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Confession of a Spec Fic Writer: Sometimes We’re Not Clever, We’re Just Plain A-Holes.

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In October of 2012 I started this blog as a budding Spec Fic writer. I wrote Doctor Who Horoscopes, I shared Fantasy excerpts and short stories that I had written. However, in March 2014 I went into a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression. My blog focus shifted but strangely enough I still often identify myself as a Spec Fic writer. For the next couple of years I have Spec Fic slated to come out. A Historical Fantasy this year and a Paranormal Crime next year. As such I am having more Spec Fic focused conversations with fellow writers. We all think we’re pretty clever. We all like playing with reality. We all enjoy coming up with clever tricks…. But sometimes we fail. Sometimes we unintentionally write things that are harmful and bigoted. 

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of a concept that an ex came up with when we were in our early 20s, about 15 years ago. It was a vampire film (yeah, I used to do short film, I’ve even got an award, I’m quite the Jack) and he was so excited about it because it combined his two great loves, medical science and vampires. He had a medical science degree. He had honours. He was doing his PhD. In short, he knew his stuff. And as he told me his plans I said, “Wow, that’s really fucking interesting.” 

His premise was that vampires were a result of a blood mutation and that people with hemophilia were actually descendants from the original vampires. He had way more science behind it than that but that’s about the extent that this aging, arts-degree brain can remember. We hi5ed to good thinking and how solid the science was. We listened to Placebo’s Haemoglobin. We were sooooo cool. But then some thoughts started cropping up…

…. Hang on, are we saying that very real people who exist today are not entirely human? Are we saying that a group of real people are part parasite ready to suck the blood of others? Have we made out that they’re different and savage because of a medical condition? Have we seriously othered them? Oh shit, we had. But aren’t vampires cool? Doesn’t everyone want to be one? No. People who have been systematically excluded already probably don’t want to be further dehumanised. 

You know what we ended up doing? We set the idea aside. We decided not to run with it because there were too many issues. Sure the science was interesting, the play of ideas was interesting, but actually putting that dehumanisation of a group of people out into the world was not interesting. It wouldn’t be fun or cool. It would be actively othering and already misunderstood group. 

What did we do? We came up with other ideas that didn’t dehumanise a group of marginalised people. Just because and idea seems interesting on the surface doesn’t mean it’s actually a good concept to film or write about. We’re creative people. We can think of more things. We can do better. We can come up with equally exciting concepts with out dehumanising marginalised people. I believe in us. We’re thinkers. 

This was 16 years ago and I’m still having similar conversations. Let’s do better. I know we can do it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll all fuck up at times, I definitely do, but at least put it on our radar.

The Great Con: women actually do ask for help.

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I keep reading newspaper reports about how women keep depression and anxiety a secret and don’t seek help. I then speak to women who mouth the same thing that they didn’t ask for professional help BUT then they outline all the ways they did in fact ask for help, all the while saying they didn’t. The same goes for physical conditions. Women tell me how they told partners and doctors how they were tired, how they were gaining weight, how they didn’t have energy, how their memory was faltering and yet still finish off with saying they never spoke to anybody about their depression.

Now why would women detail to me a whole bunch of symptoms that are linked to depression that they have told their doctors about and then say that they didn’t tell anyone about it? Clearly they have told their doctor symptoms by their own admission so why do they then claim they didn’t speak about it? Because the great con is that women have been conditioned to think if they don’t get medical help it is because they didn’t ask properly. They’ve been convinced that they haven’t asked for help because they didn’t provide the doctor with a diagnosis and ask for help with that specific thing. Women are expected to do the the doctor’s job of diagnosis in order to get help. This is an ongoing issue in the medical profession as outlined in the study, The Girl Who Cried PainA Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain, women are routinely dismissed. They’re asking just fine, they shouldn’t have to diagnose themselves, that’s actually the doctor’s job, but there is an inherent bias against them.


