How I Made a Documentary

 

In 2015, I wrote a children’s book, Two Pennies, I had no idea that it would find its way into a documentary or that I would become the co-producer and screenwriter of my first documentary, Never Forget Australia. Then I heard about the remarkable story of a little French war orphan’s journey from the battlefields of France to the Australian outback. I was spellbound; compelled to write about it. Continue reading

Big Magic

I was stuck in a very familiar place recently. A place where, for minutes, hours, but Magic 1thankfully never days, I give up on my creative juices. I wallow in misguided thoughts and negativity.

I am writing a novel about a young woman who finds herself back in 1916 behind enemy lines at the Western Front, during World War 1. She wants to right a wrong and in doing so meets her grandfather as a young man and falls in love with a gorgeous Frenchman. It’s a love story about choices, hope and redemption.

I was at the stage in my writing where I sometimes say to myself, ‘Is this shit? Really? What am I doing? Are these characters ever going to come to life? Can I really write? Who am I kidding?’ Apparently having 26 published books, some bestsellers in Australia, doesn’t relieve me of these insecurities.

So this time I turned to Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. She has written Big Magic, a book which for me is a kind of handbook for the creative spirit, for when I am lost or can’t find my way. Big Magic is not just for writers, it’s for everyone, because Elizabeth believes that everyone can access their creative ability and find their own big magic.

So I apply her philosophy and say to myself, ‘Oh, I’m just at the stage where I doubt myself. I don’t particularity like this stage but that’s OK. It’s turned up, it’s a tad self indulgent, but here it is in all its glory.’ So I let it sit in the room and then get on with more writing. It’s OK.

Fear may be a daily occurrence, whatever we fill our days with. Fear that others won’t like us, of not being approved of, of not being enough, of not being loved or cared for in the way we want to be cared for. The list can be long.

But that’s OK. The fear already is in the room anyhow, so make friends with it. At a recent talk in Brisbane, Gilbert used the analogy of taking it with you when you drive. To let it come with you in the car. It can sit in the back seat, it can have some snacks if it sits quietly, but it can never ever drive the car.

Fear and sadness are intimate bedfellows. Most of us haven’t been given a strategy for sadness, it can take a long time to even recognise it as a valid emotion. Like fear, let it into your life but don’t give it a front seat. Make sure you feel it properly. Sit with it, feel where it has settled in your body. Be incredibly mindful of it and give it the honour and respect it deserves as a valuable emotion. It can alert you to what needs to change in your life. When acknowledged and cherished, it can be the starting point for new and more authentic relationships, friendships and self-appreciation. If you get stuck, try Byron Katie’s worksheet at www.thework.com

So, on with my writing. It doesn’t look so bad now … a work in progress, a labour of love, a tool to learn and grow. We all have the ability to access our creative juices. What are you waiting for?

Dreams Can Come True

When I was 15 years old my Dad gave me a book. He told me to look for the magic in it. It sat on my dresser for months, what would Dad know?

Slowly I started reading I Can by Ben Sweetland then I couldn’t put it down. I hadn’t known the strong link between thinking positively and achievement before reading this book. But the magic for me was learning about visualisation. I immediately put it to work, but probably not in the way my Dad had intended.

I made a goal that the boy two classes ahead would ask if he could take me out and made the commitment to support this goal with visualisation. An impossible dream. Two years difference in age was a lifetime in school years and senior boys were not much interested in grade 10 girls.

But I was not deterred. I was mad about him. So every night before I went to sleep I imagined him coming to my house, knocking at the door. I imagined what I would be wearing. I imagined Dad opening the door with a welcoming smile. I filled in every detail in Technicolor.

Three weeks later, on a Saturday night in late September, Harry came to our front door and collected me for the school dance. I couldn’t believe it. This visualisation really works! I was committed to it for life.

I went on to use visualisation for all sorts of things, improving my swimming, getting a job in the school holidays, and yes, even improving my schoolwork. More like the things my Dad probably had in mind in giving me I Can.

I didn’t tell anyone about my discovery. I think Dad knew I was using it; he had that smile on his face the night Harry came to collect me that looked like he knew something was up.

I also didn’t want to tell anyone in case it broke the magic. Funny.

Years later I started to share the magic when in 1992, I wrote Take Me To My Garden Mummy. This children’s book went viral. I still have children who had read it in 1992 contacting me to buy a copy for their children.

So here is Dreams Can Come True, my latest version of that original idea. It is written for parents, grandparents and teachers to read to primary school children.

Sometimes children need a quiet space of their own where nothing goes wrong. By using their imagination, they can find this special place. Their favourite place may become any one of the seven visualisations in Dreams Can Come TrueThe Secret Garden, Library of LearningMagic Cave of Friends, Rainforest Healing, The Beach and the Healing White Light, Flying in the CloudsPink Bubble. These become positive places to solve problems, helping to put their young minds to rest.

Visualisation creates an environment for both adults and children to grow and learn, and to engage their imaginations. Adults often say that after a busy day, going to the Secret Garden or Magic Cave of Friends with a child relaxes them as well, and rejuvenates their sometimes flagging spirits.

I have included a CD of these seven visualisations in Dreams Can Come True. The book is beautifully illustrated by John Flitcroft.Dreams can come true parents Large

www.vickibennett.com.au or www.boolarongpress.com.au