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The Write-Life Balance

11425779_10153353266075915_3187031691755466969_nI’ve been on holidays these past few weeks and have been making steady progress on a novel that I’ve been working on for the last couple of years. I’ve started using Scrivener which has helped me sort my ideas and visually compare different chapters. I can’t decide which way the story will go and have a few different versions of it. One of which I feel is boring at parts and not sure how to improve it. You know what they say.. a problem shared is a problem halved, and by verbalising it articulates what I should do to solve it. Each day I do a little towards writing it.

I’m also working on a poetry anthology and like the idea of a pocket sized poetry book as well. But this is a surprise for my husband and hopefully he won’t read my blog post. Lately I’ve also started flamenco dance classes and am enjoying that as well. Haven’t performed in ages and miss it, but doing flamenco has allowed me to understand that it takes time to learn technique properly and this is important. I love the repetition and practice or my classes and this helps retain the steps in my motor memory. Hence; I can do the steps automatically without thinking. We use the same songs and this also helps. My ATS (American Tribal Style) instructional DVD helps as well because it has flamenco elements in it. I use this sometimes as a warm up to my classes, and I have a more successful class as a result.

Exercise is also important and have heard that sprinting helps with the stamina needed for flamenco. I never feel tired doing flamenco. Hopefully this is a good sign. It helps having the right shoes. I was worried for a while because of bunions forming on my feet, but after some therapy they are much better and don’t hurt. My favourite relaxation is going to the spa, and there’s a thermal one not too far from where I live. So in combination, everything helps! And not forgetting good food. I’m lucky because I ride my bike everywhere. Great exercise too!

So little breaks like these help my writing. There’s no use dwelling over ideas that don’t come. Talking to people also help, along with daydreaming on long walks. I’ve also restrung and tuned my guitar and look forward to playing again. The instructional guitar book came with a CD and this also helps my ear for flamenco music for dance!

It’s been a while since I’ve written and thought I had nothing much to say but it has helped put things into perspective. I’ve been teaching music these past months and have been enjoying that immensely. I’ll also be teaching drama after the holidays and will look forward to that too. Feel free to leave a comment on what inspires you to write, as I leave you with my favourite video on the topic, ‘How writer’s Write’. Thanks for reading.

Plus check out one of my sister blogs and meet my friends who are also writers.

Mentors with Caution

On my quest to improve my writing and solve the puzzle about what’s missing in my poems, I’ve decided to give writing a break. But not altogether. I can’t help keeping a collection of symbols; phrases, snippets of thoughts, honest reflections and so on. So much so that now I have a lot of material to sift through and sort into some kind of order. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of books and movies. Collecting my thoughts, I’ve also decided to move on from any other ideas I may have had about dance. Bellydance is evolving but do I really want to be part of that without studying the classics?

I know it seems like I’m jumping themes, but I’m not. You see, without studying up on writers, dancers, artists and so on, you may never have a point of reference to work from. It’s like not receiving guidance from a parent, friend or family member, and going at it alone. But in saying that, not relying too much on other works, and having the courage, confidence and discipline to be uniquely you, and pull away from the norm. Without knowing the rules you cannot break them, right? So in other words, to get a grip on what the critics are trying to convey, I must know what good writing looks like.

And so on my quest to find a writer just like me, a fellow member of Frankfurt Writer’s Group, referred me to a poet, W.H. Auden (1907-73).

He told me that this is one of his more famous works and that ‘it has a quality my poems possess — the use of ordinary words in new, daring combinations, which open up new ways of seeing.’ I like that.

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W.H. Auden (1907-73)

The dangers of reading too much is that if you’re like me in my teens, you could become put off, and feel that you could never write like that. And give up. It’s not a competition, and everyone’s different. That’s what makes writing intriguing. It’s like your signature, and finding your own voice is your greatest quest. I’d like some time away from reading and dive into writing. I feel tensions of moments leading up to this, which will release what has been inside me  for the last few months.

