Craft For The Soul Creativity Pip-Life

Teenage Dreams

When I was a teenager I lived in a galaxy far, far away. And that galaxy was called Port Hedland. I’m not being rude or anything. I loved it there. It’s just that growing up in Tasmania and suddenly finding our family boarding plane after plane to get to the other corner of Australia was quite the shift. Where things were once cool and green and life was regulated according to how much snow was on the mountain that provided the backdrop for our city, things were now dry and orange, dissected by long stretches of road that mustered dusty clouds.

One of the things that happened as we flew away from the ‘city’ of Hobart and into this new life in a fibro house in South Hedland was that we flew away from a lot of connections and opportunities we took for granted. While Port Hedland (and neighbouring suburb South Hedland) were by no means tiny, there was not a lot to do. One high school serviced the smattering of suburbs. There was a small library, a swimming pool. If you could get someone to drive you, there was a roller skating rink and a drive-in too.

We arrived when I was nine and left when I was fourteen. We had to make new connections and opportunities.

I spent most of my time either at school or at home in the early Hedland years. This meant I was either watching VHS movies about life in America/Bondi/English boarding schools or doing homework or writing (journal/poetry) or reading. I read a lot. I got this reading thing from my Mum. She was QUITE the reader – and still is.  She made sure we had a house full of books and would make frequent pilgrimages to the very comprehensive newsagent outside Coles, stocking up on piles of magazines, as well as fresh books from the tiny bookshop.

She’d read the magazines and then stack them on the floor next to her bed. I’d then take them from that stack and read them cover to cover too. The Australian Womens’ Weekly. Cleo. Cosmopolitan. Craft magazines. National Geographic.  I learnt a lot about cakes, The Queen, patchwork, artefacts, How To Attract A Man and mummified cats.She’d buy me Dolly Magazine too. (That one never made her bedside pile because it was just for me.)

I didn’t only read magazines, of course. There was a huge bookshelf inside our front door stocked with hundreds of books that had slowly made the journey north on road trains, trailing us. I spent a lot of time in front of that bookcase, deciding who to spend my time with.

I chose a lot of thrillers that seemed inevitably to be set in Egypt and involve complex codes/hieroglyphics or have some kind of terrifying Nazi plot, often reading them three or four times. I read Wuthering Heights and Roald Dahl and John Irving and Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams. In the school library I kept borrowing Go Ask Alice and Christiane F and I remember my dad got me to return a book once because he flipped through it and found some awkward fumbling chapter or other. (I still remember how mad that made me, actually. They’re just words, for Pete’s sake.)

I guess you could say that my tastes were eclectic, voracious and opportunistic. Really,  I just loved stories and loved working out how people strung words together and what made the other humans tick.

I eventually settled on magazines like Dolly, Cleo, Tiger Beat and Cosmo as my go-tos. I liked their chatty, conversational tone and they seemed (to me) to have good ideas about how girls should look, what they might feel and what they could be interested in. I on the other hand was stuck a zillion miles from the nearest city and had thought Sportsgirl might be the kind of shop girls went to if they needed something to wear on a yacht or to play golf. Luckily Dolly could tell me otherwise and about other important girl things too. Lisa Wilkinson pretty much saved my neck. Let’s be frank.

Magazines gave me a view back into the world from my very faraway place. They kept me in touch with what was happening in the city and beyond. Paired with the Saturday night repeat of Countdown (and the fresh Sunday ep) I kind knew what was going on. It was something to do with tortured hair, frosted lipstick and headbands, from what I could see…

All this reading and language noticing and stories. All this magazine coveting and book buying. It confirmed to me that stories and writing and books were pretty much the most important things that the existed. That writing things that people read was a powerful thing because it not only connected people to the world, it helped them escape when they needed that too.

What this is all getting around to is that it was during those years that the seeds of me-now were sown. I knew back then that I wanted to edit a magazine or write a book or find a way to get the things I wanted to write about in front of other people. I wanted to do the chatty, conversational thing and save someone’s neck (like Lisa W, Mia F and other magazine writers/editors of the day – and beyond – unwittingly did for me!) To tell some stories that would resonate or connect with people who were a bit like me.

The interesting thing is that, although I did lots of writing as the years passed, it was only when I found out about blogging that I realised I could start a blog, which would be kind of like a magazine… and that would be an achievable way to get my foot in the door and begin to realise those teenage dreams in earnest.

And that’s how I got here, basically.

Admittedly it took me a while, because I got sidetracked and pushed aside the things I’d most wanted to do, to a degree. Because… life. Kids. Stuff. Experimenting. Adventures.

