Tuesday 30 October 2012


Back in mid-July I blogged about having one of those tumultuous weeks. Winning competition prizes, being published, starting a new business. Exciting times. Satisfying. It’s easy to be satisfied when things go well. And then there is...

It’s writing competition time at the moment. I have a lot of work before judges. Work I felt pleased with. As good as anything I’ve written. But nothing is winning. Nothing is making short lists. Results for the last tender I helped write – back when I was an employee – were poor. Disastrous. And it makes you ask why? What changed?

How could I have won those awards? Been published those times? Helped win so many tenders? Received praise for my work? How did that happen? And why doesn’t it continue?

How do you bounce back? Because not every week will be great. How much harder it is to keep hitting the keys after bad news. And things do go bad. We experience loss. We miss out. We fail. They say the secret is to keep writing. Jump back on the horse – or to use a ‘Wintonism’ – the surfboard.  I guess we ride the waves, enjoy the tube rides when they come and duck our heads when we are wiped out.

OK, I’ve got a keyboard to wax....

Sunday 21 October 2012

Great Sentence of the Week #10

I love this sentence for the sentiment as much as the craft...

We forgave each other for being selfish and we accepted our insecurities and allowed each other to be scared and vulnerable and messed up; we accepted each other the way no one else did. Kindred Spirits (May) Wet Ink #14.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Plover calls and Grandpa

For the family...

It’s a cool Sunday night. I can’t sleep. I lay in the streetlight glow, listening to distant plover calls. I love that sound. Yes they’re pugnacious birds, prone to dive-bombing and armed with lethal-looking wing spurs, but that sound reminds me of holidays – a time when the worries of the world belonged to someone else. And tonight, they remind me of Grandpa.

Grandpa’s dad built the holiday house. A naked fibro cottage built on concrete piers, built on a sandy peninsular, built into a saltwater lake. It’s an outer Sydney commute now, but then it was a place of deserted roads, vast brown back lawns for cricket and a deep green fishing creek out front. On summer nights we’d sit in the steaming yellow lounge room, talking, while mullet flipped and flew and slapped the surface of the creek. Later I’d lay awake, restless and sweating, listening to mosquitoes zing, my Grandpa’s belly laughs, and distant plover calls.

 We visited my Grandpa today; his corner at the end of a beige maze. Past warm rooms with silent television screens. Grey-haired ladies under crocheted rugs. Moaning. The smell of urine and disinfectant. Grandpa’s in his nineties now. Confused. Not always sure where he is, or our names. Days befuddle him. Not today. Today he was sharp. His eyes were sparkling and alive. We spoke about the holiday house. He remembered. Gave us one of his belly laughs. A sound from younger days. Like plover calls.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Great Sentence of the Week #9

Special thanks to my mate Ron for the heads up on this beautiful piece of writing.

Across a paddock in the afternoon: eucalypts repeated here and there on the ground by folding out at right angles, compressed as ink stains or thumb prints on a blotter. Eucalyptus (Bail).