Getting Older

Well, I am still a little preoccupied with looking at what happens as we age. Alzheimer’s is one thing that concerns me and I’ve tried to imagine how it feels for the person whose mind is not co-operating……The line breaks have not imported properly, how annoying! And, when I try to correct it I have double line breaks because I have to hit return after each line…Oh well, you’ll get the idea I’m sure…

Alzheimer’s

The restless wind wandered through the coconut grove searching, searching but unable to remember for what. The sighing she-oaks shivered and shook
before the threat of his impatient anger.In his frustration he flung handfuls of leaves;
kicked small stones; shoved and jostled the shrubbery. Where? What? Why couldn’t he remember?

The ocean whispered gentle assurances on the shore but the wind slapped his calm, smiling face;
rode his back; harried and bullied him ‘til he roared. Now equally agitated the sea threw himself on the sands,biting and gouging in an effort to be free. The wind leapt from the white horses’ backs. Where? What? Why couldn’t he remember?

The Gods laughter rumbled and rolled across the heavens
‘til tears of mirth fell from their well-fed cheeks.
As they watched that wilful wind hurl himself at the foreshore they threw spears of laser-light, chasing after min as he dashed and crashed about in a paroxysm of frustrated fury. What a fine joke to steal his memory and send him searching.Where? What? Why couldn’t he remember?

Plunging inland he wrestled the mighty forest trees; breaking limbs; tossing weaker opponents to the ground;
running in circles; slamming heedless against mountain- side;
scrabbling and clawing his way over all barriers. Screams of aggravation set already nervous hearts palpating.
Wearied and spent he fell to his knees sobbing. Where? What? Why couldn’t he remember?

Ra shined his rosy countenance down upon him, comforting and warming the exhausted traveler.
He lay still and slept from daylight to sunset.
But as the sun slipped away the wind stirred sleepily. He shuffled off to wander through the coconut grove.Where? What? Why couldn’t he remember?

(c) Rosa Christian

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Plastic Dream

There has been a lot of promotion about the doing away of single use plastic bags at supermarkets. The following story I wrote a couple of years ago and have since rewritten. Before you read it, let me say I am all for getting rid of plastic, but we must attack the whole problem and not allow ourselves to diverted and reassured by the small concessions of big business…

THE PLASTIC DREAM

 Through the plate-glass window of his office, Bjorn saw him coming. The man was descending on him with purpose. The new manager was a force to be reckoned with. The door to the office slammed open and in he strode with a scowl on his face. Bjorn Adrum jumped to his feet like a soldier to attention. A large cigar jutted from the corner of his boss’s mouth, moving back and forth as he spoke.

‘You’ve got a week, Adrum!’

Like a rabbit caught in torch-light, Bjorn stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. ‘Oh no,’ he thought. ‘He’s onto me. I’m fired.’ He gave his best, obsequious smile as he replied, ‘Sir?’ The word squeaked from his constricted throat.

He had to play for time, find out exactly what ‘the man’ knew and if he could get around him by blaming something or some-one else.

‘I’m told you’re the best man for the job!’ growled his intruder. ‘The big bosses want more profits. They’re putting pressure on me, so I’ve been digging around and everybody seems to think you’re it. You’ve got a week to come up with some ingenious way to pour more money into the coffers, or else you’ll find yourself facing early retirement, know what I mean. And remember, it has to look good; like we’re doing something for the community; something touchy-feely so the bleeding-hearts fall for it.’

He paused to take a long drag on the now dead cigar. He turned it around to examine the burnt end. With a disgusted look, he threw it into the pot-plant. ‘Get to work!’ he barked, then turned on his heel and left.

Bjorn slowly lowered his thin, shaking body back onto his plush, leather chair. Its warm embrace, which usually calmed and reassured him, felt a little less secure.

He had been with Wolf’s supermarket chain since he left school, just before final exams for Year Ten.

 

His parents begged him to think again.

‘You have been doing so well! Why give up now?’ they pleaded.

