6weeksDo you know how it is sometimes, where you keep on getting the same message? Like the red car syndrome, where once you purchase a red car, suddenly you see them everywhere? The red car message for me has been all about time. Things worth doing, take time. Time. Lots of it.

The same message kept appearing in so many unrelated podcasts, blogs and conversations this week that I had to admit, this was the red car message for me.

Nothing worth doing can get done in six weeks.

There was a time, three years ago in fact, when I thought I could get a business going in six weeks; “Six Figures in Six Weeks” was one of the many online courses I had signed up for. Well I had my doubts, but I thought the smart thing to do was to learn from other entrepreneurs, reduce the amount of time it took to learn how to grow your business. I wanted the quick and easy, paint by numbers, tried and true way to gather a list of people’s emails, adoring Facebook and Twitter etc. followers, and then magically become a hugely successful online entrepreneur. I believed that all I had to do was to understand how other entrepreneurs had done it, heck even use the same scripts as they did, and somehow, magically I would be able to walk away from paid work and still be able to meet all my expenses, within, say, six weeks.

I was already lost, because the business coach idea was just a diversion from the sheer terror of publishing my first book. I could have gotten behind my book and done that interview series on trauma to triumph, but instead I wimped out, opting for an Abundance summit. And perhaps being so lost encouraged some magical thinking. I would commonly be found up at 3am on the Q&A call with another American coach calling their Pied Piper tune about how to build a business instantly.

Here’s the deal

There are no quick and easy steps to build a business. There is no quick and easy way to find your voice and market yourself an entrepreneur, a writer, a creative. “Six kilos in six weeks” sounds almost identical to “six figures in six weeks”, and both are a lie. Six week weight loss programs have not stood the test of research, as study after study indicates all those kilos will find their way back onto your body after the diet, most likely joined by a few extra ones.

Almost nobody who starts a business will be earning anything like six figures in six weeks, unless they have been at the game for more than 15 years, building a profile through face to face interaction and plain hard graft. It is the usual story of the 15 year overnight sensation.

Tim Grahl said it well –

Social media is not a place to “grow your fame.” It’s a reflection of the fame you’ve created elsewhere.

Sure, you need to have a website, social media presence etc. so people can find you, but then you need to get out into the world and work hard in building up your “offline” fame.

Another of my red car moments was listening to Marianne Williamson talk about grief on Marie Forleo’s weekly program. Marianne said that the point of grief is not to anaesthetise ourselves to it through use of pharmaceuticals or other numbing substances, buying more “things”, and ignoring the feelings. The point is to feel the feelings and take them as our teacher.

To continue the analogy with being an entrepreneur, or a creative, the whole point is to find out for yourself what success is going to look like. No-one else’s scripts or formulae are going to get you there.

And, it’s going to take time.

By Loudon dodd – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7404342

Apparently January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of the doors, because January is the door to the new year. Here it is, almost at an end, and 2017 is picking up where 2016 left off, isn’t it?

Something about January (I dunno, an Inauguration for example) has made me gravitate towards the work of Anita Moorjani. If you have never heard of her work, Anita had a Near Death Experience (NDE). After suffering from cancer for many years, she became so unwell that she died. And came back. Hers is slightly unusual in that usually it is a sudden trauma that precedes an NDE, not a chronic illness. Her process of getting better is also very interesting to read about in her book, Dying to Be Me. But it was what she learned about the nature of reality, the meaning of life that interested me more.

I needed the words of comfort, that everything really is all right. That the polarities of this world simply are not relevant once our bodies are no longer in the frame. That there is nothing you actually have to do on this earth in order to be worthy of being loved. Simply by existing, we are worthy. Anita discusses the importance of allowing our life to unfold:

You know how I often talk about “allowing” our lives to unfold on their own, rather than “chasing and pursuing”?  Chasing and pursuing is what most of us seem conditioned to do, and one of the questions I get asked often is, “If we ‘allow our lives to unfold’ on their own, does that mean we don’t do anything? That we just sit and wait for life to happen to us?”

To me, allowing does not mean just sitting and waiting and doing nothing. We still take action, but the action comes from following our heart, and from allowing things to unfold. It comes from a different place.

