Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Something of great importance to me happened two nights ago

Jennifer is hosting Write on Wednesdays this week and our prompt is a line (above) from Alex Miller's "Autumn Laing". So the challenge is "Set your timer for 5 minutes or write about 500 words. If you’re looking for specific feedback, please let us know. Otherwise – enjoy the writing."
I've done a 5 minute flow of consciousness, not quite sure where it came from!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up not knowing the truth about your mother? When you are a shiny smily child you believe that you do know all about her, that she is an angel in heaven (well that is what they told you). But then, when the adults deem the time is right, they tell you their new version of the truth. This, of course, is only their perception, the story that fits best with the reality they live with, the truth that they believe to be the right thing to say. What do you say to a teen who thinks their mother is dead?
“Your mother had some problems”, they said, “she was never the same after what happened, she just couldn’t cope, so she went away”. It never really gelled, it never fitted the photos, the smiling face gazing at a babe in arms.
And then the years of wondering, the watching of faces in crowds for a glimmer of familiarity. Somehow I thought I would “ just know” when she was near me, but that feeling never came. With the arrival of my own child, her absence was more acute, more poignant and more painful. How to be a mother-less mother?

And then, just two nights ago, there was a knock at my door.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


WoW for this week  - Think back to when you were very young. Try to recall one of your first fears. A shadow on the wall, a ghost in the closet, a person, a scene from a movie or book. Write about that fear. Try to remember the feeling it gave you, what that fear would make you do and how you were comforted. Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

She sits in front of the flickering screen, thoughts elsewhere as screenbound Heidi flicks her platinum plaits and runs up snowcapped mountains. She loves the story of Heidi, but not today.
Her mind is firmly across the road at home.
Sprinklers on the roof, gutters full of water, down pipes clogged with ragbag clothes. Dad had swept leaves away, closed all the windows and doors before leaving her at the neighbours’ to play.
But play is not for her today, as smiles and chatter will not come easily. Her tummy feels tingly and slightly sick, her heart beats quickly in her chest. Her sticky hands screw her hanky into knots in her lap. The acrid smell of smoke is everywhere, the daylight weirdly orange as the temperature rises further. Her breath comes faster as a sob rises. She wants her Mum, her Dad, she wants them here and she wants everything to be all right. Now.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Describe place

This week's assignment is to write descriptively, with all the senses,  about place.

She slips from the house as the family dozes, the afternoon sweltering. Her playground is a washed out place of greens and dappled greys. Tall gums, she-oaks and a huge Christmas bush of deepest olive, no longer speckled red, compose her ceiling and her walls. Bark crunches under bare feet as she climbs sandy solid rocks to play, to jump, and to dream. Her mother’s voice, a memory, echoes, “where are your shoes?” Spinning around in the dappled light she spots the green-tinged cream of flannel flowers. She picks one and slips its velvet behind her ear. Rustles in the undergrowth as her passing shadow alarms the under dwellers. A loud whip and scrabble announces a cold-eyed goanna who scales an angled trunk and watches warily. Far off bell-chimes of crimson rosellas break through the pulsing quiet. A complexity of bush smells comforts as her imagination drifts.
“Lion Rock” she says, “ yes you are my Lion”. Soft feet seek toe grips and she climbs lithely to perch atop. She reaches her small arms around his scratchy lichened neck. Resting her cheek to his cool mane, the bush heat throbs around her.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Memories of a headless man – a collector or a hoarder?

Gill @ Write on Wednesdays has given us the task of writing on collections, or collectors this week. Pop by and look at other people's offerings!

He had lived in the neat house on the inner suburban street for well over 60 years. He moved in with his wife, then brought up his sons and as they moved on, one by one, he lived alone. He had a cat for company from time to time.
He was the ideal quiet neighbour, his loss of hearing a comfort to us on our sleepless nights with crying babies. Sociable when engaged, but innately insular, he kept to his home. He never had visitors, apart from the home care lady and his sons. As he became older and needed more help, we were invited by necessity into his home to help him in the aftermath of falls and leg injuries.  Terrible osteoporosis had rendered him bent at the waist, his head invisible from behind.

He had a secret life, collecting, well, everything! Jars of screws, nails, bolts, cottonballs, washed margarine containers, icecream tubs, cotton spools, used matches, newspapers, and magazines – all were neatly labelled and collated. He knew exactly where everything was. Anything with a purpose was put away in case it was needed.
His house was jammed with collections of all descriptions, mainly household hardware and haberdashery. And data…weather data. Millions of pieces of plain paper, with sunrise and sunset, minimum and maximum temperature and rainfall documented for every day of the previous 60 years. All in tiny writing, never a day missed.

I always wondered if the house had been like this when his wife was alive, whether she tolerated (or encouraged?) his obsessiveness. Was he always like this or had he learnt it through hard times – he had seen 2 wars and The Great Depression.  What had his children thought of it? Did he find it a satisfying comfort or a distressing compulsion?