He stubbornly shook his head and said, ‘I can’t stay at that school. You don’t know what it’s like.’ He had to convince them. He forced a tear to trail down his cheek and get lost in the peach fuzz on his chin. He couldn’t take the chance that they’d find out that he had been cheating. They had moved him into Boys’ Grammar, in the hope that his marks would improve. And improve they did.

At first, he just cheated from the students in neighbouring desks, then he started filching others’ work; sneaking a look into teachers’ bags; breaking into the staff-room to find the up-coming exam papers. All the while, he made sure he appeared squeaky-clean. He never made the mistake of sharing his knowledge. He knew others weren’t to be trusted. He justified his actions in his own head. After all, he wasn’t hurting anyone; his parents were happy; the teachers were happy and he was happy. Such a happy world he lived in.

One day, for reasons unknown, all the security at the school was beefed up.

‘Uh oh,’ he thought.

Combination locks appeared everywhere. Junior (Year Ten) exams were coming up. He panicked. He didn’t have time to learn all the necessary combinations. He took the only course available to him. He lied.

‘Mum, Dad…I know you’re going to be disappointed in me but I have to confess.’ He spoke softly with just the right amount of humility and bravado. ‘I don’t know how it happened but I’ve…I’m addicted to drugs.’ No need to be specific. They were idiots, who wouldn’t ask questions or doubt him. ‘The school is rife with them. I know it’s wrong to do drugs, but after just one little experiment I was hooked.’

He sobbed into his mother’s ample bosom. She was such a soft touch. ‘I want to get clean, but I can’t if I stay at school.’ He sniffed pathetically and his father reached out and patted his shoulder. ‘Don’t ask me to dob on any of my mates. I can’t. I won’t.’

He lifted his head and smiled through his tears.

‘I’m clever enough to get a job anywhere, no worries!’ he assured them.

The trouble was, for some-one without a Year Ten pass, the only job Bjorn could get, in his small town, was Trolley-boy at Wolf’s, the local supermarket. He got the job easily enough, but had forgotten how miserable life could be for those on the lowest rungs — the drudgery, the actual physical hard labour, the lack of power. He set about making a niche for himself. He played one stupid boy off against the other; became the wise counsellor and arbiter of justice, making sure the easiest to influence and control came out victor.

Promotion to counter work was usually in order of date of employment, which meant he had quite a time to wait. Dumbo Donaldson was next in line. Bjorn wasn’t about to wait to be noticed. A plan took shape in his mind.

He stole money in the lunch-room; planted it on Dumbo.

‘Mr Grey I don’t know how to say this and I don’t know if I should even tell you. I hate being a snitch, but Donaldson has been taking money from the lunchroom. Please, don’t fire him. He must need it for something important.’

‘Don’t you worry about him, boy. You’ve done the right thing.’

A week later he was called into the manager’s office. ‘Well done, young man. You’re honesty does your parents proud. As a reward you are to be promoted to cashier, starting immediately.’ As a bonus Dumbo, who had resisted all efforts to be suborned, was fired.

Being a counter-jumper, or check-out-chick was better than trolley work but Bjorn was ambitious. The register did all the calculation for him and, to his delight, he soon realised that quite a number of customers didn’t pay careful attention when receiving change. Batty oldies were easy targets, as were harassed mothers with more than one child in tow. He usually took an extra $100 or so home each week, but was careful not to over-spend.

He took pains to keep up his reputation as an honest good-guy, He would occasionally chase a customer. ‘Sir, sir you left your money on the counter.’

He stopped old ladies. ‘Here you are Missus you dropped this note on the floor.’

‘Oh no, I’m so sorry I made a slight error counting out the change.’

Using these ploys and adding to his bag of tricks along the way he had moved speedily up the ladder, until, here he was… middle management of the largest supermarket chain in the land, with a tidy nest-egg hidden well away from prying eyes.

