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Sally Boyden: The Littlest Australian on Youtube

19 Aug

Ssally_theno, remember all the hush hush secrecy surrounding my discovery of the Aussie child star I obsessed over as a kid? Well, I can finally come clean, because she’s going public. Sally Boyden – aka – The Littlest Australian – has put up her latest song on Youtube.

Sal and I have been collaborating over the last few weeks and while I can’t tell you directly the projects we’re working on, I’m excited that her 100 Hours project with Dan Dubelman is finally getting some airplay. She also finally set up her own site on Myspace. The 100 hours project is about the first 100 hours Sally and Dan have spent together writing and performing music. They’ll be performing  at Arlene’s Grocery in NY on Sep 11.

She’s come a long way from this adorable kid when she was on Australia’s variety show Young Talent Time back in the 1970s.

Here she is all grown up with Dan, singing their amazing song “God Knows Why” on Santa Monica Blvd at dawn. Enjoy!

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Staying on top of everything

18 Aug

frog-pondWhere I come from, we used to say “I’ve been buzzing around like a blue-arsed fly,” but given that I’m now in the grand old U.S. of A., I guess I have to say I’ve been hopping around like a crazy green frog. That, I suppose is my excuse for not having written for a few days. Today, hopefully that has changed. I am now much more prone to resting on a lily pad and going out of my way to avoid pond scum (Names withheld to protect me from being beaten to a pulp at a later date).

I’m still waiting on my dog’s biopsy although she is happily resting on her own pond of happiness. Three days of cool painkillers saw to that, and now she’s back to her old self. Hooray. Biopsy results should be in tomorrow.

I’ve also suddenly been bombarded with some great editing work  at the Levan Institute at USC (thank you Nick!), and things are moving ahead with the articles on the former child star. All in all things are going swimmingly.

Dog days

15 Aug

I confess to doing no work today. It has been such an emotional drain.

I took Bridget to the vet this morning for her surgery. She was in high spirits (although frustrated that I didn’t give her breakfast – she had to fast from midnight the night before), I on the other hand was a wreck and cried in the vet’s office. He was so sweet he told me he would telephone as soon as her surgery was over so that I could come and wait for her while she was still under. That way when she woke up I’d be the first person she saw.

I got the call at 12:15 p.m. – after trying to spend a couple of hours working in a cafe because I just didn’t want to be home in my house without Bridget. She came through the surgery fine. It took her about an hour to wake up fully before I could take her home, though. She has a huge set of stitches and her bum is all shaved. Poor baby. And she looked, well, stoned!

Vet said that he got the whole mass out and it looked to be contained and didn’t appear to have spread, but we won’t know anything for certain till the lab comes back with the biopsy results – hopefully Monday or Tuesday next week. I brought her home with pain meds and one of those god-awful plastic cones that she has to wear when I’m not supervising her.

She refused to drink for five hours and didn’t move, was clearly in pain. But when the pain killers kicked in, she finally got up and was wagging her tail, drank and ate and seemed to be herself, if not slow, stiff and groggy. She’s now lying on the floor with the silly cone because I’m off to bed shortly and don’t want to risk her going for her stitches. Vet says he will call tomorrow morning to see how she is doing.

I was supposed to go to the premiere of Legally Blonde – the musical tonight and review the show, but had to abandon that plan following Bridget’s surgery. There’s no way I’m leaving her side at all this whole weekend. My friend Sally and her boyfriend were going to take the tix and write the review but that fell through too after she was left dealing with the aftermath of being hit by a car (luckily she’s physically fine, just a little bruised). Wow.

I plan to catch up on the writing bent over the weekend. Dog surgery took over everything today though.

Frazzled on Friday

31 Jul

39The work week may be drawing to a close, but my body seems to think it’s already the weekend. Off to a sluggish start today after a brilliant night last night with the child star and her b/f who came round for dinner. Lots of chatting and discussing and plotting and planning. All in all a good evening.

I submitted a completed article to my editor in NY yesterday but have some tweaks to make on the piece now after reading her feedback. Shouldn’t be too difficult, just need to rework some things but I’ll be doing that this weekend.

