Thursday, April 28, 2016

Xerothermic #atozchallenge

‘What do you want Angus?’ said Joanne in response to Angus pushing open her door and poking through the narrow opening he had created into her space. She maintained a focussed indifference to him even as he entered slowly and approached her desk. Without looking at him she repeated her question.

A galloping heart tends to make the mouth dry and consequently clumsy, but Angus steeled himself. Direct. Confident. Assertive. That’s what he needed.
‘I figure flattery won’t work, nor will small talk or sweet talk. If I ask you out for a drink or dinner, you will refuse, probably with some insulting comment about the ridiculousness of the suggestion, so it seems I’m left with only one option.’
Lovesick chapter 17
Oh, come off it! Everyone has to stretch things a little when we get to ‘X’. I already talked about pornography so ‘XXX’ is out. The most boring and obvious choice would have been ‘x-ray’, but I’m hardly going to go for the obvious because it’s not my style. Xenophobia is a cool word, but I did that last challenge, and racism is not a theme of my current WIP. Xenon is a colorless gas and a xylophone is a musical interest which lacks sex appeal, or any appeal in fact.
Xerothermic means hot and dry at the same time, like Angus in Lovesick as he approaches Joanna with an offer she won’t be able to refuse…he hopes.

Nearly there folks. Maybe we should do the alphabet in reverse next year. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Women #atozchallenge

With a wistful smile, Tyson drained the remains of his schooner, sighed and said. ‘I am an idealist. What can I say? A dreamer. A romantic. It’s not a crime is it, to want things to be the way they could be? The way they should be.’
There was nothing more to be said. Angus was a dreamer too, like his old mate, but he dreamed of different things. He imagined a perfect woman, a perfect relationship which was so good that he no longer felt even the faintest flicker of desire for another. Physical and emotional intimacy. He wanted to be wanted, and if he found a woman who wanted him, he would be satisfied. Which one, if any of the women, he was now so vigorously pursuing would fill this role in his life? And was that all he was looking for? Someone to play a part? Someone to fit in with what he wanted? Was there such a woman who would cater to his every wish? These ruminations sounded increasingly selfish, each thought another oily slick covering the surface of the cesspool.
Lovesick chapter 11

The story of how Hazem El Masri and Arwa Abousamra met, fell in love and got married is a fairy tale worthy of retelling. A chance meeting at a football ground in Sydney, Australia, between El Masri, a refugee from Lebanon who became the most prolific point scorer in the history of rugby league, and Abousamra, a migrant from Palestine, ignited a relationship which both considered to be destiny.

They had each found the One. Many people believe in soul mates and perfect matches. With an ideal partner in mind, they either wait or actively search for Mr or Mrs Right. The cynic in me says ‘good luck with that’. The truth is there are no perfect people so there can be no perfect matches.

Most relationships only survive the rollercoaster ride of life through hard work and a dedication which at times may border on bloody-mindedness. Both must continue to strive for the highest good of the other, but how many completely selfless people do you know?

Hazem and Arwa separated after thirteen years of marriage. They say they parted friends, but they parted nonetheless: no happy ending. Sadly, there are far too few of them.

Share your fairy tale romance. How did you meet the person of your dreams? Or are you still looking?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vengeance #atozchallenge

"When I think about Belinda and the Coven and how they, I mean we, have been trying to force you down the road of vengeance, I feel guilty. I really do. I could tell that you didn’t want to be that kind of person. I could see it all over your face. I still can. You love Angus and you would have him back at the drop of a hat, right?’
Finally invited in, Cassy found herself struck dumb. It was a tough question: the kind that causes the most elegant of silver tongues, the most accomplished of public orators, to stutter and mumble. Did she still love Angus? Would she take him back? If to err was human and to forgive was divine then she would need a miraculous conversion into a deity. Forgiveness. Easy to say, hard to do. Nice word. Potent word. Terrifying word.
‘Am I wrong about that Cassy?’"
Lovesick chapter 37

