Friday, October 9, 2009

I squashed a Fairy




My family believes in fairies; not the sort who live in the garden, under toadstools and behind cobwebs, not the sort who fly through the night carrying bucket loads of baby teeth and chinking coins. We believe in the true fairies; the strong, tough, dependable ones, the ones who never let you down, the ones who don’t forget to leave a gold coin under the pillow. (Sorry Peter.)

Our fairies are real and they accompany us wherever we go. They especially like travelling, whatever the mode. When we took the kids to Europe, UK and Canada in 2006, our Travel Fairy came with us and she is a delight to journey with. Travel Fairy weighs nothing, never tires or complains and is always available.

This was lucky for us on the day we knocked at the door of our rental ‘gite’ in Haute Provence, France. Monsieur Chauvel had never heard of us, let alone received our booking. With a hot supermarket chicken and two tired little bodies simmering in the back seat of our car, my husband and I were gutted.

This is where Travel Fairy stepped in. She quickly turned my frown into a smile and dropped at least ten words of fluent university French into my head. As Mr Chauvel struggled to pull a shirt over his white singlet-clad tum, his wife appeared and Travel Fairy set to work charming her with expressions of praise for the lovely house, the delightful garden, the wonderful view – deftly slipping in a request for bed sheets.

So you see they are real.

But my most loved fairy of all is Parking Fairy. She has a twin who lives at my sister’s house. Just last week my sister found a free parking space right near an entrance at three different shopping centres in the one morning. True.
Of course I don’t want to compare Parking Fairy with my sister’s. You see, Parking Fairy achieved a major coup on the Sunday of the ‘Swell Sculpture Festival’ at Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast. We wanted to have lunch at The Deck Café on the beach front. Parking Fairy organised for someone to pull out of their spot at that moment and then Café Fairy found us the last table.

What? You don’t know Café Fairy!

You don’t have one?

How do you arrive last minute for unorganised get-togethers then?

Look, I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps Café Fairy has a cousin.

A new fairy arrived to live at our house on the weekend. She just crept up on us while teenage daughter was fretting over Year 12 assignments, getting her P’s and buying a ticket for The Big Day Out. Teenage son was holed up in his room, connected to a virtual world, too engrossed in a game of strategy to notice a little fairy creeping up the hallway. And hubbie, well, some footie game was on.

Sitting at my desk, making plans, writing lists, plotting stories and feeling overwhelmed, I did not hear her come in. She was silent. I continued to focus on writing my junior novel; an urban fantasy with a young teenage protagonist who goes on student exchange to France.

I stopped.

I glanced across the desk at the rejection letter I had received that week from a publisher. It had been a positive one, full of hope and personally written.

But that is when the fairy pounced.

She landed on my back.

Her prickly skin rubbed against my neck. Her mocking laughter echoed around the room. Her cold breath froze my heart. I looked up at my reflection in the window and there sitting on my shoulder, delicately swinging one ever-so-small leg crossed over the other, was

a Doubt Fairy.

She laughed again, a sparkling laugh, and the bells on the end of her green, pointed boots tinkled.

A Doubt Fairy had arrived to fill my head with negative thoughts:

‘You can’t write, no one will publish it, you don’t know what you’re doing, your word count isn’t high enough, your characters are cardboard, your plot has no arc, the stakes are not high enough, your participles are dangling…’

She just went on and on for two whole days. I couldn’t shake her or that stupid little laugh, those ugly little boots, that annoying tinkling noise.

On the third day I forced myself to sit back at my desk and fiddled around, not achieving anything. And then there on my desk was the answer… a packet of positive affirmations given to me by a writing friend, my first creative writing teacher. That day’s affirmation read:

“You do not need to leave your room…remain sitting at your table and listen. Simply wait. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." Franz Kafka.

With one quick movement I slipped the thong off my foot and...

‘SWAT!’

The Doubt Fairy was no more.





Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are you brave enough to climb to the top of the tree?


Writers are like apples on trees. The best are at the top of the tree, but the climb is difficult and the branches are rough. Some writers don't want to climb because they are afraid of falling and being rejected, so they stay on the ground. These apples are good, but they risk withering in the leaf litter. Have you ever seen the view from the top of an apple tree? Are you brave enough to risk a fall? Here, take my hand. I am climbing up. Together we can reach the top and bask in the sun.