Mustafa who knew me well was a refugee too: he from Syria, me from the realm of common sense.
How would you like it cut? he asked.
Like yours, I said.
He didn’t chuckle. He didn’t comment on the outrageousness of my request.
Apart from the difference in hair color, there was also the disparity in volume though he admitted, even at 27, he was losing his hair.
He cut, he swooped, he shaved, he teased and cajoled but when finished he wrought a little miracle.
How did it look? Shaved at the sides , but on top what hair I had was swept to the other side of my head and held down by gel. It looked amazing.
Askew, I said, It looks amazingly askew.
Like your writing, he said.
Yes, like my writing.
If you go looking for me sometime after dark
I’m out with my flashlight, hunting for a snark,
a perfect metaphor for an imperfect poem
so I can bag it briskly and bring it home,
a perfect metaphor, so rare and so apt
that captures the mood, the Magnificat
of the vision splendid I hope to impart,
the perfect, perfect metaphor somewhere in the dark.
I like to travel in ambulances.
They seem such warm, friendly places
especially the Aussie ones shown on our screens:
‘Paramedics’ and ‘In the Ambulance’.
The ambos are calm, confident and chatty,
the ride authoritative but reassuring;
you feel you’ve landed on your feet
even if you are on your back;
There’s never any drama with these ambulances:
You scoot along niftily, the traffic parting
like the Red Sea for Moses; you’re delivered
efficiently as a package from Australia Post.
* I've never travelled in an ambulance; have you? * have you an ambulance story ?
*pic courtesy of Wikipedia
I like to read the crazed calligraphy of car tyres
on roads, the angry black swathes of rubber
on bitumen from burn-outs and donuts. What are we
to make of such marks, the road their canvas?
Do we elevate it to ‘outsider art’; Do we call them,
‘hoons’ or ‘street artists’? Do they love the smell
of burnt rubber in the morning as they furiously apply
the high octane brush of machismo? Do they,
I wonder, gloat over their works in the days & weeks
that follow, as if they were pictures hanging on a wall ?
- pic courtesy of pixabay by Jan-Mollander
“What’s the worst thing?” I was asked in my zoom workshop.
“The worst thing? What a writer can do? Let’s see.” I said. “The worst thing is being staid”.
I had to spell the word to make sure they got the right meaning.
“You know what ‘staid’ is?” I asked.
:Yes,” Tamara answered. “Unadventurous. Dull.”
“Correct. And you know where the word ‘staid’ comes from?”
There was silence.
“It’s the adjectival use for the past tense of ‘stay’ which is ‘stayed’ so the worst sin of a writer is being rigid, unadventurous, unchanging, unwilling to take risks, staying the same.”
I let that sink in.
“Living things evolve,” I said. “Let your writing evolve. Take risks. Don’t worry if some don’t take off. Others will hit their mark. But you don’t know if you don’t try.”
We took a short break … and we all came back a little different.
- do you agree? what do think the worst sin a writer can commit?
Don’t throw away your old stuff.
You will never have enough
new material to work with;
writing can be tough.
Put away your frail and flaccid.
put it in a book.
And in an idle moment, open it,
lighten up, have a look.
Give it iron, backbone,
a new voice, beat
find it a new form.
Let the old be reborn.
Everything will have its place.
Everything its time
the giddy, garrulous, the gruff.
Don’t throw away your old stuff..
This is Max.
The birthday boy.
He was 10 years old the other day.
Say happy birthday to Max.
He’s my grand-daughter’s dog.
A lovely, well behaved Labrador.
But recently Max did a Houdini.
Somehow he got out and went for a wander.
When my grand-daughter got home she looked everywhere and began to get anxious. Max has ID on his collar but their house abuts an 80 k zone.
Then a woman phoned.
Your dog is in my backyard, she said. He’s fine.
When she picked Max up he had a great big grin on his face.
What you been up to, Max? she asked.
But Max kept mum.
It must have been good because Max slept very soundly that night and that great big grin was still on his face.
Stephen King wrote a lot.
If God were as busy as Stephen King
He would not have rested on that seventh day.
Stephen King wrote as many books almost
as God put up stars
but not all of them were good.
None of them were duds
but only a few shine — you know them:
‘The Shining’, for instance, ‘Misery’,
the first third of ‘It’, the novella ‘Stand by Me’.
Maybe that’s all we can hope for —-
in a long and busy life only a few of our works
*have I left any good ones out?
*what’s your favourite King book?
*which have you read over and over?