Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.
Today's interviewee is fantasy fiction writer Ellen Gregory.
What have you been wonderstruck by recently?
A few weeks ago, when rigorously pruning in my garden, I chopped down a branch that held a birds’ nest (which I initially didn’t realize) and two tiny recently hatched chicks tumbled out. Improvising madly, I got the nest back into the tree and spent the next several days avidly watching the two parent birds (Australian silver eyes) feed their chicks. I watched those little chicks grow stronger and larger, develop feathers — felt amazingly protective, fascinated and definitely wonderstruck by them. Unfortunately they disappeared from the nest when I went away for a few days, so I like to believe they found their wings and flew away.
What part of your day are you grateful for?
I suspect my answer here will not be unique — I just can’t go past my first coffee of the morning! Sometimes I want to weep when it ends. My preference is to drink it at my dayjob desk, and the best mornings are when my coffee has been delivered just before I arrive at the office. I’m not really human until the first sip of that coffee — a skim milk cafe latte — and only once I have it in hand am I ready to function. Weekends are similar, only I get to enjoy that coffee in one of my favourite cafes instead.
What part of the day is tough? How do you move through it?
Sigh. Getting out of bed in the morning. I need two alarms going in tandem on the other side of the room and sometimes that doesn’t even work. The only way I can get through the first part of the morning is by having a set routine. Activities. Tick boxes. Timeframes. Not a physical list, but a mental one. I’m generally in a zombie state until my first coffee (see answer to previous question).
What do you wish you were more conscious of?
I’m finding this a tricky question, but my mind keeps bouncing back to ‘other people’s feelings’. I think I wish I was better able to read people, to understand how differently they might be perceiving a situation compared with how I perceive it. I tend to take people at face value, and that of course is often naive.
How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?
There are two answers to this question. When I want to do or experience something and I’m feeling confident, then nothing will stop me. I can stay very focused and driven so long as I have that self-belief. I am rather prone to taking on challenges, such as NaNoWriMo this year (writing) or the Oxfam Trailwalker (an endurance charity event) I completed a few years ago. I make lists, I set schedules, I blog about them, I hold myself accountable. But it’s possible to lose that self-belief and confidence from time to time (like when I decide I’ll never make it as an author!) and those are the times I have to dig deep. There’s a lot of self talk, eating of chocolate, and small achievable goals set. I’m then able to inch forward, one step at a time, until I can rediscover that self-belief.
About Ellen Gregory:
Ellen Gregory lives with her devilcat in Melbourne, Australia. She mainly writes fantasy fiction and is currently working on a novel. One day she would love to publish her work. Her vices include ye olde favourites of coffee, red wine and chocolate — but she is also fond of carnivorous plants and mismatched furniture.