I can't get no satisfaction....

I am perennially dissatisfied. With everything. But before you go thinking I'm some whining sour-puss, think again. I am upbeat, energetic and annoyingly positive most of the time. I see dissatisfaction as a necessary aspect of my life - it drives me forward. What I fear, loathe and do all I can to avoid - is - treading water...being careless and carefree. To me that sounds like...well....like death. You know the old Bon Jovi lyrics...'I'll live while I'm alive and sleep when I'm dead'....that's my motto in life.

I don't watch television or movies unless it's something I really want to watch....and most of what I watch must serve some purpose beyond mere entertainment unless due to overwhelming stress, I prescribe a dose of pure escapism. Every-time I see someone wander through the living room and stop and stare at whatever drivel is on the box, I want to bitch-slap them....unless it's my kids because I'm not an advocate of smacking.....minors! People who sleep-in infuriate me. Meditation sounds like a recipe for a coma. I tried it once and the voices in my head were suddenly sooooo loud that I nearly went deaf.

I am impossible to live with because I am the ultimate whip-cracker...more....faster...move....now!

My house can't be comfortable, it must be stunning and I am forever redecorating and shuffling furniture about because a change is as good as a holiday. I can't just look 'okay for my age', I must stress endlessly about how I could look better. I don't do health kicks by half measures, I become an expert in super-food nutrition. I don't exercise, I torture myself. I don't want to be well-off, I want to be stinking rich. I don't want a Logie...I want an Oscar! When I watched 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' for the first time....I didn't 'get' that Veruca Salt was selfish...I got that she was a driven girl who knew what she wanted. When someone calls me a bitch...I blush with pride. Why, thank-you. A bitch is the opposite of...a demure, submissive woman. I'm obsessive and compulsive and proud of it. You don't get out of the suburbs by being easily satisfied! Nice girls don't make history!

To accept second best or worse, is to sell out.

This attitude, not of gratitude, but of bratitude is what gives my life momentum. Without it, I would have missed out on so much adventure. I have moved a lot in my life and it drives my family crazy. In the last ten years for example I have lived in six different towns or cities and haven't fallen in love with any of them. I have been a Medical Receptionist, Drama teacher, Family Counselor and  Writer. I have written articles for magazines, a memoir, a children's book, three screenplays, an erotic fiction novel/memoir, a sweeping blockbuster and am working on a literary drama.

When I am still, I feel decidedly uncomfortable. I am driven by goals and projects and frankly, the idea of lying in a hammock with a tropical cocktail makes me ill. I would much rather go white-water rafting with the cocktail and challenge myself not to spill a drop.

I went for a long walk on a beach recently. It was a flat, sandy, beach full of crab holes and oyster shells. Dull, overcast day. The kids took too long, pottering about doing nothing much. I sat and stared out at the horizon for what seemed an eternity and on the way home someone asked me if I had fun. No, I did not have fun! I spent the whole time thinking of more productive things I could have been doing. Fun would have been flying to London for a film premier and then hiring a car and driving to Loch Ness to throw a coin into the water and make a wish, followed by a wild party with mad Scottish people, doing Shrek impersonations,  in a pub until dawn.

New York is my city of choice. Champagne, my tipple. Favourite colours are orange and anything with stripes. Music....fast old school rock and roll. I like action movies. I like driving in sports cars. I add chili to all my food and I sleep for a restless four hours a night.

I will stop one day and smell the roses. I have had people caution me that if I wait too long there won't be any roses left. How stupid. Roses are just flowers. They grow and die in the same little space. They're not endangered. They're not going anywhere. When I am ready, when the dancing shoes fall off, I will pull up a patch of land, put down my flag and lie in that hammock and catch up on my reading, tend a veggie garden and enjoy day-time naps.

But not for a while yet.....there are mountains to climb, oceans to cross, Oscars to win and many miles to go before I sleep....................

