Strange Cross Roads

too many babie - letchLast year I had a dream I was asked out on a date by someone I really admired at the time (and no – for those who have been following my thrilling mini adventures in meeting Nick Earls – it was not him. But it has a connection to my escapades at last year’s Byron Bay Writer’s Festival.)

In the dream, as we were leaving the hall we had been in together, some beautiful hand made cards caught my eye and I stopped to look at them. When I left the hall to catch up with the gentleman in question he had gone. Swallowed and dissolved by the crowd.

When I woke up I was left with the terrible feeling of having lost something important to me, because I’d been distracted by pretty, sparkling things.

I revisited the dream a few weekends ago – the same man, similar circumstances and the same message. Keep your eye on the ball Jodi!

The dream came at just the right time.

Last Monday I saw a new story shape up before my eyes. Like the Facebook Lactivist story I had the feeling it was big AND it was newsworthy. But the Facebook/Lactivist publishing debacle had taught me enough lessons to know what to do with my story – and what was the most important thing at the end of the day – which surprisingly enough to NOT money.

So I put some feelers out through Facebook – to see how many women and babies were affected by QANTAS’s booking system not imposing the safety limits on infant booking and the time of registration and payment.

After a number of windfalls – including the wonderful Jo Hunter picking up the ball when I dropped in Tuesday and going to the Sydney Morning Herald … after QANTAS didn’t call back, the Courier Mail didn’t pick the story up and Dave’s mother who is staying mentioned to me “this writing business” was fine for single people who didn’t have a child and a house to care for. The story was picked up by wonderful Kate Benson who offered half way through our first telephone conversation the chance to collaborate on the story.

The article which appeared under a number of different titles (including “Too Many Babies Cries QANTAS”) across the Fairfax media was published on Thursday.

I spent the entire day unable to buy a newspaper nor get to the internet. I had Dave between meetings describing the cartoon attached and the leading sentence. Kate Benson left a message on my phone checking to see what I thought of the story (because I didn’t actually write the article – just did all the grunt work behind the scenes getting people who wanted to talk and sharing the bones of the story) And between sessions in the marquees, I checked into Facebook on my mobile.

I missed seeing my story as the lead story on the SMH website (though I do have a print out thanks to Dave of what it looked like!) and I didn’t hear it as a story on ABC radio – but was told by both my gorgeous friend Robbi in Melbourne and Nick Earls two days later when I finally got around to having him sign my copy of Butterfish. It was weird to have put all this work into a story not to see it realised in the media. In the fuss and the excitement of the festival I didn’t even get a chance to call my parents and let them know.

But I liked the quiet irony of that. After all – the last story wasn’t realised in the media because I didn’t know how to play ball and misplaced my loyalty. And I liked the fact the first person I got a chance to share my tiny little writing triumph with, outside of my direct family or the women involved, was Nick Earls. It is a strange strange world that I was living in last week.

So in that weird fashion – where exciting roads cross … I have this written in the front of my copy of Butterfish.

nick earls inscription

Julia Cameron says in the Artist Way the Universe is abundant, we just often choose not to accept the gifts and opportunities which It provides us with. My experiences last week showed me Universal gifts while given freely and readily aren’t realised with ease – but they are all worth the work.

Read my Write Anything column Influenced by One Sensible Sentence about meeting Nick Earls.

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