Usually, reminiscing about his past, clever successes suffused his world with sunshine, but today he was worried. One week. He sank deeper into his leather chair. He had got this far by strategic plotting, keeping his head low, never bucking the system. Now, he was in a cushy job where he did nothing except dictate a few letters, shuffle papers across his desk and make sure he took full credit for his subordinates’ work while assuring them he had ‘put in a good word’ for them.

One week. He felt a panicky little flutter in his chest rise up into his throat, threatening to cut off his airways. He scrabbled in the desk drawer for a moment before producing an asthma puffer. Sucking hungrily on it, he closed his eyes fighting for calm and feeling his airways loosen and expand. When he opened his eyes Al was standing in front of his desk, with the door closed behind him.

‘Christ!’ Bjorn spoke his shock. How did he do that? Appear from nowhere. It was down-right spooky! ‘What the hell do you want Al? I’m trying to think here!’

‘Seen the new boss-man chattin’ with you. Wondered what he wanted. Thought you might need my help.’ Al’s round face broke into a beatific smile. At close to fifty he still had an angelic innocence about him that belied the cunning behind his small, blue eyes.

In Bjorn he recognized, not a friend (dangerous things friends), but a member of the same species. Here was someone who understood him, and whom he understood. No, they weren’t friends. They were something better, allies, accomplices — each recognizing the other’s strengths, and weaknesses. They had had no need to vocalize what each knew instinctively. They simply fell in together, backing each other up and covering the other’s back. Bjorn and his side-kick, Al… good mates working hard for the good of the company and its customers. They were happily treading water at their present level, aware that it would be pushing things to try to advance higher up the corporate ladder; foolish to risk all they had achieved, especially with retirement not too far off.

‘Oh, God!’ Bjorn sighed. ‘He’s given us one week to come up with some magical way to save the company a shit-load of money, or our necks are on the chopping-block.’

‘Just pass it down the line, like we always do.’

‘Can’t. He made it clear the buck stops here, or else.

‘Sounds like this calls for a Counterie,’ grinned Al. ‘Yes, an around the table conference — at the company’s expense, of course.’ Al’s favourite conferences involved food and booze, in that order. Bjorn preferred his booze straight.

He buzzed his secretary. ‘Penny, Allan Firestone and I will be in conference all afternoon.’ The prim Miss Penelope Fountain, safely out of view, rolled her eyes. ‘ Pen, make sure those letters I dictated are ready for the morning mail before you clock off. See you tomorrow.’ He licked his lips in anticipation of the fiery taste of his favourite cocktail. ‘Come on then. I’ll need something to help me sleep tonight.’

 

‘There you are at last!’ Beatice, Bjorn’s wife, groaned as he entered their penthouse apartment. It was he who insisted on living in the city because he needed to be close to the office, but he made a fine show of commiserating with Beat about having no garden to lovingly tend to. She had reluctantly given in and filled her need for the great-outdoors by joining the local Landcare group.

‘Look at this! It’s so cute.’ She smiled triumphantly, as she pecked his cheek. ‘Yuck! You smell like a brewery. Don’t forget Puss-puss needs walkies, and the rubbish needs emptying. Make sure you sort the recyclables, won’t you!?’

Bjorn nodded and smiled before shutting the door on the sway of her retreating rear. He glanced down at the flier she had shoved into his hand. ‘Beat Adrum for President’. He snorted, screwed it up and tossed it into the bin.

‘Stoopid woman! Stoopid Landcare! Stoopid cat!’ he slurred, as he aimed a kick in Puss-puss’ general direction.

He changed into one of Beat’s best dresses; gave the cat too much food; emptied the bin (unsorted) down the shute and plonked himself in front of the T.V. to watch the latest ‘Chick-flick’. He fell asleep just ha quarter of the way through.

He sat bolt upright. ‘That’s it!’ he shouted. He looked around startled. Where am I? In bed. How did I get here? Doesn’t matter! He glanced down at his wife, who was still snoring with a soft gurgle, open mouth dribbling into a small pool onto the pillow.