Which brings me onto the next topic, Mentors with Caution. After hurt, one needs time to heal, and part of solving the puzzle on what is missing in my poems is trust. Can I trust myself to write truthfully, how is this possible if I can’t be sure what the truth is, and does it have to be true? There’s a danger in idolizing anything, I think that you may start to forget about your needs. You may even feel guilty when you serve yourself and then put a lot more energy into other people. You are then vulnerable to get stabbed in the back.

Givers are not always respected because ultimately they may be seen as takers. It’s that reverse psychology people who take advantage use to make you feel bad. So the givers stay low, behind the scenes. Which is why a writer, dancer, artist must break free of anyone who claws onto their gifts. It has happened to me a few times. Now, that I’ve broken free from that pattern I’m more cautious and won’t allow anyone in my life who will do that to me again. I have a dream job teaching music, with enough hours to relax and do other things. I’m appreciated and recognised for my work. I can decide slowly on how I’d like to spend my spare time and enjoy my peaceful creative work. Just for the sake of pure enjoyment.

And so, I apologise if I haven’t published anything new. My work is kept private for now. But I do look forward to publishing my next book soon.

A Dancer’s Life



Looking back at my own childhood I find happiness, peace and love of which I treasure. I remember the way my father had a type of charm with us. We loved him wholly and did not leave his side. Now I watch him in action with my nephews and nieces. Thomas, my two year old nephew is a clear example. Everyone is absolutely bemused by his attraction with Papou. Papou is Greek for Grandfather. He turns to tantrums and fits of cries when he has to leave Papou. Thomas makes coffee and washes Papou’s clothes, and plays a game on the swings called kounia bella in Greek. When Papou goes into his room to take a nap Thomas screams and bangs on the door for him to come out. My family is dumbfounded. Thomas is like a little alien who has taken over the house and we can’t do anything to stop him.

Thomas empties and fills the tool box, and puts things where they belong in the kitchen. He can’t rest until everything is put to order. He has an uneasiness about him and he doesn’t stop walking about the yard and the house. He is like a little man going about his little man’s business. When Thomas has a problem he runs to Papou for support. At the sensitive age of two Thomas is free to explore the garden. Watching him play is like witnessing a secret waiting to be revealed.

Thomas has a home education based on love. He is learning to love himself and others as he builds his own beautiful world. My own childhood is where I discover the heart warming experience of unconditional love. My past is a place where I try to learn about myself but I don’t have the answers because I’m so distanced by the events. So I focus on emotions, building a secure identity from which to explore; fulfilling an unpredictable, exciting new life and a story to tell. My father was like a wizard who burst into song and laughter, even when times were tough. He told stories by inserting our names in them as the main protagonists. My mother was like the beautiful, strong Afroditi The Goddess of love. My parents were a big influence on my life and I have a spiritual bond that will never break. As a girl, I was surrounded by games, stories and songs and connecting to these in adulthood led to discover my gifts. Over my travels abroad I’ve learned to take away my fears and take more risks. My parents were always with me spiritually, like a voice in my head during the tough times. They taught me that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.

To read on, please click here on my published article on iuEmag!

Still Posting


Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

Hi Everyone!

I’m writing to let you know that I’m still active on my blog. It’s been a hectic year with lots happening so I haven’t found the head space to create as much as I used to. Soon I’ll have 6 weeks of holidays to use up for all the things I enjoy doing. Have you ever found yourself in that place?

Although I’ve been productive in other ways by editing a novel I’ve written for many years now. I followed some advice from a friend and changed it from third person to first person. This has allowed me to see a different perspective in the character and develop my writing. What’s even better is when I change it back again to third person, then back to first person in the editing process. I know this sounds tedious, but I’d rather do the editing myself because I don’t want to lose my voice. Plus I could develop the characters and storyline through editing. So this has given me a whole new outlook on editing; it’s not about doing a spell check and correcting grammar. In fact, I see it as the most important part of writing so I need to do it myself. And best of all, it’s most effective when done bit by bit, refreshing my mind daily before I continue again. So like a fish gulping air out of water from time to time, I used my crazy tight schedule to my advantage.

