What Does It Mean To Be An Asian Australian Writer And Artist

For a long time I struggled to call myself a writer. A writer in Australia. A writer and artist who is Asian Australian.

Along this journey of self-discovery, I’ve realised it’s not easy for us of Asian heritage to stand out in the Australian arts scene and accept that it’s okay to be different.

Believing in ourselves and sharing with others are life's greatest rewards | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

Believing in ourselves and sharing with others are life’s greatest rewards | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward.

Recently, I went to dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling’s show at The Forum Melbourne. She inspires me to write. Watching Lindsey play her violin and dance at the same time to electronic beats on stage complete with a funky, flaming red up-do on her head was a sight to behold. Anything’s possible no matter where we come from, and how we look. But at what price? How do we get there?

It’s not uncommon for Asian Australians to come from “privileged” migrant families. My well-to-do Chinese-Malaysian parents gave me a roof over my head and paid for my studies up until my postgraduate studies – hard not to feel guilty. As Asian Australians, on one hand we feel obligated to give back to our families when we’re working adults. On the other, we want to be independent like our Caucasian friends without filial piety ethics tying us down.

My days are consumed by a full-time desk job but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a writer. Each day I make time to write, even if it’s just fifteen minutes in my room while my mum nags me to get a job that pays more. Being Asian Australian, sometimes we have to go out of our way to do what we really love while putting up with being too Asian, too Australian. As Lindsey says, balance is hard to achieve:

It’s hard for everybody. No matter how busy we are or how crazy our life is, we’re not alone in this and I think we just have to continually remind ourselves…just continuously getting back on the horse, saying no, I’m going to do this.

Slaving away at monotonous jobs to make a living, it’s no wonder artistic creativity comes hard to some of us. Coupled with being typically brought up to be reserved and let others speak, expressing emotion might be alien to us. Growing up, my dad always said to me, “No crying”, when I scraped my knee at the playground and my mum, “Keep quiet, listen to the teacher”, when she dropped me off at school – I grew up thinking showing emotion was dishonourable.

Writers put stories and feelings in words, more or less in black and white. When I first started writing seriously two years ago, words didn’t comes naturally to me, my stories nothing but lifeless descriptions. But the more I kept focusing on making each sentence sing with feeling, the more I realised it wasn’t the end of the world putting my sentiments in words. Being Asian Australian, we have to forget about being Asian – or put behind what we’ve always known – for two seconds and just be a person to chase that creative dream of ours. On finding success, Lindsey offers:

[You’re] going to have to experience the downward slope and that’s the only way you’re going to be ready when the success comes. You have to go through those experiences and prove to yourself first that you believe in yourself and that you can make it.

Even if we’re outspoken and creativity comes naturally to us, we need to face the fact Anglo voices saturate Australian mainstream media while minority voices discriminated. There’s still the stereotype that if we’re non-Anglo, we’re familiar with nothing else but ethnic issues; it seems amazing prominent Asian Australian writers like Alice Pung and Benjamin Law are best known for their stories about their heritage.

Writing about multiculturalism a lot, I’ve pigeonholed myself into this stereotype. But I enjoy it: there’s so much to learn about cultures around us and stereotypes have their importance. As Asian Australian artists, we have to come to terms with living the best of being both stereotypically Asian and stereotypically Australian, in the face of naysayers.

We're all different with different talents. Roundtable Rival duel - keytar versus violin.

We’re all different with different talents. Roundtable Rival duel – keytar versus violin.

Sometimes we don’t get taken seriously for our craft and maybe ourselves struggle to take ourselves seriously as artists. These days I usually write about multiculturalism from lifestyle angles complete with personal anecdotes – the kind of writing many call “fluff” compared to similar-themed articles in the media heavily referencing research and interview snippets, written by notable figures. But no matter who we are, we all have something to contribute and being popular isn’t a means to an end (it has been nice getting a few comments from around the world on my blog, though). As Lindsey puts it:

Act in a way you would be proud of even if the whole world was watching, because your example could mean the world to just one person. It is the ‘small’ people who really do change the world.

As Asian Australian artists, we need to realise culture and society expectations needn’t be barriers to being successful at what we do. I’ve spent many late nights alone typing on a laptop, wondering what my engineering and business people friends are up to work-wise…and then I stopped comparing, stopped thinking about what they do because that’s not, well, me. The more we’re comfortable with who we are, the more we can make a difference. As Lindsey says:

You can’t love someone else unless you first love yourself. And that’s what makes life worth living – is being able to love other people.

I got to meet Lindsey during the Meet-and-Greet before her show. When I walked up to her, she hugged me. “I forgot to tell you something the last time I met you. You inspire me to be a writer…I’m writing my first book. Thank you”. She asked, “Is it fiction?”, looking stunned. Artist to artist. Dreamer to dreamer.

No matter what our background, confidence comes from having self-worth, which comes from being positive. And being positive comes from accepting who we are.

What is your passion and do you do it today? Here are some photos from the Lindsey Stirling show, taken with my Canon G7X in manual mode.

Related articles

Advertisements

232 thoughts on “What Does It Mean To Be An Asian Australian Writer And Artist

  1. Fantastic photos and another inspiring, well thought article from you Miss Mabel.

    First and foremost, you should call yourself a WRITER. The fact that you are of Asian heritage is something extra – a bonus to enrich your writing. Imagine writing another article without the word Asian – “What Does It Mean To Be An Australian Writer And Artist” – an artist is an artist.

    Many Asian Australian’s have written about their migration experience – Tracy Vo (“Small Bamboo”), Anh Do (“Happiest Refugee) and you mentioned Alice Pung already. Have you read Pung’s Growing Up Asian in Australia? I have a copy as well as Unpolished Gem.

    I know many young Asian Australian’s who are successful in classical music. Some of them were at school with my daughters, and others playing in music competitions. Australia is truly multicultural so your writer’s voice adds to this rich mix.

