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The New Year

Well, I am trying to be positive but I have to tell you that it feels facile and hollow to say Happy New Year. Not that I don’t want this for you and all people everywhere but to say those words under the dreadful circumstances for Australia with her bushfires, for Indonesia with her floods and tsunami and the many other problems afflicting our poor Mother Earth, well, the words stick in my throat. I love you all and wish you all the best for the future, I truly do.

There is still hope for us, but so many are determined to ignore the facts.

Let me just say this … Even if you don’t believe the recent devastating events are due to Climate Change, isn’t it still right to look after the Earth? Isn’t it still right to focus on alternatives to industries that pollute our air and oceans? Isn’t it right to find better ways to go forward that don’t involve dismissing and demeaning other people and nations? Can’t we concentrate on helping, and caring for others who are not as lucky as we are? Can we not be just a little kinder and more thoughtful?

I beg you, if you do nothing else in the coming year, please be as kind as you can, as often as you can.

Well, there. I’didn’t realise all of that was going to jump from my keyboard. I am feeling raw. I am safe and well physically in my little piece of paradise, and am so grateful for that.

I was going to write a completely different blog but I guess I needed to have my say.

I will talk again soon.  Ciao for now, Rosa.

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Uncategorized Writing

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

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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

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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

 

 

 

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Back home

Well, here iam back home in Townsville and happy to be breakfasting on The Strand with the view above. You have to admit that view is hard to beat and as good as and better that a lot of places I visited dostellawn south. Having said that I had a great time away (thanks Stella , you’re a stellar friend.)

It is cool and cloudy here today and ppreparations and damn detours are being set up in readiness for the big Airshow over the weekend. I’m actualy here to put my poor little car in for a service. It did a sterling job for my journey but about 15 mins from home I got a flat, not just a puncture but a truly shredded tyre. A call to RACQ and all was put to rights but I arrived an hour later than planned and was completely exhausted…maybe I should give up long road trips….

Now I have to decide what I’m going to do about my research problem. I have one more lead to follow up then I’m just going to go ahead and self-publish anyway.

Yes I know…self-publishing is a difficult row to hoe butI did it for the anthologies of the writer’s group I used to belong to some years ago so I can do it now. I just have to brush up on the whys and wherefores and ta da…

For today I will simply kick back and enjoy a day of leisure while the car is in its day spa.

My god! it’s a beautiful day here, hope you enjoy yours…   Ciao for now,  Rosa.

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Writing

The POT Society

We POTheads (Playwrights of Townsville) have just had our first meeting and it was great to see everyone again and listen to their latest efforts. We are all continuing on with our plays; entering and re-entering the Short and Sweet Comps. Some of us are trying our hands at One-act or longer plays as well. It is fascinating to listen to such a variety of tales from my other POTheads. We do try to work with what Alex showed us and help each other stay on track. There are many other things in the pipeline for us. It is exciting to write dialogue (with a few directorial instructions thrown in). I can feel the actress in me begging to be set free…maybe I will get back into it, but the logistics of being available for rehearsals are a problem.   I made myself write a new comedy piece. I had to. I was getting worried about surrounding myself with all that madness and murder. I had to find the fresh air and sunshine again.

On the R.I.P. front I am waiting on my Beta readers so I can tear my hair out, cry and get on with the necessary changes. I haven’t done much with the follow up one, too busy writing plays. The results and exhilaration are much more immediate. That suits my goldfish attention span. I will get on with the other but trust my muse to let me know when its ready to be written. All right, that is excuse making, I admit. I will sit down and concentrate…soon. But now I must go to bed. ‘Night, Rosa.