Life is Lumpy

A writing routine is a beneficial thing. It gets you in a habit. It facilitates the finishing off of stuff. It makes you feel good, in control, on top of your world.

Life likes to erode routines slowly and surely. This entropic reality can be averted with some good old fashioned discipline. Say, No, and get back to your writing routine.

But then sometimes, life smashes routines beyond recognition. The death of a good friend will do it. The death of two good friends in two horrible weeks will do it. Life doesn’t space out deaths evenly so that those of us left living can carry on with routines. Life is lumpy.

three sisters_FotoSketcher

Crossing a road is a lumpy business. Cars come in bunches. Sometimes the bunches are close together with the gaps uncrossable. Then, with no rhyme or reason the bunches stop coming and a huge gap appears. You can cross that road now without any worry, a snail could cross that road now. Be patient. Life is lumpy, life comes in bunches.

The appearance of treasure at the op-shop is lumpy. Some people, supposedly in the know, say the good stuff goes out on Thursday. Are these op-shop experts in cahoots and giving us the bum steer? Thursdays are no better than any other day. Treasure appears randomly and is largely dependent on one’s mood at the time. Look at your last op-shop purchase. Does it shine like it did when you laughed inside and handed over that three dollars thinking what a bargain, and, who would throw this out? Treasure is a state of mind. States of mind are fickle and absolutely unable to be forced into Thursdays.

Routines themselves don’t facilitate creative spurts where the words flow and time stops and you feel like a medium channelling universal truths. Life is random, the spurts come in lumps, often in bunches of lumps. Routines simply get you: on your bum, at the desk, with fingers match fit, at the right time of day or night, ready to channel those random exhilarating spurts of writing magic. That’s all.

Some of life’s lumps are bigger than our ability to stick to routines. Don’t punish yourself for getting washed up on the rocks by the rogue waves of life. These destructive disruptions, beyond our control, are the stuff of life, without them we would have nothing to write about anyway.

Be thankful for the lumps.

And make the best of the gaps in between.


My Friend, the Essay

Copy of email received yesterday:

Dear Writers,
I am happy to inform you, your entry into the Fellowship of Australian Writers Qld Literary competition, short story section, has been awarded a Highly Commended.
The Committee would like to congratulate you on this win.
In the new year we will be publishing all winning entries, highly commended and commended in our magazine Scope. Could you please email me a copy of your story so I can file it for the new year.
Erica Woolgar        In Another’s Trouble
Jim Brigginshaw     The White Horse
Anne Andrews        Cat Destiny
Ruth Morgan          A Dangerous Night
Barbara Gurney      Honest People
Jonathan Furneaux Second Father
Sean Crawley         My Friend, The Essay
Kim Horwood         Flossy’s Fisherman
Once again, congratulations. You will receive your certificate within the next fortnight.
Kind regards
Virginia Miranda
FAWQ Secretary
Needless to say, happy about that.
I have just put this short story HERE



We are strong, yet fragile.

We can go for decades, overcoming obstacles and attacks from unpredictable quarters. We wake each morning with a will to live in our gut, and an idea in our head; all the while somewhat confident that we can succeed.

Yet, in an instant we can be felled by a random comment, or a tone in a voice, or a look in someone’s eye.

That is who we are. Strong boned, soft skinned. Resilient and vulnerable at the same time.

We, Homo sapiens.

Lots of puddles to jump.

The rain is falling.
I open my email inbox.
A delight to find this:
Thank you for your entry/entries in Literary Nillumbik’s Alan Marshall Short Story Award 2018.
We are delighted to advise that your story has been shortlisted and is currently with judge, Maxine Beneba Clarke, for her final recommendations.
This happy news will be made public today via our e-news later this afternoon and on our Facebook page.
To access our Facebook page from this link:

Feel free to like and share your achievement on social media.
#nillumbikarts #literarynillumbik2018
The winners will be announced at the Literary Nillumbik Celebration to be held on Saturday, 1 September from 2pm at Eltham Library.
An invitation to this event with further details will follow in the coming month.

There’s a kind of solstice, all over the world, today …

rainbow bilgola 3_FotoSketcher

For my followers in the northern hemisphere, happy summer solstice. For those of you south of the equator, happy winter solstice and a joke you can tell only today:

I went to a fortune teller today. She said, “I see things have been a bit miserable lately, the world cold and grey, darkness growing. But do not fear, for the next six months more and more light will fill your days.”

I know, a pretty lame dad joke, eh? If you want more, check out my short story Dad Jokes.

PS: Do people on the equator celebrate the solstices?