Being fiercely proud to be Australian, it’s interesting that most of my sales, friends in the writing world, and of course my publisher, are American. Can I say, without sounding sucky, I love the American people, their values, and that in general, us Aussies are well accepted there. I also like some of the American customs, and celebrations; for example, my son was born on Independence Day, Halloween is a hoot, and of course they have a special day for Thanksgiving.
Most of us in the Western world, forget that in general, we have a lot to be thankful for, yet they re the only ones who set aside a day, to say: THANK YOU.
I was invited to participate in a month long event by a fellow author, called Thankful Author, and in fact my offering kicked the month off. With the lovely Angela Hayes permission, Ive re-printed my offering here because it was very well received: anyone who would like to check her blog out its here: click here
When I was asked to submit something to Thankful Author, I was stumped at first. I mean, of course I have a lot to be thankful for, health, a loving wife, children, a good job, and the ability (I hope) to tell stories that entertain. These things are no brainers, but I didn’t want to sound trite, even though I would be being sincere talking about them. But after thinking about this perplexing issue, the answer slowly appeared like a figure wearing white in the fog.
I’ve always been drawn to rock music (in my wild days I was a guitarist in a rock band) and a little while ago I went with a friend to see Fleetwood Mac in the worst possible weather. Here in Perth, Western Australia it rarely rains like it did that night, and our seats were in the open. Honestly I would have stayed drier in a bath; it belted down, non-stop for the two hours they were on stage. My all-time favourite female singer, Stevie Nicks told this amazing story about how when she was a student, singing in a pub band, and broke, made a pilgrimage across the country to be in a shop called the Velvet Underground, where she knew her idol, Joan Baez, bought her stage clothes. Standing in the shop, she had an epiphany, and it was as if Joan herself whispered in her ear. Stevie knew for a fact, that if she persisted she would make it in the music business. The rest is history. She finished by telling the audience, in the pouring rain, that no matter how many people tell you that you are too fat, thin, ugly, not pretty enough or just not good enough – never give up on your dreams.
All my life, I wanted to be a writer. But I grew up in the late sixties, when sex, drugs and rock and roll wasn’t a cliché, it was a way of life. I left school at fifteen and got into music. I wrote poems, won short story competitions, and wrote songs for people to sing……but I always wanted to write a book. I married, had children, and real life got in the way. That marriage ended, and I met the woman who has stuck with me all these years since and I adore as much today as ever. We had three children, making a total of five for me, and I love every one of them to bits. But writing that book? It was all too easy to find excuses not to I was too busy, etc, etc, etc.
Out of the blue, I heard a Leonard Cohen song (RIP), called Nevermind, and it was like a lightning bolt hit me, and suddenly I had an idea for a story that was screaming at me to write it. I told my wife, and a few days later, she, in conjunction with my children, bought me a laptop as a present and told me: no more excuses, write the book. So, I did. Eventually, after help from my eldest daughter, re-write after re-write, and much soul searching, I sent Forever Nightout into the world of agents and publishers, and just shy of my sixtieth birthday, I signed a publishing contract.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, suddenly, my children were incredibly proud of me. I realised that I had been a living lesson to them to never give up on following your dreams, just like Stevie Nicks. I cannot adequately describe in words (and I am an author remember) the feeling to know that my grown-up kids are proud of me. I have a heck of a lot to be thankful for, as I now approach my tenth novel, but nothing so remarkable as that.
Never stop dreaming, never give up, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
Thank you for reading