Life Lessons · This Writer's Life · Writing

Lost & Found: A Writer’s Journey.

McCubbin's Lost smallestIt has taken seven years of hard work, headaches, and sometimes almost complete abandonment, but I have finally completed my University studies.  Some weeks after I finished my last assignment, my elation was hampered by doubts and confusion.  Not used to being idle, I felt lost.

I can be pretty hopeless when it comes to a sense of direction.  I can’t venture into unknown territory without a map, which is why I always need my husband to read the maps while I drive.

Some years back, I drove home alone after visiting my sister’s place in a suburb in southern Sydney.  After a few visits, I knew the route home, but on this particular day I must have been overly confident, for I had taken a wrong turn.  I had detoured into unfamiliar territory and felt instant panic.  I tried to keep as close to the highway as possible, knowing this was the only way I could get back home.  I pulled over to the side of the road and consulted the street directory, but this didn’t help as I could not locate any street signs, let alone read them.  Now I knew how Dorothy felt in the Wizard of Oz; being lost can be a frightening experience.  I saw some people walking on the path nearby and was faced with a dilemma.  Which fear was greater – being lost or talking to strangers?  I chose the former and asked these people directions that would see me safely on my way home again.

From this experience, I came to realise three important things:-

  1.  The future is full of uncertainties.
  2.  Have a plan.
  3. It’s alright to ask for help.

So now, after finishing my studies, my husband asked me what I was going to do.  I reverted back to my favourite childhood saying: ‘I don’t know’.  Without hesitation, my husband calmly replied ‘You’ve always wanted to write; now’s your time to do it’.

Sometimes we may stray off course once in a while, but it’s good to know that someone always has our best interests at heart – even complete strangers.

Have you ever been lost and needed help?  What scares you the most – being lost or talking to strangers?  Are you afraid of the unknown?  Do you see uncertainties as opportunities?  Do you believe strangers are friends we haven’t met yet?

Image of Frederick McCubbin’s ‘Lost’ by Debbie Johansson.

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Crime & Mystery

Alexander Pearce – Australia’s Cannibal Convict.

Imagine yourself in that scene in The Shining where Jack Nicholson is chasing you in the snow and wielding an axe.  Now picture that same scenario within the Australian bush and that the man with the axe is in fact a cannibal.  It may sound like the stuff of nightmares, but Alexander Pearce was Australia’s cannibal convict.

Alexander Pearce escaped from prison in Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania in 1822, along with half a dozen others.  About a week into their journey, three of them left the group. Due to starvation, it was not long afterwards that the remaining members of the group, including Pearce, began killing and eating their fellow inmates. Eventually only Pearce and one other, Greenhill, remained. This resulted in a cat and mouse game, as it was Greenhill who had the axe.  Having lulled Greenhill into a false sense of security, Pearce managed to get hold of the axe and murdered Greenhill.

Pearce had been on the run for 113 days before finally being captured. Despite telling authorities of these events (he was not believed), he was once again imprisoned, only to escape almost a year later. With him this time was another convict by the name of  Thomas Cox.  A few days later, Pearce was discovered alone, claiming that Cox had drowned.  In his pockets, however, were the remains of Thomas Cox, along with other sources of food.  Alexander Pearce was found guilty of murder and was hung on 19 July, 1824.

Not only was he a cannibal, but Alexander Pearce is also considered by some to be Australia’s first serial killer.  He has been immortalised in both film and song, including the award-winning drama The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce.  Somehow, I don’t think the line ‘Here’s Alex’ works quite so well as ‘Here’s Johnny’ don’t you think?

Does the idea of cannibalism frighten you?  Do you think Alexander Pearce was a serial killer? Do you think there should be more axe-wielding maniacs in horror? What’s your favourite scene from The Shining?

Free image by Boaz Yiftach courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net