Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Your Essence

Prompt: Where your character is committed to a drastic or extreme change.

This story has been removed to be polished and redrafted to submit to competitions.  Wish me luck!


Authors Note: This really is a very rough first draft of a story I want to flesh even more out on. I played with a few ideas of having the 'thing' about herself that she dind't like or felt made her less attractive and less able to have a relationship or a career - be a disability, make her some sort of alien, have a large birthmark or sorts.
Discrimination is discrimination - however we DO live with it every day - in no way is that saying that they are correct or aught be left well alone. However there are a number of discriminatory remarks or social interaction which occur within our own worksplaces that will stoop to for cheap laughs at the expense of a sensitive being.

What did you pick up as the 'thing' that held Ella back from being the best...actress, mother, lover, salesperson etc etc....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Virtual Invasion

Prompt: Your story involves an invasion of privacy.

This story has been removed for further editing and refining.. Its been submitted to a competition and perhaps will appear in an Anthology...

thanks for popping by when it WAS up.. and leaving your comments..

wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Le Malade Imaginaire

#29 Review a Piece of Theatre

A Writing Prompt from
Review This!
encouraging a wider variety of writing techniques.

Molieres Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac) opened at The Gardens Theatre for a short season to showcase the skills of the second year actors in the Acting Program at Queensland University of Technology.

The play focuses on Argan, an extremely well to do gentleman, but a miser, who imagines himself sick when he perfectly well. He seeks the newest and most outrageous (and expensive) medical assistance and adheres to everything each of his doctors dish out. Obviously his money hungry doctors milk his hypochondria for all it is worth, which ultimately leads eventually to their demise. Although first performed in the 16th century , the themes displayed carry over well into the 21st century.

Argan demands that his daughter Angelique marrys a doctor so he can get free medical care. Sadly for both of them she is secretly in love with another, but does not dare tell her father of her beaus existence. Angelique and Argans second younger wife do not get along, which causes grief to Argan.

However with the assistance of Argan's nurse and maid Toinette, his brother Beralde attempts to cure Argan of his fixation on doctors and of their outrageous cures. They convince him to play dead, in order to find out who is really loyal to him. As with this style of theatre, it turns out that the wife is only after his money, whereas Angelique really loves him. Argan is so delighted that he allows Angelique to marry whom she choses.

Billie Brown directed this adaptation of the French Comedia Del Arte Strictly speaking however, true Comedia was never scripted. The first act completely missed the point of the style in which it was meant to be performed. The actors were uncomfortable with the style, the direction and the interpretation they had been given. Most of them were extremely clunky, attempting to adapt their more comfortable naturalized presentation of the highly stylized dialogue and repartee famed in Molieres work.

The second act was rescued by what appeared to have been a much more thoroughly workshopped set of scenes.

Toinette was delightful with her bright red lipstick and very revealing nurses outfit. Her skill alone kept the dialogue and energy running as others floundered uncomfortably around her.

The masked doctors scene further revealed that they understood little of the style they were portraying; it coming across as puppet like and two dimensional.

Another week of workshopping of scenes and exploration into the nature of improvised comedia del arte would have not gone astray for this production. In saying this, there were plenty of nice touches with intricate scene changes, the integration of up to date jokes and the minimalistic props.

With a two week season, there is limited seating. Tickets start at $10. For more information and session times check The Gardens Theatre Wesbite.

3 stars for this

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Prompt: Include this line in your story – “Your character closed his/her eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped”

This story will appear next week as part 3 of "The Fishing Trip" in our ongoing online adventure series of The Astonishing Adventures of Captain Juan - co-written with Paul Anderson and Jodi Cleghorn. Check it out if you want some background on the scene played out below.

Bruno sat sullenly in the tiny boat, gripping one of the oars and threatened to crush it with the force of his resentment. Matthews sweat soaked shirt stuck to his back as he balanced inside the sway of the vassal and extended his hand up towards Ruby as she clambered down the slimy rope ladder. Her hand shook as she took his and gave a grim smile, her eyes flicking between the hostile glares of the other two crew members.

Bruno and Pietro began pulling long strokes with their huge shoulders as soon as the pair settled into place. Ruby had opted to hitch her skirt high and leave her shoes behind and sat uncertainly in the middle of the boat as the water sloshed about her.

