Mrs Satchel: Let's grow old together

Photo by Sabine Bannard, Tugan Beach, Australia
If I can get to the end of my married life and still desire to just sit and be with him as the tide rolls in, then I would consider that a true accomplishment. The journey is fraught with trials to overcome; waves of worry, hardship, disappointment and grief threaten to overwhelm, but if you can somehow move together as one, and have your sights set on the same horizon, the view is surely sweeter when taken in with a true companion.

Essay: The precarious nature of the self

This is a longer version of an original piece published in issue 34 of White magazine.
 Photo by Amelia Soegijono - Pictures and Hearts Photography


It’s risky business, this writing about the “self” because it is always in a state of flux. Many a time an author has penned a book, having arrived at some conclusion about life, only to have found that what they thought their life to be would soon take a turn: a divorce, for example, or, in Elizabeth Gilbert’s case, a divorce, change in gender preference, and a new girlfriend.

All this is only to say that when considering yourself, you have to be a bit wary, cautious, perhaps even coy, at the very least discerning, because, oh boy!, can the self do a turn when least expected. It is wise to consider what can be made public and what should remain private. In this age of the over-share and rampant media speculation, I wonder that perhaps there will be a swing back to discretion?

Lore Ferguson Wilbert recently wrote in an online piece of “the personal narrative that readers, writers, and publishers worship at”. But at what cost? “All together, we’ve grown fat on a feast of viral blogs, short-lived bestsellers, and pithy articles,” she wrote. Sometimes we need to go “offline” in order to get the deeper self-work done; and it’s simply not for public consumption.

Book Shelf: Wardrobe Crisis: How we went from Sunday best to fast fashion by Clare Press

Anyone who has ever wrestled with wanting to do the right thing, ethically speaking, at the shops, but who has then been confronted with the very limited options that "doing the right thing" apparently entails, will be enamoured to find a friend in Clare Press and her second book, Wardrobe Crisis: How we went from Sunday best to fast fashion (Nero, $29.99).

A former features editor for Vogue Australia, one-time 'Chictionary' columnist and current fashion editor-at-large for Marie Claire Australia, Press is well versed in fashion speak, but also has the wonderful ability to convey her ideas with lucidity, humility and disarming candour. This is less a treatise, more an investigation to which we are all invited to take part.

Mrs. Satchel: On passion (in White magazine issue #32)

Mrs Satchel.: On passion (for WHITE magazine)

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
White issue 32. Cover by Lara Hotz.
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of love,
And feed his sacred flame.”
“Love”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In the Greek language, there are four words to describe love: “eros” (sensual, passionate, erotic love), “philos” (affectionate, virtuous love for friends, family and community; loyalty), “storge” (natural affection and empathy and acceptance, as with parents and children) and “agape” (selfless, unconditional giving; to want what’s best for the other). In a marriage, it’s “agape” love that we’re shooting for (aim at the stars and you may land on the moon).

Passion, in a sensual sense, is a strange bedfellow in a marriage; a perplexing paradox requiring some serious contemplation. On the one hand, you absolutely need it to have a healthy marriage. Your sex life is like a garden that needs constant maintenance to preserve intimacy and protect the marriage from any outside pests in the form of another person.

But, at the same time, this whole matter of passion also puts a lot of pressure on marriages to be spectacularly on fire – hot, hot, hot! – all the time, which they cannot possibly be, because as humans we are prone to just want to mooch around the house in our comfy Bonds clothes, not get all Victoria’s Secret sexy about things (and, gentlemen, at certain times of the month, it’s wise to grant your lady a reprieve and opt for a cuppa and cuddle instead).

Media: FLOW magazine issue #11

"Everyone has a dream. To write a book, travel the world, or quit your job and do something completely different, such as create some groundbreaking art, for example. Often, the dream doesn’t come true. But is this such a bad thing? We don’t think so. Some dreams are best left as dreams. Maybe that B&B in France is better in your dreams than in reality. And realizing that we cannot fully control our own destiny humbles us and helps us to accept that sometimes things go differently than we had hoped they would." 
- the editors, FLOW magazine.

Media: White magazine kickstarts global distribution dream


When I first met Luke and Carla Burrell in an Oxenford cafe, their little one Milo in tow, I was mesmerised by their earthiness and dedication to the beautifully produced magazine they kindled into being in Newcastle nine years ago; she with a background in community support services and he in advertising, marketing and publishing.

