Mad Woman Rocking

Dream Big

Growing up in Corryong, I had big dreams. When I was in Grade 5, at Corryong Consolidated, in Mrs Hughes’ class, I dreamt of one day, being a teacher. Before this, I wanted to be a milk truck driver. I think growing up on a farm, I might have assumed there were only two options, that or a farmer. In recent times, I have discovered how much milk truck drivers make and have considered a career change. Luckily, I fulfilled this dream, after many years at university, and became a teacher, not a milk truck driver. I started teaching at St. Joseph’s College in Melbourne in 2010. 

At the start of 2018, a new desire, a new dream began to grow. Walking through an op shop in Cranbourne, I came across a book sitting on the shelf called Towong Hill. To my amazement and delight it was the same Towong Hill I knew and written by local acclaimed author, Elyne Mitchell. After reading Towong Hill, a story about a place I grew up, a place I loved and called home. I felt inspired to write. I started by writing a 2,500-word short story and entered it in the annual Elyne Mitchell Writing Competition. This didn’t win any awards but it began a journey. This short story I then developed into an 85,000-word manuscript. 

In September of 2018, I returned home to Corryong after 15 years in Melbourne. I dreamt of a life on the farm in my own home. I dreamt of the childhood adventures I enjoyed, for my son, Beau. I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Corryong College in 2019 as an Art and Library teacher at my old primary school. The primary school where my love of learning first grew. The place where I felt inspired to dream big. 

I have recently taught Literacy and English across Years 5 – 10 at my old high school, now one amazing big campus with new buildings and gardens. During this time, I have drafted and developed my manuscript. I dared to dream. A new big dream. A dream to be a published author. 

While reading The Outsiders and To Kill A Mockingbird to my students, in the same classrooms I was in whilst hearing those stories read, I was reminded of the profound impact my education had on me as a student at Corryong College. I was reminded of how the teachers could overlook the errors in my work and see the potential in my writing. Their praise. Their guidance. Their encouragement, led me to develop a love for writing. A love for literature. A love for words. A love that has served me throughout my life. 

Now my big dream is becoming a reality. My story, Mad Woman Rocking is being published on the 2.12.2021 by the kind press and will be available for purchase in all good bookstores, all major online retailers and at Booktopia. 

This has reminded me of the power of dreams. As I look at the students walking the corridors of Corryong College, the same corridors I walked, I hope for them they discover the power of dreams. I hope they are never afraid to dream big. 

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By Farrah B. Mandala

I am Farrah B. Mandala, the author of Mad Woman Rocking. I live in an off-grid, eco cabin in the Australian bush, on my family’s dairy farm at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. I am an English Teacher and live with my 5 year old son.

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