Interestingly, included a storyteller who tells some parts in third person. The third person disappears through the story as the main character becomes more and more independent, reflecting her growth as she finds her own voice. There’s something special about the relationship of these two storytellers. They set the tone for the underlying theme of relationship building in the story.

It’s wonderful to experiment in this way in a novel. Some might say it’s wrong but this doesn’t stop me because I want to create a different genre. It’s definitely a story with a mix between fiction and real events. The best way to describe it is that it’s like a very long prose that develops its character, coming alive within the boundaries of a storyline.

Such is life.

The wonderful part is that I’m growing as a writer and a person, as I learn about myself. I write more simply and let the words do the talking. I’m not only finding my style but creating it. I’m off now to do the daily things life demands, then looking forward to editing more of my chapter.

If you’d like to read more of my poems go to Fastpencil Self-Publishing Company, IU eMagazine and recently to début in the Page & Spine Literary Magazine.  My more recent poems haven’t been published yet, but I’m looking forward to that soon!

Most importantly, thank you for following my blog and for all your likes and comments. Tell me how your writing’s going? Blogging is such a great way to get inspiration from each other and am so lucky to be making like-minded friends.

Have a great Sunday!

HELP! I Want To Get Published

I’ve written a novel. How do I contact publishers and which ones to get it published?


There are different versions of the truth, at times it’s hard to know the truth because of perspective one may find themselves at any one given time. So, writing is a great way to read back on your work, and gain new insight and for me personally, move on. But not rely on it as the whole truth written in stone. Dedication and time is needed to find the real truth, and patience! Over time patterns of truths will reveal the ultimate truth, but again, should prompt the person to grasp it and move on.

Recently I’m feeling very excited because I found such a truth, and now am in the process of confirming it. It’s helped me see myself differently and explain many things about myself. Of course one of the “symptoms” of this truth is that I won’t admit it to myself, even perhaps if I’m told over and over again. But I’ve been writing a book for the past few years, and never finished because of the fact that I was never satisfied by the ending (the truth).

In life, we sacrifice much of ourselves, and never stop to ask why. I stopped writing and doing all the creative things I used to do because I found myself in a place where these weren’t valued to the extent I could achieve my potential. I can’t reveal too much now, but in this book I explore my life, and I will publish it privately because it’s not truly finished, and I’m working up the courage to do even that!

Thanks for listening!

The Job I Didn’t Want

I wrote this post before the Christmas holidays and didn’t have the courage to post it. I needed to wait until after the event. It led me to trying to answer the question, Is it possible to write like no one’s reading? Is there an audience for everyone’s work? The several times I tore up a piece of writing after reading it and disliking what I read.. you might relate to. Often we forget ourselves as an audience, and if anyone’s the same, I’m my own worst critique. But why? Lately I’ve been kinder to myself. Lately, meaning these last 2 years or so, and beyond. Imperfectionists if I may invent a word, do make better friends. Though I don’t want to write crap, I have come to an experimental stage of my writing where I’m willing to share my work with the world.

I wrote a post about accepting a job I didn’t want. And to be honest, I was thrilled to have it, but uncertainty lurked. Are these normal feelings of discomfort when the unexpected happens? It makes me sick to my stomach to say that I’ve repeated this decision-making process several times.

A few years ago, namely 8, I left my permanent job for an adventure abroad. I felt sick to my stomach then too, but it was different. Change tends to do that to a person. I may think I’m perfectly fine, and I feel sweaty, tired, and my body reacts to my feelings. Goes to show that we aren’t robots, right? The worst thing about these feeling is that they sink into you every single minute of the day and one has ups and downs, and not knowing if it was the result of accepting something you weren’t sure about was the cause or life being uncomfortable because of change. I then wish with all my heart I could be somewhere else. I start to feel weird and put my emotions to the side! My mind says thank you, I have a job.

