Tag Archives: Writing

Musing and Meandering

“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.”
Elizabeth Goudge, English author of romance novels and short stories1900-1984

The rush and bustle of the holiday season has for me at least, calmed down. But of course, for most of New Zealand, this is holiday time, the time for the family’s annual vacation.

When I first came to New Zealand oh so many years ago, the whole place shut down for at least two weeks over this time. Every business closed on Christmas Eve and apart from some corner stores, all businesses stayed closed until well into the New Year. Very frustrating for a newcomer. Now, of course, business is as usual except for the statutory holidays – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the following one. Retailers operate on every day except Christmas Day.

So if I’m not on holiday (although when one is retired each day is a holiday) what am I doing? Well, at last, I have seen the end of the interminable/innumerable packing boxes from my move. This has been the most difficult of all 20 plus moves I have made in my life. The moving was exacerbated by the fact that I was moving into a much smaller space. But now that is done and the Salvation Army has been the recipient of many things that I am sure will be of use to others.

The living room is looking more like home and I know that I can be happy here. Of course, added to this is the benefit of having my daughter and her two teenage boys in the house too.

So I looked around for something to do. I tried my hand at staining an old bookcase and am pleased to say that it turned out quite well. I then started on an old table that had suffered severe water damage from a plant having been placed upon it. That too turned out well. Now my daughter and her boys are running from me in case I try to stain them or any of their belongings. It’s a good thing I tackled that job on New Year’s Day because since then it has rained almost non stop.

On Christmas Eve the SKY TV man eventually came and installed the television. Lucky for me as today has been mostly catching up on programmes interspersed with catching up on my reading.

Perhaps when I’m thinking of things for which to be grateful today’s rainfall will feature. It certainly will for the farmers in the South Island who are facing drought conditions this early in the summer season.

So nothing much changes in my writing. I write on anything and everything that comes into this aged mind. Until tomorrow dear friends, and thank you for reading my meanderings.

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A-New-Book-With-Blank-Pages

This particularly  for Chris and Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Escape

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Softly, quietly and quickly she opened the door onto the porch, to rain pouring down making puddles in the unpaved area around the house.

Quickly she donned her shoes that had been tightly held in her hands as she made her way through the dark house, and that done, she ran off down the road to freedom.

But where is freedom she asked herself when she had been trudging along the state highway for what seemed  ages, all the while hoping for a lift but nobody had stopped to help her.

She had dreamed of getting away from him for so long and now here she was on her way but to where.

Soon he would realise that she had gone and come looking for her; and if he caught up with her would she have the spunk to attempt to escape again?

This is in response to the prompt at Five Sentence Fiction –
the word is SPUNK

Lillie McFerrin Writes
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the prompt – SPUNK

Confusion

Hot, so very hot; panting like a dog and oh the pain; if only someone would make it go away and then she could concentrate on why she was here and what she had to do.

But the pain was never-ending and the noise – could that be her voice she could hear yelling obscenities ?

Suddenly there were smooth, calming hands on her forehead and a gentle voice said ‘It’s OK Mrs Jones, only a few more pushes now.”

And then she was back in this stark hospital room with doctors and midwives encouraging her as her son’s head appeared.

This post is in response to the 100 word writing challenge from
Velvet Verbosity where we are asked to write 100 words inspired by a single word prompt. This week’s word is SMOOTH

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An Inferno

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Photo – J A Craig

She had loved Dante’s Inferno since first being presented a copy to read for English Literature classes so many years ago.  And now she wondered was this the closest she would get to Dante’s Inferno in this life?

She stood there, totally surrounded by mist, mesmerised by the sight of great gusts of steam emanating from the ground accompanied by the roar of a fast approaching steam locomotive.

As she walked slowly past a pool that resembled a boiling cauldron she remembered reading that the indigenous people, the Maoris, still used the heat from this activity for cooking and heating their houses as they had done for centuries.

On her return home on the other side of the world, she needed to have these photos as evidence that this was in fact real and not a figment of her very active imagination.

This week’s word is STEAM.  I thought as few people might have seen the
Geo thermal activity producing clouds of steam, I
would use this as the setting for my Five Sentence story this week.
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Lillie McFerrin Writes

The Family Wit

My grandmother was the undisputed wit of the family.

As young girls we tried to compete with her. Before every visit we would try to impress each other with how witty we could be. Grandma listened to our attempts but she always outdid us.

Hers was a gentle wit; no sarcasm was ever allowed and so we grew to appreciate the clever use of words and the ability to write and say things that were clever and usually funny too.

