If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, do you hear the sound it makes?

I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won’t stop me from writing. I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.

– David Sedaris on whether he’d persevere as a writer without validation.

If a tree falls in the woods, do you hear the sound it makes?  If you write and write and write but don’t get the feedback or recognition you need to push on, does it matter?

Yes and no.  I’d write anyway, just because it’s the only way I can organise my thoughts and when it’s quiet, I enjoy writing just for myself. I enjoy the tap-tap-tapping on a keyboard, I enjoy writing on a thick pad of paper and I enjoy the solitude writing gives me.

On the flipside, I don’t enjoy the solitude when all I hear are the voices in my head. If I write for myself, sometimes it feels selfish if I’m the only one getting anything out of it.  I would prefer if my writing was doing something for someone.  Probably because it’s been drilled into us in school and uni and whatever that if you love something, you should find a way to share it with the world.

I see how that works, but also … does it take the fun out of what you love, if you put a monetary value on it?

I love to write, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Right now I’m on fire, but I’m emoting and I feel like because this is just me on a rant, it doesn’t matter what I write.  I had a previous role where the writing tasks were draining, so much so that one Easter long weekend break I went home alone (while my husband and friends went out for a post-work drink), polished off a bottle of wine by myself, ate a wheel of blue cheese by myself and fell asleep in front of the TV watching old episodes of 30 Rock.  My husband came home and found me passed out on the couch like a chick flick cliche.

It was one of the worst nights of my life, and it was the beginning of the end for me with that role.

Ironically, though, I wrote about that experience in a long and frustrated entry in my journal the next day.

I decided I would write because I love it, and to stop focussing on the money and the recognition.  There is so much around making what you love the thing that you do for a living. It is hard work … but it has to be worth the hard work.  If you come home at the end of the day and the hard work just doesn’t seem rewarding anymore, then … what’s the point?

But writing is different. It’s kind of like a habit now. I’ve come so far from being someone who denied herself the right to finally embrace my love of writing, that I can’t abandon it now.  I wrote for myself before, but now I feel like I can share that with others.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, does it make a sound?  Yeh of course it does. The reality is, a tree dropped from an upright position and crashed to the ground, and yeh, that makes a loud sound.  Whether anyone was around to witness it or not is irrelevant.

I want to make a sound with my writing though. I want people to hear the crash as a piece or post or article hits the ground.  I want people to come running into the forest to check out the noise, “What was that? Who did that?”.  They don’t need to be rich people. Or beautiful people. Or important people. Because I’m not one of those people.

So I’ve dropped something, which has taken me years to put together as it’s been germinating in my head for a long time.  I’ve finally knocked that tree down.

http://mylocalworld.com.au/

From my welcome note on my homepage:

Welcome to MY LOCAL WORLD, which I hope will soon become part of YOUR local world 🙂 Get outside the world you live in, and discover multicultural experiences right here in your own home.

This is about bringing the world to you, and in the process, discovering that it is, in fact, a small world, after all.

I’d be delighted if you could check out the tiny noise I’ve made. Maybe as more people join you in the forest, the sound, in hindsight, will just grow louder …

Sydney Zombie Walk (aka Yeh It’s Happening *sad face*)

“I can’t keep calm because I have anxiety” is currently my profile pic for Facebook. An apt pic, because I have to go to the effing Zombie Walk with my fiancée on Saturday. I’m thinking of ways to break up with him, but dammit he makes a mean omelette and I trust his taste in TV shows (I mean, by and large. I can’t quite wrap my head around Bates Motel. I don’t know why he cares so much about this damn show!).

The Sydney Zombie Walk  will run from Hyde Park to what looks like Town Hall Station, according to the map on the website (designed specifically to appeal to the lovers of the undead.  The website, not the map. The map is fine).

On the flipside though, people aren’t just doing this to recreate their favourite scene from The Walking DeadThe walk is to raise money for the Australian Brain Foundation so they can keep doing research into brain disorders. Important work, sure.

However, I’m stressing. I live across the road from the beach and if it stops raining and the sun streams thorough on Saturday, someone’s gonna get a-hurtin’ reeeeal bad.

For the record, Glen and Maggie are the best couple on TV right now.

 

Room in my brain to breathe …

Just arrived home in Sydney after a whirlwind trip to NYC and Chicago, two of the busiest, brassiest, badass-est cities I have ever had the privilege of visiting, and it was spectacular. I got to enjoy both with all the time and energy I could muster, and I now that I’m back home, I feel, despite all the sight-seeing and walking and constant late nights out, really, really really refreshed.

Why? Coz all I did while I was away was focus on BEING AWAY. I left work at work. I left all my responsibilities of home at home. All I had to worry about while I was gone was how to be gone and how to enjoy being gone.

I didn’t write. I didn’t take many photos (OK, some). I didn’t update my social media accounts often (semi-often, mostly just inane shots of weird stuff).

I just enjoyed being away.

It’s the first time since maybe July of last year that I have felt relaxed. Even though there was the Christmas break, countless public holidays and even days where I worked from home, I was running on all cylinders and I was burning out. I was still plodding along, but “plodding along” isn’t conducive to anything exciting, and I didn’t want to just go through the motions of work.

I NEEDED this break like I needed air to breathe.