I’ve spent so much of this week looking for courses, competitions, figuring out which fiction mags to subscribe to etc. that I need to get back to focusing on actually doing some more fiction writing. I’m spending my weekend with Stephen King’s On Writing, which I’ve read several times but it’s a fantastic book and always inspires me when I’m feeling sluggish, and flexing my fictitious muscles with Roberta Allen’s five minute fiction prompts from her book Fast Fiction (which I’ve written about before on this blog). Can’t wait! I’ve discovered that many of my short stories come out of goodness knows where. I actually wrote about a dirt poor little African American girl in the deep South, something that has certainly not come from my personal memory banks. I’ve written about the Kalahari desert and multi-national corporations, divorced parents and talking castles in my fiction. No idea what is going on in my brain, but I’ve discovered I don’t like to think too hard about what to write, because when I do I seem to draw a blank when I say “What should I write about?” Then I go down that slippery slope of “I have nothing to say!” which of course isn’t true. So, more “leaving myself alone” this weekend to pull strange writing tricks out of my head.

In the meantime, with August 1 hovering on our doorstep, I’m hoping that the slow morass of July will soon be nothing more than a  31-day memory and the job boards will be filled with writing, editing, reporting, blogging positions just waiting for me to dive into and bolster my ever-depleting bank account. Bring on August, I say! Bring on the work!

More yoga stretching today – it’s taken almost a week for my body to recuperate from that masochistic gym class.

Exhausted

Wishing all writers a great weekend. Oh, I will also work this weekend on harnessing  yesterday’s BIG idea…

PS. I LOVE the TGIF picture at the top of my blog – but did you notice the typo????? Just wanted to let you know that as a writer, yes I did see it, but the picture was too cute to take down. Aesthetics over accuracy?

The pursuit of (pained) happiness

28 Jul

Only 3:13 p.m. but still it’s been a brilliantly productive day so far. This, despite the fact that my body is a physical wreck from yesterday’s gym class. Lots of stretching, hot showers and L-Glutamine tablets have done nothing but goad my body into laughing maniacally at the pains (literal) I have gone to in my efforts to ease my sore, brutalised muscles. Still, it’s “good” pain, right? It means I didn’t cheat in class (well, I did a bit, but I’m still in pain). So no gym class today – I need a day off, but still stretching and doing light yoga, so I believe that affords me some brownie points, no? Where those brownie points go, and why they are called brownie points is another matter entirely, and not for discussion here – unless someone wants to take it up in the comments section.

In the meantime, I have been thinking only positive thoughts and lots of good karmic energy has been coming my way. Today alone, the following occurred:

  • I found a fantastic magazine to pitch my ‘Green’ story to. Will they respond?  I don’t know. But do check out E Magazine, nonetheless. It’s a great mag, promoting a great environmental cause. So whether my pitch is accepted or not, I’m happy to just know they are out there, making the world a little better one step at a time.
  • A parcel sent to my brother and sister-in-law in Israel that I sent seven weeks ago with presents for their newborn twins (boy and girl – completely adorable!), went missing. I was devastated. And then today, it showed up! Hooray. They opened it “live” on Skype so I could see them receiving the presents. That can’t help but put a smile on your face. Here’s a picture of my new nephew and niece. His name is Inon and her name is Renana.
Yinon (the "y" is silent) and Renana - born June 10, 2009

Yinon (the "y" is silent) and Renana - born June 10, 2009

  • The Aussie child star and her boyfriend accepted a dinner invitation from me and will be round this week to eat and work as we put together our pitch plans to let everyone know she is indeed still alive and well and thriving.
  • A pitch I made to a newspaper a couple of weeks ago was accepted today (hooray). Tight deadline, though. It’s due Friday morning (New York) time. So guess what I’ll be working on over the next two days?
  • I also received another request to write an article for an online publication today – at least I have a longer deadline – two whole weeks. Hooray! And there’s also the possibility of more work with this particular outlet in the future, so that makes me VERY happy.
  • I”m halfway through transcribing my notes for the August 9 deadline.
  • I just came across a great web site for submitting fiction to writing contests. It’s on my blog roll too. Check em out if you want to get your fictitious voice out there! It’s called Creative Writing Contests. Straightforward and to the point, no?

