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Artist Profile: Michael Waugh

Michael’s albums: perfect for a relaxed evening around a campfire, catching up with friends … or for any other time of the day or night, when a mellow mood is sought.

We first met Michael Waugh three years ago, when he was our designated muso to billet for our local Folkie. An established teacher of media and drama, in 2017 he was embarking on his own musical career (as opposed to his students’), playing the songs from his first album.

Two years later he returned to our Folkie (not as our billet that year). Delighted to see him on the program I channelled my inner groupie and timetabled my Festival so as to catch his shows. While he was performing inside the hall, his wife Narelle was outside in the cold fresh air: perched around an upended wine cask which served as a table she was managing CD sales. After the show Michael did what all gracious musicians do, talking with his audience and signing CDs on request. What struck me was the warmth with which he responded to each and every person who approached him, and his genuine delight (almost surprise) in response to the many compliments flooding his way. The world is made brighter, humanity made more humane, for unpretentious souls like Michael!

So who is Michael Waugh? And does he deserve my accolades?

Michael greets people with a handshake and, if you’re lucky to have met him more than once, a big hug that sends warmth through your entire body. His everpresent smile brightens everyone’s day, even if you’re seeing him from afar. And he is easy to spot in a crowd, in his trademark red flanelette shirt.

His quiet, down-to-earth persona and (there’s that word again!) warmth are woven into his heartfelt tunes. In true troubadour style, this singer-songwriter captures an audience with the power of his acoustic guitar and his voice alone. The more recent addition of select back-up musicians strengthen the texture of the magical notes he weaves. His songs, in traditional singer-songwriter style, reflect his life and the things he holds dear. The Australian English he uses brings a smile to my face, so quintessentially does he capture the Aussie spirit. Being around my age he also portrays many of my childhood and adolescent memories, which are lovely to relive.

Michael’s music provides home comfort, which is always welcome in this increasingly monocultural global world which moves ever faster and less humanely, heightening its bland conformity. His ballads strike my heart and speak to me from a place of vulnerability: they invite me to enter the spaces within me where it’s okay to be a bit broken because, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, everyone has cracks, it’s how the light gets in. I am deeply moved, and a couple of tears have been known to roll down my cheek under cover of the darkened hall.

During the Covid shutdown Michael has participated in local concerts streamed online with live performances to the virtual audiences. Like many artists he has continued to make and play music, performing in Covid-acceptable ways.

So yes, he is deserving of my accolades: I listen to his music and I come out changed. We are all entitled to pause life and take a moment to get back in touch with our inner self, to reposition ourselves and come out stronger. Michael Waugh’s music is the perfect vehicle for this soul-healing.

His website is http://www.michaelwaugh.com.au/

and his Facebook page is https://m.facebook.com/michaelwaughfm/

Do yourself a favour and check out this hand sown, home grown* musician!

*Hand Sown, Home Grown is borrowed from the title of Linda Rondstadt’s first album, released in 1969. Michael was not born when it was released… and yet its title sums him up!

Reedsy Review #4

Stories of hope. The ripple effect. The empowerment to make a difference, within your skills set. Inspiring.

This book is a treasure. Do yourself a favour and remind yourself anew that hope still exists. Read it.

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/humankind-changing-the-world-one-small-act-at-a-time-brad-aronson

*******

See what happened next!

Congratulations Annabel!
You’ve been reviewing books on Discovery every month for the past 2 months! Here’s a new badge for your hall of fame

(Not meaning to steal your thunder, Brad, but it’s my first Reedsy reward!)

Thanks to all those indie writers who seek reviews on Reedsy!

Walking lightly on the earth

MINIMISING MY CARBON FOOTPRINT

Found in the shed:

a big box of shoes I didn’t remember.

Grroooaaaannnnn ……

 

They are dirty, covered in cobwebs and – even worse –

have been chewed by rodents.

Those innards coming out definitely have rat-sized teeth-marks around them.

 

Who’s going to want to wear them now?

Clearly not the people who put them in the shed in the first place!

Even more clearly, nobody else!

