I remember only one story I wrote as a kid. Later, I wrote funny poems about people, long letters to my dad, and then some little stories and poems for my writing class. I know people who’ve taken 50 years to write what’s in their heart, because a school teacher or someone in their family criticized them. For me, it took about 30 years, and publication in an anthology. Starting small. Slowly getting serious.
My oldest writing friends have been hanging out with me, drinking coffee, workshopping and writing for all of those 30 years or more. We started together…
I stand on the track, alone. The clear silence of the bush is etched with currawong calls, creaking branches and the distant rumble of a tractor. A kookaburra swoops past, wings whirring as it speeds away to warn the kangaroos. Humans! Across the gully, its raucous call is a long, hiccupping warble, and then the thumps of kangaroos reach me.
Eucalyptus fills the air with its pungent scent, sharp and aromatic in the back of my throat. Shafts of sunlight angle through the trees, creating a bright patchwork along the track. …
Often when you’re reading novels written by writers in other countries, the local slang can get quite confusing! Even between Australia and New Zealand, we have slang mix-ups. The Kiwis can’t understand why Australians call their footwear thongs. Aren’t thongs a kind of underwear? Kiwis call those jandals (in other places they’re called flip-flops). As for the cooler chests you take to the beach or barbecues, the Kiwis call them chilly bins and the Aussies call them Eskies. (And don’t get me started on bum bags and fanny packs and …)
So here’s a list of some Australian slang you…
You step carefully past the fish van
and the snaking hose
around busy shoppers with no time
to stand and gape
on one side, tubs of blue-clawed yabbies
stretch and flex
molluscs lie thicker than on any beach
on the other, pyramids of vegetables
are lumpy jewels — red, green, purple, yellow
you hardly know what half of them are
nor the striped jellies, sticky rice, trays of sweets
you wonder how they will taste, how they will
feel on your tongue
you buy a little of this, a little of that
a little adventurous, a lot curious
The other day I found a screwed-up ball of paper on my front lawn. Normally, I’d toss it in the bin but something made me open it to check. To my horror, it was something from my own trash — a page that had money details and our signatures on it.
I’d gotten lazy without realising. That was dangerous.
I’d been making sure I shredded anything personal or financial for years. I’d worn out one shredder machine and bought another. When I did a huge clear-out of my tax stuff, I’d paid for a security shredding sack.
You might be…
How we think about money is weird.
Very often, nobody wants to talk about it. Do you know what your workmates earn? How would you know if they’re paid more than you or less? It’s a forbidden subject for most people.
Take a moment. How do you personally feel about money? Does it make you feel angry or guilty? Do you resent people richer than you? Or (an interesting question) do you resent people poorer than you?
Are you a saver or a spender? Or, if you use more negative terms, are you a miser/Scrooge or a spendthrift/squanderer?
When someone dies, it can be many things to their family — a release, a relief, a great sorrow. Grief can be overwhelming, and those left behind have to learn to live with it. Most are able to move on and find ways to deal with the loss. Funerals can provide closure and a chance to celebrate their life and mourn.
But what if you lose someone you love and they are not dead?
What if they are just… gone from your life? What if you may never know what happened to them?
All around the world there are parents…
I saw a meme the other day that said you’d better love your novel enough to reread it 75 times. I imagine a lot of writers would have read that and laughed, thinking, Nah, I’ll be done in 3 or 4 drafts. Other writers would be thinking, 75? Try 175!
75 is probably exaggerating. But not by much, not if you are really committed to writing the best novel you can, and if you are then going to be traditionally published.
As an example, my current novel will be published in 2022. So far I’ve done two complete drafts of…
I’m writing from a city that has endured (to date) six lockdowns, including one that lasted for over 110 days. We know lockdowns here — we’re experts at them! But what comes with that is the growing understanding (often in a negative way) that nobody else knows what it’s been like. And what effect it has on you, even when you’re mostly coping OK.
Which brings me to the stress caused by other people. Probably unknowingly, unwittingly. But because for a lot of people these days, it’s all about them.
I get it. Your life is your life, and the…