So, so far a good day. Still lots to do today, but feeling good, and am on the prowl for great blogs to add to my blog roll. Let me know if you’re aware of great “writing” bloggers out there. Cheers to all!

The write to be happy

26 Jul

FALLING OFF THE PLANET
So, where have I been for the last six months? What happened to my resolve, my life, my outlook, my world? Well, a lot to be frank and none of it particularly good. I need the discipline of being answerable to something/someone, and so, dear blog, you are it. You are here from this day forth to keep me on track. Do you hear me?

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
Where  I have been in the last six months is less important than how I move forward. But, to bring you up to speed, it’s been a tough half-year, complete with the loss of my steady freelance gigs, a stint in hospital, the turning down of a great job to write a travel guide book for Frommers to my home town of Jerusalem in favour of a great great writing job that made me so happy professionally and paid more money than I knew what to do with. Maybe it’s because I really wouldn’t know what to do with all that money that it turned out that job never paid me. Two months of work, thousands of dollars later and now I”m as poor as a synagogue mouse (to quote from Topol in Fiddler on the Roof, whom I saw the other night – -AMAZING – but I digress).

GET EVEN OR GET HAPPY?

Am I mad? You bet I am. Do I hope to see my money someday? You bet I do. Am I doing everything in my power to try and get that money from them? You bet I am. But, with the upheaval and turmoil and sickness and stress, and having gone through all my savings, I woke up last week virtually unable to move. Money, or no, I realised I needed a serious massage. All that stress and tension of the last few months had finally got to me. And so I went to the ONLY place to get a massage in Los Angeles – The Massage Therapy Center. Trust me, it’s not cheap but they are SOOO great there. I’ve learned the hard way, better to have a great massage and pay for it, than a bad one that simply leaves your wallet lighter but no real improvement. At the Massage Therapy Center (I sound like an infomercial, no?), there’s none of the “What sort of massage do you want?”. Of course you can request a style, if that’s what floats your boat, but far, far, better, is the therapist asking what your issues are, where your tension is, and then tailoring your massage to your body’s needs. And believe me, those therapists usually know what you need more than you do. My therapist was AMAZING although she did say I’d need about five hours of work on my back to get out all the accumulated knots.

GOING TO PIECES OR SEEKING PEACE
Still, after that amazing treatment, I suddenly had a great deal of clarity. I realised that while I was still as poor as a synagogue mouse, and still spending all day every day scanning the Internet, bugging friends and sending out job applications and resumes, I needed to find a way to be at peace with the fact that I wasn’t working. That didn’t mean swanning around town and maxing out my credit cards ( which I’m on the verge of doing by necessity anyway), but to actually allow myself some time to breathe. After all, I figured, when am I actually going to have the time to just do things I can’t do normally when I do have a full time job? I needed to find a way to be okay with being “funemployed” as a recent Los Angeles Times article noted. And so, I began to try and okay with my status, while still making the effort to search for work.

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
So what could I do that wouldn’t break my already broken bank? And what could I do to not just focus on what I wanted to do from here on out, but to truly take advantage of this situation? Well, firstly I have an uncle who very kindly has sent a small amount of money my way that should keep me covered for the next four to six weeks while I search for work. And, because of this, I am blessed to be able to say: Right, for the next four weeks I’m going to focus really hard on how to move forward while still being responsible.

BACK TO MY BOOKISH ROOTS
Well, I went to the library! I love books and had a problem with buying them – A LOT! I love wandering into a bookstore and smelling the new pages (my sister can relate to this, too). But then I realised that the city has a plethora of libraries that I hadn’t used in ages. I made a careful list of the type of books I wanted to read, the authors I wanted to seek out, and to find a way to get back to FICTION, which is my great love after all, which is the purpose of this blog, and clearly of my life.

