African Hearts

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - © Noela Cowell 2019

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - © Noela Cowell 2019

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog. In fact, it’s been three years. A lot has happened for me during the three years and I just want to share with you what I have been doing. I have moved house twice. Yes, I am still living a fluid lifestyle, allowing the wind to blow me around like a dandelion flower seed.

I moved to the gorgeous country town of Maleny, where I worked for an accountant, and wrote and learned to paint on the weekends. Unfortunately, I felt extremely isolated in that environment. I missed the city buzz. A lot of people can’t believe I left the country to return to the city. Everyone has their special place.

I came to Brisbane, right in the middle of the city. Immediately, I felt as if I had come home. I worked for an accountant again for a year and then realised I needed to get back to my writing. Since writing Kate’s choice I felt as though I was blocked creatively. I have been called to write, that’s a no-brainer, but doors opened for my technical skills, helping other writers revise and edit their writing for ebooks. So I started my coaching and editing business to dovetail with writing fiction.

This decision has unblocked the creative juices and I am again back to writing. These two years have involved a lot of soul searching and digging deep to find the person I am. There were times when I was lost, alone and confused. Why was I in this position? I was undergoing transformation and I didn’t know it. All I knew was that I was lost, and unsure of where to turn to next. I have come through the fire and have renewed enthusiasm and commitment for my future writing life.

So what’s next? I am settled, for the moment, here in the heart of Brisbane, until the wind picks up and wants to take me elsewhere. This stability for the moment means I am writing the sequel to African Hearts and I am loving it. This is Justin and Kizza’s story. They are off to university to study medicine so they can return to Gumboli and help Kam in the hospital. Living in Australia in Gold Coast in Aunt Gina’s apartment is not easy for them. They are tempted by the fun and easy lifestyle of the Gold Coast. Will they be able to handle the temptations put before them and the influences of the young people who have grown up in Australia? For those of you who have read African Hearts, you will be aware Justin and Kizza are orphans. Each of them struggle with their identity. Justin more than Kizza.

Our identity is important to us. Identity assures us of our existence, who our parents and grandparents are and where we got our hair colour, eye colour and body shape, what diseases run in our genes and the different parts of our character can be traced back to our forefathers. Identity is important to all of us.

Identity for Justin is important because his father was Marco, Gina’s brother who was of Italian descent. Marco married Ella who was German, so Justin’s identity is mixed up with Italian, German and Australian cultures. it’s no surprise Justin is confused about his heritage.

Identity for Kizza is different. She was born in Uganda of indigenous parents, so naturally her skin is dark. She was raised by elders of the village, Moses and Lulu, but who is Kizza really? What’s her identity? Who were her parents? Where did they live? Who were her grandparents? Kizza doesn’t know. She was raised in the culture of her parents, but still she has no identity as to who her parents were.

I’d like to refer to the movie, Lion, about the Indian boy who got separated from his brother and got on a train in the hope he would find his way home. Saroo was his name. This little boy, having grown up in a poor area of India had survival skills. He was lucky, he found his way to an orphanage and from there he was adopted by a couple in Melbourne where he lived with a loving family until adulthood. But Saroo knew he had another life, and he hungered to know where he came from. He spent twenty-five years searching, first for his mother. By searching in his free time with the help of Google maps he was able to finally reconnect with his mother. To date he is still searching for his father. Saroo is tenacious, he will find his father, I hope sooner rather than later.

Justin and Kizza’s parents are dead. How will they find out the important information about their genetic make up? The African Hearts sequel is about the search for identity. Are you comfortable with your identity, or are you searching for answers? Have you completed your search to find who you are? Did finding the answers help you to understand yourself? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a message.

I'll Meet You At Hachiko

Hachiko monument, Shibuyu

Hachiko monument, Shibuyu

When I went to Japan  I didn't expect to hear about the faithful dog, Hachiko. It was a story that brought tears to my eyes and I want to share that story with you today.

