Voices

Voices

You want success, don’t you?

            Study hard! Cram!

                        Go to University.

                                    Pass your exam!

It’s a piece of paper, that counts.

            Cleaning? You’re cleaning? That’s poor!

                        Try harder.

                                    You need a respectable job and more.

Teaching? Never saw you as one of them.

            Get out of your comfort zone.

                        It’s the bottom-line that counts.

                                    Moving interstate? Why can’t you work at home?

Ooh, you need a boyfriend.

            He’s not right, give him the flick.

                        He’s nice, when are you getting hitched?

                                    You’re engaged? That’s a bit quick.

You’re married! Congratulations! What about kids?

            Hmmm, you need to lose weight.

                        Sure you’re not pregnant?

                                    Better travel first, mate.

A house, you need a house. Location, location, location.

            Save your dough.

                        Go on strike, get more.

                                    Deposit, mortgage, life insurance—nest-eggs, you know.

Keep busy and if you’re not, look busy.

            You’re too busy, get rest.

                        What? No friends?

                                    Get a life, get some zest.

You’re not well. See, I told you so.

            Too many toxins.

                        Take these vitamins.

                                    Pills won’t work.

                                                Diet and exercise.

                                                            Paleo

                                                                        Pilates

                                                                                    Low carb

                                                                                                High sugar

                                                                                                            Too thin

                                                                                                                        Too fat

                                                                                                                                    Too much

                                                                                                                        Not enough!

Keep busy, save, work hard…Aargh!

Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017

Feature Photo: Sulphur Crested cockatoo © L.M. Kling 2019

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Join the cause, the adventure, the war, good fighting evil.

Check out my novels, on the virtual shelves of Amazon Kindle—click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends

Or take a look at my earlier novels—

Download your Kindle copy of Mission of the Unwilling now,  for much less than the price of a cup of coffee.  Just click on the link below…

Mission of the Unwilling

Or for the price of a chocolate bar

 The Hitch-hiker

Monday Musing–Be Still

BE STILL

I go to the shops as I do every second day. At the checkout, the girl asks, ‘And how has your day been?’

‘Busy,’ I say.

‘That’s good,’ the girl says with a sage nod as if involved in some conspiracy to keep me on the hamster wheel of busyness.

In the Twenty-first century world “busyness” is good. Not being busy, then, is undesirable. Our Western Protestant work ethic touts, ‘Idleness is the devil’s workshop’. The state of “idleness” is to be avoided at all costs. These days, we equate idleness with boredom.

‘I’m bored,’ say your children (so did mine, when they were children many years ago, back in the good ol’ 1990’s), and terror strikes at the heart of each mother when they hear these words. Bored? We can’t have our children bored—idle—just imagine what devils will come to play if we allow boredom to fester. First, the grizzling, then, the niggling at each other, and before long, World War Three amongst the siblings and the house ends up looking like the Apocalypse.

*[Photo 1: The computer, the answer to all who cry, “I’m bored!” © L.M. Kling 2007]

No, we can’t have boredom.

So, in my quieter times now, I reminisce the days as a young mother, structuring each day, every hour—especially during the holidays, to avoid boredom—any strategy to avoid my tribe from becoming restless.

‘What’s wrong with a bit of boredom,’ my mother would say. ‘They need to learn to entertain themselves, you know, use their imagination. Nothing wrong with being still for a while, I say.’

Mum should know, she grew up in the Centre of Australia on a mission in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. Those were the really good ol’ days with no shopping centres, no electronic games, nor television. They did have radio, but her minister father only allowed the news to be heard from it. Heaven forbid they listen to modern music. During the War, even the radio was confiscated by the allies. So all my mum as a girl had to entertain herself were books. Even so, the Protestant work ethic was a major value in mum’s family as her mother, when she found her daughter reading would say, ‘Isn’t there some housework you should be doing?’

*[Photo 2: In the good ol’ days, being productive. Making kangaroo-skin rugs © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

As expected, then, I grow up in a world that values industry, productivity and filling each day to the full. The schools I attend are hot on producing good grades, projects and students who go on to university and become wealth-producing citizens.

Then, at sixteen, I have a revelation. We sing a chorus at church, “Be Still and know I am God”.

Being still…forget the homework…forget the housework…put aside my racing head of worries…centre my thoughts on God and his greatness. Pause for a moment and remember, God is God and He’s in control.

