Guest post: Alice Answers…

When I asked Alice Greenup to share her book with my readers, I was pleased to get a positive response.

When I got three copies of her autobiography in the post to share with you all, instead of one, I was happily surprised.

When she agreed to answer a few of your questions, I was delighted.

WHEN SHE ANSWERED EVERY SINGLE ONE of the 24 questions answered… I was… well… amazed.  But as I am getting to understand, that’s just Alice.  Full throttle and beyond the call of duty.

So I thought it was worth sharing her detailed answers here – rather than just leaving them in the original blog post.  Just quietly, it’s one of the best Q & A’s I have ever seen.  FYI Alice’s ‘Educating Alice’ is in a rerun already and giving Harry Styles a run for his coiffered money in the best-seller lists.  And rumour has it that a certain eminent ABC doco program is shadowing her every move.  I couldn’t be prouder.

Enjoy.  And THANKS Alice.

(Questions and answers as chronologically listed in orginial post).

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I’m always up for asking a question! From what I can gather, you’re a spunky gal. In your big transition from city to the country, what was the hardest thing that you had to overcome? Or was it a ‘click’ as you fit into a place you never knew you belonged?

A: Alice

Hi Debby. In truth there was a bit of both. I did have that lovely click with the country and the man, but defeintely after the honeymoon period wore off, I felt less enamoured with the way of life, hugely homesick and basically trapped. It came down to slapping myself across the face (after a good 12 months or so of moping) and telling myself to embrace the wonderful world, communiy and landscae that was at my doorstep and waiting for me to become a part of.

Q: Ellie k

Did you take the job to learn about the ranch life or meet a man?

A: AliceI took the job becasue I was broke and didn’t want to go back to Melbourne – I was completely ignorant about ranch life and men that live it.

While unconscious from being kicked in the head by a horse, how much of what was going on around you were you aware of ?~! I have never been unconscious and have often wondered what it is like. Thanks for writing such an interesting book.

A: Alice

Being in that particular state of consciousness was very calming and peaceful.I felt completely at one with the earth and unperturbed about anything. I don’t recommend being kicked in the head by a horse to achieve this state – much easier and less messy to meditate

Q: Anne

What gave you the courage or incentive to share your story?

A: Alice

I have wanted writing to become a part of my life. The incentive to carve the time out came from an invitation to tell my story from Harper Collins. That said that was the impetus, but as you can imagine, there is a lot of soul searching during the process, a lot of ‘why I am doing this” not so much ‘what will I write.’ The why then determined what stayed in and what was left on the cutting room floor, so to speak. So at the end of the day, my ‘why’ is pretty simple; tell a story, that will make people reflect on what it means to be happy, inspire them to pursue their own purpose, by using their ‘bliss baramoter’and to be aware of how fear affects decisions and actions. The other why is more at a content and practical level, ie why memoir about living on the land vs fiction, – its important to share real life stories,to understand more of what it is to be human in training and build that connection between food producers and food eaters.

Q: robynverrall
Moving into a ‘country farming family business’ how did you learn to juggle the nuances of family farming and establishing your own identity without resentment?

A: Alice

A farm can be all consuming can’t it? So if we don’t quarantine time for other things; dinner parties, walks, campdrafting, painting, writing – whatever it is you need to do to nurture yourself, then I think resentement can build up – and you’re also not as effective in your business, if you don’t take away from it. So this is eomthing that has come with practice (and a teaspoon of bloody mindedness at times). For the record, I am yet to see a fairy that comes into my kitchen or office and waves a wand saying “us fairies have been talking and think it is time you did something for yourself, so have created an extra hour a day, just for you to spend anyway you wish.” Question: what would you do with that hour? Mop? Book-keeping? They’ll be there anyway. So you have to claim / quarantine that time for yourself,not wait for a fairy and….. no guilt!!!! Be proud that you have done something for your body / spirit.

Q: Lis
My introduction to far western New South Wales via my equally rural boyfriend was the following sentence, ‘Have you been to Bourke & can you shear?’; so I’m asking you the same. 
A: Alice
Can’t shear. Pretty handy with the clippers on Rick and the kids – one style fits all. Don’t think I’ve been to Burke. Is there good champagne there?
Q: sara perkins
I’ve been kicked in the leg, bucked off ending with a concussion and compressed disc in back, broken leg with plate in it now but i still ride. Haven’t read your book but since your recovery are you back riding and how did you overcome any fears (if you had any) of getting back on a horse?

