Crystals, creative meditations and a vow of silence

14 July 2018

Life has been a bit like the first draft of a novel lately - rushed, chaotic, characters with unclear motives, meandering side stories, an unresolved plot, but full of promise.

In between, I've been working hard on a new young adult novel which I'm quietly excited about.

I've discovered that creativity crystals from Spellbox in the Royal Arcade placed near the laptop keys do not make my ideas flow any better than usual.

What does help, however, is Heather Demetrios's Mindfulness for writers blog and meditations. I discovered Heather Demetrios's young adult novel Bad Romance last year. This book is a real gem, much more powerful than the $9.99 crystals from the magic shop. It's a cautionary tale about toxic relationships.

The other day, I sat down at my laptop. I'd gotten the kids off to school. I'd had my coffee. I was poised to write. And yet my mind was buzzing to distraction and blocking any worthwhile words from coming.

I did one of Heather's 20 minute meditations. The first five minutes I was like come on, hurry up, I'm losing time here ... I want to write a chapter, I've got to clean the chicken coop, I have to pay my car rego, did I wash the footy socks? Should I reword "sinkhole feeling dissipates" to "sinkhole feeling dissolves". Blah, blah, blah ... and then ten minutes into the meditation my mind went quiet and my shoulders relaxed.

Heather took a broom and swept out all that noise. I went on to write quietly and calmly, without even getting up to make a cup of tea. That 20 minute meditation easily equalled an hour and a half of solid, concentrated writing.

Any creative should check out Heather's meditations here:

I recently caught up with my lovely friend, illustrator Narelda Joy at the launch of her new picture book 'Message in a sock', written by Kaye Baillie and published by Midnight Sun Publishing. At the launch at the National Wool Museum we learnt about Narelda's rigorous research and her collages and how her sister even knitted miniature socks for the book. The story centres around the efforts of volunteers who knitted socks for the soldiers in World War I.

I went along to the Melbourne Writer's Festival The Book of Fete - Chapter Four at the State Library of Victoria. As we entered we had to take a vow of silence for the night, as an experiment in non-verbal communication.

At the end of the evening, Kate Miller-Heidke came on stage and sung John Farnham's 'You're the voice', and after hours of silent immersive experiences we were all invited to join in. It was a perfect ending to a somewhat surreal night heralding a new era of MWF with Marieke Hardy as the new artistic director.

And my final precious gem discovery, in this world of rubble, is Kate Tempest, poet, author, musical artist.

It started with the raw, unflinching, percussive writing in the novel The Bricks that Built the Houses ...

Then I was introduced to Tunnel Vision by a good friend, from Kate Tempest's album Let them eat chaos. When I heard these words it was like something vibrating in my heart ...

Trust is, trust is something we will never see
Till love is unconditional
The myth of the individual has left us disconnected, lost, and pitiful
I’m out in the rain
It’s a cold night in London
And I’m screaming at my loved ones to wake up and love more
I’m pleading with my loved ones to wake up and love more

And then I discovered this ... the gods are in us ...

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