More Excitement!

So I haven’t got around to telling you yet (unless I know you in real life, in which case I’ve probably told you far too many times!), but I won an AWARD.  My editor at Australian Catholics entered one of my columns in the Australasian Religious Press Association awards and it won GOLD for ‘Best Humorous Article’.   I’m so super stoked!  Apparently, the other entrants weren’t particularly humorous, so I wasn’t so much the funniest as the only funny one, but I’m still going to see this as a win.  It was AUSTRALASIAN, not just Australian, and it was RELIGIOUS, not just Catholic.  I’m mega smug.

So I’m going to reprint the winning article here.  Enjoy!

Minimum Wage Barbie in McDonalds uniform

What a Girl Wants

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s anxious research.  Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I read. Information soothes me.

When my eldest daughter was born, I devoured every book I could get my hands on, from What to Expect When You Expect to be Expecting, to Embryo Einsteins, to Have a New Newborn by Friday.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered that simple toys could reinforce oppressive gender stereotypes and cripple the cognitive development of my wee girl-child.  So, from the very start, I endorsed train sets, puzzles and every variety of Danish plastic construction system. Now, at almost twelve, Matilda is assertive and articulate and wants to be a mechanical engineer when she grows up (when she’s not busy being the Prime Minister of Australia).  This, of course, is all due to my wise parenting methods. So I knew exactly which approach to take when my next daughter was born.

Annie, however, in all her four years of life, has politely declined Thomas and His Friends in favour of all things pink, sparkly and monarchical.  

“Mummy, I want to be a princess!”

“That’s a good idea, Annie.  Did you know that princesses are wise rulers and important decision makers?  Let’s pretend your kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and implement free and fair elections for all of your subjects!”

“Do I get to wear a shiny dress?”

“OK, sure…”

The real challenge came for me last Christmas.  Annie’s wish list had only one item on it. Her large brown eyes shone and she spoke in hushed tones of finally owning . . . a Barbie doll.

Oh, Lord.

I know the marketing executives would tell me that this tiny mannequin is actually an empowering role model, a true feminist.  Didn’t I know there is even a Doctor Barbie?  Girls can be doctors too!  I try to swallow this, but it sticks in my throat.  Barbie is, above all things, pretty. Literally, she is an object to be dressed and admired.  I want more than this for my daughter.

“What else do you want for Christmas, Annie?”

“Just Barbie.  If I tell Santa something else, he might not get me the Barbie.”

“What would you do if you got a Barbie?”

“Play Barbies.”

“OK.  But you know Barbie’s not all that great.  What does she do? Wear clothes? Sit around her dream house bemoaning the lack of space her vital organs have to function within that tiny tiny waist?  There are better toys than Barbie!”

“Oh, I know you don’t like Barbie, Mummy,”  Annie says composedly.

“You do?”

“Yes.  That’s why I’m asking Santa to get me one”

But for all that, Santa, in all his wisdom, did not get Annie a Barbie doll.  I imagine he couldn’t bring himself to turn into the lurid pink aisle at the toy section of Target and fork out thirty dollars for an 11-and-a-half-inch eating disorder just waiting to happen.  I’m sure he tried. I’m sure he went back again and looked and scratched his beard and called one of his best elves for advice. But it was not to be. On Christmas morning, Annie ran downstairs and opened her pillowcase to discover a Lego set for a pink princess castle, complete with flowers, princess and pony.  I held my breath. Annie looked up at me – and beamed.

“Look, Mummy!  Look what Santa got me!  It’s just what I wanted! It’s just what I asked him for!”

Wait, what?  Had she completely forgotten our conversation?  And how could she have asked Santa for this Lego set?  She’d never seen one before!

Shut up, Kate!  Just shut up! You’ve almost got away with it!  Smile! Nod!

“Oh, yes, Annie.  Gosh, Santa is very clever.  You know, I think he’s even smart enough to be a princess!”



19 thoughts on “More Excitement!

  1. rsolly

    Well done Kate. Was this the one that won the award (when you went to Richmond to receive it?). The one about home justice was for Melbourne Catholic right?

    PS Can you tell me the name of that TV show with the coloured animated ponies and magic unicorns?



    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      This was the one that won the award. The one about home justice was also for Australian Catholics, but it was connected with their 25th Anniversary celebrations. It was an honour to be sharing space with some iconic pieces that had been written over the years.

      Hmmm. The TV show could be “My Little Pony”, “Go Jetters” (that one has an Ubercorn), or maybe something else?