 

How Nikki got her Groove Back: Writer's Flow

If you're a writer you'll know what I mean by being in the 'flow'. It's of course the complete polar opposite of being 'blocked'. Great writers have always talked in revered hushed tones about the possibility that there is some invisible stream of stories flowing in the ether and that in the right mental state a writer might find him or herself literally being whooshed along, channeling amazing words and characters and plotlines that seemingly come from 'no-where' but definitely from somewhere outside the writer. That old cliched expression ' the book seemed to write itself' describes this phenomena. While this might all sound a bit far-fetched and oomie goomie...as a writer who has experienced this first hand, I can tell you there is definitely some ethereal super-force power shit going on, man! I have sat down and become a vessel for a story that I tapped into my laptop like an automaton. I was barely conscious. It was trance-like and three and a half weeks later I had a manuscript that made other people go 'whoooooo. Great stuff.' It was a children's book, not a full-length adult novel but it moved in a fluid rush from 'somewhere' to my computer.

When I am blocked, the words sit in front of me like dehydrated lumps of sun-dried cow-turd....that... I just..... can't force through my computer without pain. When I suffer from writer's block it actually  feels like it clogs up my entire life. Everything feels wrong with my day and every time I try to bang out more words I want to self-harm and break things.

BUT.....

Last night at 2:03 a.m in the blinking darkness of my slumber...I heard the whisper of a very seductive muse. She gave me a character, a plot, a hook and a purpose...she gave me a title and a moving premise that made me shed a tear at the very thought of the powerful ending. I felt my mojo creeping back into my veins, pulsing with potential. I may go so far as to say that this idea is my reason, my joy and my legacy. That impossibly named Mihaly Csikszentmihaly wrote the seminal work ' Flow - the psychology of optimal experience.' He has spent much of his academic life studying the idea of being in the flow, in the zone, in the groove.

It is total absorption in a project, a sense of spiritual calm, a fading away of all else. My all else is pretty awful at the moment with the dark fingers of depression and frustration and stress lapping at me so it is with a great deal of gratitude that I accept this gift of an idea and will begin to nurture it into the greatness that it so deserves.

There is some indication that writers particularly, find unintentional access to such inspiration during times of disassociation...during sleep or meditation or extreme emotional fatigue. I have woken today with a surge of hope, a desire to sculpt this new story. All the mental radio signals that have been sending me messages that 'I can't write, I'm wasting my time', have changed stations and now they sing with a magnificent clarity that I have been chosen for this particular story at this particular time in history. There is method in my madness. The universe has commissioned me to write and I must write. Is that some grandios thought processing or what????!!! But if you write or paint or do anything that you truly love you will understand my rantings...because true art is something bigger than us. It is the secret juice or artistic DNA that makes an artist, any artist, a member of an incredible secret society that counts Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, Shakespeare and Shelley as well as Meryl Streep and Madonna and Hunter S. Thompson (although he accessed his flow through more chemical avenues!) as members.

Anyways....I guess I gotta grab the surfboard and hang ten....I got words to right so .......adios.....!

A Satellite Parent....

We are always hearing about 'helicopter' parents. The kind of parent that hovers neurotically around their child shielding it from harm, danger, fun and just about everything else. They can actually damage their child's motor skills by not allowing then to climb, run and fall. There is a growing concern that children are being stunted physically and emotionally by over-protective parents.

I can speak with some authority on child-rearing because I have five children ranging from 25 down to 7. Four boys. One girl. I have never been overly-protective although I am guilty of calling an ambulance for my first son when he fell off the coffee table and got an egg on his head. I rang 000 and screamed that my baby had a bone sticking out of his head...it did look a bit bone-like but turned out to be a bruise.That was a scared first time mother and my son actually held his breath and passed out so I was justifiably concerned. The more children I had, the more blase I got. I let them play with guns and watch violent films. They stayed up late and ate lots of junk. Whenever there was a scraped knee or blood nose my response was predictable 'You'll be right!' My eldest sons have said that they will put that on my tombstone 'You'll be right, Mum!' But all jokes aside, my 22 year old told me the other day that if he had to choose one remembered gem from his childhood, it would be that attitude of 'you'll be right'. Because short of a disaster which may not be within one's control, the kids generally will be okay if you let them be and let them grow.

