This is an assignment that I wrote for a creative writing course that I’ve just completed this week. The course ran for six weeks and is with the University of Iowa. Its also free, and we studied the works and poetry of Walt Whitman. Whitman wrote during the American Civil War, and writes themes of loss, tragedy, trauma, death and destruction.Loved the course 🙂
The constraint I used was to write just 10 words on each line; the topic concerned a news bulletin that was playing at the time of writing.
It’s Monday morning, and the day has just started.
The alarm chimes and I glance out of the window,
The news button is turned on – a child is missing.
A sweet, five year old in a pink t-shirt
Denim shorts and pink shoes complete her ensemble. Blond hair
In braids, and a toothy grin stare at me, innocently
From the TV screen. How must her parents feel today?
The policeman’s voice as I make a breakfast and tea.
A crunch of toast and butter, as the sofa beckons,
I watch. The officer in charge looks worried, concerned, frowning
Under his peaked cap. Where can she be? He shakes
His head, as the cameras roll. Behind him, a crowd
Are staring, bewildered. Her folks are invisible, too traumatised, afraid
Of the news that they will receive. But still they
Hope. Fingers clenched together. That their little girl is safe.
So lately I have heard from a few people that they feel like they should just give up on writing because for whatever reason, they are feeling like it just isn’t worth it anymore. Whether they feel like they aren’t getting enough attention, don’t have enough fans, or whatever the case may be, they are wrong, and here’s why.
Writers and authors have a gift, and because we have that gift, we have an obligation, a responsibility to use it. We may “just” arrange words in such a fashion that people enjoy reading them, but a heart surgeon “just” transplants hearts, and astronauts “just” go to space. We need to stop treating writing like it is simply a hobby that “anyone” can do, because that’s not the case. We “just” take people to places they can’t go on their own, and give them a form of escapism…
Original image courtesy of Juhan Sonin via Flickr Creative commons.
The writer’s worst nightmare. You researched, you wrote, you finished, and then published your book. You wait for the sales and……….*crickets*. This is something that can happen to any kind of author, traditional or nontraditional. We think we have a hit on our hands only to later be checking it for a pulse.
What happened? Why is the book just not selling?
In the not so distant past, there was only one way to get published and that was traditional publishing. Though many authors cheered when they were finally able to cast off the chains of New York, let’s at least respect that agents and editors might have known a thing or three about the book business.
Writers would often get vexed at the stack of rejection letters, believing they couldn’t actually write well. This was…
My sister in law is a gifted artist. She is also a cat lover, having 4 cats who share her cottage in England with her husband Alan, a retired doctor (I say share here, because the house is very much their home as well). Molly is a gorgeous Bengal cat with superb markings that remind me of a Royal cat, one who should be lounging around, being hand fed luscious tidbits, and wearing a sweet bejewelled crown on her head.
There you have it …Princess Molly is born.
Inspired by Molly, I have started to write short stories, aimed at children. I hope to have them illustrated in the future, but in the meantime I’d love to share my latest story with you.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Princess Molly and the new toy.
Princess Molly sat in her favourite corner of the garden, washing her paws. There was barely a rustle from the house. Missy was in her studio, busily painting.
Suddenly, the large rhododendron bush next to Missy’s studio rustled, and a face appeared from its depths. Jack, the large tom cat from next door, blinked in the sunlight. His large amber eyes shone in the deep green leaves of the bush. He gave a long yawn, and stretched his paws.
Princess Molly liked to avoid Jack. Her princess ways were used to someone a bit more refined, not like Jack. She turned her green eyes away, hoping that he would take the hint, and jump back over his wall.
But he didn’t. In fact, he strolled right over to Princess Molly.
‘What you up to, Molls?’ he rasped, in that uncouth, pussycat way. ‘Do you want to check out the bins in the alleyway?’
Princess Molly looked disgusted. She stood up on her haunches, and stalked back towards the house.
‘Wait up Molls; I know you’re a princess, I was only teasing. Come and see what ‘s in my garden.’
Princess Molly stopped, tail in the air. She turned around, intrigued.
‘Okay,’ she replied. Her afternoon snacks could wait a little longer.
Moments later she was following Jack over the stone wall into next door’s garden. She had only visited Jack’s garden a few times, preferring her own, more refined one. But curiosity go the better of her. What did Jack have in here that was so special?
Jack’s garden was bigger than hers. It had a well cut lawn in its centre, and a cut out of dirt in the middle. Colourful flowers swayed in the breeze; reds, yellows and pinks. It was a feast for the eyes, and perfect for pussycats. She yawned in annoyance, suddenly bored. Hadn’t she seen this before? She plonked herself down onto the lawn, and started to lick that unruly patch of fur on her tail.