Windy City Awesomeness
In Chicago, I was lucky enough to enjoy it with two great friends and my equally great boyfriend, who calls Chicago home (although he is now currently based in Sydney). Had I been half-assed about spending time with my trio of trouble, I would’ve missed out on how funny my friends are – every little stupid joke and every new “American” encounter cracked us up. I would’ve overlooked the pleasure on my boy’s face in seeing him traipse us around his hometown with pride – he loves his city and he was proud to show it off. I would have gone to bed the night we went to an improv show at the famed Second City comedy club (alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and the janitor from The Breakfast Club). I would have baulked at the crazed Chicago Blackhawks fans at the United Center (saw two pretty nail-biting games – and I don’t even follow ice hockey!). I would have clamped up at Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th Inning Stretch at a game between the Cubs and the White Soxs at Wrigley Field. I would’ve turned down every Chicago down, every tamale, every piece of Deep Dish Pizza.

Blackhawks Game at the United Centre

Blackhawks Game at the United Centre

Breathtaking Big Apple 
Had I carried this “can’t be bothered” attitude In New York, I would have flat-out refused to walk the Brooklyn Bridge (“It’s too hot!” or “It’s too long!”). I would have insisted on cab rides everywhere instead of being adventurous (and money-wise) and catching the subway. I would not have waited in line to go up to the 85th floor or higher of the Empire State Building. I would not have discovered that Williamsburg was like Surry Hills, only a little more Brooklyn-ier (and everything Surry Hills wishes it was). I would not have tried for tickets to the David Letterman Show taping (imagine having a “we’ll never get tickets to that” – coz we got ’em!). I would not have walked around the East Village with no goal for the day. I would not have taken in the awesome-ness of the Big Apple. I would not have partied at the top floor of The Standard on a stormy night watching the city below light up. I would not have let the World Trade Center memorial affect me as much as it did. I would not have let anything affect me as much as it did.

Even my flight delay was a breathe of fresh air. I got to rest for free in LA and sleep in a bed in a hotel, a welcome addition to my travel plans considering my impending 14 hour flight from LAX to Kingsford Smith. I finished 2 books and started a third (reading, not writing).  I people-watched. I ate two meals consisting of pasta with a glass of wine each because I wanted to use up my travel money. I bought trashy mags and caught up on my celebrity gossip (is it just me or has Kim Kardashian been pregnant for like, FOREVER? Also, what happened to that moon-faced kid from Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show?). I slept and napped. I got up to stretch. I read a little more. Then I napped again.

And now I’m home, and it’s not only the places I visited that I will remember fondly. It’s the fact that this time around, I did NOTHING but be away from home.

I know there will be a shit-storm of work awaiting me tomorrow, a flat to clean, luggage to unpack, groceries to buy, laundry to attend to and quite possibly apples I forgot to eat that are probably dying in my fruit bowl (gross), but I’ve come back with the lesson that I can be as busy as I want to be, but I need to take some time to breathe.

It’s good to be home ❤

Dee Why Beach, NSW

Dee Why Beach, NSW

Erica’s Gratitude Diarrhoea

Stay foolish, stay productive, stay focussed, stay hungry, stay home, go hard or go home, go long, keep it short, keep it simple stupid. I’m sick of hearing what I need to do to get from down here to UP HERE so I’m gonna take a minute or 30 of them and focus on what I do have, what I’ve just had. And I WILL stay foolish, thanks Steve Jobs!

  1. I had Green Eggs and Ham this morning for breakfast, which is basically scrambled eggs mixed with basil pesto and cut up bits of ham. Tasted like heaven, looked like Shrek. My partner had poached eggs and salmon. I loved that boing-boing feeling of the back of the fork on the poached egg, where you tap it just enough so you get some spring, but not enough that the egg breaks. But when it does break, ohhhh the yolk!
  2. The weather’s been fantastic lately in Sydney. After the coldest winter I remember having in ohhh … forever … I am welcoming this year’s spring with vitamin D-deficient open arms. I’ve actually been sitting outside on the ferry in the mornings on the way to work.
  3. How good is COMMUTING BY FERRY, by the way?
  4. How awesome is Sydney Harbour?!?!?
  5. Last night, instead of going out for a Friday night bender, I went straight home and followed up on some emails, did a bit of work, then made myself a bowl of packet migoreng and watched back to back episodes of The IT Crowd before promptly falling fast asleep on the couch. A decade ago I would’ve also fallen asleep on the couch, but only at 5am after I’d come home so drunk I couldn’t find the corridor that led to my room.
  6. I took my sunnies off this morning whilst walking along Manly beach and I noticed how beautiful and blue the water was, sitting right there between the spotless sky and the blonde sandy beach. Note to self: sunnies are for wimps. Never mute the colours of a beautiful day in a beautiful part of the world.
  7. I have recently (begrudgingly, painfully) cut out carbs from my daily diet, only eating it if I’m out for dinner with friends and carbs are the only thing on the menu, or if I’m at Mum’s (she’s Filipino and you can’t have a Filipino dish without rice. The sauce has nothing to sit on, otherwise). I’ve noticed that my skin’s cleared up, I no longer feel like I’m about to burst after lunch, I’ve lost a bit of weight and can I do up buttons again on my tops. My wardrobe choices have just opened up, and I didn’t even have to buy anything new!
  8. My friends are coming over for drinks tonight. Which sounds like a silly thing to be grateful for, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed a core group of us keeping in touch while the rest of us have floated away. We’re not the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants or anything. We’re too cool for that. And too normal. And we’re all shapes and sizes. 
  9. How good is spring cleaning? Mum was right. Cleaning needs to be done often.

There’s a lot that’s good in the world right now. It’s gonna be ok …