I was vacuuming, tripping over the powercord that wouldn't extend far enough, throwing abandoned shoes from loungeroom to bedroom, just missed sucking the cat's tail up the Dyson, when I wondered about the events that lead me to make The Decision. How could I give away 25 years of solid employment to go out on a limb and 'follow my dreams'? (an expression that causes me to feel nauseous as it happens). There was a mortgage to consider, a comfortable lifestyle to fund, grandchildren to spoil, and the constant media reminder that we had to have a Retirement Plan. As I wound the Dyson cord back into its holder, I wound my mind back to November 2010. Yes, I was in a good job, in an excellent school. I loved my colleagues and the girls I taught and I could have stayed... could have stayed. Safe, predictable, and Superannuation. Tucked in between the 'career', life was happening: rise at 5.30, breakfast for the kids, bus up to the coffee shop, and twenty minutes to write. I'd just be getting into it when I'd have to prise myself out of the seat to catch the train. Another twenty minutes to write. It was my pattern and was effective enough to allow me to complete two novels, both still sitting in the cupboard of my desk. In between classes, meetings, preparation, i daydreamed about being a successful writer; so successful I could stay home and write novels with eager fans holding their breath for the next one. But i had been daydreaming about that for years. In defence, I had made moves towards it. Courses, courses: CAE creative writing short course; correspondence writing course; RMIT ; Melb Uni, MA in Creative Writing, and now trying to finish a PhD. I also had rejections. Not enough 'to plaster my wall' with, but enough to sink my heart every time I recognised the self-addressed envelope in the letterbox: a beacon of failure. The comments weren't bad, in fact they were more often encouraging, but I wasn't marketable. What did that mean? Who was my market? 

AuthorAmanda Apthorpe