My dear writing friend, Maureen Helen, has nominated me for a ‘Versatile Blogger Award’. Thank you, Maureen, not just for the nomination but also for being a wonderful role model and friend.
Now, I’m meant to tell you Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me. As I’ve already revealed a fair bit on this blog, here are seven more things you might not know. They’re in no particular order …
1. I loved singing when I was a kid. All the time. Especially Young Talent Time and ABBA and Grease. My sister and I stood in front of the mirror and made up dance moves to the songs. We thought we were really good, good enough to be on Young Talent Time. I styled myself on Karen Knowles, and my sister was Greg Mills because she had short blonde hair. When we were sent for our bath, we ran the water and stripped off, but didn’t get in. We stood on the edge and sang and danced and watched ourselves in the mirror. Our mother would call out that it was time to get out, and we’d quickly step in and out again so that we left wet footprints on the towel and our mother would think we’d washed.
2. In the 1970’s, I was mad about ABBA. I had ABBA socks and an ABBA necklace, and for my 11th birthday, I was given the ABBA Arrival album. I unwrapped it around dawn, as one did when one was eleven. That lovely cover of Agnetha and Frida, Benny and Bjorn, in their silky white suits by the helicopter. I played it over and over on the turntable and by lunchtime, I knew every lyric to every song. ‘Fernando’ was my favourite, of course, as it was #1 on the pop charts. Each week at the end of Countdown they sang it, sitting in the firelight with Benny strumming his guitar. Can you hear the drums, Fernando? I still have no idea who Fernando is or was …
3. I have always loved classical music, although I used to keep it a secret. In Year 8, when we were asked to write our favourite pieces of music, everyone else said ‘Echo Beach’, which was the #1 hit at the time. I wrote Mozart Symphony No. 40. I kept my hand curled around my paper and folded it repeatedly as soon as I’d finished so no one would see what I’d written. It’s still one of my favourites. I found out years later that Mozart wrote it just after his mother’s death, and I think you can hear his grief, even anger, in those close intervals.
4. I loved the TV show ‘Get Smart’. At the time, I didn’t realise it was a satire on spying and the Cold War. Nor did I realise how stupid Max was, and that ’99’ was really the brains behind the duo. We have all the series on DVD and it still makes me laugh, although the kids don’t find it quite as funny as I do …
5. As a kid I loved cricket, and I still enjoy it. My favourite day of the year is Boxing Day, when we collapse on the couch with the Melbourne test on the tele and eat leftovers. I’m not into the loud and fast 20/20. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the long, drawn-out Tests that are not just a slog-fest, but a game of wits. When I was younger, I wanted to be a cricketer, and wished I was a boy so I could play in the Australian team. My sister and I watched every ball of every Test and kept score in our exercise books. We knew all of the players’ statistics and went to matches and harrassed cricketers for autographs—we had Ian Chappell’s, Jeff Thomson’s, Dennis Lillee’s, David Gower’s, Tony Grieg’s and Clive Lloyd’s. And Desmond Haynes once kissed my cheek.
6. In Year 6, I won the Junior Citizenship Award for our class. It came with $50 from the Launceston Bank for Savings, which was an enormous amount of money at the time. From the following year, Year 7, onwards, I spent most of my school day thinking up naughty things I could do. I crawled around the classroom floor on hands and knees tying students’ shoelaces together or to the chair; I chewed gum in class and blew bubbles deliberately so that the teacher would notice; I wrote notes and sent them flying across the classroom as paper planes; I stuck a note to the back of our Science teacher, which said, ‘I love myself’. He wore it unwittingly for the whole lesson. I spent increasing amounts of time in the corridor outside the classroom. In the end, Sr Joseph moved me into her Year 8 Maths class and put me up the front by her desk on my own until I tearfully begged to go back to my old class and promised to be good. (It didn’t last …)
7. I loved my French teacher, Madame Creek. She was tiny and blonde and came from Geneva. She wore suits with fur-lined cuffs and collars that looked like they’d been très chic in the 1940s. I used to love hearing her stories. Her father had bought her a plane for her sixteenth birthday, but she had to stop flying lessons because WWII started. I loved her because she was different to anyone I’d ever met, so European, so un-Australian, and because she liked me, too. I misbehaved for just about every other teacher except her because I didn’t want her to stop liking me. I still visited her after I’d left school and I always loved to see what she was wearing. My favourite was a long black and white gown with sleeves like Morticia’s from the Addams Family, and a flowing train. She’d open the door and say, ‘Ah! Ma petite …’ even though I towered over her.
Now, for my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Awards. The rules say that I’m meant to limit it to fifteen blogs and that they’re meant to write Seven Things You Might Not Know About Them and mention me. But, as I can’t limit my list to fifteen, and as they might not want to write a blog post back, bugger the rules I say, and let me just list some of my favourite blogs and tell you why:
Maureen Helen‘s blog I’ve mentioned above. Maureen authored a book, ‘Other People’s Country’, a memoir of her time working as a nurse at a remote aboriginal settlement in the Pilbara. She writes beautifully about her life and issues related to ageing.
