S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Category: Uncategorized

The one where a plan was hatched…

True story: One of my cousins is nuts about cricket, just like me. So is her husband. But their three daughters? Not so much.

Being the great cousin I am, I sent her an ebook copy of Alice Henderson On Debut, which she ended up sharing with her eldest daughter, Miss 13.

Now, you have to understand, Miss 13 (while being an avid reader) rolls her eyes whenever her mum and dad start talking about cricket and if it’s on TV, she walks out of the room.

But then Miss 13 read Alice Henderson On Debut. She loved it. My cousin was able to take the girls to watch an actual, live cricket match in their city, and the girls were excited and engaged and starting to show a real interest.

You can imagine my delight when my cousin told me about Miss 13 jabbering about Alice and how she enjoyed learning about cricket from reading the book.

And that’s when I hatched my plan.

I thought if I could convert one girl to cricket, just through the power of Alice, surely I could convert more?

And what better way to do that than with free books?

Why am I telling you this? Most evil villains wouldn’t tell anyone about their evil plans ahead of time.

I’m not an evil villain though – I’m an agent for good. (“Yeah, yeah, that’s what ALL the evil villains say!”)

Cricket is a fantastic sport for girls. It’s non-contact, skillful, fast-paced, promotes team-work and best of all, lets you make great new friends.

And with the advent of professional contracts, the Women’s Big Bash League (which coincidentally starts today in Aus) and other similar T20 leagues overseas, girls are getting into it in more and more numbers.

Can you tell I’m excited??

All of this is to say, in an attempt to convert more readers to cricket fans, and to celebrate the start of the third season of the WBBL, I’ve made Alice Henderson On Debut free on Amazon for the two days of the WBBL03 launch weekend, starting today.

Want to grab a copy for you or a friend? You can get it here:

Get Alice Henderson On Debut

 And if you’re in Aus and want to catch the action, check your local guide to see when they’re being televised (on channel 10) and hit up cricket.com.au to watch online.

Please feel free to share the link for the free book – the more converts, the merrier!

Oh and #TurnUpTheHeat!

That link again:

Five ways my lesbian relationship differs to your heterosexual one

(And one way it’s the same)

So the marriage equality debate has risen again here in Australia, and it looks like it may finally be the time that our Parliament catches up with the majority of people and changes the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

There’s been a rush from both sides to assert their positions and make their arguments, and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to write a post on how my love is no different from anyone else’s, because one of the major arguments from those who are against marriage equality is that our love is fundamentally different and therefore not worthy of the term ‘marriage’.

When I got to thinking about it though, I realised that my relationship with my wife (still non-legal though we hope that changes soon enough) is different from a heterosexual relationship/marriage. Here, then, are five points of difference:

  1. Terminology – currently, I call my wife my wife because that’s what she is to me. It’s a non-legal term, and most of our friends and family refer to her as my wife. I have, however, on various occasions been referred to as my wife’s ‘mate’, her ‘partner’, her ‘friend’ and sometimes not at all. In those cases, I was introduced in name only with no hint to my relationship with her, even though it was plainly clear to most people what our relationship to each other is. I have never, at any stage, heard my heterosexual friends have their better halves (married or not) referred to as mate, or friend, or not at all, even when they had only been together a short time.
  2. Sexual innuendos and questions – Let me ask you this. When you (if you are in a heterosexual relationship) have gone out with your wife or girlfriend, have you ever been asked who is the top? Or whether you want a three-some? Have you ever had anyone (someone you’ve never met before) tell you that you’ve just not met the right [insert opposite sex here] yet? As a lesbian, it seems like everyone wants to stick their noses into what happens in my bedroom. Something that doesn’t happen when you’re in a heterosexual relationship.
  3. “The Phase” – After over 11 years together, it is still assumed by some people that my relationship with my wife is a ‘phase’, and that we will each find a man eventually when we grow tired of each other. This is something never questioned in a heterosexual relationship. The length and strength of my relationship with my wife means nothing to people who just can’t get past the myth that gay and lesbian relationships don’t last as long as heterosexual ones. We’re certainly going to prove that myth wrong.
  4. Being ogled in public – When was the last time you were ogled in public for holding your wife’s/husband’s hand? Or showing any type of affection at all? While it happens less and less, it still happens. It happens when my wife and I are out for dinner and I lean in a little too close. It happens when I take her hand as we walk down the street or cross a road. It happens when we’re sitting on a park bench and I lay my head on her shoulder. Again, they don’t bother me anymore, but sometimes, when I can feel someone’s eyes on us, it feels like we’re living in a fish bowl. There’s also the whispered comments from people nearby who think you can’t hear what they’re saying, trying to work out (a) if I’m a man or a woman (probably because of my preference to dress in jeans and t-shirts and keep my hair cut short) and (b) whether we are, in fact, lesbians. It’s no longer all that uncomfortable for me, but my wife sometimes picks up on it. We’ve even had times where we’ve dropped each others’ hands and walked just a little further apart because we’ve felt uncomfortable in public. Bet you never have to do that with your wife or husband huh? And finally,
  5. Constantly deciding whether you should ‘come out’ – Being a lesbian (or gay), I find myself constantly making judgement calls on the people I meet, and whether I can refer to my wife as my wife or not. I am proud of our relationship, but sometimes, it’s far easier to just not say anything. Ever gone to work on Monday morning and been asked what you did over the weekend? You reply with something about taking your wife and kids to the beach, or your husband taking you out for a quiet dinner to celebrate your anniversary. For some of us gays and lesbians, especially those who aren’t out at work, that simple conversation is one fraught with anxiety. Even just being asked, when meeting someone new, if you have a husband (if you’re a woman) or wife (if you’re a man) isn’t a simple answer for some of us. We don’t just come out of the closet once. We do it all the time. And it can be exhausting.

So yes, my relationship with my wife does differ to that of someone in a heterosexual relationship. I do hope though, that one day it doesn’t matter.

And just to finish on a happier note, here’s one reason my relationship is the same as heterosexual relationships.

I love my wife immensely. For me, she’s it. The One. We make each other laugh; we comfort each other when we cry. We share the same morals and values and we’re travelling in the same direction in life. She has my back and I have hers. We support each other in our chosen careers and we share the housework (although my wife would argue it’s a 70/30 split with her doing the most). We have our differences, sure. But the reason why being able to marry my wife is so important to me is because I want everyone to know that she is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, to the exclusion of all others. I want the automatic legal kinship that is afforded to married couples.

And we had so much fun at our Big C commitment ceremony 6 years ago, that we’d love to do it all again. Only this time, it’ll be for real.

I’ve gone visiting

I’m visiting author and photographer Laurie Salzler over at her blog this weekend. You can check out what cheeky questions she asked me by clicking through the link here.  While you’re there, you should check out the photos of her dogs. So cute!

You can check out her books on amazon here. And I have it on good authority that her latest book “In the Stillness of Dawn” will be out very soon. You can read about that one here – can’t wait.

Pop over and say hi!

“The Break Up” published on narratorPride

Head on over to narratorPride, where you can read my short story “The Break Up”. While you’re there, check out some of the other stories and poems by some great Aussie writers.

Hit up the link here.

Why I will be watching the Sochi Olympics

I have struggled for a long time with the conundrum of the Sochi Olympic Games.

People who know me well know that I will watch almost anything sport-related. (Except motor “sport”. It’s not even a sport – it’s people driving for Pete’s sake!) And yes, even curling.

On the one hand, I want to boycott the Olympics, to not watch them out of solidarity for our LGBT sisters and brothers in Russia. On the other, I want to watch them because we have openly gay athletes competing, including Aussie snowboarder Belle Brockhoff. We also have a lot of support from non-gay athletes who think the Russian laws are draconian and vile.

I have struggled with all of the arguments surrounding boycotting – likening these Olympics to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin when people argued that it would be a boon for Adolf Hitler – and I get that argument. But the best thing to come out of those games was Jesse Owens.

