10. Ambassador for the Children’s Tumour Foundation Undie Run
I still can’t believe I wore a pair of snug undies and tight fitting T-shirt, and walked around in public! But that’s what I did as ambassador for the inaugural Bunbury Cupid’s Undie Run for the Children’s Tumour Foundation. The team raised a load of cash and awareness for Neurofibromatosis.
9. I got to see inside a prison (without being arrested)
When I was invited to talk to prisoners at Bunbury Region Prison by Prison Educator and City of Bunbury Councillor Wendy Giles, I jumped at the chance. For obvious reasons you can’t see the prisoners in the photos, but it was great to meet the guys and talk about writing, publishing and using writing as a way of expressing yourself.
8. Meeting my old piano teacher after 40 years, and finding out she’s a famous artist!
When I was 10, my piano teacher, Mrs Noakes, taught me to play Star Wars, Chariots of Fire and even Islands in the Stream (Yes, I know!). But these days she is an extraordinary artist and has exhibited in the some of the biggest galleries around the world. She saw an Instagram post of mine and thought, “Is that the same little Josh I taught all those years ago?” She then got in contact. It was such joy to catch up after so many years and swap stories. See her fabulous artwork here.
7. Meeting Michael Leunig at the Margaret River Reader’s and Writers Festival
Being my local festival, the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is my favourite. I was invited back this year to run a Find Your Creative Mojo workshop with Andy, and be a panel member for one of the talks. But the highlight was meeting Michael Leunig in person. You can read about how nervous I was here.
I also caught up with fellow author Holden Sheppard, after chatting for ages on Facebook. His amazing book, Invisible Boys, has exploded across the country.
6. Creating Graeme the giraffe
Graeme, the poster boy for Magnificent Mistakes and Fantastic Failures, exemplifies the feeling of the book. When my editor Diane asked why a Giraffe in a tutu, I said he represents how you can feel after reading it; brave, carefree, adventurous and joyous. You can preoder Magnificent Mistakes now. It’s due for release late March 2020.
5. So many special workshops, collaborations and unique events
This year I was lucky enough to run a couple of workshops with Joelene Lavrick from Life Lessons Australia. I was invited by Beth at Dymocks Busselton to interview Holden Sheppard as part of his mammoth tour promoting Invisible Boys. The Shire of Augusta Margaret River invited me to run a couple important workshops for kids, and I talked about my anxiety diagnosis at a Volunteers South West breakfast in Bunbury. I was also a guest presenter at the Rockingham Writer’s Convention in September.
4. Geraldton trip with Outside Creative.
I don’t often talk on my author website about the copywriting business, Outside Creative, that I run with my husband Andy, but this deserves a special mention. Because when Andy and I get together to run a workshop, it’s a event! We were invited my Redwave Media/7WestMedia to run a series of workshops on advertising for their Geraldton clients, and it was great fun. Nothing like a road trip to a beautiful spot by the ocean, with friendly people, wonderful clients, all while doing something you love. We also got to meet Ashton Agar the cricket dude!
3. CBCA Book Week… umm months!
During August and September I toured over 18 schools across Perth and the South West, speaking to thousands of kids while wearing a cape! I still pinch myself when I remember I get paid to talk to kids about self esteem, resilience and that they are enough!
2. Getting Diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Getting the diagnosis has helped me understand my thought processes and behaviours, and begin work with them instead of beating myself up thinking I’m flawed in some way. I’m now seeing a therapist to help heal the wounds of my childhood that led to the anxiety. I can’t recommend enough the importance of dealing with issues from your past to create a brighter, more loving future, for you and everyone else. It’s one of bravest and rewarding things you can do.
1. Getting Married
In March, I married my partner of 20 years, Andy, and it was the most love-filled day I’ve experienced in my life. It’s taken me a long to time to accept my sexuality, but on that day I was able to stand proud for the first time. If I can accept myself for who I am, then I can accept other people for who they are. Hopefully, they can then begin to accept themselves for who they are too.