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The best laid plans are meant to be tramped upon and splattered against the walls. I thought I was going so well and then I don’t know what happened. I fizzled. I lost confidence. Maybe I can blame the Hashimoto’s. I have energy which is great. I don’t have hypers but I have had a couple of crashes in mood and energy despite the meds. The meds are great though. I thought they worked well for energy but not the brain. My brain feels more calibrated though.

I’m off to write with some friends today for about a week. I thought I’d have more done but um I haven’t. I’m progressing things and will be on track before heading back to work. I’ve started some reading for the PhD, mostly Mills & Boon books with some retro which are so fabulous and interesting. Really I mean it. I met with the wonderful Doreen Watt who has an amazing collection way back to the beginning of Mills & Boon and she has a service where she helps people by supplying that ‘missing’ book as well as an amazing database. I’m just back ground reading at the moment to give me ideas on where to focus for the Feminism in Popular Romance research.

One of the reasons I’m at a confluence of indecision is probably the three projects I have on the go. The YA romance is in the final stages of revision, although I have some late feedback that has challenged me. I need to think on it. The Regency Romance is clear in my head and a chaos vortex on the page. I jumped a few chapters when I last drafted it and now I have no idea what is supposed to go there. And it’s messy as all hell. I dictated a lot of it and it’s full of wrong words (misheard by the software) and I’m not sure I want to play in that sandpit right now. That leaves the SF romance to complete drafting. It was my plan to work on this after finishing to draft the Regency, but um …I only read through the Regency draft and got some feedback on the opening. It should go in the too hard basket.

So for these writing things I like to have a project in mind so it should be the SF romance…I’ll settle on that then. Even though I haven’t read it through. I’ll just have to push on.

Meanwhile, I have the editor working on Argenterra and the edits are coming through. Egads! I’m going to try self-publishing this story has  been close in submissions and wasn’t taken up and after 13 years trying to sell it and reworking it over and over, I’m going to push it out there.

I have been working on a guitar cake. Photos later in the week! And I’ve picked up a discarded craft project, a granny triangle rug. I’ve done no housework and I’ve not prepared my study for the Phd.

Mmm maybe I’m not so slack after all. I did take the evening off to watch Jupiter Ascending though! Love it. I know people (particular friends) hate this movie but to a SF romance lover and a paranormal romance reader it’s a fab meld of everything.

 

PS. The other me, Dani Kristoff, is a finalist in the ARRA awards for Spiritbound.

PSS.I am very sad about the passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman this week. I haven’t been able to even watch stuff about Bowie. He was an amazing artist and I’m just so shocked and saddened.

 

While I was in Melbourne for Trudi and Paul’s new year’s party, I thought it would be good to see the Weiwei and Warhol exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. I’d never been to the NGV and they always seem to have these fabulous exhibitions that I miss out on. So Matthew (Dweeb) and I stayed in a hotel in Doncaster for four nights so we could go to the party, visit a few friends and go to the exhibition. Trudi and Paul went along with us, or is that us with them. Okay, Paul drove so we went with them!

I do like to walk around exhibitions with friends and chat and look but we all parted ways at the opening, not on purpose it just happened. Trudi was called back because she had a small back pack and then I got distracted by artworks (fancy that) and Paul did too and the Dweeb was looking over stuff minutely. I’m used to the Dweeb reading every line of every picture, sulpture display so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go that slowly and that I’d probably be stuffing cakes in my mouth and swilling tea for a hour or more before he left the exhibition. I don’t like crowds so sometimes I skip bits if it’s too fussy with people!

I didn’t take a lot of shots, just some hints as to the brilliance of this exhibition. I know Ai Weiwei’s name as an activist and that he’s an artist but not his art or why he’d be co-shown with Warhol. I think the curators have done wonders with this presentation. There is amazing cohesion between the artists. They both use multiple media, sometimes using the everyday to express their ideas and comment on society, they both use film and photography as well as the written word.

The exhibition also catered for children in fun and interesting ways and I thought it was innovative in that way rather like the artists. Well done. NGV. You made my first visit an event to remember.

