C is for Challenge

April 3, 2014 at 10:47 am | Posted in Family, Family History, Mental Health, Ways of Living | 24 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

Warning sign -challenges ahead

Dad was always up for a challenge. Tell him he wasn’t up to doing something and he would make sure he did it, just to show he could.

In 1925, Dad turned four. During that year, he contracted pneumonia in both lungs and became gravely ill. He was nursed at home by his mother, there being limited hospital facilities at that time.

Sick child& teddy

One day, two of his aunts visited the bedroom where he lay. When they left, Dad heard one of them say to his mother,

“Oh Hannah, pray for the Lord to take him”.

When they left, his mother returned and knelt beside Dad’s bed. He felt a tear fall on his hand and looked up at his mother.

“Don’t worry, Mother,” he said. “I’m not going to die.”

It took a couple of months, but Dad recovered and became a very active, energetic lad.

In 1954 we came to Australia, where we lived in the Illawarra area of  NSW. In 1961,  almost the last polio epidemic raged through the district. My little brother, then my older sister, then Dad contracted the disease. Dad was the worst affected and doctors wanted to put him in an iron lung so he could keep breathing.

Iron-Lung

He refused to let them and gained their agreement that, if he survived the night, he wouldn’t have to go into one.

“I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life in an iron lung,” he later told me. “What kind of life is that?”

Old wheelchair

He lived. However, a specialist told him he would never walk again and that he was to remain in bed or, at best, in a wheelchair. Dad wouldn’t have that. A friend drove him to an appointment with the specialist one day and Dad walked into his rooms on crutches. The doctor became angry and said, “If you won’t do as you’re told, I wash my hands of you”.

Dad went to another doctor, who organised a body brace and full leg caliper for him (both made of steel and leather) so he could walk more easily. A friend also made him steel crutches.

Dad made an amazing recovery, forcing his muscles to do what he wanted of them. He had been a concreting contractor in the building industry – heavy labour. Within less than two years, still in his steel supports,  he was at work making moulds for  concrete columns, balustrades and stepping stones. As he got stronger, he was making them from concrete. Soon,  could do without braces at all.

Balustrades

In 2008, at the age of 86, Dad suffered a perforated bowel during a colonoscopy. He was operated on, but acquired almost every infection possible, including septicaemia, peritonitis and bi-lateral pneumonia. He became incoherent and suffered at least two heart attacks. He’d never had any heart problems before, but the massive infections were too much.

Medical staff said he wouldn’t make it and our family maintained a bedside vigil day and night. Dad turned 87 during this time. One day, when we were all gathered around his bed – he was virtually comatose, my sister softly told him “You can go now if you like Dad. You can go and be with Mum.”

Somehow, that message got through. However, it didn’t have the effect my sister expected. Over the next week, Dad rallied. He amazed the doctors, one of whom called him “my miracle patient”.

“Nobody’s going to tell me I can go to your mum,” he told me later. “It’s not time for me to die yet. I’ve too much to do.”

Dad in rehab, 2 weeks after leaving Intensive Care.

Dad in rehab, 2 weeks after leaving Intensive Care.

Dad went on to rehab and then home, where he lived alone (with family help) for another five years. He fell one night as he was going to the bathroom and broke his hip. He died six weeks later, just six days before his 92nd birthday. He had tried to rise to this challenge too, positive as  always, but it was the final one, the one he couldn’t win.

He is my inspiration. Ernest Thompson, 1921-2013

 

How do you respond to challenges? Do you quail, or do you step up and meet them with determination? Do you have someone to whom you look up in times of personal challenge?

 

© Linda Visman 03.04.14

 

Advertisements

Writing Challenges

March 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Australia, Mental Health, Publishing, self-publishing, Writing, Writing and Life | 16 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I discovered I really could write creative fiction back in 2005 at the age of fifty-seven, a flood-gate opened and words poured from my pen (I write my drafts by hand). I lost count of the number of short stories, poems, articles and memoir items I wrote over the following few years. And then I decided to write a novel, aimed at 10-16-year-olds, and things changed.

 

I wrote the following reflection in July 2011, when that first novel was about to go out into the world:

 

It took me four years to write Ben’s Challenge. All the way through, from the idea (it was originally going to be a short story) to the completion I had to battle to get it done. No, it’s not that I can’t write, or that it took many revisions, or that I didn’t know where the story was going and what I wanted it to do. And it’s not that I don’t know my grammar, punctuation and spelling either – I grew up in an era when schools taught that kind of thing. No, the problem was deeper than any or all of those.