My friend Mia has a blog at My Mia’s Art. She blogs about art and family and the creative life. Not only is she a talented painter, which features on her blog, but she writes in a very heartfelt and honest way.
Kristen Levitzke—Kristen is a member of my writing group and has a beautiful turn of phrase. She blogs about writing and family and creativity.
Rashida Write Now—Rashida Murphy is another writing buddy who blogs about writing and books, and about living in a country in which she wasn’t born. Her blogs have been known to make me cry.
Georgie at Mrs Smith is a mother-of-three and wife of a luthier. Her blogs are so beautiful, they’ve also been known to make me cry …
Everyday Miracles is the blog of a medico friend and mother-of-three, Alison. She posts absolutely gorgeous snapshots from her day-to-day life.
A Little Bird Made Me is my friend Theresa’s blog on her handmade crafts. She’s a single mother-of-three, and has recently thrown caution to the wind and cast aside a steady job to pursue her handmade business. Her craft works are beautiful.
Pinky at Pinky Poinker blogs hilariously about being a mother-of-five, working as a primary school teacher, and about life in general.
Similar to Pinky’s is Rae Hilhorst’s blog, I Opened My Mouth and It Ran Away With Me, which is a hilarious take on day-to-day happenings told in Rae’s inimitable style.
Amanda Kendle’s blog, Not a Ballerina (But a Traveller and a Thinker) is about travel, especially with young children. Amanda is also a social media expert and a great person to ask if you have questions about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
As a mother of three young girls, Shannon Meyercourt’s blog, Relentless, is a great blog for young mums. And it will leave you laughing …
Blogs on Writing, Reading, and Books:
Sue at Whispering Gums is one of my favourite bloggers on anything to do with Australian Literature. She’s also great for cyberchats!
Emily Paull’s blog, The Incredible Rambling Elimy, is about her life as a young writer and about books. She works in a bookshop and would have to be the most well-read twenty-three-year-old I’ve ever met.
Annabel Smith is the author of two novels, with a third to be launched in September. Her blog is an eclectic hub of information for writers and readers.
Natasha Lester‘s blog must be the best blog I’ve found for writers, especially for those of us still learning. It has lots of how-to’s with wonderful graphics, as well as discussion of the writing life.
Laurie Steed is a short story writer and blogs about writers, present and past, and his own writing process. And he’s a very nice bloke!
Lily Malone is a romance writer and has a handy blog about the writing life in WA. She’s another one who enjoys a good cyberchat!
Lisa Fleetwood at Welcome to My Library blogs about books and writing. She’s another friendly and encouraging cyberspace chatterer!
Monique Mulligan blogs about books at Write Note Reviews. She ties with Emily Paull for the title of Most Avid Reader in WA.
Hi Louise. I used to love going to the cricket at the WACA with my grandfather. I remember long hot days of reading in the grandstand.
Lucky you being able to go to the WACA! I grew up in Tasmania before they played Tests there, so the best we got to see was a Shield match or the touring team play the State team. Still, we could get a lot closer to them and bowl at them and get autographs. We were cricket tragics, that’s for sure!
Oh Louise, I was an Abba tragic too, and loved cricket! It continues to not surprise me how much we have in common. And thank you for your beautiful words about my blog. I do not mean out to make you cry but I will take that comment as the enormous compliment you mean it to be! Now to try and find seven things about myself that I’m able to reveal …
We grew up in different countries, in different continents, and here we are with so much in common. Isn’t that lovely! And yes, making me cry is a compliment. No hurry to find your seven things …
Thank you so much for nominating my blog Louise and I’m thrilled to now have so many other blogs to visit! I loved Jane Scarli from YTT (I was a few years older than you) and what better place to sing than the bathroom with its excellent acoustics. I love classical music too and my favourite composer is Tchaikovsky and all his ballets. I’m afraid I didn’t and don’t follow the cricket. You were a naughty little girl at school weren’t you! It will be difficult to come up with seven things I haven’t already over-shared but I’ll get to it. x
I remember Jane Scali—one of our neighbours used to be her when we ‘played’ Young Talent Time with them. The bathroom is a great place for singing—the birthplace of many a singing star, I reckon! I like your taste in music—Tchaikovsky and his ballets are wonderful. Yes, I was naughty at school—deliberately and I never tried to hide it. Thank God my kids have not followed in my footsteps …
Radio National currently has a competition running where people have to name the greatest year in European history and state their reasons for their selection. One wag said it was undoubtedly 1815 because, if not for that year, there would have been no Battle of Waterloo and, hence, no ABBA…
And the world would have been a lesser place without them and their music. I don’t know that I would ever be thankful there was a war, but this comes close …
Awww, c’mon Louise…war was thought to be GLORIOUS in them thar days. Then of course World War I had to come along and spoil all the fun…
I also remembered the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. There’s been quite a few other masterpieces commissioned by kings to celebrate war victories …
Indeed. And let’s not forget ‘Street Fightin’ Man’ or ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’. 😉
War…What Is It Good For?