 

Luckily I have recently learned about

SAVE OUR SOLES

and shoe recycling which diverts such items from

LANDFILL WASTE

into

RAW RESOURCES

for creating playgrounds and weaving textiles …

which means I can use my trash for treasure,

thereby reducing my carbon footprint

and

walking more lightly on the Earth.

👣 🌏 🦶

 

Notes from the author:

1. Hopefully the reader will have realised that the “Free to Good Home” sign was not put up for the derelict shoes! Many moons ago our lemon tree was highly productive, so we placed the box outside our house so that passersby could indeed “share our bounty”.

2. May the shed clear-out continue to continue!

Reedsy Review #3

Follow this link to my third review for Reedsy: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/making-a-stylish-exit-nicole-richmond-de-feo

While this book was not my cup o’ tea – largely because of the need for large-scale editing to remove the deplorable number of errors – it reminded me of the surprise-find pearl which still graces my bookshelf, more than two decades after its unexpected entry to our household.

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This gem, like Making a Stylish Edit, revolves around fashion, and is immersed in a cracker story with well-developed characters which had me laughing out loud: the sleeping bags the main character made for her shoes is particularly memorable. (Unfortunately, I know some people who would think sleeping bags for shoes are the second best invention after the wheel, and not just a funny image from a novel, so devoted are they to their footwear collection…or should that read, I know some unfortunate people who would covet the protagonist’s inventiveness, in caring for her shoes?) And who isn’t fabulous in their own head sometimes, even if they are a nobody?

Coming from a time when publishing was neither cheap nor cheapened, this Aussie author’s book is a delight to read!

My Fellow Survivors

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There is a lot of hurting in the world. Sometimes it seems that the older I get, the more I hear about people’s suffering from when they were children. Maybe people from my generation, my friends, have more of a forum to talk about it now, in ways they couldn’t before. Maybe professional organisations are asking questions about past experiences now, in ways they didn’t before.

 

 

I’ve certainly noticed an increased openness to talk about historical abuse over the last five to ten years. The various investigations into the Catholic Church in different countries, Australia’s Royal Commission into child sexual abuse- its findings and recommendations, the #MeToo movement… they’ve all been pivotal in creating the space and the language to talk about it more openly than ever before.

This is good except for one thing: the extent of the hurt which is being exposed, incorporating the extent of the dysfunction that many survivors continue to live with- and the negative effect it has had, and continues to have, on their lives.

A common saying about caregivers, usually in the context of forgiveness for their lack of (appropriate) action, is “They were doing the best they could, with the tools (skills and knowledge) they had at the time”. This is true to a large degree but it falls way short in two key areas: when the same caregivers who should have protected someone are also the perpetrators of violence against them; and in its failure to include the addendum: “And so were you”.

The most vulnerable have the smallest, weakest voices and it’s great to see that these people are at last getting the platforms to be heard. Inside every one of us is our Little Child and if that is still damaged, so will the Adult be.

So to my fellow survivors I say: acknowledge the enormity of what you have achieved just to be here today! Recognise your achievements in holding down a job, a relationship, bringing up children… all the things which may seem routine and expected, but nevertheless are not easy to achieve in the transition from victim to survivor.

 

I send out the challenge: let us- who know from the inside what it’s like to be shut down, to have no voice- let us be the ones to open our hearts, our ears and our minds to those who need it now. Let us be the ones to step up and say, I will stand beside you and I am here for you. Let us- who know from personal experience how vital it is to have an advocate in a time of trauma- let us be the ones to offer our hands of friendship to those still lost, and struggling, in the dark.

Let us stand up for good.

Image References:

https://www.google.com/search?*q=victim+to+survivor&rlz=1C9BKJA_enAU792AU793&hl=de&prmd=inv&sxsrf

=ACYBGNTfqdIJJA2B30DEY_6IOpMd7n4Uew:1577613719640&source=

lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZheiKzdrmAhUU7HMBHZqRAyIQ_AUoAXoECA0QAQ&biw

=1024&bih=659#imgrc=u6hSx1cjVhTpWM

Check out this Reverse Poem: going downwards it reads in victim-mindset, going upwards it reads in survivor mindset. Very clever! 

