My Publishing Journey

I finally have a copy of my freshly published poetry book and it looks amAzing! When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it. The book arrived just before my trip to Japan!

Maria Grujicic Unpredictable SpacesNow that I have a copy in my hands I can better see the edits I need to make. So far I haven’t seen any but will wait until tomorrow to take another look, just to be sure. Each time I receive one of my books, I can’t help but look back on my publishing journey.

I’ve always been too shy to share my poetry. At poetry workshops, when asked to read a poem, I always reply with a ‘no’. When I don’t have a choice, I fumble and get really nervous!

I once ‘forced’ myself to read out a poem at a public poetry performance venue. I wanted to get over my nerves! Not sure if it did me any good. Holding back tears on stage is quite embarrassing, and I don’t think I’ll do that again! I just wasn’t meant to read out my poetry!

But the internet is different and I wasn’t sure why until I started thinking… Every word I write has a deep meaning and a connection to a part of my life that is very personal.

Writing is a way for me to get to know my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and be true to myself.

Why do you write?

I didn’t feel like writing about it. Sometimes a good ole chat helps. So, my not so confident public-speaking ‘self’ created this audio. It’s about my publishing journey and the way I first discovered I could publish a book.

This audio was totally spontaneous- I didn’t read off any text, so I apologise in advance if I fumble a bit, especially at the start! I also apologise if I get any facts wrong. I’ve come a long way, but am open-minded to learning more.

Let me know if you have any questions and/or comments.

Happy writing!
signature Maria Grujicic Poems That Dance

Copyright © Maria Grujicic and, from February 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Maria Grujicic and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogger’s Block and Chit-Chat on Writing

I’m not sure why but lately I have blogger’s block. I’ve tried writing on my blog a few times but can’t. Today I’m trying a new strategy and I’m writing word after word as it comes to mind. Hopefully I’ll snap out of it and will find my voice again! I now need to regroup and think again about what writing a blog post is all about. I need to stop listening to  too much advice.

“I don’t like reading blog posts without a meaningful content,” a friend once said.

‘Ooomf,’ I thought. ‘I write just about anything that comes to mind on my blog. Should I step up the quality? Quantity?’

Ooh! There I go again… deleting words, doubting myself. Time to now regroup – writing a blog post is not like writing an article. At least, I don’t think it is. The difference? Before I start my blog post, I make a mental plan of what I want to write but not a structure. Sometimes my blog post goes in a very different direction to anything I ever thought I’d write. This is exciting because I find myself exploring my inner thoughts, and using my writer’s voice.

Blogging is a way to reach out to like-minded people, much like small chit-chat (it has to start somewhere) and form a connection from there.

Blogging also gives me the discipline not to edit until the end. It’s practice for my published work. I’ve written draft poems on my blog and have looked back on them thinking… ‘That poem looks totally different now!’ Today was such an example.

I spent a lot of time thinking about which project to tackle first. I’m overwhelmed. I look forward to the weekend to be creative and then get stuck. Oh boy, I had to start somewhere. So after doing some jobs around my place, I settled into writing a few poems, which got me thinking…

I used to share a lot more of my poems than I do now. I guess I’d like to reserve some privacy for myself. I also like to look back on them and edit some more. I spent some time looking up archaic words. These are some of my favourite:

alack = expression of sorrow or regret
baisemain= kiss on the hand
whosoever= everyone who
avaunt= away/ hence
fain= happy, inclined
hark= pay close attention
soothly= in truth
Fervent = glowing
Love apple = tomato
’tis = it is
’twas = it was
verily= truly, certainly
watchful = wakeful
wise= a manner, way or extent
without= outside

You can find more here.

Poetry sounds more elegant, dramatic, and more beautiful using archaic words. But of course one needs to be careful to use the correct grammar. I sometimes use the more commonly known archaic words and often search for new meanings in the dictionary. I also invent words like the title of my blog.. unless it’s already been ‘invented’? I also use the grammar of my mother tongue, Greek. This is because I sense it more. Hence, I grew up with it. It just occurred to me that this could be why I appreciate the beauty of the English language.

English, is like the Mona Lisa. It has been admired and used by so many and for so long that we forget how beautiful it is. I do think the old English is more beautiful, but one could refer to modern English as a reminder.

Word study helps me create the exact picture of what I want to express.

As mentioned before, I’ve stopped sharing my poetry on the site as much as I did before. I need to dig deeper to answer the question why. Are my poems more personal now? Have I been hurt too much and have avoided giving my poems away? Am I more sensitive to ridicule more as I get older?

I have, however, always published my poems and have a collection of books now. I figure that if anyone truly enjoys my work, they would buy a copy. Not that I own all the copies of my books. I’ve learned not to parade the ones I have, because on past occasions I didn’t have the heart to say ‘no’ when people asked for them. So in a sense, I’m now reserving my worth and integrity. I’ve compiled a set of poetry excerpts that give a sample of my work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you’re interested, look on my Twitter or Facebook Page as I upload more.

I’ve also included poetry excerpts in my book, The Hidden Beauty of Darwin, Australia, which accompanies beautiful photos of the bushland in the neighbourhood where I grew up. Real wild life live there, and yep- spiders and snakes too!

Lately I’ve also been looking in my post box at least three times a day for the arrival of my latest book, ‘Unpredictable Spaces’. Life, love and travel is what inspires my poetry and this book encompasses the unpredictable nature of my discoveries. More on that later.

Moreover, I write for family and friends, and of course for my husband, and in a sense, I also write for myself. I hope you enjoyed my post enough to hit the ‘like’ button, and would love to hear from you too. You made it this far, I have too. No more blogger’s block. Nice to know you’re there.

signature Maria Grujicic Poems That Dance


© Maria Grujicic and, from February 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Maria Grujicic and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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 for 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!