Saturday, March 28, 2009

[Fiction] Friday: Wall Flowers and Corner Kicks

This week's challenge:

Setting: An office building - A secondary character says: “Look, somebody has got to make a decision.” Your main character offers a solution.

Rod pushed back further – testing the limits of the chair to accommodate his recline. The fluro light above his desk flickered. He’d requested that someone from maintenance fix it - that was two weeks ago. He was sure if the managers knew the manner in which the flickering of the light interfered with their productivity levels someone would have been up at once to fix it.
He counted the time between each visual tic, silently creating a visual base beat – his own psychedelic doof; the discussion interlacing like sampled tracks.

“You’re not taking this seriously are you Rodney?” Rosalind was on her huff. Like his mother she only called him Rodney when she was pissed at him, incrementally increasing the level by adding names – first his last and then his middle names.

There was a moment’s silence as all eyes turned to him. Taking his feet off the desk and sitting up properly in his chair, he lent in a little, to show his eagerness to participate. It was all about body language.

“Now that we have Rod’s attention…” but his mind was already wandering. Lost in a cerebral landscape dotted with glow in the dark version of his work mates , pulsating to electric tribal sounds; a rave like no other in existence. Occasionally a voice would cut in – like a DJ’s embellishment I think the Crystal Twig .. something classy … Kookaburra Queen … the river is so pretty at night … she’ll be back soon. Somebody has to make a decision.

It was a call to arms Rod was loathe to refuse. He bounced up out of his seat, threw his arms open like the consummate show man his high school teachers insisted he was and looked down at his workmates; Rosalind with her picture perfect hair and cloying oriental perfume, Gretel with the daring flash of cleavage – oh how Rod loved Fridays, and Lois wrapped up in her beige cardigan covered in a rash of lint, chewing on her pencil.

“We’ll hire a stripper!”

Rosalind’s jaw dropped low enough for her chin to kiss the ever present crucifix at her neck. Gretel giggled behind her hand and then glanced sideways to check if Rosalind had seen her. Lois’s cheeks flushed and she worked to shred the entire end of the pencil.

“Rodney Hollows, you are disgusting!” He was certain Rosalind would have added in Leonard Parberry if she was privy to middle names.

Rod smiled. He loved it when Rosalind talked dirty to him. “C’mon it makes sense.”
“May to you – as some whose mind is permanently in the gutter – but to us sophiscated ladies-"
“You all agreed that you wanted to do something that was special for Meryl. Something unique. Well?” He had purposely chosen the exact words that Rosalind had said half an hour earlier when Meryl had left to get lunch and the discussion had kicked off.

“It’s not a bad idea,” Gretel ventured.
“It’s not a bad idea - it’s a terrible idea, the worst ever suggested. We’re going to forget that Rodney ever mentioned it. Strike it from the list Lois. Now!”

“Hold on. Let me explain.” Rod extended his hand to them. He was losing his audience.
“There is nothing to explain. Strike it from the list.” Rosalind was emphatic.
Rod could see Lois’s masticated pencil hovering above her spiral bound note book. He sunk slowly back into his chair and leaned it – as if to tell a secret, drawing the two of the three women in with him, but Gretel got in first.

“I think Meryl would get a kick out of it.”
Rod turned to look at Gretel, who flushed for a moment.
“Girls your age might enjoy that kind of frivolous entertainment - but not Meryl.”
“Hold on.” Rod let his eyes fix on Rosalind’s and then burrowed in. “I didn’t pick you are being age-ist.”
“I’m not!” Rosalind’s hand flew upwards to attend to an imaginary fly away strand of hair.
“So you agree that it’s perfectly OK for either Gretel or Meryl to have a stripper if they want. It’s a woman’s choice? Right?”

Rod loved cornering Rosalind in her own antiquated feminist argument. Rosalind’s hand was working over time to replace the hair she was certain had broken free from the lacquered ranks above her left ear. Lois smiled and put down her pencil.