Hachiko, a homeless, Akita breed of dog, came into Professor Hidesaburo Ueno's life one day in 1924. Hachiko became his loyal companion. Every day Hachiko met his master at Shibuya station where the professor stepped from the train after his day's work at Tokyo University. In May, 1925 Professor Ueno died of a brain haemorrhage. Hachiko waited for his beloved master every day even though in the early days he had no food. People who got to know Hachiko knew of his master's fate and brought food for him. Hachiko continued to wait for his master until his death in March 1935.

A film titled, Hach: A Dog's Tale, was produced in 2009 to make this true story real to movie fans. The monument is a favourite place for people to meet when they arrive in Shibuya. The station is a busy place. The Hachiko memorial is an outstanding landmark that had me thinking about loyalty. Can we humans understand the loyalty of this dog to his master? What was the instant connection starting the relationship that kept Hachiko coming back to greet Hidesaburo every evening and even after his death?

I have a connection with a special friend that started way back in the early eighties when we met in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. She now lives in Melbourne and I live in Gold Coast. We are always there for each other when we need to talk. We have been through high and low times. We speak on the phone often and it is a deep connection that takes us to a deep level with each other. She is my confidante, my sounding board to try out new ideas and most of all she loves me for just the way I am warts and all. I know I will be loyal to my friend until the day I die.

I believe this is the connection Hachiko had with his master, although the level of loyalty Hachiko and his master shared may be on a level I will never understand. So when you and I are meeting up in Tokyo meet me at Hachiko in Shibuya.

I'd like to hear about the special relationship you have with your pet or friend. What is that special something that means so much to you?


Thank You Melbourne

I felt sad as we left Melbourne this week. I thought about the time we spent with family; time spent with friends from my husband's teenage years; and time spent with the new friends I made at my book signings.

Kooyong Bookstore - Blackburn Vic.

Kooyong Bookstore - Blackburn Vic.

A very special thank you to everyone who came to my book signings at Koorong Blackburn and Koorong Melbourne CBD, and a special thank you to radio Light FM 89.9 for interviewing me. You all made my day special.

You see, I spend a lot of time behind the keyboard, or scratching with pen on paper hoping to write a saleable novel, and often I'm plagued with doubts about my work. When I have the opportunity to showcase my work it's so humbling to know that someone is going to take the time to read it.

Everyone is short of time, so to come to my book signing made me feel really valued. A special thanks again to all who came.

From the city to the bush at Eagle Point: I just had to share what happened yesterday.

A family of swans came to visit us at our camp site. I'm not sure if this is mum or dad with the cygnets, but the other adult is chasing up a wayward young one while the others watch with interest....could we get away with a bit of adventure just like our brother?

Feeling safe and secure with Mum

Feeling safe and secure with Mum

Best wishes to you all for a blessed Easter with family and friends.

Goodbye Mornington Peninsula

Beach sheds Mornington Peninsula

Beach sheds Mornington Peninsula

Autumn has arrived on the Mornington Peninsula: the days are getting shorter and the temperatures lower. Bit cool down this neck of the woods for this Queenslander so I'm ready to move on, but I look forward to re-visiting in the future.

Next Monday we leave this interesting peninsula and move to the next stage of our journey which is a week in Melbourne before heading east.

I wanted to share this photo of the beach huts at Dromana. They reminded me of Enid Blyton's Famous Five series I read as a kid. When I read those books about secret tunnels and sheds by the beach my imagination was hooked. Do theyreally exist? Perhaps in England, but I hadn't thought about the sheds being in Australia, nor did I picture them being as colourful as those in the picture. Locals have told me the council recently required they be kept in good condition, hence the bright colours.

Now I'm curious to know what is stored inside of them. Perhaps a small row boat that can be lifted into the water; fishing tackle; beach umbrella/shade cover; or perhaps the owners use it for storage of all those surplus items they have no room for in their homes. During our stay here I kept my eyes peeled hoping I'd see someone accessing their shed, but no luck, so I'm left more curious than ever.

Another interesting thing was these sheds were advertised in a real estate magazine ranging from $50,000 up to $250,000. Puts a completely different meaning on 'men's shed' doesn't it?