Revenge is not a good idea, but people throughout history, when wronged, want to strike back. Forgiveness and grace are too hard. When you’re hurt you want to lash out, to pay back. It’s natural, but that doesn’t make it right.
Vengeance is an ineffective way to right a wrong, and often only leads to escalation which results in more people getting hurt. Revenge cannot undo what has been done. It does not heal. It is not justice.
Vigilantes are often warned by authorities not to take the law into their own hands. The greatest authority in the universe, the Lord God of Creation, also does not want people exacting revenge. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord, “and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.” Deuteronomy 32:35. Paul also admonishes us in Romans 12:19: “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

Have you ever taken revenge? Have you ever had revenge taken out upon you?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Undulations #atozchallenge

"A look of resignation creased Tyson’s face. ‘You don’t love Cassy and you don’t want to try to love her.’
‘I love her, but I am not in love with her.’
‘That’s a distinction I understand but don’t accept. It’s not a reason to quit a marriage. You understand the highs and lows of life, love and marriage. Feelings come and go. You can’t be riding the high of romantic love non-stop."
Lovesick chapter 11
The first time I rode Superman Escapes at Movie World on the Gold Coast, I didn’t breathe for the three and half minutes it took to be catapulted and flung around the track. I’ve never been back, and I probably shouldn’t go back.
I could chase the thrill, but the pursuit of pleasure is not my chief occupation.
When my sister informed me my dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I can’t describe how awful I felt. I don’t want to experience that again, although I probably will. I could try to avoid it, but that isn’t possible. The evasion of suffering is not one of my life goals either.

Life is rarely a flat, straight highway to the horizon. Most of life is neither high, nor low; it’s mundane, but there are always ups and downs, twists and turns. Sure we would all prefer the non-routine times to be enjoyable, and it’s great when they are, but sometimes they aren’t. Fun is good and necessary, but we can’t have fun all the time. We can chase happiness and excitement, and try to avoid sadness and hurt, but life inevitably contains all of these things. Love, likewise, is both pleasurable and painful. Live wisely and considerately, and be thankful.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Trust #atozchallenge

"In Angus’ mind these furtive afternoon meetings were the beginnings of an illicit affair, the foundation stones of trust and familiarity which would enable them to participate in a very risky and immoral game. Afrooz did nothing in the early weeks to discourage this thinking. In fact, in the evenings after their afternoon rendezvous, they would chat on Facebook. These chats started very innocently, but in time, and on several occasions, when they were both alone in front of their respective computers, their chatting became flirtatious. Angus remembered one time when he and Afrooz pretended to be neighbours and he went to see her to ask for some sugar.
            Hello Neighbour.
            Hi. Lovely day today.
            Yes. I need to borrow some sugar please.
Okay. Come in.
Let me see. I have to reach up here to get it.
Can I help you?
Yes. Come and help me. (wink)
Is that better? (smiley face)
Like this.
That’s good. (smiley face)
Ah, I’ve got it now. Thank you. Here you go.
That’s enough thanks.
Have some more. I want to give you more. (wink)
I want some more.(wink)
Here you go. Oops, I dropped it. I’ll have to bend over to pick it up.
Are you looking at my ass? (wink)
Yes, is that okay?(wink)
You didn’t really come here for sugar did you? (wink)
No. (smiley face)"
Lovesick chapter 1

Ah such irony, from our beloved anti-hero Angus. He speaks of establishing trust with a married woman whilst destroying the trust his wife has placed in him. Trust is a funny thing.

It’s automatic in children, a natural outworking of the bond which develops between them and their parents and carers. As they grow, particularly when they begin school, they are taught selective trust. Strangers are not to be trusted whereas police officers are. They also absorb attitudes of trust, and are progressively more trusting as they become increasingly independent. Trust only transforms into an issue when it is breached. The lesson learned, reinforces the selective trust concept, by confirming that some people can be trusted and some can’t.