Immersing myself in listening to Anita’s two audio books, and avoiding as much news and social media as possible (although I must say I did enjoy watching this Bad Lip Reading video of the Inauguration…) has really helped me feel more hopeful that despite these very turbulent times. That there is a way to enjoy and embrace a meaningful, active life. There is hope, and joy. There is another reality than the very polarised discussions on almost anything on social media.

So, how has your January been?

 

 

end-of-year-reckoning

It’s that time again…

You know how Facebook does that thing, flashes up a memory that you can then share, or not… Last year’s Resolutions – or rather Intentions written in December 2015 showed up with the invitation to share. Of the four Intentions, none were actually reached, although much work was done towards them. I had no urge to press the “share” button.

But, it’s Reckoning time. So in my own time Facebook, I am sharing this image.

2016-intentionsSo I didn’t get to finalise the first draft of my novel, then called Without Consent, now titled Shakespeare Street, nor did I develop a flourishing author platform and due to lack of completed manuscript I did not get a book deal. I certainly did more media than last year and there was at least one blog that I felt hit the mark. But still. Awkward.

I said I would support myself through getting regular coaching (tick), keep meditation and doing yoga (tick, especially yoga), plan regular Artist Dates (some months better than others), nurture my relationships (tick), write, write, write (tick, but also lots of wasted time on Facebook, procrastinating etc.), actively seek media opportunities (tick).

So here’s what I did get up to in 2016:

  • Finished a Six Months to Write Your Novel course, completing about 75% of the Without Consent/ Shakespeare Street draft. And while I have now deemed that draft 0.1, followed on by somewhat chaotic draft 0.2, I showed up to that course. I learned. I realised that I really want to write literary fiction. You can read more about the ups and downs of the Novel Project here.
  • Managed to get an upgrade on the charitable status of the not for profit organisation I run, that frankly is a bit of a game changer.
  • Became a Desire Map Facilitator and ran a few courses with awesome women and shared around the goodness of Desire Mapping. (I have been a weekly devotee of Danielle La Porte’s Desire Mapping for two years now and can honestly say it has really changed my life.)
  • Got invited onto an inter-governmental committee in my state which means I can advocate beyond the health sector for the every day person who doesn’t get a say (and may I say, it was all in the Vision Book).
  • Attended a writing retreat in Delphi, Greece. (Also in the Vision Book). Coincidentally in Delphi learned about The Writer’s Studio which IS the right writing school for me. Did the pre-requisite Unlocking Creativity course and am now into a First Draft Novel course (hence the earlier drafts now deemed 0.1 and 0.2). It’s bliss.
  • Got myself an NLP Practitioner certificate.
  • Saw my daughter graduate from high school, psychically intact and on the road to whatever is next.
  • Became the household bread-winner, to keep on pushing out on those gender boundaries. A house-husband (especially a renovating one) is the Best Thing Ever.
  • Developed a regular yoga practice.

Most of which wasn’t even on the List. And I am trying to do two things at once – run a not for profit AND write my first novel. So, you know. Ease up.

This luscious Christmas holiday break I have spent some time doing the Marie Forleo Thang of reviewing my 2016 with these three questions:

  1. What’s one thing you did that you’re proud of?
  2. What’s one mistake you made and the lesson you learned?
  3. What’s one story you’re willing to let go of before the New Year?

And also looking at Danielle La Porte’s Five Questions for your Deeper End of Year Review:

  1. What didn’t work?
  2. What did work?
  3. What were the highlights?
  4. What does the new year look like if it’s full of what works?
  5. Bonus Q: What do your highlights say about you?

So now it’s time to declare my 2017 Intentions.

  • Not for profit – hang out with more clinicians rather than bureaucrats
  • Not for profit – ensure at least one project idea develops into a fully-formed service.
  • Creative life – finish the Novel First Draft course by September with a manuscript good to go
  • Creative life – re-institute regular Artist Dates
  • Both – Showing up online – blog at least monthly for my work as well as for my author website
  • Personal – Have at least one overseas holiday and other travel when I can

Over to you

Do you love this time of reflection and thought? Are you going to set yourself any Intentions/ Resolutions/ Grand Dares? Maybe 2016 was not your year. So many people I know have found it a testing and trying year both at the awful, train-wreck macro-level of Brexit and Trump, as well as personally.

If you want to have a try at Desire Mapping your 2017 with me, you have the chance to think about how your Goals/ Intentions/ Resolutions/ Grand Dares will make you feel. Those feelings are important. They show how you most want to feel and can be identified, named as your Core Desired Feelings. These feelings can become your compass for your year. If you want to go through this process with me, my course link is here. Or, you can discover more about Desire Mapping for yourself.