My problem was a lack of confidence in myself, which manifested itself in many ways. The main issue I had to overcome was procrastination; after all, if I didn’t write, nobody could say it was rubbish, could they – and that included myself.

A life-long struggle with depression also helped make my self-doubts into mountains I was certain I couldn’t climb. Even when my critique group expressed admiration for my style of writing and for the story, I wasn’t able to relax and go with the flow.

Funnily enough, it was during my eighteen months of treatments for breast cancer that I wrote the most easily and with the most confidence. I suppose writing was no longer my sole focus, so I took the pressure off myself. My doubts became background noise, which I could often ignore. . .

 

After publishing Ben’s Challenge, it took me a couple of years to start on my next novel, this one for Young Adults. I had to work up the courage to see if the first book was just a one-off or if I was a “real writer”. As I had in writing that first one, I battled through self-doubt, bouts of depression and procrastination – again in spite of my writing critique partners’ and my husband’s support and encouragement. One period of not writing lasted for a whole year. As a result, it again took about four years before the book was finished. Thursday’s Child was published in February 2018 and those who have read it say it is an amazing and wonderful story – even better than the first one.

I have an idea for a follow-up to Thursday’s Child – a strong story line and again, challenging themes. I have written a few chapters, but am struggling to get moving on it. There always seems to be something more important to do – that’s the usual problem of procrastination, I suppose. You’d think that, after two well-received books, I would have confidence in myself; that the words would flow as they did fourteen years ago, but they don’t. I am scared that I won’t be able to pull it off again.

I know that if I really want the story to see the light of day, I must, as with the other stories, fight my way through the self-doubts, the fear and insecurity, and get on with the job. Or maybe I’ll just wait until after I’ve delivered my part of a panel presentation on self-publishing at the Newcastle Writers’ Festival in a month’s time. Then I’ll get stuck into it. Oh, that sounds like more procrastination though, doesn’t it? Mmmmm…

 

Linda Visman, 4th March 2019

 

Wednesday Photo Challenge – Glow

October 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Photography, Special Occasions | 4 Comments

This week, share something that glows. Maybe you’d like to experiment with some Golden Hour photography, or perhaps you know someone with a glowing smile. We’re excited to see what you share.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The glow of the setting sun on the last day of 2010, at a concert in the lakeshore park at Warners Bay, NSW, Australia.

 

Weekly photo challenge – textures

August 3, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Photography, wordpress photo challenge | 8 Comments
Tags: , ,

This week’s challenge asks us to look through our photos for those that show textures.

Photography is a primarily visual medium, but we can experience it with more than one sense. This week, focus on the tactile element of the objects you shoot, whether it’s one distinct quality — softness, smoothness, graininess, or any other texture you find interesting — or a combination of several within one frame.

On a walk along the lake shore near where we live, I was really taken with some casuarina trees that had roots protruding from the soil. The roughness, roundedness and moss coverings of these roots were all beautiful, and I couldn’t resist taking photos of them.

Texture 01

Texture 02

Texture 03

Texture 04

 

(c) Linda Visman

 

 

Wednesday photo challenge – Satisfaction

July 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Australia, Gardens, Leisure activities, Nature, Photography, wordpress photo challenge | 2 Comments
Tags: , ,

The challenge this week: Satisfaction.

“Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I always get great satisfaction from working outside in the garden. I may just potter about, trimming here or pulling a few weeds there. But I also love constructing things that will improve the look of the yard.

20170723_124705

This week, hubby and I build a flower bed next to the path, to bring some colour and, hopefully attract the bees that we haven’t seen around for months. The bed is part of an extension to a mulched area of trees and shrubs, and I still have some work to do on that. But here is a photo of the completed flowerbed, in which we take a lot of satisfaction. It will be even better when the plants grow more.

New flowerbed 29.07.17

 

What little things give you satisfaction?

 

Wednesday Photo Challenge – Unusual

July 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Australia, Culture, History, Photography, Special Occasions | 5 Comments
Tags: , ,

 

Something unusual, or at least unusual to me. That is the topic of this week’s Wednesday Photo Challenge. I had a quick look through my photos and found my writers’ group Christmas party from last year.