I was never one of those Mums who always looked immaculate and had labels on drawers and child-locks on all the cupboards. I forgot to put the medicine box up high and one son helped himself to my contraceptive pills while another pigged out on laxatives (which became awfully evident half an hour later on the trampoline). Over the years we had scrapes, bruises and burns. But I am pleased to say the kids are all still in one piece and we all still like each other. We have a relaxed relationship which is brutally honest and loving.  I was always watching my children grow but let them make mistakes so they could learn from them. This has made them resilient and mature.

I grew up in a strict Catholic household and was monitored quite vigilantly so I had to sneak out the bedroom window to go and make my mistakes.

Children are by nature, messy, smelly, dirty little creatures who love to climb and jump and run. They are adventurous and curious. I believe in the idea of letting children be themselves. Answering back and questioning me was encouraged. I think children have a valid voice that needs to be heard. Sometimes they were right and I was wrong. Parenting can't be learned from a book because I had to adjust and fine tune my  attitude with each and every one of my children because they are all completely different people. One liked rules and boundaries. One was a highly strung artist. The girl. Don't get me started. After so many boys I just don't get daughters!!! She won't wear a dress but loves Barbies. She listens to One Direction. She's like an alien. But just like I let the boys play with guns I let her listen to the silly boy band and play with anatomically incorrect rubber women who personify the 'dumb blonde' cliche.

I feed them all healthy food but one day a fortnight we have candy day and eat ice-cream and nutella for breakfast. I often let them stay up late. My teenage son is often awol and hanging with his homies at the mall doing god knows what. But I trust him and I know that he is proud of that and won't abuse it (much). I also know that teenagers are curious and adventurous. I teased him mercilessly about the hickies on the neck last weekend where I would have been grounded and sent to the school counselor when I was 16. Maybe even sent to a nunnery.

So, I'm more of a satellite parent than a helicopter parent. I love my kids intensely and powerfully but I don't own them. They are not clones of me nor do they have the same drives or interests. I appreciate their uniqueness, their various tattoos, piercings and troll-doll hair-dos. I don't worry too much about them because I know that the kids are alright.

The eighties...

I admit it. I'm an eighties tragic. My kids are right. I have not moved on. I freak out if a hairdresser brings a straightening iron near my hair because I don't want it flat...I want it big. Big hair, I have decided, makes me look smaller. Ditto for shoulder pads.

I just heard that 'Dallas' is making a comeback on television and I felt suddenly....elated. J.R and Sue-Ellen are back!!! Duran Duran are touring the world again. The seventies were the hippy years or punk years depending on your style, the nineties were all about grunge or geek. I was too busy raising children to notice what the 2000's were...not much I don't think unless you count war and hatred....this tweenie decade is still unfolding and so far we ain't got much so I think the planet has realised that we might as well go back to the eighties which was the last time 'style' had any real fun.

My kids look at retro fashion and listen to the catchy tunes and gag. But they just don't get it. The eighties were brave years when self-confidence reigned supreme. Technology was just getting a leg up and the music industry was burgeoning like a moist and fetid jungle. New talent was blooming and musicians, fashion designers, artists and film makers were experimenting and taking things to extremes. There was the smell of promise in the air. They were exciting times. They were the teenage years, kind of awkward and gangly, but brash and foolishly confident.

Sex was less sinister, music was for its own sake and apologetically fun, movies were memorable, art was bold, and everything was technicoloured. Fluoro pinks and greens. Makeup was worn like war paint and dressing up was de rigeur...Adam Ant, Boy George, Split Enz, Kiss........

It was so much fun despite the next generation of greasy-haired, flannel shirted drones trying to make us ashamed of our childish excesses.

I'm glad 'Dallas' is coming back. The world needs more mega-bitches in power suits. 'Dynasty'.

My new novel is set in contemporary times but with an over-the-top eighties feel. The plot is ridiculous, the characters all bold and beautiful, the stakes are high and the love triangles messy.