Here’s to a MUCH better 2017 xxxx

 

childrengibranThis is a big week for me as a mother. And also the week of intense work deadlines – funding applications, meetings, early starts, late finishes. Coincidence? I think not!

If there is a skill I’ve mastered, it’s moving faster than life. Keep on cramming things into the day because look! There’s a gap there, you can squeeze in another meeting! No time to think or feel too much…

I caught sight of a toddler on Tuesday night in a restaurant. The plush, dimpled arms. The bewildering array of emotions exhibited in short amounts of time. The experimenting with eating a bit of food but largely massaging it into the tablecloth, own clothes, mum’s clothes, own hair-you get the idea. The folding into mum for comfort and sleep. I was listening to the table conversation but also watching this dimpled, exhausting gorgeousness that is toddler, my eyes returning again and again.

And my first and only born will be officially an adult on Friday. On Monday night I attended her school graduation, sang that ghastly school song for the last time. A week of deadlines indeed.

I prayed her school skirt would hold it together with the staples she applied at the last minute to draw together a ragged L-shaped rip that has been steadily growing in the last weeks. By some magic, the staples held together perfectly. The skirt’s now in the burning pile awaiting all the notes for the subjects she is yet to be examined on. They too will go into the post-exam pyre.

My husband sat next to me during the graduation and gently ribbed me about prizes as the ceremony progressed. He knows my family culture of valuing academic achievement. I laughed along but was still delighted by what she received after so many years of consistent work.

My heart leapt at various images of her that appeared in the powerpoint of photographs that scrolled through, especially the one of her asleep on the school desk-she’s never been a morning person. And the one of her playing bass guitar one night after we’d flown back from Greece and she’d had precisely one day to master a new song on an instrument she had rarely played.

We were late getting to the graduation, sat way at the back, didn’t get a photo of her getting her certificates, didn’t get any photos until she took a selfie of her and me after it was all over, with the stage and banner behind us. Not up on the stage, but away from the action. She said she’d send it to me after I promised not to tag her. She hasn’t yet. I watched the facebook posts the next day of parents with their graduating children, and had nothing to post. Nothing seemed enough to mark this week of milestones.

So this morning I decided to take a moment out of this hectic week, to push aside all thoughts of work deadlines, and just feel that enormous space of love, heartache, boredom, frustration, elation, from chubby dimpled child to actual adult.

And be grateful at the forethought that we have a studio flat out the back, so she will never actually have to leave home!!!

out-of-the-longest-winterI have vowed never ever to travel to Europe as early as July. In my hemisphere, Winter is technically from June to August, and while traditionally our Winters here in Perth Australia are not that bad, this one has seemingly gone on for ever. And Ever. And Ever.

After three weeks in Greece in July this year, one of which was a blissful week of a writing retreat in Delphi, I returned to Perth, escaped jet lag and felt smug. Then the rain and Winter stuck around for all of August. All of September. And now, a week into October and today is another perfect inside day with endless rain. Even an ex-patriot Canadian recently remarked to me that she too had found this Winter endless and cold.

The Second Winter of My First Novel Project

2016 will be the second year I have declared with incredible bravery that I am writing my first novel. The writing project is a drumbeat of anxiety, setbacks and frustrations waxing and waning audibly in the background of my ridiculously busy life. It has been an endless circling around of what I think I need to be doing, what I am doing, what must be thrown away so something can be built from its ashes.

I spent six months doing an online Write Your Novel course. At that point it was entitled “Without Consent”. Based on my memoir, the core idea of the novel project is to write from both the perpetrator and victim perspective. The inspiration came from an agent I met with and the idea has taken hold.

So the Six Months to Write Your Novel course came and went, and I dragged the “Without Consent” idea along for the ride. While I had some misgivings about whether the course was really the right fit, I ploughed on. It certainly helped a lot, and I worked hard at it when I could, but at the end of the six months I had only gotten three quarters of the way through the first draft. And the amount of commenting on fellow students that was required was completely overwhelming.

