Category Archives: Creative Writing

After the storm

after the storm_

A brief but frightful electrical storm visited my part of Sydney this evening tossing forks of lightning over the backyard and rattling the heavens. I watched and jumped out of my skin and shouted an involuntary obscenity as one lightning bolt seared my eyes and struck something on the next street over. The tenants in the newly installed granny flat that is now occupying part of the backyard that used to be mine raced out onto their verandah and peered over the fence toward the abovementioned next street over and peered along the fence line as though they half expected to find something smouldering there. Moments later the power went out, then more moments later switched back on to emergency supply. I guess that’s what it was as the lights were a bit dimmer and flickering annoyingly like fluoro tubes do when the starter is on the way out.

Rain bucketed down. My digital washing machine couldn’t decide whether it was off or on and began chirping excitedly with the power fluctuations. The switching relay in my network router joined in the action and clicked along to the tune.

The rain slowly subsided along with the thunder and lightning. All fell quiet. The power went out for a moment then returned. The washing machine brightly chirped one last time and the lights were no longer flickering.

I dried off the seat at my writing desk and settled back in to my evening routine. Peered over my shoulder and spotted the most glorious sunset bleeding across the backyard. It happened so fast. I managed to take just a couple of snapshots before the light changed and the glory fell out of the sunset. And all of the richness of colour in my part of Sydney–my backyard– washed out.


Budgewoi Circle with Tom McClellan

Budgewoi Circle with Tom McClellan

Shield bugs

This one’s of two shield bugs at a picnic table on what’s now called Budgewoi Circle after they’ve dropped from a kumquat tree. I’m holding a pelican and two dozen seagulls at bay from my tray of flathead fillets while these two come after my lemon wedges.

A boy about my age came out of the tackle and bait shop a minute ago, parked his BMX bike in front of my car, and looks like he’s getting his fishing gear ready to fish in my bream fishing spot. The only thing that seems to have changed in the 30+ years since I last fished here is that we used to call this the cul-de-sac, and the bakery’s new on the Circle because there’s a sign before you drive over the bridge that says so.

The bug on the right is in the lemon juice now, and almost on top of one of my lemon seeds. The bug on the left reminds me of Homer Simpson, which in turn reminds me of a quote in a letter from Tom McClellan’s Reflections from Mirror City addressed to ‘alla y’all readers of the Texas Observer’ in which Tom writes “She has a jewel in her navel” in response to a quote from The Pope (or was it a quote from the woman standing on her seat three tables away?).

I like to think Tom would find the connection I’m searching for if he doesn’t already see it because he writes later, to a different dear reader, “If you hear it in isolation, does it make it’s own context?”

Yes, I would’ve said it does. But not, as it turned out, as simply to express in words as I would’ve expected.

After lunch I tried to find the house on the corner where I used to spend school holidays with my Aunt and Uncle, but there wasn’t a corner anywhere that looked like or had any street name like I remembered it, so I gave up and drove to the footbridge where my jumping and mullet fishing spots used to be.

Budgewoi footbridge

“I stared into the priest’s strained face with philosophic eye and heard the opening lines of his sermonThere are no words. But here I am, talking…” (Tom McClellan: Dear Aunt Mary,)

Thank you, Tom. I am an avid reader of your book and strongly recommend it to my readers. I think if you hear it in isolation, it’s an invitation to put it in context.


Bordertown, Mandelbrot

Bordertown, Mandelbrot

Heads up to one Geoffrey D. Birky for authoring the excellent developmental and procedural tips that I followed to spawn this, my latest artistic endeavour on the Excel platform. I cut the head for the pilot from a blog comment in my feed reader, pasted it into paint, and drew the arms on. Something that struck me during the process that hadn’t sunk in before: no point on the boundary of the Mandelbrot set ever belongs to the Mandelbrot set, which echoes a point made earlier.