I am painting on metallic silver nail-polish today and teasing my hair into a fuzzy, lop-sided Flock of Seagulls style. I'm going to wear a shiny pink jacket over black and white stripy leggings and purple fringed boots. People will assume I'm schizotypal  (one symptom being - wearing gaudy clothes) but I'll just be recapturing the heady days of my youth. But if I collect my teenage son from school like that, he would disown me. I'm not cruel or terribly brave so I will only wear my nostalgic get-up while writing in my office and will put on some suitably beige mum outfit for school pick-up duty........

Being a writer is all about embracing fantasy...forgive me.

If I ruled the world.......

If I ruled the world for just one day - today - I would suspend superstition and shake off the shackles of tradition. I wouldn't do the expected, the tried and tested, the predictable. Those things have messed us up and backed our planet into a corner ( a hard thing to do in a universe this big).

I would give the Bobbies in London the day off and take Julian Assange to lunch at the Savoy to reminisce about the good old days in Lismore and pick his brain for some juicy global gossip. I'd tell Sweden to pull its blonde head in and stop being so frickin' bitchy and self-righteous. You're very beautiful, yes and clever with furniture and such, but your legal system has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. The boy was framed and the rest of the world knows it. There's more beneath that fjard than meets the eye, eh?

While I was at it I'd get Sweden to look at their idiotic and irrational inheritance laws as well and give some of/ most of the Stieg Larsson trust to his de facto wife Eva Gabrielsson. I'd make Sweden stand in the corner for a good while over that one! And Britain...you can't storm a foreign embassy just because it's in your town...it doesn't work that way...okay? You can't change the rules as you go along or you'll end up with no-one wanting to play with you. Honestly, countries behaving badly!

Zipping over to Russia, I'd send Putin to the school of laughter to learn how to laugh at himself (that's in Australia because we do know how to mock ourselves mercilessly and we don't throw people into jail for making a creative and poignant statement about current affairs). Our entire entertainment industry is based on satire and parody.  In Russia you get imprisoned for speaking out against the government. I would immediately release those lovely Pussy Riot gals and sink a few vodka shots with them to celebrate the notion of  'freedom'.

I'd announce a global edict that celebrated gay marriage.

I'd make attendance at ethical, humane classes mandatory for all  fundamental religious enthusiasts.

 I'd divert money from military expenditure toward feeding third world countries.

I'd abolish prisons and create health and mental well-being 'psychiatric hospitals' to help care for and rehabilitate violent and tortured 'criminals' who have found themselves through environmental or biological reasons to be out of balance with society. They would be removed from mainstream society but treated humanely while we try to understand how such anomalies of spirit can and do occur and we would work toward prevention and cure.

I would overhaul the education system in such a way that it was holistic and effective instead of being a model of learning that is designed to constrict rather than construct the evolving adult spirit.

I would decriminalise drug use and regulate the industry with the support and advice of a crack team of medical professionals. Drug use is a medical issue as is addiction and can not be 'treated' by imprisonment.

I would outlaw the use of corn syrup in 'food'.

I would make health care/dental care free and available.

I would prohibit politicians from wearing business suits.

I would make today pajama day.

'Always look on the bright side of life' by Eric Idle would become the global anthem.

Refugees would be welcomed with compassion by countries with room to spare.

I would start an Olympics for artistic pursuits...dance, drama, art and music...but it would be about sharing not gold medals.

I would award myself an honorary Academy Award and Johnny Depp would present me with it. Slurp. 'Thanks so much Johnny'......

That's just for starters......tomorrow I'd tackle racism, sexism and some major environmental issues.....

That's my megalomaniac blog rant for the day.......Peace out.

Stars in her eyes.....

When I was a young girl I dreamed of being a famous actress. Every year the inter-school drama festival rolled by on the Gold Coast and I body-surfed my way to a Best Actress trophy or at the very worst a Highly Commended Performance certificate. In Year 12 I got my first standing ovation. It was a heady time when I thought I was the next Meryl Streep.