Note: The images here are provided for the purpose of critique and review.

billboard

I can’t describe in detail the first section of the exhibition but that would spoil it. I did take a shot of an activity section between rooms

balloons

This next shot is the detail of the wall paper in the corridor.

wall detail

This shovel is one of Weiwei’s-an example of using the everyday.

shovel

The bicycle installation was an example of art being a political protest.bicycle

In another break between rooms there were more balloons.

more balloons

Weiwei works across mediums. This photo is a small section of porcelain flowers, a truly remarkable piece.

porcelin flowers

 

The stool sculpture is made from traditionally made stools with no nails or glue.

 

stools

Warhol and Weiwei had Mau in common and the curators here had juxtaposed them quite nicely. The first is a section of Mau wall paper but there were a number of portraits of him.

wall detail Mau

 

Then a Warhol portrait on the wall paper.

mau on mau

It’s interesting. I studied Warhol and Pop art in school but I really didn’t know what an amazing person he was and how much he did. Weiwei uses plastic bricks, sort of Lego, to make pictures too.

section of wall

There was a great range of Warhol art in this exhibition. It was more comprehensive than I expected. They have really put together an in-depth exhibition so you should go along. it’s open until April.

Now an obligatory Warhol picture -Jackie

jackie

 

There was a lot of photos from both artists, but my favourite had to be Weiwei’s famous geographic icons. I won’t spoil it for you.

Lastly, a comprehensive set of sculptures from Weiwei.

statues

So as I mentioned I got separated from Trudi, Paul and the Dweeb. I had high hopes of having tea with Trudi and Paul while we waited for the Dweeb and I was in luck, but just. Phone reception within the gallery itself sucks big time! Like none. I couldn’t get in touch with Matthew to tell him my pants were on fire if I wanted to.

Trudi and Paul took me to the upstairs tea room where we had excellent tea and coffee and cakes. I tried something I knew nothing about and it was scrumptious! We waited and debated what to do while we waited for the Dweeb as Matthew could not be seen and was unable to be contacted due to crap NGV internet coverage. This was the only downside to the whole venture. Trudi suggested looking up other things in the general exhibition. We didn’t want to take too long in case we missed Matthew and Trudi wanted to show me the textiles, which were fab and her favourite installation, which has become mine. I liked this guy.

alien

I can’t upload the film I took of the bowls in water installation on the third floor but I think I can do this. Click here.

Still no sign of Matthew, we headed to the surrealist exhibition which was in another building of the NGV. I managed to get a message to Matthew hoping he would see it instead of looking for us. Not long after we arrived at the other exhibition, Matthew had emerged from the Weiwei/Warhol and had to amuse himself until we got back.

I took a shot of this because I wanted to show Matthew after and it reminded me of a Warhammer 40 K painting.

second surrealis

he Australian Surrealist exhibition was not a comprehensive or amazing as the Weiwei/Warhol one, but it was eye opening. I didn’t know these artist existed before, except maybe one or two. I didn’t know Barry Humphries was an artist (Dame Edna).

This I took because it was glass and Matthew has an interest in that medium.

third surrealist

Then there was this sort of feminine contortionist sculpture, well that is what it looks like to me.

surrealist

So that’s it, my delving into culture. Highly recommend the NGV. The Dweeb wants to have a method to keeping tabs on each other for future exhibitions. I think he didn’t like being left behind. No phone contact made that hard too.

And here is the view of the Dweeb waiting for us to return. I knew he’d go to the shop and he did. He bought the amazing catalog!

 

Matthew

 

 

 

Phew! What an amazing ride! A big thank you to my many hosts. I could not have done it without you. Thank you for the amazing array of questions and article topics. I count 24 separate posts!!!! The blog tour took place from 16 December 2015 to 8 January 2016. The draw for the books will take place on 15 January. You are welcome to leave a comment here to be in the draw. Meanwhile I’ll be trawling through social media shares etc and blog comments to compile the draw list.

Below I list and link blog posts from the blog tour. If you press the link it will open a new page in your browser.  If you are planning one of these blog tours be prepared for a lot of work and a little bit of organisation. I love how this whole process was so collegiate–other writers helping other writers! I don’t think I’ve ever pushed myself so hard and talked about so many things.

