Monday, 31 March 2014


When I was about nine, autograph books were all the rage at school. All the girls had one. Can’t remember if boys had them; I don’t think boys were on my radar at that age.  These small, hard covered books had timeless literary gems inscribed on their pastel coloured pages – mostly beginning with ‘roses are red, violets are blue…’ and ending with some variation of ‘…sugar is sweet and so are you', but I suppose we weren’t looking for originality, only acceptance.
            These immortal words were usually signed by a best friend or a doting aunt. I didn’t have either at the time, so I asked my Dad. I knew it was unlikely he’d pen anything of the ‘roses are red’ variety, but my expectations – actually, I don’t remember what my expectations were – all I know is Dad met none of them. He wrote:  It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.
            Neither I nor my class mates had any idea what it meant.  I was embarrassed. I really wanted to fit in with everyone and have Roses are Red all through my autograph book, but even then I must have had an appreciation for the pithy phrase and the road less traveled because I found myself reading it again and again. At some point it made sense and it became a landmark for growing up and the getting of wisdom.
            I’m usually more interested in the written word, but recently, I have been reminded of the wisdom, or otherwise, of the words that come out of our mouths. Spoken words are powerful – for good or for bad – to bring things into being in our lives. Even the heavens and the earth were brought into being by the “Let it be!” spoken by the Creator.  We, too, get what we talk about.  If we talk negatively about ourselves and others we create a negativity of hopelessness around us. Conversely, when encouraging words come out of our mouths we influence the whole atmosphere for good. The effect, either way, is palpable.

            I’m sure my Dad would relate to the ‘silence is preferable to bullshit’ poster doing the rounds on Face Book at the moment.  I remember he was prone to use the milder expression, ‘bulldust’, on those occasions when his patience was tried. In the manner of many Australian old timers he did not suffer fools gladly. We are fools to think we will get away with constant negative talk. Better to keep silent.  Self-bashing talk will influence our lives adversely. The choice is ours. 

Monday, 17 March 2014


Perhaps your Christian background was similar to mine. We were taught how wrong it was to be presumptuous. So we waited for permission to serve, to go, to do. Then we waited to be told how it should be done. Then of course we waited for ‘God’s timing’, and spent a lot of time getting trained. Finally we waited for God to put cold, hard cash in our hands to do whatever it was, all the while hoping we weren’t blowing our own trumpet when we shared our dreams.
            I worried that I was presumptious in thinking I could write. I worried that I was too old to make a go of it without long years of writing experience behind me. I hoped God would just zap me and I’d find myself writing in a cloud of effortless glory.
            A couple of inspirational quotes had a strong impact on me. They are not Bible texts but both reflect biblical principle. The first one is from Andre Gide, the French novelist from the 19th century. I’ve never read his work and this quote is all I know of him, but it speaks to me.  He said, “We do not discover new lands unless we’re willing to push the boat out from the shore.”  Pause and meditate.
            The other one is from that wonderful teacher and father in the faith, Bill Johnson. He says, “God loves risk-takers. It shows you’re willing to trust Him.” Not everyone is called to the foreign mission field; not everyone is called to write a book. But everyone is called to act on what you have a passion for – because that passion was planted in you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. It’s a passion God wants you to run with to extend His Kingdom on earth and promote His glory.
            In putting that passion to work for God and His kingdom, a strange thing happens. We die to self. This happens because it’s impossible to fulfil the drive of that inbuilt passion unless we put God’s kingdom and His righteousness first. When we acknowledge the drive in us, and accept we won’t fulfil it in our own strength, it becomes something effective and powerful.  What’s important is not what form the passion takes, but whether it’s harnessed to the kingdom and His righteousness! Baking cakes, knitting or driving a bus are just as likely to glorify God and serve His purpose as being a doctor or designing a church. We can make a business, a ministry, from anything and carry the love of God to the world.
            A final quote, this time from a fellow member at Christian Writers Downunder, Maree Cutler-Naroba.*   “Put the prophetic trumpet to your lips and blow it loud – take those ideas nestled in your heart and give it a go.”


Sunday, 9 March 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour
Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky invited me to My Writing Process blog tour. Link to her at

What am I working on?
At the moment I only have time for short story writing because I’m busy making a platform of speaking engagements to showcase my book Cambodian Harvest which will be released from April 1st. I’m looking forward to getting back to working on my novel which has an historical premise. You can read my latest short piece, A Day at the Beach, on Rhonda Pooley - Writer   

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In terms of the biography, Cambodian Harvest, I have aimed for a journalistic approach which is not common among Christian biographers. I particularly admire Peter McSimons’ style (although not necessarily his politics!). My short stories and novel might be termed ‘literary fiction’ by some, but they aren’t so high falutin’ as that - trust me!

Why do I write what I do?
I’m interested in how the past impinges on the present - for better or worse – and how people handle that. My stories reflect this even when I haven’t set out with that consciously in mind. I write from a biblical world view, but with a non-Christian audience in mind.

How does my writing process work?
Slowly! And I’m a very linear sort of fiction writer. I like to start at what I think is the beginning and then work with a particular ending in mind. But in practice it rarely works out like that. Achieving a good ending is always the hardest thing for me.

Next week you will meet Anusha Atukorala on the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Anusha is an accomplished public speaker as well as a writer of encouragement and warmth. Visit her at ‘Dancing in the Rain’: 
I have invited two more writers, but haven't had confirmation and information from them yet.

Saturday, 8 March 2014


I might have missed this Adelaide Festival of Arts event if I hadn’t been given tickets as an early birthday present:  I would have missed a brilliant and rewarding piece of theatre.
            The Shadow King, an adaption of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set in an Aboriginal community in outback Australia and combining traditional indiginous languages, contemporary English and phrases from the original text, was a triumph at every level. The original story of greed, jealousy, power-play and madness was interpreted with originality by reflecting present Aboriginal conflicts over land ownership and mining royalties.
            The revolving set was alternately an intimidating mining rig or a corrugated iron dwelling, variously back-lit with projections of outback landscapes or interior views of the house. A three piece band to the side of the stage set the mood with music ranging from snippets of rock and popular song, to tribal chant. The cast joined in at times, often providing humorous relief.
            Stand-out performances by Tom E. Lewis as Lear, and Jimi Bani as the villain, Edmund, were unforgettable. Bani at times seemed to dance, his movements around the set were sheer fluid athleticism.       Watching his performance I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Watch out, Idris Elba!’

            In all sincerity, I could see it all again immediately.