‘A pen. Pen. Must find pen and paper!’ He flicked the bedside lamp on. ‘Three-ten! Dear God, I must be mad!’

Nevertheless, he ran into the lounge-room and grabbed a biro and notepad from the computer-desk drawer. He scribbled down the bare essentials of his idea. It didn’t take long. It was simplicity itself.

‘They are gunna love this!’ he chortled. He rang Al, ‘Meet me in the office, now!’ He hung up without waiting for a reply.

Bjorn plugged in the coffee machine and filled the office with the delicious odour of hot caffeine. Al sat, yawning, in the easy chair.

He groaned, ‘Bloody Hell! I was fast asleep. This had better be worth it. Owwww! My head! Give us something for me headache with that, will ya.’

Smirking, Bjorn threw the box of pain-killers to him.

‘Okay, so what’s so bloody important?’

‘I’ve solved our problem. We just need to iron out some details, and I need you to do the typing. Don’t want anyone stealin’ this one, or the details leakin’ out. This will need to be completely hush-hush!’

Al raised his eyebrows. ‘Okay, shoot!’ he said as he swung his laptop onto the desk.

Bjorn outlined his idea and Al’s large, stubby fingers tapped out the main points with a curious dexterity and speed. As Bjorn came to a stop, Al looked up from the screen and said, ‘Load of crap! It’ll never work! Ya can’t do away with free plastic shopping bags! People like ‘em. Use ’em as bin-liners.’

‘Exactly! Exactly!’ Bjorn’s voice rose with excitement. ‘Don’t you see? That’s where we move in, and make even more money. Not only do they have to buy re-useable shopping bags, but they now have to purchase bin-liners as well.’

Al, waking up at last, grinned, ‘And, we sell them the re-useable bags. They’ll keep forgetting ‘em, of course, and, ‘cause we’ve made a big song and dance about how bad plastic is for the environment, they’ll feel guilty and buy some more. We’ll have stacks of ’em near each check-out.’

‘They’ll have to be cheap and strong.’ Bjorn meditated aloud. ‘Plastic will be the cheapest.’

‘Plastic? Aren’t we supposed to be getting rid of plastic?’

‘Ah my friend, you need to keep an eye on the bottom line. It’s single use plastic bags everyone is focussed on at the moment. We may have to change eventually but for now we can still have our cake and eat it too.’

The big man nodded. ‘Ah, I see. Still cheap and nasty just not visibly so.’ He paused for a minute. ‘We can get away with it, I reckon.’

’We’ll have to see what we can source from China, or even India.’ Bjorn grinned. ‘Wonder if they can be made to look and feel like textile? Giving the Third World employment, while getting rid of those nasty, nasty single use plastic bags.’

‘Green!’ ejaculated Al. ‘We’ll make them green, to show how environmentally friendly we are. I can see the headlines now, ‘Wolf’s: leading the way in green ecology.’’ He laughed out loud.

Just then Penny poked her head in the door.

‘Hey you guys, what are you doing here?’

Bjorn yawned theatrically, ‘Pulled another all nighter.’ He grinned behind his hand and winked at Al. ‘Penny, ring the new mug and tell him we want a meeting with the board and Mr. Wolf. asap.’

 

Bjorn and Al finished their presentation and glanced at each other. Al wiped his sweating face with a large handkerchief and Bjorn licked his dry lips. Christ, he could do with a brandy about now. No one at the table moved or spoke. Mr. Wolf leaned forward, the fluorescent light making a halo of his woolly, white hair around his benign, ovine face.

‘Let me get this straight.’ He paused. ‘We do away with single-use plastic shopping bags at the counters, thus saving us a packet right there…We launch an advertising campaign to show the world what good guys we are, trying to rid the world of all those single use plastic bags.’ He glanced around the room at the now smiling and nodding management committee.