*https://www.socialworker.com/extras/social-work-month-2017/victim-to-survivor-reverse-poem/

 

 

Some People

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Some people shout their politics from the rooftops, waving banners and flags in the face of humanity going about its daily business.

I admire these people for standing up publicly, pinning their causes to their chests and making a public nuisance of themselves- that is, getting in other people’s way, forcing them to move out of their safe, comfortable routine and take notice of the activists blocking their way to their daily fix of coffee, croissant or Cruiser- because such protesters can loudly and proudly effect large-scale change.

I have to admit, I am not one of these people. I consider myself a quiet activist, a change merchant on a different scale. Rather than looking at the Big Picture of Global Politics and what I can change by participating in a thousand-strong rally or sit-in, I look at my Immediate Surroundings and what I can change right now, with every small decision I make throughout my day.

I also admit that sometimes I guard myself against fatigue rather than put myself on the frontline of making a positive contribution to the world, right now in this instance. I justify this as protecting myself for the long haul, extending my longevity by taking the time to heal when I am so burnt out and exhausted I cannot make effective contributions anyway. What use is a crusader who lacks the strength to raise their pen or sword?

Maybe this is construed as lazy, copping out or otherwise more convenient to me than to others, but it’s what I feel I can contribute on any given day, to make the world a better place … and I do consider it makes a positive change to others.

Teaching is a profession without immediate rewards. It’s often only years later, when my adolescent charges have grown up and become independent, that a chance meeting will reveal the impact I’ve had on their young lives: “You were kind to me when my grandparent/parent/sibling/cousin died, when I felt alone”; “You asked me where my Safe Space was when I disclosed I was depressed, so I knew you understood what I was going through”; “I felt like every time I saw you at the canteen I offloaded onto you, yet you always asked me how I was doing and encouraged me to answer from my heart”; “You gave me the space to talk to an adult and that helped me sort out my feelings, which meant they didn’t spiral out of control”.

As a career teacher I’m used to working in an environment with delayed feedback. I attribute this with influencing my ability to see action and progress where others may not.

Sometimes I wonder how outsiders perceive the way I live, particularly in reference to positive action. Sometimes I feel I lead a small life. That my day after day at work, early to bed as I am tired after the emotional energy spent with challenging students and then my commute, doesn’t amount to much.

I choose to think that my Modus operandi, however, makes a huge contribution to the hundreds of students I have daily contact with, thousands over the years. I might not see the rewards on a daily basis, and they may not be as obvious and grand-scale as stopping a coal mine or taking a whole town off the grid with sustainable, renewable energy … but they are real, nevertheless. Just less tangible.

I’m in the business of providing others with the skills, tools and knowledge they need to contribute proactively to the wider world, and their ability to do this in adulthood is my reward. So every “How are you? How are things going for you?” of mine, that boosts a student’s self-worth and ability to ask someone else the same questions with the genuine will, and time, to listen; every time someone remembers something I’ve said or done for them and chooses to act with more integrity and compassion than they otherwise would have done, in reflection of my response; every time someone in my sphere of influence chooses kind because that is what they have received from me … a widening circle of positive influence is created, and that is powerful.

My daily actions and contributions may be- or seem- small-scale, but the ripple effects that’s started from my small actions becomes bigger and wider, affecting more people, more lives, more positively. That’s something worthy to own!

… and the best part about this is … this power is within reach of all of us! Even if we’re temporarily blinded by fatigue, feeling pushed down and trampled on, it’s still there and still in reach: we just need to alter our focus to make it clear again.

Every action and reaction is a choice we make as individuals, and we all have the freedom to choose for good. Even those within restricted settings can still influence their thoughts and consequently behaviours. The ripple effect is never ending … and we can all be part of the positive influence.

