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Archive for June, 2012

The other day I found a note. The paper was folded many times and the edges were old and bit a tattered. I carefully unfolded it and began to read. It was written by one of my daughters many years ago and I was reminded how something so little – like writing a note – can bring so much joy.

It brought to mind the time I was rostered on to help make the school lunches at the canteen. Once a week I would turn up on a particular day and we would make umpteen salad rolls and sandwiches, and put dozens of pies and sausage rolls on to heat. It was always with a sense of anticipation that I searched through all the lunch orders for the one with my daughter’s name on it. Her orders were never just the regular ‘salad roll’. Instead it would read something like, ‘Most gracious, indulgent, loving, patient mother in the world, your most darlingest daughter desires a bread roll cut in half with a faint scraping of butter on both sides, followed by a slice of tomato on a sprinkling of shredded lettuce. This would be nice topped with a smattering of grated cheese and carrot. A slice of ham will do nicely on top of the vegetables…’ And of course I would reply by writing all over the wrapping of her salad roll, ‘Most darlingest daughter – please find encased beneath this wrapper…’ Once she wrote a rhyming poem that had the whole canteen in stitches of laughter. And one day, her teacher asked for the lunch wrapper so that she could photo copy my reply.

They were fun days – and memory creators. It’s never too late to create memories for those you love.

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Ooooh, it’s been an exciting week!

There was a number of frantic emails back and forth between my fellow script writer in London and me here in Perth, tweaking the trailer script. We thought we had it just right, then were told it had to be cut down from 5 minutes to less than 3 minutes. Back to the drawing board…

But what we have now, is a little ripper! Even if I say so myself :)

On Saturday I sat down with two people in the local film industry, and we got stuck into planning the movie trailer featuring my books. 4 hours later the story board was taking shape – this is where they work out which angle the scenes will be filmed from.

As well as the movie trailer, they have offered to do a book trailer for me. How cool is that? Will let you know when it is posted to YouTube.

DJ

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Good Monday morning to you all :)

Yesterday I was reminded of something Sir Charles Court used to say. “If you are not 10 minutes early, you’re late.”

Once, I would have agreed with that statement, but not any more. All my life I have endeavoured to be early – didn’t matter what the occasion was. I was so conscious of not being late, that sometimes I would sit in my car for 20 minutes at my appointed place just to make sure I was there on time.

Then one day not so long ago, that all changed.

It was the first wet day of the winter season. My brother had arrived the night before, so I’d been chatting to him with one eye on the clock, conscious of my morning counselling appointment. Then the rain began to bucket down! Suddenly I had two girls to drop at school. One 10 minutes south, and the other 10 minutes west. My brother stepped in and offered to drive one, and I took the other. By now I knew that I was going to be late for my appointment, and felt sick in the stomach.

The usual 35 minute drive ended up taking close to 50 min. By the time I arrived (15 minutes late), I was anxious, flustered, embarrassed and apologetic. The counsellor was somewhat amused, and asked, ‘Haven’t you ever been late before?’

I was surprised. ‘No, I haven’t… at least not that I can remember.’

‘How do you feel about being late?’ he asked.

‘That I am a failure, unreliable, disrespectful… it’s the ultimate in rudeness.’ I replied seriously.

Needless to say, the planned trauma counselling session was postponed. We spent time discussing ‘late’ and I came away with a new, healthier attitude about being late. I still endeavour to be on time, but it is not the end of the world if I don’t make it there with 10 minutes to spare.

DJ

(C) DJ Stutley 2012

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I am thrilled to know that we are going to be grandparents again :)

We have 4 grandchildren now, aged 4 and under, with one due in September and another due next year. I love being a Grandma – but I often wonder what the role and responsibility of being a grandparent is. Surely there more to it than being a babysitter, sneaking lollies to the little ones, cutting off the bread crusts while their mother is not looking, letting them watch cartoons, reading them bedtime stories…

You see, I grew up with no grandparents around, and my children grew up having little contact with grandparents. So I don’t have a role-model to follow. I don’t even have any memories to fall back on.

So it is up to me to create good ‘Grandma’ memories for my grandchildren and my children. My attitude towards them and the things I do with them now will be what they remember. It’s a huge responsibility and I am happy to receive advice.

If you’re a grandparent and have advice for me, please pass on your thoughts.

DJ

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Today I thought I’d give an update of the various projects on the go…

1. The picture book is up to creating the story board – I will soon see all the illustrations and there will be a small window to make any changes. But Katie is doing such a great job, I’m not expecting to have to make changes :) The book will be in print late October.

