Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Shoelaces

Today I had occasion to hurriedly remove my shoes, and I did so without undoing the laces. To my credit, I did undo them before I put the shoes back on, and then re tied them. That's what you're supposed to do with them.

They're a very old idea actually. Thousands of years before Christ men were lacing up, and although shoes have taken on all manner of weird and wonderful forms, the laces with which we tie them haven't changed much at all.

Anyway, how many times have you chastised your children for slipping their laced shoes on and off? How many times have you done it? Is it really the serious concern that some have made it out to be? Are these questions important to the future prosperity of mankind?

I like undoing and doing shoelaces. I find comfort in the well practised routine. It's an orderly and proper thing to do, and I like orderly and proper things. That's why I was inspired to write this trivial blog...because I circumvented the right process. Shame on me. I'll never do it again.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Words

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter 'F'. (Hats off to Sesame Street - what a great show!) In the A-Z Blogging Challenge, each day began with a letter and the opportunity to choose any word beginning with that letter, or any theme, and write about it.

In language, the smallest units are called graphemes, and these combine to make phonemes which in turn unite to form morphemes, and morphemes collaborate to form words. And words, as we know, are put together in such a way as to communicate a meaningful message which we call a sentence. It's beautiful, isn't it?

Most people take words for granted. Not me. I love them. I like playing with them, using them, and discovering new ones. I love putting them together. I get excited when I hear or read others do it well. I feel proud when I do it.

Yesterday I wrote another chapter in the first draft of what will be my fifth novel. Chapter 37 contains these words: Did she love Angus? Did she want him back? Forgiveness. Easy to say, hard to do. Nice word. Potent word. Terrifying word. The last adjective in that triplet did not come to me immediately, but when it did, I stared at it with a big smile on my face. Forgiveness is a terrifying word.

Today I give thanks for words. Do you have any favourites? I still get a thrill when I hear someone say pulchritude.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Tags

Have you ever tried to dress in the dark? You rise early to work, leaving your partner in bed to slumber on, and you don't want to disturb them. You're very considerate. You can find you clothes. You may have even arranged them just so, thus facilitating potential ease of donning said clothes. You understand the theory of dressing in the dark. You've practised it many times. You are no novice 'in the dark' dresser.

However, it's hard isn't it? If you miss one of those leg holes on the first thrust, you are gone. You could end up on the floor: contorted and ensnared.

Naturally, I can't speak from a woman's point of view. Not only am I not a woman, but I have never attired myself in women's garb. However, there is no doubt that ladies wear, being occasionally less orthodox than men's, also presents challenges.

Today, I am giving thanks for a little thing which makes a difficult task somewhat easier: the tag.

If I can feel the tag, I know I have found the back of my pants or shirt, and knowing the front from the back significantly aids the putting on of said garment. I want it right the first time. I can't be expected to leave the sanctuary of my bedroom for the glaring spotlight of my empty living room with my shirt on back to front. Neither do I wish to end up on the floor of my bedroom with my head in the cupboard. Come on. Thank you tags.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Hugs

This may cause some discussion amongst readers. Is a hug a small thing? Some would say even a small hug is a big thing. Others might suggest that some hugs aren't as meaningful or poignant as others, and that can't be contested. Although one might think that all hugs are nice, some would disagree: unwanted hugs, for example, are certainly not nice. Anyway, I'm not here to debate the merits or significance of hugs. I'm here to tell you about a recent hug which meant a huge amount to me personally.

Last Sunday night we had a family farewell dinner for my son who was heading off to Europe for a six week holiday. After dinner we hugged, and I wished him well, thinking that would be the last time I saw him before he left. Four days later, the day before departure, I was at his house to pick up my daughter and my son was unexpectedly there: washing clothes and packing. We talked for a bit, and then we hugged again before I said goodbye. It was such a lovely bonus to be able to hug him once more.

I don't see much of my son these days. He's busy with work and uni, and his girlfriend, and that's all okay. He's 19. He has his own life now. I've been letting go of him slowly every since he started school, but I am thankful for the fact that we have a good, close relationship. Despite some dramatic turbulence over the last 12 months or so, due to the break down of my marriage, we are still friends and of course I am very grateful for that. That last hug was serendipity: a small thing and a huge thing simultaneously.

Have you had a nice hug lately?

Photo sources:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Growth or Decay

Image result for as good as it gets imagesThe film As Good As It Gets is an urban fairy tale about unlikely relationships which speaks volumes about how people relate to each other.

In one scene Melvin (Jack Nicholson) and Carol (Helen Hunt) are in a fancy seafood restaurant in Baltimore. Having just a made a mad dash to buy a jacket and tie so he would be allowed in, Melvin makes a comment about how he was forced to dress formally, but she was allowed to wear a house dress. Carol takes great offence, naturally, even though Melvin did not intend to insult her. She then insists that Melvin pay her a compliment or else she will leave. Eventually Melvin comes up with what is the best line in the movie, "You make me want to be a better man."

Image result for as good as it gets imagesMelvin thus indicates his willingness to change for Carol. Given his mental problems (OCD and perhaps mild autism), this is a big thing for him, but instead of leaving well enough alone, Carol pushes him for more. She wants to know why he brought her on the trip, and under pressure, he says enough to make her angry and she takes off. Carol's neediness insists on more intimacy than Melvin is ready for.

Two quick points. Firstly, if you don't want to hear the answer, then don't ask the question. If you aren't prepared for the pain of an honest answer, don't ask.Carol pushed Melvin for the truth and then became angry at him when he tried to be honest with her.

Secondly, do not expect or demand change from your partner. Hope for it by all means, but nagging and threatening does not make a good relationship. Melvin told Carol he was willing to change, and he demonstrated that with baby steps. Towards the end of the film when Melvin is avoiding the cracks and lines on the sidewalk, Carol tells him not to or 'this' (meaning their fledging relationship) is not going to work. Another demand. Another threat. 

Change is inevitable. "Nothing stays the same,"  screams the As I Lay Dying track, 'there is only growth or decay'. In personal relationships acceptance is important - in fact for some people, that is all they want: to be loved for who they are - but where does one draw the line. Where do you draw the line?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: In Praise of Beanies

It's winter in Australia, and that means beanie time. I have very little hair, in fact I appear totally bald from the front, so cold air and my naked cranium do not mix well.

I'm not sure I look very good in a beanie, but I do know that I love the warmth they provide. I have a nice selection: a black one for work, a green one for play, a Bulldogs one to show my support for my favourite NRL team, and a heavy duty Holden Racing Team one for Canberra, and the snow.

So today, I am giving thanks for beanies and the great job they do to protect heads, both hairy and hairless, all over the world, from the unfriendly, occasionally hostile cold air.

Three cheers for beanies. Do you have a favourite one?

Saturday, June 13, 2015


The serious business has resumed and I feel good about it. I submitted eleven stories submitted to publishers yesterday, (and had one rejected already. Would that I could receive responses that quickly from all editors.)

Chapter 35 of my W.I.P., Lovesick, is under way, and during a thoughtful, restful period, I decided on the ending. Of course that doesn't mean I won't change the ending, but it's good to have a strong sense of where I am heading with this great story. It could be my finest work.

All this activity happened yesterday, when I sat for most of the day with my laptop, listening to heavy metal on Youtube, and dreaming of great success, while doing something concrete to help achieve it. Devolution will be released with its new cover in just seven days.