A: Alice

Yes I ride and yes I get nervous (I miss that fearlessness of youth). Just started on a new horse last year, and she’s a bit goey. So when the fear comes up, I remind myself that I don’t want to give up riding and my old geldings will not be around forever, so I have to go through the process of getting a new one going, or my kids will be out mustering without me and I don’t want to miss out. I try and get to a clinic eg Ken May or Pete Comisky after a long break from riding (eg after kids) and two days in the saddle, being pushed to new limits always helps gets your groove back.
Q: Jane
So many great questions! I was wondering where you would choose to go for a holiday, Alice? Back to the city, to a tropical island somewhere relaxing, or would nothing drag you away from your home now?

A: Alice

Last year for my 40th we went to London, Barcelona and car tripped around rural France – with bubbles being a large focus of the itinerary. It was glorious. Mostly we are pretty lazy on holidays and go to Moore Park, north of Bundaberg, and we take our cat and ten dogs, before we did this the kids used to spend most of the holidays crying about the pets at home (they still miss the ponies). Once there, it is all about beach, skate ramps, fishing, reading and sleeping. I love holidaying with friends, have done for years – it is a great way to keep the friendships solid and counter the tyranny of distance.

Q: A Novel Woman
It’s a two-parter. What would Alice say is Rick’s best quality, and what would Rick say is Alice’s? And what personality trait leaves some, ahem, wiggle room for improvement? Also, because I can’t stop at one (same thing goes for potato chips) – what piece of marital advice would you give newlyweds? My husband and I, happy and still together after 30 years, keep getting asked this question.  Cheers, and thanks for this. Sounds like a great story!

A: Alice

Rick’s best quality is his sense of self. That is what I fell in love with and it like a centre of gravity in our lives. And besides that, he’s just a really nice bloke to live with. Rick says my ability to bring the best out in people. Marital advice (Rick was more natural at this than me, I could have made life more rocky if he’d let me get carried away with myself, so I’m lucky I had a good teacher).  So off the top of my head: Be happy with yourself and in your own life, its not your partners job to make you happy – of course it is great to support each other’s dreams. Stick at it when it gets rough. Be nice to each other (and on days when you can;t be nice, be somewhere else). And afterwards bury the hatchet and don’t leave the handle sticking out. Have fun.

My question is probably a little left field… I want to know Rick’s grandmother’s name… Weird I know. It’s just that my great aunt, who was Patricia Goodwin, married a Greenup from down that way and was wondering what the chances would be for a while now. Thought this might have been the perfect opportunity to ask without sounding too stalkerish.  Love your work Alice (and yours too of course BB), I have read little bits and pieces about you and I can only aspire to have such an impact as what you have. Keep up the great work.

 A: Alice

Hey Kylie. Rick’s Grandmother was Heather Lang. Have passed your Q onto Peg and Grahame as well. I’ll let you know if I learn anything.

Q: Steve

Loved hearing of your book on Gold 104.3 the other morning.  I’ve yet to read your book.  You’ve seem to have done so much, taken on some significant challenges and faced them head on. Whats next I wonder?

 A: Alice

A nap. No seriously, just focussed on the kids, helping the memoir find its place in the world, our beef business and picking away at the next manuscript (fiction). On a new front, I have agreed to do a 10 km run in September, so am training for that, which is a whole new world for me, but am really enjoying it.
Q: YvonneDo you feel it was the romance of the outback and your husband’s job that drew you to him or him himself? I only ask as I have often asked myself that question of myself about my husband who I became engaged to after only knowing him for a week. We have been married 21 years this year and still as in love as when we first met.

A: Alice

Some things are just meant to be. However Rick is sitting here and reminded me that I would have been able to eat a lot more chocolate over the years without him (I’m not a good sharer). I was drawn to the man and his character first and the love of the land grew over time and is stil growing as I come to now more intimately every year. (I refer to the deep love of land that comes after the novelty wore off).

Q: Bill

Rick, Can she cook? I think Jane has a great question.

A: Alice

Rick taught me how to cook Burdekin Ducks (corn beef fritters) and I taught him how to make white sauce to have with his corned meat.

Q: Joy Coggan

What do you miss about the city? I am a country girl and always interested in what people love about cities enough for them to want to live there. Looking forward to reading your book.

A: Alice

Food and friends…..and then the arts, ballet, theatre
Q: Robyn
“A girlfriend should know her place Alice.First comes the mates,then the ute,then the hat,dogs,horses & last of all the girlfriend”…Alice,as you were staring into those cautionary eyes that belied the smile,what were you really thinking as you replied “well then,I’ll just have to be his mate”?

A: Alice

Yeah. I had a lot of male mates in Melbourne. I loved hanging out with my male mates / best friends.

Q:KM

How did your husband react to you writing your book? How does it feel to have your life ‘out there’?