After more desultory mucking around after the course finished, I declared Draft 2 open. By then I had come to the realisation that the course had taught me how to write best seller genre fiction, or preferably a young adult fiction. Only I don’t want to write a best seller. I want to write literary fiction. While it was a useful if drawn out process working out what I didn’t want, what I wanted to create still felt elusive. It seemed that when writing literary fiction, you were on your own.

I then floundered on for more months, setting completely unrealistic deadlines for finishing draft two, given my heavy day job. I got terrifically excited after reading Mothering Sunday for Book Club in June. “That’s the kind of book I want to write!” I thought excitedly. I planned to weave the two storylines in and out, back and forwards in time, creating something circular, even labyrinthine and wonderfully clever. By now it was going to be a novella called Shakespeare Street.

During the Delphi Retreat in July I didn’t really make much progress on the draft, although my writing skills were challenged and expanded. I made another little breakthrough about how I was going to edit and once again, made very desultory progress. And… bit by bit the focus and the certainty faded away.

There was also a computer malfunction in this time, and a return to Scrivener which I often bore people with but had somehow stopped using.

I also got excited when I read the term “roman a clef”, to quote Wikipedia “French for novel with a key, is a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction.” Then of course I had to read The Sun Also Rises and realise all over again what a blokey bloke Ernest Hemingway was and how I possibly didn’t really like him all that much and certainly didn’t like bullfighting. Or fishing.

None of this seemed to be really “getting the pants on the baby”. But I have clung to the suggestion of a fellow Delphi Retreat attendee, and have now discovered The Writer’s Studio. I started an introductory course this week and finally, finally feel that I am getting the sort of assistance I need to write something unique. Not genre, not best seller, but something unique. My unique.

So I am heading, “once more unto the breach” as Shakespeare himself would say, with Shakespeare Street/ Without Consent rattling along behind me.

Nobody said the creative process was straightforward.

 

 

IMG_3048

Some of you may know I am currently holidaying in Greece with my daughter. Her father lives here with his elderly mother who is significantly more frail than when I last saw her. So frail she can no longer live at home, and the kitchen she presided over everyday is now silent. She always had the lamp lit and it sits there on the bench, totally quenched.

It struck me as so sad, I scratched out a poem. Then I saw a submission invitation from MxLexia magazine to create a  Villanelle style poem. I’d never heard of it, but a beautiful example is Dylan Thomas’s Do not go gentle into that good night. Technically, a Villanelle poem has five lots of three line verses, finishing with a four line verse. The first and third line of the first verse alternate through the poem. Click the Dylan Thomas link above for a treat and to see it in action.

The Light in the Kitchen’s Gone Out

Pip Brennan

Dimitra’s Kitchen is no more,

Abandoned by old age,

Stricken into silence.

 

Stroke has struck,

Walking causes falls,

Dimitra’s Kitchen is no more.

 

The daily shrine,

For food pilgrims,

Stricken into silence.

 

Food for the son, even the dogs,

Pita making by hand,

Stricken into silence.

 

Those hands no longer work,

Quite like they did,

Dimitra’s Kitchen is no more.

 

What happens when there is no light,

For those who have passed?

Dimitra’s Kitchen is no more,

Stricken into silence.

 

Desire Map Journals 1 and 2 aFor nearly two years now I have been Desire Mapping. Here on the left are my two Desire Map Journals. The spiral bound delicious-looking one is 2016’s Desire Map Weekly Planner. Desire Mapping is a process developed by Danielle La Porte. Simply put, Desire Mapping is uncovering the feelings (up to about five) that capture the way you most want to feel, and then using those feelings as a guide for your goals, your intentions – your life. The way you most want to feel is known as your Core Desired Feelings. (CDFs for short, for one must have an acronym) Using Danielle La Porte’s Desire Map process, I have whittled down all the possible Core Desired Feelings for me to these five:

Creative. Focused. Free. Joyous. Mindful.

Each and every week in my Desire Map Journal I write these Core Desired Feelings at the top of the week’s page. Each time I write them again, I am reminded of what’s most important to me. Then I commit to three things I want to do this week (and these things will help me feel the way I want to feel. Clever, huh?). There is a space for me to write my appointments in a left hand column, and my to-dos in the right hand column. For some reason this fills me with joy, and also, for someone who likes to pack in loads and loads of appointments, the act of having to write these out every Sunday night reminds me of the constraints of time, and the right hand to-do column might have to remain empty, if there are too many meetings. This weekly ritual really helps me to feel connected to something magical and free even as I work very, very hard in my day job. And sometimes, when the wind is blowing in the right direction, I come home and write more of my novel, too.

