Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Openings and setting the scene.   Let me know if you want to read more of this story

The sun took its time departing.  It did not want to say goodbye to the bright day, the first of the summer holidays, and so it lingered, reluctantly lifting its heat from the tin roof and regretfully moving out of the paddock to the horizon. It waved its final departure with one last pleading look before giving us the evening.   If it had known what the night held, it might have stayed a little longer to defend us.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A man and a woman met in a bar on a rainy afternoon.   No, it’s not a joke but a writing challenge.  Three different pairs of characters and situations with this same premise.

She emerged from the bathroom reinvented.  The evidence of her recent misdemeanor was hidden well enough and she was concealed behind a new persona, which she must now validate.
She needed an alibi.   Someone must see her here at this hour so that her tracks were covered but the bar was deserted because of the weather.  Lashing rain and wind was keeping patrons away, save one brave soul who was shaking himself dry by the door.  She caught his eye and he followed her to the bar.  He arrived abruptly and replaced the drink in front of her with his department badge.  “Avril Harcourt you are under arrest….”

“Here’s to us.”  Thomas raised his glass and smiled across at his wife of forty years.  Sally was trying to read her husband’s mind  with the long look she gave him in reply.  “I love you, Tom.”  He reached for her hand but he was looking over the top of her head.  He’s so distracted tonight, Sally mused.  These past few weeks he’s been very secretive.  “Tom?”  She ducked her head and caught his eye.  He looked apologetic before he said,  “Let’s order shall we,” and hid furtively behind the menu.   She tried to pierce a hole in his shroud by glaring at the back of the wine list which he had raised between them.  Her concentration faltered and she turned abruptly at a commotion behind her, “Happy Anniversary Mum”.   She was overwhelmed by hugs and kisses and grandkids and offspring.   Tom lowered the menu and grinned wildly.  “Surprise.”

He had been here nearly two hours.  Waiting.  She wasn’t coming.  They never do.  An abrupt text had arrived in her stead.   She blamed the weather.  He had nowhere else to go so he stayed and ordered dinner and more drinks. 
“This is the last one,” said a voice above him.
“Yeah, me too. I am not answering anymore of those dumb lonely hearts ads.”
“No. I mean I finish in ten minutes.  Last order for drinks.”
He looked up and into a pair of soft brown pools that drew him in and almost drowned him with their caresses.
“Coffee,” she repeated.
“What?  No. I don’t drink coffee.  Your eyes… so brown…” His words hung unfinished as he returned to the dream which became a reality as she sat opposite.   “Jodi.”
“Sam.”  Time froze.
The breakfast crowd some hours later observed them there silhouetted in the window against the rising sun. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

I think I have had a submission accepted for our local arts alliance anthology.  I was asked to revise as per editor's suggestions and resubmit.   Watch this space!
Toolkit for Writers has begun at the Queensland Writers Centre and so I am busy doing homework relating to  Plot for tomorrow's class. It is the highlight of my week.  I am a sponge.  On my trip into the city by train, I know I am touching many stories as I observe fellow travellers and they move into my imagination to become my companions and characters on the page.  A leaky sponge.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Plausible Deniability

You can find short story response to an exercise from last week's Vannguard Writers Group meeting at the link below.

I love doing these exercises, discovering what is going to appear on the page from just three little prompts: romance novelist,  thief,  interrupted routine.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

...on the palm of my hands....

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.  Isaiah 49:16
The Lord assured us of His faithfulness, that He cannot forget us because He has written us on His hand.
As my teenage daughter writes messages to herself of things she must not forget on her hand, and many times I have observed, all the way up her arm, so I always thought this was the illustration here.
God is being cute, writing us all on His hand so as not to forget us, like some kind of eternal tattoo.
But there's more:  The engraving of me on His hands happened on the Cross!

Engraved in blood
Forged by nails
The Name above all
Has carved my own.
Deep within His palm I lie
Within His wounds is where I hide.

Eternity still displays the scars because the work of the Cross is yet unfinished in as much as not every knee is bowed, not every tongue has confessed the Name of Jesus.
Call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

I'm often asked what I write about. Well, ordinary things.


A Shoe
A small dark canvas slipper with a white rubber sole sits unaccompanied in the laundry window.   It fell from the height of the balcony where it lay drying beside its mate after a soggy, rollicking adventure through a flooded park.  It followed its companion in their fall from grace, the flight precipitated by a teenager whose frustration was exacted on the guiltless pair.

Thrust into the mango tree and down to its thick undergrowth, one shoe continues to lie hidden.  The other was found and it is this which waits alone as a widow might sit looking at the horizon for her dead husband’s return.

There is hope in the symbol of the remaining shoe.  Hope that the garden may yet give up its secret.   Hope that in another outburst, the teenager might yet throw it across the yard so to be reunited and lie hidden under the rotting vegetation with lost toy cars and miniature soldiers in secret and as all useful shoes should be:  together.

A Peg
A light breeze blew making friendly waves in the rippling sheets.  The towels soaked up the warm rays of the sun and began to soften.  Esther reached for the next item waiting in the basket and then procured a peg, repeating her actions that fastened her final load to the line.   She gave the Hills hoist a nudge and watched as it twirled freely, the washing in rows like shuddering children on a merry-go-round.  With the basket on her hip she returned to the laundry to complete her remaining chores with rising disinterest.  It was the last peg that made her pause.  A lone peg remaining, unable to perform that function for which it was designed because a trick of chance had determined this day’s wash did not require its service.  There it remained unfulfilled at the bottom of the basket.  Light blue in colour, it contrasted with the red container nicely, Esther thought.   “Something borrowed, something blue…” she mused, liberating the peg and bringing it closer to examine.  “You shall be my lucky peg,” she informed it as she pinned it to her collar.   With the peg perched at her shoulder like a favourite bird, Esther was able to complete her daily tasks now with meaning.  As she had given the peg purpose, so the peg had redefined a day of potential tedium into something worth sharing with a new friend.

A Teacup
“Gran, you really should throw this cup away.  It’s cracked through”.
“Oh, I know dear.  I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
“Do you want me to do it for you?  Look it’s easy.”  Brenda raised her arm to fling the cup into the nearby waste bin but stopped, more with surprise at her grandmother’s tone than obeying the instruction.
She gazed at Gran and then looked to the cup. 
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it meant so much to you.”
“I think if I throw it out, I shall forget….”
“Forget what, Gran?”
Gran took the cup and held it firmly.  “It’s the last of a set,” she said quietly, running a finger along the line of flowers that decorated it.  And Brenda knew why the cup was of such value.  Gran was mourning the deaths of two friends this year.  The cup, cracked as it was, represented her life:  the last of a set, as she had said.  So many mornings and afternoons of friendship, love and secrets, business and gossip, celebrations and tears, and this cup lined with blue flowers and gold edges, witness to them all.   From her seat at the table, she looked around Gran’s small kitchen searching for a special place for it.
“Gran,” she said rising and taking the newly found treasure from Gran’s hesitant hands,  “I’m going to put it right up here beside the clock.  Whenever you look at the time, you will remember.”
“Thank you dear.”
Brenda took Gran’s hand as she stepped back to view her interior decorating.  She smiled at her Grandmother fondly and relished this moment of their connection on one of Gran’s more lucid days. 
Her mother’s sharp entrance sliced through their reverie.
“Oh, Mum, are you really still hanging on to that old tea cup?  C’mon let’s get rid of it.”    Sally was abruptly immobilized by the united voices raised in protest.