Image Reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=ripple+effect&rlz=1C9BKJA_enAU792AU793&hl=de&prmd=imvn&sxsrf=

ACYBGNTqFW0lwPFRzJ_NddV68QF8ADUTqg:1577666557270&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiR–D1kdzmAhWG63MBHS4bDc8Q_AUoAXoECBAQAQ&biw=1024&bih=659#imgrc=01x6rFviUXeiZM

 

Remembering-Remembrance

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How to be remembered in three easy steps. 

Step 1: Live.

Step 2: Do something. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be noteworthy. It doesn’t have to be famous. It simply has to be something.

Step 3: Have someone notice you doing something. Again, that someone doesn’t have to be big, noteworthy or famous. They simply need to acknowledge your action.

 

When do we really die?

When our physical body gives up and transforms into its next, ethereal, form?

Or when the last person who knew us (directly or vicariously) forgets us?

Image Reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=crocheted+poppies&rlz=1C9BKJA_enAU792AU793&oq=crocheted+p&aqs=

chrome.1.69i57j0l3.8977j0j7&hl=de&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=UW9DRiVFw9X1uM:

Reedsy Review #2

Check out my second Reedsy review here: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/blotto-jeff-pohn

Unlike with my first review, I wasn’t inspired to get into the spirit of this book by following the author’s actions of imbibing copious amounts of alcohol… so I have nothing more to add.

Other than I hope you are in the position to stay safe and well in your self-isolation, to look after yourself and your loved ones (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially), and to choose healthy options to get through the long months that Covid-19 will restrict your movements.

My wish for you is that you have the resources to make this possible.

With virtual hugs,

Annabel

Organisation

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I’ve decided I’m not disorganised, I’m differently organised.

What does it matter that I’m showering after breakfast because I got too hungry after sleeping in because my night was filled with fitful sleep, tossing and turning? Followed by half an hour’s yoga-like yoga practice to try to ease my way into the day, an attempt to enter the waking world peacefully (not entirely successful, as evident from my description)? Then a short walk with Miss Sore Paw who jerked along on three legs until her bowel and bladder released, because she’s too anxious from being in a new place, and at the vet’s, to go to the toilet in a relaxed manner?

…. and then I have my breakfast, followed by my shower?

What does it matter the precise order I complete my daily tasks in, as long as they get done? Who says that just because other people do things in a certain way, that it’s the right way, the only way they can be done?

I choose to follow my own rhythms. I still fulfil my commitments.

You be the judge: is this a serious post or am I merely an April Fool?

 

Image reference: https://www.google.com/search?q=to+do+list&rlz=1C9BKJA_enAU792AU793&oq=to+do+&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l3.11545j0j7&hl=de&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=359eh5ddHnsJPM:

Inaugural Reedsy Review

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PART ONE: Check out my first-ever Reedsy review here!

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/echoes-from-the-rock-of-eternal-torment-kykosa-kajangu

HAPPY READING!

 

PART TWO: Author Feedback

On the day the review went live, this email from Reedsy arrived in my inbox:

Hi Annabel,

Thanks so much for your review of Echoes from the Rock of Eternal Torment on Discovery! The author asked me to pass on their personal thanks for your insightful review, and said that they will be taking your insights on how to improve their work to heart.

I hope you’ll continue to find great books on Discovery!
All the best,
Felicia – Editorial Manager at Reedsy

Feeling warmed from the inside out – to the very cockles of my heart – I replied:

Hi Felicia,
Thank you so much for this wonderful email! I appreciate you passing on the author’s personal thanks – it makes me very happy. You could pass back to Kyko-K that, if not for the layout issues, I would have rated it four stars. It definitely is thought-provoking.
I’m currently reading Blotto, the review for which will be forthcoming.
Heart-warmed from your email,
Annabel
Felicia replied that she would indeed pass on my feedback, and she looks forward to reading my review on Blotto. 
Thank you, Kyko-K, for becoming a follower of my blog: another unexpected reward!
You are generous in your actions.
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PART THREE: My Wisdom Poetry: Elderly Females’ Wisdom
my wisdom poetry 1
my wisdom poetry 2
my wisdom poetry 3
Send me your own Wisdom Poetry and I’ll feature it on my blog!