I think the biggest stories to come out of an Olympics like this one will be the ones off the slopes. I also think that our openly gay athletes show their solidarity to the LGBT community in Russia just by being there. By being open about who they are, regardless of the Russian laws. I don’t know if we’ll see any open displays of defiance from athletes, daring the Russian authorities to arrest them, and I’m not sure I want to.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that we have openly gay athletes competing and I want to support them. They’ve worked hard to get there, and they deserve to compete in front of full stadiums, and in front of millions of people at home watching them on TV. They deserve to compete against the best in the world because they are the best at what they do, and being gay has nothing to do with that.

The single best thing to come out of all of this though, is that LGBT rights is again at the forefront of everyone’s minds. While we are lucky here in Australia that there are laws to protect us from discrimination, (and though sometimes we still feel like we are going backwards), events like the Sochi Olympic Games and the political climate that surrounds them serve to remind us that we still have so far to go, and that our community encompasses more than just our own backyard.

It’s a reminder that we cannot turn our backs on prejudice, in whatever form it takes, and hope that it will eventually go away.

Second Ashes Test Wrap Up

Yesterday marked the end of the Adelaide test match, which was all but over for England on the second day when the Aussies declared with over 500 runs on the board.

It was great to see us finally get passed the early wobbles, and while Warner holed out again, he was on fire. I love watching him bat, and he’s the type of batsman that either gets out early or goes on to get a big score, and no matter which it is, he’s entertaining to watch.

On the bowling side, it was hard to pick a stand-out. Johnson again played havoc with the English heads, bowling fast and mean. Siddle, Harris and Lyon all played their parts, even though they didn’t all get the wickets they deserved. Watson and Smith also played cameos with the ball, and did well to tie the English down while our pacemen had a break.

It seems the English batsmen just can’t cope with the pace and bounce of our pitches. I’m not entirely sure why they’re not taking a leaf out of our play book and doing the same thing to us. I’m really looking forward to seeing how our quicks go on the Perth pitch, which is traditionally fast and full of bounce.

One thing that bothered me about the commentary during the match was a comment about Watson not contributing to the team. At current, he looks like a man who feels like every one else thinks he’s over stayed his welcome, particularly when he gets out. He’s had a lean series so far with the bat, with his highest score of 51 coming in the first innings in this test. He hasn’t been used with the ball much but he had figures of 1 for 0 (1 wicket for no runs) off 3 overs in the first innings, and 0 for 6 off 6 overs in the second. His economy alone when he’s bowling is a fantastic contribution. That’s exactly what you need from a part-time bowler, which he’s become over the last few years. And since when was 51 runs not a contribution in any innings?

Even though I was excited that we’re that much closer to bringing the Ashes home after the Adelaide win, I’m a little disappointed that we can’t seem to keep our mouths shut. I’m all for banter on the field, and I know I said in my last wrap-up that England give as good as they get (especially Broad, Anderson and Prior), but when we were looking like winning late on the fourth day, I really don’t know why Johnson and Haddin felt like they had to rub it in.

I saw Broad go after Johnson at the close of play on day 4, and I think that was uncalled for, but I think we really should be concentrating on winning matches instead of stirring up the opposition when we’re so far ahead of them both technically and mentally.

I’ve read on some of the news blogs that the reporting of the Stokes/Johnson clash has embarrassed both camps, and I really hope we can all go to Perth with clear heads and better manners. By all means, banter away, but the players have to remember that they’re not playing in a bubble, and the cameras are everywhere.

Having said all of that, bring on Perth. If England found it hard to play against our quicks on a batting pitch like Adelaide, I can’t wait to see how they go on a bowling pitch like Perth.


The Ashes – First Test Wrap-up

Balance has returned to my world, thanks to the Aussies’ thumping First Test win against England on the weekend.

After our dismal first innings batting performance, improved only by Brad Haddin’s and Mitch Johnson’s partnership, I thought ‘Here we go again’. And while we still have questions to answer in the top order, what really impressed me was the fact that our bowlers stood up to be counted. They worked as a team throughout the test match, and though Mitch Johnson failed to find his mojo early, he certainly had it in spades by our second innings in the field.