At seventeen I ran away from home with stars in my eyes, all the way to Sydney, the capital of the Australian film industry. Confidence is key and I managed to land myself a small role in a futuristic film called 'Dead End Drive-In'. This was my first professional gig and I was sure it was the first step toward fame and fortune. Being on a film set was exciting, particularly one that was decked out as a punk/apocalyptic Drive-In. It was like landing on another planet. The cast and crew were vibrant and friendly and I soon made some great friends. The catering was always sumptuous (starving actors love a good free feed). The film was a macho dream come true with fiery stunts and car chases. At the time I thought it was all a bit silly and cringed when I saw myself acting on a huge cinema screen. My performance was forgettably bad. I'd made a film but it didn't feel like I thought Hollywood should.

Years later this film has become something of a cult classic and I now appreciate its charm and blatant, bold, innocence and decadence at the same time. My children have watched it and think it's somewhat glorious. It was featured in the documentary 'Not Quite Hollywood,' which explored the Australian films back in the day (70's, early 80's) known as ozploitation films. Films with lots of blood, guts, violence, fire, gratuitous sex and lots of tits and beer. These films have become a national cultural phenomenon. Only now have my husband and I become fans of these old films. Films like Turkey Shoot, Razorback, Alvin Purple, Road Games etc.

I followed my film debut with a string of embarrassing television commercials - which were more about making a goose of yourself than real acting.  I dressed in a leotard and ate warm yoghurt for a Yoplait commercial, did a Telstra ad and came home to find my phone had been disconnected, talked about condoms in an AIDS awareness campaign and Nibbled Nobby's nuts!!!

Then came a great tele-mini-series, The Clean Machine, where I had a nude scene while still lactating after the birth of my first son. I had milk geysers squirting between takes. Nice! Then there was the ABC series Stringer where I mimed playing bass guitar and played the tough chick in an all-girl band. The single 'Young Love' actually won an ARIA award and appeared on MTV. Whooohoooo.

Then theatre 'Tony 'n Tina's Wedding'. That was a hoot. A three month run of fun and mayhem. Friendships. Laughter.

A guest appearance on 'Police Rescue' was a highlight (not only because of the onset tempestuous affair).

And then..................nothing. Nada.

I had more children and focused on family. All the while though, I still harboured a desire to return to the thespian life. I spent years and years rehearsing, becoming a spectacular drama queen in my everyday life. Despite no professional acting work, I've played some interesting roles over the years - the single mum, the medical receptionist, the gangster moll, the maid, the drama teacher, the other woman, the wife, mother earth, the deranged depressed mad woman, the alcoholic, the fitness fanatic, the foster parent, the uni student, the legal counsellor and now...................

THE WRITER......

But the actress in me is preparing for a comeback......I just need to write myself the perfect part!

Testing the power of attraction........

Just like every messed up woman, I've read The Secret, watched 'What the Bleep' and fallen for Tony (Banana Fingers) Robbins. We like to believe that with just a little focus and positive thinking we can have anything and everything we want. The real secret is of course that there is no magical secret. Life and fate are pretty random and bad luck is just as real as good luck and the bottom line is that most of it really does fall back on luck. I was born to a middle class family on the Gold Coast with not too many character flaws. I was loved and protected. No abuse except self abuse. I was averagely attractive with a high level of intelligence but little common sense. I had some talent in acting and writing. I met a nice boy, fell in love and had children and fell out of love. No major dramas there that couldn't be solved with time. Had more loves, more children. Floated through life with nothing terribly bad happening but nothing terribly magnificent either. All in all it was a middle of the road life that I've had.

But I am a melting pot of passion and frustration. I always want more than I have. I am always looking for the next gig, the next big thing, the next adventure and most of all I have always had my sights set on winning an Academy Award. Nuts? Yes, I have been called that more often than I can remember.

But...those damn self-help gurus owe me something. I've bought their books and read them in good faith. They filled their coffers with the likes of my hard-earned cash and the millions of dollars from unfulfilled souls seeking that ever-elusive 'something more.'