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Jeff Hobbs

    Congratulations on winning an award beyond the mere confines of Catholicity – a perfect opportunity to be wrapped in smugness. A fun read. Well done.

  3. C. L. Roman

    I love this. Our children are individuals from day one, aren’t they? And I love that Santa clearly took Annie’s personality and preferences into consideration, even though “he” couldn’t bring “himself” to give her a Barbie. There is room in the world for young females across the spectrum.

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Thank you! I agree. I try never to use the word ‘tomboy’ these days. Advertisers try to give us very narrow ideas of what is feminine and what is masculine. A girl who climbs trees and dresses as Batman is still ‘girly’, in my opinion.

  4. Amy @ Love and Be Loved

    I’m am so happy for you!!! This is Amazing!!
    I love your writing and am inspired by your work. This was an excellent piece on many levels. I’m feeling smug on your behalf!

    Do you have any tips for those of us trying to get published as far as how to get started, who to contact, query, find an agent, etc?

    Any thoughts are appreciated!

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Thank you so much, Amy, for such a lovely comment!
      I’m not sure I’m the right person to approach for advice, as I don’t feel like I’m ‘there’ yet! So far, I got my gig at “Australian Catholics” by emailing the editor directly. I gave him links to some of my favourite blog posts, and it turned out that they were looking for somebody to write a column on family life. I met the assistant editor of Melbourne Catholic at the Christmas drinks for Australian Catholics. I’ve tried getting into other publications (like Women’s Weekly!), but to no avail. But I’m happy with where I am. I haven’t got an agent so far, but I’m working on a novel, and might need to look into that when it’s (finally) finished.
      For many years, I just blogged. At the time I didn’t realise it, but it helped me find my voice as a writer and then provided an online portfolio to show to editors.
      As far as ‘who to contact’, that’s a question I’ve found tricky myself. I was lucky that the publications I write for make themselves easy enough to contact. I’ve thought of contacting other magazines, but I don’t know how!

      I don’t know if any of this is helpful, but I hope you have the best of luck getting published! Thank you again!

      1. Amy @ Love and Be Loved

        Thank you so much for your quick and detailed reply! Everything you mention makes good sense. (Sounds like “Christmas drinks” are the way to go!;)). Good luck on your novel in the midst of a full family life. But I’m guessing the fullness of your family life informs your writing, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I remember Annie Dillard expressing the notion that if we think shutting ourselves off from the world in a remote cabin surrounded by silence is gonna be the best place, or is gonna get us to write, we’ve got another thing coming. (Not a direct quote but something to that affect!)
        Thanks again for your reply. Keep writing!

        1. katelikestocreate Post author

          It’s so true (though I fantasise all the time about that cabin in the woods!) I also like what Stephen King says about his writing desk being in the living room, off to the side, that life comes first and writing has to fit in around it.
          Thank you!

  5. Richard

    And mega smug you should be! Also, that wise old Santa 🙂 “11-and-a-half-inch eating disorder just waiting to happen”! Congratulations Kate, always a pleasure to read your work, keep ’em coming.

  6. Lorella D'Cruz

    It’s been a long time between comments, Kate. I’ve just read your article in the Nov issue of Melb Cath. It moved me to tears, literally! You have such a gift for writing. I guess that comes from feeling deeply, and then having the ability to verbalise your deep emotions. And Kate, I’ve got to share something with you: am so THRILLED to have my first article accepted by Melb Cath (I think… until I hold the Dec. issue with my own hands and see my name in print with my own eyes, I’d better curb my enthusiasm :)) Anyway, I want to say, you’ve been my muse, Kate; so a very BIG Thank You to you. I’d never have had the courage to submit, if it weren’t for your kind words.

  7. Lorella D'Cruz

    You’re very kind, Kate, bless you. I am so in awe of you working on a novel – that’s serious stuff – but we know you can do it. So good luck – and when you make the big time, I’m going to claim being an acquaintance of yours if you’ll allow me 🙂

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Hahaha! Of course! Such a wonderful cheerleader! My latest piece for MC (Feb) will be about starting a novel. I feel like my manuscript is an unwieldy mess at the moment, but I need to trust that I can wade through it somehow.

      Thank you! I can’t wait to see the December edition!

      1. Lorella D'Cruz

        And I can’t wait to read your MC piece that’s going to allow readers a humorous peep into the chaos surrounding the genesis & birth pangs of your coming blockbuster. Please note that I’m putting in my request right now for a signed copy of your magnum opus at the book launch- and you’d better hurry with completing the novel because I don’t know how much time I have left before either dementia or worse takes hold of me 🙂


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