In all honesty, Mitch Johnson wouldn’t have been in my team. In the past, though he can be a firebrand (as he was in this match), he’s been too inconsistent. When you put him up against Siddle and Harris, who can both consistently hit a five-cent coin on pin-head, Johnson can be wayward and unpredictable. And though he started off in a familiar fashion – spraying balls wide and down leg-side and misusing bouncers – he didn’t take long to come into his own in this match.

His bowling style was suited to the Gabba pitch, and I’m glad we have some menace back in our bowling stocks.

Michael Clarke captained extremely well in this match. I particularly liked how he would chop and change bowlers whenever he thought it necessary instead of leaving any of them on for too long to try to play themselves in. He also played a fantastic knock in the second innings along side Dave Warner to break the hearts of the English bowlers.

What’s great to see is that a team previously (seemingly) acting like individuals is starting to play as one unit. Everyone’s bound to have a bad game at some stage, and in the past, that meant the rest of the team could crumble around them. Now, however, our batsmen stride to the crease with confidence, looking to score runs, and our bowlers work in tandem, harassing England’s batsmen with Clarke setting aggressive fields, looking for wickets.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the game progresses in Adelaide, as it’s historically been a wicket for batsmen. Our bowlers will have to be tighter in order to not let England get away too early, particularly if they bat first. I’ll also be interested to see if the selectors stick with the same team all round. Barring injuries, the only change I could see would be to rest Ryan Harris so we have him fit for Perth. As to who would replace him, I’d love to see James Pattinson back, but any one of Mitch Starc, Jackson Bird or Pat Cummings would be a fine replacement for Harris.

As for our batting, I don’t think there’s any need to make any changes. We need to allow the boys some confidence in their positions. We’ve seen how the axe hanging over his head affected Phil Hughes – before he was dropped the last time, he always seemed to play like a man in his last match. That’s not how you want players preparing mentally.

As for the latest sledging controversy, I think Clarke’s been hard done-by with his 20% match fee fine. I don’t condone what he said, but as with everything, it’s one line taken out of context of what appeared to be a very heated exchange. And don’t for a minute think Jimmy Anderson hadn’t given as much as he got.

The thing that disappoints me though is our media throwing these things out of proportion, and not backing our own team. England are in our back yard now, playing in our conditions. You don’t go to someone else’s house disrespecting their stuff and expect to get away with it. I have no doubt our boys would have copped a lot of lip from a chirpy and over-confident England team when they were on top in the previous series.

The should expect nothing less from us when they come to our house.


Let’s get Sonny to meet P!nk!!

I want to tell you about a great friend of mine (and some time great rival), Sonny Hughes. 
Sonny and I played for rival soccer teams, and were sworn mortal enemies for the best part of 10 years. She was a young and cocky striker, and I was a young and smart-mouthed goalkeeper. It was a rivalry made in heaven. There was no greater satisfaction for me than denying her a goal, and some of my greatest and fondest memories in the sport are of our matches against each other (not to mention the “friendly” banter).
To me, Sonny was always energetic and full of life. She was tough and strong and unforgiving on the field. Little did I know that those characteristics would come in handy when she faced the fight of her life.
At the age of just 33, she has fought and beaten cancer 3 times – in 2008 it was Non-Hodgkins lymphoma; in 2009 there was cancer in her groin; and finally, after 2 years cancer free, in February 2012 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her last bout of chemo and radiation caused complications that have resulted in her having an ileostomy and colostomy. In the space of just a few months, I saw her go from someone who was getting her life back on track and regaining her health, to fighting for her life.
She wasn’t even sure she’d live long enough to see a P!nk concert, such was her prognosis, but she bought a ticket anyway. She has fought her battle against cancer with dignity and humility, and has come out the other side with her humour and strength intact. Nothing would make her fight worthwhile like getting to meet P!nk in person. 
What can you do to help?
Like and share the facebook page with family, friends, businesses and anyone else you can think of to get the word out. Flick Sonny a message on the page to let her know you’re thinking of her. Let P!nk know on twitter and facebook that this wonderful, courageous woman has a dream that she can make come true – a dream that only a few short months ago really was impossible.

