Friday, January 22, 2016

Let down

In the early days of high school, my BFF and I at the time were inseparable. When we weren't together, we were phoning each other. Every weekend we slept over each other's house. I'm pretty sure that our friends thought of us as a collective unit, because one of us was rarely seen without the other. Through our friendship, our mothers became good friends too.

Then one day my friend and her mother moved away from Perth. I was devastated. My friend and I wrote back and forth after that, but eventually our correspondence became less and less. She was making new friends, as was I. Our worlds were different. I remember seeing her once on a visit to Perth (I think), and I felt sad that we didn't have the friendship we once had. It didn't feel the same.

Years later, she returned to live in Perth. I worked not far from her house, so I would visit during my lunch break some days. However, we never really did resurrect our original friendship. As time went on, we lost touch again.

Many years later, after my move to Sydney with Mr A, we caught up again during one of my return visits. I was keen to keep in touch, but after I returned to Sydney, and in spite of a few text messages back and forth after that, the renewed contact never really gained momentum.

You know how you have friendships that you never really forget, because you have fond memories of them? Those people remind you of a simpler time - a good time in your life? That's how it was for me and my old friend. So, when my dear mum died last year, and my sister and I were phoning those people we knew would want to hear about Mum's passing, I called my old friend. I got her voicemail, so I left her a message saying that Mum had died, and perhaps her mum would be keen to know, as they had always kept in contact (at Christmastime, at least). I told her the funeral was the following week if she was around and would like to attend. That the details would be in the paper. That I'd love to see her if she could make it.

I figured my friend would want to know, as my Mum was probably like another mother to her back in the day, as hers was to me. Quite a few of my friends have always held my parents in high regard, because my parents were always very welcoming to them. A number of them attended the funeral, and I assumed my friend would be keen to pay her last respects too, or, at least, call with/text me her condolences.

After the phone call though, I never heard back from my friend. In actual fact, I was so consumed with dealing with everything at the time, I didn't really think about the fact she hadn't contacted me or attended the funeral until well after the funeral had taken place. I wasn't upset that she wasn't there - I have no idea about her day-to-day movements, and for all I know, she may not have even been in Perth at the time - but it did seem strange to me that I didn't even receive a text message in reply to my voicemail. No, 'Sorry to hear about your Mum.' Nothing.

I'm not upset or angry with her, but I am really, truly disappointed. We have such a history together - like I said, we were very close back in the day - that I can't imagine why she wouldn't contact me. Even people who don't know me all that well, who certainly wouldn't know me like my old friend used to and, in fact, had never even met my mother managed to text me during that awful time between Mum's death and the funeral. Afterwards, too. Not once either, but multiple times.

I've tried to make excuses for my old friend (maybe she didn't get my message?) but it seems highly unlikely she didn't receive my voicemail. It was definitely her on the end of that phone asking me to leave a message and I definitely left one. Unless she lost her phone that very afternoon, I can't really think of any reason why she wouldn't/couldn't, at the very least, text me back. If not at first, by now. (She's had almost four months to do so.) All I know is that, if the situation were reversed, there's no way I wouldn't have contacted her.

Why people do the things they do (or don't do) I feel certain will always confuse me. I'm sure I'll continue to be disappointed by people I thought I could rely on even in a small way. One thing's for sure though - life's events have a way of showing you who is, and isn't, worth your time.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Write on Wednesdays ('WoW') - Revisited

When I was writing over at my old blog, Mummy Mayhem, I started participating in a writing prompt exercise called Write on Wednesdays (or 'WoW' as it was also known). A fellow blogger put me on to it; it was hosted by yet another blog that, unfortunately, no longer exists.

WoW was responsible for igniting my old love of writing fiction. Fiction was my very first writing love. I wrote a lot of stories in my spare time in my youth, including a 'book' I started at age fourteen called The Dance of Revenge - a very dramatic, over-the-top story that was beyond my writing capabilities at the time (ie, it was AWFUL). But very funny to read back on. I ended up publishing Dance on my old blog in a series of posts for a bit of a laugh (with my comments attached to my incredibly poor writing). I still have the original, typewritten blue pages with all their (often hilarious) grammar and spelling mistakes in my possession.

A couple of weeks ago, out of sheer boredom during all the relentless rain we were experiencing in Sydney, I was reading over my old WoW posts that I've linked to under my Mummy Mayhem tab above, and I thought it might be a good idea to continue the story of Kate and Cassie so I can further practice my fiction writing. After all, I did promise myself (yet again) that I would write more this year, so why not start sooner rather than later?

So, every Wednesday (or maybe every second - let's see), I'm going to publish a new 'chapter' in Kate and Cassie's story. I absolutely don't have an outline for the story (and, in fact, never did - the characters were created without any prior thought or story purpose!), so this will be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of thing, but that's okay with me. I'm a big believer in letting a story shape itself.

Below are my WoW contributions that started the whole story of Kate and Cassie if you're interested to know the story so far. It's a little disjointed, because we used writing prompts that I followed, and when I wrote the first instalment I didn't know at the time I would continue the story, but you'll get the drift of the storyline. The posts are all pretty short.

I will warn you though that I am no Kylie Ladd or Lisa Heidke, but, hey, you've gotta start somewhere, right? All the links are below:

Part 1: Romance
Part 2: Musically Inspired
Part 3: The Facebook Status
Part 4: The Tree & The Clock Winked ...
Part 5: Character Building
Part 6: Word of the Week
Part 7: The Walk
Part 8: The Fight
Part 9: The Mighty Mighty Rewrite
Part 10: Choosing My Own Adventure

Let's see where this thing takes me/us!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Starting afresh

Happy New Year to you.

I'm not really in to New Year's resolutions per se, but I do like to think about what I want to accomplish in a new year as it comes around. I love the idea of starting afresh as the calendar clicks over to the 1st of January each year. It's like closing the door to your old home as you prepare to move in to your new one. You know you'll miss your old home - even if the pipes leaked one time too many, or you outgrew it because you realised you needed more storage space, or space in general - but you also got comfy there, right? You knew every corner of every room. Better the devil you know.

But there's also the excitement you feel about the new place. Time to discover each new room and work out where to find the sunny spots in winter and the shady ones in summer. Besides, you know you'll always have the memories you created while living in your old home - it will never be forgotten - and the idea of creating new memories in a new home is exciting, right? A fresh start. Everyone loves a fresh start. That's how I feel each time a new year comes around.

Except, that is, for the last three.

Both at the beginning of last year and the year before that, I wrote that I wanted to write more. Yet, I didn't. Not really, anyway. I'm not sure I really believed that I would, to be honest. I just knew I was in for a bit of a tough time and that the distractions of life would keep me from really getting in to my writing. In fact, I distinctly remember going in to 2013 with much trepidation; it was the first time I'd entered a new year convinced it was probably not going to be a good one. It was a feeling I had that I couldn't shake.

Of course, 2013 turned out to be the year my dear dad died, and then the next couple of years I lived with the expectation hanging over my head that the same would soon happen to my dear mum. Just two years and thirteen days later it did.

This New Year's Eve though, I felt the happiest I've felt for three years moving in to a new year. I will miss the good times of last year (including my last real visit with Mum in April before she died in September) but I'm also filled with hope for this year. I'm not closing the door on 2015 hoping never to think about it again. Not at all. The memories will be with me always. I'm just ready for a new year.

So bring on 2016. I know there will be obstacles, like every year, but I'm ready, and confident it really will include more writing this year.