“I could talk to a friend of mine. Her brother is a stripper. He might do it for mates rates,” said Gretel growing bolder by the moment, her cleavage rising delectably giving Rod a flash of pink lace on milky white breast.

“I have it on good authority that Meryl would not choose a stripper to celebrate this milestone of hers.”
“Really. On good authority?” Rod took a moment to relax back in his chair. “You can say that after the distress Meryl went through last year when Bob – a hum, had his – a hum, operation,” he paused for dramatic effect, “and he didn’t want to have sex with Meryl anymore.”

Gretel giggled again, until Rosalind silenced her with a daggered look.
“Meryl told you that?”
“Yes Meryl told me that.”
Rosalind blanched and Lois remained sitting stock still, a faint pink blush lingering on her pale cheekbones.

Rod leant in again. “Because Meryl, is well – Meryl, you assume she doesn’t have needs and wants like any other woman. You have to admit, she’s a bloody good looking woman.”
“That’s gross,” said Gretel, as though Rod had just suggested being sexually attracted to his mother.
“You know what Gretel – you’re not going to be young, gorgeous and nubile all your life. At some point-“
“Shut up Rod. Just shut up.”

She put her hands over her ears until she was certain Rod had stopped, then reefed her arms around her chest, emphasising the rise and chasm of her cleavage. Rod tried not to stare too long, fixing his gaze instead on Rosalind who was smouldering, incensed at the proposition.
“I for one am NOT paying for a stripper! Much less sitting by, to be offended by indecent gyrations and fake suntans.”

“I have the solution.” Lois’s voice was quiet and a little husky. Rod couldn’t remember having ever heard her speak. “We get Rod to strip for Meryl. I think he’d like that and I know Meryl would love it. And Rosalind, you wouldn’t have to contribute a cent to it. What do you say Rod?”

Rod found all three women staring at him. Rosalind looked smug and had stopped trying to rearrange her nefarious hair. Gretel’s pout had turned to an expectant grin and Lois’s face shone with triumph. She, Lois Gribble had trumped Rosalind La Muire - finally.

It was Lois Gribble who sorted out the quandary of how they would celebrate Meryl’s retirement.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Productive Nostalgia

In my previous post The Lunar Writer: 10 Tips for Using the Dark Moon Energy I wrote about productive nostalgia. I posed a list of questions to consider and rather than scribble them in the back of my morning pages, I decided to publicly post my answers and then tag some writers that I know to indulge in some productive nostaliga.

In the past month what have you started?

It seems to have been more a month of tying up loose ends and finishing the intial stages of projects, rather than starting things. Annie and I launched the Date Night Challenge - but at the moment that's the only thing that comes to mind.

In the past month what have you finished?

  • I have finished an article a week for Write Anything and Type A Mom, including a couple of extra articles on the Type A Mom site.
  • Paul and I finally finished the hunt for the final male member of our Chinese Whisperings team. Funny how Dale was probably always meant to be the final member - thus the place could never be filled!
  • And I think I've finally finished work on Mercurial.

In the past month what have you edited? What did you want to edit but never got there?

  • I've finally got around to rewriting and editing my short story Mercurial which is the flag ship of the Chinese Whisperings.
  • I wanted to keep editing the stories for my anthologies but HUGE block about that. I have a pretty good feeling that's about to be changed seeings the paperwork for the short story critiquing circle I signed up for arrived this afternoon in the post!

What fantastic ideas were you gifted?

  • a run of health related ideas for my breastfeeding column.
  • to apply the elements of how to prepare for a change in career, to breastfeeding and entering into motherhood (it's a work in progress!)

What concepts fell on their face? What got up and ran? Any idea why?

  • Chinese Whisperings has finally found it's feet and I'm waiting to see it run, hard and fast in the coming months.
  • Hitting Facebook where it hurt - well I learnt more about what hurts than Facebook. It was a clear lesson on putting my professional writing career ahead of loyalty. Enough said!

What people did you meet and who did you say good bye to? What impact might they/did they have on you?