The function was held in the common room of a retirement village – that is itself is probably unusual. But an item they have in that room is one that many people, especially young people, have never seen, and may not have even heard of.

It was a pianola, and it gave us a lot of fun and laughs whilst we early birds waited for everyone else to arrive.

A pianola is a piano with a special ability. Rolls of heavy paper are punched with the notes of particular tunes and can be inserted in a section above the keyboard. Then someone plays it by pumping a foot pedal. The quicker one pedals, the faster the music plays. The strip can be seen and often has the words to the tune alongside the punched holes, so that people around the pianola can sing it.

 

Pianola 01

Here is my husband loading one of the punched rolls into the pianola, while a friend checks what tune is held on another boxed roll.

 

 

Pianola 02

Several members of our group and their partners enjoy a singalong whilst my husband pumps the pedals.

 

Pianolas used to be popular entertainment for get-togethers of family and friends and other social events in the days before TV. They were aimed mainly at people who couldn’t actually play the piano, or who didn’t play well enough to accompany the songs that were popular at the time.

 

Have you seen, played, or even owned a pianola?

 

 

Wednesday Photo Challenge – Bridge

July 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Australia, heritage, History, Photography, Tourism | 6 Comments
Tags: , ,

 

I am having another go at the photo challenge, and hope that my photos will upload and present themselves as they are supposed to do this time. It has been frustrating to miss the last challenges due to difficulties that wordpress has not been able to resolve for me.

The challenge this week is to post a photo of a bridge – either a physical bridge between two sides of a landscape, or a metaphorical one where a person or event has allowed you to move from one position to another.

My photos are of a different kind of bridge. The old Catherine Hill Bay jetty was a bridge between the coal mine and the colliers that carried their product to other places along the NSW coast.

 

IMG_9727

The jetty is crumbling now and under threat of being pulled down for safety reasons.

IMG_9737

It is an icon of the coal mining and transport industries of NSW and it is a pity nothing was done to save it after it ceased operation with the closure of the mine.

IMG_9755

Catherine Hill Bay – Catho to the locals and those who love it – will not be the same without the jetty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge 2015 – Reflection

May 5, 2015 at 3:00 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, blogging, Discipline, Reflections | 17 Comments
Tags: , ,

A-to-Z Reflection [2015]

I have completed my second A to Z Blogging Challenge!

cheerleader

I have posted 26 entries through April with one of my poems for each A to Z entry, and I have enjoyed the experience a great deal.

I cannot think of a negative regarding the Challenge itself, but I have a lot of positives to report on my own participation:

  • The day before the Challenge began, I had intended to pull out. I thought it was too much for me to handle, and that the stress would be too much. Then I had a great idea – I would use my poetry for the entries.
  • I finally learned how to schedule my posts so that I could get them up on my blog a few days ahead of time and thus have some days in reserve in case I couldn’t make it on the day the post was due.
  • I strengthened ties with some blogs I follow and who already follow mine. Some did not do the A to Z Challenge, but they faithfully followed my posts. Among them are:
    • QueasyPeasy – QP and Eye, who writes on several different themes, and in this year’s A to Z, wrote posts mostly on her travels;
    • Frederick Anderson – Author, who writes a great blog and tells wonderful stories;
    • Our Rumbling Ocean, where I am finding out a great deal about South African bird and animal life and flora;
    • Baz – the Landy, who is a mountaineer who also loves travelling inland Australia and posts some great photos of the country.
  • I made some wonderful new blogging friends along the way, and have found great new blogs to read and to share. Among these are:
  • Even though many of my regular followers didn’t join the Challenge, they were quite engaged with my A to Z posts, and commented onthem regularly.
  • The number of my blog followers increased, and so did the number of visitors each post received. Views on my blog numbered 1,509 in April, where the usual monthly views are around 700-800 – so, a nice increase. The best week saw 485 views. These stats are small compared with many other A to Z-ers, but for me they are very satisfying.
  • My poetry had more exposure than it ever has before.
  • I completed the Challenge!

One problem I have had is nothing to do with the Challenge, but with my Gravatar. Somehow, about the start of the Challenge, the link from it changed from my wangiwriter wordpress blog to an old website I used to have years ago. I have still not been able to correct this.

