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Good Monday Morning to you all :) There is change in the wind… Summer in Australia is over, but that’s not the only change.

I’ve been blogging three times a week now for 9 months, had more than 5000 hits on my site since I started, and visits from 15 different countries in the last month.

It has been a lot of fun as I explored my personal pattern of blogging. I like my Magnificent Mondays, Writing Wednesdays and Family Fridays too much to drop any one of them, but I need to create more time for other things. 

So I’ve decided that I will only blog once a week. Depending on what is happening in my life, I will post in either Magnificent Monday, Writing Wednesdays or Family Fridays. 

This will allow me to spend more time doing school visits and writing workshops with students, have breakfast with friends :) , participate in other activities (that I will talk about later), sit out on my deck…

Thank you all for your support, encouragement and comments. 

Quote for the week: Until you can manage your time, it is impossible to manage anything else. Peter Drucker

Have a great week and I’ll see you all on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday :)

DJ

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During a recent writing workshop, a year 5 student asked me why I wrote crime stories. This is what I told him…

Living in a small country town, I always wanted to grow up and be a police officer or a spy. My favourite comics were detective/spy ones and I learned all I could about secret ways of messaging, writing with invisible ink etc. At one time I went through a phase were I would smooth out a patch of dirt late in the afternoon, in a strategic part of our back yard, then first thing in the morning I would hurry to my patch of dirt and see what/who had walked through it.

All around my back yard I could identify who in my family had been there by the size or tread of their footwear. I could even pick out when a neighbourhood dog or cat had wandered through.

When I hit high-school, I chose subjects that would help me in my quest to be a police officer. In my final year of high-school, my English teacher helped me achieve my dream by contacting the Police Academy and arranging for application papers to be sent to the school. The Academy said that providing I passed the entrance exam, they would make special allowance for me to come straight from high-school to be in the first intake of the new year.

There are no words to describe the excitement and anticipation as I began filling out that paperwork. I was going to fulfil my dream. But then… on the last page, it said ‘Must be an Australian Citizen or a British Subject.’ I was almost 17 years old, was a US citizen at the time, and I felt as though my life was over! The guidance counsellor was no help, asking, ‘Well, what else do you think you’d like to do?’ There was nothing else – I was BORN to be a police officer! It wasn’t fair.

I ended up taking an office job, and discovering that my life wasn’t over. It was just beginning in a new direction that I hadn’t anticipated. I never lost my desire to be a police officer, and I watched all the crime shows I could through the coming years. More than 20 years later, when I sat down to write my first novel, I wrote about what I knew. Police procedure, crime, detecting…

You could have heard a pin drop in the class as they thought about the loss of my dream. Then the same boy asked ‘It’s not too late. Can’t you still become a police officer?’ Bless him… Some dreams are to remain dreams.

Do I regret the path God chose for me? No way. I sometimes wonder what I’d look like in a Police uniform :) but I have had a life I wouldn’t trade.

DJ

 

 

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Today I thought I’d share my top two favourite short stories that have come out of my school writing workshops. We have some creative kids out there :)

1. I gave them this task: Write a story from the point of view of an apple, sitting in a fruit basket on your kitchen counter, observing life around it.

Yr 5 boy who hardly ever attended school, was there for each of my 4 school writing workshops. He wrote: I am a green apple. I don’t like being a green apple. I want to be a red apple. One day someone put some strawberries in the fruit bowl. One got squashed on me and now I am red. And I am happy.

2. Yr 9. I had the students create a class story using their senses. This is what they came up with:

It was a dark moonlit night. The crickets cricked in the tall grass. The front door slowly creaked open and I went inside. At first the house smelt damp and musty. Then smoke from a fireless fire-place filled the lounge room. To escape the smoke, I headed upstairs. The banister felt gritty with a layer of dust and I wiped away the cobwebs that fluttered against my skin. The staircase opened out into a huge room with a single door in the far wall. I crossed the floor and gently pushed the door open. A white cat shot out the door and raced across the room and disappeared down the stairs. The door closed behind me – trapping me. Inside the room was a glass casket with Snow White inside. Beside the casket was a skeleton down on one knee holding up an engagement ring. Beside the casket was a box of Turkish delight. I took one. I took a bite. It was sweet. Suddenly I turned into a white cat…

Aren’t they great?

For those who are following the progress of my first picture book (due out in September) I’ve uploaded a couple draft illustrations at https://www.facebook.com/authordjstutley

Take care,

DJ

 

 

 

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