Blog

Grieve Writing Competition Entry 1

As many of you already know, in March of this year, my long term relationship ended, and with it my time living on the Gold Coast.

For two years I had been caring for my fiancé, who suffered a debilitating back injury at work in January 2017. I thought the past 24 months had been hard, dealing with a constant barrage of financial, health and home-related stress, but nothing compared to how hard it was to walk away from a nine-year relationship and start a new life 800 kilometers away. Within the space of two weeks, my life on the Gold Coast was over, and I was headed to Yeppoon, a hour’s drive from Rockhampton on the Central Coast of Queensland.

In the past three months I have experienced the strongest grief I have ever felt; for my relationship, for my beloved beach-side home in Coolangatta, for the life I left behind. This grief has been fraught with confusion; did I give up too early? Should I have stuck it out for longer? There have been a lot of confusing feelings, a lot around my self worth, and I’ve certainly doubted whether I made the right choice.

During this massive life upheaval, I used writing to process my grief. I wrote two flash fiction short stories: Home Is Where The Heart Breaks, in which I reflect on suddenly  having to leave my beloved home on the Gold Coast, and Hypothetical Child, about the impact that my decision not to have children has had on my life. The Hunter Writer’s Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, holds an annual writing competition called the Grieve Writing Project, that publishes an anthology of flash fiction and poetry on the theme of grief. In April I submitted both stories to the project.

It has been a huge challenge to leave my old life behind and start anew out in the world on my own. I have experienced a period of anxiety and depression more severe than anything I experienced over the past two years caring for my partner. I have felt completely separate from my former self, disconnected from my passion for writing. I have been very reluctant to accept my new reality, and embrace my new surroundings here on the Central Coast. With the help of mental health professionals I have worked through a lot in these past months, and I have finally reached a point where I feel I can allow myself to accept my new reality, and be vulnerable enough to feel happiness and joy again as I move forward. As part of this healing process, I have decided to share these stories now. I hope that by sharing my experiences, it helps those who are going through the same experiences. If any of my friends ever feel like they need, I’m always open if you’d like to talk, whether for advice or just to listen.

 

Home Is Where The Heart Breaks

I never thought I could love living somewhere as much as I have loved living on the Gold Coast. For the past year and a half I have walked on the beach every day, taking my troubles to the ocean. Breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sand and seawater between my toes, I forgot about my problems for an hour. This place has nurtured me through what has easily been the most challenging period of my life.

We moved from Broadbeach to Coolangatta six months ago in the hope things would get better. Our unhappiness followed us; we had become more like housemates than lovers. We weren’t living in the space together, merely existing alongside one another. It was painful and depressing, yet I still loved the unit itself- the balcony off the back, the little yard, the tree-lined park just over the fence where locals played football and walked their dogs. I walked from Coolangatta to Snapper Rocks every afternoon, and watched the surfers ride the waves at sunset. Amidst my misery, I felt so lucky to call this place home.

And then I just left; I could not bear the misery a moment longer. I returned only to pack and move out, and by then I had already been erased from the home Richard and I shared. The week I was gone he took the pictures of us down; he couldn’t stand to keep looking at them after we split. It was ‘too painful, he said. I find myself feeling similar about the Gold Coast in general now; a place I was once so proud to live, I can barely stand to look at a picture of, because it is a reminder of something so treasured being taken from me too soon.

Separating from Richard, I didn’t anticipate everything else I would have to separate from as well. The family, the friends, the home. I don’t know what makes me feel sadder- leaving Richard or leaving this place.

It feels unfair that Richard gets to stay here, and I resent him somewhat for it. This lifestyle is wasted on him- he doesn’t appreciate living by the ocean the way I do. I have friends and a community here, yet the situation dictates that I’m the one that has to leave.

There is still so much I want to do on the Gold Coast, so many places to explore. The seaside bike path from Bilinga to Tugun, the sunflowers in Kingscliffe and the mountainous Byron Bay Hinterland. I always thought I’d have more time to prepare myself to leave, but my time here has run out. I need to let go of the way I thought things would be, but I’m just not ready yet.  I don’t understand why, but the journey of life is moving me on. It’s time to go now, and I have to say goodbye.

Cooly 4

 

Advertisements
Blog

Books By The Beach Concludes At Coolangatta/Greenmount!

HOORAY!!

We made it to Coolangatta, the last stop on my Books By The Beach tour!

Cooly 3

Thank you SO MUCH for coming on this epic journey with me, and I hope that you have enjoyed seeing and learning about all of the beautiful Gold Coast beaches I have visited along the way! I have certainly learned so much on this journey about the place I call home!It was a wonderful experience, but was not without its challenges, the most common ones being contending with the natural elements e.g. wind, and trying to find a quiet spot to film, especially at the most popular tourist spots like Burleigh. Where the wind wasn’t too strong, the sun wasn’t too glary or the shade too dark. But it was all part of the adventure, and I am so grateful to be able to say I have visited so many of the beaches here in the fantastic city where I live!

cooly-4-1.jpg

When I filmed this series in mid-2018 I was living in Broadbeach (as I mention in the Broadbeach video). However some significant life changes and upheavals delayed the publishing of this series, and I have since relocated to beautiful Coolangatta, where I conclude the series.

Coolangatta is situated on the beach between the rock headlands of Point Danger, Greenmount and Kirra. It is the southernmost suburb of the City of the Gold Coast, and is named after the schooner Coolangatta, which was wrecked here in 1846.

