Thursday, 27 March 2014

When do I write best?

Scientist still can't solve the puzzle of the human mind and maybe it is simply because there is no need to solve it. Let it be mysterious, let it be difficult, let it be unique.

I know that my mind works in mysterious ways; it doesn't seem to have a direct path, she never wants to think the same at all times, she's wayward, whimsy and clumsy. After reading Mindy Kaling's (my current girl crush and idol) ridiculously cute, humorous and relate-able little autobiography I got thinking. Where is it that I write best? When is it? I realised like Mindy it isn't sitting at a beautiful mahogany desk in one of those architectural designed chairs but more likely under the bed sheets or lying on the floor at strange hours of the day with unkempt hair.

I have spent today in my hoodie tucked under my union jack throw trying out a new atmosphere. I was relieved to read that Mindy the brilliant comic writer that she is is also monstrously guilty of procrastination. She can't help but spend hours preparing to write, watching tv, fetching a snack, doing other chores and by the time that's all over she's only got an hour to write. A tutor once told me that we journalists as a breed thrive on pressure and that's why we are prone to procrastination; I'm really glad to know that this is a real thing, this prone to lazy personality is simply a trait of my profession.

In truth that is exactly what I have done today. I crept slowly off my bed, made some breakfast, did some house work, contemplated writing which in turn led to browsing pinterest for inspirational writing quotes which then led to my mind thinking it needed more inspiration and thus headed to YouTube and watched 2 hours of famous screenplay writers talking words of wisdom which then of course got me on an Aaron Sorkin fan girl rush and hence the need to watch an episode of The West Wing while eating lunch. And finally I am sitting outside under the comfort of my patio listening to the blissful sound of steady rainfall, drinking tea and writing this. When do I write best? God knows. Sometimes it's an early morning thing and other days it's 1am or nothing at all. I think I like this new found atmosphere, I think this shall be my writing spot for now. My indecisive mind may grow tired of the atmosphere in due course but for now she is content.

During my 2 hours of watching creative inspiration something stood out. Beau Willimon writer on the hit netflix drama House of Cards very accurately said "we are all professional thieves". Good writers steal from better writers and I will do just that because stealing from minds far greater than mine will enrich my work. It isn't plagiarism, it's creative thinking, it's collaboration. The creative world is all about inspiration, it's about pulling off branches from different trees to form the best kind of tree. One that blooms all year round and will never fall victim to the ravaging skies. My mind will only mature if I feed it well.

And on that thought I feed you with something far beyond well, I give you the words of Aaron Sorkin. Oh how I would love to steal a fraction of this man's mind.


This commencement speech inspires me each and every time I watch it. So I would like to share it with you because everyone should hear this wonderful mind at work.


In the words of Aaron Sorkin "Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt"




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwvilfPWHYI

xx

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The business of unpaid work


Internship is a synonym for slave. That’s what my parents and entire family think anyway. Unfortunately in my field of work unpaid labour is a necessary evil.

When you tell anyone outside of the creative world that you are not getting paid a cent for turning up to an office where you work the usual 8 hour day and sit in front of a computer doing actual important shit that needs to be done and requires your immediate attention they give you a look a child gives you when they cannot comprehend why they are not allowed to eat lollies for dinner. Or sometimes it’s that same look someone gives you when some heinous putrid, road kill type smell suddenly appears out of nowhere. These are smart people, these are all the people I know with respectable well paid jobs. I know they are just looking out for me, a writer cannot live on passion alone. Even when I try to explain unpaid work I swear their brains shut down and are left pondering in a dark corner why on earth anyone would ever do anything for free.

Unfortunately both employer and employee directly benefit. The employer obviously gets free labour and the employee thinks they are getting the ferociously important experience and professional exposure needed to crack into the industry.

I tell myself daily this most certainly is a throbbingly ruthless joke made by cheap-ass big wigs and yeah I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of truth to that but I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
You see I’m all for a little bit of unpaid work. I have been an unpaid writer for some time and it has taught me one crucially important truth; this is where I belong. I wouldn’t sit in a law library perusing case by case for free, I wouldn’t walk the grey sterile walls of a hospital shadowing a surgeon free and I would certainly not happily sit at a desk doing calculus all day for naught. But I’ll happily write words and string them together to make an entertaining read if all I get in return is the satisfaction of knowing people are reading something that I created and they are hopefully gaining something from it, a snigger of a smile is all I ask.

My very rough draft of a life is slowly and lovingly turning into a pile of almost readable pages and I will happily say unpaid work has contributed to this improved draft. I am making a promise right now that the day my first paid article is published I will not only shout my closest family and friends to the best celebratory meal there is – Maccas obviously (I’m a writer, my money can’t pay for the fancy), but I will also do something outrageous with my life – heck maybe even get a tattoo (I kid, let’s not make permanent changes that quickly, I’m not a bohemian free spirit just yet). Hmmm I thought I could give you a definitive answer on the precise details but suddenly I’ve fallen into one of those rooms with several unopened boxes and I’m not sure which one to open. So I’ll get back to you on that.