  • I met up with the wonderful women who are my writing circle after many months of absence - some through holidays and some through my own blocks. It's like coming home sitting there sharing our work, ideas and cups of tea. It made me realise how far I have come as a writer in a year. This time around they reaffirmed my ability to write and my choice of flagship story for Chinese Whispers. Without their affirmation Chinese Whisperings would still be loitering around in a forgotten folder on my hard drive.
  • I met a wonderful woman Kerry Townsend the co-owner of Mother's Toolkit who found Annie and I through a mutual business friend and shared a ticket to an International Womens Day Networking Luncheon. In the half an hour before the luncheo we chatted and found we had a shared passion. I'm looking forward to being able to contribute to Kerry and Kylie's new project. And following up on the contacts that I met through the networking luncheon.
  • The Facebook Nurse In v2.0 got me networked in with an amazing group of women who continue to blow my mind. I'm eternally grateful to have become friends with these women and understand that I will grow as a woman through these friendship.
  • I'm in personal contact now with writer and parenting advocate Pinky McKay and see big things coming of this for the Reclaim Project.
  • I also met up with some really interesting and talented writers through a QWC workshop on short stories.

What progress have you made?

  • This week just gone feels like a week from the Twilight Zone - a week where my to-do list shrunk rather grew. I don't remember having a week like this in years. I hope it means something.
  • I've been working through my own personal snobbery issues with fiction and non fiction writing and slowly coming to a place of peace with them.
  • Reclaim has taken on a life of it's own and the month of March looks like the highest traffic month since the website went live in July.
  • It's week eight of the The Artist's Way and I feel that even doing it for the third time I'm learning things and breaking down blocks. Peeling back the onions skins so to speak.

What opportunities were presented and what did you do them?

  • I had the opportunity to submit an article to the Sydney Morning Herald. Instead of putting my needs to progress my professional writing career first - I put loyalty first and had it back fire in my face. My article wasn't published with my loyalty first website and I missed the chance to have it on the Fairfax wire. This all happened while we were away on holidays!
  • The opportunity to write for Mother's Toolkit hasn't been followed up - note to self!

What work was rejected and what was published? What never made it that far? Why not?

  • My facebook/lactivist article was rejected - the worst kind, where it was published for 12 hours and then disappeared!
  • My Graceville short story got a very interesting critique and now I'm considering slicing it up into smaller parts and submitting the two seperate stories for publication. Or just leaving it as it is, doing the rewriting necessary and submitting to Hecate.
Now to tag some people ... I tag for productive nostaliga:

Karen from Write From Karen
Annie from Annie's Musings
Paul from Once Upn a Time in the West of London
Sarah from Keeper of Books
Dale from Rough Draft
Jason from Moult World and Other Stories
Danae from Danae Sinclair

Cartoon is compliments Savage Chickens: cartoons on sticky notes by Doug Savage

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Lunar Writer: 10 Tips for Using the Dark Moon Energy

This is adapted from an article that appeared on the Write Anything website last month. The original text can be found here. Today and tomorrow are the darkest parts of the moon!

As a child my Uncle worked on a horse stud and the phases of the moon were listed on the calendar that hung on their toilet door - new moon, full moon, quarter moon and so forth. The same calendar adorned the back of my grandparent’s door, so I stared at it quite a bit, intrigued, wondering what it was all about.

It was only after my son was born and I had a friend who was interested in astrology, especially the influence of the moon, that I got to understand better about the cycles of the moon and those horse stud calendars all made more sense to me.

That’s all good and fine for horse breeders, star gazers and company, but what’s this got to do with writing?

Working with the moon is a great way for writers to attune themselves with the natural world, to work with the ebb and flow of energy and to create thirteen unique project pockets (unlike 12 month calendars, there are thirteen lunar months in a year). As someone who is rather useless at personally creating deadlines that are meaningful, working with the moon phases gives me a framework that resonates.

This week begins with the dark moon before the moon is new midweek. Mystic Medusa suggests it is a good time to relax, apply some productive nostalgia and declutter.

Declutter? And it’s not just about shifting all that crap off your desk!

