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A new lease of life for my books

As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are available as e-books from Smashwords. 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. 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. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

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.

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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!

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

What is Success?

Another post copied over from my old WordPress blog.

Over at her Year in America blog, my friend Fiona Leonard posed the question, “If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?”

I thought for quite a while about this before posting a comment, trying to identify how I define success and what anchors me in my undertakings. I came to the conclusion that it’s not the lure of success that motivates me, but my passion for the thing I’m doing.

I’ve had many interests over the course of my life: in fact, in a post about a year ago I described myself as being “artistically promiscuous” as a girl, since I loved so many things. I studied piano, singing, speech and drama and several forms of dance as well as a full trencher of school subjects and all the peripherals that go with being a music student – theory, harmony, aural training, history and form of music…my days were full from wake-up time at 6.00am until I collapsed into bed at about 9.30pm. I loved all those activities (or at least most of them, most of the time!) and did not want to give any of them up.

Until, of course, they became too difficult. This happened first with piano. I was a student at Sydney Conservatorium, and I was well aware that although I had above average ability in music, I was never going to be much better at it than I was then. It had become a hard grind. I pushed myself through the required two hours of practice each day, but each session was a struggle. My teacher, Raymond Fischer, told me I was at least three years away from being ready to sit even the simplest diploma exam, and I realised I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to last the distance. Possibly, with a lot of effort, I could have done what my parents hoped and expected I would do – go on to Teachers’ College and become a specialist music teacher in a high school. But the prospect of having to face four or five classes a day for the rest of my life, trying to interest a mob of teenagers in a subject that had already lost its juice for me, was utterly unthinkable.

After a year of Arts at Sydney University, I took a year off study to work in the public service and make a rather unfortunate early marriage. It didn’t take long for me to realise that working in an office environment was not my thing, either, and in 1962 I entered the National Institute of Dramatic Art to try my hand at acting. However, during that year I had my first baby and in those days there were no creches at universities, and as I couldn’t find suitable child care, I had to give up my scholarship and quit the course. I was sad, but not devastated, because at heart I’d already realised that this was not my path, either. I loved Shakespeare, but opportunities for specialist Shakesperean actors in Australia were virtually nil at that time, and the thought of spending my time preparing for auditions for TV commercials didn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Several of my fellow students did indeed become professional actors — two of them, John Bell and Anna Volska, even became specialist Shakespereans! — but many more became bartenders, teachers and insurance agents.

I continued to be involved in amateur theatre and to teach dance for another twenty years, while rearing my five children. Along the way I furthered an interest in astrology that had started in my teens, and tried my hand at farming, even gaining a Certificate in Rural Studies to give myself a theoretical base for milking cows, drenching sheep and mucking out pig pens. Actually this was one of the happiest times of my life in many ways, and not the least happy-making part was watching my children growing up close to nature, seeing first-hand the cycles of life that as urban dwellers we see only dimly, as when someone has a baby or an elderly relative dies. In farm animals these cycles play themselves out far more quickly.

Dance was the one thing that never lost its appeal for me, despite my short legs and hockey-player’s build that rendered me unsuited to classical ballet. In my forties I returned to study at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where I completed an Associate Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) with the intention of “updating my expertise” so that I could catch up with the latest doings in the dance world, especially in teaching. My forty-odd-year-old body complained terribly and it took three years for me to complete the two year course, but complete it I did, and I was quite proud when I walked across the platform to receive my scroll. Concurrently, I’d started a BA in Religious Studies, which I loved. I complemented it by converting my Associate Diploma to a Dance minor, and also started another BA in Languages. This was in those heady days of the 1980s when all tertiary education was free, so I was merrily undertaking units in French, Italian, English Literature, Linguistics, Psychology and Journalism. However, when I was part-way through this second BA, my second marrriage broke down and fees for university courses came back, so I could not afford to finish it, much less go on to do the masters in Religious Studies that I’d hoped to do. Of course, none of those transcripts actually qualified me to do anything, and I was getting older and becoming less and less employable in a country that has always valued youth above almost everything else. So I turned to my other interests to put bread on the table, and these are the things I still do today – writing, editing, astrology and meditation. And I still love all of them.

Writing fiction, however, is just as heartbreaking as music, dance and acting. The chances of any individual “succeeding” at it are very low indeed. For every thousand manuscripts that are started by hopeful would-be authors, only one or two, at best, will eventually be published by one of the major commercial publishing houses. I frequently become discouraged, and talking to my fellow writers, I realise most of them do, too.

Nevertheless, I will keep up the battle until writing loses its juice for me. And when might that be? If my past experience is any guide, it will be when I know that I’ve reached the limits of my ability, which to me isn’t failure; it’s just a fact of life. I have the good fortune to have better-than-average talents in a lot of directions, but I have never proved to be outstanding at any of them.

The nine Muses dancing with Apollo

But is this a bad thing?

I think not. If it were, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do so many wonderful things because I would have spent my life focussing on the prospect of success in just one of the things I love. I worship all the muses, and while, perhaps, none of them loves me quite as much as she loves her dedicated votaries who have just one talent in abundance, I can nonetheless bathe in all their sacred pools and come away refreshed. And that may be the best gift of all.

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