But I circled back in the end and now I’m here, telling stories and writing the kind of chatty, conversational stuff that made such an impact on me when I needed it most.

It just goes to show, that some things can take a while, but you really can get there in the end. All the preparation you do over the years, some of it barely noticeable, really does count for something in the end.  If you’re feeling discouraged because things are taking longer than you think, know that the good stuff can take time and that nothing goes unnoticed in the end. It all counts, somehow and somewhere! Before you know it, you might save someone’s neck.


more reading pink

Ourselves, Motivation and Misunderstandings 
And You Don’t Have To Win Everyone Over

Why Slowing Down Is The New Speeding Up
Have Your Pie And Eat It Too!
Watch Out For The Gems

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ALSO: Have you ever wanted to start a blog or build a simple website? Maybe you want to overhaul an existing blog, even? My eCourse Blog With Pip starts this week and there are limited spots left. Sign up, learn stuff and be in my gang. I can teach you how to make a blog, write better, wrangle social media, plan that blog to book dream and a whole heap more.

  • Bec @ The Plumbette
    June 24, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    Pip this post has spoken to me and encouraged me. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed yet dissapointed that I’m not where I want to be. It takes time and I know I will get there. This post is proof what can happen over a long period of time. Thank you. Xx

    • Meet Me At Mikes
      June 24, 2015 at 5:31 PM

      I am so glad to be helpful – I think often when it’s all coming together, you don’t even notice because you are focused on the ‘next thing’. x

  • Lisa @ Twinkle Little Soul
    June 22, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    So many warm fuzzies here Pip! My mum wasn’t really a big reader but my Grandma was. She would lend me piles of Virginia Andrews and Catherine Cookson books, and give me her magazines when she was finished with them so I could do the word searches. I’ve felt that ‘stories and writing and books were pretty much the most important things that existed’ for about as long as I can remember. Thanks for reminding me why x

  • Romana
    June 21, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    Such a nice post to read Pip! I have been struggling with getting a work, social media, blogging /writing balance and have backed off the whole kit and kaboodle as a way to regain my equilibrium. Perhaps not the most constructive approach but it has been great to have a break. Your post is a lovely and much needed bit of encouragement and perspective. Thanks!

  • Zanni Louise
    June 18, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    That’s a lovely post Pip! I enjoyed reading about your journey to Here. I think all those little seeds are very very important. x

  • Carly Findlay
    June 18, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    I love this! Sometimes achieving our dreams take a long, unexpected path. I feel similar to you. I read lots of stuff and wrote a lot while growing up in a small town. I wanted to be a journalist. And then I didn’t study journalism at Uni. I hated what I studied. I failed some essays and resat them, and then went off to Melbourne to a full time job. Slowly I chipped away at my dream – eneilling in a master of communication, practicing my writing, doing mentoring and community tv. And now I’m here. It’s taken 10 years to get here. I’m so glad I took the scenic route 🙂

  • The Hipsterette
    June 18, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    Great post, Pip. I grew up living only 3kms from the city but Brisbane was like a big country town in my childhood years. Like you, I had my weekly trips to the Ithaca Library (which sadly is a library no more) to pick out books. I think children were allowed to borrow two books. I remember reading the “The Little House on the Prarie” series, “Black Beauty”, and other gems. I was from a non-English background so had the most unusual stock of English books that my parents had read, including “Forever Amber”, “Love on the Dole”, “Peyton Place”, and “Mildred Pierce”. Mum read magazines usually the “Women’s Weekly” – when it was a weekly (not monthly). As a teen, I read and loved “Go Ask Alice” – YA fiction hadn’t been invented. I used to borrow “Seventeen” a US teen mag from the library – those girls were something to aspire to – all long glossy hair and knee-high socks. I read “Dolly” sometimes but liked my 15 cent copy of “Pink” a UK music magazine better.

  • Jane @ Shady Baker
    June 18, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Great post Pip, I really loved reading it. It reminded me so much of my early teen years growing up in outback NSW. Magazines were my only connection with the outside world in a time well before computers, mobile phones and Facebook. I had almost forgotten about Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High!

    You have a lovely, chatty, honest way of writing. Love your work x

  • Helen Edwards
    June 18, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    Sounds just like my childhood in the country with 2 English teacher parents and a world of books and writing. All I wanted to do was write. I ended up helping people and saving their necks as a social worker and then decided writing could be part of that when I found tge the interweb in 2001. Haven’t looked back. Words words and stories. The essence of our lives. Thanks for being you xx

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