Nury Vittachi, author of the Feng Shui detective series shared at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival last year how easily writers collect clutter around themselves in the form of dead energy and why it is so important to shift it.

Each piece of correspondence we receive is an energy transaction. Once received we need to do something with it. What do we do with each piece of paper we receive? We file it in a pile on our desk, and when the pile grows unweildly, we take the pile and put it under our desk.

No wonder writers working in such an environment, with so much dead energy around them, struggle to find inspiration. In this age of the paperless environment the 2500 emails in our inbox cause the same congestion of energy on our computers”

Following are my 10 tips for clearing the space - physically, mentally and energetically during the dark moon.

1. Clear, Clean and Reorder your Work/Creative Space

  • Dust and run a damp cloth over your desk (mine is always inch thick with dust and cat hair)
  • Check and clear whatever has accumulated under your desk during the month - both a scary and fun task
  • Empty the overflowing bin
  • Take any cups, plates and glasses back to the kitchen
  • Return whatever doesn’t belong to you or in your space, to who or where it does belongs (this is usually my son’s toys, especially lego)

Ask yourself what works and doesn’t work in your space. Do something to rectify the situation so that your space is somewhere you love being in. If your dedicated space is an unmanageable mess (as mine was just a few days ago) you will seek out other places to work — and those we live with can be less than tolerant of our writing when we’re claiming the master bed, the couch or the kitchen table as work areas.

2. Repatriate your Books

My books tend to congregate on the bedside table and in random piles on my desk, until it reaches crisis point. Attending to them each month makes the piles manageable and allows the books to live where they are best cared for - away from spilt drinks, cat hair, dust, the direct sun and so forth … and where you can find them!

3. Clean your Computer

This means in inside and out, and also applies to your peripherals and hand held devices.

  • Dust down the key board and clean your computer screen
  • Defluff and dust your mouse
  • Run a cloth over your printer
  • Run a defrag
  • Dump those temporary files that are clogging up your hard drive
  • Resave or delete all the things you saved to the desk top in lieu of a better place
  • Do a virus scan

Create some order on your C Drive. It’s the appropriate time to organise your folders (whether that is to create more or delete unnecessarily ones) and refile stories/articles in a logical place. For instance I have two folders that cover all the material for Reclaim Sex After Birth and the associated website but I never go to the correct folder first! This month I’m combining them all in one place.

4. Back Up your Work

Use the dark moon to back up your files monthly - preferably in two places. It is something we all mean to do and put in the ‘to do later’ pile, which incidentally is the same mythical place missing socks wash up! We’ve heard too many horror stories of writers losing work, not to be terrified of the same thing happening to us. I admit to being horrendously slack at doing this and intend to do it as part of my cleaning ritual from now on.

5. Empty your Inbox

Seriously - how many emails have you got in your inbox right here, right now?

Decide what can stay and what can go

  • Keeping emails is basically welcoming dead energy, therefore be frugal. When I first started doing this it took more than three hours to go through my two email programs. I was ruthless and thorough!
  • Consider all those emails (a friend of mine admitted to over 3000 in her inbox last week) as tiny potential blockages to your creativity. If you doubt me, re-read the wisdom of Vittachi above and tell me it doesn’t resonate somewhere in you?
  • If you insist on keeping them ask yourself - what are you really holding onto all those emails for?

Create rules to file your email

  • If your email program/client allows for it - do it!
  • Rules reduce the amount of email clutter in the generic inbox and help you when trying to track down a specific correspondence.

6. File

If you have any papers lying around - file them. If like me, the filing draw is stuffed full of other miscellaneous items, (reams of paper etc) clear it out so there is room. ‘Papers’ include:

  • Drafts that have been critiqued or marked up that are now gathering dust on whatever horizontal surface you can find for them
  • Bills that you may have paid or are meaning to pay
  • Newspapers or magazines
  • Information or research you’ve printed out
  • Emails you’ve printed out

They all need a home - or they need to go to the bin (not your drafts of course!)