It’s time to stop meekly standing by as we lose more and more women to suicide and watch more and more women lose mobility because of lack of treatment and continue to say, “Oh, it’s our fault, we mustn’t have asked correctly.” Men are given treatment and further testing when they give their symptoms, women are sent away. Women are forced to come back time and time again trying to get help. It’s the real reason why women see doctors more often than men do. They have to because they are forced to go back because they keep getting dismissed and the problem continues.


Women, you shouldn’t have to do the doctor’s job in order to get help. You shouldn’t have to be medically trained and able to diagnose pancreatitis, or stroke, or anxiety, or pelvic dislocation, that’s the doctor’s job. If you’ve mentioned your symptoms you have in fact asked for help. Let’s not be part of this system that undermines women. Let’s back ourselves and say we are worthy of treatment and we are perfectly capable of communicating symptoms. We actually do deserve treatment and this bias needs to stop. We’re not the problem, the unconscionable bias against us is.


Here are some further articles I think many of you will relate to. Happy reading.


She Thought She’d Pulled a Hip Muscle, But Six Doctors Couldn’t Diagnose Her Pain.

Diagnosis: Sexism 

When Gender Stereotypes Become a Serious Hazzard to Women’s Health

Endometriosis  and the Dangers of Period Pain Dismissal

I Screamed and Screamed and Screamed but Nobody Would Listen to Me.




Buy my shit here


Rage against the machine… everywhere and anywhere?



P.S. If I had a penny for every female who told me that they were told by medical professionals that women just got tired, grumpy, fat,  weak, and lose memory at x age, x ranging from 16-60, but persisted and after countless dismissals finally got a diagnosis and got treatment, I’d have a lot of pennies…. Sadly, I’d have way more pennies than I earn from writing. You don’t have to accept that women just fall apart. We don’t. No more so than men.

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 

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We need to talk literary news. NSW Premier’s Literary Awards news. And by talk, I mean let me tell you the winners 

Royall Tyler won the Translation Prize

Jan Owen won the Early Career Translation Prize

Maxine Beneba Clarke won the Multicultural Award for The Hate Race. (Maxine wrote an acceptance speech which her editor, Robert Watkins, read on her behalf. He cried, the audience cried. A beautiful message of doing better and being kinder.)

Leah Purcell won the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting AND the Book of the Year

Both Shelley Birse and Abe Forsyth won thr Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting 

Leanne Hall won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature

James Roy and Noel Zihabamwe won the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature 

Peter Boyle won the Kenneth Slessir Prize for Poetry

Thornton McCamish won the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction

Michelle Cahill won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing

Heather Rose won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction…. she was set upon by a band of rampaging feminist fans, picture below

My friends Lisa Fleetwood, Helen Petrovic and I throwing ourselves at Heather Rose. She was AMMMAAAAZZZZIIIINNNGG.

Read a more detailed summary, by Helen Petrovic, here.

Why Don’t You Just Block Them?

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I blocked this person, claiming to be a writer but has a dating site as their website, pretty quickly. They continued on tweeting about me for another 15 screen caps. And what was it in response to? I called Donald Trump and Mark Latham a cunt. I didn’t @ this person, I don’t follow them and never have. I simply tweeted this- (Note: all screen caps are of PUBLIC posts)

It chose to interact to tell me that women shouldn’t swear and then to call me a bad mother because of it. It then chose to @ me pretending they were responding to things I had said long after I had blocked them. So this is possibly why people don’t just block, because some fake accounts will continue to harass you and slander you long after you block them. How about instead of telling people to just block, we tell harassers to stop being arseholes? They chose to attack me, my parenting, my relationship, and my writing skills all because they said they didn’t like swearing. 

Mum was a potty mouth? Mum is a potty mouth but she rarely swears in front of us.

Yeah, I want attention, that’s why I’m harassing random people on the internet and refusing to leave them alone. Oh wait, that’s not me.


Ohhhh but wait, they also swear. They’re attacking me for swearing yet it’s okay for them to swear. Clearly their issue with swearing is contrived nonsense and just an excuse to troll.

They are well and truly blocked at the point yet still keep going. 

Spoiler alert it says Jesus and Hell a lot. That’s considered blasphemy and cursing.