I know it is hard to comprehend why anyone would gladly complete work for free but I’m just here to tell you that sadly there is no alternative. You either be a modern day slave to professionals worth listening to or a slob who wears no pants all day, binging on the contents of your pantry re-watching The West Wing and occasionally prying open your laptop when an idea pops into your head and that idea never sees the light of day. Okay, guilty as charged I have lived both of these lives but the second will get me nowhere, unless it’s winning the Einstein Factor with a brain full of West Wing knowledge.

So that is my ramble for the day. Bless you all for taking the time to read my strung together words, it means more than you can imagine.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Published!

It's amazing how happiness can come about. New shoes, a warm hug, a day off, new love... But my happiness today is career driven.

On this very fine Thursday a new street press has hit this city of mine and not only is this free magazine one fine looking thing but my words are in it! My first feature article is out there for the world to see "WORDS: Alicia Moo" it strikes a chord in my heart and brings a smile to my face - to see that in print has cemented all aspirations of being a writer. I was a little shocked at how much it made me smile, but I knew then that this was it for me, I would be a writer and there is no more questions after that.

It's our first issue ever so apologies for any small errors you may find lurking in and about but I'm sure you are going to love it as much as me and all the team behind it.

You'll find them in cafes all around the city and inner city suburbs - Newstead, Valley, New Farm etc etc. Keep an eye out for it, grab a copy and spread the word, Sartre is here to stay!

Be sure to see my story on page 32 and sit down with a good coffee as you flip your way through what in my books is definitely a labour of love and a publication Brisbane has been missing all these years.

We are hoping to get the next issue out in two months so get excited and feel free to stand on your soap box and promote like it was your last day on earth.


xx

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Month of despair

For the lucky ones February is the adoring month of love, for the singletons it's a devilish reminder of our current state of utter loneliness.

This Friday I'm making the wise decision to stay in. I'm going to block the world out. Florists can smile upon the heavens and couples can frolick in the parks, I will sit in my pyjamas under the covers with my bacon, watch a few oscar nominated movies (the heavy serious kind, no romance in sight), potentially be productive in building a career for myself and top it off by filling the emptiness of my heart with baking a dark chocolate cake. 

I'm currently at the hairdressers drastically changing my look because the month seemed appropriate and I have decided 2014 is going to be my year. 

So maybe no Prince Charming will present me with a dozen roses this Friday but I'm going to have my time and take charge of the life I've been dealt.

I'm tossing up career paths and getting through my 20s with some sort of gusto. 

Singles, a word of advice - relax this Friday, forget about the artificial day of showing off happiness and do whatever makes you shine.

And as I finish this entry Frozen's "let it go" has just started playing - what a fittingly confidently independent way to end. 

Xx 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Lessons from a family cruise


Apologies for how late this is but to quote a lesser known Love Actually line my "life has been full of complications and interruptions" so it is a welcome change to have a few minutes on this small piece of internet.

So I got to sing 'I'm on a motherf*%$(^& boat' on a cruise liner - that was pretty damn exciting.

But social media trends aside what are my thoughts of the so called romance of the seas?

The answer is a very straight forward: glad to say I've done it, but will be the last ever cruise for a very very very long while (or maybe never)

So here's a general overview:

It was a new experience for everyone involved - how were we going to survive as a family group how was the dynamic going to cope?

I will admit I was overwhelmed with fear, anger, uncertainty and a deep sense of reluctance as I boarded this beast. Fear for my health and more so fear for the health and safety of my 92-year-old grandma, anger that I was roped into a trip I could have done without and uncertainty for I was picturing 20 Moos sitting on a cruise with nothing but ocean for miles.

BUT I am thoroughly relieved to tell you that none of my preconceived fears and notions came to pass. Instead it was a fairly pleasant experience and one that my optimistic mind has now changed the family dynamic for the better.

Travelling with uncles, aunts and cousins was a real pleasure, it was great to see a new side to them, to share common interests and to be a part of their lives, if only for a week.

Yes there were the usual bickering and disagreements but nothing to truly rock the boat (sorry, couldn't resist). Family is nothing without a little banter.

I spent most of my time hanging out with my energetic younger cousins, which made me feel monstrously old but hopefully pretty cool. We got our competitive hats on and entered scavenger hunts one involving the ability to throw out inhibitions and just let loose, I would love so very much to put up one of these videos but I do believe my Uncle's might just murder me.

We also participated in almost every single trivia we could get to with I would say a 60% success rate. Yep, we Moo's are not stupid and I am so proud to be part of a strange family who can recite war dates and obscure medical terms.


But here's where I get down to the nitty gritty:

I realise now that this was actually the perfect mode of transport for an extended family vacation. But that being said, cruises aren't for me.

