Hi! I’m Danielle, author of Views from a Bridge – a personal blog chronicling my reflections en route to meaning and purpose. I assume you’ve landed on this page because you want to know a little bit about me. So, where to start?
Lewis Carroll famously said, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” Sounds like as good a plan as any, but as I don’t want to bore you, here’s the abridged version.
I’m the eldest of four siblings, raised in a suburban, middle-class Catholic family in Melbourne’s north. As a youngster, I exhibited all the parent-pleasing characteristics of a firstborn, with lofty goals and ambitions to match. Then I hit mid-teens and developed a mildly rebellious streak, began flexing my independence muscle. In the context of my life to that point, it was radical stuff … or at least my parents thought so.
In fact, the teenage rebellion proved to be more of an enduring metamorphosis. I rejected organised religion in favour of spirituality. I fell for Ty Webb*, a boy from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ who has been my partner-in-crime for more than 38 years. And I abandoned my long-held ambition to study law en route to becoming Australia’s first female Prime Minister for a more modest business degree at a ‘second-rate’ tertiary institution.
As it happens, this last decision led me into a job I loved with people who remain great friends. I qualified as a chartered accountant, worked in large accounting firms for more than ten years and acquired invaluable skills and experience. So, je ne regrette rien!
By the mid-’90s, Ty Webb and I were ripe for a change. Throwing caution to the wind, we set about starting a family and a business in the same year. What were we thinking? 🤦♀️
Our daughter, Lizzie McGuire* arrived in early 1996; our son, Will Hunting* joined us almost three years later. As the children grew, so did the business – from a start-up of two, operating out of a home office (read a desk in the corner of our bedroom), into a sizeable concern employing up to thirty people at its peak.
This is when I learnt how to juggle … the hard way. For twenty-odd years, I regularly dropped balls, sometimes several at once. Sure, they got cracked, dented and scratched – a bit like the juggler. But there was never time to dwell. The show had to go on, right? I just picked up the balls, dusted them off and flung them unceremoniously skyward, back into rotation. It was relentless, exhausting, overwhelming and at times, profoundly traumatic.
The winds of change began to blow again in 2015. We successfully sold our business and twelve months later, I began an extended sabbatical; took my first tentative steps down the road of reflection, healing and creativity. I’ve since learnt to slow my pace, be more present in the moment and appreciate life’s simple pleasures. And with the luxury of time, I’ve also rediscovered and indulged long-neglected passions – theatre, cinema, music, cooking, reading and writing.
In November 2017, my first piece of non-fictional prose was published in a collection entitled How the West Was One: Memoirs from Melbourne’s Western Suburbs – a wonderful initiative to raise money in support of Western Chances. It Takes a Village … is based on a series of recorded conversations with my beloved friend, Debra Moore. She was invited to contribute to the book yet somehow convinced me to write her story. Our collaboration and involvement in the project was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying things I’ve ever done. The writing process itself – exhilarating! Now I’m hooked.
But for me, it’s not enough to simply write. I must learn to write better. And I will learn by doing.
So, emboldened by the support and encouragement of loved ones, I write Views from a Bridge – to please myself, give voice to my thoughts, develop my craft and (hopefully) connect with like-minded souls on their own journey to meaning.
Who knows where it will lead? 🤷♀️ But let the journey begin …
* pseudonyms used to protect the privacy of family members