Friday, April 8, 2011

Profile of an ex-crim

I submitted this feature story for a uni subject and recieved a high distinction. I've decided to publish it here and also try to get it published in a magazine. I have to say, creative writing is definitely my niche. I loved the interviewing process and writing with no limits.

Profile feature: Ron McCready

“Piccolo bastardo.” Little bastard in Italian. At the age of eleven, Ron McCready’s neighbour spat these words at him two days after his father’s death. The neighbour expected tears, not bullets.

The gun was kept in a drawer hidden away from eyesight, but Ron knew its place. Anger boiled through his veins as the words “little bastard, little bastard, little bastard” rolled around in his head. Grabbing the gun he ran to the neighbour’s house and bang bang bang! Bullets flew into the house, splittng wood. An emotionally wrecked 11-year-old nearly committed a murder.

Ron’s hands subconsciously rub together, lips purse, eyes down: “I just got upset that I got called a little bastard. I’d just lost my dad who died for this country…and someone who’s not even from this country and can’t speak our language called me that.”

The black t-shirt with a green print smudges together into an unrecognizable shape. A t-shirt that may raise eyebrows. But Ron surprises with a huge smile and welcoming hand shake. The tiger tattoo on his right hand and others lining his left and right upper arms speak of older days. More criminal days. The long, greying blonde hair falls on his shoulders and is neatly cut. No split ends. He has a belly on him, which he constantly jokes about, “you can’t miss me. I’m the one with the big gut and tats all over me.”

The teenage years were full of anger and hate. Cops were bashed, banks were robbed and people were shot by his own hands. Those hands eventually got cuffed and placed behind bars for 22 years.

“Jail was was a place of survival,” he says. “I wouldn’t take no crap off anybody.

They were survival days. I was in [jail] with Chopper Read,” he says, waving the famous

name into insignificance. “He’s a girl. I bashed him while I was in there and I still would if I

saw him today.”

Scrape marks are left on the cement as Ron moves his chair slightly. A

group of teenagers nearby catches his attention. A lanky teenager stares him down, eventually

waving a hand to signal the others and walks off.

“Just before you turned up there were 4 or 5 guys here picking on another kid. That tall guy

[Ron nods at the lanky teenager] was saying that he would effing break his wrists and neck. I

walked over to him and said would you mind to…effing go away.”

Ocker language flows from his mouth at a constant pace, fitting in a swear word every now and then and apologising each time. Ex-criminal, ex-alcoholic, ex-heroin addict. He admits heroin is too expensive to keep up with. “If I was still alive and using- I was only using $300 a week back then- I’d be using 12 to15 thousand a week. And where would I get that money from? I’d have to go back to crime and it’s not worth it.”

Ron checked himself into rehab. No methadone. Just a rubber room and his thoughts. “If I

see junkies selling it, it’s in my nature, I have to go have a go at them. I’m not

very polite. With the long hair and the moustache, and the attitude- my attitude is FTW-do

you know what that means?” Ron sticks his tongue out, sticks his finger up and says softly

“Fuck” and in a louder voice “THE WORLD!” he laughs loudly and his belly moves up

and down.

The black A4 folder sitting on the table is opened and letter after letter is pulled out from its

plastic sleeves. Ron’s eyes light up, each one is from a young person writing to thank

him for helping them achieve their dreams. He moves around excitedly in his chair,

describing the schools and teenagers he speaks to. “I’m today, I’m finished. They’re

tomorrow, they’re the future.” Ron invites himself to schools, intent on providing a grim

image of a criminal life, not a sexy bad-boy look. The kids listen. “I bumped into one of the

girls the other day, she had gone and got a job,” his voice raises an octave, “A job.!” The

baby steps to a new life is Ron’s motivation. He was surprised by the list of questions facing

him on his last trip- smart, mature questions. The question list is slipped out of the folder.

Sixteen or so questions are typed out- one has been furiously scribbled out. Ron raises his

eyebrows, “that one…that one was too graphic. It had too be left out.” He draws closer and

speaks in a whisper, “they wanted to know ‘is it true men get raped in jail?’ Yes, but so do

women. ” Ron leaves it at that and nods matter-of-factly.

Working with the local police (“the weirdest thing”, Ron says, “because I used to bash them up,”) in the ROPES program- an initiative by Victorian police to remove a young offender’s criminal record upon completion- has given Ron an unlikely best friend. Leading Senior Constable Neil Crouch has known Ron for two years. When the unlikely duo first met Neil thought Ron was “rough and ready and as tough as old boots,” Neil laughs. Working together, the crime rate in Bendigo has stayed below the states crime rate. In 15 months the reoffend rate has dropped from 26% to 5%- A figure Ron considers alright, but not good enough. “If I got it down to two or three percent I’d be happy.”

