Friday Fictioneers – The Japanese Garden

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Photo prompt copyright CEAyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply designed and aesthetically pleasant

Peace and tranquility; balanced with care

ponds of Koi add colour and serenity

and a taste tease for passing pets

Pebble paths, raked fine or paths paved wide and straight

lead the guest – winding or pacing

to interesting spaces with interesting traits

and quirky surprises

Bonsai trees; aged and perfect; delicate and refined

Encouraged with love and meticulous binding

A joy to behold

and treasured through time

Partnered with architecture; imbued with history

Elements of stone, wood, bamboo and flora

Creating an image of spiritual aura;

and a sense of mystery

Springs suddenly youth, impressively so

Cherry blossom – pink, white or red

Struts and blooms; then petals drop

BEHOLD

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This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers 5 October 2016.
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who kindly supports Friday Fictioneers through her website. Photo credit to CYAyr.
The idea is to fashion a story that has a beginning, middle, and end and within 100 words.

Murder & Mayhem Part 2 – and the Winners are!

Not me! Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Oh well – I had high hopes. I was so excited to see my ‘name in lights’ after entering my first ever writing competition – however small the competition was.

Why did I think I had a hope in hell of winning, or running up or shortlisting? Who knows? It comes to mind, that this is somewhat how the contestants in X Factor or Pop Idol, Australia’s Got Talent and so forth, feel. Somebody has told them they’re great singers, dancers, comedians, etc and they believed it. They’re good! More than good; they’re sensational! 🙂

And while I didn’t necessarily have a posse of arse-lickers telling me how wonderful my fiction writing was – I was happily confident that they were great! 😀

Anyhoo (as my daughter would say) I didn’t make the short-list and upon reading the winning entries, I can see why. I write plain.

And coincidentally, in the last few days I’d been thinking that already – I dream in full technicolour, with fantastical story lines and characters, and movement between worlds and bigger than life adventures. Yes, they generally present in logical order too; which isn’t the case for everyone, as I understand it.

However, when I write – I write as my personality is; plain, straightforward, logical and pedantic (?). Yes, the stories make sense; yes they have a beginning, middle and end and spelling is excellent and the characters believable. But is there ‘life’ to the stories? Are they too much ‘in the box’ and not ‘outside the square’?

I can see upon re-reading of my two short stories where I lacked. And number 1 was that I wrote them and sent them off, without editing/rewriting! 🙂

So, congratulations to the two winners! See the link below to read the winning stories and the 10 shortlisted items also and see which ones you liked the best. I enjoyed the 2nd winner AND the story about the engineer and the swimming pool tickled my quirky bone! 😀

http://www.writerscentre.com.au/top-10-crime-thriller-comp-winners-and-notables/

Remember the rules were: Character of your own creation, using the words umbrella, softly and birthday with fewer than 149 words. And crime themed; the character had to have committed some sort of crime (big or small). Read my previous article Murder & Mayhem, to read my entries.

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Loving FREEWRITE

 

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Freewrite – pride of place on my Writing Desk

Shall I write my first blog out of my Freewrite? Well, yes, I shall. smily-thumbs-up

It is SO exciting. Ordered back in May 2015, I missed out on the first round of orders and therefore it meant a wait of more than a year. And luckily I’m a patient girl (and trusting) because when you spend several hundred dollars on an item and you don’t get your hot little hands on it for many months, it does cross your mind “Hmm, is this is a scam?” It wasn’t!

The idea of the Freewrite is that you write – without social media-type distractions, write without editing (computers allow you to edit as you go and therefore can derail you from the ‘actual’ writing). This is a modern-day ‘word processing’ tool; solely for writing.

The keyboard; ah, delight! It has those large, deep keys of olden day electronic typewriters, that tangible sensation of keying in words and the ‘click-clack’ soundtrack. Heavenly!

It sounds romantic (and actually I feel it is romantic) to say that writing on a typewriter is so much better than on a modern keyboard, with a soulless screen in front of you. There’s a sensuousness; a connection that you don’t get in front of a computer.

The Freewrite is a weighty machine for its size, but that appears to be a positive as with a rugged aluminum body, it doesn’t feel fragile.

Oh and the Freewrite has an e-ink screen (like a Kindle) so you can use in bright light – sit outside under a tree or alfresco at your favourite cafe – and clearly see what you’re writing; oh, and it is portable. Doesn’t have a carry‑case, but has a handle and off you go!

The Freewrite saves as you go – first to its own memory storage and then when you switch on the Wi-Fi – to the cloud. Freewrite uses Postbox and you can then sync your writing to any other cloud service you may be using – such as Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive. You can be offline to write and then switch back to online to upload your work.