    I look forward to your book – and I hope to purchase a signed copy 🙂

    Keep up the blog writing. I always look forward to your posts.

    Charles
    P.S. I really like Lindsey Stirling – reminds me of Vanessa Mae as well as the Bond group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “The fact that you are of Asian heritage is something extra – a bonus to enrich your writing.” You say it very well, Charles. A number of bloggers also agree with you as well. Our heritage makes our personal stories come to life, gives these stories conviction.

      Migrants writing about their culture weighing up the pros and cons of their background – that shows they are proud of who they are and have embraced the changing cultural atmosphere around them as they move. These stories certainly contribute to our nation’s diversity.

      I have Growing Up Asian in Australia on my shelf. Such a great collection of stories from Asian migrants. I’ve read Unpolished Gem too, and thought it was clever how the author incorporated her father’s refugee perspective as well.

      That is so good to hear Asian Australians are pursuing their passion for music. If they love it, why not 🙂

      Thank you for the nice words. When my book comes out, I won’t charge extra for a signed copy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jess. Your words always mean a lot to me, and I am very humbled to hear you say that I’m a great writer 🙂 Maybe one day I’ll be a great photographer too. First I need to learn how to use my camera. I love the last photo too. Lindsey was so energetic ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Very nice to hear you like Lindsey Stirling now. She is so passionate about her craft and an artist all us other artists should look up to. She makes the impossible possible. Enjoy watching her videos on YouTube.

      Like

  2. Hi Mabel,

    I have always felt that writing is a natural gift, some chisel and carve it out and others are just too carefree to work on that potential. So how does it matter whether we belong to Asia or any other part of this globe? Human minds are similar, their thoughts are molded by the kind of environment they are provided while growing up…that could be the only difference, as cultural values do sway our emotions.

    Your humility which peeps through your words and pictures has touched my heart dear friend. Please keep up the efforts despite the work pressures, writers have a very long journey…’miles to go before I sleep’, as Robert Frost would say, to inspire us!

    Thanks for sharing. My best wishes for the book you are writing. Stay blessed!

    Like

    • “chisel and carve it out…” Never have I heard this phrase used to describe the challenge of writing, but that is really apt. You are right. Cultural values do sway our emotions. As some of the commenters have brought up, this can make some stories more alive. Then again, sometimes cultural values do limit us from seeing the other side of the coin.

      It’s very important for us writers and artists to have a life other than writing or our craft. Having a “proper” office job is one way. Not only does it help to keep us grounded, but it also helps us to gain a wider view of how the world works.

      Thanks for sharing the Robert Frost quote. Very inspiring. And thank you for the nice words, Balroop. Always a pleasure when you stop by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So much to say. Where to begin. First, your photos are amazingly clear given the fact that Lindsay moves around A LOT and so does the stage lighting! Second, Lindsay’s performance looks like a serious cardio workout to me. And lastly, I love the details that you added in your post. Particulary about your parents telling you to “stop crying” or yelling at you to find a better job while you try to write.

    This creates, for me, such a clear picture of what is happening. As an Asian American I understand how much our writing needs to somehow be tied to our heritage and ethnic background. You know, I wrote my first book, but it has very little to do with being AA, so can i still be an AA writer? Does this mean I’m trying to be Caucasian or does it simply mean we can write what we want just like any other “race”?

    Thought-provoking and well-written post, Mabel. xxoo

    Liked by 2 people

    • So much to say, Lani? That’s why one day we must do a coffee date. Well, you coffee and me water and a pastry!

      Lani, you are a writer, no question about it. But you bring up a very important and rather confusing point: AA writer. I suppose this phrase could either mean someone who writes about AA issues, or a writer of Asian heritage. It has never come across to me that you’re trying to be Caucasian.

      If you have expertise in one field, there’s no reason why you can’t provide a credible and thought-provoking opinion on it, and write a book about it regardless of race.

      I suppose if you wanted to write about AA issues and you’re of AA background, then your experience might give your story a more authentic touch to it, as some bloggers have brought up.

      Thank you for your nice words on my photos 😛 I can’t stress enough how lucky I was. Went in to the Lindsey show with the manual settings set on my point-and-shoot and after the first shot, the combination seemed right. You are right – Lindsey’s performance is a cardio workout 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great picture of you with the musician you like, it’s great to meet someone like that and feel inspired!

    I know it’s hard, but keep being motivated to be your own person. It’s well-worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ray. She signed my CD too. Yes, you can say that I’m a fangirl. Not ashamed! Being your own person is awesome as there is only one you, and that one you is very special.

      Like

  5. I believe that the heritage always gives a writer another perspective, another unique skill set when creating their stories. Over the years I have read a few books…and when reading them I never thought too much about thr authors however after checking on few of them I realized certain aspects of their works. For example it made it suddenly very clear why a certain part felt so real in their fiction work and that was because of their background, their heritage, their education and life experiences. So your heritage will be later another unique part of your work, no matter what you will write about because it is in you.

    Many years during my active swimming years I had the luck to meet some great swimmers, some were even “idols ” for me. They gave me inspiritation but they also showed me how much hard work they had to do, what commitment was required to achieve their results.

    Like

    • You hit the nail on the head, Crazy. Well said. I would quote your entire first paragraph here but I won’t, lol. They’re your words, not mine 🙂

      Drawing and reflecting on our heritage and experiences, we tell the truth in our words when we’re writing on that particular topic. Truth hurts. Nothing hurts more than the truth.

      Our heritage is always a unique part of us. For one, cultural experiences and perspectives evolve over time.