“Pat the fish won’t you Bruno!”
“Make sure you name one after me!”
“Give one a kiss Pietro!”
The mocking cries of their shipmates followed them as they sped toward the small rocky outcrop; the only indication there was a coral reef lurking below.

Brunos dark face imploded with further anger as the jeers reached his ears. He expended his emotions on getting the small boat away from the ship as fast as he could; wishing with every stroke he was aboard lighting the fuses to the home-made bombs Calisto had spent all night preparing.

The teasing shouts soon turned to delighted whoops as the first one exploded. Peitro and Bruno exchanged a wistful look as they imagined the others collecting the floating fish and preparing them for drying and salting on deck.

Bruno grunted. “Saves us having fish guts in our fingernails.”
“Might have been an improvement on your smell”
Bruno put the oar down and launched a misaimed kick at Pietro, his mood darkening again.
“If you don’t mind, I am sure the Captain wants us back in one piece.”
Mathew glared at both rowers. Ruby clutched the sides of the boat as it rocked and fearfully looked at the water lapping about the edges.
“Not much further now signora.” Matthew patted her tense hand.

Although not perfectly flat, the tiny ripples on the surface only intensified the beauty of the wonders which began to rise up underneath them.

“Let us float about here, but not too close to the rocks over there Bruno.”

Bruno grunted again and kept the oar dipped in the water, waving it slightly to shuffle them about.

Matthew brushed his hand down Rubys arm and attempted to free the fingers still gripped to the side of the boat. “Lean over and watch the fish. You promised the Captain you’d write about it.”

Rubys ashen face peered hesitantly over the side, the sheen of fear begotten sweat beading with that of the heat.

She marveled at the spiky coral, waving tendrils of seaweeds, fish peeping in and out and began to relax with the rhythmic bobbing of the boat.

“Its beautiful. I would never have imagined.”

“You can swim can’t you Signora?”

“In streams and small ponds, but never anywhere as vast as this. I fear I will be swallowed up.”

“Never a truer word spoken Singora."Bruno nodded, "Tis Godless to be swimming. We were never meant to.”

“In that case.” Matthew stripped off his shirt and slid into the clear waters, grinning at the shocked faces of Bruno and Pietro.

He lifted a dripping hand towards Rubys chalky face. “Come on in – you’ll see the fish and the coral much better from here.”

Ruby looked at the stormy face of Bruno and the incredulous look Peitro gave her and then down at her dress.

“Its not like I aint seen it before”. Bruno sniffed. “I’ll turn me head if you want to act all prissy. Once you’re in the water no-one can see anything anyway.” Bruno slapped Peitro and they both turned toward the ship.

Ruby looked down at Matthew; terrified and entranced.

“Jump! Come in and see the fish in their world. ….I won’t look either” as he turned about.

Ruby looked at the back of Brunos head towards the ship.

“I doubt the captain has his spy glass lookin at you if that’s what you’re thinking.” Hawking again Bruno spat as far as he could into the distance between them.

She flung her dress off , closed her eyes, took a deep breath and jumped. After the initial shock of the temperature of the water, she giggled with delight as she luxuriated with the freedom of the buoyant water about her naked body.

“Ruby, over here!” Matthew sprayed droplets of water as his arm raised out of the water gesturing wildly.

They watched a large school of fish thread their way around the coloured coral.

“Thank you Matthew, this is a truly a gift from the goddess herself.”

A deep boom reverberated inside their chests as it pulsed through the water.

“I’m glad I’m not in the water closer to the ship. Poor fish. They’ll have killed a lot with that one.”

Indiscriminate shouts rose from the ships direction.

Another boom shattered the scene.

A flurry of oars as Bruno kicked Pietro awake. “Get into the boat we have to get back to the ship, its under attack.”

Matthews tall, lean figure slid easily into the boat. Bruno plucked Ruby out of the water with one arm and set her unceremoniously into the boat. She shook with both fear and the cold as a slight wind wove lazily around her. “Attack? By what?”