Don’t swear ladeez, it’s only for men. Men won’t think you’re attractive if you swear and we all know that’s the most important thing ever.

What is this “No girl” shit? I never told her to get over it. She wants to not swear she can not swear, don’t shove it down my throat. She’s the one forcing her way on others, I didn’t start @ing her demanding that she swears.

Bring hella fury??? I haven’t responded to her in ages. Show? I’m not on TV or YouTube. What the heck???

So now it is telling Adam Hill how many hashtags he can have? Why is it still @ing me? WTF is “you like?” In regards to? Is it imagining a conversation between us? Is it responding to imaginary tweets? What mistress, what old club? WTF?

It’s doing it again. Responding as if I said something. It’s responding as if I said, “Don’t tweet that shit at me, I’m a wife and mother.” Literally never happened. People deserve respect because they are people, until they lose it by having tirades about my fitness to parent, and tone policing me. Respect has nothing to do with how many babies came out of you, it’s about being a decent person. So it is way off base with their imaginary conversation.

And I’m spent. So this is why it’s not as simple as blocking. Because they can keep at you after you blocked them. They can keep pretending to be conversing with you after you blocked them. They can continue drawing attention to you long after you blocked them…. seriously, still block and run though. You don’t need that popping up in your notifications. Just saying it isn’t so simple.
Oh, and for the record, Mark Latham and Donald Trump have a history of abusing and marginalising women, so I absolutely stand by my first tweet. Fuck ’em.

You Can’t Insist An Entire Cultures Gets Stockholm Syndrome 

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Let’s try an empathy task today. Can you imagine if someone broke into your house, held you prisoner, made you work for them, raped some of your family members and stayed in your home enslaving you until they had their own family, which you were also a slave to, and got too big so moved out but moved next door? In fact, they and their family moved into every house on the street. They stopped beating you but they still treated you like you were less than them and complained that you didn’t come to street parties. And then on top of all that, they got one of your own artwork, had it printed on a t-shirt and started selling them. You got none of the money and gave no permission. Can you imagine that you’d feel grateful or like those people had taken violation to a whole new level? They’d beaten and subjugated you for years and now they were profiting off of it, do you think it would be reasonable for people to insist that you should just get over it because they weren’t literally in your kitchen anymore? Would you tell them to be grateful? I wouldn’t. They could feel angry and violated or they could feel apathetic or they could feel like they could capitalise. How they would feel would be up to them and I certainly wouldn’t be denying them their right to justifiable rage. As someone from outside of their home I wouldn’t get to choose how they felt.


You Do Mothers’ Day Your Way

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A note on Mothers’ Day:

Should you wish to spend it taking a break and relaxing, you should feel entitled to want that. Don’t let others make you feel bad for that.
Should you wish to spend it surrounded by your young children enjoying all their little quirks, you should feel entitled to want that. Don’t let others make you feel bad for that. 
Should you wish to be spoiled rotten for all the hard work you’ve done, you should feel entitled to want that.  Don’t let others make you feel bad for that. 
Should you wish for a hug and a kiss, you should feel entitled to want that. Don’t let others make you feel bad for that.
Should you wish to grieve either the loss of a loved one or the childhood an abusive mother stole from you, then you should feel entitled to do that. Don’t let others make you feel bad for that.

Should you wish to put your children at risk with negligence or abuse, don’t do that.

Should you wish to destroy another mother’s Mothers’ Day by making them serve and bow down to you when you’ve had decades of getting to be the mother when their journey into motherhood is just beginning, don’t do that. 

If your MIL or other always destroyed your Mothers’ Day by making you stressed and jump through hoops, don’t continue the cycle. Stop the tension and abuse now.

Should you wish to smugly state what you want and how it’s actually better than what others want and that you can’t possibly understand why they want what they do…. SHUT UP. Just don’t. How other people live their life is none of your fucking business. Unless it is literally child abuse keep your smug shit to yourself. Make a police report if it’s an issue not a FB post.
Love and kisses
Robin Elizabeth

All Your Mother Wants is Books and Pyjamas 

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Do you know what your mother really wants for Mothers’ Day, Birthdays, etc? Books and pyjamas. Possibly also tea. But definitely books and pyjamas. Let me help you out in your mighty task of buying your mother that perfect gift. Here are my perfect pairings to delight that special mother in your life.