“Deep down he’s got a heart of gold and he never had the opportunities when he was younger like the kids do today,” Neil says. The friendship has changed them, each vouching for the strong friendship held and getting slightly shy when told of what one said about the other. “Ron has his opinion of me and sometimes I get embarrassed about it. It’s a mutual situation. We have both grown over that period. He’s a picture in words of what you can do and I’m fortunate enough to call upon him to show kids what you can be [if you remain in crime,]” he says.

Ron recently turned 64, his birthday is on the most romantic day of the year- Valentines Day. His wife, Margaret, is a quiet woman who gives up her seat next to Ron. Five kids and 19 grandchildren keep Ron focused, he gushes about the youngest grandchild who is five, “I call her Miss cranky pants.”

The crimes remain in Ron’s heart but his old life is gone. He hates the smell of alcohol and despises drugs. And one word. PAST. His blue eyes flash at the word, “the police never let me forget it.” His tough exterior is met with resistance when he confesses of suffering from depression, “I’m on antidepressants,” a tinge of sadness is heard in his voice.

Playing with the black folder, he confesses his deepest want. To hear his mum’s voice. Everyday. But it’s a voice that will never come. She died in 2003. “I lost the plot when she died. To this day I still wait for a phone call from her from the nursing home even though I know she’s not there.”

Ron is jumpy. He puts on a serious tone, staring with those blue eyes. “I can tell you from experience. Being a dickhead doesn’t get you anywhere.” As if an idea just hit him, he exlaims. “It took me 28 years,” and pulls something out of his pocket. His wallet. He flips it open and pulls out a plastic card. His driver’s licence. His index finger points at the photo on his licence three times. “That’s me, see the moustache? And the hair?.”

Ron has stayed out of trouble ever since his release, except for in 2007. It was self defence. “These guys were hassling my daughter, calling her a whore, so I headbutted one of the guys and the other one stabbed me...” He points to his left side. “Right here. I got given a three month good behaviour bond.” An amused laugh escapes his lips. “I said WHAT? I’ve never had anything so light before!” Cue moving belly from laughter.

For the 250 homeless kids in Bendigo, Ron has a plan. And to make it happen, people have to put in, “I tell people what I want, I don’t ask.” A house with a carer, troubled and homeless kids, any funny action and they’re out. This is the plan. “I’ve got Danny Clapp from The Good Guys on board who will supply the whitegoods… [The kids] will be there for 6 months and after that they can move on and start their life properly. If there’s drinking, smoking or drugs, that’s it. I’ll throw them out. They only get one chance.”

Ron places the letters carefully back into his black, A4 folder. It’s his future. The tats are faded, the hair is greying but the spark is still there, “I don’t feel like I’m old. You’re old when they close the lid on the box.” He smiles a huge, moustache-y smile and laughs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hello, old friend

I was proposed to 8 months ago and here I am 9 weeks away from saying 'I do!' Time has gone exceptionally fast; I try on THE dress in MY measurements next week, the flowers were organised ages ago, fiance has his suit, one ring paid off the other still to be.
I realise it has been too long since I last made an entry on this blog, I don't know what happened.
That's the annoying part of being a writer: writer's block. What has happened in the amount of time that has passed since last entry? I moved-not as difficult as I thought but still emotional at times being away from family and all- the house has progressed to being painted and ready for tiling by end of this week, still studying hard and being a good, studious student (haha) I secured myself a job (after a solid month of searching may I add!!! Nearly sent me up the wall) working in retail; which was definitely amazing because I had zero savings left and then surprise! I am successful! At the moment it is 10.05pm and I'm contemplating song choices for the wedding. Suggestions?

It's pouring at the moment which freaks me out slightly. Weather is weird, it's beautiful but imagine if we didn't have houses to protect us?! Stupid statement I guess but I'm tired, does that excuse me?

I'm bad with ideas about travelling. Why? Well, mutual friends of my fiance and I were explaining how they would love to do a trip to Africa in the next few years. I got super excited! Africa! My dream!
"Can we please go??? I can document the trip!"
Even more exciting when fiance was just as excited about going; I'm so lucky he loves the idea of travelling as much as I do! Woohoo Africa someday!

I know this entry is all over the place but I haven't written for so long I have tried to update in point-form.
Found this picture and it has inspired me to read more, I love reading! Currently reading Dracula for the 5th time. It's an amazing book which I love for so many reasons; number one being the writer can actually write and tell a story.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wanna plate?