Brunos face set into a grim line as he pulled the oars in quick succession.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Adam Hills..... Inflatable

#28 Review a Comedians Show

A Writing Prompt from
Review This!
encouraging a wider variety of writing techniques.

Adam Hills is best known as the compare of ABCs Musical quiz show – Spicks and Specs. However he began his career and is committed to continuing it on the stand up comedian circuit and as such has recently opened his new show Inflatable; touring internationally this year.

Inflatable takes you through an emotional journey as Adam skillfully crafts the audiences experiences through his seamless storytelling style of comedy.

Within a spilt moment of the audience laughing hysterically, he quietens them into a somber introspective moment seeking meaning within our own lives; the effect we have on others and the nature of friendship.

Adams material was fresh, enlightening and executed in a naturalistic and well pace manner.

Adam is currently in Edinburgh for the festival there – tickets are now on sale and will not last long.

For further information on Adam, or his work check his website and blog.

5 thumbs up

For the uninitiated, Adam singing the national anthem is a feature which is a must. ( and something that we as conscious Australians aught to lobby for as a permanent change)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hot Keys

Prompt: Include this line in your story – “The piano accordion player slumped forward”

Charlie scratched his overgrown chin vigorously, tiny flakes of dead skin fluttering helplessly into the air around him. His watery, red rimmed eyes scanned the dimly lit room. Couples sat listlessly at tiny cheap tables. Ill dressed, solitary figures slumped in corners or shuffled about the room aimlessly.

His view was suddenly shrouded by an imposing figure, hair slicked perfectly down into a tight bun, red straight lips and steely grey eyes devoid of humour or emotion.

“Well, what are you waiting for, your audience is waiting for you.”
“The same set as last night?” Charlie wheezed and coughed into a filthy handkerchief.
“Play a few polkas. It would be nice for people to dance.”

Charlie frowned imagining the reception he’d gain from this audience if he played even a few bars of a polka. He wiped the blood within the spittle from his mouth and inspected his handkerchief briefly. “Will I get paid extra?”
“You’ll get the same pay as you always do and you’ll be glad you are allowed to play here at all. Now get to it, everyone is getting anxious.”

Charlie grunted, wrapped a grimy red headband round his thinning locks and heaved the ornate piano accordion to his knee. He wriggled free a dirty stub of a cigar which had been wedged in between a strap and smiled. Sticking it in between his teeth, he then lit it with the fluid flick of his zippo. His teeth crushed onto the slimy end and he grinned further as he sucked the fragrant burning stub. These moments made him feel closer to Hendrix.

“No Smoking. You know the rules.”
She stiffened and drew into her full, imposing height. “You know you don’t call me that.”
The tiny twinkle that had ignited in Charlie’s eyes extinguished as he cast his eyes downward. “Yes Ma’am”
She held her hand out as he stubbed the cigar gently out. In a fluid movement she threw the butt into the waste paper basket beside the windows and then held her hand out again. “and the lighter.”
Charlies shoulders sagged. “Its my limited edition Jimmy Hendrix one. I need it for luck when I go on stage.”

Maggie snorted. “I’ll put it with the rest of your things and you can collect it when you leave.” Her stony face cracked for the slight moment of pleasure she held with that thought.

“Would you mind getting someone to close the windows, I fell a little chilly.” Charlie meekly mentioned. He knew better than to ask for the heating to be put on. Management was far too frugal to switch it on until late autumn.

Maggie ignored his request and with an efficient swish of her knee length skirt, her low heels clicked across the floor and out into her office.

Charlies eye remained down as walked out and through the open door. His head jerked up as soon as he was sure she’d left and he nodded to one of the darkened figures leaning against the wall nearest the door.

The two exit doors closed with a bang and were barred with the assistance of a few of the steel legged chairs. Leon shrilly blew into one of the whistles hanging around his neck and ran out onto the dance floor. “Come on everyone, Lets get this place jumping, Hit it Charlie!” He then ran around the room in a lap of honour and wrapped himself up in the thick dusty curtains, his exuberance pulling them from their fixings. Leon shrieked with laughter as he threw the shrouds off and unsettled the wastepaper bin.

Charlie pulled a fresh cigar from a hiding spot in his instruments carry case and retrieved a different zippo to light the end. With a grin, he pushed the wheezing accordion gills together and began playing an Irish folk tune, the keys clattering and dancing under his fingers.

A faint thumping from one of the doors intermixed with the taping of the crowds feet. Maggies shrill demands to open the door and her threats of being banned were duly ignored.

Leon grasped one of the couples and dragged them to the dance floor, tweeting and tootling his whistles. His slim hips gyrated to a different tune as he flung his arms up and down.

One by one, the crowd stood and began shuffling to hesitant and jerky movements to the music Charlie was pumping out. His brow glistened with sweat as he squinted with both the effort and the acrid smoke curling from the cigar firmly attached to his mouth.

A thin wisp of smoke snaked around the feet of the dancers.

Leon brandished a fist full of glow-in-the-dark sticks and handed them around the dance floor before dashing off to the bank of light switches to plunge the room into darkness.

The few shrieks of fear turned into hoots of delight as a flurry of fluorescence darted around the space.

Leons continuous whistling and Charlies impassionate playing continued as the discordant music melded with the laughter and shrieks from the dance floor.

Coloured lights began flashing and reflecting on the tiny speckles hidden on the original 1970s coffee coloured wallpaper.

Thick smoke billowed about the dancers as they swam and leapt about in the strobe effect of the flashing lights through the windows

Thumping from the door became more urgent, the demands and threats, shriller.

The piano accordion player slumped forward and fell to the floor, coughing and chocking on the impervious smoke surrounding the stage.


“This is Trisha O’Neil reporting from the grounds of St Ignatius Mental Institution.
We have fire engines and ambulances on the stand by, but because of the tight security systems in place they have been unable to enter the buildings.”
A tall slickly groomed brunette twisted her head toward the scene where black smoke billowed out the barred windows and then stared back into the camera. “What you can hear is the screams of the inmates trying to get out.... and Barry ......can you hear that from where you are? What seems to be some sort of music. I am thrilled to think that I am reporting on an event similar to the Titanic where the band kept playing.”
Trishas eyes momentarily caught the blanched look her producer gave off camera and cleared her throat. “A truly terrible event unfolding before our eyes. Pure tragedy”
Clutching her ear piece and looking toward the ground as she concentrated on the tiny voice, “Yes Barry – well folks, I can confirm that there are 127 people trapped inside almost certainly to be burnt to death. We’ll keep rolling here and keep you up to date with ever detail. I’m not sure if you just heard that from where you are, but the music has stopped. Over to you Barry, in the studio. We’ll return when we have some more information.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Loving Hut

#27 Review an Alternative Style Restaurant

A Writing Prompt from
Review This!
encouraging a wider variety of writing techniques.

Love Vegan food – or just trying to make better food choices when out but find it difficult to locate? The Loving Hut is a new concept in chain store cafes, providing healthful, nutritious food at very inexpensive prices and are being established around the world. Their concept is to be sustainable, earth conscious and affordable whilst maintaining popular dishes.

The Loving Hut in Mt Gravatt have been open for a few months and our family have made it a regular outing since our first discovery. Snacks and salads are under $5 and meals under $10 with servings being generous. Our family usually opts for a shared meal of Vietnamese rolls, stuffed with bean curd and crunchy vegetables, spring rolls and delicious dipping sauce, Singapore Noodle Salad with its shredded vegetables and rice noodles and satay sticks with its fried bean curd and crunch veges skewered and smothered in a slightly spicy peanut sauce. Gluten intolerant diners and Raw Vegans can also easily choose from the wide variety of tasty dishes offered. Topped off with one of the best vegan no-cheesecakes and soy coffees I’ve had, this was a very inexpensive, child friendly, healthful dining experiences I have had the pleasure of enjoying.

Diners who usually eat a modern western diet will be enchanted with delighted with the array of dishes which bear the taste and texture of what they may expect; but without the animal cruelty involved.. We were bemused by a pair of diners beside us as they were obviously enjoying their meal and had misread the menu, believing that they were eating “normal’ foods. The gentleman complimented the staff on the best beef and black bean stir fry he’d ever had.

Its clean open spaces, friendly and knowledgeable staff coupled with its very reasonable priced menu will make this café a favoured amongst any who visits.