‘People now have to buy ‘green’ re-useable shopping bags, from us at a dollar, or maybe more, a pop…not just once but every time they forget to bring some with them, because they feel guilty if they use single use ones…On top of that is the bonus that they now have to buy plastic bin-liners, once again, from us…’ He was grinning at the two men before him.

‘And, for launching this huge money-making venture we, I, get lauded as a saviour of the environment!’

He fell back into his chair, dollar signs blurring his vision.

‘Bloody beautiful!’

(c) Rosa Christian

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dying to Escape

Let’s talk about dying. It seems to be a popular subject amongst my friends lately and the vexed question of euthanasia rises time and again. I’m not about to pop my perch but that doesn’t stop my imagination…enjoy.

PREPARING

A half-remembered face looms
out of the swirling mist
that once was memory
the plaintive voice booms and
echoes in now empty chambers.

Who is calling me? I want to stay
stranger stop dragging me back
into a world of harsh reality
my worn-out body is just a shell
though it has served me well
I am ready to leave it behind.

They insist I must remember
why must I?
surely that time has passed
and I can rest at last
they prod in an effort to jog
those elusive thoughts into
solidity
it frightens me and worries
at the edge of my mind
to find gaping holes in the
landscape they describe to me.

The more I study and search
the holes the larger they get
until I am engulfed
lost in their darkness
haunted by scary half-thoughts
fragmented pictures part
of some forgotten yesterday
that no longer interests me.

I am so close to heaven
I can hear and see angels
I must turn my back on
what has passed
so I can step unencumbered
into the world of light
that is,…just…out…of…reach.

(c) Rosa Christian

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello there!

You’ve missed me, I know. And, I’ve been wanting to get back to this blog but find the state of the world affecting the state of my mind. It’s a cruel and unlovely place out there at the moment, therefore it is pretty bleak inside me. I am truly thankful for all the wonderful loving people in my life and know that I must concentrate on enjoying the moment.

I have been wondering how to not sound like I’m constantly on my soapbox and yet still have opinions and observations about the world we live in. So, following on in the same vein as my last post, I’ve decided to let my poetry speak for me. You may hate my poems and despair of my lack of erudite learning and structure, but I hope you will still appreciate the impetus of my words.

This idea makes me nervous. Exposing my poetry to FB criticism is a bit scary even though I’ve self-published a lot of it, I still have no idea if its any good; impostor syndrome in full flight.

In line with the above sentiment I will leave you with this thought, I AM A WRITER THOUGH NOT YET A SELF-SUPPORTING ONE… ciao for now, Rosa.

An autumn leaf falls

I pat my faithful dog

She sees me through a cloud.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Ugliness

Hello there! I don”t know why but this morning I was thinking about all the ugliness in the world, and there is plenty. Some of my poetry deals with certain aspects of the ugly side of life but a lot of it is about the wonders of the natural world. I find contemplating that helps me deal with the seamier side of life to which we are exposed constantly through social media, news media and even through others’ writings…mia culpa.

Anyway, the train of my thoughts inspired me to put pen to paper and this is what came out…first draft only, so be kind but please let me know what you think. (I have no idea why it is double spaced and can find no way to remedy it. Help me if you can.)

Ugly is Ugly

Ugly is such an ugly word

Ugly is as ugly does

How ugly to call another ugly

To make ugly judgements

Is ugly–different than me

An ugly height

An ugly shape

An ugly face

An ugly eye colour

An ugly hair colour

An ugly skin colour

An ugly gene

An ugly belief?

Who decides what is ugly

Ugly is as ugly does

How do I know I’m not ugly

Are you ugly, you ugly SOB

What is ugly

My own ugly eyes

My own ugly phiz in the mirror

My own ugly friends

My own ugly relatives

My own ugly appetites

My own ugly reactions

My own ugly ideas

My own ugly thoughts?