Well, the odd snappy tune, apparently…
True, true. I’m glad it wasn’t for nothing (I know that’s a double negative!). Let’s not forget the advances in medical research—you don’t have to run it by an Ethics Committee before trialling torture techniques on POW’s …
Grim, but very true.
Curtis LeMay told Robert McNamara during the incendiary fire-bombing of Tokyo that, if the Allies lost the war, he and the rest of the Strategic Air Command could expect to be tried as war criminals. Which never happened, of course, because they won instead.
Yes, the victors get to write the story …
Oh Louise thanks for the glimpse into your childhood. You made me laugh and shake my head at your antics. I mostly was a goody two shoes in school. I did pass notes and a guilty pleasure was to sneak into the chemistry lab storage room with Sheilia Etowski and eat the brown sugar.
I too loved Get Smart remember the telephone shoe and the cone of silence? It never occurred to me that American TV would be picked up by other countries.
Like you I loved music and sang all the time. My glory days was middle school grades 6-8 when I sang solos in school productions. I sang in choruses throughout school into college. Now I sing to Phantom, JC SuperStar and Country songs.
Thanks too for sharing some of the blogs and bloggers you admire. You’ve piqued my interest; I think I’ll stop by and visit some.
Good luck in the contest. If I were a judge you’d win hands down!
The cone of silence always made me laugh. And poor Chief, who still believed in Max although he did get exasperated by him. And the agent that had to hide in all sort of places. I remember him once being in a bowling ball chute …
I sing lots still and it drives my kids mad, especially because I muck up the words. But it makes me feel good, in the way exercise does. It must cause release of endorphins, I’m sure. I’ll have to look it up …
Thanks for your kind comments once again, Penny. Now, when’s your blog starting?
Thanks for asking about the blog. But it will have to wait. My writing group meets every two weeks I have one week to write new material and one week to critique the other participant’s writing. On top of that I’m taking a 10-week Gotham course Fiction III workshopping short stories.
Besides,the thought of a blog terrifies me I’m not sure I have enough happening in my life to write. My life is very quiet. Very, very quiet.
It is a pressure at times, especially when things are quiet! That’s when posts on ‘Versatile Blogger Awards’ come in handy!
Good on you for joining a writing group and doing another Gotham course! Both are big time commitments, that’s for sure. It’s great that you’re keeping up your writing, Penny! Best wishes xx
Loved reading about your childhood, Louise. But then, I enjoy everything you write. Hence the nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award.
As I enjoy reading all of your words, Maureen.
Loved reading about your quest to be a naughty girl. I was pupil of the year and then a vice-captain in primary school so I can relate, but my “naughtiness” was confined to drawing the teachers, writing notes … and a few ingenious pranks. Ask me about the water pistol bandit in Year 12 …
I also loved Get Smart, though I think my favourite part was when the doors closed on his nose, and I used to practice for my one-day YTT discovery with a hose microphone.
Thanks for the nomination. It made my day.
I can confidently say that I achieved my aim of becoming a naughty girl! When we meet, we’ll swap stories: you can tell me your water pistol bandit story, and I’ll tell you more of my errant school adventures!
Oh no…some secrets are best kept hidden Louise…that not only you, but Rashida too, loves ABBA is, well, words fail me actually. *Gives a Lurch, from the Adam’s family, like grunt instead*
I don’t know Louise…but I’m not sure if our friendship can continue…but then again, perhaps it best if I just overlook this aberration in your otherwise beautiful personality. Same goes for Rashida. 🙂
Oh Marlish, how could you not love ABBA? You’re right—this will truly strain our friendship. 🙂 I loved ABBA even when they were considered daggy in the 80s and 90s. It’s a relief to be able to talk about them openly again!
As a secret ABBA fan, I agree.
I knew you had taste, Monique!
Egads, all these secret ABBA fans coming out of the closet. What have you unleashed, Louise?
Next, you’ll be organising an ABBA fan club – or worse, becoming a Agnetha Fältskog impersonator. Just hoping that once your novel is published that you can put all this nonsense behind you. 🙂
There’s a lot of us out there, Marlish. You’ve given me an idea for a third career if writing fails: as an ABBA impersonator. As a redhead, I would be more Frida than Agnetha! Better get in shape so I can wear things like this: http://donignacio.com/art/abbapic.jpg
Weird stuff. Here’s hoping you never get in shape. Also, just a small favour Louise, in the highly unlikely event that if you should become a Frida impersonator, please don’t tell people that you know me. 🙂
Ha ha! Now I know how to get to you. When I’m on the stage in my skimpy whites belting out ‘Mamma Mia’, I’ll wear a sign over my head saying, ‘I am friends with Marlish.’