  1. Amanda Bridgeman over in Perth. You should check out her SF Aurora series. This post was an excerpt from Shatterwing. A nice way to ease me into the flow. Here.
  2. Alan Baxter in the ‘Gong, who asked me to talk about the inspiration to the world building for Dragon Wine. Here.
  3. With Matthew over on Smash Dragons. I believe Matthew is in Bathurst. I wrote a short article on what makes fantasy dark. Here.
  4. Alis Franklin also from Canberra asked me for five pieces of advice to the younger writer me. Here.
  5. This one was fun! Matthew Farrer my partner and I in conversation where I’m trying to get him to host me on his blog. The Dweeb and the Dweebette. Here.
  6. This in-depth interview is two-pronged. Ian McHugh (Canberra)  interviewed me and it appeared on his blog and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s (CSFG blog). Ian did an amazing job, a follow up to his in-depth interview last year. Here and Here.
  7. Over in Canada with Liz Munro,  West Coast Book Reviews, who asked me some quick quirky questions and has been a great supporter since she review both Dragon Wine books. Liz is a spec fic author too. Here.
  8. Glenda Larke in Western Australia. If you haven’t read Glenda then you should right now! Glenda interviewed me with some probing questions. Here.
  9.  David McDonald (Melbourne) included me in his Paying for our Passion series. Here
  10. A Christmas post by me. Here.
  11. Keith Stevenson, also from the ‘Gong, asked me a few questions about the inspiration behind the world and story of Dragon Wine. Here.
  12. Fellow Canberran, Chris Andrews asked me to talk about my darkest hour (writing). Here.
  13. Sydneysider, Joanne Anderton, asked me about my work life balance or lack there of. Here.
  14. Patty Jansen, also from Sydney, asked me to talk about romance in speculative fiction. Here.
  15. Leife Shallcross, fellow Canberran, asked me about my research habits or my own personal research rabbit hole. Here.
  16. Dawn Meredith who is a fellow CSFGer, but lives in the Blue Mountains, let me talk about how reading helps my writing. Here.
  17. Me again for my New Year’s Post. Here.
  18. Romance author, Maggie Mundy, had me talking about romance in Dragon Wine. Now I consider Dragon Wine to be unromantic because it’s dark and nasty, but I did find that I had two love triangles. Who knew?  Here.
  19. Allan Walsh from Queensland had me talk about world building. Here.
  20. DL Richardson had me over for a wonderful and fun coffee chat. Such a fab idea. Love it! Here.
  21. Kim Cleary had me on her blog to talk about why sweet little ol’ me wrote such a nasty story. Here.
  22. Nalini from Dark Matter Ezine had me over to talk about Female Heroes. I’d like to extend this blog post at a latter time as I was quite knackered when I wrote it and there’s so much more to say. Here.
  23. Last stop was MJ Oliver, currently resident in Indonesia, where I talk about how writing is not all about the writing. You know that promo stuff. Here.
  24. This probably went out first. It was an article in Scott Robinson’s newsletter- some writing advice . His website is here.  I’ll put the text of the article here. Writing in the zone. One of the best things about writing is finding the zone. I used to call it the zen zone-the frame of mind where I’m into the story, I’m creating stuff and I’m getting a buzz. Often I’d only get into the zone on a writing retreat. The peak time for the zen zone would be Wednesday of week two. These days I can’t rely on retreats to get me into the zen zone. I need the portacot type of zen zone. One I can assemble and set up and use anytime.I think that is doable, but finding out how to do that requires some self reflection and understanding of what inspires one to write.

    I don’t think I have met a writer who hasn’t had a crisis of faith in their writing, or their writing career. This can be brought about from lack of success in getting anything published, or lack of achievement in finishing the novel or even after being published and having that novel they have worked on for ten years not selling. All of these things can be detrimental to the mind set of putting your head down, believing in yourself and writing.

    Now I don’t have a one size fits all solution to this. I have some suggestions for finding out how to tap into your own zen zone, mostly from my experiences.

    1. Don’t buy into the self-doubt talk down.

    This is where you obsess about not being good enough. For example, you’ve just read the best book ever and you feel that it’s all over, you’ll never be that good and why should you even try. Bollocks. There’s always going to be someone, no matter how good you are, that’s done something more interesting, more popular or award winning than you. It’s not about them it’s about you. Writing what you love, what you enjoy and doing it to the best of your ability. Don’t listen to that voice in your head that tells you to give up. Not if you really want to succeed. If you’re not the best you can be yet, then keep at it, keep practicing. You’ll get there if you really want it.

