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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Secret Lives

You can see from my profile that I have a number of "lives", of which writer is only one! I have been pondering this strangely schizophrenic life. In my 'real' life (the one that pays the bills!), I am a senior executive with a large not-for profit organisation. For three days a week (in real time, more in emotional time!) I balance the demands of board meetings, board reports papers and ongoing requests for legal advice. For two days a week I try (not terribly successfully) to be Alison Stuart, writer...and in between I fit wife, mother etc. into the equation.

The people you meet and interact with in your day to day life form a certain image of you in their own mind. For many years, when I first started writing, I would no more have admitted to my secret life than stood up in front of a Melbourne Cricket Ground crowd and declared myself a born again Christian! It was even something a little shameful , a secret vice like eating too much chocolate ... or buying really expensive Italian shoes...

I had to really trust a person before I confessed my secret life, generally prefaced by something like: "Just for fun! Just stories, not great works of literature..." I was so afraid that if my colleagues knew I wrote historical fiction (with romance) my professional credibility would be undermined in some way. This is one of the reasons I chose to write under a pen name. It freed me up to be another person, the Jekkyl to my Hyde!

As I've gone on, I have gained a little more confidence in my work colleagues and most of them now know that beneath the senior executive in the tailored suits (that is a look I am definitely trying to shed!), there is a whole other side to my life. This has, in its turn, invited similar confidences about the secret lives of my work colleagues - martial arts champions, crime writers, poetry writers...

I would love to know how you balance your secret lives? Do you have work colleagues with secret lives? How does knowing a person's secret life affect the way you interact with them?

The Book of My Heart!

If you have read my earlier blogs and visited my website, you will know that BY THE SWORD is the book of my heart. A little story that began when I visited Harvington Hall at the age of 11 and has been with me through thick and thin - endured rejection and rewrite, consignment to sock drawers and resurrection is now an Eppie Award winner.
The awards were announced in Portland on Saturday night but, of course, being in Melbourne Australia I did not see the results until Monday morning. My husband, hearing the shriek, came bounding up the stairs two at a time, convinced I was being savaged by a monster spider....
Thank you so much to those out there who have sent me so many good wishes that I am sloshing in cyber champagne and to Fiona Lowe and Mel Scott for "blogging me"...and most of all to those of you who have read and enjoyed the story. THAT is why I write :-)