Two of my articles were published in The Beagle online newspaper; and BayPost/Moruya Examiner/The Independent online and print newspapers in July as part of the Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers 'Write Place, Write Time' series.
Following publication of a ‘Letter to the Editor’ when I was 14, my parents referred to me as the “writer of the family”, although fulfilling my creativity in story-telling tended to mean I was assigned to writing family Christmas newsletters!
Early 2007, with the encouragement of the psychic community, I gathered my notes on ethics around paranormal and psychic phenomena, and a manuscript eventually emerged ready for a publisher’s consideration. I’d made phone calls to publishers to gauge their interest. Then everything stopped as a rapid decline in my health occurred. Chronic pain intensified, complicated by reduced cognitive abilities from reactions to medications. My world was turned upside down. What does a word mean, or the context of a sentence? How do I comprehend what seems like a garbled conversation, when even the words in a story are a blur? This was my new life, sounds attacking me, confusing me, robbing me of vitality and hope.
To my surprise a publisher contacted me, just before Christmas 2010, and asked would I be interested in having my work published – huge panic. Yes! But how? Slowly, and with lots of support from my husband, as well as practical help from a fantastic editor, Ethics of a Psychic Reading became a reality in July 2012.
My next foray into the written word soon followed with a request from the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) in 2013 for stories with the theme ‘Sydney’. My desire to encapsulate my mother Patricia’s memory of her childhood overcame my fears, and set me on a journey of discovery. 1500 words seemed daunting, but receiving feedback from the Eurobodalla FAW (EFAW) day group which I had recently joined, my collection of words towards a story about my mother’s early days as a child living near The Rocks in the 1930s started taking shape. In May 2013 the EFAW night group was established, for writers who wished to exchange critique towards publication of factual or fictional novels, opening an opportunity for me. Even though I still couldn’t understand the meaning of words, nor comprehend structure, or character interactions, I worked better with feedback if it was written rather than verbal so I didn’t need to rely on memory. Conversations with my mother became richer with detail extending beyond those early years. My journey of discovery was two-fold – gradually turning around dysfunction through developing speech and writing skills; and importantly getting to know my mother, her impact through – unintentional – leadership and as an inspiration to family and others throughout her life.
From a delightful insight into Patricia’s childhood my desire grew to know more, beyond the adventure of fun and exploration. Snippets of information, a chance word, a smile over a cup of tea, Patricia spoke of hopes, challenges, respect, and achievements. Each month the Eurobodalla-FAW night group gave me a set of questions to ask her. I saw the child who grew up in a loving family where education and strong values of kindness were important; the dilemma of being a female, an emerging young woman and the societal expectations that were placed on her. I saw a quiet rebellion forging a powerful determination when obstacles challenged her – not afraid of proving that she was equally skilled working within male-dominated industries; a woman who melded an executive position and family from only a couple of years after the Australian Marriage Bar was lifted, eventually encouraging family-friendly and diversity practices within the workforce for herself and others until her retirement.
I never knew that a glass ceiling existed for women as both parents’ mantra was “you are capable of doing whatever you want to do”, and Mamma led by example. After eight years, researching and writing the book, I self-published What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir.
This is the story of Patricia, an extraordinary Australian woman whose determination and courage against discrimination from the 1930s onward became an inspirational leader for future generations. Patricia has since been accepted into the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame, included in ‘Herstory’, an educational database on women’s achievements, and recognised by BORAL for 2021 International Women’s Day. As BORALS’s first female accountant in 1949, Patricia was featured on the company’s 75th anniversary poster for all their employees.
“never underestimate what you can do in life” was ever present for herself, and inspirational for everyone who came in contact with her.
Patricia Evans 1927-2022 Rest in Peace
Suzanne Newnham is the author of Ethics of a Psychic Reading and What Glass Ceiling?; writer and contributor to numerous journals and anthologies; health advocate for chronic pain management; and researcher into chronic pain using Tai Chi, Qigong, and meditation. Her current project is family inspired social history – 180 years of pubs on Moruya Waterfront Hotel Motel site with a request for stories, anecdotes, family history, photos, and/or documents from everyone to include in this look at a social icon in the community.
For all Suzanne’s publications, information, and purchase: https://www.suzanne-newnham.com
Moruya pub project:https://www.suzanne-newnham.com/books--articles.html
A copy of my first article is located at: https://www.suzanne-newnham.com/-blog/write-place-write-time-1