As I mentioned previously, this ‘writing’ tool discourages you from wasting time editing an ongoing piece of work – because you can’t edit. You can back space – but there isn’t a delete key.  There are no cursor keys, so you can’t navigate back to a mistype, spelling mistake or a sentence or paragraph you’d like to retype! You can do that later – and so your synced writing can then be downloaded to a standard word processing program and prettied up – editing and adding photos, if required.

So when the finished version of this short article is uploaded to my WordPress blog – there will be a photo of my Freewrite sitting on my writer’s desk. Right now, of course, I can only contribute the words.

It is so exciting; I can’t believe how exciting it is. I have a deadline for the coursework I’m completing at the moment – and I need to be finished in time for National Novel Writing Month #nanowrimo in November – but NO! I want to play with my new toy; I mean write!

Out go my old IBM electronic typewriters – this compact unit replaces them. Not their romanticism, but their heft, reliance on accessories (ribbons, golf balls) electricity and space – and their lack of portability. You have been replaced, my dears! smily-pink

Come National Novel Writing Month this November – my next 80,000 words will be written on this gorgeous machine.

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I’ll let you know further down the track how I’m going with it – and if the love affair continues.

Hasta pronto! Trish

 

 

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MICRO-AGGRESSION – Charade or Truth

A year later and this is still a burning issue with our son and his girlfriend (specifically that we have a history of racism and manipulation).
We want to welcome his girlfriend with open arms to our family – and we’ve been trying to do this. She is a beautiful and intelligent girl. When they’re ready to make babies – they will be so cute! 😛
However, today my husband and I are going to a counselling session. I’m not sure whether it is to work out strategies about how to deal with this situation – or teach us that we’re wrong. But it is at the request of this couple.
They haven’t yet answered my request for specific examples of what we’ve said or the way we’ve acted that has made them uncomfortable, to help us identify areas for discussion with the counsellor. Anyway! 😦
It means that in our discussion with the Counsellor, it will be all from our side and therefore unbalanced and if she only hears our side of things, she’s not going to fix us! 😀
Please don’t come back and rant at them – they’re young and trying to find their way (I guess). 😀 xx

RANDOM THOUGHTS by Trish

Hello again! Well, I’ve been on an up and down emotional roller coaster since early August 2015, when my beloved youngest son and his girlfriend thought to take offense at a comment I made on my Facebook page.

I was in a new town, having relocated from country Western Australia to NSW and was looking for a beauty therapist. Now there seem to be a large number of salons offering beauty treatments and massages here run by ‘Asian’ ladies and this was new to me. They seem to be particularly Thai in cultural background and one day I walked into a salon looking for someone to do a manicure and pedicure.

I entered the premises, to find several women and some children seated on the floor and sharing a meal or snacks. There was no sign of the typical beauty salon paraphernalia – you know what I mean? Products, seating…

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Murder & Mayhem – Australian Writers’ Centre

The Australian Writers’ Centre is having a Murder & Mayhem month and are running a Crime and Thriller short story competition.

It is a small competition – prize is a bundle of books – but it is all practice! 🙂

The guidelines are:

  • Word count of 149 or fewer
  • Include the words birthday, softly and umbrella
  • Feature your character having committed a crime

But it doesn’t have to be a dark or scary theme – or seriously nasty crime – could be jaywalking!

So following are the two stories I’ve entered! Enjoy 😀

Chloe

It was Chloe’s birthday and a sunny winter’s day had darkened as the world was blacked out by a wall of rain.

Grabbing her favourite dome umbrella – the clear one with blue nightingales and a metal handle – Chloe stepped softly around the bleeding body splayed awkwardly, at the bottom of the stairs.

Bending slightly toward the body, she reached out tentatively as though to awaken him, but pulled back. What should she do?  He couldn’t be dead. She could check for his pulse. Call for help.

Chewing her lip and twisting a strand of hair, Chloe stood poised to leave. She was a good person, but the surrounding floor was very wet and that could mean she was already in serious trouble – no sense planting DNA evidence.

Chloe was responsible for the “wet floor” signs; and with the excitement of the day had forgotten to put them out!

Surprise!

“What do we know?” asked the lead Detective.

The Senior Constable consulted his notes.

“Deceased male is Owen Scale, well-known in the building although he hasn’t been seen around for a while. His girlfriend Katrina Byrne lives here in 21 and he had a key.

She’s distraught and currently sitting with her neighbour and a constable, next door.

