I'm very excited to introduce this fortnight's guest. She is a storyteller of great influence to me, a woman who has spent her life with pen in hand, capturing her thoughts and adventures in poems, prose and personal essays.
She has lived her life to the nth degree, collecting stories in such a rich hue of colours. she'd give a rainbow a run for its money and what she does know about love and heartbreak, isn't really worth knowing.
Her body of works include diaries, more like artworks, short stories and quirky poetry. And letters, so many letters.
She is of course, my Mum. Carole Maria Rogers, the bookish tween who sneakily read under the duvet by torchlight and the smarty pants teen who was sent off to grammar school only to spend more time flirting with the boys at the neighbouring school and rolling up her school skirt so high, you could see her underwear when she bent over.
As a newly wed she immigrated from England to Australia (following her parents and sister) and spent most of her working days as a civil servant in medical records and the emergency department of Royal Perth Hospital.
She is a bottomless pit of tales and wisdom and a character who appears in various guises in all of my stories.
She loves to read crime and thrillers and one of my most poignant memories of my childhood was the night she tossed the book she was reading out of her bedroom door, making a loud thud and frightening the life out of me in the dark. She said she couldn't sleep with the book in her room, it was way too evil.
She is my heart and soul and the most courageous (and sometimes downright craziest) woman I know. She also claims to be my biggest fan.
Come on Mum, fancy a road trip? 'My darling, I could think of nothing better!'
1. Well we’ve been on a few road trips over the years together. Do you have a favourite one?
Luckily we were always travellers. So to pick one road trip would almost be impossible, but one does stick in my mind. We were visiting an old friend on the island of Samos in Greece. He was a great character and he would take us touring the island in his beat up old car. I remember the cassette of Greek songs he would play. It was a magical holiday. I also remember you would sing Dolly Parton's 'Apple Jack' and we always make you sing it again and again. It became our road song.
2. You love to write, I love to write, how far back in our family tree do you think this love of writing goes back?
I think writing has been in our family from at least your great grandmothers era. My grandmother Rebecca, always kept a journal and was a prolific reader. She was also a beautiful letter writer. Plus as you know my dad was a great story teller and when he came to Australia send letters home almost weekly. He was a great ambassador for Australia through his writing.
3. What do you think it is that steered us down this path?
It was easy to be steered into writing and expressing ourselves as we are natural storytellers. It is in our genes. We love a good yarn. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, although I have become a social media storyteller now. Photographs also tell stories, so I have the tools for telling stories.
4. For as long as I can remember you’ve always kept a diary? But you diaries are not like other peoples, they are more like pieces of art/collage. Can you explain the thought process that goes into them?
My diaries are an expression of where I am at certain times of my life. I collect articles that seem profound for the time. News headlines which I save as they are a piece of historical information. The movies that were playing in any given year. Fashion articles, recipes, and any newsworthy article are cut and pasted into my hard copy diary. I record poems, daily thoughts and frustrations, plus some 'for my eyes only' input. One day someone will read my diaries and hopefully say "that was one interesting woman."
5. Recently you started a blog site call The Urban Blender, what sort of things do you share on it? Do you have many followers?
I am addicted to blog writing. I find it relaxing and my head is always full of ideas, stories and words that I need to record. I write about anything, I have realised my head does not stay on one subject, so I have a few blogs going.
My main blog is about my travels, travelling is my first love. I write as the mood takes me, but you can guarantee there will be photographs. Photography records my life at each stage and I am rarely found without my camera wrapped around my neck for that one unique shot. At different times I have had dozens of followers which is great. It is satisfying to know that life is an open book.
6. If you could have chosen writing as a career, which area would you most have liked to be in?
Journalism, as journalism would include my greatest passion travelling. I would combine this genre with travel writing. The perfect duo.
7. You’ve always been good at writing letters, do you miss putting pen to paper, sealing an envelope, buying a stamp and popping it in the letterbox?
Yes......I miss sending postcards and letters with doodles, cuttings, articles and little surprises. A piece of fabric from Spain, a pretty shell from a far off beach, or just a label from an exotic drink. I think I will make it a project on my next trip to send small items to Audrey my granddaughter. Letters are so personal and it would be fabulous when I am gone for her to remember me by. The internet is far too impersonal. I am a tactile person.
8. If you were to write your great life’s work, what genre would you write in? Memoir, crime novel, romance, thriller etc..
This is a very difficult question as my life has taken turns in many directions. I think I would write a faction, a fictitious novel with real life events depicted. But it would have to be published after my death to protect the living.....so a memoir....
9. You are also an avid reader. Who is your favourite author and what is the best book you have ever read?
I don't have a favourite author. It would be unfair to pinpoint one author. As a child I read the classics Dickens, Bronte, Victor Hugo, plus of course Enid Blyton. As an adult I try to read good fiction and biographies. Ken Follett, Jonathan Kellerman and Erma Bombek (who understood what being a mother in a real family entailed). She made me laugh and realise we are all in the same boat. The book by Erma Bombek that I first read was ' If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pips'.
10. My novel The Sunbeam Alpine is heavily based on your younger life and the interesting events that took place between 1968 and 1971. How do you feel about me writing that story?
I haven't read your draft yet. I am flattered and a little amused that my life is of enough interest for you to write about. The period you have chosen is a great time for the events that happened. Times were changing and what was shocking then may be tame now. I don't regret my life it is the life I was meant to live so bring it on.
Now for the quick fire round….
Which reality show would you audition for (because you secretly know you’d win)?
Big brother for the over sixties.
If you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would you take?
You. We would never be bored. Or if it had to be something materialistic, an artists set.
What great statement would you write on your own gravestone?
Gravestone.....no gravestone for me....I want to be scattered to the winds and be part of the universe again. Free.
If someone played you in a movie who would you want it to be?
It would have to be someone quirky but I have always thought Susan Sarandon would be ideal. I like the thought of being in the movie Thelma and Louise.
If you had a pen name, what would it be?
My pen name would be Pandora. I adopted it from Greek mythology. As Pandora was told not to open a certain box and being a women she disobeyed. All the evils of the world were released except for Hope which she managed to save. Hope is what we all have for the world.
What is your secret indulgence?
Hmm I will play it safe and say Chocolate.....
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt in life?
Honesty.....if you are honest you do not have to remember anything. Lies destroy the soul.
You can catch up with Carole's writing on her blog site The Urban Blender.
Thanks Mum. Maybe we'll do another proper road trip one day in the not too distant future. xxx