Friday, 18 August 2017

Autograph books tell us a lot

This is an entry my father Lionel Probert wrote in his Sister in Law's Autograph Book, I'm led to believe that it's his work, but can't be sure. What it does do is express the loneliness Aussie servicemen felt when they were away fighting. I'm just thankful he made it home and met my mother.

Take a moment to put yourself on a Pacific Island in 1942 then read these words and reflect on our own situation today.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Author's Lament (first draft)

My pride and joy from a former life has nothing to do with my yarnspinner's life today, but it reminds me of who and what I was, in the spring of yesterday


So I got a little story
And this much is what I know
Hours and hours of writing
Before it’s good enough
For the editor to go
Then back to me
And back to she
Edits by the score
Until at last it’s finished
In a package by the door.

Then off to beta readers
To tell us what they like
Or tell us what is wrong
And all the time
I wring my hands
And sing a simple song

Please oh please mister publisher
Take my letter from your pile
And please don’t
Consign it to the bin
For it took a lot of time to create
The character and plot
Just to drag you in

With my finger on the send button poised
The whole shebang has gone
To somewhere in an editor’s office
Where I hope you’ll take
Just a minute of your time
To read the cover letter
And synopsis of the plot
Because after months of writing

This is the best I’ve got

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Honey Hush

When I wrote this poem a few years ago, I was thinking about the joy this little boat brought to me and my friends as we sailed the waters of Fisherman's Bay in South Australia. 

A Rainbow Class yacht Dad bought for David and me, David was caught under the sail in a capsize and never wanted to get in the boat again.
Brian Tiller, David Kent, Trevor Moore and many more mates terrified water skiers as we fought for space on the deep water in the small bay. 

Honey Hush, I loved you to bits.


It was a girl
She was sixteen
Her dad’s old guitar
And ripped blue jeans
She strummed old strings
We sang along

It was a boy
He was just fifteen
A red sailing boat
For his summer’s dream
His gaze she held all night
We watched on

It was a boat
As dawn broke golden
And soft white sails
Her name emboldened
Slow waves on morning tide
We did not see

It was new love
On summer breezes
Days just drifted by
Seaweed sand and evening breezes
No one he loved more than she
We saw it all

Friday, 21 July 2017

Old Symes Family Photos

Having all sorts of fun trying to edit the old black and whites from almost one hundred years ago, found one of Harold William Symes taking a bit of time out. I'm not too sure about his bed, even for 1940 those pine posts look a bit uncomfortable. This is taken alongside the house in Government road Orroroo, not long before he died.
Harold left behind a family who followed in his footsteps believing in his example of his hard work and Christian ethics.
A highly social man Harold loved his sport and did everything from Tent Pegging, Tennis, Clay Pigeon shooting, to organising athletic events.

Andrew William and his wife Doris Elizabeth Symes
 my great grandparents, cut a proud pose for the camera

This photo shows Edna and Beth Symes decked out in their Sunday finery, Mum still has he plaits here, but later at her sister Aileen's insistence, they were severed. She has always liked her hair and the amount of curlers and driers in her Fifth Street bathroom are testament to that.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Edna's life Story

Never too old to give it a try

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting
January 2017
88 Year old Edna Probert of Orroroo ready for some slides 
While sorting through my mother Edna's photos and journals to help me build a chapter plan for her story, I thought about her many visits to Darwin and how easily she fitted in with Danny's friends. 
  For Mum fitting in with people always came naturally and she often did it without needing to be asked. In 1987 I found her volunteering for different duties to help our young motorsport community at the Black Rock Dirt Circuit Club.
 A few years later, and she was helping my son Danny to build his drift car in Darwin. This year she was surprised when he brought a car back to South Australia so he could show her what drifting was all about. 
 This is a picture of Gran buckled in and ready for a blast around the circuit at Mambray Creek.

Photo Courtesy of Xdrift Industries Drift Team

Monday, 17 July 2017

How do you decide whether to write a biography, or tell the story of some-one's life.

Edna Probert in her Fifth Street  home May 2017
Surrounded by mountains of memories in the form of notes, journal entries and photos I'm trying to find the best way to record my mother's stories. We have plenty of Stud Books as my Uncle Doug calls them, family trees that document our ancestral roots, but these are as dry as a vacuum cleaner repair manual. I want something more, more entertaining. Therefore I have started imagining my mother as a ten-year-old and working from the stories her sisters and brothers told me and used them as the base to paint a picture of her life just before the Second World War.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction.

Iris looked at her mother, pointed toward Edna and said. ‘What’s the chance that next week Dad can take both of them?’
Emily brushed at her dress again. ‘Absolutely none. If anyone needs to know their Bible, it’s Edna.’
‘What, who said my name?’ Edna was never one to be left out.
‘Mum said you’ll need a lot more Bible lessons yet.’ Aileen grinned at her, ‘just to keep you out of the Devil’s clutches.’

From the moment the visitor from the north took the pulpit, Edna always knew she wanted to be a missionary in New Guinea, so it did not matter what anyone said, God understood her and she knew he would help her resist any of Satan’s temptations. She thought about New Guinea and how she would look after unwanted babies. Along the way she would spread God’s word. While this was the world of many a scrawny country kid whose social life revolved around family church and school, it was how Edna saw herself. She still does.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A nice review about writing character

Melton Library
My writing colleagues and I often go on about the importance of plot and if one of our stories is strong or seems to lack something. As my Wordsmith's of Melton friends are a critiquing group, discussion can be quite robust and at times it becomes difficult to subject a piece for critique, then an unexpected review comes into our inbox. This is one of those.

I had passed out a few final drafts of my Detective Voss novel 'The Price of Innocence' for the members to read and identify strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript. To say I was chuffed with Sonia Doherty's review is an understatement and I have pasted it below.. Thank you Sonia.

I have started reading Voss and one thing you do really well is relationships and people. You create interesting characters and how they interact. You make us like them, flaws and all, and not like others. Some we watch grow throughout the story and some we laugh at how they behave. In all your books this is one thing that has stood out to me.


For anyone interested in writing I would recommend working with other writers within a community based critiquing group similar to ours because your writing will grow from it. Check out Writers Victoria. S A Writers and your local library should be able to help direct you too.