Melinda J. Irvine is an Australian freelance copywriter, poet and musician living between the Philippine Western Visayas and her home country. She spends her time in the Philippines as adopted/foster mother to Jerry (a Filipino boy ten years old) whose birth parents died tragically.
A slow learner, she has been her plugging away at her Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Creative Writing externally through Murdoch University for more than a few years. But the good news is, she’s finally finished that first book.
She spent many years working as a Writer, HR and Online Marketing Consultant for registered clubs, hotels and casinos. Specialising in writing mandatory short courses and qualifications under the AQF as well as conducting operational HR reviews; her achievements include co-writing and implementing an award winning customer service program and developing and managing an entire eLearning system for a large registered training organisation.
“But the Liquor and Gaming industries no longer made sense to me, I wanted to use my creative talents to make a social contribution and find the love and kindness within myself once again.”
After more than seven (7) years of helping clients improve their bottom line, she shut down her freelance writing and consulting business and sold everything; volunteering in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon displaced more than a million families and claimed the lives of 10,000 people.
She’d spent years writing and blogging on behalf of clients, yet she found it almost impossible to write about her own experiences. A friend finally convinced to her to convert her one-page website to a blog and use her PAYPAL account for fundraising.
“I was terrified when I posted that first blog. It was months before I was able to write another one. But then somehow slowly another came, and another, and then a poem. I started blogging regularly about family, and the things I saw both here [Philippines] and at home. Suddenly all the training courses, years of writing for corporate clients, literary workshops and university units came into being. I became the writer I always intended.”
Mel spends her time living in the Philippines with Jerry and hanging out with the women and children of Jerry’s home purok (district): a fishing community deeply affected by poverty and seasonal typhoons. She provides free creative activities, art and craft supplies, music lessons and school tuition as time and resources permit. She has a vision of running a dedicated creative learning centre for the kids.
Back home in Australia you can find her busking the streets with her guitar, performing poetry and songs in a hotel or at small gatherings; or you might just find her wandering the broad Australian landscape gathering images, video and stories for her next book or scribbling out a poem.
Writing poetry and blogging keeps Mel’s dual lives in Australia and the Philippines connected to her daily creative pursuits. Her author website and blog features her original poems, micro-stories, photographs and video fragments as well as her self-published eBooks.