I make the most of every job I have and do the right things.  People seem to like that, or perhaps not.. I feel invisible, alone with the small space I’ve made within my job in place of my art. I try and incorporate my art into my job.. Funnily, I’m creative and an excellent teacher but I feel small. I begin a love hate relationship with my job and perhaps with this person outside my box that makes these decisions. I squeeze in every moment left from every given day to relax and write. But this only occurs in my mental state because of limited time, and I feel a pain. Don’t worry, I say to myself, not to worry … this bad dream will be over soon. I just have to sleep, wake up and I’ll have more time on the weekend for everything I want to do.

Is it possible to write like no one’s reading? The cool thing about writing is that you can be anyone. You don’t have to care what anyone thinks because they don’t have to read your writing. You show your real self and life from your art. But the best thing is that people aren’t caring about figuring you out; they have interest in the work that you do and try to relate it to themselves. I know this is a good piece of writing because I’m afraid to publish it. I kept it private and returned to it after the event and then published it with confidence, knowing that I’ve written like nobody’s reading but me.

And why today of all days did I decide to publish? Funny how one event leads to another, revealing bits of one’s self. I don’t tend to reveal all the bits in one go, and wouldn’t do justice in today’s society to do so. How could one really know oneself without exploring the unknown variables? What you are now, is not static and through positive change we find happiness. We never stop learning. But there is one aspect of this learning that I didn’t predict. I spent most of my education tied to a chair. I escaped to find myself in Europe, where I started dance/music/singing and somewhat bordering a career along with my teaching, and after almost 10 years of teaching in Darwin I escaped to Europe and reluctantly came back. I started teaching at a school I was drawn to and didn’t understand why until now. POW! Just like that. I’ll leave that bit of me for another time. For now, enjoy this video, one that I can watch again and again.

Impressions of Europe & My Art

My ideals are challenged, I’m not the mature person I thought I was. I’m in Europe. I ponder on a place where I can be alone, but not lonely. I put myself in that place. But it doesn’t quite work. I seek approval upon every stage of my life. I reject notions of my inadequacy, regroup and fight for another day. I’m in Europe, the mirror that plays with my self concept and my image. How have I grown after being away for a whole year, my friend?

I search back on my art, my past up until now and I see that I did well not to rush too much. I did a lot and I see the products of these but now I am very different. Imagine if I’d rushed, I would see more of these flaws that represent stages of growth. I would laugh at myself then curl up and die. But no, I created just enough to represent myself at a given space of time.

Art is like an anecdote of an expression in a given time. If I do it, I can look back on it perhaps and wonder who it was that did it.. like it wasn’t the person I am now. If I didn’t do it, it is like losing this part of myself that once was. One must if they are an artist, there is no why. And now I juggle this thought as I write, wondering who I am and who I will become, what will I be thinking when I read back on this piece of writing.

I’ve often stated that travel gives me a sense of perspective. But this is only valid for the present time. The future will forget because of its irrelevance and will then make up some other story, and I would have forgotten all that I did. But the feelings will stay strong and I will yearn to have these again. I will want to return again. And my anguish when I can’t, will then become the inspiration for my writing, my art, the way I see the world. It is the part of Europe I take with me, and it becomes a part of me. But this is false, Europe is my friend.

I have written a novel and I continuously go back to it and change it, but it doesn’t work. This is my anecdote in a particular place in time. The time I was in Europe. It’s hard to write about a lifetime, and I did it in the best way I knew how. I wrote it like a dance, reflected in a piece of writing that is much like a poem, that jumps from moment to moment without one realizing, and expresses emotions and not compact events. I think about whether anyone would want to read it, and cringe at the thought. It’s not really for an audience. I don’t think they’d get it or perhaps they’d be bored by it, think it outdated. Who knows. But I want it to be available, just so that this part of me, is preserved because it was so beautiful. I can hear the words in my mind.

My past writing is like a mirror I don’t want to look into at first but when I do, I am pleasantly surprised. I can’t imagine doing it all again. It would be impossible, and it wouldn’t be the same. And how wonderful to look into it and play!