So at sixteen, I do just as the chorus bids. I hop on my deadly treadly (bike), and pedal down to the beach. I figure that’s the best place to be still; the waves lapping the sand, the sun on my back as I comb the shore for shells. Or on a sunny afternoon, I lie in the backyard and sunbake, think and ponder.

*[Photo 3: Entertainment of Seal, Glenelg South © L.M. Kling 2022]

The result? Wow! Those mountains? School and pedantic teachers going on about uniform—my socks, my hair? Boyfriends or lack of them? Life and my future? …All my concerns become molehills.

December 1979, I write a poem “Be Still”. Perhaps not the greatest work of literature, but the values stick with me…until I embark on university, work, and then a family. The poem hides in a book of my teenage missives. Ten years ago, I pull it out for a devotion. I preach being still, but I fail to apply the principles. I must keep busy. If I stop, even for a few minutes, what will others think? There’s just too much to do. Everyone’s depending on me as wife, mother, bible study leader, committee member …to produce the goods. I can’t let them down.

The culture to keep moving is ingrained. Go to meet people for the first time and they ask, ‘What do you do?’ The doing has to have a dollar sign attached to it. Not enough to do all the above as a mother. Must produce money to have status in the group. Without status, I am not heard. Ironic how the under-valued creative arts of writing and painting, though, afford status. I am creating. I am producing.

*[Painting 1: Life after Lock-down, Port Willunga © L.M. Kling 2020]

Even so, in this creative phase of my life, if I stand still, I feel guilty. Now, there are novels to write and art to produce. My “work”. I’m on the hamster wheel, but I can’t get off.

However, in all the busyness expected of me, the cogs of my life are unravelling. I drive to a cafe to meet a friend. She’s not there. I’d forgotten my mobile phone. I drive the thirty-minute return home and check my phone and then ring her. I’d gone to the wrong place. A misunderstanding. If I had taken the time to listen and ask the right questions…

The voice of my sixteen-year-old self still convicts me. ‘Be Still’.

For over forty years, I’d not been following my own advice. After the misunderstanding of the other day, I give myself permission to have time each day to rest…Time to be still…time to know God.

*[Painting 2: Sleeping Beauty on Huon, Tasmania © L.M. Kling]

So in the voice of my sixteen-year-old self, the poem:

Be Still

Exhausted, yet restless to advance

Ever onward in a trance,

A weary traveller

Refused to look around

So lost the intimate beauties which could be found.

Be still,

And know God the eternal creator.

Furtive, frustrated, fraught we flee,

When confusion bears down on thee,

A weary traveller.

Failure looms, chaos glooms,

In life, this lonely room.

Be still,

And wing your eyes

To soar above the clutter.

Marvel at the vastness of creation

Where God lies.

If what we infinitely fear

Will produce a lonely tear,

Of a weary traveller,

We blind ourselves with sorrows

Clinging to illusions of good morrows.

Be still,

Capture destiny in your heart,

For God said, “Let it be”.

See the beauty of it’s part.

Learn from what it has to offer

Ignore the scoffer.

A weary traveller did relent,

When Jesus was sent.

Be still,

While He,

Our hungry souls will fill.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1979

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

*Feature Photo: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2009

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If you’d like to polish your writing skills or find out more about our new project, a self-publishing collective, click on the link to Indie Scriptorium

Or…

Catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and Minna and her team’s attempt to subdue him.

For good holiday reading click on the links below…

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

Or…

Join the Journey, click on the link below:

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari

OOPS! Weekend Writing Woes

Enough of the Re-Runs

‘We had that one!’ That’s what my brother would say when mum read him the same story when he was young.

“We had that one!” maybe was the cry from readers all over the world, as this is what I have done with the Out of Time project. For four weeks. How did I not notice?

Anyway, I think I know how it happened. I changed the sequence of chapters as one does in the editing process. Then up came that particular chapter and it was repeated. All part of the editing process.

So, in the spirit of the day, here’s a post from the past on feedback, which also is about a vital part of refining our work and making our stories the best they can be.

Feedback

I like to celebrate. As a child, when I received full-marks for a spelling test, Dad rewarded me with a Kitchener Bun from the Fish ‘n Chip shop/Bakery which in the good ol’ days of my childhood was situated opposite Glenelg Primary School. A few years ago, when I used to drive my son his course in Magill, my mum and I treated ourselves to lunch at the local hotel.

Every so often, I check my Amazon account. I wipe off the virtual cobwebs of neglect, and dig deep in the files of my mind, retrieving the password to enter. I expect nothing much to have changed.

