"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: My Life Downunder

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Life Downunder

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My Life Downunder

Rob Parnell

Still raining in Oz, like the gods decided we need more water. The land, the cities, the infrastructures are not set up for lots of rain - so we struggle to deal with flooding and power outs.

I like it here at this time of year because the constant wet reminds me of the UK, without the cold.

I came to Australia because I knew it would be good for my writing. I knew I could make it work here. Because London, you see, is a far too expensive place to live without a high paying job - and there's nowhere else I wanted to reside in England. The weather's too gray and sombre most of the time. And cold. Did I mention the cold?

Summer does encroach in the UK - for about a week in August. When the sun shines, millions of pink-skins head out to spend the day in the car, crawling through traffic to a crowded pebbly beach somewhere on Britain's battered coastline.

But most of my memories of England are of standing at bus stops freezing, living in rooms where heaters seemed incapable of penetrating the early morning frost and believing that cloud cover was just another word for sky.

I grew up in the British Isles so of course I remember the country lanes, the rolling hills and the idyllic villages that are apparently disappearing all the time these days. I watch Midsomer Murders to experience the country I miss - which probably doesn't exist anymore, not outside of a camera lens anyway.

There were too many people in the UK for me. City high streets were like hellish conveyor belts of humanity, thousands upon thousands of souls jostling for room in ever increasing urban sprawls that traded history and culture for shopping malls and carparks, much like the way this now happens the world over.

I came to Australia because I needed air, space and time to think. I needed a country where I didn't have to worry about money all the time. A place I could write, compose music and direct movies and plays all of the time instead of 'once I'd saved the money'.

How did I know that all this would be possible in the land downunder?

I don't know. I couldn't possibly have known. And yet it was a kind of knowing that drove me here. Not love - or the desire to start again or build a new life - nothing so grandiose.

No, I only knew I wanted to write - and do it for a living. And that just wasn't possible in the UK, not with price of property - the gold of modern society.

And so I'm here now. Writing in my beautiful office - that's currently doubling as a studio set with a green screen wall - in my beautiful house with my beautiful wife...

Of course I'm lucky to be here. I stood in line at the Australian embassy in London for four hours to be told that there was just no way I'd get a visa to live in Oz. They don't do that much, they said.

Immigration is a touchy issue here. Odd for a country that's basically been invaded by Europeans who then closed the door and said, no more!

It's government policy to allow 13,700 illegals in every year - and that's it.

I got in through stealth, subverting the system, like many others.

I arrived 'on holiday' one day in September 1999 and went the next day to apply for residency in South Australia - the only state that still let's you do that. Two years, a series of crass interviews and tiresome hoop jumping later, I was allowed to call myself Australian and, though technically I'll always be a British citizen, thanks to the power and glory of our dwindling Empire, I'm not allowed to use my British passport anymore - not if I want to re-enter the great land of Oz, anyway.

So what did happen to my writing?

Well, if you're reading this you'll probably know that I was right to trust that feeling, however it came about.

But really it probably wasn't Australia that made it all possible.

More it was the need in me to make writing my life.

Instead of just wishing, I needed to make it happen, at any cost.

Any cost.

When you want something enough, nothing can stand in your way.

Logic, good sense, lack of money and resources - none of that matters when you set your heart on something that absolutely must happen.

Just like Hollywood movies teach us.

Against all the odds we can have what we want. But only if we  realize that the only obstacles we face are those we build ourselves, inside of us.

Because the real issue is: not the pain of not getting what you want - that's an easy thing because most of us experience that every day. No, the real issue is: what do you do when you get what you want?

How will you feel when your dreams have come true?

What do you do then?

Will you be happy - and fulfilled?

That's why you need to follow your heart and intuition.

Because you really have to want and need what you get.

I once spoke to a motivation coach in my twenties. I asked her what it meant if you didn't get what you wanted.

She said it just meant you didn't really want it enough.

And she was probably right. Merely wishing and daydreaming is not enough.

If there's something you want - or need - then truly want it with all your heart.

And you'll make it happen.

Keep writing!
 rob at home


“Those who write clearly have readers, those who write
obscurely have commentators.”
Albert Camus

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