wings and things

Black dog (creative writing exercise)

It is nearly the middle of the night here, down in the southwest of Western Australia. There is a gentle breeze outside, which just turned boisterous (as if insulted by being called gentle), and a strange crackling of distant thunder. The humidity is the kind that makes you feel like your whole face has melted off but, when you check the mirror, your face is still there.

It doesn’t exactly look like your face though; it looks like a sad person’s face. Strange.

What you have to do is to schedule the tears so that they don’t disturb other people. The best place for this is in the bathroom late at night, or else outside under the moon, or else in the car when you are going to the shop to get milk.

In the shop you have to smile and be jovial and sociable – quite easy when you are a seasoned actor. Your eyes are moist because of your hayfever. You can even carry the act home with you and smile at yourself in the bathroom mirror, and put your hand up to join your reflected hand just to say hello.

When you finally go to bed with your book, and your new reading glasses, with the fan breezing your skin, and the light on, you know a little bit of happy. But you also know that, at exactly midnight, you will have to move over in your bed to make room for the black dog.

It is nearly the middle of the night here, down in the southwest of Western Australia.



In just a few hours, December will be arriving and I have to admit I am a little nervous. Last time December visited, it outstayed its welcome and ruined Christmas and made us all wish it would go away. This time, I’ve decided to welcome December by asking it to be more supportive and I was quite blunt in this request this morning. Thankfully, December wasn’t at all offended and had no idea how badly it behaved last year and has even apologized! Nevertheless I am on my guard because December has a reputation for being unreliable, and rather arrogant about its ownership of Christmas. And, during a further discussion with December tonight, I’m almost certain I detected a little smirk. I hope not because I really want us to be friends or, at the very least, to establish a working relationship. I have been trying to contact December for a couple of hours now but there is no answer so I guess I will have to wait until it arrives to reiterate that if it becomes overbearing again I will have to take action and possibly kick it back to November using Ming’s old football shoes and Anthony’s walking stick.

But perhaps it is my own attitude to December that is the problem? Maybe I should just embrace December like a long lost friend? Yes!


Butterfly haiku

The utterfly looks

for the B that will heal it

under the grey rocks.

The utterfly has

enormously big nostrils,

like big purple eyes.

The utterfly finds

its missing B in the hug

of an old, old man.

The utterfly finds

its missing B in the smile

of a young, young man.

The utterfly speaks,

sheds its mothy shabbiness,

enfolds its own B …

And becomes a butterfly.


Spot the difference

Here are two photographs (I concede that these are not very good photographs but that isn’t the point of this game). Okay, so you know those newspaper games where there are two pictures that, at first glance, look identical and you have to find the differences? Well, here are two photos that are different from each other in numerous ways but there is only one significant difference. Can you find it?




I love this word so much.

It signifies strength, fortitude, courage and it means you can step off the metaphorical mountain and freefall into the water and easily – very easily – swim to the shore.


If I had had a daughter I would have called her Viola!


Pleasure versus pain

How interesting! I just sussed out the recent statistics for this blog (something I don’t usually do – really!) and found that pain is much more popular than pleasure. I don’t have these two pps as categories in this blog, but it is obvious that more people want to read about sad stuff than happy stuff.


I do understand this because, when I was teaching Creative Writing at the local university, I used to talk to the students about this writing conundrum (this was before my husband got so sick), and this is what they came up with at the time:

  • when you read about other shit, yours doesn’t seem so bad;
  • happy stories are dead boring;
  • yes, but tragedy always has comedy too;
  • why can’t I just gutspill onto the page?
  • because Julie said you need to restrain yourself a bit more
  • what a load of crap!
  • one painful sentence is worth it
  • fuck pleasure – let”s do this!

I miss those students and their wisdoms.

And I would like to know why pain is so pleasurable – over to you…..


Photo courtesy of Shaam Burley


Filofaxes versus ‘fictofacts’

Okay, I just received my first really negative comment and guess who it was from? Son. He was furious about the ‘love/hate’ post (see comments) because he didn’t think it was exactly accurate and he didn’t like being portrayed that way. I pointed out to him that I had to disguise some of the people in the incident described in order to protect their anonymity.

“But what about my anonymity?” he yelled, “and what if your readers now think all your stories are made up?” Then, stomping off, “I’m not the wimp in that story!”

“Look, this is the first story I’ve slightly altered, okay? I won’t do it again without admitting to the readers.”

“And leave me out of the blog from now on, Mum,” he said more gently.

“Okay,” I said as one of the cocks crowed.

Note: As mentioned before, I taught English and Creative Writing for years and that whole truth/fiction conundrum used to spark a lot of debate. One thing I’ve decided is that if you are going to fabricate a story a little, it is much more honest and sincere to admit that, than simply to pretend it’s 100% accurate.

Well, what do you think?