      Very nice to hear that you met some of your swimming idols. That must have been a bit of a moment(s) for you. Hope you weren’t too star struck and actually said something to them. You know, it’s never too late to be a swimmer…

      Like

    • Thanks for that. It’s so true there are many creative Asians out there. But we don’t usually see them that often. Maybe we are a shy bunch and introverts who like spending times with ourselves, and loathe attention. Yes, Lindsey Stirling is very cool. It’s not every day you see a dancing violinist!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ‘When I first started writing seriously two years ago, words didn’t comes naturally to me, my stories nothing but lifeless descriptions.’

    Mabel, I can relate to your statement as I think we all feel that way when we choose to start writing. Writing is a learning process, something that comes naturally after you work on it for awhile. For example, I re-read some of my earlier blog posts and realize that what I thought was awesome back then, but I now consider average at best. And I am sure I am going to find the same thing when I commence the editing of my book [I am in the final stretch of writing and the end is in sight.]

    You are an amazing writer, Mabel. Your words string together perfectly and your sentences and ideas just flow. Plus, you got a great eye for photography as well as the pics in this post are amazing!!

    Oh, Lindsey Stirling reminds me a little of Nathalie MacMaster [a fiddle player from Canada who has a Celtic/Irish vibe.]

    Like

    • You are so right. Writing is indeed a learning progress. And on top of that, all art is always evolving. Every story can take off on a million tangents (not sure if that’s how you describe what I’m trying to say…). I am sure your older blog posts were indeed awesome back then and are still awesome right now! Just a bit of a different mindset now when you’re reading them – a sign you’re maturing in your writing, perhaps.

      Book editing. So happy for you that you’re getting to that stage. It’s an exciting stage because that’s the time when you sit down and seriously question what works and what doesn’t. Good luck with it 🙂

      Thank you for your nice words on the photos. I didn’t expect for them to come out fairly clear. Never hearf of Nathalie MacMaster. Will have to look her up!

      Like

      • Mabel, see, you have an amazing way with words!! You can make anyone feel like a million bucks with your way of thinking! [Maybe you missed your calling a motivational speaker! – I really mean it! ] I just love how you can put a positive spin on anything!!

        Writing a book is intensive but I think editing is also hard. You are right! It is the time you question your work and the time you read it through to figure out if it flows smoothly, if it a good transition from topic to topic, etc.

        Like

        • “You can make anyone feel like a million bucks with your way of thinking!” Errr, thank you Costance but I am really not sure about that. Maybe in writing I sound confident, but in real life I have a long way to go before I can be a motivational speaker. Who knows, maybe someday…

          Editing is part of being a writer. It’s the time where you really need to make the whole story not only flow, but come across as convincing as well. Judging from the excerpt you shared on your blog, I am sure your book will blow all of us away.

          Like

  7. Mabel – you words resonate with us so much. Le (i.e. me) in particular. You really are an inspiration and if there is anything I wants to be… it too is to be a writer! Slowly (very slowly), I plod along but I will make it happen and reading your words has truly given me that extra nudge that I need. Thank you for this beautiful piece. Hope you know how much you have made a difference to me 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you, Wise Monkeys. You two are already writers. You write so well about travel on your blog, and each travel experience you write about – whether they are travels abroad or at home – is so informative. And your photos are always spectacular. I don’t know which of you does them or takes them, but I would love to chat photo taking with you someday 🙂

      “…this beautiful piece” It’s been a while since I heard that about my writing. Thank you. It took me almost two weeks to put this piece together, from the writing to the photo editing to the transcribing of quotes. Glad it’s over ^^’

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoy Lindsey Stirling very much. I’ve included her videos on many of my blog posts on my writing blog. She is veru different which is what makes her interesting to follow. One never knows what she will be performing next. Great post !!!!

    Like

    • Glad that you like Lindsey Stirling too, she is an amazing artist who truly believes difference is what makes the world go round. I’ll check out your blog soon to see your posts on Lindsey Stirling, I really want to see it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This was very thoughtful and thought-provoking. In fact, what you are (we are) is an outcome of what you do – and not the reverse. We are saddled with stereotypes, no matter where we come from of what our origins are, from the moment of birth. The question is: do they define you? Or: must you define yourself *against* them?

    Sadly, many will not be able to see past these questions, but in my view their opinions are to be discounted. We write; we are not writers. And you write very compellingly.

    Thanks for this.
    Chris

    Like

    • “what you are (we are) is an outcome of what you do” You said it perfectly. In truth, action speaks louder than words. It takes an open mind to step back and look at the big picture and realise that stereotypes and non-stereotypes are part and parcel of our world today.

      Some opinions to be discounted? Rightfully so; the least we can do is hear some of them out – especially the very opinionated ones – and take them with a pinch of salt.

      No, thank you Chris for reading and stopping by. Looking forward to checking out your blog soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mabel – One thing for sure – you are a gifted photographer! You made Lindsey shine in your photos! And you really expressed the energy and fun of the concert through them. I enjoy watching/listening to her too. 🙂 And I love the picture of you and Lindsey! So awesome!
    Now about your writing – superb. But I am not surprised. Every time you leave a comment on my blog, you always impress me by your sentiments.
    It takes courage to really express who you are. As a Filipino American, I do experience a bias at times here but I am really very spoiled. There seem to be pressures on Asian minorities there in Australia to behave a certain way that do not exist as strongly in America.
    But take courage! Keep writing! The more you write, the better you become at your craft. And the better you become, the more people will notice. Some of us already have. 🙂
    Chin up girl.

    Like

    • Reading other blogs and commenting on them helps us as writers, in my opinions. Commenting on other blogs, we engage in art and make meaning from it, which can in turn inspires us/

      I think you’re right in saying that Asian minorities are more pressured here on many levels. I hear in America you see diverse faces on TV, whereas this is not true in Australia. I do find that Asian Americans (AA) speak much more strongly about being AA than Asian Australians, but that’s just my opinion.

      Thank you for your nice words, and glad you like my photos of Lindsey Stirling, fellow Stirlingite!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You know it’s hard for me to focus on what you are writing when you share that Youtube video and all those pictures in the same post! How on earth have I never heard of Lindsey Stirling before?? Shame on me! I’m a fan now..

