Thursday, 16 February 2012

The monster under your bed

It's funny how what we think and talk about during the day can play on/in/with our minds at night...

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  The monsters under your bed
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. 

Cloud Creatures

‘Mummy, Mummy, the rabbit is coming to get me’ Janna screeched. Her mummy was becoming accustomed to knocking her hip on the bed post and stubbing her toes on some abandoned toy as she dragged herself into Janna’s bedroom, once again. It seemed like clockwork that Janna would wake, screaming that something was coming to get her. Mummy would crawl into bed beside Janna’s shaking body and wait for the formalities of the conversation to start. Mummy understood that she had to follow the format of story telling, in order to get Janna back to sleep. What Mummy didn’t understand was why Janna kept having these bizarre encounters with various creatures coming to get her. ‘Mummy, the rabbit is coming to get me’ Janna would initiate through breathy sobs. ‘Really? What makes you think that a rabbit is coming to get you?’ Mummy would reply, with gritted interest. ‘I saw it!’ Janna said with marked exclamation, as if to challenge her mother into believing otherwise. ‘Really? What did it look like?’ Mummy would ask, accepting her daughters challenge. ‘It was big and white and fluffy, it had a huge blue eye and pointy ears’ Janna explained, drawing the figure above her head in the dark. “I can’t see it here, anywhere’ Mummy said as she lifted the pillow in mock search. ‘Well, of course not, it is night time!’ Janna said, annoyed that her mum could be so stupid. This was the part that always puzzled Mummy. Janna would roll over and drift back to sleep, leaving Mummy to stumble back to bed or dose off right where she was.

Janna, and Mummy, had been woken by various versions of this reoccurring dream for weeks. She was genuinely afraid of various creatures coming to get her, so much so, she had begun naming the characters that were waking her each night. There was Ralfy the rabbit (a common visitor), Pooh the poodle, Bubbles the polar bear and Fiona the dancing dove. While Mummy was impressed with her distinctive interest in fauna, Mummy was also getting quite concerned at the disruption in her sleep and the subconscious reasoning of a three and half year old mind. The dreams had roughly coincided with Mummy’s return to part-time work, but there were no other outward signs that this was a problem for Janna.

One afternoon, through the haze of many broken nights sleep, Mummy returned home early from work, calling out to Janna and Grammy. Mummy found them lying on their backs in the lush green grass of the backyard. Mummy stopped to admire the gentleness of her own mother with her precious child and smiled to herself as she listened to their interaction. ‘Oh look Grammy, there is Ralfy again, he is leaping though the air to play with bubbles the polar bear’. Mummy looked to the sky to see the fluffy white clouds forming an elaborate menagerie and felt her haze lift.  

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Possessing Beauty

From me to you :)

I wanted to do a fictional piece based on 'my collection', but couldn't find a direction, so I went with this...

Write about a collection. Write about something you or ,someone you know, collects. Think about the "why" behind the collection - why is it important to collect this particular thing? How does it make the person feel to add another piece to their collection? Is the group of objects there to be seen, to be studied or simply kept together? 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!

The Smile Bank

My collection is physical yet not material. It takes up space yet will never overflow. I try to donate more of my collection than I receive. I am fulfilled with each contribution, but will never be satisfied to stop collecting.  I love to share my collection, but each gift is mine to treasure.  

I collect smiles.

They can be big cheesy smiles, cheeky grins, awkward acknowledgements and even misdirected smiles, originally meant for others. Any way they come, I catch them and deposit them into my memory bank. My account is in constant flux as I archive hundreds of withdrawals and deposits. Some days it feels that I am in smile credit. These are the days I feel best about my collection. Other days, the cash flow of smiles is a little parched.

It took me a while to realise that my collection is mainly a reflection of me. There is the occasional stranger that will willingly offer up a toothy donation to my collection. Mostly, though, when smiles are constantly trickling from my account, they are almost always returned, with interest.

My collection is dynamic yet always preserved. Feel ‘free’ to add to my collection anytime, or open your own smile account and start collecting. 

Agent Chin-Wag

This was the first piece I submitted for WoW, before I entered the universe of blogging. 

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- Wag
Pay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. 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.

"It's my sisters 82nd birthday"

His stride hit full speed, well, as fast as a rickety knee, osteoarthritic hip and walking cane would allow. Today that didn't matter as he was filled with an urgency he hadn't felt in years. His memory had begun to fail him more regularly than he changed his clothes. Today was different as he proudly wore his best shirt, starched and crisp, reflecting his current memory. 