    1. Figure out how you work best.

    I heard an interview with a writer recently who studied when she was the most productive. Although she was a morning person, she found she actually wrote more at certain times in the afternoon. Some people like writing to music. Or they have to be in a certain space in a certain chair. Others like writing in coffee shops. The thing is to actually think about what contributes to writing well for you. If you stop writing and spend all your time on the internet then think about leaving your phone off, and disconnecting from the internet. If you watch tv instead of writing, think about not watching television at all. Whatever distracts you or makes you feel out of frame, you need to identify it and address it. That will help you get into the zone.

    1. Be kind to your body.

    As a person who has developed RSI and spinal issues over time then I am all for looking after yourself. Take breaks. Use a timer. Take a walk or do something physical. We weren’t built to be on the computer all day. Writing requires that. Unless, of course, you try dictation software or standing up or both. Whatever you do balance the physical with the mental. That way you can enjoy your zen zone to the max.

    1. Read widely and often.

    Reading teaches and it also opens your mind up to possibilities whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction you are shoving stuff in your head that’s going to come out in your writing either the next week or the next year or five years from now. You can learn from other fiction writers about techniques, taking risks or just opening up your mind to possibilities. This is like fertiliser for the zen zone. You have built up enough fuel to give your zen zone blast off.

    1. Try to do the best you can do.

    My motto here and it’s only recently adapted into my approach: Enough isn’t good enough. I am trying to put some perfection into my writing. Maybe this is because I’m pretty sorted with story and plot and world building, although I think I can do better with characters all around. But I don’t want to be just competent or good, I want to go for more. For me that might be patience and subtlety in my story telling. It might mean one day aspiring to write the literary genre masterpiece. All I know is that writing is a continuum and I want to climb up that line of achievement and explore what I can be as a writer. Seeing a goal also gives meaning to my zen zone. When I’m there it’s so right and good and sigh…I just want to be there always.

And here is the exhausted me!

Exhausted me on 8 January 2016

Exhausted me on 8 January 2016

Free books!

I’ve joined Patty Jansen’s free book promo for first in a series. There are 66 books up there for free in the SF and F genres. Shatterwing is up there too.

book promo

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

I’ll be back with a review post of the Ai Weiwei/Warhol exhibition!

Happy New year! 2015 is done and 2016 is here. Yipee!

2015 was a tough year for me on many fronts. My mother passed away on the 4th of January and then my health was a bit up and down. (Looks like it’s thyroid issues). Work became a bit of struggle and then I injured myself, resulting in a diagnosis of some thoracic disc protrusions. That diagnosis sent me on a downer. Not only was it (is it) painful it curtailed my writing in a big way. The bigger thing that diagnosis it did was make me look at my life at what I was doing with my work and what I wanted to do with my productive time. You see, I can only see this arthritic spine of mine getting worse over time and so doing things like craft, writing  etc becomes more precious to me. I love making things. It’s my life blood.

I lost my friend Sonia to scleroderma and other close friends have had some health scares. My eldest son moved to China for work. He loves it. I miss him.

On the bright side, and there is one (or many), I’m generally healthy, so is my partner, Matthew, my children and my grandchildren.

2015 me and dweeb

Me (the Dweebette) and Matthew (the Dweeb!)

So apart from some chronic pain I’m really happy on in the inside. That makes a big difference. We love our house. Our deck got built and it’s amazing.

deck 2015

The long awaited deck and a peak at the views.

I also got to see some Koalas when I took some visiting Indonesians out to Tidbinbilla.

2015 koala

As I wasn’t able to write, I had to do other things to keep me sane so I did some craft-weaving, sewing and millinery. I try to use a timer to alternate through different things so I don’t injure myself. Millinery can be done standing up. I also discovered Audible and have been listening to some fab books. I’m going to continue that.

I also did a few cakes. Like this one for my daughter. Totero and this one for my boss’s farewell, a vintage Kombi.

So what is in store for me in 2016? As previously mentioned on this blog, I am commencing candidature for a higher research degree (PHD). That starts in February. I have lots of reading to do and some papers to write. The topic is Feminism in Popular Romance.