7. Check your Pens

Are you my scary twin? Do you seem to horde pens that never work? Consider the fact that we’re not always attached to our computers, lap tops, blackberries etc. Go through your pens and jettison any that don’t work. There’s nothing worse than grabbing for a pen and you’ve got to try half a dozen before you find one that works. If the mood takes you - sharpen your pencils.

8. Revisit your Blog/Website

  • Is there anything that you have been meaning to update?
  • Is your profile information up to date?
  • Do all your links work?
  • Are there links in your blog list that you no longer visit? Links that you’ve been meaning to add?
  • Is there anything you want to get rid of?

Spend ten minutes running through your online pages to make sure your blog/website is working just the way that you want it to work.

9. Write Down your Ideas

Write down any ideas that you have been carrying around in your head

  • Always waiting for the right time to space to put them down - do it now! While I am reasonably good at ‘holding that thought’ often phrases of prose and snippets of conversation that come to me, don’t stand the test of time mentally filed. I found this weekend past that I was livid with myself for not having put down a particular conversation. This month I’m downloading to paper.

Take an inventory of your notebooks that you store your ideas in

  • Do you know where they are?
  • Are they in their appropriate homes (the glove box, your bag/back pack etc)? If not put them where they are meant to be!
  • Have you got a functioning pen or pencil with them?
  • Do you need a new book or pen?

10. Reflect, Renew, Refocus

Productive Nostalgia

Mystic reminds us that the dark moon is a productive time for nostalgia. I love the notion of productive nostalgia! Take time to think about what’s played out over the month:

  • What have you started?
  • What have you finished?
  • What have you edited? What did you want to edit but never got there?
  • What fantastic ideas were you gifted?
  • What concepts fell on their face? What got up and ran? Any idea why?
  • What people did you met and who did you say good bye to? What impact might they/did they have on you?
  • What progress have you made?
  • What opportunities were presented and what did you do them?
  • What work was rejected and what was published? What never made it that far? Why not?

Purge so that you can renew

If there’s anything you really desperately want to get rid of (a bad habit, criticism, feeling towards a piece of rejected work, writers block) I have this great little trick. Write on a piece of paper what it is your want to get rid of and burn it. That simple. I use the mortar we grind our spices in to do this, on our back verandah. It is both cathartic and a wonderful way to release unproductive energy - literally watching it go up in smoke and drifting off into the ether.


  • Consider what you want to manifest in the following month. It’s the perfect time to think about what goals you want to work towards in the coming month (wait for the new moon to begin them though!)
  • Check your diary for up coming dates - critiquing circles, deadlines for competitions or submissions, workshops, courses or talks.

Paul reminded us a few weeks ago, about the importance of simplifying and downsizing, to focus on what is important. That’s what a monthly clutter can achieve- clear the forest to see the trees so to speak.

This is a long list - lots of ideas. You don’t have to do them all - but try a couple. Different things work for different people. Experiment and share. I’d love to here your experiences.

For the new comer, the mere suggestion of working with lunar cycles can sound like hocus pocus, yet it is the way our ancestors got on with life before the advent of clocks and calendars. While I’ve always said someone with a tidy desk has far too much time on their hands, I now have to admit that keeping my creative space clean and ordered is a way of honouring and respecting myself as a writer. If I can’t honour and respect myself, I shouldn’t expect anyone else to.

The attribution to the beautiful photo has been lost in the blogosphere - and yes, I realise that it's not a dark moon, but a full moon. Dark moon pictures seem to be few and far between! I originally found it at Iris 39

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Smiley Saturday: Fascinatingly Shit!

Fascinatingly Shit wass the comment made at the end of Marc Fenell's review of Friday the 13th on the radio as I drove home from the supermarket this morning. I loved it ... so much so that I actually remembered it long enough to sit and write this blog post! And yes it put a smile on my dial which is always a nice start to a Saturday morning.

You have to agree - we've all seen movies like this? They're crap but there is something about them that intrigues us.

Fenell says the Jason remake is so bad that you rapidly don't give a shit about the life expectancy of the teenagers being picked off, and instead begin to wonder who, where, when and how? Fenell says it sneakingly puts you into the shoes and the mindset of a serial killer without you even realising. Thus the fascinatingly shit rating.