We are all ugly in someone’s eyes

Ugly is as ugly does

How to contain that ugliness

How to retrain that ugliness

Ugly the new lovely

A blinding light that stops sight

Make me blind that I might see

A howling wind that deafens my mind

Make me deaf that I might hear

A touching kindness in my blindness

Cut off my hands that I might feel

A bitter taste that numbs my mouth

Stitch my lips that I might not hunger

A putrid miasma that fills my nares

Burn my nostrils that I may scent goodness

An earthquake that rocks my world

Distort my world that I might find balance

See real ugly

See real lovely

Know the difference

Ugly is as ugly does.

Ciao for now, Rosa

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I good enough?

So, as you can tell by the above title I am having a small existential crisis. Is my writing good enough to publish? Am I just being big-headed thinking I can write at all? Why do I even need to put it out there?

Well, I don’t know the answers but have found a glimmer of hope by reading other novels. I have read several books recently, I especially loved Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies by Jackie French. It was an intriguing read, well written with well-drawn characters and a great sense of place. There was an interesting twist near the end (Actually, I guessed the mystery but then I love puzzles) which some of my friends tell me they didn’t see coming.

Presently Im reading a couple of Australian ones ATM Judy Nunn’s Maralinga which is especially interesting as my father was there with the Australian Army back in the day. The other is Di Morrissey’s Heart of the Dreaming. It was her first published book and has some good Aboriginal content. It’s interesting for me to see how she handles this area.

Anyhow, I am feeling a bit more sure that my books are worth the effort and must now save up to publish some hard copies. In the meantime, have you tried Kindle Scout? Did it work for you? I am thinking of putting RIP up but will need to study how’s and where’s more carefully. Drop me a line if you have any helpful hints or just a word about how it all went for you.

Okay, ciao for now,  Rosa

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Work, work, work

Well hello there again, lovely to see you!

I now have Tuesdays and Thursdays off, so I have time to get my own stuff done. I have been very lazy and not done much in the garden so am trying to get that mess sorted ready for planting season. It gets so very overgrown so quickly but still manages to be a place of recuperation and relaxation. If you are on my FB list you will have seen my spider lilies are looking a bit good, if not that is them in the header picture.

I have also been able to get a lot of editing, collating and a little writing done. I have my book of short stories just about ready to roll just going to give it to  a beta reader and try to reload photos elements on my new (to me) computer so I can make the covers one for ebook and another for print. They’re really the same but one is a full cover.

Now that I’ve made the changes suggested by my formal assessment, I’ve got Sinbad’s tale with an indigenous reader for comment (well, part 2 anyway), and Part 1 with a beta reader. Should get that back soon.

I collated my poetry into book form, tentatively – Creating Light and Dark. Because some of them are, of necessity, a bit dark…alright a couple are very dark but that’s how I roll. There are a couple of poems that I’ve done more than one iteration of and I can’t decide which to put in so am taking them to Writers’ Group tonight and see what they think. I am unsure what to put on the cover yet and should I put some pictures in the body to break things up a bit?

Which brings me to another problem, Smashwords has decided that the covers I presently have for the books up there are not suitable and I have to change them up to higher pixels. (Alright, that was couple of years ago and I still haven’t done anything about it. I blame photoshop, my broken old computer and being too busy in other spheres.) Anywho, I still need to change them and wish fervently I had Photoshop CS 3 or 4 to work with…sigh.

I have given an improved version of RIP to a beta reader and will give Fifth Era to someone tonight. Jenny’s story is re-edited and waiting. I’ve written a couple of short stories and a children’s story for comps.

On the art front I’ve done very little, but I have finished and had framed the portrait of my friend ready for the Percival Tucker Prize. It’s due in before Monday. I had to write an Artist’s CV and Artist’s Statement for that. That was easy, since I’m basically self-taught, it was very short.

Well there you are, you are up to date with my news. It is a bit weird to rabbit on about myself like that but I guess that’s what blogging is about. It helps me see more clearly that I have achieved something. How about yours? What are you doing or planning or both? Talk to me, I need your encouragement and am happy to give you mine.

Ciao for now, Rosa

 

Posted in Art, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments