About Sean Crawley

I write short stories, songs, non-fiction and the odd angry letter. Writing happens early in the morning at my desk which is currently located somewhere on the easy coast of Australia.

Joshy Boy’s New Clothes

Three days ago there was a Treasurer so exceedingly fond of a surplus that he backed his whole career on a shiny new budget. He cared nothing about the impending climate catastrophe, the unemployed, or the expensive and empty detention centre on the tropical island named after the holy one’s day of birth. He only cared about the optics of a surplus. He had a graph for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other person in charge of the budget, “The Treasurer’s consulting with the poor and needy,” here in the land of continuous economic growth they say, “Joshy’s in the fitting room with Scotty, the boss.”

In the capital where he counted all the money, life was an allowance fuelled rort. Every day hungry corporate overlords came to Canberra, and among them one day came two swindlers, one from the IPA, the other from the Minerals Council. They let it be known they could fashion a budget from the most magnificent lies imaginable. Not only were their lies made from the finest white patriarchal fibre, but a budget woven of this mendacious fabric had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was deemed unfit for financial assistance. These leaners would be far too uncouth and undeserving to appreciate the wonders of an invisible budget, the swindlers boasted.

You know the rest of the story.

Bring on the election Scomo. We see right through you and your naked neo-liberal chummy boys.

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The Problem with Writing Advice

Sometimes, I fantasise about becoming a world famous author and being interviewed on television, or radio, or, more likely these days, on a podcast! Woopty-do, eh? Of course, in the interview I would be asked if I had any advice for writers. It would be a great opportunity to debunk the stock standard rules for writing such as:

write everyday,

read everything,

show don’t tell,

and,

write what you know.

I would especially like to rapaciously ravage and eternally eradicate the slavish scorn for adverbs. I have no issues with abundant alliteration.

How smug I could be – arrogantly suggesting there are no rules for writing fiction. So, I thought about it a bit. What advice would I give?

Here’s one shot at it:

  1. Have fun – you’re alone, you’re free to write whatever you like, why suffer?

  2. Be bold – it’s not called creative writing for a joke.

  3. Be prolific – most of your stories will be crap, a few will be gems, do the maths.

Now, here’s the problem. Since formulating these rules, they have become a mantra that swims around in my early morning writing head.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Om.

Consequently, writing has become a gloomy chore, my sentences are pastel, and the output is drier than the mouth of the Murray.

I ditch my three rules.

Advice to self:

Don’t fantasise about becoming famous and being interviewed and thinking that you have anything wise to say to anyone about writing – just write.


Here is a picture of my bedside table. These books have to be returned to the library tomorrow – proof you can’t read everything!

Bedside table

My Random Short Story Generator

Aldi have been discounting their leftover Christmas stock, have you noticed? It’s almost impossible now to walk past all those unusual treats that you wanted to buy last December but didn’t because your trolley was already full of stock standard Yuletide fare. I’ve been caught by the Specially Selected Marzipan Rounds. It’s been hard work but I have now purchased and eaten all three varieties on offer; plum, orange and cherry.

marzipan rounds

On special at Aldi.

At night, while struggling to stay awake for season eight-episode seventy seven, I conjure up a second wind by asking Linda if she’d like a glass of milk and some chocolate. She invariably declines, and I trot out to the kitchen to treat myself with the impunity that comes from offering to share and the fact that these marzipan rounds are cheap as chips. Please note: I have already eaten chips before dinner with a beer.

You may be wondering if I am as big as the side of a bus?

Answer: not yet.

Anyway, the point of this small rant is that I used the box from my last pack of night time choccy treats to create a Random Short Story Generator. 

How does it work?

I have a file in my computer called “Story Ideas.doc”. In the main, it’s a list of story titles that I have compiled over several years. [I must acknowledge Ray Bradbury, as he wrote about something like this in his book, “Zen in the Art of Writing”.] I trimmed the list down a bit, printed it out and cut out each title. These were then folded up and placed inside the box.

When I get up in the morning, I lucky dip a title, and off I go.

rssg.jpg

The Random Short Story Generator ready for action on my desk.

Just a few of the titles available for selection:

Op Shopping Across the Universe

I Think It’s Bush Week

Onions Frying at Sunset

Little Lunch at Oxymoron High

Junkies Love Dolphins and Red Indians

Meet Me at the Charcoal Chicken Shop

Two Goon Bay

Milton Rowe

Dog Martin

True Fiction – the Podcast

Do Not Reply to This Text

What a Good Year for the Nectarines

Grandma Rhetorical

Look at Those Idiots

Wonder what I’ll pick tomorrow?

