Thursday, 21 June 2018

Edition 31 – August September October



I don’t have to write, but I want to. I just have to give myself permission to do it. Sure the household chores will be done…eventually. I’ve realised that I’m a happier person if I allocate a little bit of time every day, to do the things that I love doing.

Mary Howley

By Mary Howley

Recently my daughter Caitlin, who is a secondary school student, was presented with the opportunity of writing an article for the foothills magazine. Her story, titled ‘Doris’ – which is the name of her 89 year old grandmother, related Doris’s life as a child in Malta and her experience of WWII. It also details how two cultures merge together in the cooking and baking that Doris does for her family.


The story resonated with many readers, some of them commenting on how valuable it was to have younger generations document the life journeys of those who survived wars, lived through global events and milestones.

I went to Coonara Community House to pick up the issue which had Caitlin’s story. It was serendipitous or plain good luck that I had a conversation with the staff members at reception and with Leanne FitzGerald. Leanne is the manager at Coonara and also edits the magazine. We talked about the difficulties that arise from being unemployed for a long period of time and trying to get back into the workforce. I told Leanne that I could relate to those difficulties, after being a stay-at-home mum for many years. She told me that I should write about my experience as a potential article for the foothills.

When my story was accepted for the Autumn issue, I felt as if my heart was doing cartwheels! The story titled A Fork in the Road shared the chain of events that motivated me to learn skills for a new profession and then to muster the courage to find employment in that field.

Writing that article and having it published in the foothills magazine was my spring board to re-visit what I loved doing. As a child I documented what I did every day in diaries, some days were a page long, other days were summarised in one line. As an adult I progressed to writing short stories and longer novels that rambled over too many pages. I didn’t care too much about having them published, as for me, writing was a way of unwinding after a busy day. Eventually as life became busier, I spent less time writing creatively until the words were no longer jumping onto the page so easily. I felt guilty that I was indulging myself in a hobby, when there were so many things around the house that needed to be done.

Since A Fork in the Road was published, my enthusiasm for writing has crept back and I’ve made time for it. Characters that I had created in stories have been resuscitated back to life. The rusty cogs in my brain, so essential to my writing, have started to turn again. I’ve realised how important it is to have that escape. It’s a bit like walking into your shed after you’ve finished your dinner and meticulously restoring that rocking horse you picked up in a garage sale. Or throwing a lump of clay onto a pottery wheel and moulding it into a sculpture; your hands create while your mind drifts to a different zone. Writing is like that for me. It challenges my thinking and extends my knowledge while time slowly ticks away. Yet writing also allows my mind to zone out and travel to a comfortable place. It’s like taking my mind to a health resort without the hassle of having to pack suitcases.

I don’t have to write, but I want to. I just have to give myself permission to do it. Sure the household chores will be done…eventually. I’ve realised that I’m a happier person if I allocate a little bit of time every day, to do the things that I love doing.

So I’m tapping out words on my computer, like I’m playing a concerto in a mad frenzy. I’ve also started to scatter my stories. One of them has recently been accepted in a lifestyle magazine and another is currently being considered for publication.

I only needed an opportunity to tap me on the shoulder and say ‘come on - get back to what kept you sane, in a sometimes insane world,’ and I have the foothills magazine to thank for that!

About The Foothills

The Foothills magazine is truly appreciated by the local community. It covers business, community and tourisms news, events, local success stories and more. The site features electronic newsletters, feature stories, recipes, photographs and news, all from the Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Tecoma communities.

From the Editor

Welcome to the first of the digital editions of The Foothills community news. Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers that has put this edition together. Many are long term volunteers who you will have followed over several years and others are new writers inspired by the opportunities of the new digital edition.

We are keen to grow the Foothills with your contributions. If you have a club, a school or an interest that you’d like to tell us about each quarter then please contact me so we can arrange for your own column. We also welcome photos and quick news stories that we can use to update the Foothills between editions. Send those contributions and messages to

Thanks and happy reading.


The Foothills Editor