Premature predictions or what happened to the writer?

Premature predictions

Making premature predictions involves enormous risk-taking. I haven’t taken many risks lately, perhaps not for a very long time. Now I live alone I feel free to make my own way in the world, even at my age. Or perhaps, especially at my age!

Picture the Edith Cowan University graduation ceremony where I received a Doctorate in Writing at the age of 70. So much excitement, such a thrill! A lovely friend and colleague, a few years younger than me, gave the valedictory speech.

She told the audience that someone had asked how old she’d be when she finished her PhD in Writing.

‘I’ll be exactly the same age as I would be if I didn’t do it,’ she replied.

Inspiration for premature predictions

My friend’s words have taken on new importance over the last few months. With time to myself, and old ambitions beginning to burn brightly, it’s time for premature predictions.

From my early childhood, I’ve wanted to write. The need never quite goes away although sometimes it becomes a mere dull ache.

Thinking about Christmas has me thinking, also, about my favourite presents, not just during childhood. A new notebook. Pencils. Pens. Books. Magazines. Subscriptions. Gift cards to use in bookshops…

After my PhD and the publication of my memoir, Other People’s Country, all those years ago, my serious writing bogged down in a late-in-life, second marriage.

cover Other People's Country

Now I plan to write again. It’s true that I may be quite old when I finish whatever it is that I start. But I’ll be the same age if I sit and wish my life different from how it may turn out, so here’s to my premature predictions for breath-taking difference.

The idea has been bubbling under the surface of my messy life for a long time. I half-recognised it in a blog I posted here a while ago.

Christmas gift to myself

Earlier this year, I began to follow the lovely and inspiring writer, Jeannine Ouellette on ‘Writing in the Dark‘. I enrolled in a month-long online workshop with her, and loved it. But the time was not yet right to follow up.

My Christmas present to myself this year is a subscription to work with Jeannine, alongside other inspired and inspiring writers. Her new course is a twelve-week Story Challenge that actually began on Wednesday 6 December, 2023. (It’s not too late if you’d like to join!)

Already, my mind is buzzing with new ideas, new plans, even premature predictions which grow more outrageous every day.

Driving south to see one of my granddaughters and a great-granddaughter yesterday, I could feel how much more observant I had become already . Thinking about my first assignment, an intense exercise in observation, excites and pleases me.

Concrete plans vs premature predictions

My desk is clear except for my laptop and new writing materials. I mostly wrote my memoir by hand on yellow legal pads. That worked well, so I bought three while in the stationery shop. If it’s good enough for accalaimed Australian writer Tim Winton to write by hand, that will also do for me. And I love writing on coloured paper. It seems decadent and inspirational and fun.

This morning, I carefully constructed a weekly timetable. It’s similar to the one I used during the research and writing of my thesis. It worked then, and I hope it will work again. It’s pinned to my notice board over the laptop on my desk.

The future

While no knows about the future, I plan to give it a good shot with the energy I’m reclaiming. I promise not to bore readers of my blog by over-sharing writing news, but I do hope you’ll be interested in an update from time-to-time.

Please let me know in a comment if you want more information, and if so, what you might find interesting.

Maureen Helen and premature predictions
signature, maureen helen

Acknowledgement of country


  1. Maureen, you astound me by your resilience.
    You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again. Though, I realise it hasn’t been as easy as my comment implies.
    I admire your energy, ambitions and positivity. If I had a just a small amount of yours I would be a very happy person.

    1. Dear SueW. Thank you for your lovely comment. You are right, the last four months have been really hard. I could easily remain sitting in a heap and feeling bereft and angry, but I’ve learned that doesn’t work well for me. I have a dear friend who describes my decision-making as ‘getting on with things’. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but it seems easier to focus on the now (and on the future). I guess I’m pretty lucky in many ways. Thank you for your support.

  2. Maureen, my lovely life-writing friend, I had no idea you are now living alone. I don’t know the circumstances, but I fully understand why this is a liberation for you. Wishing you creative joy and a long life!

  3. ‘What’s next?’ is one of my favourite questions to myself – you seem to have it as your mantra for life! Very much looking forward to hearing about progress on this project.

    1. Thanks, Sherene. I guess I’m very much a What’s next? person. And I love having the ability to say ‘Yes’ quite often to what presents itself when I ask the question.

Comments are closed.