A: Alice

He’s a kind of ‘Go with the flow’ guy. “You never know where a journey might take you” (he’s sitting next to me driving, so I asked him what he thought and that’s what he said. As for putting our life out there, I did some soul searching a few years ago, but as I had been asked to do it, twice in one week by both a publisher and author’s agent, I took that as a sign and once I made my mind up to do it, have rolled with it and thought not much point doing it, unless you’re going to be honest and flawed, like you would be with a girlfriend.

Q: Susie Rees

Wow this book sounds inspirational & I’m looking forward to reading it (hoping to win it, of course). I often wonder how people who change their lifestyle so drastically, manage that change. I think that moving such a distance away from your home, family & friends is certainly a challenge. What was the driving force for you Alice & how did you find the adjustment to a new life? Thank you for sharing your story.

A: Alice

Thanks Suzie, I have probably answered some of your question in the other bits, however the courage to move away and start a new life, was more naivity and fearlessness of youth, than a well contrived plan. That said, isn’t it amazing how things do work out, when we don’t overly plan and leave things to fate and trust that all is well.

What was it in your childhood that prepared you for the challenges and differences that agricultural living brings? Wyoming, USA

A: Alice

Hi Carol. Growing up with a single mum since I was 4 and watching her dig deeper and persevere through tough times was probably a good foundation for living on the land. She taught me that anything was possible,and it came down to attitude.
Q: barbara

How do you both find the time for the work and fun balance in life. For us here it is getting harder. Work is 6.5 days a week and Sunday is sleep in till 7am.

A: Alice

A farm can be all consuming can’t it? So if we don’t quarantine time for other things; dinner parties, walks, campdrafting, painting, writing – whatever it is you need to do to nurture yourself, then I think resentement can build up – and you’re also not as effective in your business, if you don’t take away from it. So this is eomthing that has come with practice (and a teaspoon of bloody mindedness at times). For the record, I am yet to see a fairy that comes into my kitchen or office and waves a wand saying “us fairies have been talking and think it is time you did something for yourself, so have created an extra hour a day, just for you to spend anyway you wish.” Question: what would you do with that hour? Mop? Book-keeping? They’ll be there anyway. So you have to claim / quarantine that time for yourself,not wait for a fairy and….. no guilt!!!! Be proud that you have done something for your body / spirit.

Q: Theresa in Alberta
Eh what!?!? A book that is inspiring and not just another “bodice ripper” and it is not available outside of OZ! Well, I am just going to sit here in Canada and pout eh ;P Have you ever been to Canada? You would need snowshoes if you were to visit right now.

A: Alice

Love to come to Cananda, Our farm manager just went and LOVED it. On the list.

Q: Vicarious

Do you believe that a young girl can still “Go out West/up North” and have similar adventures as yourself? When my girls read your book, they will want to do all that you have done. Is the outback fairytale still achievable?

A: Alice

I don’t make soap from rendered fat, never have and never will. So I think the previous generation of settling on the land will be read about more than experienced. However, I say go anywhere and have your adventure and fairytale. Life is full when we live by the motto “Better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t.” It has kept life interesting and no regrets……(PS – keep up the private health insurance)

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Thanks for the great questions and causing me to reflect.

Hope you all enjoy the read.

Take care.

Alice.

alice g

10 Responses to “Guest post: Alice Answers…”

  1. Great answers Alice, some very good advice in there also. Wishing you all the best. I hope your books become available in the states because I’ve told my book reading friends about it and they sound interested in your story too.

    • Thanks Carol. They can get it now as an e-book and at the end of the year Harper Collins are bringing out a new concept called Haper Collins 360 degrees, which means you can buy any HC book from any acountry, anywhere in the world. Fantastic innovation. All the best. Alice
      Alice Greenup´s last blog post ..Hello world!

  2. Thanks for the answer and have a fun day.
    Bill

  3. Wow, Alice! Sick of typing yet? Seriously, great to learn a little more about you. Thanks for an inspiring read.
    Fleur McDonald´s last blog post ..A foggy wonder

  4. It’s always fun to read about someone else’s life Alice. Perhaps you need to take up blogging?
    Debby´s last blog post ..William visits.

  5. Some great questions and even better answers! Loved this, and I’m really looking forward to reading the book.
    A Novel Woman´s last blog post ..Too Good Not To Share: Canadian Dance Moves

  6. I have a copy the book at the ready for my forced break….I can’t wait to read it! I think it will be the first cab off the rank :)

  7. Thanks for Educating Alice Amanda and Alice. I loved the book. I hated putting it down.
    http://gritandgiggles.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/educating-alice.html
    Anne´s last blog post ..Educating Alice

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