Tag Archives: writing

The Pleasures and Pains of #Editing.

It’s been a long slog, but it’s finally done! My latest novel deals with contentious themes and these proved a source of much discussion between me …

The Pleasures and Pains of #Editing.

An interesting post from Stuart on the pleasures and pains of editing a novel. If you’re a writer or planning to publish, you may find this post particularly helpful.

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

And the best way to know you’re a real writer? You get this gorgeous geek-writer QUERTY painting from the amazing, incredible, real painter-type …

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

Here’s a funny, wry, realistic piece about being a writer from Barb Taub. If you’re not familiar with Barb, please have a good visit at her blog. It will be time well spent. 🙂

Tummy Trouble (Three Word Challenge)

This post is in response to Brian Lageose’s Three Word Challenge. The idea is to write a story based on three words that Brian has assigned. Mine are: elusive, bawdy and trampoline. For whatever it’s worth, here’s the result (and yup, I’m still thinking about the personal implications of that word assignment … 😉 ) And do be sure to visit Brian’s site – https://brianlageose.blog. You will be happy you did. 🙂

Jack kept squirming in his seat. For some reason, he was uncomfortable. He vaguely felt as if he might throw up, which was really odd, because his girlfriend had just made his favourite pasta for supper, carbonara. He loved carbonara and always enjoyed it.

He considered the situation.

Suddenly his stomach gurgled and then he really did feel close to yakking, but somehow he also didn’t feel ill sick. It was more like … like … what was it? Guilt sick?

Why would I feel guilty, he asked himself.

Jack examined the last few days for any signs of a moral hangover but couldn’t think of anything.

“Is everything okay?” his girlfriend asked. She sounded a bit alarmed. “Have I done something to upset you?”

He stopped the ferocious gnawing he was administering to his fingernail and regarded her. He realised that he had been chewing and vacantly staring. “Oh no. Everything’s fine. I just am suddenly not feeling very well. My stomach is bothering me. That’s all.”

It occurred to him that he wanted to keep this one. She was always so pliant and concerned about pleasing him.

“Okay. Is there anything I can do for you? Get you an antacid? Carbonara is pretty rich.”

“Not really. I think I just have to ride this out. Sometimes my stomach bothers me and I don’t really know why.”

Suddenly, Jack leaped up and sprang for the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind him. He just made it to the toilet before bringing up the morning’s toast and everything else but his shoelaces. He heaved until he was empty and then draped himself over the edge of the toilet. He was exhausted and sweating.

Finally, he leaned back against the bathtub and hoped that he was finished.

Ten seconds later, a wave of nausea wracked him again, and he scrambled desperately for the toilet.

If he could just remember why he felt so guilty, he could stop feeling so sick. He thought he had a piece of it, but it slithered elusively into his mind’s attic.

If only this heaving would stop, I’d be able to think clearly and then … and then I would have the answer and then I wouldn’t be sick, he thought.

Thoughts bounced around in his head like they were springing from a trampoline.

What did I do?

What was it???

A dress. A green dress.

Emerald green. Yes. That’s it.

But what about it? Why did I think of it?

You know why, said the mouse.

It peeked at him from around the edge of the toilet bowl brush, its delicate white whiskers trembling knowingly, its wise gaze unflinching and unruffled.

Did that mouse just talk to me, Jack asked the room.

Yes, said the mouse, I did. Don’t you remember me? We talked a lot about that green dress. Or more specifically, about that bawdy relic who was inhabiting it. She was way too old for you. And way too forward. And besides, finding women in bars was never really your thing. Don’t you remember?

Ohhh yeah, Jack said. Yeah. I remember now.

Just then his girlfriend rapped on the bathroom door.

“Are you all right in there? Is there anything I can do?”

She rattled the door handle.

Jesus Christ, thought Jack. Can’t she leave me in peace when I’m sick in the bathroom? Just leave me the fuck alone, he raged silently.

“Jack?? Are you okay? Are you able to answer me?”

He heard her fiddling with the handle, trying to get the door open.

Fuck this, Jack thought as he started furiously ripping up floorboards.

He forgot about the mouse.

He forgot about the green dress.

He forgot about everything.

As the floorboards came up faster and faster, a heavy, clear plastic glinted at the edge of the light.

It covered something green.


Jack awoke to the sound of a sports recap show. He was stretched out in his recliner but felt uncomfortable and cold and his neck hurt. He was ravenously hungry.

He rummaged in the fridge and found some leftover pasta from dinner.

He vaguely remembered having had a fight with the maker of the dinner and he somehow thought she had left, but just then he was too hungry to think about it.