When I travel I'm going to make the most of every situation, no matter how bad so of course I came away from this trip making the most of it, but I'm not putting myself through that boredom again anytime soon.

I felt trapped. I was ultimately on a moving retirement village. Every morning you look at the day's activities, decide what you want to do, eat your three set meals and then sleep. There is no adventure in a cruise. There is no real freedom. People say it is such a relaxing time, I couldn't really relax, the setting wasn't right, the atmosphere was fake, it wasn't my idea of peace.

So Worst Parts:

Your bathroom is the size of a wash closet
The boat really does rock and if you are like me you will get sick
Food is not as great as the cruise goers say
The cruise ship I was on was by far from gigantic
Performances are C grade at best
Fellow cruisers can get a little angsty - people need to learn to chill

Best Parts:

Service, service, service. I went on a Royal Carribean ship so American service is clearly upheld. The waiters were like none I've ever experienced and I thank each and everyone of the staff for loving their jobs and for smiling each and everyday.

Being winners, even if the prizes were highlighters and made in china umbrellas

The midnight dessert buffet - which is my opinion should have been every night

The stop over in Isle of Pines - a beautiful islands straight off a postcard. We snorkeled in the bluest and clearest of waters and I can safely say I was in a paradise.

Actually having formal nights with black tie dress code - I will admit it reminded me of Jack and Rose and a bygone era of romance

And on a more personal level getting to talk to my grandma everyday. She told me stories of love, loss and fear and I wouldn't exchange that for all the money in the world.

And on that sappy note I better sign off, this is the longest entry I have done is some time.

xx

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Renovation


So as promised the new year brings a new Alicia. So the tabs above have slightly changed and I am not committing myself to any such weekly posts because I would like to think I have the potential to be a free spirit.

The new tab "The Archives" is where you will find all my old "weekly" posts - Tasty Tuesday, Street Style Sunday and Fashion Friday but you'll also find the old foodie posts under the aptly named tab "Yummy".

I still have the subscribe tab even though I only ever sent out one e-newsletter but I'm still hoping I'll pull my socks up and get me into your inboxes (no sexual innuendo intended).

I'll also get around to changing my banner but I'm taking it slow in January so don't expect efficiency from the girl who prides herself on being efficient. I'll get back to my ingrained work ethic soon enough but for now, let me be on Fiji Time.

I hope you like the renovation and here's to 2014!

xx

Bula Fiji


Every time I hop off a plane and place my feet firmly on new soil I know with every millimetre of my being that I'm going to learn something new.

My latest adventure saw me soaking up the sun on the picturesque shores of Fiji. This time around I felt like a right old tourist with my five resort living and booked tours, I was living a luxury I couldn't really afford.

It was my first real resort style, relax away your stress holiday and now that I have a taste of it I'm scared I can't go back to unhygienic misadventures. But here's the thing, no matter how you travel it will always broaden the mind.

The biggest lesson I learnt from my all too short time in this pacific paradise was that I live one damn blessed life, a life I probably don't deserve and one that I should never complain about. You see, the people of Fiji have very little yet they are the most kindest, loveliest of souls I have ever met. They smile through their eyes and they have a true sense of what is needed, of what is most important in a life worth living.

We had a waitress called Leah and she loved her humble job like nothing I've ever seen. She would make friends with the guests and she would go out of her way for great service, to make you feel special, she'd ask you questions, she'd talk of how Fijian's are very lucky people, all so nice, all so friendly, she had a beautiful singing voice and purity in every sense of the word.

Everyday I would come across new faces, new locals and each one all the same, bright, happy people who despite minimal wages and little education were more than happy with their lives. When someone asks you what are your dreams the answer is often outrageous, we want to be millionaires, constantly travel the world... But if you ask a Fijian what their dream is they gave me two common answers 1. I don't think of travel, my life is ok 2. I would love to go to Australia, you are very lucky indeed.

I felt terrible, why do I ask for so much, why do I complain about the little things #firstworldproblems is a serious issue I should stop fretting about. A deckhand on a boat out to a sandbar and gorgeous snorkeling said that in Australia you can work to pay for a holiday in Fiji you can't work to pay for a holiday. It's that simple, my life is Australia is actually paradise.

So that's the lesson learned. I also realised that resorts are filled with happy families and couples but oddly enough this time round, those two groups didn't really phase me. I was too caught up in the beauty of Fiji and its'people that the immense love I saw in parents and couples just added to the view.

So a few shades darker, a little sunburned and a little unhealthier (thanks very much breakfast buffet included)I've come home with a positive outlook. I'm still stressed for I don't really know what direction my boat is sailing, but it's still sailing and that's all that really matters. There's a saying in Fiji: "Fiji time" - which basically means take it easy, why rush anything, it will get done eventually.

Refreshed and ready for yet another bon voyage. Cruise liner here I come, let's see what you will teach me.

xx