In the beginning, there was the word…

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Today is the dawn of a new era, the beginning of a new world, a great adventure.

I know I’m a little slow on the uptake, but this kind of stuff is scary for me. I’m a pen and paper kind of kid and my first attempts at publishing took 10 years, dozens of rejections and too many drafts to count, so the idea that all I have to do is type, click a mouse and PRESTO! is a little daunting. What if I make a spelling mistake? What if my grammar sucks? What if I change my mind about something I’ve written in the heat of the moment? What if I only think people are watching?

But I have been driven here by a force greater than myself, greater, even, than myself armed with a whole lot of red wine.

Ever since I retired from swimming (yes, it was a career, albeit an extremely poorly paying one) I have searched for that ‘thing’ to fill the gaping chasm left by no longer having a purpose. Sounds dramatic, hey? I had spent my whole life being driven by a passion that consumed me completely and had yearned for a life that was blessedly normal, but when I got there I felt (warning: corny clichéd pun approaching) like a fish out of water. Yep, I was flapping about madly, gasping and slowly suffocating in all the fresh air.

Then I started to write. EUREKA! I gathered up my metaphoric balls and wrote my story with all the cruel and revolting honesty that sports memoirs lack. No pretty hindsight, no platitudes, not a hint of sentimentality – just the crude, honest truth about elite sport (Warning: shameless self promotion ahead). It’s called “Wobbles – an Olympic Story. Check it out: www.naddineneumann.com.au . Better still, buy one: http://iopz.biz/Store/orders.htm!

The liberation! The freedom to say it how I had always wanted to say it was a revelation and all of a sudden my brain was exploding with ideas, voices screaming for the page, topics to explore, stories to tell with the same honesty.

And then I had kids.

Oh, I’m not saying that it was a mistake – they are beautiful and I love them dearly and my neighbours are only tempted to call the police once or twice a day, usually when the toddler is pretending to drill through the crying baby – but that was when the writing stopped. Alas, the ideas have not and my brain has become, in effect, a detention centre: overcrowded with disenchanted people crying out for release and threatening anarchy.

So here is my freedom. Here is my space to share the ordinary, the everyday. My husband assures me that he will be a happy man when he can be the stay-at-home parent schlepping around in his uggboots, making toilet paper roll trains and cleaning snot off the furniture while I go to my little purpose-built studio in a secluded corner of the back yard to work on my latest best-seller… just as soon as I write my first best-seller and make millions from the movie rights. Then the baby cries and I flop out a boob for the hundredth time that day and he adds, “And as soon as I grow me a set of those.”

In the meantime,welcome to the world according to a stay-at-home, ex-athlete with illusions of making it big one day. It is my view and mine alone. I do not pretend to be anybody else and I do not pretend to know how anybody else sees the world. If you like what you see, if you see the same or if you want more of it, drop me a line. Heck, drop me a line if you hate it too! Just don’t expect me to write back.

May the hijinks begin.

Here’s to being normal.

NN

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