Linda Collard

Write-brained

In Writing on June 10, 2011 at 1:27 am

A happy brain helps me write. You?

I love to write. But I haven’t been doing it much lately (other than paid gigs). Why? It strikes me that I shut the writing right down when I’m not that happy or when I’m super stressed. I’ve been both these things for several weeks, but that’s not what I want to ponder today.

(Don’t worry, we have our health… and our problems are all very ‘first world’!)

It turns out that while I like to have a good whinge to a friend in person, I do not like to write unhappy things down. I know many people find this really cathartic and do almost a public service by sharing things with others who may feel similarly.

I like to ‘put on a happy face’ online. If I was to be deeply introspective (and given my basic shallowness, this doesn’t happen too often!) I wonder what it says about me? Have all my years in PR censored my ability to share negative thoughts or news? Am I managing my own reputation? (It just feels wrong, wrong, wrong to purposely release bad news, even if it’s my own!)

Is it something else? It is, at least partly, that I’m not prepared to write about things that may involve my family or other close relationships. Maybe I should write and not publish…

When do you write? Do you write through all moods? Does it help?

My feet, my heroes

In Goals on March 16, 2011 at 5:46 am

Foot model has been used: My pedicure was not quite up for the photo opp

It is done. Together with three other women, I walked Coastrek, 100km from Palm Beach to Coogee, and lived to tell the tale. One hundred kilometres is not to be sneezed at. I knew that before I tried it, but I know it to my very core now. *

I learnt so many lessons along that 100km, lessons in persistence, teamwork and toughness – some of them internal and some from watching my wonderful teammates tackle the challenge.

But the thing that stays with me? I have an incredible body. I asked it to perform over and beyond what it had ever done, and it did it. (Talk about going the extra mile. Or 40.)

There was a real moment in the bath on Saturday night, a few hours after the finish. I looked at my poorly painted, sorely neglected, half-red toenails sticking out of the Radox bath and I just thought ‘you poor things. Thank you.’

My big hairy audacious challenge has given me a new unconditional love for my body. What a gift. This thing has really changed the way I view myself.

Some women are born with this body love. Some women find this body love after giving birth (call me shallow, but I felt the opposite!). One great friend found it when her body stamped out cancer. Some may never find it.

If you fall into the latter category, you could try asking your body to do more than you ever thought possible. You don’t have to walk 100km like I chose to, but do something bit by bit. And then take on your big challenge.

Such respect for my body is a surprising feeling. And so damn worth all the training.

*Much like the difference between knowing childbirth will be difficult before you do it, and really truly absolutely knowing it afterwards.

Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news*

In Media and news on February 22, 2011 at 10:47 am


I’ve lost complete days of productivity to breaking news stories since I started working at home.

I was consumed by the Labor leadership spill when Julia Gillard became Prime Minister. I was gripped with helplessness during the January 2011 floods in Queensland. And I kept one distracted eye on the recent Tropical Cyclone Yasi as it unfolded.

My interest is human; it’s wishing I could help. If I’m honest, it’s partly that feeling of needing to know.

But it’s also more objective. I love to see how things are reported, how the journalists tackle the story and the news angles used. I have a smattering of media junkie in me.

At about lunchtime today I thought the same was going to happen. Suddenly my Twitter stream was filled with news of today’s horrendous Christchurch earthquake. After following online for a short while, I switched on the news.

I tried both Channel 9 and the ABC. Both were using the TV3 feed from New Zealand. It was raw footage. As it turns out, very very raw.

After watching for a few minutes, I had to turn it off. It felt like voyeurism, not news. Too much personal pain and confusion and it was not necessary for me to see it… for the sake of people’s dignity and privacy, not just because of my sensibilities.

It was totally raw and unedited and therefore intensely personal. We saw images of people being extracted from a collapsed building in real time. Do we need to ‘be there’ to that degree? I think not.

I was not alone in my view. Just a few of the comments on Twitter included:

@dellvink – These pictures need to be edited. No need for them to be live. There are too many graphic pics. @ABCTV_Australia

@ZucchiniBikini – It’s positively voyeuristic, in my view.

@KarenCollum More like shock reality TV than news.

@maungle it’s not really news we are getting – it’s just horrific footage

@ruddygood – Will the media take note? My Twitter feed is telling — this unedited graphic coverage is NOT what people want. Sensitivity & dignity, please

On the flip side, one New Zealander reminded me that people with friends and family they could not contact may find it useful as they try to find out something, anything. A traumatic way to see a loved one, but there is a point there.

I find this fascinating, especially in light of the well-regarded flood coverage of a month ago. Was the live coverage then appreciated, even lauded, because it was mostly water we were looking at? By contrast, in Christchurch we were seeing traumatised people in intensely personal images.

News coverage may have exceeded public appetite this time. What do you think? Do you believe the media will take note of the people switching off and change the way they report? Or is the media machine too far down the road of real time, unedited, coverage at all costs?

PS – I watched a small part of the 6pm news on Channel 9 this evening and found it was much more my definition of news, packaged and telling us what was going on. The dilemma for news people has to be telling the story first versus telling it right.

* My post’s title, while of course Skyhooks lyrics, was used today on Twitter by @ZucchiniBikini to very aptly describe the live coverage of the Christchurch earthquake.

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