THE PERSPEX IN MY PERSPECTIVE
And the first book I read and am still reading? Not a work of fiction at all, but Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. What an amazing book. Why did I wait so long to read this? I am inspired. She is inspiring. Go read her book if you haven’t already. Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for putting the perspex in my perspective. I spent my week giving myself permission to just “be”, courtesy of Ms. Gilbert. I took my dog to the dog beach (she’s a Golden Retriever who loves nothing more than to swim) – on a WEDNESDAY! How decadent! How bohemian! I did it. I’m proud of it. The guilt twinges were definitely there but I was learning to be okay with taking a couple of hours out in the day, midweek and being okay with it. I went to the park, sat under a big tree (again with the dog) and read: the newspaper, fiction mags and Ms. Gilbert. Absolutely delicious! And none of these “experiments” cost me money.

CHANCE AND/OR FATE = CHANGE?
Through a series of bizarre circumstances, I landed up meeting and connecting with a former Australian child star whom I adored when I was a little girl. The circumstances are so coincidental and surreal that I couldn’t do them justice by attempting to explain them, plus I want to cocoon and cherish the magic of this encounter so I will say nothing more on how this came about. I am forging a wonderful relationship with this extraordinary woman and am now working with her to publish a series of articles on her life and write her memoir/autobiography with her, all because of a series of random events colliding in the universe. I do not know where this relationship will lead either professionally or personally, but I’m just enjoying the ride and getting to know her and her amazing boyfriend who were clearly destined for each other. It’s true what they say, that another person’s happiness can rub off on you.

THIS IS ME
This chance meeting, the massage, the reading, the permission to breathe, the extraction of myself from a toxic work situation, have all somehow crystalised into my upcoming four week challenge, which is to allow myself to really spend more time on my fiction, to do what I love and let that place of peace and serenity guide my actions. I was lucky to interview for a job and even luckier to not be offered that job. And no, that is not a typo. I learned an important lesson at that interview. I have spent the last two and a half years freelancing, from home. As a (ahem) forty-something woman, I knew going into the interview the job was a desk job in a real office, where I’d have to wear real shoes (ugh) and clock watch (double ugh). And as I sat there in that interview, I could feel the walls closing in on me, and I almost couldn’t breathe. I knew I could never go back to a desk job and while that may narrow my options work-wise in the near future, it was enlightening to know who I really was, what I could truly deal with, and what I couldn’t. I love working from home. I am self-disciplined, organized, when it comes to work (with the usual dollop of procrastination we all have from time to time). I’m a morning person and love being able to start work at 6 a.m. My 12-year-old Golden Retriever loves having me at home too (the feeling is mutual). If I’d been offered that job, would I have taken it, though? Absolutely! But I wasn’t. I believe this was the universe’s way of confirming for me I’m not meant to be in an office on a 9-5 schedule.

THE FOUR WEEK CHALLENGE
And so, this leads me to my four-week challenge, (which I have already begun), and which I hope my readers will hold me accountable to. For the next four weeks my tasks are as follows:

  • To give myself permission to enjoy this time
  • To spend my days doing the following: Exercising (sadly I can no longer do my 6 a.m. on the beach boot camp classes because I have no money); more yoga; focus on writing fiction (three stories done already and sent to various competitions, sites etc);
  • Seeking only decent paying freelance markets (I’m over those cheap bastards who think you are not worth anything … see previous post
  • Finding a “happy place” every day. This includes more time with my dog in parks, promenades, the beach. Summer in LA is amazing. Take advantage – right?
  • Spending time seeking jobs – but NOT 24/7
  • Reading more books. On my list right now: The Secret, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Accidental Tourist (which I read years ago but Ann Lamott is extraordinary and I love this book), more Elizabeth Gilbert; Julie and Julia (I’m a vegetarian but obsessed with all forms of cooking and food books, shows etc. no idea why!).

And so, I beg your indulgence. Please help me keep to this regime. You’ll know I’m doing so by my postings. If I’m not posting and updating, feel free to kick my bum via this blog and keep me on the straight and narrow. I hope, pray and wish to believe that by doing what I need to do, and approaching what I love from a happy place will lead to emotional and financial stability. Help me in this journey and I will help you in yours if you wish me to. The focus now must be MORE FICTION and MORE FORGIVENESS. This, will be my F PLAN. Join me on my journey, won’t you?