Cover for bookI am always inspired by people like Gaye Hemsley — today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author — who combine their passions to live the fullest life possible. Frankly, as somebody who can’t dance, sing, draw or seemingly do anything else that’s creative besides writing, I’m in awe of people like Gaye who do so many. On her website, Gaye says she needs to live to be 100 because she has so much to do. I believe her, and I love that spirit! I am also very grateful to finally know where the phrase “stark naked” came from. 🙂 Please welcome Gaye!

Follow your passions.             

My first published articles were in the ‘Pixies Pages’ of the Woman’s Weekly in the 1940’s. I enjoyed sending in little poems and tongue twisters. One advantage of being an only child was my having to invent friends and create my own games. When teachers gave us a choice of subjects to write about I would usually pick the likes of ‘The journey of a penny.’ To me that was much more fun than ‘Gold mining in New Zealand.’ Unfortunately my poor spelling always let me down. Teachers told me they took marks off an otherwise good story. With age and the help of thesaurus it has improved.

My English grandmother, who lived with us, kept my imagination alive with wonderful stories of her life in England, her voyage to New Zealand and her marriage to my Norwegian grandfather. When I was ten years old my mother, who was a ballroom dancing teacher, took me to see the visiting English Ballet Company’s presentation of ‘Giselle.’ Well that was it!  Ballet lessons started the following week. I adored my teacher who was one of the dancers who performed at the Civic Winter- Gardens for the American troops who were on furlough in my home city, Auckland.  One of the other dancers in her troupe was ‘Freda Stark’ who danced a provocative fan dance finishing baring a beautiful body completely covered with gold paint. In case you don’t know, that’s where the Kiwi saying came from ‘Stark Naked.’

When I was fifteen I started teaching. Writing came back into my life some years later when I commenced writing little poems and setting them to music. My preschoolers enjoyed dancing and acting out the stories. A friend suggested I find an artist and have them made into little books. Since then I have self published many more. To give me more guide lines with my writing I signed up for a correspondence course on ‘Writing for Children.’ It took me twelve months to complete and graduate.

Like many writers out there I suffer from TMIS syndrome. ‘What’s that’ some of you ask. It stands for ‘too many ideas syndrome’ which can be just as much a dilemma as BPS (blank page syndrome.)

How many of you wake in the night with little gremlin ideas buzzing around in your head. Well don’t get up, have a pen and paper next to your bed; jot your ideas down. Don’t turn on the light, that will tell your brain it’s time to get up and you’ll never go back to sleep. Put your ideas in a folder, computer or drawer. When your creative juices are running freely, open your folder and write! It’s amazing how many times you twist and glide phrases and words around. In no time your words are ready to dance.

Social contact with other writers, whether on line groups like 12×12 or local  groups is very beneficial. Stay true to yourself, take advice and do remember it’s your story.  

Competitions and deadlines are essential for writers starting their journey. It’s a real boost to your confidence when you manage to get in the top three or even short listed. 

Over the years I’ve sent manuscripts away to publishers and waited, sometimes I may get an nice refusal, but many times no reply. 

So, I self publish my own books under the name of DanceWrite Promotions.’

I’m lucky to have a platform for my little action stories. I do have my books listed on my web page and social networks but find not many sales eventuate. It’s an advantage to get out there by visiting kindergartens, craft markets, etc.

For me I find teaching dance and writing is a happy combination. Doing dance choreography is not unlike planning a story that is; an interesting beginning, exciting middle and satisfactory ending.

May the dance never end and the story never finish.                        

A lifetime of working with children as a dance teacher has motivated ‘Nana Gaye’ into writing picture books, organizing children’s events and private parties. Many of her little books have been the theme for dance shows she has presented.

Her life has been surrounded by children, her own, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and hundreds of dance pupils. With all the experience she has had with working with children her next project is a book full of original ideas for holding a ‘Fabulous Fun Party.’ She’s passionate about passing on her love of dance and writing.

Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Books, Childhood, Children's Books, Creativity, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Publishing, Self Publishing, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I sympathise, as I suffer from tmis- too many ideas syndrome. Better to have too many than too few! Great post.

  2. How amusing to think it takes an online writing group like 12×12, to find a fellow writer in my own back yard. Kia-ora, Gaye, I am from Auckland, a true kiwi born and bred westie. 🙂 Nice meeting you and loved hearing about where “stark-naked” came

  3. How neat that you teach ballet and use your own stories! It’s nice to learn about you.

  4. That’s a lovely story. I looked on your Facebook and website pages and only wish you lived closer to help me with my own children’s parties. Yours look so fun and creative!!!

  5. Oh Gaye, I need to live to be 100 too! My mother did, with the same attitude as you. she had too many things to see and do. Thanks for coming over and sharing your story and enthusiasm for life.

  6. thanks for featuring Gaye today! I think I waver from TMIS to TFIS (too few…) and definitely suffer BPS at the most inconvenient times…

  7. At first I thought TMIS was ‘Too Much Info Syndrome’, but I suffer from TMINETS – Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time Syndrome. Great post!

  8. Gaye, how lovely to combine writing and dance! The best part is sharing with your students!

  9. You epitomize the words, literally and figuratively, of singer Lee Ann Womack, “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you’ll dance.” Congratulations on making a difference in so many young lives!

    • Love that song by Lee Ann WomacK. There’s another song I think be Whitney some words in it are ‘Say you want to dance’ ‘Say you want to dance’ must look it up on Youtube

  10. What nice energy and spirit in this post. Wish I was young enough to be in one of your dance classes. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Nice to meet you, Gayle. Love your attitude!

  12. Inspiring post Gayle. You come across as light and in love with life. Love you comment ” May the dance never end and the story never finish.” Wishing you the best.

  13. What an inspiration you are Gaye!! I am a kiwi living in Japan, so pleasantly surprised to find any other kiwi, and such a multi-talented one here!!

    • Hi Colin I am the step mother of two young men who married Japanese girls One family live in NZ the other family in Japan so hubby and have done I few trips over there.

  14. Love this, the dance/words similarities are beautiful! And now I’m curious how to throw a Fabulous Fun Party!

  15. Your excitement is contagious. Thank you Gaye for sharing. Best wishes and tons of hugs being sent to you.

  16. Nice post, Gayle! It’s great you have done so much, and may your future publishing ventures be just as uccessful!

  17. Thanks so much everyone, sorry I couldn’t reply to you all, it’s the TIME thing Happy Writing

  18. Such an interesting life you have led! Good for you for following your passion and make your books happen despite the no-thank-yous from some publishers. I’m so glad you mentioned the TMIS; if it weren’t for my bad memory (if I don’t write it down right away, I’ll forget), I’d be over-run with them. 😉

    Thanks for sharing, Gaye!

  19. Lovely to read your post, Gaye! Like Pat, the words “May the dance never end, and the story never finish” particularly resonated with me. Thank you.

  20. I love hearing about the origins of familiar sayings, thanks for sharing that with us and all you have achieved!

  21. Thanks for sharing with us, Gayle! Write on!

  22. Wow Gaye! Great story and thanks for sharing your journey. Following our passions has to be the root of any satsfying pursuit.

  23. Such a happy and inspiring post … you are truly living a life following your passions!

  24. Hello Gaye,
    So lovely to meet you..that is one of the best things about 12×12…it is a vibrant community of loving, generous, talented and inspiring people.:)
    I love your advice to keep a pen and paper by the bedside…and not turn on the light! I have done that for many years…my only problem is that I can’t read my handwriting in the morning.:)
    Thank you for sharing your incredible story…love that you still self-publish…so many others are climbing on board that train…it is becoming more ‘acceptable’ these days.:)
    I’m also looking forward to living to be at least 100…I see I will be in good company.:)

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