‘Over here, Princess Molly!’ Molly looked up, startled (it was a particularly satisfying scratch). Where had that voice come from? She looked around, and spotted a tail peeking out from a small door at the end of the garden. She had not noticed that part before. She stalked over, paws avoiding the course grass. What was the mystery?
The door had a gap at the bottom. Princess Molly poked her head through the gap, pushing against the door with her clean white paws.
Beyond the gate she stopped. Jack and the voice (she was still not sure whose it was) were on top of a huge colourful thing. As she watched, Jack slid down a bright blue slide, into a pit of sand. He shook his head free of the sand on his whiskers, and miaowed. The other cat (for that’s whose voice she heard) clung onto a coiled piece of rope, next to the slide. The cat, a very furry tabby, scratched and flicked its tail, purring contentedly.
‘Look what Abigail bought me – my own playground!’ cried Jack, climbing up the slide the wrong way.
Princess Molly forgot that she was a royal, very important and refined cat. She purred, and threw herself onto the slide, behind Jack.
This book has been on my TBR list ever since I heard how good it was. It was mentioned as a ‘good read’ on The First Tuesday Book Club hosted by Jennifer Byrne a few weeks back. Usually, I don’t like to read what they’ve recommended as I find the show a tad too arty, but the cover on this book appealed to me.
Boy, I am so glad that I found it (on offer, I must say) at my local K Mart – and BOUGHT it!. Its my best read so far this year (to get the perspective on that statement; I have read over 50 books so far for my Book Challenge 2016 on Goodreads).
It is beautifully written, amazing, I loved the plot, the characters, the setting, the mood of the book. You can almost feel the hot Australian sun burning on your back as you read it – its that GOOD! Each page makes you want more; each character is a potential suspect; you will not guess until the end who is the villain.
I read in one weekend; could not put it down….
The Dry – Jane Harper
Who killed the Hadler family?
Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown of Kiewarra, rural Victoria, for the funeral of an old school friend. Now living and working as a cop in Melbourne, he left Kiewarra under a mask of suspicion some twenty years ago, when his school girlfriend Ellie Deacon was found dead in the bottom of the river, her pockets filled with pebbles.
Now he returns for the funeral of Luke Hadler, a farmer, who has killed his wife and young son and set the shotgun onto himself. The river where Ellie was found is now a dry river bed, a result of the drought that has inflicted the area for the last few years, causing farmers to shoot starving cattle, and despair of the rains returning.
Falk just wants to pay his respects, and leave. He counts down the hours until his has to go, but then finds himself investigating the deaths with the local copper. In the process, he becomes untangled into the past and the ghosts that lay there, waiting to reappear.
So Luke is cast as a despairing, depressive farmer who has lost hope and killed his family as a result, or so the local town cops believe. Its a clear cut and dried case, but is it?
An atmospheric, mesmerizing thriller, that will leave you guessing until the end!
Today is my wedding anniversary. My hubby and I took our vows in 1989, so that would be 27 years go today. Along the way we have acquired one cat (now deceased), one dog (very much alive) and two children, a boy and a girl that my mother calls my ‘pigeon pair.
I have much to be grateful for; chocolate, books, sunshine, laughter, family.
So I scrolled through my old posts, and stumbled across a ’12 Things I am Grateful For’ Post, which I think is very fitting for today.
My family. We moved to the other side of the world exactly 10 years ago last weekend; me, my hubby and my two children. The move has made us stronger as a family unit and I’m forever grateful to have them.
My dog. My little terrier Billy is a rascal, but he is also my writing companion and my support.
My computer. Has enabled me to find my creativity.
Writing. I love to write. I am never happier than when I am in front of my computer, my dog on the sofa next to me, creating characters, places and settings.
My love of books. I have read since I was young, and feel privileged every time I find a new author or a gem of a book.I’m currently reading a Tracy Chevalier book, and loving it.
Baking. I love to bake with my daughter. We set out most weekends to look through recipes and spend that precious family time together.
The internet. I would be lost without my friend Google, as he is used so much in research. What was life like before the internet? I shudder to think.
My car. Allows me to travel around the beautiful Gold Coast, and search for inspiration.
Dining out. I love to discover new restaurants. As a family we eat out quite a bit; food helps us to connect and bond.
The area I live in. Also, the world and all the gorgeous places in it. We should all be grateful to live on this glorious planet.
My parents. For giving me life and good advice.
Waking up each morning in a warm bed, content and looking forward to a new day.