What Do Driftwood and Writers Have in Common?

The last few weeks I’ve wandered a few deserted winter beaches here in New Zealand, letting my thoughts wander where they will. As I sat in the car one rainy day, looking over the driftwood on the stony beach, my mind started thinking about the stories of the wood. Each of those pieces had their own story – their own starting point and the adventure they’d taken down the river into the harbour.

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I picked up my pen and started to write, having no idea where my thoughts would take me. I imagined how each piece of driftwood had cast it’s story into the ocean before being washed up onto the beach.

Isn’t that what we do as writers? We release the stories that lay deep within us, letting them free to find their own landing place in the world. Don’t hold of your stories too long. Cast them out for others to read before it is too late and you too become beached in your final resting place.

Make a start today, start writing your stories. There are others out here who would love to read them.

Well, I Did It!

Okay, I know my presence here is not something more than a wee speck of dust that is so easily over looked. That’s my own fault, allowing myself to become far too enthusiastic about far too many things.

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I came on here for the first time in weeks this morning and noticed my previous post here was about the Flash Fiction story I intended writing and submitting for a local competition. Well, I thought maybe I should report, with pride i might add, that I managed to write the story and get it entered it on time.

Now I’m caught up with this whole Flash Fiction genre. I’m hooked. It’s not easy writing a story in less than 300 words. It’s challenging, but I loved every minute of it.

My next challenge is even shorter, 250 words, on the topic of Sugar. Sugar? What story can be constructed with sugar as a theme in less than 250 words? I have no idea, but as I have less than a week to write the story something had better pop into my mind soon!

http://www.bubblews.com/news/3485894-when-one-door-closes-another-opens

The Story of the Rest of My Life

After many months of being undecided about what I want to do in my life and making a few decisions for the wrong reasons I’ll soon be back writing on a daily basis. Another five weeks and I can call myself a writer again. I’ll be back to writing my stories and helping you write yours.

Sometimes I guess we need to try something before we realise it’s not what we really want to do. That has certainly been the case for me over the last year. Now l want to return to writing and working on my many unfinished projects.

The story of the rest of my life is just beginning. 

After the New Zealand Earthquake

I’m having a quiet afternoon, much quieter than the one we had here in the lower part of the North Island, New Zealand yesterday. About this time yesterday we were hit by a magnitude 6.2 eathquake, that really rocked our socks off.

Not knowing what was going to happen and needing to share my shaking with someone other than my husband, I wrote about it at this link – I’m not sure if we were having an after shock or whether it was just me shaking.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2098096-breaking-news-huge-earthquake-in-new-zealand

Fortunately we weren’t close to the centre, and judging by news coming in during the day some places had even more damage than we did here. The local paper shows pictures of chimney damage to the house next door to the one I grew up in the 1950s.

Our cat Smooch wasn’t too impressed with the noisy shake, he bolted like lightning out the window once the shaking stopped.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2100363-smooch-the-cat-didn039t-like-the-earthquake

I managed to find something to laugh about after the earthquake stopped though. My cup of coffee had emptied itself, leaving me with the need to clean up before making another.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/2105146-i-do-hope-the-librarian-will-understand

Today the afternoon is quiet. I’m thankful for that. Do you have earthquakes in your part of the world?

Summer in New Zealand

I’m feeling quite excited right now. I have one more morning of teaching, well, school, and then it’s time for the long summer holidays.

The year has really flown by and I haven’t been here as much as I’d like. I’m looking forward to having more time now, writing more stories about summer past and present. Just like this one I wrote elsewhere a week or so ago about our family camping in the 1950s. I’m the wee cutie with the ribbon in my hair 🙂

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1805879-a-beach-a-tent-a-book-and-some-sandhills

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It probably seems strange for many of you, thinking about summer for Christmas. But believe me, when you don’t know any better, it’s just the way it should be.

I responded to a challenge on Bubblews the other day, trying to convince another user why Christmas in New Zealand was the best. Why don’t you check it out for yourself and see if you agree.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1795591-the-real-reason-christmas-in-new-zealand-beats-them-all

And, just in case you’re still not convinced, let me leave you with a photo of the pohutukawa, New Zealand’s Christmas tree, coming in to full boom now, just in time for Christmas.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1804730-pohutukawa-the-new-zealand-christmas-tree

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So, now I’m feeling the heat, so I’ll go and look out some of your stories about snow 🙂

What a Wonderful Weekend

I’ve been in writers paradise for the last three days, at the river mouth of a small New Zealand seaside town tucked away from all the hustle and bustle. My only company was the wonderful birds, feeding on the mudflats.

I went to write and managed to get some writing done, not all of it what I’d planned on doing. But writing is writing is writing, so if was the word count I was after, then I probably achieved it.

Sometimes we need to get away from everyday life, in order to get things done. I’ve returned feeling fresh, and ready to face the world again. Now it’s back to reality.

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Red Faced Embarrassment for a Swimmer at the Bank

Why is it we tend to remember the embarrassing moments of our lives more easily than the more rewarding times? Well, I do anyway. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve had plenty of embarrassing moments, not that I’m prepared to reveal all here.

Some of you already know I’m a swimmer, a lapsed one at the moment, but still a swimmer. I have chlorine in my veins and so does my husband.

So, when I heard a quite common line on TV the other night, ‘I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on,’ I had to laugh. Oh yes, I’ve definitely heard that line before.