I’ve got a bit of organising to do to get ready for that. I need to clear the decks of some writing tasks. The reason I’ve taken January off work. I also need to do some practical things like reorganise my office in readiness for study. I wouldn’t call it organised now…but that needs to be improved. I had a message from my daughter. Mum: junk attracts junk. I get the message.

I’m hoping some books will also come out in 2016. I may experiment with self-publishing. Sometimes it can take too long to flog a book and it gets dated. In that case, I may as well get it out there and experiment.

Appearances wise, I’m hoping to get to Contact in Brisbane over Easter and to the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Adelaide later in the year. I’m very tempted by Supanova!

With regards to hats, I’m working on doing more of those and setting up a website to sell them. Bring on the steampunk hats!

I’ll be finishing up on the day job in the first part of the year. Losing the good income is a scary prospect, but you know I’m going to take the leap and see where it gets me.

Happy New year! Hopefully you will pop back again.

2015 hat by cat

Me in one of my hats. Photo by Cat Sparks.

Oh and Dragon Wine Part 1 is on promotion. It’s free in ebook. I’m also doing a blog tour and a give away of a hard copy. To be in the draw to win a print copy of Shatterwing leave a comment.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

Blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/shatterwing-dragon-wine-1/

 

Christmas Time

image imageIt’s the end of the year and there are festivals and religious events throughout the land. In our family we celebrate Christmas. Not so much as a religious holiday although we recognise the origins. For us, me and my kids, it is a time for being together, of overeating and present giving. It’s also a time to pause and reflect on family or our achievements over the  years, the growth in our waistlines (me) and the growth in the grandchildren.

christmas

Christmas time in Dweebenhiem

 

I think about why Christmas became such a thing for us. When I was growing up, Christmas was a thing and then when my parents split it was part of the divorce settlement or something as it no longer existed in my parent’s hearts. My mum was lackadaisical and my dad well he tried in a drunken adult sort of way. I grew up too early. Christmas became a source of pain from the age of ten. Getting up to no presents under the Christmas tree, knowing that there was no actual magic and delight and just feeling the pain of being and feeling alone, unloved and unnoticed.

silver tree

 

So when it came to having a family of my own I made sure that Christmas was a special time. When I was married, my husband and I decided to have a few traditions that would be ours. Even though we split a bloody long time ago, a couple of those traditions still linger. It is our tradition since Taamati was born to have trifle. It’s a simple dish of canned fruit, sponge cake, custard and cream. Sometimes it had coconut and even jelly, but the essential components remained. These last couple of Christmases my son has taken over a lot of the dessert making and has made the trifle into a new food group. It is really strange to me that we don’t have trifle at any other time of year even though it’s quite simple to make. It’s just the thing we have on Christmas. We also have pavlova! Because we are gluttons! Then I started to make plum puddings and Christmas cake too. Oh god! Just thinking of all this is making my belly ache.

tree

Tree decorated by the grandkids

 

We have tried to cut back on the food but it always remains the same with desserts I think. Taamati has taken to making those too. This year he lives in China and is only back on Christmas Eve so he’ll be excused from some dessert duties but not all.

nutcracker

The other tradition we adopted is that we have our celebrations on Christmas Eve. This goes back to me and my relationship with Tony. He was Italian and that is the traditional European celebration time. After I split from Tony, my kids asked me to keep it at Christmas Eve.  After nearly ten years they were used to that timing. It left them free to go to their partners’ family dinners on Christmas Day and I kept up the tradition of not cooking on Christmas Day. We just lie around watching movies and reheating food. These days I go with Matthew to visit his parents on the farm and share some turkey and salad and open presents. It’s a long haul – all the cooking—but these days it’s not too onerous. It used to take me three days to prepare. This year it was only two evenings.

 

My daughter also organised organic meats for the roasting and that’s very special indeed! We usually have antipasto-grilled vegetables, ham and other cold means,  prawns, tortillia de patatas, pasta, salads, cheese, olives etc etc. Then comes the main course, roasts meat of various kinds, turkey, lamb, pork, ham, chicken, with roast vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato), spinach and cheese sauce, peas, gravy etc etc…and then there are desserts …somewhat later in the evening.