I think Annie will probably agree with me (after the conversation that occurred in the car last night on the way home from the Adam Hills gig) that Mystery Men falls into this category - about an ensemble of super heroes who have NO super powers (or fancy lyrca suits for that matter) But apparently the one liners in it are quite brilliant even though the concept mostly sux (a quick peek at Wiki says that most of the dialogue was improvised by the cast!)

But my pick? Yep it's a slasher/zombie flick that would be pushing it to be classified as B-Grade.

My fascinatingly shit vote goes to Nudist Colony of the Dead.

A group of nudists take their own lives after being forced to close down their campgrounds by a church group and, years later, come back to haunt the grounds and take revenge.

What makes it fascinatingly shit for me - is the fact it's a musical. You did read correctly - a zombie slasher film where they sing and dance their way through multiple stupid murders. There is a memorable scene were the bunch of do-gooder christian teenagers sit in their mini bus singing about the fact that their all going to die. Oh and the bit where the sethered head continues to drink the can of coke. But to get the idea I leave you with this ...

So what movie gets your vote for being Fascinatingly Shit?

Marc Fenell is Triple J's movie reviewer.

Smiley Saturday comes to you from Lightening's
Smiley Saturday blog game.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Stamford

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for March 13, 2009:

During the third night out of town, a travelling businessman discovers a voodoo doll in his hotel room.

Her voice trilled in his head as he rode up the elevator and his face loosened into a smile. There was a definite musical quality to the upward inflection when she was speaking to him. A tinkling if one listened hard enough. Yes – he decided that was the case after being unsure on his other visits.

The classical music seeped into his thoughts as the elevator rose from the ground floor. It reminded him of the Crowded House lyric: “I don’t know what tune that the orchestra plays, but I find it sickly sentimental” and this place was stifled with a romantic ambience of a bygone era. It could easily have gone with something chic and post modern minimalist. And the elevator muzac said it all. Cloyed, last century.

Why bother build something new if you just want to emulate the old?

He’d always wanted to hack into the hotel mainframe and reprogram the elevator music to something inappropriate for a high class establishment such as The Stamford. The Sex Pistols. The Living End. Nine Inch Nails. He’d lie awake at night stretched out fully clothes on the King bed, trying top his previous mental suggestions. Imagining the outraged looks of sixty year old business women when confronted with the invitation of being fucked like an animal.

He grinned a twisted smile and watched the numbers above the doors light up one after another.

Ahh – but Katrina.

He’d observed her conducting business with other guests and noted that only with him, was there a flirtatious underpinning of her uber professional but friendly demeanour. Only a consummate professional such as himself would note the subtle shift, the slight voice modulation and the thinnest of sheens on her brow. She would gently rub at the same right hand side point of her jaw bone when she processed his booking and asked him to sign the credit card. An almost unperceivable tremor of her hand when her manicured hand brushed against his.

Once, arriving late and alone with her in the foyer she’d gambled on asking him for his business card … a slow creeping rose hue spreading across the upper reaches of her elegant cheek bones. Without missing a beat she’d qualified that it was to put on file – obviously. He’d played along, reaching into the breast pocket of his suit coat, then wallet, coming up empty handed – then asking her if company policy allowed employees to join guests for an after work drink. He knew full well it didn’t, otherwise he would never have asked. She’d never mentioned that night but always singled him out for special treatment, as a ‘high rotation guest’, despite the fact he would never qualify as such.

As the elevator doors slid open, with a style and grace that could only be afforded to a mechanical process within somewhere like the Stamford, he stepped out, inhaled and smiled. Clean and with the lingering scent of honey suckle. No harsh cleaning chemicals here or cheap air fresheners that made him sneeze.

He had to admit, as he swept the keycard through the lock and entered the spacious room on the 21st floor that Katrina was the lure that kept him paying outrageous nightly charges here. It went against standard operating procedure to stay in the same place more than once. Dangerous. This was his sixth visit in the last two years.