It was when I was in my thirties. My husband was manager of the local outdoor swimming pool and worked seven days a week during the summer, so I spent many of my waking summer hours there. My usual attire was either my swim suit of course, or shorts, top and bare feet. That was how people knew me and how I knew many of the people in my life.

So when a well dressed young man spoke to me in the bank queue one day, at first I didn’t recognise him. Then he smiled and the penny dropped.

‘Oh, I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on,’ I blurted out.

I can smile now, but at the time I blushed more red than any sunburn I’d ever experienced.

Isn’t is funny how a simple throw-away line on TV can bring forth old memories in a rush. It certainly did for me and now my mind is racing with other stories that may one day get told.

We all have so many stories to tell. How about you?

Do you find some things just unhatch the lid on your mind, like opening Pandora’s box, letting out more than you keep up with?

Remembering my Old School friend Shirley

Life seemed much more simple back in the 1950s. At school everyone seemed the same, regardless of their ethnic origin, home circumstances or anything else that may label someone as being different. We were all just kids, learning and playing together. Life was good.

When I was about eight I had a friend called Shirley, a Chinese girl, who lived on the edge of town in a market garden. Whenever I went to play with Shirley we’d sneak along the other side of the hedge, so the old wrinkled Chinese man sitting on the front verandah of the house smoking, her grandfather, didn’t see us. I don’t think he liked kids much.

Shirley and her family moved to another town the following year and a brand new tavern was built on the site of the garden. I often think of Shirley whenever driving past the tavern, now well within the city boundaries.  The sight that met my eyes the other day came as a surprise. The now old tavern, closed a few years ago, had been knocked down, demolished, reduced to nothing but memories.

Quite by coincidence, this coincided with a short visit to Wellington, where I’d listened to some exquisite Chinese street music played on an erhu, a traditional Chinese two stringed fiddle.

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1295592-the-old-chinese-man-and-the-magical-fiddle

Once again I thought of Shirley and wondered where she is now. I did have contact with her brother many years ago, but they weren’t a technology minded family and so we lost contact again.

How simple life seemed back then. In today’s world I would never have been allowed to go and play at a Chinese market garden on the outskirts of town, with a family my parents didn’t know. No harm came to us back then, but we can’t be quite so trusting now.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

The Opposite of Writers’ Block, What a Problem

Writers, read on at your own discretion. You may find the following content upsetting, infuriating and totally insensitive. You may feel like throwing bricks at me across the world. You may become so envious you vow never to read my writing again. I’m sorry, I have a problem and I need to share it with you.

I’m experiencing the opposite of writers block. Too many ideas are rushing at me, too many projects demanding my time. Why can’t ideas pace themselves, take their turn in line, rather than fighting for my attention?

My long term book project graciously agreed to go on hold for a week or two as I experiment with a short story competition entry, for which the deadline looms. I’m like the turtle getting closer to the finish line, word by word.

A 2000 word essay for my online writing course needed a possible topic to emerge. Of course, now I’m swamped with ideas, taunting, calling to be written now. So much for the competition entry, I now have two projects on hold and an essay I want to write.

Next writing challenge, another deadline, a picture book workshop I’m attending next weekend. I do have stories to take, but …… they were written some time ago and my writing has changed. Which of the three possibilities shall I work on?

With all these ideas calling out to be written, you may wonder what my problem is? Let me tell you, time and my lack of ability to focus on one thing at a time. I want to write them all – now! This is quite bewildering. What happened to my old friend, writers block, allowing me time to write but with any possible ideas hiding under a rock.

I know, you’ll tell me I need to be strong, get focused, choose one idea and run with it. I’m exposing myself as a scatterbrain without self-discipline. You’re right. I need to set priorities. The first priority is the short story competition. I hope the other ideas don’t mind and will wait patiently for me.

1950s Memories of The Esplanade, Palmerston North, NZ

Place names didn’t mean much to me as a child. The Esplanade was a park we went to on family outings at the weekend. We usually walked there from our home a few blocks away.

In recent times I’ve wondered about it’s name, Victoria Esplanade, to discover it was planned to commemorate the 60th jubilee of Queen Victoria in the late 1900s. Something still didn’t seem right. In my mind an esplanade is something you walk along beside the sea. We’re an inland city, no sea in sight, but we do sit beside a river and, yes, the Esplanade gardens and walkway are situated beside the river.

The Esplanade has changed a lot since my childhood, but is still rather a special place in the city. My first memories are of the paddling pool. One warm summer Sunday my mother wheeled my new baby sister in her cane pram, while I pedalled along beside her on my new red trike delivered by Father Christmas. I still remember the delight of being able to splash to my heart’s content for what seemed like all afternoon as my mother sat and watched, chatting to the other mums.

Sometimes we went to listen to the local brass band playing in the rather grand bandstand, an impressive occasion to me as a child. Once the band had finished we were allowed to play in the bandstand, running around and around until we became quite dizzy.

A few years later, while attending the nearby school, our teacher took us to the Esplanade to study the native birds, listening to their bird song and hopefully snatching fleeting glances of the birds in the trees, those brave enough or curious enough to wonder about the mass of children on the path below.

Not long after that much of the luxurious bush was cut and cleared, but a small patch still remains, making the walk along the river path a pleasant one.

Now, more than 115 years later, we can be thankful for the foresight of the early city fathers who, having arrived from England and finding themselves in a landlocked community, may have missed walking along the esplanades of their seaside towns. By creating and naming this riverside space The Esplanade they could recreate some of the memories of home.

 The Esplanade remains a popular place for outings with both young and old.