Apparently we over-estimate what we can get done in a year, and under-estimate what we can do in ten. Somehow this Desire Map Journal, and the practice of writing my Core Desired Feelings keeps me anchored to this reality, to this dream of walking the path as long as it takes to reach the goals that are important to me. Somehow, the magic of starting with how I want to feel, rather than what I want to accomplish, helps me to stay true to what I want to do.

So I am beyond excited to announce my first Desire Map Workshop as a Licensed Desire Map course facilitator. Being licensed means I can share this goodness around. For this workshop, we will be diving deep and uncovering Core Desired Feelings. If this sounds like something you would like to be part of, you can book onto my first course, on Sunday 26th June at Tarts in Northbridge.

In August 2016 I will run a Level 2 workshop which helps you to set your Intentions using your Core Desired Feelings as your true North. I can’t wait to share all this with you!

Completed Collage smallerThis is the speech I gave at the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), which was celebrating its 40th anniversary and had accepted my offer to speak briefly at the event.

Most of you know me as Pip Brennan, Executive Director of the Health Consumers’ Council. I am also a survivor of a sexual assault during a home invasion in 2002. I was a founding member of the peer group Reclaiming Voices which had as one of its objectives to develop an independent advocacy service for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. After several grants and some promising starts the service was ultimately not able to be established and the organisation was de-incorporated in 2010.

I began my talk by acknowledging that in many ways I am an atypical survivor. I did not know my attacker, he was given nearly nine years imprisonment when finally caught and I do not have residual trauma from this event.

I wrote a memoir, entitled Not My Story about both making my way through the system as a victim, and navigating my way as a victim representative hoping for change. By the time I finished the book, it was 2014. As well as the usual procrastination and fear about any writing project, I was waiting to see if the Recommendations from Prosecution of Assaults and Sexual Offences would be acted on in their entirety. In the end I decided that it was more important to finish the project rather than wait for change. I included the Recommendations in the back of Not My Story for good measure.

I am someone who loves to tidy up at the end of a project and I went through all the many different drafts, annotated copies of my book and I threw them all out. I was also going through a collage phase and one of the last things I found was the blue exercise book I was given when I went to the SARC support group. I looked at the drawings I had done for each of those weeks. The last one I did, envisioning my future self, now sits at the centre of the collage. I also reviewed the messages we had given each other at the end of the group, all those years ago. A copy of the poem “Imagine a Woman” fluttered out of the exercise book. We had been given it one week of the therapy group, and I had forgotten all about it. I read through it and before you could say “scissors”, I had cut up each line of the poem and they now formed “petal” in the collage, radiating out from the final drawing of my future self.

I read out a couple of verses from Imagine A Woman © Patricia Lynn Reilly, 1995:

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.

A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

 …. 

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.

 

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.

Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

When preparing my short speech for the SARC anniversary, I found myself riffing off this idea, bringing together all my vision for how the victim support sector could work, with the victim at the centre and seamless transitions between health, police, justice and social services:

Imagine A Sector.

Imagine a sector where health, women’s health, domestic violence, victim support and justice services connect and thrive on partnership.

Imagine a sector that meets the challenges of connecting across government and community services with innovation and grace.

Imagine a sector where the emergency is recognised even when years have passed since the abuse but the time to deal with it, is Now.

Imagine a sector that does this and maintains its excellent emergency medical services.

Imagine a sector where women suffering from domestic violence can access this victim-centred emergency and forensic service, even if they haven’t been raped.

Imagine a sector that is just as comfortable providing a world class forensic service

As it is providing counselling, or yoga, or massage, or art therapy or even a quilt.

Like, say the services women can access during treatment for breast cancer.

 

Imagine a sector where women are supported from the moment they make a report

By someone independent and knowledgeable about police and justice processes

And they are supported right the way through the journey by that person.

 

Imagine a sector where women are supported in the court room as victims, instead of being on trial as a witness who may or may not be reliable

Imagine a sector where women are represented by a lawyer, not given a file manager and told “I’m a lawyer for the crown, not for you”.

 

Imagine a sector where women are supported to survive how they will.

By never speaking of it again.

Or writing books, creating art,

Or by wanting to be part of supporting change towards more women-centred services.