Since then, I've been a semi-regular contributor and staunch advocate owing to the consistent high quality of the magazine and also its editorial mission of helping couples stay together long after the wedding day. To achieve this end, they commission raw and real content discussing the manifold complexities of sustaining a marriage made of two very unique individuals. Think of it as Frankie for marrieds.

"In our eyes, if we can help couples to draw closer together, year after year, and if we can give them the tools and inspire them to work hard at their relationships, then we can say we’ve succeeded," the Burrells say. "Our goal is for couples to experience the daily joy of intimacy and loving commitment."

Now, with number three child on the way, and several more independently published wedding magazines on the stand, the couple is hoping to take White magazine further afield with a plan for global distribution that encompasses greater reliance on good quality editorial and less on advertising revenue.

You too can support White's foray into new frontiers via Kickstarter with some lovely rewards awaiting.

Girl With a Satchel

The Satchel Review - The story that stopped a nation

"Be the heroine of your life, not the victim," said Nora Ephron. And isn't that true of Michelle Payne, the female jockey who put the wind up the sails of Prince of Penzance and performed a precision move at the last to conquer the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, beating the boys at their own game.

"Queen of the Sport of Kings" sang the front page of The Courier-Mail! "Tenacious country girl makes history aboard roughie - then tells doubting blokes to get stuffed."

Perspective: A short reply to Stephen Fry

In an interview with Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne on a television show called The Meaning of Life, Stephen Fry takes God to task for the pain and injustice of the world. His intellectual reasoning is utterly convincing and convicting. And this I say as a Christian.

“Bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you. How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?”

He goes on to say, “the God who created this universe is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac, totally selfish…yes the world is very splendid, but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind …why, why did he do that? He could have easily made a creation in which that didn’t exist. It is simply not acceptable.”

He’s RIGHT. It is simply NOT acceptable. We should be ANGRY. Full of RAGE.

Media: WHITE magazine issue #27

How LOVELY!

Mrs. Carla Burrell and her team at WHITE never cease to delight with an issue. While the lace and broderie anglaise, melodious studio images, woodland wedding settings and lovely flat-lays captivate aesthetically, it's the articles that give this wedding/bridal magazine a unique twist and more grist.

Issue #27 showcases the work of creatives, including Meredith Gaston (illustrator), who says, "To this day, I still remember the first illustration of mine that was commissioned. It was a painting I created at 19 when I worked for boutiques in Sydney. It was called 'Toffee Apple Town - a series of rolling polka dot hills in rich apple greens and soft pinks... I love capturing uplifting moments of joy and love, and quiet instances of tenderness and peace."

Mrs Satchel: The Office of Wife

A younger but perhaps wiser friend recently pointed out to me, "It doesn't naturally follow that if you are a mother, you also have the role of a wife, and even if you were, the role of a wife is different to the role of a mother. They are two separate things that don't necessarily need to be seen in the context of the other. They stand alone."

Well, obviously, you might say, but not so if you are performing both roles in a haze of sleep deprivation and cognitive conflict. So, my apologies to readers of WHITE magazine, because what I have given you, in my latest first-person piece, is a conflation of the role of wife and mother. And given readers of WHITE, for the most part, are, I imagine, embarking on the journey of marriage and not always with a child, my thinking and writing were a little misguided; as tangled as a pair of earphones in a handbag.

This is one of the perils of working with words. Thinking changes but you cannot always take back the words that appear on the page. It's hard sometimes to negotiate those limitations and the imperfection of this craft called writing.

For those wives who do have children, perhaps the original will resonate (pick up your copy of WHITE!). But what follows is a piece I am much happier to publish about the challenges of wifely status from where I sit...

Mrs Satchel: This woman's work


I can understand why some mothers might retreat into the ether-land of nothingness once their children are at school, floundering like a fish in a puddle that's drying up under the merciless afternoon sun in a desert land. Because once all is invested into the little ones, then what is left of mum?

Mrs Satchel: A long-awaited update

Our little family of three at the Lost World Valley!
Well, this is embarrassing! There you are, checking in occasionally in the hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be here writing something remotely interesting and...tumbleweeds! Well, today, friends, that changes! I am here, momentarily, wedged into a cafe corner on Main Street, Mount Tamborine, to shed a little light on where I've been and what's happening in the world of The Satchel. Are you ready to roll? I am. Wheeeeeeeee!