Category Archives: writing

Merry Christmas

This Saturday morning I’ll be out of bed bright and early to load Vincent up with a few basic travel essentials (toothbrush, soap, warm clothing, light clothing, pillow, doona, towels, sunscreen, insect repellant, poetry, fiction, philosophy, dictionary, journal, guitar, camera, loads of water, tinned fish, muesli bars, and that should about do it) and strike out for the Nullarbor. It’s an exciting prospect. The furthest west I have driven from Sydney was a little north of Adelaide–Port Parham Camping Reserve on the water’s edge of St Vincent Gulf–and that was via the coasts of Victoria and South Australia. Four months I spent on that particular trip back in 2011. This time I have just 3 weeks up my sleeve, so getting to the Nullarbor will require a more direct route. There’s 2000 km to cover just to get to the starting point at Ceduna SA, and another 1200 km across the iconic treeless stretch to the finish line at Norseman WA.

To be honest, I will probably turn back long before I reach Norseman. I like to take my time and explore the towns and back roads as I go; settle down somewhere comfy about 3 or 4 in the arvo and soak up the atmosphere, watch the local wildlife go by, read by the car roof light until I snooze off. I might be better off turning north at Port Augusta for the Flinders Ranges, or south through Port Lincoln and back up through Elliston to Ceduna. That seems more relaxed and sensible at the moment, but we’ll see how it goes.

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented throughout the year, and for all of the wonderful works of your own that I’ve enjoyed so much. Wishing you all a safe, pleasant Christmas, and a productive, inspiring new year. See you there!

How to make a room spin and all the heads inside it turn to face one point

Shop Assistant to Little Boy: Do you want a lolly? Have a lolly.
Father to shop assistant: No.
SA to LB: Don’t you want a lolly? Go on. Take one.
Father to SA: No. No lollies.
SA to LB: Do you want a chocolate then? Have a chocolate.
Father to SA: No.
SA to Father: Awww… but why?
Father to SA: Ummm… because I said so.
SA to LB (pouting sadly): Ohhhhhhh… becawwws your Dad “Said So”.



30 words

Sophie’s long-time mentor looked on with bewilderment as she stepped over the edge of time with trepidation on her face.

“Maybe the next one will do it properly”, he muttered.

Serious poem

Wrote a self-fulfilling poem about a serious poem competing with sprinkles from on high of teensy snow white flower petals for its author’s undivided attention realising with dismay that it would never see the light of day, but being unable to stifle a childish chuckle at the one that looked like a pair of butt cheeks.

The Courtyard Regular

There he is again, like he has been every day of every weekend for the last three weeks, seated alone at the table opposite; the table that’s always free when he’s here; the table I seated myself at today, like I’ve done every day of every weekend for the last three weeks I’ve been coming here.

The coffee is sharp, the courtyard is sheltered but breezy and sunlit, and nobody frowns when you light up a smoke. It takes forty minutes to drive here from home, but the hours of peace I enjoy are worth every horn toot and litre of petrol per mile, and the buzz of conversation from the tables all around me serves nicely as a salve for being otherwise alone. It’s actually quite pleasant to be with all these people and not have to speak with a one of them.

Back to the gentleman opposite me. He’s wearing a very fine suit: ironed black dress shirt, ironed black jacket, ironed black trousers, and polished black shoes. In short, he is perfectly dressed for a funeral; not even a mother could fault this man’s dress sense, although one might say, “Why don’t you wear something different today?” For these are the same clothes he wears every day.

“Excuse me!” I apologise silently, by way of a quick dart into the book I have open before me, then, casually raising my eyes from the page, proceed to gaze above his head, and assert my best quizzical look at the blue sky, as if to say, “I was so deep in thought, I hadn’t actually noticed you there.”

I can see though, he isn’t convinced; the furrowed eyebrows, and the intimidating glare that moments ago were fixed upon some inner recess of his mind, are now fixed directly on me. Whoever it was that he was muttering sternly at has gone silent. Whatever it was they were arguing over no longer appears to concern him.

He stands and moves off. The courtyard is empty. I catch my lips moving, but fail to understand what I am saying.

On Kangaroo Numbers

By my Google, there are 1,840,000,000 cat results; as a result, because I’m always looking out for the little person, there are not, at a comparatively paltry 48,700,000, nearly enough kangaroo results. I don’t have anything against cats, of course; in fact, I adore cats at least no less than a couple of cat lovers love cats. It’s just that I have a collection of kangaroo photos that I’ve been, for the most part, avoiding uploading in deference to an inbuilt bromide aversion that, curiously, must have developed: from reading the guides of original thinking essentials, to corresponding with like-minded influences.

Nevertheless, now that I’ve written myself into feeling it wouldn’t be so bad if everyone loaded a kangaroo up until kangaroo numbers grew to be comparable with those of cat numbers, I won’t be one of them. No. Not tonight.

Unspent ammo

I didn’t read what was written on the box when first I saw it; the colour was all that had caught my attention. Can’t say I know why, but the first thing I did was give it a nudge with the toe of my right boot. I was feeling a little bit blue and lethargic, so maybe that’s all there was to it. I took another bite from my sausage roll at any rate, leaned back against the side of my car, and gazed half-heartedly over the trees in the valley. From here I can see the river I ran away from home to when I was 15 and camped beside for 12 days before calling home and bribing Mum to not make me go back to school if she wanted to see me again. My stepdad and Mum drove up from Sydney to collect me that evening. To think… just next week I’ll turn 46, I thought to myself, and found my eyes down in the grass at my feet and lazily scanning that box again.

T22 Cartridges, I read to myself. Nothing remarkable dawned on me. Not like any printer cartridge I’ve seen before, but meh. Screwed up my sausage roll paper bag, sipped the last from my coffee, stepped forward to pick up the box to put in the bin with my rubbish. Within the few seconds between reaching down, reading Winchester, and seeing the glint of the brass, I was fully upright and taking a cautious step back.

Seems a bit silly now, really. When I was 14 I used to buy firecrackers from the milk bar, take them deep into the storm water drain near Panania tip, and explode them. Now here I was, rushing adrenaline, concerned that this box of unspent ammo might explode in my hand and take 50 holes out of me.

By the time I was climbing the steps up to the local police station door, hiding the bullets from view with my left hand tucked deep in my jacket pocket, I was fighting the urge to turn back to my car and keep them.

Unspent ammo