Thinking back, I never asked him why. I guess it was none of my business, it was just what he did.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Shiver - 5 Sentence Fiction

I've been a bit distracted by an online Creative Writing Course I've just started through the Sydney Writer's Centre. I've been loving "just writing" for 5 Sentence Fiction and Write on Wednesdays and thought it was time for me to learn a little about theory and technique. Thoroughly enjoying it so far!

So here goes for Shiver - as requested by my lovely commenters, I've continued my story from Hunger and Poison.

As she slowly drifted toward the surface of her consciousness, her throbbing mind tried to understand where she was. Pitch black had stolen her sight, she had to make sense of this without her eyes. Reaching a trembling hand sideways to feel the dampening walls, she slowly began to comprehend. She knew she was on an island, a tropical island, so why was it so dreadfully cold? Feeling braver, she stretched further and at the moment her seeking hand reached an immovable handle she realised to her horror that she was on the inside.

from motomorinsport

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The beached tree

First Write on Wednesday for 2012 and I'm feeling a bit rusty! I did manage to get a few pieces written over the holidays, you can scroll to these on my blog if you like.
Thankyou Gill for your ongoing hosting, support and inspiration for WoW.

from Story

As he gazed at the tree he wondered at the majesty and strength of nature. How could this massive tree, have just appeared, stricken and lifeless, on the beach? He turned and gazed toward the horizon as thoughts of storms, waves and the boat trip swelled back into his consciousness. The breeze rising, her face slid unbidden into his mind as he felt the gentle kiss linger on his cheek.

The idea of a weekend away had been hers, a time for them to take a breath from the shop and her studies. The cabin had been perfect, they’d slept and laughed and loved. Weather checked, the grizzled sea dog had reassured them that it was the right day and that to leave it any longer would be risking missing out completely. So off they sailed into the bay, to find the legendary lover’s beach.

And stunning it had been, just as they had been told. As they drowsed under the palms, he realised gradually that something had changed, that the birds had quietened. He stretched and stood looking seaward, and saw the gathering threat. Waking her quickly, he grabbed her by the hand as they raced to their craft and set the engine roaring. The waves mounted and the walls of water became harder to scale. Their faces pale and pinched, the wind whipped their hair slickly against their greening skin. And then it came – the monster wave to which he had forfeited all. One moment, one dreadful moment, and she was gone.

And as he looked back to the tree, battered, beached and powerless, he understood how it come to be so.

Monday, 16 January 2012


I decided to follow on from last week's Five Sentence fiction piece "Hunger"

Trapped in the cage of her chest, her heart hammered, birdlike, as she scrambled backwards. Was it the berries that killed them, or something else, something more sinister? Consciously slowing her breathing, the tingling round her lips receded, and her eyes darted around the jungle floor as she tried to work out what to do. She just had to get help by whatever means she could – perhaps a fire would alert others to her presence. She reached out for a piece of dead wood, a sudden sting spread up her arm and as her sharp cry split the air, the world started to spin.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Hunger - 5 sentence fiction

Lillie's 5 sentence fiction word of the week is Hunger.

She wandered, footsore, along the jungle track, her eyes scanning for edible fruit. She felt so alone and confused, having woken from sleep to find him gone, and that was three days ago. The reality was that there was no-one else on the island, no-one else to help her, no way of summoning help. Spying pink berries along the side of the path, she instinctively reached out to grab them and shovel them into her mouth to fill her gaping need. But she stopped in fright as, from the corner of her eye, she saw the moonshine white of a skeletal hand.



This piece is loosely using the prompts of "sit under a tree" and "in my neighbourhood", and inspired by my love of voyeurism.

They’d come a long way for this, seduced by the promised bliss of sun and surf and not a bit deterred by the alarm of shark attacks or backpacker murderers. Two years of thrift and now they were here, the land theirs to explore for six long months.
Sydney had been fun, though the drinking and anger on the streets had daunted them and so they headed north.
Today, their playground was Yamba, a surfer’s mecca, a sun-kissed place of blue and gold. They’d swum till their legs ached and their skin hummed from the salt and sun.

Together they lay their towels on the scrubby grass and set up the camp stove. Water to boil, he pours in the pasta and waits. ‘One last swim!” – she kisses him lightly then darts down the path and out of sight.
He gazes at the outline of the trees above, perhaps dreaming , perhaps pummelled by the waves he is now devoid of thought?
Pouring water off into the scrub he shakes the pasta dry and sits to add the jar of red sauce. Poking idly at the meal, he glances down the sand path. He flicks an ant from the leghairs above his ankle and waits. And waits.

Minutes lengthen, forehead creased in concern, he stands to walk to the scrubby rise, shaking the sand from his shorts. He vanishes around the bend and all is quiet. A kookaburra swoops to investigate the meal, but decides against plundering.
He returns and sits again, hand tapping thigh, on alert, agitation spreading through him like caffeine. The food in front of him cools and gels. The light softening, the shadows lengthening as his panic heightens.
He stands yet again, distress screaming from every part of him. He looks around, wishing her back, not sure what to do, how to get help.

A flick of blonde hair catches the corner of his vision, his head snaps to focus. She calls his name and runs to him as his body slumps in relief. They embrace, his face wetly pressed to her salted neck.