He finished his plate and began to shuffle off to bed, the notion that he was forgetting something twitching at the edge of his memory.

He felt so tired!

But tomorrow is another day, he thought. I’ll think about it then.


A Crabeater Seal graces an ice floe in the Pen...
A Crabeater Seal graces an ice floe in the Penola Strait, Antarctica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dreams of adventure consumed her every night before sleep claimed her. Wrapped in the thick comforter as the heat from the downstairs fireplace lent the last vestiges of warmth before cooling, the ticking of the contracting timbers further lulled her entry.

The hero charging the menace and saving the town. The crowd cheering in grateful abandon.

The rescue of hundreds from a dense jungle.

The rush to save the boy trapped on an ice floe.

She had done it all.

And always, the gratitude, the beaming congratulations, the modest thanks.

Hard work in the morning. Helping her father with the hay, the sheep, the cows, running, hauling, pulling, sweating in the sun.

And, staying out of her mother’s grasp. The tight, hot kitchen with its endless jobs repulsed her. The real work was outside. But somehow, her mother’s company appealed to her, even as she hated it and fought it and forced herself to help her father.

Outside was important. There were many possibilities there.  But you had to prove yourself. Prove your strength.  Prove your mettle. Prove your unemotional goodness.

Inside was different and to be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t important. It was …  it was …  it was less.

But there anyway. Forced into it. Dragged into it. Her father ordering her back to the kitchen and telling her that her mother needed her.

Listening to her mother’s stories of long-ago dances when she was pretty and admired, the dream shifted. She became concerned about what she might wear to the jungle. How would she look? What would she do about her hair?

And later …  she was the one being rescued from the jungle.

But still … but still. The desire for more!

To be able to choose. To choose to accept.

No. You’re a girl.

But working outside … yes.

No. You’re a girl.

She didn’t know when the crying started.  Why are you crying, her father asked.

She couldn’t answer. Inarticulacy choked her. Shut off the air. Tears rolled down her cheeks.  Women, her father muttered before stomping off.

Later, she dreamed that she was trapped on an ice floe.

There was no one to rescue her.


Barcelona Despierta
Barcelona Despierta (Photo credit: morpheus17pro)

Being raised as she was it all seemed normal. No one around her hankered after more and she pretended not to, either.

She made do with the undercurrents of desire that at times made her jaw clench in frustration. A tiny square of soap from Barcelona.  A coyote pin covered in rabbit fur, rubbed almost naked.  A rock containing small, gold-coloured flecks that were pronounced as “real” and left in permanent idle uselessness on a mantel-shelf.

On her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and hanging out the newly washed denims and shirts in the sun to dry, the barely controlled dreams charged each other in a mind-jumble.  Her bed with its rough-smooth sheets and the extra pillows sometimes clenched between her legs and the hot water bottle against the cramps. The closet with many work clothes and one Sunday dress.

To leave. To get away.

To love. To experience a passion that could inspire novels.

To eat mysterious foods and drink from green bottles.

To wear silk. Even though she had only read about it and had never touched it in her life.


How to get there.

Already her mother was eyeing the environment. Sizing, evaluating, casting off, considering.

The boy with the crooked leg. The screaming widower who already had four small ones.  A friend from school – a brother, really. The men with the muscles and grins of youth who fished and hauled lumber. There were many of them.

She could envision all of them in her dreams, encoiled.

And not happening, nothing at all. Except scrubbing floors. And hanging fresh laundry in the sun. And killing chickens. And remembering when anything was possible.

Even staying.

It’s Pass the Game on Time!

École élémentaire Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau
Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ramblings from a Mum has passed on a cute game to me and I’m passing it on to others. Hope you have a little fun with this! 🙂


1. Post these rules.

2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you.

3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.

4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.

5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Please note that I have to break rule # 2. Can’t post a picture of myself as I would be concerned that my ex-narcissist/husband might find it. Sorry. But I will explain the blue square. I’m sure you’re dying to know.

It’s supposed to be a picture of some clouds taken from above them. That picture actually shows up in bar at the top of the page, but nowhere else. For some reason only known to Zeus and Aphrodite, when I go visiting other blogs it simply shows up as a blue square. And actually in my sidebar, too. Go figure. Anyway, sky and clouds and weather are a big thing for me because I’m a pilot.

So, on to the game!

Here are Rambly’s questions to me:

1. What started you blogging?

I started because I wanted to throw my voice into the growing chorus of warning about the dangers of narcissists.

2. What are your worst and best traits?

Hummm. You just want one of each??? Especially the best traits? 😉

I have many worst traits. One of them is that I have had to really work on creating personal boundaries; in the past people have taken advantage of me.