I am supposed to be doing an assignment right now, but am in a weird mood. I have just discovered the most awesome plates EVER. I am in love, I want to buy them. (Who am I kidding? I want to buy alot of things)


See, told you so, best plates ever. Reminds me of school when we had to make our own plates, I wonder how my parents reacted to that. "Here, have a plate, it's all scribble but seriously, I made it!" "Thanks Jess" xo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The city that never sleeps

I have been away from here for quite some time, whoops. I get so caught up in the real world that I forget I'm trying to improve my creative mind and writing ability by writing everyday/often. I have had uni work coming out of my ears (it still is) and the rush of moving, packing, setting up etc has thrown me off the wagon. I dont think that's really a saying, whatever. I am now officially a Victorian, but as I've said, I'll always be a NSW girl at heart! Victoria is great though, I'm having fun here. Living out of home has not been as hard as I thought it would be, except for the part where I dont get to see my family or dog regularly, that is difficult at times. I have been more emotional since moving because I miss friends and of course family. I nearly burst into tears the other weekend when I saw my parents walk up to the house (here for Callum and I's 2nd engagement party) but I think it's easier to move because I'm older. I'm over the whole "omgossssshhh i'll NEVER see you AGAIN, my parents are so MEAN" stage (that happened to you, right?) and it is fantastic seeing my fiance everyday!

I don't have a job yet. I am staying positive though it's hard when rejection emails are all you're receiving. Though, I will admit, the rejection emails are from when I was still in Sydney and trying to land a job here while still living there- in preparation for the move- so, fair enough.

I have a kitten, bought him on the way to Victoria. His name is Saba and he's very cute. I have volunteered for the RSPCA once, I feel bad because I havent been back for about 2.5 weeks and they probably think I hated it. Truth is, I absolutely LOVED it. Yes, I had to clean poo off walls, have dogs jump on me with poo ON their paws resulting in jeans looking brown, get extremely sore arms and abs from cleaning, taking heavy dogs to different exercise pens and back again. But if I thought it wouldnt involved that, I would have been dreaming. Of course it involves that, they're animals. I loved knowing I made a difference in an animals life, if only for a day. People need to adopt more, the animals want attention and need love. So please, adopt instead of buy! Or at least boycott pet shops, most dogs come from puppy farms; ask the shop assistant next time where their animals come from, watch them try to answer you.

On another note (I'm trying to keep this entry short) I submitted some articles to an upcoming online magazine, and the editor loved them! I am so proud of myself for putting my writing out there, it was a daunting process but I did it! So now I'm waiting to receive the first copy to see my articles published. I am so excited!

I have also found this adorable ring on Etsy, I would buy it but I don't have the funds right now to spend on clothing/accessories! Devastated :( so maybe you could buy it for me? Hahaha. Funny, aren't I? Anyway, what do you think?

Oh, as promised, here is evidence of me walking in high heels. I have cut off my face because this is the internet and I have no idea who has seen this blog get my point. Success! I can now walk in heels (you should have seen what my feet looked like at the END of the night, scary.)

Anyway, I'll write again soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ok, I lied. I haven't taken a photo every day like I said I would. Guess I wasnt that motivated. Anyway, I'm moving in 9 days. 9 DAYS! I'm freaking out a little bit, I think that's normal though, right? I mean, I'm moving away from my closest friends and family to a whole new town IN ANOTHER STATE. I am a very adaptable person but fear I will get extremely homesick which would probably only happen because I've never lived out of home before. There are things my family do which have made me want to pack up and move sooner, but when it comes down to it, i'm so comfortable and that is reason one why I should move. I cannot get married and be relying on my parents all the time, and I think it will build my relationship with my parents. I'm already really close with my mum and dad, but when you're living with them they can annoy the heck out of you! I am also freaking out because I can't stand being unorganised and moving with no job is, to me, unorganised. But it is allowing me to go through my options more; do I want another full time job? No, I'm studying full time and need a break this year to finish my major successfully. Will I be able to spend time doing something I am passionate about? Yes, I will be able to volunteer at the RSPCA. Animals are my number 1 passion closely followed by film. So, moving is not that bad. Plus, I have the added bonus of seeing my fiance everyday instead of every 6 weeks!

