The Song of Good Hope


Glen Hansard – folk singer extraordinaire

We’ve been singing an amazing song in choir that has felt so relevant to me as I struggle with another dreadful bout of self-doubt on my writing journey. The Song of Good Hope by Glen Hansard speaks on so many levels. Hansard wrote it for a dear friend who was battling cancer but I think the song can apply more broadly to battling our inner demons. Here are some of my favourite lines:

Take your time babe, it’s not as bad as it seems, you’ll be fine babe,

It’s just some rivers and streams in between, you and where you wanna be.

And watch the signs now, you’ll know what they mean, you’ll be fine now

Just stay close to me and may good hope walk with you through everything.

One dear lady, who I don’t know very well, cried buckets of silent tears as we sung this song the other night. It was all I could do not to run across the circle and embrace her. Sadly, I don’t know her well enough to enquire but I think the comfort of the ‘coming to the well’ which is the group of women who meet once a week to sing may have helped.

And then, another night one of our choir friends shared that this song had spoken to her during her own cancer battle. She had sung it every day and it had brought her strength and solace. Wow, that’s some powerful writing! And so brave of her to share.

If you’re interested in learning more about Glen Hansard there’s a good article here.

And thanks as always to the beautiful Belinda McArdle for truly living up to her philosophy ‘finding the heart in the music and the music in each heart’


The Secret Seven Picture Book essentials

katrina-portrait-1-regularfilesize4Last month, I was lucky enough to attend a picture book master-class with author Katrina Germein at the CYA conference. Katrina is one of those beautiful people who makes an instant connection and makes you secretly hope she’ll be your new best friend 😉

Seriously, she was so generous with her tips and so humble about her success that I came away feeling inspired and refreshed on my PB journey.

And because, as I’m revising my own PBs in progress, I keep trying to remember her pearls of wisdom, I thought I’d record them here.

Katrina’s top seven tips for picture books are:

  1. A swift orientation – the who, where and why. Drop the reader straight into the story. Set the scene and create intrigue. We looked at some great examples, including:

He was red                                                                               red

But he wasn’t very good at it.

Red by Michael Hall.





My uncle’s donkeyDonkey

is allowed in the house!

My Uncle’s Donkey by Tohby Riddle





The girl had lost her way.Lost

The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina




2. Use evocative language which is concise and poetic

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5 things I didn’t know about booze

Dear Rose,

Last week I had a leave-pass to sneak out at night and do a RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) course. I trotted down to the local neighbourhood house in a bid to increase my chances of a part-time job to support my writing. Saucy Bar-maid here I come!saucy

I thought we would learn about not serving drunks mostly (and we did) but there were a few things I didn’t know – which surprised me!  In no particular order they were:

  1. Minors (ie. you!) are allowed to have a glass of alcohol if out to dinner with your parents. Like, wow! This surprised me – but I guess if it’s okay for the French, well…
  2. I learnt what a Jager Bomb is. No, it’s not something out of Star Wars. It’s basically where a shot glass of spirits is dropped into a pot of beer and skulled – yeuch! We then heard a very salutary story about some army personnel who drank countless Jager Bombs at a local bar, staggered out and drove to their deaths!
  3. A standard drink is 100 mls of alcohol. Many establishments serve more than this when pouring a glass of wine – it might be 150ml or 200mls -and there you are thinking you’ve had one glass of wine when you’ve really had two or worse two, when you’ve really had four!wine.jpg
  4. It is illegal to sell to a secondary supplier of alcohol. The very nice, very straight guy who sat next to me, confessed that he had once bought sweet alco drinks for and with his teenage daughter who accompanied him to the bottle shop in her school uniform. This is a huge no-no and can lead to a bottle shop being fined more than $18,000.
  5. Licensed premises are now required by law to serve free water. Ah, when I was a lass going out clubbing in the 80s, I remember being slugged $3 for a bottle of water. You couldn’t fill your glass in the toilets because they only had hot water! The alternative? You kept drinking alcohol!

Luckily, you still shrink away from the smell of alcohol but I guess the day will come where you’ll wanna give it a try. Like all things – it’s good in moderation 🙂

Love you,


Mum xo