Summer holidays

It is the eve of my return to work and Ruben’s start of Grade 3. The summer holidays were so good, but in hindsight, I should have had an extra week once term began.

I had great ambitions for what I would achieve over the holidays, and I didn’t quite hit all my goals, but I achieved relaxation, a semblance of an organised home, lots of fun with Ruben, and much rejuvenation.

The coming week is an opportunity to reintroduce my grounding practices that have fallen by the wayside in the absence of structured days. I will return to day 1 of the 30 day yoga with Adriene, aiming to do one each evening, and start my days with 15 minutes of unguided meditation. Oooh, and a new routine which I am most excited about is a morning swim with Ruben before school and work one day a week. We’ve given it three early morning trials over the holidays, so I know it can be done!

Routine will return big time once uni starts next week. I am looking forward to my Semester 1 subject (Developing a Writing Project) and the opportunity it presents to progress my novel with new insights, workshopping sessions and importantly, deadlines. The preparation I did over the summer, while not as much as I had hoped, has set me up with a good starting point for the semester. Bring it on.

If you want to read about the general flavour of my summer, I go into more detail here.

A bit of southern hemisphere life update with some wintery northern hemisphere inspired lines thanks to Sonya’s photo prompt — Three Line Tales 26 January 2023.

Light

cocooned in white coats, they witness the season’s rituals.

hushed footsteps, gliding snow sleds, mitten-moulded balls and peals of laughter.

crystalline flakes refract the light that lingers a while longer each day, promising warmth, peeling away the layers.

Selfie

Occasionally, it occurs to me that when my son is older, he’ll look back on millions of photos capturing his life but very few that include me, particularly post-separation. I then try to right this by taking a selfie of us, but I suck at selfies and they often end up being hyper-close-up shots of the two of us in almost identical poses, side-by-side and faces squished to fit the frame with little visual context of place or event being captured. I’d like to get better at this, but in the mean time, it’s probably easier to recruit others to take pics of us like I did on our recent camping trip, with our camp neighbour Ann obliging, and lingering for a chat.

I learnt that Ann, who is in her early 80s, is an intrepid camper. Following her husband’s death 8 years ago, she found a new lease on life when she joined an online, solo-women-only posse of caravan adventurers.

‘It’s better than staring at the four walls of my unit.’ She said.

Ann and her friends, who are either single, widowed or leave their partners at home, make many trips around Australia each year. On the trip where we met, however, Ann was camping with her family.

A photo with a story not only in front of the camera, but also behind the camera — maybe I won’t bother trying to perfect the selfie!

How do you capture and store memories in this age of click and forget?

This little ramble was inspired by my micro story below, which was inspired by Sonya’s photo prompt — Three Line Tales 19 January 2023. If you’d like to read more than three lines of my writing, check out: raptorial.substack.com

Warrior 101

Dark plumes billowed from the funnels of the Ocean Spirit and rose to meet the cranes that stretched in complex asanas above stacks of shipping containers in shades of industrial chic. Josie was pleased with the surreptitious photo opportunity she’d stumbled upon on the tourist trail; she smiled and threw deuces at the device resting on the end of her selfie stick. The ship’s foghorn let out a long blast that cut through clangs of steel and squawks of seagulls seeking dinner as Josie tried a few more angles, stopping only when she lost her footing and noticed that she, and the Ocean Spirit, were gliding away from the dock.

A Return

Hello! It’s been a while! Funny, I had thought that perhaps three line tales was the best way to dip my toes back into blogsville, and when I looked sometime last year, it appeared Sonya’s prompts were no more. I was super surprised and elated to see them in my reader the other day, so here I am!

Believe it or not, despite the tumbleweeds at 10000hoursleft HQ, I have been writing, including a story on my beloved public library that was published in The Big Issue last year, and a bunch of newsletters at my substack, The Raptorial with regular monthly posts over the past 9 months (thanks to my friends from WP who have joined me over there). I have even returned to my novel which I used to go on and on and on about here.

In other news, I am still at uni (very part time), soon to enter my fourth year of a two year Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing. I’ve also bought a house (yay me, on 31 Dec 2020), and also in 2020, I started a writing and editing business. Oh, and somehow I succumbed to years of my son asking for a dog, and had to make good on my promise that it would happen once we have our own place … Rocco the Lagotto Romagnolo joined our family in August 2021. He’s now 19 months, very cute and sweet but still in need of training (or maybe it is me that needs to be trained in being the ‘top dog’ *sigh*).

I’m glad to be back and to have found a fun way back in. The community here means a lot to me and is a big part of why I am still writing. Occasional checks of the reader fill my heart with joy when I see bloggers from way back still blogging.

Tell me, what’d I miss? What’s new? I’ll attempt a weekly hello accompanied by a three line story, and watch out, I’ll be reading posts and engaging again. Wooh!

Oooh, and rather than complain about the ‘new’ backend as I did on a previous fleeting return, here, I have embraced it after stumbling on something (what, I do not know) that has allowed me to offset my Three Line Tales story from the rest of the post. Fancy huh?

Thanks for the inspiration, Sonya – Three Line Tales 13 Jan 2023

Saturday night lights

He broke away from the throng that was crossing the intersection of 2nd and Broadway and the stripes that promised safety. His was a lone figure following a lone white line, remaining faithful to its guidance after stepping off its edge like a sailor navigating the doldrums. A yellow cab in his line of sight sounded the alarm with a long beep that turned heads and slowed the procession of revellers entering the seedy bars along Broadway — the night was young.