    Anyway, the main reason I escaped to Penang (away from KL) was precisely that: to run away from having to deal with naysayers among family and close friends. Sometimes it really doesn’t help to have people telling us how bad it is going to be when we want to forge a path different than the norm.

    Like

    • Lol, CL. I knew this was going to be a long post, hence the video and the photos – so readers won’t get bored! And it’s also a bit different from the other posts. Glad you like Lindsey Stirling. You are now a Stirlingite. She came to Malaysia a few days ago. The Meet and Greet tickets were over RM500 :O

      Sometimes the best thing to do is run away from the naysayers, or the people who bring us down, when pursuing our passion or career. Negativity can only get us so far. Taking a leap of faith, you never know where that will take you. Hope things are better in Penang 🙂

      Like

  12. What a lovely and thoughtful post. And great point about the stereotypes. I’m reminded of what Kazuo Ishiguro (who was able to break through the stereotypes and write about things other than multicultural/ethnic stuff) once said: ”Publicity for me has to a large extent been fighting the urge to be stereotyped by people.”

    Keep up the wonderful work Mabel! You inspire me!

    Like

    • That is such a great quote by Ishiguro. I think a lot of us of minority background in the Western world struggle to write anything other than ethnic stuff because it’s something that consumes our life to a great extent, especially dealing with rejection and feelings of not belonging.

      Thank you for the nice words, Jocelyn! No, you inspire me as a writer!

      Like

  13. Glad you met your inspiration. Neat eh? I met mine a few years ago….a Canadian painter almost 90 yrs. old who has painted, exhibited and taught art for several decades. I also bought 1 of her watercolours, read 3 of her autobiographies, etc.

    Maybe one day you’ll find other writing niches that aren’t anything to do with Asian-Australian experience.

    I don’t know your social circles, but quite a number of the Chinese-Canadians that I know face to face, come from very low-income families..as you know it’s usually the 2nd and subsequent generations who may acquire higher education, jobs with higher salaries, etc. There are others from wealthier families who have struck out their paths in Canada, in social justice activism, community service in an impressive way and given significant volunteer time and energy.

    I did volunteer work for 5 yrs. and wrote abit for Asianadian Magazine in 1980’s which focused on Asian-Canadian arts (literature, performing arts) and social issues. Anything similar in Aussieland? We put Asianadian to bed which was hard because we could not find new volunteer blood to take up the torch.

    Here in the 21st century, from Canada: http://schemamag.ca/ http://ricepapermagazine.ca/

    Nowadays my blog covers other pet topics. Asian-Canadian focus forms only a small focus on blog…or I should say, it’s infused into my blog under other topics –food, lifestyle. It’s just where I’m at in life.

    Like

    • That Canadian painter you met sounds very talented and dedicated to her work. Art and teaching (or education) usually go hand in hand. Hope you took away some pearls of wisdom about painting and being an artist from her.

      Interesting to hear you know Chinese-Canadians who aren’t too well-off. You are right. Most of my Asian Australian friends are like me, with migrant parents.

      These days a lot of Asian Australian or ethnic Australian magazines are online, like the two magazines you linked to. For example, Peril http://peril.com.au/ is well-known in Asian Australian circles here. There is also the NEMBC Broadcaster Journal/Magazine that reports on the ethnic media landscape all around Oz, and that is still going in print along with the online version. Both are free.

      I like your blog a lot, Jean. Lovely to see your part of the world and your thoughts on cycling. I think we tell our stories best and most compellingly if they are stories that we know and are currently living.

      Like

    • Very interesting perspective there. Write what you know is a way to get us going to becoming writers. But at the end of the day, the more we try writing on a topic we aren’t familiar with, that’s when we challenge ourselves as writers. This year I’ve set myself a challenge: write 500 words on any topic that comes to mind. And so far none of these pieces have been about multiculturalism.

      Glad you found your path, Jean. The world is at your feet, it still is.

      Like

    • Thank you, Petra, for you nice words. You are very kind. I hope to inject more feeling and less description in my writing in the future. It’s still something I’m working on.

      Like

  14. Great photos, Wow!!! You captured the lighting and movements perfectly. Lindsey is so talented, I’m sure she puts a lot of behind the scene work to get to where she is.
    Your article prompted me to remember a young Asian American fashion designer said that because their parents have the financial status, thus young generation has the freedom to explore the art/fashion fields without the pressure of making money to support themselves. On the other hand, I can’t think of Caucasians that I know had or have the freedom to explore to the musical industry or art field. For example, I have a Caucasian friend at work whose son went to ME at UT Austin, she contently tells people her son is an engineer 🙂 I know many Hispanic friends and co-workers, they also hope their kids will grow up to be MD or Engineers. Like my cleaning lady (immigrated from Mexico), she is very proud that her son who is an engineer. I agree with every one, you are a talented writer and photographer! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing this bit about the Asian American fashion designer. I know quite a few international student friends from China who have studied MA in Melbourne, because they wanted to and their parents could afford it. After finishing this post-graduate degree, they went back to uni and did something more “serious” like a postgraduate in Business or Management. So as you mentioned, some later generation Asians in Western countries have the freedom to explore the arts. So true.

      I suppose parents want bragging rights when their kids are climbing the career ladder and earning the big bucks. Sometimes having a prestigious job in the fields of engineering or surgery or something similar is a means to and end, especially when it comes to saving for the future.

      Thank you for your nice words, Amy. To be very honest, it was my first time shooting in manual mode at Lindsey’s concert. Very lucky that the settings I chose suited the concert. But almost all the photos were underexposed according to the exposure meter. But that’s when editing comes in ^^’

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The journey of self-discovery is one with so many questions, and with this post it is great to see you finding so many answers… It is inspiring to see your writing dreams bloom and especially to see what it is (and who it is) that offers inspiration. Also, I was not aware of Lindsey Stirling before, so cheers to a great introduction to another talented artist 🙂

    Like

    • It is very funny to hear you say that I’m finding so many answers in this post. I had so many questions about what it means to be a writer and what stereotypes I was battling against 😛 Probably why it took so long to write and put together. As a photographer, I think you go through the same thing.

      Lindsey Stirling is one talented artist. If you ever get a chance to go to one of her shows you should go, and maybe shoot it. It’s amazing, half the time I wasn’t looking at my camera 😀

      Like

  16. Oh Mabel, Celtic rock, I love it! When I think about my own cultural heritage, this is the music that I most identify with, even though it’s not really mainstream. And what wonderful pics you’ve taken. Love how you’ve tied this all together in your post – creativity, passion, identity, barriers. And you certainly don’t write fluff, you write about what’s real.

    Like

    • Celtic rock, I really didn’t know that you identified with it. I’ve never even heard of this kind of music until I discovered Lindsey Stirling. Thank you for your compliments on my photos. I thank Lady Luck who was on my side that night.

      I think I still have a long way to go from becoming a more convincing writer, and try to make hard-hitting topics like racism and stereotypes less confronting. Engaging with Australian readers more (most of my readers are from the States) is also something I want to do more of, hence more Australian themed posts of late.

      Thank you for supporting as always, Maamej.

      Like

      • I hope you can attract more Australian readers too Mabel. But I think it’s pretty hard to make racism etc. non-confronting & there will always be some people who are affronted no matter what.

        Like

        • I’ve been writing more “Aussie” Australian articles of late, maybe that will reach more Australian readers. Ethnic issues and racism are topics that appeal to a niche local audience (sadly), that could be why some readers aren’t a fan of this kind of writing.

          On a tangent, I’ve had a colleague tell me that the Australian blogging scene is “just not there yet” like in the States. Something to think about.

          “Why is racism confronting.” You just gave me an idea there for a possible future blog post, Maamej.

          Like

  17. Wow! Thanks for the Lindsey Stirling video. What a performance. This must have been thrilling to see live. Lucky you. I’m envious! Lol! That’s the thing about Melbourne – so many great shows to see. 😊

    My passion is painting and drawing. At the moment I am making a deliberate effort to get more artwork done. I’m going to prioritize and make sure artwork is at the head of the list. Otherwise the days go by and there are so many other things to do that my drawing just gets forgotten. I think this is a sad thing.

    So …. Sundays I keep free for my painting ….. And I am happier for it! It pleases me to get some artwork done each week. It’s a matter of time management and sticking to my plans. I do wish you all the very best with your writing Mabel. Best of all working on your passion and achieving something is it’s own reward I find. Cheers, Maria. 😊

    Like

    • The Lindsey Stirling show was amazing. Best night of my life and I got to stand dead centre, up front at the railing, at the stage. That was icing on the cake. Maybe one day you’ll get to see her. I’m sure she’ll be back in Australia at some point 🙂

      I’ve seen some of your sketches.They are lovely, especially the Mildred Statue you drew. Splendid. I’m sure you’ll come up with another one for next year! Making time for our passion is so important. If we don’t, we might as well not be serious about it. Or even more sad, lose our love for it. After all, art takes time, patience and consistency to flourish. Good luck with your painting and drawing. I won’t be surprised if one day you open a gallery of your works 🙂

      Thank you for the kind words, Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. While it’s a sad fact that others may pigeonhole you, that’s no reason to pigeonhole yourself. You are actually in an enviable position to bring something completely unique to the Australian cultural landscape. Value your contribution.

    Like

    • So true. No reason to pigeonhole ourselves. Whatever we choose to do, we should stand up for it and do it with passion – because our experiences are unique and that will in turn make what we do different from others. BB, you have a unique contribution to the Australian landscape too, we all do – I really like your poems 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. “Writing about multiculturalism a lot, I’ve pigeonholed myself into this stereotype. But I enjoy it”. That sums it up. You’ve found your niche and your passion, but try going outside the box sometimes. You’ll feel better for it, I think.

    Like

    • I do write about other things quite a bit – youth and health issues. Each day I also write 500 words a day on any topic that comes to mind, and it usually has nothing to do with multiculturalism. Wouldn’t say I love it, wouldn’t say I hate it. Change of writing scenery, though.

      Like

  20. well, mabel i would think that you are one of the fortunate ones to experience the (strict) values of an asian upbringing and now an australian way of life many aspires for. very different cultures, of course, ying and yang, but i believe you have the intelligence and zen to find the balance and the believe and passion to live your dreams as a successful writer. not only a successful writer, but a photographer too! The first shot is a killer shot – love it, and the rest rocks!!! so much energy.
    have a good weekend, mabel.

    ken

    Like

    • “Ying and Yang”. Yes, very good way to describe Asian and Aussie culture. So true. A strict Asian upbringing made me very sheltered, which I both like and dislike. In a way it has made me grounded – being sheltered, I feel like I’m more observant to the wider world around me.

      Thanks, Ken. Glad you like the photos. Sheer luck the pre-set camera settings were on-point that night, though I meddled a bit towards the end. First time shooting in manual mode wasn’t too bad, though most of the images were underexposed. No, not yet a photographer. Went to the aquarium today, big fail with the photos 😀

      You have a good one too!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Meeting an artist you so admire is such an accomplishment. I could just imagine the feeling. Long story short, I had been to that position. I still giggle each time I remember it.

    Mabel, the way you tell your stories about multiculturalism is very very engaging. I always have something to learn from your lifestyle angles and personal anecdotes. This is one is particularly interesting. Never knew you have a thing with this genre of music. You must be a dancer too. 🙂 Like you, I also felt struggling to write when I was starting. Up to now actually. But I have already accepted who I am as a blogger and so I just continue what I do best here. The room for improvement is still there and I know I can still improve.

    “Act in a way you would be proud of even if the whole world was watching, because your example could mean the world to just one person. It is the ‘small’ people who really do change the world.” This quote really got me. Never felt more confident with what I do until I read it. Thanks for sharing.

    Well, my passion is obvious now isn’t it? And, yeah, I still find time to squeeze it in my very busy schedule. It makes me fulfilled to write and share a piece of something on the internet.

    Like

    • That is amazing you have met someone you truly admired. It sounds like a memorable moment, and you were a bit awestruck then. These are once in a lifetime moments that come with special feelings. If you haven’t already, I am sure at some point you’ll blog about it.

      To be honest, I’m not a fan of dance or club music. Lindsey Stirling is the exception – you feel inspired by each song you listen to. Give her music a listen and you’ll see. No, I’m not a dancer, though, since I have two left feet.

      It’s hard to tell you struggle at writing. Your blog points always contain flowery descriptive language that tell the story so well. Everyone has room for improvement as we don’t have all the answers in the world. Moreover, writing and any other kind of art is constantly evolving so there’s always something to pick up.

      Thank you for believing in me at the start of my blog, Sony. I can feel your passion for writing and traveling in your blog – second time I came back to it after looking at it one year before, I was so impressed with your stories and language. Very heartfelt. Keep writing.

      Like

  22. Absolutely amazing shots of this very talented artist Mabel! They are really stunning. You are an excellent photographer as well and I love your writing style. Easy-going and well written. Keep going. 😀 ♥

    Like

      • Oh, I know how much time that can take. Some days I feel like doing something else with my photos and in the end I can never decide which effect I like more. 😆

        Easy-going is good enough for me and you’re doing a great job of it. 😀 ♥

        Like

          • I am glad you think so Mabel. I love taking photo’s of nature and all it’s inhabitants and it’s fun to share with appreciative and dear people like you. Thanks again and please do. 😀

            Like

  23. Your photos certainly go a long way in describing what an experience this show must be, very well done. As for what you wrote about being a writer, certainly you are one. I know that you are blogging here about your experience, but I think what you are saying about being creative in your own way and sticking with it, speaks to everyone who follows a creative path.

    Like

    • Writing, photography, painting, drawing, music…they’re all art and creative ventures, and the only way we can stick out is to be different. Very wise that you say that we should all stick with our own way – after all, there are a million artists in this world so why compete with them.

      Thank you, Amy. I didn’t expect the photos to turn out fairly okay, with some help from editing. About two years ago I blogged about going to my first Lindsey Stirling concert and I had no photos to show for that one 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. Lindsey Stirling is a phenomenon, a force to be reckoned with. Very nice to hear you like her too, fellow Stirlingite. Hope you get to see her show at some point. She tours Europe a lot 🙂

      Like

  24. A professional writer I knew years ago always had to hold a “day job”, even after he became famous. Writing, except for the top few blockbusters, doesn’t pay enough. Joyce Carol Oates doesn’t live from her writing (her name may mean something to you). So it’s really, What kind of job? rather than Do I have to have a job?
    Well, this writer always took pretty dull repetitive jobs that paid enough so he could live and support a small family. He deliberately didn’t seek out creative jobs. He told me that this way all his creativity was saved up for his writing — after hours, before hours, weekends, whenever — and not dissipated for everybody else’s benefit. Not necessarily everyone’s solution — but it worked for him. Something to think about, maybe.
    As for the ethnic angle — it really is YOUR angle. Who are you? How does that come across in your writing? The more particular your writing is about you and your true self, the more universal it will become.
    You have a lot of talent and an inquiring mind.
    Hazak! Be strong! Gambatte!
    (There’s an ethnic mix for you, Hebrew and English and Japanese.)

    Like

    • There’s a lot of truth in your words. There are so many people in this world and it’s so competitive to be an artist earning thousands of dollars and make a living out of our passion. That is reality and we have to find that balance or middle ground.

      I’ve never heard of Joyce Carol Oates. Googled her, she’s quite a writer. Good on her for writing eventhough it doesn’t pay handsomely.

      Sometimes having a day job can’t be all that bad. It can keep us grounded, reminding us to work for things in life and for what we really love and is important to us.

      Thank you for the motivating words, different kinds of well-wishes. As writers and artists, it really is our angle, our voice. The more we’re comfortable with what we’re writing about and if we care what we write about, then we’ve found our true artistic voice.

      Like

  25. I’d never heard of Lindsay Stirling — so thank you. I love your photos and also watched the video – she has good things to say about creativity. You have such good writing habits! Keep it up and we will soon be saying “I remember when we read her blog, before she was famous”. Still it’s true what people have said in the comments, writers (and artists) don’t often get to make writing their only jobs. I wish you all the best — and of course that includes good writing –Sandy

    Like

    • Thank you, Sandy. Honestly I really doubt anyone will say “…before she was famous” when talking about me. I’m just another girl with another blog about life. There are millions of us bloggers like this out there.

      Having a day job isn’t all that bad. It’s opens up our eyes to how a certain part of the world words, which can turn inspire us as artists.

      Thank you, Sandy, for your nice words. Nice to hear you like Lindsey Stirling. I hope to photograph her again someday. I can only hope.

      Like

  26. I already knew you were a great writerーwith thoughtful insights and questions. But wow, what a fantastic photographer you are as well! Keep on truckin’ as they say… or keep on swimming, if you’re a Finding Nemo fan. 😉
    I really look forward to your posts, and I hope they find their way to more and more people as you keep on going. ^^
    One of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman puts it a bit more succinctly: “Believe in yourself. Keep writing.”
    (I believe he also said “If you write, then you’re a writer”, but since I can’t find the exact quote I don’t dare say that was him… but it sounds like something he would say!)

    http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/FAQs/Advice_to_Authors

    Like

    • Awww, Ri, you are so nice with your nice words, so thank you. I really don’t think I’m a photographer at all. I just got lucky with the settings on my camera for the concert 😀

      And thanks for the Neil Gailman article. It’s sooo true about writing, and other kinds of art too. Getting published is one thing, getting others to read your work is another thing. As much as one can target their posts to a certain audience they are trying to reach, there’s no guarantee they will actually read what you’ve written. Life is hard that way, but we all keep on smiling as the world keeps turning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s true, Mabel. I saw the movie “Birdman” the other night and, while it was a film rather than a book, I still found myself very appreciative of the director and the intricacies of the storyline. I totally get what you mean in your comment. Hugs

        Like

  27. I can relate in which I struggle to call myself a pianist, because I don’t earn money from it, my real life job is doing something else. As in I don’t earn money from writing, photography nor cooking either, so I don’t call myself those things either. You’re definitely a write Mabel! 🙂

    Like

    • Sofia – you should be proud to call yourself a pianist even though you don’t earn money from it. I am an adult piano learner and I know the good feeling of sitting at the piano making music, even though it is not a job.

      Like

    • I’m sure you play the piano well, Sofia. You’ve always talked about it so passionately on your blog. Just because we don’t get paid for our art doesn’t mean we can’t call ourselves an artist.

      On a bit of a different note, I have a love-hate relationship with the terms “struggling artist”, “penniless writer/artist”. Not all of us artists struggle to pay the bills – we just know how to thread the fine line between chasing our dreams and reality.

      Like

  28. Great photos of the show, Mabel. She’s a fantastically talented artist. I love the pic of the two of you. Keep on writing. You’re really good at writing. Keep it up, and hold onto that vision of greatness. In order to pursue our passion, we all need to be inspired by someone we admire. 🙂

    Like

    • “…hold onto that vision of greatness” It’s much easier said than done, Sylvia. But with hope, anything is possible. Thank you. Lindsey is a very talented artist indeed and I hope to go to one of her shows again at some point 🙂

      Like

      • The Australian art scene is very diverse with so many influences (Aboriginal, Eurorepean influences). If you do happen to come across it, I’m sure you’ll find something of interest to you.

        Thanks, Cardinal. I think luck played a big part, didn’t change the manual settings much and I sat out shooting the songs with flashing and red lights. Don’t know if you ever get this feeling, but when I was taking photos at the show, I felt this pocket camera was the camera for me.

        Like

  29. You’re speaking our story of course. The one I share with you. But you bring up something I haven’t thought enough about, how our emotional reticence as a culture might affect our art. You might think it inhibits it…but for the rebels it might actually help launch and release our repressions. LOL. Great post.

    Like

    • Emotional reticence. There. That phrase sums up perfectly what I was trying to say in one of the paragraphs. Thank you, D, for that. Sometimes we can get tired of being reserved, tired of being shut down, so that’s why we rebel.

      Thanks for reading this one. One of my favourite posts I’ve written to date.

      Like

  30. First Mabel, your photos are fantastic, really nice work. Second, as always your thoughts are wonderful especially the way you are willing to put yourself out there no matter what! And finally, your violinist is adorable and obviously clever, talented and unique. Great post!!

    Like

    • I share pieces of myself in hope to inspire others to be more confident with who they are, and to not be afraid of doing what they love. The world really does revolve around difference, and I love how you bring that out through your photography and quotes each week.

      Thank you for the nice words on my photos. It’s something I’m working on. And thank you for checking out Lindsey Stirling. She is awesome!

      Like

  31. Mabel, you are already an accomplished writer 🙂

    I could clearly see the rewards of your dedicated effort.

    But, what really struck me is the pace with which, you have evolved as a photographer 🙂

    I know, how hard it’s to take decent images of in door stage shows, here you have captured and presented an incredible series of images 🙂

    This is one superb post, introducing a very talented artist, sharing her views fusing with your thoughts …

    Frankly, it’s really taking time to comment on your posts, now a days 🙂

    Have a beautiful day, Mabel 🙂

    Like

    • A photographer? Never thought of myself as that. It was only last November that I decided to spend more time on it. I really have a lot to learn, especially from you and the way you take photos.

      Thank you for your nice words. Got lucky with taking photos of Lindsey Stirling, didn’t change my settings too much the whole show…and I was busy watching the action with my eyes. Hopefully one day I will be able to get the software and have fun with RAW files 🙂

      I will always be first and foremost, a writer. But these days, it’s so tempting to spend more time on photography…now I know why it captivates you so much.

      And thank you for commenting, Sreejith. You really don’t have too, and you are very nice and kind for doing so. Thank you, my friend, and have a good weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just mean, it’s really worth spending time, Mabel 🙂

        I had spent years taking photos with out any great improvement in the end product.

        But, once I joined this forum, I could feel the change in my images.

        You have got great eyes and I am sure, you will be really confused after sometime, once you start getting quality feed backs on your photography 🙂

        Photography+Writing is a unique combination and to be successful in both is quite an achievement 🙂

        That’s my aim too 🙂

        Like

        • Thank you, Sreejith. It’s an amazing community we have here, one that is so supportive of creativity. No wonder many of us are encouraged to work harder at our craft. A bit of positivity goes a long way for a struggling artist.

          I love your images. Every time I hop over to visit your blog and look at your images, I sense stories resonating from them ever so strongly…and they are only made more prominent with the few but emphatic words you write.

          Keep taking photos and writing, Sreejith. We don’t have to make all day to be good at what we do…so long as we keep trying, the passion will always be there, somehow 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • You said it, Mabel… 🙂

            Hope you had a beautiful weekend 🙂

            Yea, The coming Thursday we have to battle it out in the cricket field …
            India Vs Australia, cricket world cup semi final 🙂

            Like

  32. Mabel, I love this woman. Don’t know anything about her but her energy comes through in the photos you’ve taken. I have to see and hear her! And that camera of yours is amazing, your images are so clean and crisp. And as for you being a writer; I was told, when I first started my blog, that I could not call myself a photographer if I did not make money from it. So instead of calling my blog Emilio Pasquale Photography, I changed it to Photos By Emilio. But now I see that you can not label yourself based upon monetary value. You are an artist as long as you feel you are and work within that venue to better yourself and to create. You are working on a book? You are a writer. And based upon what I see here, you are a true artist! Me? I’m a photographer!

    Like

    • Emilio. I’ve only been following your blog for a short while, but from what I see, you take stunning photos that are always well-thought out, thought out before you shoot. I also like how you share how your post-process your photos at times. Not only are you an artist and photo in control of their work, but you share your work so selflessly too 🙂

      “…you can not label yourself based upon monetary value. You are an artist as long as you feel you are and work within that venue to better yourself and to create.” Well said. Spot on. I could not have said it better. An iconic quote!

      Thank you for your nice words on my writing, and especially the photos. I did touch them up in Picasa, though. Hopefully one day I’ll get the software to play around with the RAW images.

      Like

  33. I just watched and listened to Lindsey Stirling on youtube. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love her!!! Can’t wait to share with my wife and if she ever ends up performing in Las Vegas, I will be there!

    Like

    • Lindsey Stirling is one amazing artist. Happy to spread the Lindsey love! She’s touring the States later this year, maybe she might come to Las Vegas. If she does I’ll let you know! Hopefully you get to see her in concert one day, and maybe take some photos of her too 🙂

      Like

  34. ok… wow, what a post…!
    I have no idea anymore of what I wanted to say when I was reading your post… Oh yes. About Asian-Caucasian “chasing dreams” We have it weird nevertheless the race. On the Balkans the parents have to provide education and it is a custom that they do. Going away from parents happens in just two scenarios – you either get married, or you go live with a roommate. Considering the economic crisis which has bounded 90% of young people in my country to way less paid jobs than their education level or to leave the country in a attempt to make a decent living elsewhere, we have narrowed down the possibilities of independence to getting married. But, even then it is not strange at all to stay with parents on a upper floor of the house or even in the same floor! It is just how it is right now. Without good job we can’t move out. And there are no good jobs. Sucks, right?
    There is no wonder young people are leaving Croatia in hundreds.
    Also, you talk about how you were raised. I was raised to believe that emotions are weak and they need to be suppressed. Negative ones, that is. So imagine emotional soul like me, hyper sensitive for animals and nature to live like that… That is why my title is “Liberating my creative soul”, because it was always in a cage.
    To reflect on Lindsey, beautiful… 🙂 I imagine it was amazing watching her, and you went to Q&A!! 🙂

    Like

    • I am so sorry about not seeing your comment earlier. It seems like some comments are getting lost in the spam folder, or I’m forgetting to reply to them. Too much to do 😦

      Anyway, it seems the your culture and my culture have a lot of similarities, and I never knew that. So fascinating! Here in Australia, we have the impression Croatia is a great place to visit, to eat and party – quite a few of us go over there for holidays when it’s your summer and our winter. We’ve never, or very rarely, hear such things as young people keen on leaving Croatia to go elsewhere for a better life.

      Lindsey is really a very beautiful person, inside and out. What I learnt from Lindsey is that no matter our culture, so long as we have courage within us we can do what we love, express ourselves and as you said, feel liberated and be free. It starts with us 🙂

      Thank you for reading this…it is my favourite post I’ve written. Hope you are well, Ivy. Lots of love to you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am having problem replying to you also… :/ Not having that problem with anyone else….
        I am glad you got to my comment either way 🙂 I think sometimes we think we are specific and no one else is like us, and then we meet someone from a completely different culture and see that we have more in common than we think. 😀 On the other side, there are differences within my country in the way people are raised, staring with religion and then political preferences. I don’t know. Many things divide us as humans and many many unite us. 🙂 I guess that is the best way to put it. You have no idea how many young people have the wish to leave, because of no perspective with our finances and career. If we want to progress we need to be focused on learning foreign languages and on Europe or USA. Older people have that wish too don’t get me wrong, but they are kind of stuck in their position, whether with dept or insufficient paychecks – that is if they are lucky to have one.
        I think the same about the message you express about Lindsey. Majority of people here they are stuck in this position, which is true in a way. But freedom starts with freedom of mind. That is why I am searching for ways, writing this blog, going in direction I like… I am trying to figure it out. Also, to have something to not lose my mind while I am still limited with some health issues which stop me from having a job right now.
        I love to chat with you and I wish you also all best hehe ❤ I am better than I was last week, I am really enjoying in that. 🙂

        Like

        • I feel very sorry for young people in Croatia now. Really never knew times are this tough for them. “freedom starts with freedom of mind” A great phrase, and I wish for your country and people to find their way. To many Australians, Croatia is a nice little quiet town with lots of charming architecture and good place to run around, relax.

          I am sure you will figure out where you are at. You are really very creative with your blog and your photos, so I hope you get to do something creative as a career and get something out of it 🙂 Also, good health and get better soon ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • I would too, but then I would have to feel sorry for myself lol, and I don’t wanna do that 🙂 Croatia is a country, not a town. 😛
            I kind of think you made a mistake but I’m still gonna rub it in hihihihi. Yeah I get that, and I think it is in a way… It really has the Mediterranean mentality, especially on the coast, but people need to live from something.
            Thanks for that kind and amazing wishes for me ❤ I wish you the same, and you know what, since we are doing something to get there not just talking about it, I think we are in the right path. 🙂

            Like

  35. Pingback: A Delightful Surprise [“Risking Exposure”; a paperback gift from the author] | Ramisa the Authoress

Share your thoughts. Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.