Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Birthday week is over - and I enjoyed every minute of it; we (sisters, niece and nephew) should get together more often. (Maybe not the over-indulgence of alcohol, but I can now say I have tasted Moet and found it... hmmm.)

So I returned to the keyboard and work. Curious that over the past couple of months I've felt like I've been in a fugue state when it came to writing and editing. I don't know why, exactly - maybe it has something to do with the parent's illness and other concerns.

Today, at work, I was busily writing and researching a historical piece for museum. The time whizzed by, but I finally managed to finish - and wanted to start the next project. I have an ever-increasing list, of which most include tales of daring-do.

History is my refuge. Always has been, but until recently, I didn't realise how much. I've never found it stuffy or boring - that's in the way the author writes, or the teacher teaches. It's not just about dates - or it shouldn't be - but it's about the people and their affect on society, real and perceived.

Here I sit, in a small coastal town in Australia, yet where I live is directly connected to two of Britain's greatest naval heroes, Sir John Jervis and a young Captain under his command - none other than Horatio Nelson. Another connection is the Lady Denman ferry. It was built here, just up the road, and named after the wife of a Governor General, but more, Lady Gertrude Denman was instrumental in developing bush nursing in Australia, the Women's Institutes in England and the Land Armies of World Wars One and Two.

Of the three, Nelson is the most famous, but his career was guided and shaped by Jervis. Lady Denman is near forgotten, but she was instrumental in advancing women's rights on a global scale.

Much has been written about Nelson, but precious little on Jervis and Denman. In their time, they were dynamic, influential and hardworking. Jervis, for example, was recalled to command the Channel Fleet at age 70. He saw it as his duty, poor health or not.

I'm hoping to redress their vagueness in current history - at least in a small way - and use their virtues in my own writing; I think I already do, given my life-long love of history.

The past holds a wealth of inspiration from those famous and not-so-famous. To step back in time, is to step into the future, for heroes and villains abound. Every one a gem to a writer.

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