kind of girl so it was no surprise that this hit home in such a strong way. Having Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg at the helm of this show was always going to add something special to it. I watched again, and again and again. Since my many re-watches, I have read the autobiographies of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Books tell you some things, but I always felt there was more to know.
I have ‘unpacked’ the episodes and examined them. I looked at them critically – what did they show me? I’ve done character studies. I’ve reviewed many books on Easy Company. But the most beautiful and gracious thing of all, is those who have granted me their time to chat for an interview piece. I have interviewed writers, cast and veterans’ families.
Each of these sections are shows I enjoy tremendously. Two of them are true stories, one (Handmaids) is not. Each of them has different qualities and as a writer, it’s my job to look at those qualities and share my work. While doing this, I have learned so much, made many friends in the process and continue this with pride.
In February – we will be looking at the two books I have had published. What they’re about. A little about why they were written and more.
January 4th 2023
Welcome to Madhatterpress and 2023. Where did last year go? It seemed to fly by. Well….2023 has a schedule to keep. There have been some slight changes to things so here’s what’s happening.
On the 1st and 3rd week of the month, a Personal Blog lands on the website. The personal blog has been given scheduled topics relating to the website, plus of course I’ll add in a little about me and what I am up to.
On the 2nd week of every month, the new WidowLife Blog 2023 arrives. Topics will be discussed every month. Widowhood is a lousy path to walk. If we can help even just one person by talking in our WidowLife blog, then we’ve done something good.
On the 4th week of the month, my Cowden Blog 2023 lands on Madhatterpress. I’ve been asked why I share this. My answer is simple….it’s rare and by rare, I mean 1 in 200,000. Educating about it and advocating for it are my primary objective. And staying well, of course.
On the 13th of every month, all subscribers will get a monthly email. I hate when my inbox gets full, so I promise that you get one a month.
Next personal blog is all about why I focus on three particular areas and write about them. On the 18th, we will be finding out why Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaids Tale is one of my favourites. We’ll also find out my plans for my ‘The Pacific’ section on the website. We’ll also talk about Band of Brothers and why it means so much to me.
With all work that comes from Madhatterpress, whether it be an article, story, poem, or an interview, what I will always guarantee you is that it will be real, raw and honest.