My name is Elena Ornig and I confess in order to encourage you to live your dreams…
At four, I was the only child in kindergarten who could fluently read. Often, the nannies would sneak out for an extra gossip break, leaving me inside of a circle of children; I just loved it.
At 15, as a dedicated volunteer researcher of Moscow Regional history, I was invited to write for a local newspaper and I just loved it.
At 16, known by every local librarian as a book monster, I was encouraged by one of them to write my own book and I put all my effort into it. And I just loved it because I dreamed of becoming a great writer.
Nevertheless, I thought I needed a professional opinion to be sure I was on the right path. At my school I approached a teacher who was regarded by almost everybody as “the guru” in literature and gave her my unfinished script. A week later, she asked me to meet for discussion. But there was no discussion. She mercilessly threw my script on the table and said: “We don’t need another Tolstoy in this country”. In shock, I left without saying anything. I threw my script in the nearest bin and ‘stopped writing’. Not literally, but I stop writing with my heart and started writing with my mind and in my mind I believed that I would never be a great writer.
Let me tell you right now: “Never listen to anybody – but believe in yourself and never give up!
Many years later, I found out why “the guru” had executed my desire to write. She was obsessed with young boys and one in particular who was paying a lot of attention to me and none to her. She was sexually sick and later sentenced to jail for seducing young boys. Shocking, isn’t it? But it l doesn’t excuse my quick surrender based on just one “guru’s” opinion.
So, let me repeat my message: “Believe in yourself regardless of “expert’” opinions, never give up and live your dreams!”
Fortunately for me, I was always very competitive. I loved challenges and competed everywhere I could: on the national level as a member of a cross country skiing team, at every competition in music school, playing piano, in local theatre studio for the leading roles. And as soon as I became a student at the College of Culture, I was competing every day before I graduated with a diploma of honor, topping everyone else. When I started work, I became known as a workaholic because I was competing, again. Hard work, dedication, competitiveness and self discipline paid off. At around 30 I became a Vice-President of Russian Broadcasting Corporation in Vladivostok. I thought I had made it and I thought that I was living my dream.
“Not so fast!” said my life’s destiny and presented a different perspective of what is out there for me. At one of the executive meetings I met my husband to be, Mr. Hans Ornig from Downunder and absolutely fell madly in love with him. I totally forgot about my career because at 30 I discovered that love is real and happily embraced that ‘present from above’. In 1995 I migrated to Australia with my new family.
When we landed at Brisbane International and came out of the plane I asked my husband with honest surprise: “Where is the red carpet and orchestra?” He just laughed and whispered:” Well, sweetie. Now you are my wife and your new title is house wife”. What can I say? I refused to call myself house wife and came up with my own title. I proudly called myself Domestic Engineer.
As funny as it sounds, living in a new country, understanding new rules and regulations, learning new ways of cooking and using so many before unknown products, was quite a challenge. The bigger challenge was trying to integrate into a new society without speaking English, when I was already over 30. The biggest challenge was to comprehend a specific approach of the learning process. My first teacher, at TAFE, told me: “You can’t just learn English you have to feel it”.
Oh, yes? All I felt, for the first four years is the shear frustration of not being able to express myself at the level I could before. I sounded to myself as an uneducated dodo and that drove me totally crazy.
However, for the last couple of years when I winged about some remaining difficulties in phrasing my sentences or my bad pronunciation, my husband reminded me “Remember how you were throwing grammar books at me and around the house? Remember how you were saying that you will never learn that stupid language with few rules and thousands of exceptions? Look at yourself, now. You speak, you write and you even became a publisher. And what about your forgotten dream of being a great writer? So, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it. Start living your dream.”
By getting on with it in order to live my real dream I am here to introduce my first book “The Queen of The Castle” which is based on the biography of a fascinating lady, Renata Castelle, known around the Gold Coast as Renee Jackson.
I met her accidentally, at my friend’s warehouse. I was looking for a Christmas present. Right now, I might confess that she was the present I was looking for. Because of her fascinating life story I started to write with my heart, again. She is a true phenomena and a rare case which proves to all of us that even a victim of horrible family oppression, betrayed by people she loved and trusted, can overcome all the adversities of life and live her dream.
Not long ago, I looked at the readers’ testimonials and stumbled upon a personal revelation, though it was addressed to my heroine: “Renata, you do not realize how many lives are going to be changed by reading this book.” That is not what I read. It revealed to me my own destiny and I realized that after meeting Renata and writing her biography my life has changed.
Yes, it’s changed by taking me right back to the beginning when I was a book monster, young writer and dreamed about becoming a great writer. Life has offered to return me to where I started and has returned what I had lost – my desire to write with my heart, to become a great writer and to live my dream. “The Queen of The Castle” is an encouraging and inspirational story which proves my message to you: “Believe in yourself, never give up and live your dreams!”