Sometimes our mistrust is warranted, such as when someone has betrayed our trust. When I was fifteen I told my parents I was staying at a friend’s house and would not be going out. I went out, and the first they knew of it was when the police called to say I had been found in possession of a stolen car. One of the consequences of my breach of trust was that I was grounded for several months. I was no longer trusted to do anything other than go to school and come home again.

At other times, we don’t trust people simply because people we do trust have told us not to. There also occasions when something inside us warns us not to trust. On occasion we decided to trust someone even when we have doubts, and the results are mixed.

One of the X-Files catch phrases was ‘trust no one.’ While that reeks of paranoia, it is certainly true that we cannot trust everyone, and even those in whom we do place our trust may let us down. To borrow from the Old Bard: to trust or not trust, that is the question.

I have become less trusting over the years which in some ways is a good thing. On the other hand it makes me a little sad to think we live in a world where trust can be such a rare and precious commodity.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sex #atozchallenge

“Her friendship became valuable to him, even as he struggled with the sexual attraction he felt for her. Had he been able to distinguish between the person and the woman, Angus may have suffered less emotional trauma, but he couldn’t. He was needy. Hungry for attention and for sex, and she was impossibly desirable. Unselfconsciously seductive. Worse than his lust affection cocktail for her was that the feeling was mutual. The problem was Afrooz was not willing to go all the way down the road on which they had started driving. She wanted to drive for a little while, then U-turn back to the beginning, park the car and let the engine cool down, before commencing the journey once more.”

Lovesick chapter 1

Sex is an obvious choice, for the letter ‘s’, especially in light of the strong sexual content in Lovesick, but I’m actually experiencing a strange reluctance to talk about it again. However, it’s a big deal, isn’t it? It’s hard to deny the influence and impact of sex throughout human history.

Okay, I’m feeling pretty laid back tonight as I write, so I’m going to attack this topic from a different angle: the procreative angle, as opposed to the recreative angle. I recently heard it referred to as a horizontal recreation in the great Australian film, Gallipoli. Anyway, I digress.

The point is if no intercourse occurred we would not be here. Male/female coupling is required for the propagation of our species. I respect people’s right to choose not to follow this pattern, (both hetero and homosexual couples), but if everyone chose not adhere to the playbook, then where would we be?

Just something to think about, and another possibly vain attempt to stir this pot of controversy. I am unashamedly in favour of traditional procreational sex. How about you?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Run! #atozchallenge

"We all must flee from reality at some point in our lives for it is a monster which easily, and with evident relish, crushes and devours us. Our methods of escape are as varied as the beautiful diversity which characterizes our personhood. Some run away to dark places where the threat of shame forces them to cherish secrecy and fear exposure. Others run to the light and luxuriate in acceptable types of relaxation, pleasuring themselves with permissible pursuits. No matter the condition of the path nor the destination at its inevitable end, we make gods of all for we are fallen people who delight in ignorance and rebellion. Constantly avoiding, or worse deliberately eschewing the true source of peace and happiness for pathetic and often dangerous counterfeits." 
Lovesick prologue

It takes courage to stand, face and fight the enemy when running away is easier. It takes perseverance to run the race of life when quitting is easier. Whether you are running towards something, or running away from something, it is hard. Running hurts. It’s demanding.

I run for my health, and although I’ve been doing it for years, and have managed to maintain a modicum of fitness and keep my weight under control, it is still painful; it isn’t fun. I need discipline to do it, but I have a reason to continue and so I do. In life I persist through pain as well because I want to get to the finish line knowing that I ran hard.

Running in one direction necessarily means running away from another. Some things and some people in our lives will be left behind. Regardless of intentions, and irrespective of other people’s perspectives, sometimes we need to run away. Sometimes, running away is the wisest course of action we can take. Sometimes.

Have you ever chosen to run away? How'd it turn out for you?

Photo source and recommended further reading: