GUEST BLOG: Five Things I Learnt From Editing Mothermorphosis (by Monica Dux)

The importance of valuing the hard work of writers.

The effort that goes into good short form writing is frequently undervalued. People often imagine that all it takes is for someone to come up with an idea, sit down and type out an essay, run a spell check, then deliver their work.

Of course writing a strong essay is so much more than this; for most of us it’s a long and arduous process, from conception to execution, involving an enormous amount of thought, re-writing, re-thinking, editing and polishing. The net result of all this labour is to submerge the effort that was required, making the finished piece read as if it really was easy and effortless.

All the writers who contributed to this collection were professional, and the quality of work reveals how much time and thought they put into their pieces. This is a collection that relied on the good will of its contributors, so I was profoundly grateful for their efforts.

That every mother really does have an important story to tell.

Susan Carland, one of the contributors in Mothermorphosis, wrote in her essay “My unique tale is just the same as yours”.

In the past I’ve thought a lot about this tension, but it became more pronounced for me when reading the contributions. Every mother has her own unique story to tell, but there are also so many things that bind us all, so much that is universal. It’s a fascinating contradiction.

As an editor, it’s amazing how good a prompt, polite decline can make you feel.

There were a few women I invited to contribute to this book who weren’t able to write something for the collection but who declined the offer quickly and graciously. Getting such rejections felt almost as valuable as having a writer come back saying they’d be happy to contribute.

I’m often invited to participate in projects that I don’t have the time or resources for. Editing Mothermorphosis was a timely reminder about the importance of being polite and positive about such offers, even if you are unable to be involved.

Editing is fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting the collection together. Instead of having to angst over my own work, I was able to luxuriate in the excellent work of other writers.

It was a real privilege facilitating this book, especially knowing that we are hoping to raise awareness for PANDA, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association. I feel that not only will the collection be enjoyed by many people, but it also has the potential to contribute to an organisation for which I have immense admiration.

That it’s hard to write an introduction for a collection that you’ve edited.

It took me a long time to get my introduction right. When you’re a contributor you can follow your own path, writing in relative isolation. By comparison, introducing a collection requires you to strike a peculiar sort of balance. To be interesting and engaging, without dominating. To showcase the individual essays in the collection, without simply name checking the various contributors. To write something that contextualises the work and draws out the underlying themes, without resorting to empty generalisations. In the end I hope I managed to pull it off, although I’ll leave it to the readers to decide!

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

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mduxmug-edit-smaller1Monica Dux is a columnist with The Age, a social commentator and author of Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting), and co-author of The Great Feminist Denial.

She can be heard regularly on ABC radio and 3RRR, and has published widely, especially on women’s issues.

You can find Monica on twitter at @monicadux

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mothermorphosisMothermorphosis

Australia’s Best Storytellers Write About Becoming a Mother

In Mothermorphosis , some of Australia’s most talented writers and storytellers share their own experiences of motherhood. In telling their stories they articulate the complex internal conflicts, the exhilaration and the absurdity of the transformation that takes place when we become mothers. We read about the yearning for a child, the private and public expressions of maternal love, the questioning, uncertainty and unexpected delight, as well as unfathomable loss.

Mothermorphosis reveals that there is no ‘right’ version of this epic experience and no single tale that could ever speak for all mothers. Yet it is in reading about other women’s experiences and dash;the hard bits, the joyous bits and even the ridiculous bitsandmdash;that we can become more compassionate, not just to other mothers but hopefully to ourselves.

Mothermorphosis includes writing from: Kate Holden, Kathy Lette, Lorelei Vashti, Rebecca Huntley, George McEnroe, Fatima Measham, Jo Case, Hilary Harper, Cordelia Fine, Jane Caro, Hannah Robert, Susan Carland, Kerri Sackville, Catherine Deveny, Lee Kofman and Dee Madigan.

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Naomi Simson on her inspirational journey to success and her new book Live What You Love

Naomi Simson built one of Australia’s biggest online success stories, RedBalloon, from just an idea. She is also known for her inspirational blogs on happiness at work and home that reach more than three-quarters of a million followers on LinkedIn and her role on Channel 10’s Shark Tank.

She chats to John Purcell about her new book Live What You Love.

Grab your copy of Naomi Simson’s Live What You Love here

live-what-you-love-signed-copies-available-Live What You Love

by Naomi Simson

In Live What You Love ground-breaking Australian entrepreneur Naomi Simson will show you how to love what you do every day and live life to the full.

Renowned for her high-octane energy and commitment to the pursuit of excellence, Naomi built one of Australia’s major tech success stories, RedBalloon, from just an idea but she is also known for her inspirational blogs on happiness at work and home that reach more than three-quarters of a million followers on LinkedIn and her role on Channel 10’s Shark Tank.

In this book, leading by example, Naomi shares her life lessons and shows you how to:

  • channel your passion
  • learn persistence
  • find your purpose; and
  • stay positive.

Soon your work experience will become richer, your career path more clearly formed and your life more fully realised.

Live What You Love will help you diagnose your own approach to life through its use of quizzes and Q&As, offer case histories that give you real-life examples of where mistakes were made or problems solved, and reveal inspiring examples of success in both life and business.

Naomi’s dynamic approach, informed by her experiences running her own business and her corporate career, will show you how to add meaning into your life and in doing so, discover that when you love what you do, success in life is never far away.

Grab your copy of Naomi Simson’s Live What You Love here

Nelson Mandela Passes Away, Aged 95

Nelson Mandela on Day After ReleaseFormer South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela has died peacefully at his Johannesburg home after a prolonged lung infection.

His contribution to the world was immense, becoming the first black South African President and a key figure in ending the brutal apartheid regime that had ruled the country since 1948.

After becoming a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for anti-government activities and, with the ANC leadership, was charged with treason several times between 1956 and 1961 although never convicted. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife. Becoming ANC President, Mandela published his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory.

He was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to diffuse ethnic tensions. As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. His administration also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services. He declined to run for a second term, preferring to focus on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

He received international acclaim for his anti-colonial and anti-apartheid stance, having received over 250 awards, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For the full list of books about or by Nelson Mandela click here

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

Steve Jobs had told Google that if it included multitouch on its phones, he would sue, and true to his word he sued the Nexus One maker, HTC, a month later in Delaware Federal District Court. More noticeably, he began seeking out public opportunities to attack Google and Android.

A month after the Nexus One was released – and days after Jobs announced the first iPad – he tore into Google at an Apple employee meeting.

“Apple did not enter the search business. So why did Google enter the phone business? Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them. Their ‘Don’t Be Evil’ mantra? It’s bullshit.”

In Dogfight, Wired’s Fred Vogelstein tells the unseemly history of your treasured/ hated smartphones and tablets. It’s a whistle-stop tour of the astonishing technological revolution that makes the pre-iPhone world of 2007 seem so very long ago, and also an insight into the future of media: who will control content and where it will come from.

Featuring testimonies from the inner circles of two of the world’s most influential companies, it is a fascinating, damning document for anyone enthralled by The Social Network or Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs.

There’s business bravado, corporate hair-pulling and screaming matches between engineers frazzled from all-night coding sessions. One Apple employee slammed the door to her office so hard that the handle bent, locking her in – it took colleagues an hour and some aluminium bats to free her.

Have a read and you’ll never look at your phone the same way again.

Click here to buy Dogfight from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Stephen Fry Calls On Great Britain To Boycott 2014 Winter Games In Russia

Last night Stephen Fry posted an open letter on his blog to David Cameron, Sebastian Coe and members of the IOC, asking them to boycott the next Winter Olympics, due to be held in Russia in 2014.

Fry’s comparison of Vladimir Putin’s current stance on the LGBT community to Hitler’s treatment of Jews during the 1936 Berlin Olympics is terrifying. As he states, “…the notorious Berlin Olympiad…provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad”.

Putin’s stance on Gay Rights is utterly disgraceful, and Stephen Fry has once again used his intellect and influence for betterment of society, hopefully to some effect. Let’s hope the UK government listen, and let’s hope the Australian Government do so as well. Continue reading

Author Mel Campbell Makes An Appearance On The Today Show

Melbourne-based writer Mel Campbell appeared on The Today Show this morning, having a chinwag with co-host Lisa Wilkinson about her great new book Out of Shape: Debunking Myths About Fashion and Fit.  

Challenging our perceptions of fashion and debunking myths about size and fit, Out of Shape reveals how, when it comes to clothes, the past and present are cut from the same cloth.

Mel Campbell examines the tensions that have always existed in clothing between our cultural ideals and our own bodies.

Continue reading

Lentil as Anything : Everybody Deserves a Place at the Table by Shanaka Fernando

“When money loses its value,
the goodwill and kindness we extend
to each other will emerge as the ultimate
and most sustainable currency of exchange.”

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Lentil as Anything : Everybody Deserves a Place at the Table

by Shanaka Fernando

Shanaka Fernando is often hailed as a modern-day revolutionary. As the founder of the Lentil As Anything community restaurants in Melbourne that feed thousands every week, he advocates a unique business and life perspective.

Entrancingly honest and refreshingly candid, Shanaka’s memoir hints at the roots of his early social awakening with tales of a 1970s childhood in Sri Lanka. From his upbringing within an eccentric extended family living in a residential compound populated with a throng of memorable characters, we accompany Shanaka on his travels from Australia to Asia to South America and back as he explores new ways of living his life.

Shanaka’s example of what can be achieved based on an inclusive ‘people-first’ philosophy will inspire, challenge and provoke insights and questions that are undeniably worthy of attention.

“Fernando is one of those rare pioneers who are prepared to live by their convictions, flaunt social convention and challenge the status quo. The story of his lifelong quest for meaning – and the ‘experiment in generosity’ that became Lentil as Anything – is inspiring and challenging in equal measure. Few autobiographies are likely to evoke the senses and soul quite as much as Fernando’s tale of global travel, self-exploration and cultural innovation”

– Dr Wayne Visser, Director of Kaleidoscope Futures and author of “The Quest for Sustainable Business” and “The Age of Responsibility”

About the Author

Shanaka Fernando is a revolutionary. For many years he has been well known in Melbourne, Australia, as the pioneer of the Lentil as Anything pay-as-you-feel vegetarian restaurants, and in recent times he is becoming influential as a public speaker and motivator.

He leads a simple, modest life as he continues to inspire and challenge perhaps millions as he advocates an inclusive, ethical approach to business and life, and a belief in the innate goodness and generosity of his fellow man.

The socially responsible Lentil as Anything restaurants feed thousands every week, and set an example for other restaurants and businesses to follow – an example which illustrates what an inclusive, ethical approach to business, and life, can achieve. In the Lentil as Anything restaurants it is people that qualify life, not property. ‘You get fed and treated with dignity even if you don’t have any money, and the colour of your skin and your education and your beliefs only put you on a par with everyone else.’

Shanaka is a modern day folk hero, offering an alternative, a new way of living that is not based on consumerism, profit or greed.

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