I have paid for the flowers for the wedding. I ordered custom made silk flowers because I don't particularly trust the type of flowers Fijians would use in a bridal/bridesmaid bouquet. I've imagined bright oranges and reds, which wouldn't go with anything. 6 months to go :)

I am trying to write two articles for a magazine, but so far I've only written one and have been doubting myself over its quality. What if it's not good enough? I only know creative writing, short stories that I leave on my laptop because they're possibly too weird for my friends to read. This is where I slap myself in the face and say SHUTUP and get on with it, just WRITE girl. Sometimes, you just need to hit yourself, wouldn't you agree? I am also working on a film script at the moment, I think it's turning out quite good :)

Had an idea the other week that I would make a fantastic stylist, this idea was fuelled by watching 'Trinny & Susannah' on foxtel. I thought it would be easy, until I realised that I can't even walk properly in high heels so what customer would trust a stylist who can't walk in high heels? "Here, try these on! They're amazing and would look great with that dress" " can't walk in heels so why are you giving me advice?"
Mission no 1: Learn how to not wobble like a penguin when walking in heels.
My friend and I went shopping the other weekend, tried on these huge heels, bought them for motviation and now I am going to learn how to walk in them! I promise to document the experience. Then maybe I can think more about becoming a stylist to the clothing misfits of the world.

I would also like to point out that over the knee boots should NEVER under any circumstances be accepted into society; I have absolutely NO idea how they have weedled their way into magazines such as Vogue. Honestly, I put them on the same horrible level as Crocs. Yes, those hideous plastic looking what-the-hell-are-they-wearing shoes. Below the knee boots, people! Over the knee boots are a five second fad just like those plastic bands that everyone was wearing 8 years ago around their wrists. Do not wear them around me. Do not tell me you bought some. They cannot be done without looking cheap, heel or no heel. Here's a link; I love Kate Moss she usually looks great but this is proof that even supermodels look ridiculous in them.

They were 'in fashion' a few years ago and quickly disappeared after a few weeks, spend your money on something you will wear for a few years.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I am going to miss my dog, Gromit. He is the cutest animal in the world!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Technology and me

I'm at it again. I write something, delete it, write something, delete it etc. Sometimes being a writer means huge amounts of frustration from lack of creativity, or a feeling of self doubt. I have deleted so many stories from my computer over the years, based around the idea they were absolutely horrible and no-one would ever want to read them. The thing is, usually something has to go wrong for me to gain motivation or be inspired to write. Why? Because then I can put a whole range of emotions into a story instead of clouds, marshmallows and 'la la la I'm so happy!" which doesn't offer a particularly original format. So, because nothing has been going wrong lately I havent been inspired to write, and the stupid thing is I don't want anything to go wrong. However, I have been thinking about film and how much I would do anything to be able to finish a scipt. I have started one and am open to suggestions about what road it should follow. Famous screenwriter or famous novelist? I like both, I'm going to be optimistic.

One subject I am doing at the moment is New Media: Communications in the Electronic Age. It's really quite scary to think how far technlogy has come, and how much further it will go. Think about it, before Facebook there was Myspace, before Myspace there was....oh that's right, nothing. People communicated with each other in person. I didn't even own a mobile phone until I was 14 or so, and when I did it was a huge Motorola that would be embarrassing to own these days even as a vintage item. My children are going to look at photos of me from 2010 and say "omgosh, what the hell are you wearing?" even I do that to myself when I look back at photos from 2008.

 I miss the days when catching up wasn't done over the internet, but then I embrace it because I have run out of time, and to be honest I am completely different in person than on the internet. I am shy and reserved until you know me well, over the internet I am loud and use 'Lol' too often. There is no way I can come up with a smart response to your joke, I can't say something and then delete it, and I can't catch up with six different people in the space of five minutes- everything I have done on Facebook. I am the clumsiest person I know, I say ridiculous things and am better at expressing myself in writing than I am in conversation.

Now, I know most of you have another side, I am going to label it a 'Facebook persona.' What do you do on Facebook/the internet that you would never do in real life? How do you act? Are you completely different or the same? I am not saying that you're fake, I mean in the sense you do things you normally wouldn't be able to do in reality (like my given examples.)

If there is one thing I thank the internet for providing, it's online shopping. I LOVE online shopping (as I'm sure you have guessed by now) and have so many favourites saved on my browser it's not funny. The only depressing thing about online shopping is I can never buy anything. I have to window shop. But if you don't feel like dealing with shop assistants you don't have too. Joy!

I have three weeks left in Sydney, so I've decided I'm going to take a photo everyday until I move to mark what I love about this city.

On a side note, I am completely obsessed at the moment with buying old cameras. I am yet to actually purchase one but I've been looking. It's the house that's doing it to me, the idea of decorating my own home is getting me all excited and thinking of interior decorating ideas. In keeping with the rest of my entries, I suppose I'll upload some new links for you to obsess over. I have found a cute bag and tshirt this time! Everyone needs some of those!

Come on, how can you not like this bag? Exactly. It has already been sold but I'm sure if you wanted one you could contact the seller, don't be shy. $19.99 USD @

I like wolves on clothing, I have 2 tops with wolves on them. I dont know why, I just like them. This is super cute, it's wearing glasses and has a bow tie!! $22 USD @