Fighting my way through a perfume haze.

One of my pet peeves is people who smell bad. I’m not a snob about this but you know, deodorant is something that not all people seem to have the hang of. And with a nose as sensitive as mine, it’s worse. If anything is worse than bad-smelling people it’s people who bathe in their au de perfum of choice so you can virtually see their scent trailing behind them as they walk past. The first one makes me gag, and the second one makes me sneeze and get an immediate perfume-headache (kind of like a brain-freeze headache, but without the ice-cream). I hate gagging as much as I hate sneezing.

So imagine my horror when I discovered that the smell I was turning my nose up at a few days ago was my own. I was mortified. I wanted to shower right then and there to scrub clean my stinking pit pores, only I was at work, and apart from being a slightly crazy thing to do in my lunch hour, may have made my bosses think twice about my future at their firm. I mean, I’m already a writer. They don’t need any more reasons to prove that I’m mentally unhinged.

After discovering the noxious gases I had been producing from my pits, I decided I’d try out a different deodorant. Oh what a pain in the rear that proved to be. Standing in the personal hygiene aisle of the supermarket for longer than five minutes makes you look like you can’t read, or you’re a moron, or it’s the first time you’ve ever thought about buying deodorant. Of course, I’m none of those, but I still felt out of my depth.

Let’s look at the options. You have spray anti-perspirants and deodorants, roll-ons, body sprays and sticks. There’s products that promise to not stain your white clothes, and to not stain your black clothes. Products that smell and some that are odourless (the point here???). They promise to get you the guy (or the girl, depending what you’re into), and to keep you dry no matter how hot and sweaty you get.

And there’s a distinct difference between mens and womens when it comes to labelling. Mens tend to say things like “energetic fragrance” and “responds to increases in adrenalin”. They’re called “Africa” and “V8” and “Brut”.

Womens, on the other hand, say things like “seductive” and “sensual”, and ooh “mishievous”. They’re called things like “Shiny” and “Illusions” and (sharp intake of breath) “Tease”.

Do they tell you what they actually smell like though? Not bloody likely! What the hell does “energetic” smell like anyway? And I can guarantee you that what smells “sensual” to me is not the same as what smells “sensual” to someone else.

For the love of all that is good and right, can we at least get some truth in advertising. Wearing deodorant won’t get me the girl – particularly the type of girl in a certain product’s ads (not that I want another girl – I already have one). Only sixteen-year-olds believe that. And no matter what they say, it won’t last for more than a couple of hours, even in an air-conditioned office. I know advertising plays on our emotions to get us to buy things, but dammit, I’m over trying to decipher some of those ads. Will I smell fresh and oceany? Show me a beach. Will I smell smokey and woody? Show me a log cabin. I get shit like that. That stuff is easy to decipher.

But I have another problem trying to choose deodorants. Those who know me well know that I am definitely not feminine. I don’t do nail polish or make-up or dresses. The only thing I put on my face is moisturiser, and even then it’s only when I get sunburnt or my skin feels dry. Having said that, I’m still a girl, and I like being a girl. Just, you know, not too much of a girl.

I don’t want to smell like a bunch of flowers, a fruit bowl, a cinnamon stick, or a vanilla pod. And I damn-well don’t want to smell like I’ve just rolled in pine needles, or I’ve just walked through smoke. I don’t want to smell overly “woman” or overly “man”. And it seems like there’s no inbetween in there. Even the “sports” deodorants are skewed one way or the other.

I just want to hide my pong without the cover-up smell being offensive to me and everyone around me. And I don’t want to smell like a girl. And, I don’t want to smell like a man. Is that too much to ask?

Side note: At the time of posting, I still have not found a deodorant that I like. Any suggestions are much-appreciated. If you do make a suggestion for something I might like, please, oh please, tell me exactly what it is I will smell like if I use it!


Story time: Noni Hazlehurst reads "Go the F**k to Sleep"

Those of you who remember Noni Hazlehurst from Play School will love her rendition of the book “Go the F**k to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortes. Hard to imagine anyone else could read this book with such love and expression. Love your work, Noni.

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