For the Dog Lover

My first gift recommendation is Monty and Me by Louisa Bennet. A cosy pet detective about a funky dog who knows how to solve a crime or two. 

Pair this book with some super cute pyjamas like this onsie.

Dachshund lovers are there own seperate breed of people so you need to get them an extra special gift. Try Destination Dachshund by Lisa Fleetwood. It’s a really sweet travel memoir about love, grief, and there’s a dachshund spotting competition involved.

Combine Destination Dachshund with something like these adorable pyjamas that will warm the heart of any dachshund lover.

For the Mother that Loves Thrills, Chills, and Spills

You can’t go past L.A. Larkin’s chiller, Devour. It’s Antarctic noir. It has action, suspense, and some sexy sex. Step aside Robert Ludlum, L.A. Larkin is here.

Pair it with something like these fabulous matching onsies. One for you, one for your mother. Heaven.

Does your mother like more action than you can poke a stick at? Grab her Crimson Lake by Candice Fox. Even ultra famous reviewer Jason Steger reads Candice Fox.

Pair it with fabulous red satin pyjamas like these.

For the Mother Who Loves Love

Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester is the perfect option. It even has mother in the title. Just go out and get it already.

Pair it with flower pyjamas instead of actual flowers.

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth is an evocative weaving of WWII, fairy tale, and love. Lush settings and intense conflict.

Pair it with rose print pyjamas, like these ones, to tie it all together.


For the most Fantastical of Mothers

This years hottest new Fantasy release is Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer. Gods walking amongst people, magic, warriors, and people living in trees. What’s not to like?

Pair it with some forest or bird pyjamas.

Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck is a speculative fiction take on family history. It is set in the 1800s and is gripping from start to finish. Expect Aliens, ghostly apparitions, and some light cannibalism.

Pair it with some good old fashioned long johns. Check out how much this model loves hers.

For the Mother Who Wants to be Kept in Suspense

Does your mother enjoy rotting mutton and murder? See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt is for her. It delivers the story of Lizzie Borden with a heady feast of flavours.

Match it with a super cute lamb onesie, obvi.

Please Don’t Leave Me Here by Tania Chandler brings you grunge music, amnesia and the seedy underbelly of life. Relive the 90s and see if you can find out who Brigitte really is.

Pair it with something super sexy.

For the Mother Who Likes to Laugh

Our Tiny, Useless Hearts starts with the smashing of plates, progresses to cutting the crotch out of trousers, and even incorporates a nod to the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, but gone horribly wrong.

Pair it with some adorbs, heart-print pyjamas.

The Lucky One is Caroline Overington’s eleventh book and is full of hijinks and corpses. There’s a grumpy old man who doesn’t mind getting a bit of air to his nethers, a drunk art, a mother who wants to talk candidly about her sex life, a teenage waif and a sexy cowboy. Plenty of laughs but also lots of suspense.

Pair it with something fit for an heiress.

For the Mother Who Says No to Fiction

We’re All Going to Die by Leah Kaminsky. This is actually a joyful book about dying. I can definitely see the funny side of handing something with this title to your mother, but the content is great too.

Pair it with some killer pyjamas.

The Mad Woman in the Attic, get in that attic, Mother, where you belong. It’s a collection of essays on the portrayal of women in literature. It first came out in 1979. I love this book.

Pair it with some crazy good pyjamas.

For the New Mother

Things that Helped by Jessica Friedmann is a collection of poetic essays that express the yearning of her soul after the birth of her baby.

Pair it with something like these classic silk pyjamas for true indulgence.

Why not grab my fab book for the slightly frazzled mother in your life? Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks explores my struggles through depression after the birth of my twins. Having three under three was chaotic and exhausting. It’s conversational, practical, and quite funny.

Pair it with these cow pjs to complete that mad cow vibe.

Now run off and spoil that special mother in your life. Just quietly, gin is also good.