She hasn’t seen Clive for a month or so; didn’t know where he’d been and he apparently surprised her by walking too softly into the kitchen. She reacted with a butcher’s knife to the chest!”

“As you do,” replied the detective. “Guess she doesn’t like surprises in general, then” he stated, grinning.

They turned to the body lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of Apartment 21 – and the parcel wrapped in birthday paper and impaled with a bright pink umbrella!

Hope you enjoyed them – Trish 😀

 

Beloved – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers August 17th

Smooth pebbles litter the beach and stepping through them, I stumble

Laughing, I push windswept hair out of my eyes looking ahead, for my beloved

6ft, fit and carefree, he clambers, crawls and skips over stones and puddles

As I fall, I cry out; when I look up he is by my side, hand outstretched

The devotion and concern in his face renews my confidence in him

And as he lifts me to my feet, we gently kiss and he leads me carefully

Away from the pebbled and precarious ground, to the beach sand and safety

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers.  Photo credit to © Janet Webb . And thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who kindly supports Friday Fictioneers through her website.
The idea is to fashion a story that has a beginning, middle, and end and within 100 words.

Bendigo Writers Festival 2016 – Eurocrime

Image for Tickets and refund information

 

I have just had the most fantastic weekend, visiting Bendigo and the 2016 Writers Festival, which, according to WIN Bendigo, had approximately 15,000 attendees. 😀

When my husband and I moved to the eastern states in 2015, one of the main reasons was so that we could enjoy these type of events (not on offer in country WA) and sure, I had to travel approximately 300km to attend – but it was worth it.

Books are my passion and right behind that is my aspiration to be a writer myself. To spend a weekend with like-minded people, listening to authors – mostly successful already, but also some newbies – surrounded by excitement and bustle and books was inspirational. 😀

Opening night was supposed to feature Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild – but she had illness in her family and had to postpone. With a theme of Brave Enough, the session was to discuss:

There are physical limits, and there are mental limits, both of which can stand in the way of creativity and our capacity to make the most of life.

Do you need to take risks to unlock creativity? Climb a mountain? Trek a trail? Or just force yourself to sit and think and keep your nose to that grindstone until it happens.”

The panel comprised a lighthearted crew of Ita Buttrose, Benjamin Law, David Astle and Graeme Simsion – and they were great.

Gsimsion-square-thumbnailraeme – author of the Rosie Project and Rosie Effect – and from an IT background – was funny, albeit sensible and practical.

 

BEN

Benjamin – author of Family Law and now a successful TV show – is hilarious, very articulate and relaxed.

 

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David-Astle

Ita – the Australian icon – came across as warm and generous; and then David – the word nerd – was quite normal! 🙂

 

So, I couldn’t persuade any fellow writers to come to Bendigo with me – I did ask in a couple of my writer groups on Facebook. It would be interesting to know if any fellow ‘nano writers’ were among the enthusiasts at the Festival.

The very first session with Liam Pieper and Victor del Arbol entitled Eurocrime was interesting and coincidentally Victor is Spanish and needed an interpreter – I’d attended my first Spanish class the night before and it seemed serendipitous that one of the first author’s I listened to was Spanish. A charming, funny and handsome Spaniard too, I must say! Even though we didn’t understand what he was saying – we were spellbound!

The ToymakerThe Heart Tastes Bitter

I’ve purchased the two books they were touting – The Toymaker (Liam Pieper) and The Heart Tastes Bitter (Victor).

Liam says his book is about ‘a Russian doctor, imprisoned by the Nazi and sent to Auschwitz and forced to work with Josef Mengle in order to survive; but how can he help perpetuate evil and continue life after war as a good man?

Victor’s three main characters face ‘the one thing that we as humans can’t experience – only face – death. They all lose someone and as a result do terrible things; can they find redemption? Victor believes that ‘self-redemption lies in not denying your own actions or mistakes. He also says that an American author would have (in this instance) all the characters forgiven by the end of the book, but he is Spanish; they have a more tragic sense of life.’

I read The Toymaker over the weekend – and it is a good read – it’s a ‘literary’ read; but I wouldn’t have called it a crime novel (at least in my interpretation of what I enjoy as a crime novel. War crimes are more political / historical concepts.

Over the next few days I’ll write up some of the other sessions – and I hope you’ll enjoy them. If you get the opportunity to visit Writers Festivals around you, go for it! There’s a lot to be learned and enjoyed; if you’re a booklover, simply being surrounded by fellow weirdos makes a nice change!

I’ve got Write about the Murray to look forward to here in Albury – coming soon! 😀

 

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