Featured post

Weigh-in time!

We are more than half way through November and I have not written a blog post. Life goes on as usual: Mondays and Tuesdays I teach dance. W...

About Me

My photo
I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

Follow me on Twitter

Share a link on Twitter

Follow by Email

My Blog List

Blog Archive

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

Search This Blog

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The promiscuous artist

Over at the Mad Genius Club, Rowena Cory Daniels recently posted a piece called You know you’re a writer when… It’s a fun post, but one that pulls you up and makes you realise, Yeah, me too…

I’ve loved stories ever since I began to understand English, and as English is my mother tongue that was a while ago! I was lucky in that being the youngest of four sisters, I had lots of stories read to me, and by the time I was three I could read my favourites to myself, largely because I knew them by heart. Gradually the squiggles on the page started to make sense. What liberation, to find that I no longer need rely on my elders to read to me!

When I was four, I bullied my family into taking part in a dramatisation of Oliver Twist's meeting with Fagin. My older sisters had just seen the film and on hearing about it I immediately wanted to be Oliver, and the only way I could be Oliver was by collecting a company and rewriting the script. My father had to be Fagin, of course, and my sisters the other urchins. My mother was an audience of one. (I was lucky. Being the youngest by a lot of years meant I got indulged a fair bit.)

For a long time I wasn't sure whether I was an actor or a writer. I continued to be interested in stage and film, but at the same time, I lived a double life, in which I was not me, but a girl named Jill who had more adventures than anyone else in the world. The yarns I spun in my daydreams came out in pictures that I drew, because I was too young to write. I got right into Jill’s character and started to think of her/me in the third person, which is a worry. I wonder if this tendency to dissociate is common among writers?

My pictures often involved dramatisations of stories I heard, translated to the stage. A year or two later, when I could sort-of-nearly-almost-write (apart from a dyslexic misunderstanding of the difference between d and b) I discovered Enid Blyton. I immediately wanted to be the author of stories like those, and told everyone I wanted to be a Children's Authoress.

But then one day I went with my sister Anne to visit her friend Maureen. Now Maureen had a younger sister, Jacqueline, who was learning ballet and tap dancing. World War II had just ended and clothing was still rationed, but Maureen’s mother had cut down one of her old evening gowns to make a costume for Jacqueline. To my satin-deprived eyes it looked fit for a princess in one of my stories, and I was immediately hooked. I wanted to be a dancer, too.

Unfortunately, my family was not theatrically inclined, so I was not allowed to take lessons like Jacqueline. Even so, the Sadlers Wells (later the Royal Ballet) company was a shining light of beauty and glamour in the shabbiness of a war-torn country, and my sisters had several books about ballet. They and their friends would argue among themselves about who was the most beautiful, Margot Fonteyn or Moira Shearer. I spent hours poring over those books and eagerly thumbing through magazines for pictures of my idols. But it was only when I was eleven that I finally went to classes, which I paid for myself out of my pocket money, forgoing the weekly matinee at the cinema to do so. Mother was willing to pay for me to learn piano, but not dancing.

When I was fourteen I struck a deal with Mother. She paid for me to have four dance classes a week on condition that I also studied Speech and Drama. (She was a Yorkshire woman but I had been born in Manchester. We were by this time living in Australia, and my polyglot accent grated on Mother’s ears.) I was a pupil at the Conservatorium High School in Sydney. Fellow students included future internationally known artists such as Roger Woodward and Charmian Gadd, who threw all their energies into their musical education. Not me. Then, as now, I loved too many things. I was artistically promiscuous. So my days were very full indeed – Piano, Singing, Speech and Drama, Ballet, Character Dancing, Modern Dance – as well as normal school lessons. Oh, did I mention Theory, Harmony, Aural Training, History and Form of Music…Ye gods, these days it exhausts me to think about the schedule. Some nights I would get home at about 9.00pm and go almost immediately to bed, only to get up at 6.00am to catch a train at 7.05. During the hour long journey to the city from Liverpool, then an outer suburb of Sydney, I did my homework.

I started to help with children’s ballet classes at a local dancing school, and later I taught on my own account. My story telling now went into choreography rather than pictures. I still read voraciously, but I did not write fiction. Although I used to win prizes for poetry and prose, my prose was all descriptive. The stories I dreamed up were simple things that translated better into dance than the written word. There's more than one way to spin a yarn.

I only went back to writing fiction when I was in my fifties, after I'd given up dancing and acting. But that’s a tale for another post.

13 comments:

Jo said...

Most little girls want to be a ballet dancer at some point in their lives. You were very lucky to be able to follow that into later life even if you didn't become a Margot or Moira.

Satima Flavell said...

Yeah, wrong build completely for classical, much as I loved it. "Tits and Feathers" was my forte:-)And I didn't have much of the former!

Jo said...

Giggle

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

I love the term, artistically promiscuous!

glenda larke said...

Yeah, so do I.

What a talented person you are, Satima. And I also used the word "authoress" for what I wanted to be, when I was a kid!

Satima Flavell said...

We used to use feminine forms of all kinds of words, didn't we? I still don't see anything wrong with them, myself. "Giantess" is a darned sight easier to say and write and read than "female giant", or worse "woman giant". and the distinction is still there mentally, too; otherwise, why do we see the words "women actors" but seldom or never "men actors"? Might was well just have stuck with the feminine forms!

Jo said...

I do so agree Satima, I think we should promote the use of feminine forms of these words. Got my women's lib hat on here.

Satima Flavell said...

Yet it was the feminist movement that insisted on the male form as "inclusive language". I can't understand their reasoning on that one. All it's achieved is to turn authoresses into women authors, etc. Silly eh?

Sara said...

Love the photo!

Satima Flavell said...

Mm - I was a lot thinner then, eh?

Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

I know I am not an actress and I'm not sure yet that I am a writer.

Satima Flavell said...

If you spend a lot of time writing, you're a writer. We may not be published authors yet, but being a writer is a worthwhile thing on its own merits. I learn a lot from my writing - about myself, the world and my fellow travellers. I guess that's what the writing process is all about, whether the product ever gets published or not.

bao bao said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...