Cooly Gold
View of the Gold Coast skyline

From here, you can look back towards the Gold Coast skyline in the distance and the entire coastline. The surf here is spectacular, particularly off the northern corner of Coolangatta Beach, the headland around Greenmount, Snapper Rocks into the southern corner of Rainbow Bay and of course, the world-class surf break of Duranbah.

Coolangatta marks the southern end of the strip of surfing beaches that runs from the Queensland / New South Wales State Border north to Main Beach. The Gold Coast Airport, formerly known as Coolangatta Airport, is located at Coolangatta, with some of the runway going across the border into New South Wales.

Coolangatta and is a ‘Twin Town’ with our immediate neighbour Tweed Heads in New South Wales. I live right on the Queensland side of the state border- if you cross the street outside my place, you’re in New South Wales!

Duranbah and Tweed Heads sit around the corner from Coolangatta, but technically that’s New South Wales. Technicalities aside, visitors flock to the border town of Coolangatta for its change of pace. Due to the summer time difference with Tweed Heads, we get to celebrate New Years twice!

Having lived in the bustling inner-city area of Broadbeach, the laidback lifestyle we enjoy here in ‘Cooly’ is much more my style!

This suburb exudes an old-school beachside charm. Each June, Coolangatta hosts the Cooly Rocks On Festival, a two-week 1950s and 1960s nostalgia festival with free entertainment and attractions, including hot rods, restored cars and revival bands playing music of the era.

 

Greenmount
Looking back at Greenmount from Rainbow Bay
Greenmount 2
View of Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks from Greenmount Hill

greenmount-1.jpgA lovely walking trail wraps around Greenmount Hill connecting Greenmount Beach to Rainbow Bay from which you can head up the hill to Point Danger. Both Greenmount Hill and Point Danger are great vantage points for whale watching.

 

Cooly Pt Danger
View of Snapper Rocks from Point Danger

 

D’Bah, as locals call it, is the one place you can be guaranteed of a swell when the rest of the coast is quiet. Meanwhile, the corner of Greenmount offers a protected spot for a swim.

D Bar 3
View of Duranbah Beach, or ‘D-Bar’, from Point Danger
D Bar 4
Duranbah Beach
D Bar 5
Duranbah Beach and Point Danger

Coolangatta hosts many sporting events including The Coolangatta Gold, one of the premier events in the sport of Ironman (surf lifesaving), as well as prolific surfing competitions the Quicksilver Pro and Roxy Pro.

Cooly Gold 2

Coolangatta Gold surf lifesaving event

Every afternoon I walk from Coolangatta Beach up around Greenmount, along Rainbow Bay to Snapper Rocks, where I love to sit and watch the sunset. I’ve also been lucky enough to spot dolphins swimming by on a number of occasions!

 

Rainbow Bay
View of Rainbow Bay from Snapper Rocks
snapper-1.jpg
Afternoon surfers at Snapper Rocks
Snapper 2
Waves crashing at Snapper Rocks

I also love to go walking up Greenmount and Point Danger, and if I’m feeling extra energetic, I’ll walk down the other side of Point Danger to Duranbah Beach.

In this final video, I’m reflecting back over all the beaches that I have visited, and all the books and stories I have shared with you. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.

I am working on setting up my titles through IngramSpark. In the meantime, I do have copies of The Wilted Rose and Paid To Dance: Stripping Past & Present available in paperback. If you live in Australia, I am able to post these to you. Please get in touch with me via the Contact page of this site to organise payment and delivery.

Thank you SO MUCH for coming on this epic journey with me! Keep an eye out here for many more adventures on the Gold Coast!

Blog

Books By The Beach: Asha’s Story Part Two at Kirra Beach

Welcome to Kirra Beach, the second last stop on my Books By The Beach tour! It is hard to believe it is almost over!

The small rocky headland Kirra Point separates Kirra Beach to the north and Coolangatta Beach to the south, and is noted as one of the world’s premier surf breaks. In the past the surf break was known for producing high quality barrels. Today sand pumping across the Tweed River has filled it in and changed its character.

The Quiksilver Pro, an event on the World Surf League, is often contested at Kirra when the surf is not contestable at Coolangatta.

 

There’s variations on what the word Kirra actually means, but some believe Queensland Aborigines named it after a boomerang. Which makes sense as Kirra wraps evocatively around the bend separating Coolangatta and Kirra beaches and in front of Kirra Hill. Surfers flock to Kirra bend for its world-class breaks, and Kirra has also hosted the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro surfing competitions.

One of the Gold Coast’s most laid-back beach destinations, the suburb is home to Kirra Surf, which surfers consider the one-stop shop for surf gear. Like it’s neighbouring Tugun, Kirra is not a place you’ll find glitz and glamour, with plenty of weatherboard beach shacks still standing among the burgeoning apartment scene. The iconic Kirra Beach Hotel has been trading for more than 50 years.

In this post I am sharing with you my book Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two.

Three years after daringly stepping into the world of stripping, Asha has left The Runway, the club that made her an exotic dancer, to make a fresh start at at rival venue Mademoiselle’s. Here she is faced with a whole new set of challenges, including an interstate adventure to Melbourne’s glamorous strip club scene. Asha’s personal and professional lives collide in unexpected ways, in the lead-up to the grande finale of her stripping adventure.

PLEASE NOTE: At the end of this video there is information about purchasing the Paid To Dance books on Amazon/Kindle. My books are not currently available on Amazon/Kindle. Instead you can download a free PDF of the first chapter of Asha’s Story Part Two HERE: Paid To Dance Asha’s Story Part Two excerpt

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

I hope you have enjoyed your time with me here at Kirra Beach. Last stop- Coolangatta!