Saturday, 26th January, 2019 (4.43am)

It’s Australia Day, Woopty Doo!

I don’t think I have one iota of patriotism or national pride. On a collective level, I am pretty much disgusted with the ignorance, fear and conservatism displayed by the members of this down under society. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fantastic people in this country, enough to keep me from getting too angry or depressed. But what the fuck!

Primarily, look at who we voted into federal parliament recently, not once but twice – the Liberal National Party for fuck’s sake. The second time we voted them in, after Tony Abbott was deposed, was the most disappointing. One common observation at the time was how Australia has a tradition of not voting the incumbent government out after only one term. Oh dear!

There are calls to change the date of Australia Day. The first peoples of this country call Australia Day, Invasion Day. And so it bloody well is. Today should be a day of mourning. England invaded and illegally and immorally took possession. We can’t change that, but what a poor date to celebrate our so called great nation.

But what is worse than the 26th of January being the date for the celebration, is the total lack of will by the government, and a significant number of the electorate, to do anything at all for the first peoples of this country. After over 200 years of persecution and neglect we still do not have a treaty, and it doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. I don’t have pride in this nation, I have shame.

The recent attempt by the first peoples to connect and reconcile with the nation the invaders named Australia, as outlined in the Uluru Statement of the Heart, was summarily dismissed by the then PM, Malcolm Turnbull. His reason: it has no chance of gaining a yes vote in a referendum. That is so gutless and pathetic, but sadly possibly correct, that I want to cry.

Markets

A monk in saffron robes wanders the Sunday market. He has a shaven head and carries a small dilly bag. He is looking over some trinkets on a trestle table.

People look at him and wonder what on earth a monk is doing in a place like this.

The monk finds what he is looking for.

Nothing.

Sunday 6th January 2019 [5.38am]

 

My computer gets slower and slower as times goes on. A bit like me actually.

I thought about closing down and rebooting, sometimes that works I think, but I fart arsed around a bit and closed some stuff and now it seems OK. I’m never sure what is going on and to find out can take an hour or so on Google and in discussion forums.

It’s a bit like motor cars, they get more and more complicated and nowadays you haven’t got a chance in hell of being able to fix them with a set of basic tools. One day some smart business person is going to make a bomb by selling no-frills cars and computers. You know real basic models with all the essentials and none of the fancy-schmancy bells and whistles.

While I was fart arsing around this morning, I thought about my blog and wondered could it do with a new look? My current wordpress theme is 2011. So I applied 2019, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Nup, sorry, I’ll stick with 2011. “Out-of-date” one might comment. I don’t care, it works for me.

At the moment I am trying to get back into a regular writing habit. It is a new year and, though I am not a big fan of reflections of the year that was, I must admit that 2018 was a year where my output of stories waned somewhat. Of course, I have a decent list of excuses/reasons for this, but I am not going to defend myself. It’s OK, in fact it is a characteristic of nature that stuff comes and goes, waxes and wanes, peaks and troughs. It don’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is that I get joy from writing and that it doesn’t become a burden, ie, an arduous, joyless discipline.

I’ve never been one to set goals and strive with all my might to ‘get ahead’. The term ‘get ahead’ irks me terribly. It epitomises so much of what is wrong in this current climate where laissez-faire capitalism appears to permeate every fibre of our society. Competition has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. And if I think about some of the things that our children experience in school and on the sporting fields and dance studios after school, I get sad and angry.

I have said this once and I will say it again and again: Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest applies in many situations, but it does not apply between individuals within a social species such as Homo sapiens. Social species survive as a result of co-operation not competition.

long jetty_fotosketcher

It’s not a race.

Getting back to blogs, in the main I find them a good way for us to share and co-operate. Let me give you an example. Somehow a while back, I stumbled upon the blog of author Libby Sommer. In one post, Libby mentioned that her collection of short stories will be published by Ginninderra Press, a small Australian independent publishing house. Most publishers do not accept short story collections, apparently they don’t sell well – and of course it is all about sales if you want to get ahead. Libby spoke highly of this publisher, so I had a shot. I collated 49 of my stories into a collection that I titled Dead People Don’t Make Jam. I printed it off at Officeworks. I sent it by Australia Post. I got an email back. My book will be published. How good is that!

It takes a while for this all to happen, it might be out by Christmas 2019. It don’t matter to me, it is the validation that counts. So thanks Libby for the inspiration and thanks Ginninderra Press for publishing my book.

And thank you my blog for helping me back into a regular writing habit.