Five thumbs up from this satisfied family.

More information can be found on line at The Loving Hut

Friday, June 5, 2009

Invisible Meow

Prompt: Include this line in your story – “Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

Authors Note - This ties in with my recent Rromani stories and The Astonishing Adventures of Captain Juan.

The winds promise of autumn rustled at the tents opening, momentarily allowing the sweet perfumes of spices and candles burning from within to waft lazily outward.

Amongst the muddied field, brightly begarbed jugglers and acrobats practiced their art, laughing and jostling one another as their acts intruded on one another. A figure cloaked in a rough woven wool picked her way around the heavily trafficked areas trodden into deep mud, toward the tent. As she approached, the material door flung outward, the dark maw opening beckoning its visitor. With only a moments hesitation, she ducked her head and entered.

The sweet pervasive smells embraced Litizia as she shrugged off the scratchy ill made garment, allowing it to fall on the floor by the doorway. Blinking quickly to adjust her eyes to the dim interior as she glanced around the room and made her way towards the small table and chairs.

“Litizia. The years have been gracious to you.”

Margarina stepped out from the darkened folds in the tent to face the Italian noblewoman.

Litizias eyes darted away from the strong Rromani face before her. “I’ve come to you especially, for a glance.”

Margarina turned quickly, her wild hair and beaded shawl narrowly missing their target as they spun past Litizias face. With feline grace, she settled into one of the cushioned chairs at the table and smoothed the cloth with her long fingers. A tallow candle on the table beside her flickered uncertainly.

Litizia straighten her girdle and gathered her skirts to sit beside Margarina.

“Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

“Of course. I apologize.” stammered Litizia as she found her way to the other chair. “Even after all this time, you look..”

“You’ve come to view the future or to ask of a hidden answer. Please hold these cards and focus on what it is that you have come for.”

Margarinas plump lips pursed into a serious straight line across her face, the only indication of her true emotions as she handed over the well worn tarrochini cards.

Outside the tent and beyond the low indistinguishable murmurings of the reading, Gitano lent against Margarinas caravan, idly whittling a shape from a small piece of drift wood. Despite a full mornings strenuous practice with task master Victor, his nervous energy continued to spill outward. With a dozen tribes camped in close quarters on the grounds of the Piazza del Duomo, the air of expectancy and mystery ran electric. Everybody was waiting for something; but unsure of its form or of its arrival.

The tent door flung open suddenly, a disheveled figure hurriedly pulled on her cloak and nearly ran into one of the cart horses as it made its slow way across the sloshing mud
toward the pastures.

Litizias frightened eyes darted about as she clutched her cloak close to her chest and stumbled her way out of the encampment.

Continuing to whittle, Gitano shook his head and held an expression between frowning and smiling.

“You’re amused by what?” Thick swirls of rich fabric brushed up against his thigh.

“Margarina, you don’t have a cat.”

Thick hair fell over her face as she gave a sly smile. “It helps with the illusion – they expect it.”

“People, especially Christian nobility, have long memories. I don’t think you aught to encourage fear.”

Magarinas breath warmed Gitanos cheek, as she ran her fingers down the side of his face. “For someone so young, not of our blood and one who rejects all help, you have such leadership qualities our tribes need. Such a shame. Such a shame.”

Gitano gently shrugged her body away from him and gripped the knife he still held. “The hysteria, the witch hunts; were only a scant few generations ago and there are still many parts of this country we cannot travel. Our tribes have just been ejected from Spain. I’m just saying, its not over and perhaps you could walk a little gently about nobility. You didn’t see her face when she left your tent. She was terrified.”

“And yet people still seek us out for truth. The same ones who would condemn and burn us. I only showed her the truth, nothing else. The same offer is there for you, Gitano.”

Gitano captured her wandering hand and held it as gently as his anger would allow. “ I will find my own truth. The threat of Brothers or Enemys or whatever else your divination revealed; were all messages for the Rromani, not for me.”

“You are not afraid of me as others are.” Margarina tilted her head slightly to the side and allowed her dark curls to ripple over her shoulder. The glistening sun reflected from her jewelry as she stared hard at Gitano. “That’s good. You’ll need this courage to face your future.”