A city like Brisbane afforded plenty of places for an itinerant to stay. To be just another businessman passing through. If anyone ever asked questions he was sure that Katrina would know the correct thing to say. That’s what he told himself anyway.

He looked forward to the rush of blood, when he caught sight of Katrina behind the huge oak concierge desk, especially when she was in profile with her strawberry blonde hair twisted into a French roll, exposing the length of her alabaster neck. But it wasn’t really Katrina that he wanted. Why he continued to torture himself he had no idea. Katrina was really just a poor substitute that could never be completely or perfectly replicated.

Placing the retro leather overnight bed at the foot of the bed he pulled a pair of soft leather gloves from his pocket and made a sweep of the room. With meticulous and careful attention he ran his fingers over every surface, including opening the toilet cistern. One could never be too careful. Just tearing the drawer open as housekeeping probably had, would shown just the Gideons.

His fingers grazed the small lump of material, pushed up the back of the top drawer of the bedside unit – in behind Gideons.

That made him laugh. He imagined the person who placed it there had a similar wry sense of humour as his own.

Gideon’s try to squirm away from the thing but locked within the four walls of the drawer, wanting to emancipate itself from the taint of voodoo that was brushing against it. Infection and poisoning the good word.

Obviously he was not the only person to have stayed in the room with an interest in pest control. He picked up the voodoo doll and took it over to the window, casting a look out over the river before turning his attention to the doll now he had better light.

It was one of the better made ones that he had seen. Each long, honey brown strand of hair had been sewn individually into the scalp of the doll. He gave up counting after 50. Meticulous and in no hurry. The doll had a full head of hair. Pressing at top of each hand he could feel a nail clipping. The feet were the same. Whoever made it knew exactly what they were doing.

Perusing what was on offer in the mini bar, he was thankful that he chose to come here. The scotch was always good and it meant that he didn’t have to seek out a bottle shop. And the little voodoo doll. It seemed to bless this assignment – if he allowed himself a moment of superstitious hypocrisy.

It lay beside the condensating glass on the table – looking both evil and beautiful in the muted afternoon light. The ice cubes melted fast in the close humidity and he drank faster than he would normally.

After two scotches he sighed, feeling at peace with the world. He hauled his feet, still in their expensive leather shoes onto the outdoor table resting them beside the doll.

A storm was building in the West. Another good omen – not that he was in the business of counting signs from a God he didn’t believe in. He made a mental bet with himself at what time the first rain drop would fall. It was a bet he never lost.

He loved strolling through the streets when the storms broke here and was glad that he’d been assigned to the Easter Seaboard Clean Up. The Autumn rain here was preferable to the Spring rain in St Petersberg. Plus Brisbane had one other advantage that no other city in the world had.


Maybe this time synchronicity would bring her back into his life. But he’d been hoping that for the past ten years.

This is a pre-story to something that I've been in the process of writing for almost a year. A short story based on the Liam Finn song Second Chance.

For more Fiction Friday fun check out the other entries at Write Anything.

Lactivist vs Facebook: update coming soon

I can't believe it has been TWO weeks since I published the Face Off article ... and so much has happened. I'm in the process of rounding up bits and pieces, and tying up some loose ends before I post an update - to bring the 'then' and 'now'. But I assure you that it is coming.

Since then I've been doing lots of spring cleaning with Annie over on the Reclaim site and writing more blog posts there, writing my weekly column for Write Anything and articles for Type A Mom. I've also started this week, venturing into a semi daily journal blog over at Shine A Light. Oh and ploughing my way through The Artist Way. No rest for the wicked hey?

For my fiction readers - there is new fiction on the way - hopefully a Fiction Friday post before bed tonight. It's brewing - I just need to stop being distracted by the internet. I think I need to consider banning certain sites during my working hours (as I was informed by my friend Fiona is possible with Firefox!)

Until then, if you're hooked on Captain Juan, there is a new installment in the saga and if you're not, then there are several 'story to date' posts that will bring you up to speed.