El Salvador might be a long way from Ukraine, but the tenacity of the people and their determination in a conflict zone certainly has its similarities.
As a writer and storyteller, I thought this might be the best way I could make a small contribution. Please note that it's only set up for people in Australia. In other countries I'm sure there are local Red Cross or Red Crescent initiatives, or other NGOs that you can support for Ukraine.
A big shout out to Red Cross and Red Crescent for the great work they do in conflict zones, and with displaced/refugee people.
Dear Friends, Readers, Community,
Here's a quote for the day that someone I've never met was kind enough to send me.
Necessity is the mother of invention. In these challenging times get creative!Creativity and curiosity are great gifts to have, especially now. They help us stay upbeat.
Friends have been sending me links to useful online sites. No point keeping them to myself, so here they are.
For some relaxing yoga -- as good for the mind as the body -- check out this online session.
If you're up for a free short course, you might like to have a look at the broad selection on offer at Future Learn, from screen writing to health and history.
Feel free to contact me via the contact page on my website if you have ideas or comments.
Photo and text copyright Michele Gierck
I'm just about to send the first few chapters of my latest non-fiction book to my agent who loved the earlier draft. All I need is a title. If you can think of one, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you.
Just drop a line via the contact page of my website: www.michelegierck.com.au
About the manuscript
It's a post-injury come-back tale in which the bush, the ocean, a bloke (a fellow) and travel all play their part.
Here's the pitch.
When Michele, a broken down sojourner, meets Mac, a dedicated river scientist, she is drawn into his orbit, the gravity of which propels her onto an uncharted trajectory. And yes folks, it's a true story!
If you'd like to know more about this book, including the title that we choose or publication date, just sign up to the newsletter on my website.
Image and text copyright Michele Gierck
Creative Writing: How to Start -- How to Take that First Step
So you want to write your story.Wondering where to begin?
Here’s three questions to get you going. Take time to consider them.
1) If you were to choose six parts of your life to write about -- they could be events, experiences, life stages, transitions or times when you've learnt something significant – what would those six things be?
2) Why do you now feel the urge to write? Is it because you promised yourself you would before you turned 30,50,60 or 75? Is it because you want to hand stories down to family members? Or to reflect on your journey so far? Is it to tell the story of others through your eyes? Or perhaps just to let your creative self flourish, and see what emerges?
3) Who would you like the audience for your writing to be? Are you writing it for anyone in particular? Or just for yourself? Would you like it published?
Once you’ve answered the questions, write down the six things you want to write about. And then write about them! It's okay if you only write a paragraph on each. Or you could write pages and pages.
Then, once you've got that writing done, take a good look at it. Then put it down, leave it for a bit. And look again. What are the threads that are common to each of the six pieces? What might hold them together? What would you like to replace or add?
This might give you an idea of what you really want to write.
And at least it's given you a starting point.
The rest of your writing could easily develop from this.
Rather than pressuring yourself to write a book, you might consider writing an overview piece that links the pieces you’ve written. Or perhaps you'd prefer to write on one of the pieces that just seems to grab you.
You never quite know what’s going to happen once you start on your own personal writing adventure… So, be brave, be creative, and allow the story to emerge.
Go for it!
ps. for all those who say they can't write, then speak it, record it, and get hold of some apps or technology that types it up for you! (See, there's no excuse not to write.)
pps. You won't believe how good for your health writing can be!
Text and Image copyright Michele Gierck
Michele Gierck is author of 700 Days in El Salvador, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, and co-author of Peter Kennedy: the man who threatened Rome.
Michele's website: www.michelegierck.com.au
Michele is a member of The Australian Society of Authors.
This is such a stunning book: so insightful about the meaning and purpose of our lives, so beautifully written, and incredibly honest. Basically it's bloody fabulous (as we would say in Australian parlance). And so sad when the 37-year-old author, a neurosurgeon and scientist, dies. It's an absolute must-read, especially for anyone facing their own mortality, (that's all of us isn't it?) and for those who surround and love them.
An inspiring story that will live on long after the last page is read.
Long live the memory of Paul Kalanithi. Que Viva!
After my latest book, Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me, was published, I was often asked to speak about end of life. Fraying was written from the perspective of a daughter, with no medical qualifications; a daughter struggling with the medical maze and the decisions to be made. When Breath Becomes Air is from a medical professional's perspective, one who becomes the patient. The questions Paul and his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, must face, and dare to ask, are confronting. But they are also, in essence, questions about what it means to be human, and at what point living becomes too much of a burden.
This book is a precious gift to readers.
Michele's website: www.michelegierck.com.au
It's great getting reader responses to Fraying. So many people whose parents have had dementia have written to me, and I find their stories so moving.
Here's a few lines received this week.
'I purchased a copy of Fraying and I simply couldn't put it down. It was like I was reading my own life experiences with my mother... Thank you so much for writing this story for me too. It will remain a most treasured book on my bookshelf and shared with others.'
All I can say is thank you, thank you to readers.
The more we share our stories, the richer the community. Stories, after all, are our treasures.