2. I’m guessing that Foxtrot has been printed, though I haven’t actually heard.

3. Delta is nearing the typeset stage.

4. Alpha has just started the first edit stage.

5. Romeo is still languishing in the depths of my computer, unworked for about 6 months now :(  I’m coming, Romeo, I’m coming…

6. I’ve pulled out some of my other picture book ideas and are seeing which ones are worth pursuing.

7. Scripting has started on the movie trailer – they hope to start filming in September. At this stage, there is just going to be a 5 minute trailer to gauge interest in making the ‘Operation’ Books into a TV series.

As you can see, there is plenty happening on the writing front :)

DJ

 

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Good morning week :)

It’s going to be a busy day, but somewhere during the next 16 hours I am going to be ruthless!

I need to take a long, careful look at the contents of my wardrobe. Several years ago I implemented system of keeping my wardrobe up to date and fresh. But the years have slipped by unnoticed and my racks and drawers are once again bulging.

The first part of my system was to use a marker pen to write the last number of the year I purchased the item on the label or inside seam. Then every year, go through and remove the clothes purchased 3 years ago (other than a couple of exceptions).

The second part was to ask, ‘Has it been worn in the last 12 months?’

The thing about systems, is that they are useless unless they are implemented.  The purpose of having a system is to achieve a desired outcome. In this case, I would have a relatively up to date and fresh wardrobe, and it would prevent over crowding.

I want the desired outcome, so I guess I’ll just have to implement the system again.

DJ

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When anticipation can be a bad thing…

A few months ago I made myself feel sad just by anticipating something that hasn’t happened yet. My big ginger cat – Mousier Charles deCat – is now 14 years old and I wondered what life would be like without him.

As I stroked his fur I told him how much he meant to me and how much I’d miss him. This continued for several days and I became sadder every time I looked at him.

Then it dawned on me… I was spoiling what time I had with, by anticipating something that hadn’t happened yet.

I stopped dreading the inevitable and started living with the present. And months later, he’s still here sleeping 22 hours a day just like he’s always done! I will continue to enjoy his presence day-by-day and face what comes day-by-day instead of fretting about something that hasn’t happened.

DJ

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Today I thought I’d share my top two favourite short stories that have come out of my school writing workshops. We have some creative kids out there :)

1. I gave them this task: Write a story from the point of view of an apple, sitting in a fruit basket on your kitchen counter, observing life around it.

Yr 5 boy who hardly ever attended school, was there for each of my 4 school writing workshops. He wrote: I am a green apple. I don’t like being a green apple. I want to be a red apple. One day someone put some strawberries in the fruit bowl. One got squashed on me and now I am red. And I am happy.

2. Yr 9. I had the students create a class story using their senses. This is what they came up with:

It was a dark moonlit night. The crickets cricked in the tall grass. The front door slowly creaked open and I went inside. At first the house smelt damp and musty. Then smoke from a fireless fire-place filled the lounge room. To escape the smoke, I headed upstairs. The banister felt gritty with a layer of dust and I wiped away the cobwebs that fluttered against my skin. The staircase opened out into a huge room with a single door in the far wall. I crossed the floor and gently pushed the door open. A white cat shot out the door and raced across the room and disappeared down the stairs. The door closed behind me – trapping me. Inside the room was a glass casket with Snow White inside. Beside the casket was a skeleton down on one knee holding up an engagement ring. Beside the casket was a box of Turkish delight. I took one. I took a bite. It was sweet. Suddenly I turned into a white cat…

Aren’t they great?

For those who are following the progress of my first picture book (due out in September) I’ve uploaded a couple draft illustrations at https://www.facebook.com/authordjstutley

Take care,

DJ

 

 

 

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It’s Monday morning again :) And it’s raining!

I just love winter. The cold, the wind, and especially the rain. The harder the rain falls the bigger my smile grows.

A while back, when I was going through trauma counselling, I was asked to think of a safe place – a place that gives me a feeling of pleasure or safety. I needed a memory that would help me retrieve a positive emotion that I could bring up and use to replace a feeling of distress or disturbance.

Sitting in a comfortable chair with my eyes closed, I thought back over the years to the many places I’ve been, things I’ve seen and done: sunsets, sunrises, forests, bushwalks, food… nothing seemed to ‘click’. I was about to give up when a picture began to form in my mind. I could feel the tugging of a smile as pleasure welled up inside me. By the time my mental picture was complete, I was grinning. I’d found my ‘safe place’. I opened my eyes and felt like laughing. Who would believe me? Let me describe my safe place…

The rain is bucketing down!  I am standing out on my patio with a cup of coffee. The rain is so heavy I can hardly see the building 20 metres away. The traffic coming down the highway has slowed to a crawl, their headlights weak and distorted. Thunder rumbles overhead. A gust of wind drives the rain towards me and I step backwards. This is my favourite place, favourite season, favourite memory. My ‘safe place’.

Do you have a ‘safe place’? I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great week :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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My son-in-law (Ben) has a wicked sense of humor, and I thought I’d share a post from his blog last week – about a mouse. Enjoy…

To read his story, click here

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