 

One of my daughters said to me that I always made Christmas special when she was young and we’ve kept that up. It was magical and fun and that’s what has carried over into adulthood. I recall when I started to study and I had little money and made presents. I was still sewing clothes for the dolls on Christmas Eve. (Back then we did the Christmas Day celebrations). She still remembers coming out to all the dolls in new clothes and the basket bassinettes. I did that every year. My kids were still having stockings until their twenties. Now with the grandkids we keep up the tradition. The young ones get to open their presents  Christmas Eve and wake up to their stocking on Christmas morning. Usually there are lots of presents…heaps of presents because they are all combined.

santa

So I treasure that the effort I put in meant something to my kids growing up and that they treasure it that much that they continue the tradition of making Christmas a special time. I love my family (and friends) and I love knowing that something I put a lot of effort into means so much to them and that if they keep it up their children will continue it on down through time.

Sigh. Merry Christmas everyone!

Oh and if you have  an new ereader and like dark fantasy then  my book Dragon Wine book 1 -Shatterwing is free!

Below is the blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

Try the publisher’s website to the links to your retailer. Here.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

I checked out Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast because I’m in between ebooks. I’ve been catching up with a lot of blog casts lately! I caught up on a whole year of Champagne and Socks-easy because they are short (about ten minutes) and Alisa missed a number due to health issues (not nice but it did make catching up easy).

So I listened to a pod cast with Amanda (also from Smart Bitches) and it was about Amanda’s sex life. You know that thing people have and her being younger and using Tinder was really very interesting. Sarah’s contrast with what is actually happening with young women (admittedly not all, but some) and what is in a romance novel was a case in point. The majority of romance readers don’t like female leads that sleep around and definitely not while dating the hero. It is also frowned upon for a man to sleep around once romancing the female hero.

This got me thinking-why is this so? My own reaction is similar to those ‘readers of romance’ and why do I feel that way?  I guess for me I’m a result of my culture and upbringing. I am formed by early religious teachings-I was brought up a catholic with Presbyterian and Baptist influences. Although I’m not religious at all now not for many, many years, the influence remains.  I was also growing up in a time when woman’s role was very traditional- man and home focussed. The girls older than me got birthday and Christmas gifts for their glory box. I remember someone explaining that a glory box was the Manchester you took with you when you got married. So girls at 15 and older would get sheets, crockery, towels and household stuff to put away for when they got married.  Then women’s lib and Bob’s your uncle. World changed.

There was also a very strong focus on virginity, and if you lost that well you lost something of value and that was be shared with the ‘one’. I know it’s an old story right. I know that stuffed me up mentally for many years. That’s another story.

What this amounts to is that I’m conditioned to feel a particular way. I recognise that. Separating the conditioning from how I actually feel is hard. If young girls are equal to men then they should be able to initiate sex, have sex without commitment just like men have always done. Here, here…that’s just right. Why does it make me quake at the thought?

Sarah raised a question in the podcast—what then becomes special about the person you are with in a romantic sense? What makes them special if you have slept with so many partners? This raises questions for me too, like is sex now transactional if removed from emotion, connection and commitment? Are these questions pre- programmed into me? It’s scary. You really should listen to the podcast (link below).

Generally, I have no problem how people want to conduct their sex lives. I am happy for people to be free as long as they don’t hurt others. They have a freedom I don’t. I’m a serial monogamist. That’s the way I am. Basically, I’m too old to change that . However, this podcast certainly gave me insight into my daughters and the world they are living in, what they face day to day.

So I thoroughly recommend this podcast for romance readers and those of you who are mothers and want some insight into their reality.

The second podcast I listened to was from Nerdette and it was an interview with Caitlin Moran, whom I have never heard of previously but who is absolutely fascinating. Her interview looks at feminism and popular culture and how strong pop culture is in getting the message out there. I liked Moran’s Feminist self-assessment test.

Put your hand in your pants. Do you have a vagina? Yes, do you want to control it? Then you’re a feminist.

She also has a tea towel with the five rules of feminism. 1. Women are equal to men. 2. Don’t be a dick. 3. That’s all.

Moran mentions a fifth wave of feminism and I’m like what happened to the fourth wave? And I’m trying to get to grips with the third wave. Yet, I like her simplistic attitude. No dictating what people should wear, what their opinions must be, just cool. I’m with that.

Podcast links. N. 172  Smart Bitches

Nerdette

Caitlin Moran link

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