I’ve been busy with my blog and the rewards, small, though they are, compared to the rest of blogging world, but the steady trickle of views, likes and comments, satisfies me. Over the years, the number of followers has steadily grown.

Once long ago, now, I made a daring move, and posted my short story, Boris’ Choice—not for the faint-hearted or while one eats breakfast…After the post, I checked for results on Amazon with my War on Boris Series books?

The Choice (painting in acrylic) © L.M. Kling 2016

And…there were. Yes!

Then, I checked the reviews. Now, I don’t know how other writers have fared with reviews, but for many months since my books were published, I had received no reviews. Yes, I asked my readers to do the deed and tick the star-boxes and comment, with no results. Yes, they’d say and the weeks went by and nothing. Were they just being polite? I have no illusions and the reality is that art and literature are subjective—what one person likes another won’t.

Anyway, back to checking the reviews…I looked again at one of the countries one of my books sold. The page appeared different. A yellow bar, and a comment. Genuine feedback. Not a great appraisal, but an appraisal all the same. I knew the person responsible for this first-ever comment for my book, but was not surprised at their response. I did wonder at the time how my novella would work for them—not well—just as I imagined when they informed me they’d bought the book on kindle. As I said before, Boris and his antics are well…not for everyone.

That being said, and for fear my works may be misunderstood, I would describe the over-riding theme of my stories are the classic fight of good against evil. How evil, like Boris, can creep into our lives. And when for whatever reason, usually when we maintain and enhance our self, and to avoid discomfort, we allow evil to stay. This evil, however subtle, will drive us to isolated places in our lives, much like Boris does in The Hitch-hiker; places we never wanted to go. I want young adults and people young at heart, to make choices and use their energy for goodness and to fight evil, so they can live a full life and also be an agent for good in their community and the world.

Especially at this time.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Tyranny of Golf © L.M. Kling circa 1982

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Read more, and lose yourself in this tale where the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first…

Just click on the link:

The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

School Daze–Teacher Training (2)

[After our summer break, school’s back today in Australia. Well, let’s qualify that statement. In South Australia, some students are back in the classroom, while the rest are learning online. So, a break from my travel missives and a journey back in time to my teaching days…]

The Trials and Tribulations of a Student Teacher

Part 2

[Note: Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.]

The Fallout

After the proverbial reading of the riot act the following lesson, my teaching limped along in an unsteady truce; actually, less resembling teaching, and more akin to animal tamer in a circus. And with each passing lesson, Luke took on the characteristics of the ringmaster. I should’ve seen then, that my high school teaching days were numbered and made a quick and painless exit, at that time…

The final week of my Practical Teaching, culminated in Luke’s mastery of revealing my failure as a teacher. On that Wednesday, my supervising teacher, poked her head in the classroom and said, ‘Alright, Miss T, you’re on your own.’

I glanced at the thirty faces looking to me for control and instruction.  I gulped. ‘Okay.’

‘Any trouble, send the trouble-makers to me,’ Mrs S said before abandoning me to my fate.

As soon as her footsteps faded down the corridor, Luke, with a glint in his eye, pushed over a desk. ‘Oops!’

Danny kicked Ben into his desk. The wood splintered with a sickening crack.

Ben leapt up. ‘Why you…!’ He raised his fists. Danny launched at Ben and thumped him. Ben grabbed Danny. The boys fell to the floor, wrestling, turning tables, kicking up chairs, grunting and struggling.

Tiny Bill whined, ‘My pen! My pen! Someone’s stolen my pen!’

All the while, Luke lounged in the far left-hand corner of the room, laughing.

I stomped and cut the air with my hand. ‘Right! Luke! Danny! Ben! Bill!’ I swished my cutting-hand to the door. ‘Off to Mrs S!’

Out the four trooped to an unimpressed Mrs S who issued them with uninspiring, but necessary in Luke’s case, grammar sheets to complete.

I salvaged what was left of the class. With pens set firmly in their hands, I set them to work writing a story based on a poster I had brought in. Maria, obviously not satisfied with pasting her face with foundation, though, “accidently” spilt liquid paper all over her desk, chair and herself.

Meanwhile, Mrs S, showed her dissatisfaction of having to supervise these four stooges on what she hoped was her “free lesson”, by marking my assessment sheet for classroom management as “unsatisfactory”.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018; Updated 2022

Feature Photo: Window of Wisdom © L.M. Kling 1985

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Still in travel-mode?

Check out my travel memoir:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Available on Amazon…