I have decided that I will take them at their word and test all the theories ...which basically boil down to the one golden rule - if you can perceive and believe then you can achieve - anything!!! Except perhaps physical immortality or the ability to become invisible or fly or turn straw into gold.

So - either - there really is something to all this oomie goomie nonsense or half the world is made up of gullible, trusting fools. I suspect the latter. But like any good researcher - I can't completely dispel the theory of the law of attraction without putting it to the test. By doing it publicly I can step back and objectively analyse my various successes and failures on my journey.

So - Mr Tony Robbins, Rhonda whatsername and the pantheon of Californian-sounding gurus, I will do everything you say. Everything. I will become a visionary of my future. I will meditate. Eat well. Exercise. Treat everybody beautifully. I will visualise and focus my thoughts on the good that I want and not focus on the daily stresses of living an incredibly stressful life of mediocrity. And you Mr Universe - will deliver me an Academy Award. If I drop dead and don't have one - I hearby call you all charlatans and will post-humously press charges against you for fraud and misrepresentation. If I do win and Academy Award though- I will thank you profusely from the stage.

I'm 46. Live in suburban Brisbane. Have five children who are very time consuming. I work from home as a writer. I did once want to be an actor and still would like to jump back into that one day. I don't look like a Hollywood Star, I don't have a show-reel anymore because a pet ate it about ten years ago. I have no idea how to go about this but I don't have to think about it, do I? I just have to put it out there and focus on it all the time - the end result - the thank-you speech and the power of attraction will do the rest.....yeah...okay...bring it on. But I must believe so I must stop sounding so cynical.........

It's August 6th, 2012. I've spent my life living pretty hard so I doubt I've got more than thirty or forty years left . I'm never going to get the lifetime achievement award because to date I haven't done anything worthy of note by Oscar. But...hey, let's do a Tony Robbins and set a date. 'Begin with the end in mind', said the late Stephen Covey - so -

 I will have an Oscar on my mantelpiece by  2022. I'll be 66. I was born in 66. There's some synchronicity there..........Operation Oscar begins today.....

I  just re-read this post and have decided that the isolation from working from home is affecting me and I have gone just a little bit insane. Whatever!

Pussy Riot

If you want something done, you're best to do it yourself. Never is that more true than when you want to agitate and make big changes. The whole Occupy movement is a reponse to social and economic inequality and it is fueled by passion.  If there is something I believe in more than anything else in this world, it is the power of passion - for good, for bad but nothing in between. Passion doesn't accept second best. Passion doesn't give up. Passion isn't afraid of pain.

Today I had an article published in the wonderful Hoopla. It is an online magazine written by and for passionate readers. Readers who are predominantly female and who want to see wrongs righted, enjoy the solidarity of an online community and laugh at the ridiculous absurdities that we often face. My article today talks about Pussy Riot,  an all-girl punk rock outfit in Russia. These passionate women take their message to the public in a bold and shocking manner by gatecrashing events and delivering unforgettable performances that agitate for change. They are women who are hanging their balls on the line! Yeah, I know....but these chicks have bigger balls than most men I know. These are women who make me proud to be a woman.

I am not alone. As three of these brave girls wallow in prison awaiting what is already an unfair trial, facing unfair charges, men and women all over the world have been inspired to stand up and be counted as supporters. Putin, who already struggled with a reputation as a fool, is now looking even more cornered and ridiculous. To speak out against the little man is to incite the wrath of church, state and the narrow minded conservatives. Pussy Riot is facing some tough accusers, with burning sticks and a taste for blood.

Amnesty International is on the case. Celebrities such as Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Peter Gabriel and the like have joined their voices to the cause.

If these girls can get up on a church altar and sing a prayer to the Virgin Mary to depose Putin and his cronies.....the world can shake off some of its apathy and get behind them.

Take a moment to google this outrage and raise your voice.

Here is a link to my article -


http://thehoopla.com.au/pussy-riot-red-square/




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