An Anonymous Star

But know what it is in your mind
This is the key to unleashing
the wretched disguise of patterns
in daily life
I write and keep writing
This is what will remain of me
after I die
With a set of clues
Only to anonymous eyes
I place my soul in my own heart
& I will always have you
When I feel the rays of the abundant stars
Your words will always live in my head
Your body and mine will always be
This is the love I have
for an anonymous star

By Maria Grujicic Copyright 2012

I’d like to introduce you to a Serbian singer named Toma Zdravkovic. An unknown, Toma Zdravkovic started singing in a pub. You know the kind, a smoky room full of people, entertaining them while they drink, smoke, chat, laugh.

Memories of The Last King of The Pubs

He was inspired by women, alcohol… He grew up in a very poor village and started singing ay 15 years old. Because of poor and bad life he decided to go and move to a town close to his village. Frozen on the street he came across a female singer, Silavana Armelvic who took him to a pub close by the street. Afterwards he went to a town called Tuzla and he spent 5 years in one hotel making the party room full every night.

Afterwards a friend brought him to Belgrade and he got a job. He met his first wife in Novi Sad and he had one daughter. He got a divorce. His first love sent him a telegram in a hotel in Novi Sad that she was very sick in Bosnia. He decided to spend time with her up to her death. After that he wrote a song called Buket Belih Ruza, in English Bouquet of White Roses…..

He had cancer and the doctors told him he had only a few years to live. After I learned of him, the words of his life touched me so deeply, a sadness crept up on me. Why didn’t I know of him sooner? Why didn’t I experience his magic? But a reply in my conscience realized his soul lived on by the words he left behind. The video alone one can view and sense the atmosphere that radiated through his charisma, his voice was like a touch that said all will be all right if we can live this remaining life together.

Toma Zdravkovic said in an interview that the pub was the place for his performances because it was like a theatre. A unison of famous people joined with him at this pub, entertaining. Watch them in the video. He was an unknown, an anonymous star, he touched their soul, and he expected nothing more from that but another night of the same.

At the end of the night after everyone left he found some unknown to give all his earnings to. Incredibly it took him 15 years to produce his album. 15 years battling cancer, and other challenges life brings,  he wrote all his own songs. He felt humiliated performing at first, he was laughed at in his first performance because he was so shy. About 5 per cent of the world population knew about him, people in a pub who loved him. He carried on and after 15 years he produced his album and he was on TV, and shortly afterwards he died of the cancer that he battled up to that point. I was further touched to find out that he had cancer of the throat.

I dedicate this poem to Toma Zdravkovic. The man I never met but touched my soul. His story alone, his music, his stance, the emotion in his eyes that he pulls away, seemingly hidden away, touching souls by his voice, his music. My poems are designed to touch a soul, to reach the unknown, not to reveal the mystery of life, rather, be immersed in it. At times I give up. I had a spell of not writing for months, but after some soul-searching with Toma Zdravkovic I was presented by an answer.

There are those that battle to be rich and famous, and those that battle each day just to do what we love. Give me a chance of another life again and again, and I’d choose to pursue my passion.

The story is based on word of mouth because I don’t understand the Serbian to interpret his interview. If some details aren’t correct or if you have more information about Toma Zdravkovic please let me know. The poem is part of my new poetry book titled, Poems That Touch The Soul.


The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. Anaïs Nin

Wide Open Eyes

I was excited to find this video while looking for a dance to go with my poem.

Enjoy the audio along with the video. Play them together.
Try playing the audio at different times or repeating it.

Lately I have been pondering about many issues in my life and those of others around me. I have also been thinking about things that perhaps most people don’t. These are the details that pass us by that perhaps would give more meaning to one’s life, but we ignore. Perhaps this ignorance is simply a way to feel accepted among the crowd. Or an intelligent way of relieving alienation. Whichever the viewpoint, it is a safe haven. It is an issue of personal significance that I’ve explored in my poems. It has been a long time since I wrote and the answer is hidden away in my poems because I cannot truly put it into words.

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.Leo Rosten Self-Publishing Blog is the fastest, easiest way to write and publish your book.

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