Thank you!

I write to you – genuine readers of this blog. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I just logged back into my Blog and saw the ‘stats’. It warms me to see you are still reading the blog even when I have written very little in the past two months. I owe you. Your commitment shows that I am doing something important and it inspires me to keep writing and, try to write better stories.

I apologise for the long delay in bringing you new stories. Things have happened in my life. However, I am truly honoured you hung on. I did write a little about my life while I was away and I will share some of these stories this month.

When I had been in Adelaide over a week ago to surprise my childhood and closest friend Ann Stanley for her 50th birthday, her son Kolohie asked me about one of my stories he had read. ‘Kolo’ wanted to know more about the story which I posted on this blog. I told him a bit more but I was really pleased. It was a story that was significant to his life too because his mother was also there in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and we were working together at the time the body of the young man was found on Ranuguri Hill.

Another recent highlight for me was a visit to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia to interview Jim, (James Sinclair) an author of 32 books about his life and his continuing involvement in Papua New Guinea.  An amazing man Jim lived his dream based on one of his heroes in his stories as a ‘kiap’ in Papua New Guinea. What Jim did not realise then was that dream got him hooked on a country that he never got out of his system. Jim is working on two more books. I will be posting some of my Sunshine Coast visit and interview with Jim here.

My absence from this blog was a result of recent personal attacks on Facebook. I share my blog on Facebook and use Facebook to stay in communication with my family and friends. After a few years and a previous threat last year, I was threatened and blackmailed. I tried to contact Facebook but it became apparent that after you sign up – it is a one-way traffic. It seemed that all the security and the settings you could possibly use to protect yourself are merely a bunch of buttons you press on your key-board and nothing more. I have copies of what FB write back to me several times, one of their comments was to contact my attacker and ask him nicely to remove the threat.  The matter is being handled by police and experts.

I had made my last post on Facebook in that first week of July to not have a FB presence. I was very touched to get offers to help from many family, friends and other people I knew around the world.  I had written to many to explain the reason.

How crazy is it to be in the virtual world? There are always risks involved when you are in public eye.  What you do for the good is never taken into account when there is some low-life with a sick ulterior motive. You always know deep inside you, you know you are never safe. It takes a real incident to truly understand how vulnerable you are. It takes years to become visible and seconds to become invisible. It is not just terrorists with guns that will get us. Our security, dignity, privacy and that basic human right is always ripe for manipulation, distortion and exploitation. All in the name of our virtual world.

I listened to Hack, a Triple J Australian radio programme I respect as I was coming home from work and the discussion was on the public say on ‘metadata’ and how the Abbott government is talking about collecting and keeping all our data. (see link here)

Well, that metadata thing is worrying. I guess we have to decide if it is acceptable that information/images about us can be collected with or without our permission and used by someone else. In the end – would be really have any say or even have the power to control it?

On a lighter note, our creative writing class began again after Isabel had a break, and two of us from our class, Bill Heather and myself tried to write screenplays with Henry Tefay. I don’t think I was really good at it. I loved it though. The pictures were all in my head, but the challenge was to make it a film. I have been working on a screenplay and feel a lot more confident but it may be a year before I can get it read by an expert. Henry teaches this class on Monday nights at Kenmore and Isabel’s class is now on Tuesdays.

The Creative Writing group with Isabel has resumed.  We read, write and learn by talking and sharing our stories. It’s fun!

The core of our small writing group meet after our Tuesday night classes in a Seven Eleven down the road. It is the only place that opens after 9pm. We drink cheap coffee or hot chocolate and talk about our writing projects. We squeeze our seats, milk crates, in a narrow passage behind the freezers that hold ice-cream. The Seven Eleven customers give us funny looks over the freezers as they drop in to get their conveniences. The kind store owner gave us milk crates to sit for the past two terms.

Over my last three terms with the Creative Writing group (this being my fourth), I have learnt a lot from these wonderful people and our teacher Isabel D’Avila Winter. Thank you Gavin, Bill, Judy, Kat and now we have Pam joining the ‘crate squatters’.

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