I am not one to believe in woo-woo, but this year, some strange things have happened. I’ve put things out to the universe, and the universe has granted them.
Ok, so maybe it’s just me being committed to achieving a goal after I’ve told someone about that goal. Ok, it’s hard work!
It happened when I quit my full time job and made a list of ways to make money. “You should pitch your speeches to big businesses”, Adam suggested. I wrote that down. The very next day, a big business emailed me, asking me to put in a tender. I didn’t know how to write a tender, but I researched how, did the tender and won it.
It also happened with my book – I started planning chapters over the Christmas break and then the first week of the new year, a publisher contacted me. Another one met with me a few weeks later. And then I got an agent, and now I have a book deal.
And the day I decided on my publisher, I said to my agent that one of my goals is to do Women of Letters – the literary salon where women (and men) read a letter to a subject. A couple of weeks later, I received an email from and of the Women of Letters organisers, asking me to be in the June one. HELL YEAH, I replied, about two seconds after the email.
Prior to the show, we gathered in the green room, sipping champagne and eating cheese. Angie Hart – Frente’s Angie Hart – put us at ease. Everyone was lovely – a little nervous but still encouraging each other. I remember squeezing Becky’s hand, saying she will be fine on stage. Jane Hall snapped a pic.
The theme was a letter to our best mistake. Everyone’s letters were moving, funny and vulnerable. Such beautiful words. Courageous words.
I wrote mine angrily the morning of, after filing my previous letter away. That was about having too high expectations of Adam when we met.
This one was a response to some hideous trolling I went through in June, as well as losing friends after speaking out. I wore my power suit (a jumpsuit) and rocked it. I talked about how I would not stop speaking out, despite, and the expectations of disabled people to just take it with a smile.
Here is an excerpt – some of which was publicised on Daily Life.
“Whether it’s condescending “kindness”, or discriminatory abuse, disabled people have got to smile and nod.
We are expected to make life palatable for non-disabled people – because that might be their first experience meeting someone like us. We have to be teachable moments, or pillars of inspiration.
We need to thank people for their unsolicited advice about how we should heal our disability. And we need to just quieten down a little when we’re discriminated against or spoken over.”
After we read out the letters, we had a chat about letters. I talked fandom and penpals: letters addressed to Carly Hayes – envelopes full of Savage Garden posters – from Kathy Gillies (not her real name, she took on Ben Gillies from Silverchair’s surname, and gave me Darren Hayes’ surname); and Rebecca Gibney egged me on to tell the room about the time I sent Shand Warne a wedding present (I’d told the women in the green room over champagne and giggles earlier).
And then I saw some beloved friends and my Mum. My agent told me the book deal had been finalised. It was a happy day!
Oh, and I got to hug Rebecca Gibney, who I’ve admired on my TV screen for years. She’s absolutely delightful.
Thanks to everyone who came to see us talk! And thanks to Women of Letters for having me. What an honour to be involved in this iconic series.
(Photo credits: Jaklene Vukasinovic, Danielle Binks and Jane Hall.)