I’d like to say thanks to those on the A to Z Challenge Team who dropped in on my blog and commented. It was lovely to see you and know that I was seen as one of the Challengers.

Thanks also to the organisers, who must be delighted with the steady increase in participant numbers each year.

I will certainly be taking the Challenge again in 2016, but I will start getting ready for it earlier than I did this year.

Here are all my posts for the 2015 Challenge:

A is for Answer

B is for Black Dog

C is for Crossing the River

D is for Dirty Fingerprints

E is for Embrace the Good

F is for First Touch

G is for Going Grand

H is for Haiku

I is for Imagination

J is for Justice

K is for Kangaroo

L is for Lost

M is for Mowing the Lawn

N is for Never-ending

O is for On the Rocks

P is for Petrol

Q is for Quinzaine

R is for Rivers of Life

S is for Snow Angels

T is for Time

U is for Unconditional Love

V is for Valentine

W is for Writers’ Block

X is for … X

Y is for You’re In There, I Know It!

Z is for Zephyr

Linda Visman – wangiwriter

A to Z Challenge _ Z is for Zephyr

April 30, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry | 7 Comments
Tags: , , ,

A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

.

I wrote this poem in fifteen minutes as I sat by the open door with a gentle night breeze playing on my skin.

.

Zephyr Breeze

.

Zephyr breeze

Wafts through the window,

Bringing soft coolness

To fevered brow.

.

Zephyr breeze

Stirs autumn trees,

Causing golden shower

Of whispering leaves.

.

Zephyr breeze

Drifts in from the ocean,

Bringing the promise

Of evening rain.

.

Zephyr breeze

I wished you a tempest,

Reflecting the tumult

Of my grieving soul.

.

Zephyr breeze

Instead you stayed gentle,

Easing the turmoil

And bringing me peace.

.

(c)  Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – Y is for You’re in there!

April 29, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry, Writing | 10 Comments
Tags: , , ,

.

A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

.

Do you ever have trouble finding a word?

.

You’re in There – I Know You Are!

.

Stop, Word! I saw you.

Get back here, I need you.

I’ve been looking for you everywhere.

Oh, no. Don’t you go and hide;

I know you’re in there –

Come out and let me see you!

.

Come on out. Please.

This happens every time I need you;

You’re nowhere to be found.

Stop hiding behind the others!

No, I don’t want them,

I want you!

They just aren’t right for this work.

.

Oh, please, Word.

Don’t you want to be famous;

Have everyone quoting you;

Be the very latest “bon mot”?

You do? Great!

Share? Well, yes, of course

You’ll have to share

The poem with the other words.

.

You don’t want to? But why?

They’re just the everyday words;

The run-of-the-mill words.

They just can’t do the job like you can!

I need a word

That says it just right;

That conveys the perfect idea;

That creates the exact emotion.

.

That’s you. Yes, you!

Oh, come on, Word.

You’ll look so good on the paper,

Or on the screen.

You’ll be admired, and …

.

Word! Come out, this minute!

You’re spoiling everything.

My poem will be ruined.

You don’t care, do you?

You just don’t care.

.

This is your last chance, Word.

Get yourself out here!

Come out of my memory.

Right now!

.

.

(c)  Linda Visman

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

Helen Armstrong - writing on the move

I write when I travel but not always about travelling. It doesn't have to be a quiet corner...

Rosella Room

Socio-cultural comment on a range of issues, including literature, music and mental health

Myricopia

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Foxgloves and Bumblebees

A Nature Journal

L.T. Garvin

Eclectic blog: short fiction, poetry, humor, occasional dreams and wild book schemes.

Echidna Tracks

Australian Haiku

irevuo

art. popular since 10,000 BC

Colleen M. Chesebro

Novelist, Prose Metrist, & Word Witch

sketchings

Thel's Sketchings: Art, Photography, Musings & Short Stories

Learn Fun Facts

An Archive of Curious Facts for the Curious

backstorypress.com

A blog about writing and reading

roughwighting

Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog

Half Baked In Paradise

Searching, settling, sauteeing and spritzing

The Curry Apple Orchard

A blog designed to remember the past and celebrate the present.

barsetshirediaries

A site for the Barsetshire Diaries Books and others

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Leigh Warren :: Country Music Outlaw

The ramblings of Leigh Warren about himself, country music and maybe... well who knows

Diane Tibert

~ writer -