Mother didn’t inherit this talent from her mother, but I like to think that one of us did.

This post is in response to the 100 word writing challenge from Velvet Verbosity where we are asked to write 100 words inspired by a single prompt. This week’s word is WITTY.

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Writing 101 – Commit to a writing process

Day 3 and the challenge is

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? and
Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.”

Well I have been doing free writing for years. Ever since I read the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron in 2005 (or there about) I have been writing what she calls Morning Pages.  I shared this idea with my clients when I was practising as a Life Coach and always in my seminars and courses, whatever I happened to be sharing with the group.  But I have never had the idea to pin the writing on a theme.  It was done each morning as soon as, or even before, I got up and it just was whatever came to mind.  Alas, that good habit has flown out of the window since my life changed so radically just one year ago.  Now there is somebody else to consider and his schedule to consider so my Morning Pages have been abandoned.

But turning to today’s challenge – what are my three favourite songs?

  1. Yesterday When I Was Young sung by Charles Aznavour.  This song brings me so many happy memories.  Living the life of a young mother in three different parts of the world; my lovely Dashing Young Scotsman who took me to many places, my two delightful now grown up children.  Happy happy memories of times now past.

But I have so many other favourite songs.  I love anything and everything sung by Diana Krall and Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole and and and….  So as you can see I cant list my favourits.  Oh April in Paris of course.  That takes me back to a time before children when we were two young people very much in love, with the world and the future before us.

So my allocated 15 minutes is up.  I shall set myself the task of building a habit of writing at least 15 minutes every day – I think I shall make it longer but who knows.

I have a resource by Judy Reeves called A Creative Writer’s Kit.  I used to refer to it often and particularly when I had no idea what to write about that day.  I highly recommend this.

A Voyage of Discovery

After reading and commenting on Noelene’s blog today I trawled back to the very first blog I wrote on March 1, 2011.  This was an introduction of me to you (or anybody out there who wanted to read what I thought) and this post attracted no comments, no visitors and so I guess no interest.

I then went on to read some more of the early posts.  But writing a blog (and re-reading earlier posts) has been a learning process for me.   Clearly, I was growing more confident in what I was putting out to the blog and because of that, I was attracting more readers, comments and almost unbelievably, followers.

Many blogs that I follow focus on one or two aspects of life, themes or particular interests.  Mine just simply meanders around, aimlessly following the many and mixed pathways of this elderly woman’s mind. Note here – according to my grandsons the two words one doesn’t use around Granma are ‘Old” and “Age”.  When my No 2 grandson was about 9 I had a fall and an ambulance officer asked how old I was.  Robbie quickly jumped in and told the guy that we didn’t use that word around Granma but he knew that Granma was 39 plus GST (Goods and Services Tax).  The ambulance man was delighted and asked if he could use that phrase.

I have dwelt at some length on growing up in London during and after the war.  There are many posts on this subject and no doubt there will be many more.  These are written particularly for the four young men collectively known as my grandsons.  As my son has said on several occasions, and particularly when the boys were young, words to the effect that if he and his sister couldn’t understand what life was like then how could we expect the boys to understand.  So the series of posts on growing up was introduced.

I wrote about my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) and our travels, our children and our long and happy life together.  Then about his sudden death and the catalyst for writing my book ‘Suddenly Single’.  I told about the support and love that I received from family and friends at this time.

I have written about my love and friendship with my two sisters.   Although we live impossibly far away from each other we are still best friends.  During the riots in London in August 2011 and after speaking to my sister there, I penned this Ode to a Sister.

I have shared some of what I learned and passed on to clients during my time as a Life Coach.  I truly believe that I learned more from my clients than they ever did from me.

I introduced to you my programme called Memories – writing your memories for those who come after you.  This is where I coined the phrase – ‘To live in lives we leave behind is not to die”  So I wrote my memories and shared what I learned in so doing with others.  And this was easy and enjoyable.  I am currently working on putting the process into a book to share with others.

I told some tales of when I was the Wedding Coordinator at a historic church in Wellington.  Many more tales linger in my brain from this very happy time.  I said this was the best job I ever had and I meant it.

And I have let loose a few rants at what I consider to be the ridiculous behaviour of some people; the unthinking attitude of some in power; the naivety of some and the penalties they pay for being so, and on and on covering anything at all that takes my mind on that day and at that time.