My best trait is my sense of humour. Sometimes I can be funny. Really.

3. What is your favourite animal and why?

Dogs! Who is ever going to be as unconditional as a dog?

4. Who would you like to meet and why?

Good question. Not sure. Probably Pierre Trudeau. He was a PM of Canada who’s dead now. He was witty, smart, and completely irreverent and arrogant. He had something to be arrogant about, though. Lots of people really disliked him, but no matter what they say, he loved this country.

5. What is your favourite memory?

My most recent one is the day I met M. 🙂

6. If you had the power to change something in the world for the better, what would it be?

Wait a sec … just getting out my Harry Potter wand – oh yeah! I keep forgetting! It’s in laundry. Good chance I’ll never see it again. Well. To the answer. Everyone would have an equal opportunity at education.

7. What country would you like to visit that you haven’t been to?

Australia! No kidding! Have always wanted to visit! 🙂

8. If you could invent something, what would it be?

A yard work robot/machine/whatever. Something that will do yard work for me. I HATE yard work.

9. Who inspires me?

There have been many inspirations. M inspires me. A colleague inspires me. Seeing people give of themselves inspires me.

10. What is your favourite food?

Anything Italian. I love pasta! Yay Italy!

11. Have you read my memoir and if not, why?

Um, no. Have you read mine? 😉 (Actually, have been meaning to read it – just haven’t gotten to it yet.)

Okay. So now it’s my turn. Here are my questions (with my thanks to my predecessors from whom I have stolen one or two):

1. If you had a chance to go back five years from today, and knowing what you know, what would you tell yourself?

2. Who inspires you?

3. What makes you laugh?

4. Why do you blog?

5. What is your favourite animal?

6. What is your favourite travel destination?

7. Who would you like to meet (dead or alive)?

8. What is your favourite food?

9. What annoys you?

10. If you could change something in your life, what would it be?

11. What do you do to relax yourself?

I hope you play!

1. Jenny Pellett

2. Living in the Lange

3. I Am a Heathen

4. Lusiana Njo

5. One Old Sage

6. Teeny Bikini

7. Kimberly Harding

Time for a Change

So I’m thinking of changing the title of my blog.

When I first started this project, all I wanted to do was throw my voice into the growing chorus of warning about narcissists and the damage they can do to the rest of us. And I intend to keep posting about that topic.

But I also find that more and more, I want to post about other things – as you’ve probably noticed.

It’s interesting how this blog has changed since I started it – it has almost taken on a life of its own, something that I think is a good sign of growth and moving on – a very suitable notion for spring.

And I have moved on. I no longer feel the intense urgency to write about narcissism that I did in the beginning. I have crossed a Rubicon of sorts – I’m no longer inside the box but outside, having a peek, grateful that I’m no longer trapped in there. In the light – a much better place to be.

In tandem with this is the fact that I have a wonderful relationship with M, that we’re making plans together, that despite the crap, one can have a perfectly ordinary, perfectly good life again.

Yes, I was married to a narcissist. And I lived through it, even though there were days when I seriously thought I was losing my mind. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I felt like I was in hell.

I’m still cleaning up the financial mess that he left me with and I will be doing that for a while, but M is also helping me.

There are times when I still wish that I had never laid eyes on him, but then I remember how much I have learned, and I would never want to give that up, in spite of how much it cost me.

But I’ve moved on and my blog title should, too.

Any suggestions? 🙂

Still Here, Still Reading

First of all, acknowledgements: I got this idea from Ramblings from a Mum, so thank you, Ramblings!

Over the last four months I’ve been recuperating from a major surgery and as I started to feel better I also started this blog. Now, all healed, it’s time for me to return to work.

Rusty recuperating after surgery
Rusty recuperating after surgery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This means that I won’t be able to make as many comments as I’ve been making – I shall often have to make do with just clicking “like.”

That doesn’t mean that I’m not reading. In fact, I don’t believe in following a blog unless I am going to read it. Otherwise, what’s the point? An attempt at better stats? Well, I suppose, but I believe that that somewhat defeats the point of having a blog. Isn’t it all about putting your writing and ideas out there to get some feedback, whether good or bad?

I have so very much enjoyed getting to “know” some of you. Scott Williams, Kimberly Harding, planetjan, ruleofstupid, Ramblings from a Mum, Teeny Bikini. The ideas, humour and honesty that you share with the rest of us are inspiring. I have learned so much from doing this and from  you, in particular.

To everyone who has either chosen to follow me, to click like, or just to stop and take a look, thank you. I never thought that so many of you would be interested in reading my  stuff.  So, I’m still here and still reading (and writing) – just with a little less time available!