He entered the icy air of the modern supermarket, instantly feeling the chill in his only four remaining teeth, as they nattered with his ever-present shaking. He charged directly for the trolleys, unwittingly intercepted by an old neighbour. He was slightly annoyed by his slowing momentum and manoeuvred his way out of the conversation by exclaiming “It is my sisters 82nd birthday today". He despised the fight he always had with the trolley, as he felt it mimicked him. The clunky wheels that always wandered off without purpose, the steely frame all bent out of shape and, most of all, the empty space that it held within.

He spoke out loud as he compiled his shopping list, merely because he enjoyed the small spoils that being elderly allowed as acceptable. "Full Cream milk...because why would you water it down?" he asked, rhetorically, to anyone listening. "Tea Leaves...and most importantly" he trailed off, almost losing his train of thought. "Ah, most importantly, Sponge Cake with fresh cream and pink icing, because that has always been her favourite."

His spirit deflated slightly when he reached the truckload of groceries in the line-up ahead of him. He thought he would play the 'old person' card by asking, in his most frail and polite voice, "Excuse me madam, it is my sisters 82nd Birthday today and I was in a hurry because ..." The venomous look shot back caused him to wain, but he persisted anyway. "I was hopeful that I could…" his request was bought to a halt, mid-sentence, by the tirade that followed. 

His eyes glazed and his stature slumped as though the woman’s words had physically beaten him down. He didn't have the life left in him to fight such an impolite battle. He felt a nervous tingle in his bladder, partly from his embarrassment, but mainly because of the vibration of his mobile phone ringing. Another impolite interruption in his day. His gnarled hands were shaking more than usual as they struggled to remove the phone from his pocket.

The monotone voice on the receiver spoke without emotion, relaying a simple message, "Sir, we are sorry to inform you that your sister didn't make it through the night". His only reply "It is my sisters 82nd Birthday today".

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The nature of place

My first blog...a writing assignment!

The Write on Wednesday Spark - The nature of place  Write On Wednesday
Think about a place in nature that feels special to you. Perhaps it is somewhere you visited as a child. Or maybe you share a special outdoor space with your own children. This place, this space will be your prompt for this week's writing exercise. Write about a particular natural geography, a natural place or space close to your heart. Tell us about the weather, the landform , the creatures who live there, what the place means to you and why. You can write prose fiction, poetry, non-fiction and/or a photographic narrative. You might mix the landscape with a personal story. Wherever the prompt take you...Let us peek into your place. 

We always departed on the eve of Christmas Eve. It was always hot. Four kids, two adults and one large dog in a minivan, in the midst of summer, on a four hour journey west. In my mind, there were four legs to this journey and they were all defined by the passing scenery. The constantly moving view framed by a sticker laden window. The first leg was the most arduous. I had named it the ‘Urban Escape’. There was the ever constant musings of Richie Benaud in the background, horns having their say, three siblings nattering. My inner voice expressed the sadness of the cramped houses with cramped gardens, all of us screaming out for some breathing space. As we neared the second leg of the journey the houses started to shrink in comparison to their gardens and the trees were cheering at the extra space they had to spread their limbs. It was still hot.

The second leg was not fun. It was motion sickness holy ground, named ‘The Ascent’. We wound around the twisty roads, my tummy churning at the constant tree shadows flashing across the road, somewhat reminiscent of torture. The distant cliff faces seemed to be laughing at us, bearing all their bush rock teeth as the sun began to darken their features, making them appear sinister. 

The sunset always marked the third leg of the journey, the ‘Bush Retreat’. The sun shed enough light to fill the sky with a fruit bowl of colours. The oranges, lemons, berries and plums peeked through the thick brush of trees, bush and grasses. There was a sense of calm that moved over the van. The radio reception was long gone, replaced with the balmy wind whistling, and the splat of misguided bugs on the windscreen. It was still hot.

The headlights shining on high beam was the final leg of the journey. The ‘The Gate’ leg was a battle of the minds. The headlights accentuated the creepy surrounds. The gnarly old trees embraced the road, forming a cave. They concealed a menagerie of wildlife that glared at us with their glowing eyes. Occasionally, a mighty old kangaroo would challenge us to pass, standing upright at the side of the road, glowering. Finally, I could see the light of the full moon at the end of the cave. My excitement would build, but I didn’t want to stir the others. The clink of the indicator blinking seemed so loud. There was no other movement in the van. Yes! I had outlasted my siblings, I was the winner in the gate opening stakes. As I slid the van door open, I was accosted with the scent that brought back every memory of every Christmas growing up. I opened my nostrils and drew in the biggest whiff of the fresh cut grass and cow dung that hung in the still, dry air. The chirping crickets stopped momentarily as the creaky wire gate swang open. We had arrived at the farm. It was still hot.