 

Imagine a sector where the importance of this work and the wellbeing of these survivors is recognised

And funded accordingly.

Imagine how many more women would emerge from violence able to take their place in the world again.

 

I donated my Imagine a Woman Collage to SARC for the 40th anniversary. With the passage of time the woman in the centre has  I guess become my actual self. I have gifted her back to SARC in the spirit of strength and recovery for all women who need to go there in their hour of need.

Brian Eno Creativity QuoteThis week I barely drew breath from the demands of my day-job, the day-job that was somehow going to magically leave plenty of room for novel writing. I sustain my creative flame against the extinguishing breath of procrastination and plain over-work by listening to podcasts that light me up as I drive to and from work or appointments.

This one appeared on some feed somewhere and I saved it for later. I’m so glad I did. Brian Eno’s John Peel Lecture. I’m sure my life has subtly shifted on its over-hyped, administrative axis and slowly tilted again towards the creative world.

“Creativity is everything we don’t need to do.” That’s what Brian Eno has come up with. Yes we need to eat. But we don’t need to have creme brulee or flambeed duck. Yes we apparently need to wear clothes, but we don’t need Dior.

How this beautifully captures the creative impulse that weaves through all of humankind.

Have a listen. It’s great stuff.

I have only recently stepped out to own my shy ambitions to be a writer. In my fifth decade of life. I have plenty of both life and work experience, but I come to the writing sector with fresh eyes.

As someone who has worked in the not for profit health and community sector for 15 years in many different roles, voluntary and paid, when I see the latest funding decisions and funding cuts affecting the writing sector, I see the same problems in the writing sector that seem to plague all of the not for profit sector.

Lack of co-ordination.

Humans love to create new things. Full of excitement and passion, we take up the challenge of starting (yet another) not for profit organisation. The Incorporations Act becomes our new bible as we try to put together the dry and complicated words of our Constitution which we will then spend countless hours trying to decipher exactly how this translates into real life.

For so long, we have all drawn up our separate constitutions and appointed our Board Members, usually one or two people will shoulder most of the work, and despite their job title will do the minutes, books, take memberships etc. Sharing the workload can actually be harder than working out who is doing what.
In the end there are a plethora of organisations that to the outsider have differences completely opaque to the naked eye. Like the Judean Peoples Front, and the People’s Front of Judea, each separate organisation undertakes the basic tasks stipulated in our separate constitutions, and endless scrabble for Board Members, attendees at desultory AGMs. Scratching one’s nose in an AGM can be accidentally interpreted as assent to undertake the role of Treasurer, or worse, Secretary. I’m joking of course, but you get the idea.

In Western Australia where I live you have plenty of options; Australian Writing Centre, Writing Australia, The Fellowship of Writers WA, The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writing Centre, Out of the Asylum Writers Group and the more recently the Centre for Stories.

In the health sector I have been intimately involved with state funding reforms and the increasing unwillingness of government to dole out small parcels of money to an unco-ordinated group of grass roots organisations. Each of those contracts will require significant paperwork to ensure that the money is being used how it ought to be. While variety and difference are exciting, sometimes what people want as a separate Judean People’s Front is actually a project that would fit nicely under the People’s Front of Judea’s objectives.

Unless the community sector organises itself, it will have decisions made for it by bureaucrats. Contracts will be awarded to those who have tender writing skills rather than those who offer the best training and resources.

Self-organisation takes discipline, willingness, and someone with the skills of a Middle East Peace negotiator to help people see how much money they may have to compete for, if only they could all collaborate. Discussions need to take place slowly and steadily over months and years to work towards healthy, respectful, fair partnerships. Money can’t be on the table when the discussions are taking place.

To structure these discussions, a separate consortium could be set up which will not receive funding and which has representatives from all the key organisations. Being able to collaborate on one huge unwieldy tender document (with hopefully funding to match) could ultimately fund all the different aspirations of the organisations of the consortium. Or, it could sometimes highlight that much wasted effort is being undertaken and that working together will ultimately create better supports for WA writers and excellent WA-written books (and isn’t that really what it’s all about?)

In WA it looks like the money discussions have already been had. The new funding cycle will start now, which leaves three years until the next round of funding is available. That should be just enough time to call in the Middle East Peace negotiators and start connecting with the bigger vision that will unite us all.

That’s my two cents, fresh-eyes perspective anyway.