About Me

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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Perfect Day

I have one day left to achieve so many things.  One day left of my annual holidays, that precious few weeks off work in which I try accomplish so many things – dentist, vet, doctor, hairdresser appointments that I just don’t get time to do in my normal workaday life.  I also try to use this time to de-stress from my high pressure job that entails a two and a half hour commute every day. 

So what has happened to my other days?
Well, there was Christmas of course, and that whole week was filled with laughter, fun, family, friends, and eating.

Then there was New Year’s Eve which I spent in the company of my nearest and dearest.  There was the usual retrospective glance back over the shoulder to the year just fading, an analysis of what I should have done, could have done, and would have done if I had had the time.  There was also the mental checklist of what I will do in 2012, what I will achieve for myself and for my family, how I will live, how I will look after my health.

Then there was a blissful week where two days were spent in the peace and tranquillity of a writer’s retreat way up in the mountains.  Bliss.

Then back to earth with a thud.  My poor little Mum who is almost 94 needed me.  She has become extremely frail and virtually unable to care for herself.  So I have spent almost every day until this, my last day of holidays before I go back to work, with her.  Precious time.  It is hard to be seeing this once vital, energetic and extremely sharp little woman unable to do the basics for herself, even little simple things that we all take for granted, like getting up out of bed in the morning.  I feel so sad for her. She is tired, so very tired. She still worries about me and my siblings, all middle aged (or more) adults who are able to take care of themselves.

Mum has a small part in my book, ‘Stone of Heaven and Earth’.  She is just a little girl in it, but in writing the book, I can see where she got her strength of character from. She had a very difficult and sad childhood, not from abuse or anything like that, but from circumstances that most would think could only happen in a book.  She often talks about her father, Oliver, although she doesn’t remember him as he died when she was a tad under two years old.
Mum and her Dad, Oliver, just weeks before he died
When my Mum says to me, “I’m so tired”, I know that she means she is ready to go.  Ready to go and meet her Dad, sit on his knee and hug him. Tell him how much she has missed him.  She will also get to see her beloved mother, Darl, and her brother and sister.  They are all up there.  She will have a ball when she is finally taken up there to join the party.
I will miss her terribly.  She has been the one constant in my whole life.  My friend, my mentor, my Mum.  She hasn’t gone yet and perhaps I am being premature in thinking along these lines, but I don’t think so.  But for now, I just want to make her life as happy, pain free, and peaceful as I can. That’s why I have treasured the days and nights I have spent with my Mum over my annual holiday break. They have been good.
Mum and Karob
So, what am I going to do on this one, last, precious day of my annual leave?  Paperwork, housework, preparation for a busy year ahead.  But I will also pop over and visit my Mum, make her a cup of tea, and chat.  It will end up being one perfect day.

One Perfect Day - Little Heroes.  This clip by Sarah Storer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writing Retreat - Mt Tamborine

Imagine a blissfully quiet and peaceful location, perched on the very edge of a deep, deep valley. Imagine being surrounded by rainforest, birds and clear, crisp mountain air and only one hour from hot and humid Brisbane in the middle of summer.

Well, imagine no more. The reality is that Woodleigh Retreat is a comfortable and therapeutic getaway for anyone wanting to get stuck into their writing.
Fellow Brisbane author, Matt T. Dillon, and I spent three days at Woodleigh Retreat atop beautiful Mount Tamborine. The views from Woodleigh Retreat are magnificent and very inspirational. They call this area in the Gold Coast hinterland the ‘green behind the gold'. Looking east, we could see directly down to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, then south to Mt Warning and the border ranges, then west up the valley to Springbrook. The views were breathtaking.

We catered for ourselves, although a bacon, eggs and toast breakfast is provided (cook yourself in the well-equipped kitchenette). If you get sick of writing, go for a short drive and visit the many wineries, antique stores, art galleries, artisan shops, plant nurseries, chocolatier, and coffee farm. For the active writers out there, go for some of the many rainforest walks to get your head around the plots and characters of your book.

Locals will know that it can get quite cold up in the mountains in winter, and Woodleigh has a log fire in each cabin, plus a spa bath big enough for two. In the summer months, there is a lovely swimming pool, barbecue area and acres of lovely lush green lawn and gorgeous gums to relax under.
Matt and I each achieved the writing goals we set ourselves, plus got to look around at the many interesting shops and galleries.

I can recommend this type of therapy for any writers who are short of time and unable to find the tranquillity and inspiration at home. Check it out at http://www.woodleigh.com/ or see what kind of a good deal you can get at Wotif.com.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A new year of positivity

Today is the first day of 2012. When I was a child in the 1960s, only far fetched science fiction talked about such a number. I never, ever, thought I would be alive and kicking in the year 2012.

So, here I am.  What shape am I in? Unfortunately I still harbour some of the immature insecurities that I had as a little girl in the 60s. I sometimes still seek the approval of others, and I still grapple with making decisions.  However, I DO make decisions, and they often turn out to be the right ones; I DO accomplish things - big things - am i am always amazed when I do; and I do find myself going against the wishes of family and friends sometimes, occasionally having to wear the consequences, but at least being true to myself. It irks me that I still crave the approval of others so much and this causes me to live my life with a sense of turmoil and guilt, not fully realising true happiness without any cares, misgivings or worries. But that is me.
Or is it?

I read a wonderful article in today's newspaper The Sunday Mail. Titled 'Revel in the positive', the article written by Kylie Lang talks about how every year at this time we all make New Year Resolutions, and then unmercifully flagellate ourselves when we don't accomplish those goals
- you know, lose weight, give up smoking and/or drinking etc etc ad nauseum.

Kylie says that New Year Resolutions are not about behavioural change but are about hope. She says we NEED to have these little retrospective thoughts about how we can improve as human beings, whether it be our health or our relationships. She says that these desires, wishes, whatever, are good for us because they provide instant gratification, immediate 'feel good' vibes course through us, and whether or not we go on through the course of the year to  make the changes, the fact that we have looked back on our lives and seen that there are some changes, some tidying up, to be done, is a good thing and makes us love ourselves more. She says we 'feel more hopeful and in control'.

Well, reading Kylie's article this morning, on this first, beautiful, day of 2012, has given me hope, a positive outlook for the new year, and a guilt free trip of making a list of things I would like to change about me, to make me a nice person in MY eyes, to make me a more loving mother and grandmother, to make me healthier, and to make the world a better place.

Thanks Kylie, for a wonderful shrink session on a beautiful Sunday morning.  You can read the article
at http://www.couriermail.com.au/spike/columnists/kylie-lang or go to @couriermail on Twitter.