I almost forgot my foray into writing fiction.  I received a postcard from my sister in the US and this led me to write the first in a series about hats.  Then Sallyann at Photographic Memories wrote a post about Cars and I read a challenge in that post.  So a continuation of the hats saga was embarked upon and we had lots of fun looking for the bonnets.  This saga took another turn when Thomas Stazyk introduced the ‘the swarthy gent in the Panama hat’ in a comment on one of the posts.  This saga is continuing.

And I cannot forget my darling Lotte; the Tibetan Spaniel who shared my life, my walks and my adventures until her untimely death a couple of months ago. She left a huge hole in my heart.  And now my new companion, the Beautiful Miss Bella is working her way into my heart.  She has a totally different attitude to life than Miss Lotte but she leaves nobody in any doubt that she loves me.  She is fiercely protective of me even though she weighs all of 5 kgs.

So in the two years in which I have been blogging, I have learned plenty.  I have met many friends in the blogosphere, have learned that I really like writing and would like to do more of it.  I have enjoyed my foray into fiction writing and have started writing poetry.

And just to forewarn you, I plan to keep blogging.  And a warning!

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me……………..
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.”
From “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, English Poet, 1932-

Book cover

Dead Heat

I have talked before about one of my favourite authors, Bronwyn Parry.  Bronwyn  romantic suspense novels set in Australia’s wild places. She lives on 100 acres of  Australian bushland, and travels extensively through rural and outback areas of the country for background research for the novels.

I read Bronwyn’s  first novel, “As Darkness Falls” a few years ago and then discovered that in 2007 it won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for best romantic suspense manuscript in 2007.  In 2008 it was a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award.

Then I read her  second novel, “Dark Country”and found that it was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards and the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2010.  It also  won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Romantic Suspense novel of 2009.

And then sad news.  Bronwyn could not attend the RITA Awards in 2010 as she was awaiting brain surgery.  Fortunately, she seems to have made a complete recovery and last year her third novel “Dead Heat” was released.  This is another great read, set in the Australian outback – a romantic suspense novel indeed.

Dead Heat

Then a few days ago I received an email with the exciting news that “Dead Heat” is a finalist in the romantic suspense category of the Romance Writers of America RITA awards.  This is great news for Bronwyn, her very supportive partner/soul mate and her readers and this time Bronwyn is well enough to travel to the USA for the awards.  How exciting for her and how pleased those of us who follow her are.  This time hopefully, there will not be a dead heat and her novel will win the award.

For those of you who don’t know. Bronwyn says “The RITA awards are often described as the ‘Oscars’ for the romance genre – the winners are announced at the gala awards night at the end of the Romance Writers of America conference, which this year will be in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 17-20th.”

I wish I could be there to cheer her on.

Clapping hands

“There are three rules for writing a novel.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

I Know This Place

Have you ever been transported by someone’s words to a place that you have never visited but somehow you feel you know?  Is it the magic of the words that so cleverly, and it seems effortlessly, transport you to another place?

Today when reading the blogs that I follow and some that I don’t, I stumbled across this post The View at the End of the Day on Vision and Verb.  This is the first time I have found and read anything here but reading those words, I could feel the heat; the still dry air; that wind clearing out the air in the house and the palpable longing for  ‘just an inch of rain’.   And in that moment I realised that the mark of a good writer is the ability to transport somebody to a place they have never been.  And in reading about it make them feel that they know the place and that they are there.  Eliza who wrote this post, has that magical ability.

Having never been to Africa I know of it only through stories and films.  One of my favourite books is that written by Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke.  This is the story of her life in Africa in the early part of the 20th Century.  Out of Africa was made into a film in 1985 starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep and the opening line from that movie “I had a farm in Africa” is imprinted on my mind.

However, Eliza obviously lives there and through her writing I will learn more of this distant, mysterious continent.  Thank you Eliza and please keep writing, describing your life and your country for us.

The End of a Long Day

Granny on computer

Hours
and hours
sitting at
the computer
writing report for
friend’s return on Monday.
Now too tired to blog tonight
so will continue Antibes story
tomorrow after a good night’s sleep
having read more of Charlie Fox’s adventures.

This is another attempt at writing an etheree.  Exactly one year ago today I made my first attempt but got it wrongThe basic etheree form has ten lines, the first consisting of exactly one syllable, the second line of two syllables, and so on until the last line has  ten syllables.  An etheree can also be reversed, starting with ten syllables and ending with one.  But I wrote one word on the first line, two on the second and so on.  It wasn’t until after I wrote my poem on Snow in Brooklyn that I found my mistake.

Snowing in Brooklyn, Wellington

But the date on the camera is wrong – it was 15/8/2011.