Photo of a city sreet at dusk, with

V/Line Vignette 9

09.07.19 Mr Farrow’s Parcel

The bell painfully warbled Green Sleeves, only just powered by its almost-dead battery, with no consolation of Mr Whippy approaching. Faye looked up from her stack of boxes and saw the last digit of the wall mounted clock flip; 6:13 AM, the first for the working week. She pulled open the metal hatch on the early collection window. The heavy opacity of the wrought iron hatch kept out the cold and the peering eyes of passers-by while she sorted, stacked, and amused herself with a life-sized game of Tetris. The window was narrow, taller than it was wide, meaning she saw most people with spliced faces, depending on where they stood, until she found their parcel, and if it was too large for the window, she’d open a side door and see the whole person. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 8

Nineteen Ninety Nine 12.08.19

‘Forget gelato, donuts, boiled lollies, bread—even bread Ned!’

Dorcas’ alarm wasn’t helping Ned’s paralysing fear of living out the rest of his life on a sugar restricted diet; he’d only spent the past 47 years perfecting his gelato recipe, having picked up secrets on the Mediterranean trade route with the Merchant Navy in the 1940s. He didn’t know what was worse— giving up his one pleasure in life or warnings about the Millennium Bug that could impact his sales and inventory software, threatening absolute chaos to his careful stocktake of flavours for his sweet enterprise. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 7

Digging 11.06.19

George was on his way home from an interview with a construction firm. It was the first interview he’d had in over 37 years and he had to admit, he was rusty. What did diversity and inclusion have to do with laying reo and pouring concrete? He’d been given ‘voluntary’ redundancy following the merger of LH Kirby & Sons with a conglomerate that was buying up all the work along the northern sprawl out of the city and unsurprisingly, squeezing all resources to maximise profits. He didn’t need the money, but after 18 months spent excavating then backfilling his backyard, he decided it was time to return to the workforce.

To remain ‘in the game’ as he put it, he woke at 04:35 each weekday, donned his work gear, fed Henry his green parrot and meandered to the shed where he kept a bar fridge full of supplies for work lunches and smokos. Cranking the pie warmer on the bench was his first task for the morning, then he’d walk the length of the drive to the front lawn where the rolled-up paper lay waiting in its blue plastic sheath. To make up for the lack of banter, he’d turn on 3WAWA and listen to Robbo and Jonno talk about the traffic, sport, weather and the latest political and or celebrity scandal. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 5

Traveller 27.05.19

The walk across the elevated platform then down the escalators was messy. Rob and Elaine had been playing tag on the phone all morning so when he rang again, despite the awkwardness, she cradled her phone on her shoulder and pressed her left ear against it while tackling a pillow under that arm and with her right, dragged her two-wheeled cabin luggage and tried to not spill a freshly pressed juice that was filled to the brim with a week’s recommended dosage of sugar, no more wholesome for the antioxidants and ‘super’ ingredients optimistically touted on the colourful disposable cup. Her cabin luggage was the cheapest option at the Reject Shop that morning after her heavy rucksack’s flimsy stitches unravelled at the straps before she made it to the station. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 4

Sketch of a streetscape showing buildings and parked cars

Parking 20.05.19

Lenny drove an unmarked van. He could have been a tradie or a grocer, no one would have known. It was early enough that there wasn’t anyone around who’d care, but just in case, he drove past the one-way street to scan for passers-by. It was day three of early voting and on previous days he’d only noticed old ladies shuffle from car to indoor pool or indoor pool to car for the keen ones who’d been up since the crack of dawn, but no sense in tempting fate and a run-in with what were predominantly left leaning locals in the Labor safe seat, he reasoned. The coast was clear, so he did a U-turn and parked in a disabled spot despite only one other car parked in the street, a fluorescent notice ordering its removal. What are the chances a disabled person will come by now?  That thought was in the deeper recesses of his mind, on the surface was in fact no thought.

He opened the back door and saw that the items he’d lugged- a pole, a base on which to mount the pole, and a placard, had rolled around and were now at the far end of the van’s boot, resting against the cage that separated the driver’s cabin from the rear. He had no choice but to climb in. A little contortion was required to move a sandbag out of the way while crouching in the confined space. It was a race against time, he wanted to set up and leave before a confrontation. Bang! Lenny was suddenly enveloped in darkness, the wind howling in such a way that the two doors swung shut in the right sequence. His keys were on the other side, swaying on the stationary door. Continue reading

V/Line Vignette 3

Cloakroom 6.5.19

She adjusted her cloak then pushed open the heavy arched door. Of course, the cloak wasn’t real, but neither was the door, yet when her phone lit up and ‘mum’ flashed on the muted receiver, it was what she did. Her parents were of an age now where L dared not risk ignoring The call. The one she’d imagined all her life. As a child, she’d pictured herself living in a large, echoey house, all timber and marble with generous servings of sweets in crystal bowls and lots of room to pace while having long conversations with friends on the phone, or if she was done pacing, she’d sprawl out on a soft shag pile carpet that would be used solely for late night talks that required the phone to be dragged on its extra long cable, the curly cord draped beside the round of carpet like the tail of a poodle, but longer. Continue reading

Awakening

Close up photo of a highland cow with cloudy sky background by Jacco Rienks used for sonya's three line tales microfiction prompt.
Photo by Jacco Rienks on Unsplash

Every morning—I assumed it was morning, but couldn’t be sure as the only light came from stark fluorescent tubes that were always lit—my horns were clasped and measured with calipers cinched by gloved hands.

‘Growing too slowly…’

The man in the white coat would mutter to himself each time before shuffling away, almost tripping over his too-long trousers, to top up my trough with a bland oily porridge that was served cold and congealed. It was unappetising but I’d eat it all, nothing escaping, not even the irony of all the meals I once snapped and shared with friends as though they’d mattered (the meals that is); the freedoms I’d taken for granted had never been photo worthy. Continue reading