FLASH FICTION Challenge #2 – try it, you might get addicted…

No, no, the title isn’t the prompt! :)

Stories for the first Flash Fiction Challenge  Love Gone Wrong ranged from putting the love-blame squarely on Jane Austen’s shoulders, to Lola’s suspicious mind and where it got her (besides an expensive plumbing bill, and that’s looking on the bright side), to a steam-punk romance where giving your heart takes on a new meaning,  to love in the trenches of domesticity – despite wearing sexy pants, to Curt’s doozy of a limerick.

‘Ma shut the cellar door that led to the bakery. They were always noisy at first,’  can be continued here, as can another tale about love not taking a straight path, even afterwards

Flash Fiction Challenge #2 is –

‘A lone street-light, a person and strange noises coming from the boot (trunk) of a car.’

Please feel welcome to have a go if you’re remotely tempted. Simple guidelines can be found here

I’m going to kick off Challenge #2

roadatnightbrokenhill_0525

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1zjBfNk

The knocking from the boot hit me hard in the chest.

Thump, thump.

Thump.

Losing concentration, I hit a dead kangaroo on the road. My car bounced, the headlight beams going berserk in the stark, low-lying scrub.

Silence.

I took a corner faster than usual at a railway crossing, rattling over the long abandoned tracks. No sound from the back.

Back on straight, level bitumen, then—clunk.

Fear pricked at my temples—this sound was unpredictable, made with intent. It wasn’t just my hockey stick rattling around back there. I should have tossed the potential weapon in the back seat after training.

The next thud vibrated through to the steering wheel. My hands gripped it tighter, remembering I had no phone reception out here.

The nearest police station was fifteen kilometres behind me. I was on my way to a party at Emma’s property, out of town. My best friend was playing matchmaker, and she’d invited an acquaintance who brewed beer using wild yeast collected from his beard. I warned Emma I wasn’t into microbiology, but she insisted I branch out from my usual type. She was probably right, magnetic but needy guys like Richard, my ex, were no longer on my radar.

Another heart-pounding bang and I spotted a lone street-light at a crossroad in the distance. A minute later my tyres crunched to a stop on the roadside gravel. The warm blanket of the night lay thick and still, and the sweet, childhood smell of dry grass through the open window should have been reassuring. I decided to keep my headlights on and the engine running. As I opened my door, a shooting star joined the dots in a diamond crusted sky.

Snatching a medium-sized rock from the ground, I approached the rear of the car, my hands trembling.

Not a thud now, but a shifting, scraping sound. There was definitely something in there—alive. I crept closer, fear knotting my stomach, panic clawing at my bowels.

Just then plastic cracked, shards of it splintering from a rear brake light after a vicious kick from inside. Leaping back, I knew I would not unlock that boot—not alone, not out here in the middle of nowhere. I was safer driving with this god-awful, terrible thing in my boot, and dealing with it at Emma’s.

Another hard blow sent blood pounding straight from my chest to my head. Turning to make a run for the driver’s door, I froze, detecting movement from my peripheral vision. To my horror the toe of a canvas shoe emerged from the damaged brake light, the lit bulb dangling below like a dislodged eye.

Red-hot-poker anger replaced my visceral fear. I knew that shoe.

I yanked the boot open so damn hard it almost slammed shut again.

Inside—trussed up by the wrists and ankles with nothing on but his shoes and Batman jocks was my ex-husband, grinning despite the gag—as if he’d just jumped out of a cake.

What will it take for him to move on?

(Susan Lattwein)

 

 

Posted in Australian fiction, Australian flash fiction, flash fiction, Flash Fiction Challenge #2, short story fiction, writing | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

New flash fiction prompt…

Here’s a new flash fiction prompt to experiment with — for fun — to allow contributors to try different writing styles and genres. In 500 words or less it’s a quick, simple and collaborative way to practice writing.

PROMPT -

A lone street light, a person (you?), and strange noises coming from the boot (trunk) of a car.

Reminders about flash fiction:

ff4

What is FLASH FICTION? In short—a very short story. Let’s not get too complicated here. It can be serious, funny, mysterious, scary, sad, romantic, adventure, sci-fi, historical etc, etc, your call. (Please no erotica.)

  • Due to its brevity, you may wish to start your FF story in the middle (eg, the woman ran into her lover’s arms, still in his prison uniform …)  FF often ends in a twist, or a punch line. Hit them where it hurts.
  • Flash fiction is a complete story (has a beginning, middle and end). It’s often rich in interpretation, its language compressed.
  • Ask yourself, is every word necessary to your story? Distilling experience into a few paragraphs forces writers to pay close attention to what they’re doing. It’s great editing practice to remove everything that isn’t essential to the setting, the action, the feelings of the characters, or moving the story forwards.
  • The fewer characters the better.
  • Inferred meanings give the reader a puzzle to solve, rather than stating the obvious. A little mystery goes a long way—make the mystery worthwhile, lure the reader to the end.
  • FF can be prose, poetry, a song.
  • Commenting and giving feedback on stories is definitely encouraged (like a friendly writing group would). As always, be helpful, be nice. And a bit of hilarity is good for the soul, too.

It’s easy, just submit your work in the comments section of my next post , NOT THIS ONE or it will be hard for readers to find. (I’ll publish Saturday morning, 28 February, Sydney, Australia time.)

500 words or less, with your name and the link to your blog if you have one. (That way readers can go and check out what else you get up to if they wish.)

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Put on those writing wings! You’ll never, never know where that story might go.

book

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1AbElrG

(All rights to works published here will be retained by the original authors.)

P.S. I’m sure your entries will be less scary than my attempt to teach FF to an over-imaginative Year 5. They got uber-keen and put together a book for me with titles like The Cannibals, The Three Little Pigs Attack, The Parasite Is Coming, Death In a Car Boot (timely, at least), The Curse of the Crazy Killing Blood-Dripping Vertebrate, The Night In Hell and others I’m still too scared to share. (They got you’re right so I am happy)

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Posted in Australian flash fiction, editing, flash fiction, Wordpress, writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Interview with a vampire!!!

Yes, an interview with a vampire!! IN REAL LIFE!! – as my kids would say.

I was lucky enough to ask Christopher, the vampire from Marigold Deidre Dicer’s The Black Swan Inheritance a few questions.

the-black-swan-inheritance-final-cover
First, here is a description of the novel.

‘Anita had the kind of reputation in high school no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening.
The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer.  But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.
She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.
If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.’

Okay here we go -

Thanks for the opportunity to ask you a few questions, Christopher. I’ve never interviewed a vampire before …

Not at all. It is so rare I speak to a human about my nature. I appreciate your open mind.

Please tell me how a human can turn into a vampire?

And here I expected you would begin with the easier questions…

I must admit, I was not aware of my own transformation to vampirism. As a general rule of thumb, people who kill themselves do not expect to have to claw themselves up and out of their grave three days later. If anything, I expected fire and brimstone for taking the coward’s route, and instead I was given a second chance.

Admittedly, it took another lifetime to recognise it as such…

The ritual requires blood magic, darkness, and earth. I am not certain of the particulars beyond that, although I have since discovered committing suicide is not a requirement. It was a natural assumption, since all of my fellow vampires were killed by their own hand. Either the old master targeted vulnerable people to raise from the dead, or the ritual was more applicable to us for another reason.

What is it like, flying? I’ve only done it in dreams.

I take the form of a bat to fly, which immediately feels restrictive until you get used to the short feet and oversized hands. The act of taking off and landing are the challenging parts, although I believe that has more to do with trying to consciously think about the mechanics as opposed to letting my new instincts take over. I would compare it to riding a bike – it is not difficult, as long as you make sure you don’t think too hard about it. And as with a bike, once you get used to it the motions become effortless and exhilarating.

It is fun.

It would be. What are you afraid of?

I would like to say I no longer fear death, but that would be a lie. Death is still the great unknown, and, as I mentioned before, the first time I died was not a final death.

I am not looking forward to discovering true and final death.

I fear for Anita, and the safety of the nest. She is strong, but there are stronger monsters in this world, and if she were to be challenged the consequences could be disastrous. For practical reasons, I do not want another to claim her. I have felt the abuse of a mad master – she does not deserve the same.

You don’t have to answer this, but why did you consider yourself a broken soul?

Oh, so, so many reasons. Committing suicide is a mortal sin. Ever since I was resurrected I felt like a shell of a man, my only purpose to follow the master’s commands and wait for the end of days. In retrospect, I was given no choices. I spent my nights praying for a forgiveness I knew I would never receive. It was easier to belief myself a weapon, a tool waiting to be picked up and used. Until then, I had to fight the temptation of hope.

Anita has gotten you out of a major pickle. How do you feel about that?

Our first meeting did not go to plan, I will admit that. I almost wonder what would have happened once the sun rose. Having been told our mortally wounded bodies would turn to ash, where would that leave me? A ghost?

While she did do me a great favour, she was acting in her own interest as well. I was honestly surprised she was not interested in using me, even though I was her pawn. I am grateful to her. She might not always act as a leader should, but her intentions are noble.  Well, for the most part.

Ahem, just like yours? Moving on, what are your big dreams, despite being dead?

I never thought of unlife as a second life. Anita changed that, for me and for my fellow vampires. She has provided us the freedom to seek our own purpose, within reason, of course. We still die with the night, only to rise again when darkness falls. Thankfully, in this modern society that is not such a hindrance.

While this freedom is certainly appreciated, the power we have gained also ensures that hunting is much quicker and safer, for all involved. I have yet to determine where, specifically, I should direct all the free time I now have. I still worship God but now my reading material has broadened to include history, current affairs, even novels. The internet is a wealth of knowledge for the common man.

I have found myself contemplating where my family is now. I wonder, did my brother survive the war? Is my mother still alive?

Am I an uncle?

I will not search the answers to these questions until I am confident I can handle them.

There’s obviously chemistry between you and Anita, and I was hoping you two would be exchanging more than blood. Do you have any teasers you can share for the second book in the Black Swan Inheritance?

Things between me and Anita are strained. Her nature and my desires are not easily compatible. The Black Swan is the witch of seduction; it is where she gains her magic. She cannot be faithful to me, and so we are at an impasse.

I respect her greatly, and am undoubtedly attracted to her, but it is impossible for us to have a healthy romantic relationship. I will be her loyal confident, and will support her, but I cannot have hope that we can ever be together.

Not unless something changes.

Well, I look forward to the second book in the series, and discovering what’s in store for you, Anita and the other characters. I hope I haven’t kept you up, or out, or anything …. Christopher? Oops, he must have flown off.

That interview gave me the shivers!! Visit Marigold’s blog, Versus Blurb for more details.

 

 

Posted in Australian urban paranormal fantasy, Marigold Deidre Dicer, The Black Swan Inheritance, urban paranormal fantasy, vampire, Versus Blurb, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Character Interview with @SusanLattwein ‘s Lily from the Arafura Series

Susan Lattwein:

Marigold asked Lily (Kat’s sister from ARAFURA) some up-front questions. If you ask me I think they’re a little similar… (not a bad thing at all!) :)

Originally posted on Versus Blurb:

24713706My first ever character interview is with Lily, the boisterous and excitable sister of protagonist Kat Howard from Arafura.

Thanks for joining me Lily. Now, I’ve gotten to know your sister quite well these past few months, and she is obviously passionately in love with Adam. What’s your attitude to wuv, twue wuv? Are you going to search for it, or wait for it to fall in your lap?

True love? No such thing, babe! My sister, Kat, thinks there is, even love at first sight (I guess Adam is a catch but he’s not as hot as Ben). Knights in shining armour on their trusty steeds don’t exist, just ordinary (some less than ordinary) dudes trying to navigate their boats like the rest of us. Let’s face it, we all have issues. I do love Ben, (you have me worried now that I’m not demonstrative enough in public…). I guess he’s the…

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LOVE GONE WRONG – Valentine’s Day flash fiction

‘Falling’ in love 

Kat paddled to stay afloat, her skin chartreuse-yellow in the deep, crystal water. Close up, Adam’s wet eyelashes seemed longer.

Male mascara.

“Jump with me,” he challenged. “Just from the cliff.”

Kat shook her head. No way.

“I dare you.”

I hardly know you, AND I’m engaged.

Taking in his wide grin, Kat’s treacherous heart was already jumping. Biting her cheek, she appraised the cliff from the safety of the plunge pool. It didn’t seem that high, not as crazy as the waterfall he’d just leapt off.

“Will it shut you up?”

“Perhaps.” His voice rode roughshod over her common sense.

Florence Falls - the jump

Florence Falls, NT – the jump

A few minutes later they’d climbed to the ledge of the tapering, ancient rock formation. In truth, Adam climbed and Kat had scrambled. The initial ascent had been easy, but soon Kat’s leg muscles were straining for scarce footholds in the rock face. The near-vertical climb just below the summit took her by surprise, as did the realisation that a girl’s modesty could be compromised. Kat wished she’d wrapped her sarong around the parts of her she prayed Adam wasn’t getting a bird’s eye view of. She stopped, one foot wedged in a rocky crevice.

“You go in front,” she panted—trying not to.

“Are you okay?” Adam voice sounded uncomfortably close, below her. He hauled himself up like a gymnast, and his chest and shoulders took her eyes hostage.

Kat wiped slick perspiration off her forehead with the back of a gritty hand. Beads of sweat ran down last summer’s bikini top, the perishing elastic ties holding everything in place, for now.

Man, it’s too hot for this.

Soon Adam was above her, leaning down to offer a helping hand.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

On the ledge, Kat stood from a crouch like a new-born foal. Looking down, she rehearsed the jump.

Why did it look less daunting from below? How did I end up being this guy’s babysitter?

Adam moved closer, and she flinched. “Don’t touch me!”

He took in the powerful, cascading water, and once again she was appalled at the horrific scars on his back. “This place is … ,” his gaze returned to her, “gorgeous.”

“Yep, drop-dead gorgeous.”

Adam laughed. His board shorts hung low, and Kat tore her eyes away from an arresting hip bone.

“Funny you should say that. Last year five people died jumping off waterfalls in Australia.”

Kat’s knees buckled.

“Sorry. Just kidding … you don’t watch Bear Grylls, I guess.”

I’m stuck up here with a joker.

“It’s okay,” he said, solemn now, and this time she accepted his outstretched hand.

They approached the edge, and Kat’s eyes widened at the drop below.

“I’m scared.”

Their eyes locked, and Kat’s stomach fluttered with fear and a thrill she wasn’t prepared to analyse right now.

“On three … one, two, three!”  Adam’s last word echoed across the cliffs.

 *

Kat surfaced first, gasping, her fear far behind her. She felt light, free, almost … naked.

Hang on … where’s my bikini top?

(A tweaked excerpt from Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears)

Now it’s your turn. It goes without saying that everyone owns their own work. :)

 

pinkheart

 

 

Posted in Arafura Blood The Wet and Tears, Australian flash fiction, Australian flash fiction romance, Darwin NT, flash fiction, flash fiction romance, love, love stories, romantic suspense, short love story, short story fiction, Valentines Day, Wordpress, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

LOVE GONE WRONG … submit your Valentine’s day flash fiction

Next week’s post is open to everyone inspired to write a 500 word (or less) story with the following theme –

Love gone wrong …

‘Love gone wrong …’ is very open to interpretation re time, setting, genre,  …  characters –

Hamsters

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1vwx1XO

… circumstance, love itself, or what wrong might mean.  In fiction, the plot of every love story needs conflict, something has to go wrong. A twist on Shakespeare perhaps ….

ten

10 Things I Hate About You movie. Photo credit:http://bit.ly/1DNZSpw

Or even a funny song about Love Gone Wrong … (thank-you Flight of the Conchords)

Girlfriends from the Past …. by Flight of the Conchords

Loretta, broke my heart in a letter

She told me she was leaving and her life would be better

Joan, broke it off over the phone

After the tone, she left me alone

Jen said she’d never ever see me again

When I saw her again, she said it again

Jan met another man

Liza got amnesia, just forgot who I am

Felicity, said there was no electricity

Emily, no chemistry

Fran, ran, she turned out to be a man

Flo had to go, I couldn’t go with the flow

Carol Brown just took a bus out of town

But I’m hoping that you’ll stick around

(Check out the quirky comic duo below)

Back to FLASH FICTION.  What is it? In short—a very short story.

Some FF hints  –

  • Start the story in the middle (eg, The woman ran into her lover’s arms, still in his prison uniform …) FF often has abrupt beginnings and sudden endings.
  • A little mystery goes a long way—make the mystery worthwhile, lure the reader to the end.
  • The fewer characters the better.
  • Flash fiction often ends in a twist, or a punch line.
  • Flash fiction is a complete story (has a beginning, middle and end). It’s often rich in interpretation, compressed and highly charged.
  • Ask yourself, is every word essential to your story?
  • FF can be prose, poetry, a song.

The South Australian Writers Centre’s description of flash fiction is here

It’s easy, just submit your work in the comments section of my next post (I’ll publish 9am Saturday 14 February, Sydney, Australia time)

500 words or less, with your name and the link to your blog if you have one. (That way readers can go and check out what else you get up to if they wish. Or they can comment on my post and you can chat amongst yourselves.)

Perhaps you already have something in mind? Or an idea might pop into your head on a walk, driving the car, taking a shower, watching TV  …..

No explicit erotica, thanks.

Theme – Love gone wrong …….

Love is in the air, or not!

cupid 1

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1DNWWtc

 

Posted in flash fiction, flash fiction romance, Love Gone Wrong, romance, Romantic comedy, romantic suspense, short love story, Valentines Day, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Long love-story short…

Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe

Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe

His future wife and her girlfriend rented a terrace just off Glebe Point Road, barely wide enough for a room and a hallway. Up the corkscrew staircase the atelier burst with city lights at night. There was a spare room, more of a cupboard under the stairs. He was looking for a room…

Stay away from Rory, their friends warned, you’ll be sorry.

She’d seen Rory’s enthusiasm for uni festivities first hand, and heard a few stories about why he’d failed the year before. But despite all this, his ready laugh rang in her ears.

Besides, she never did actually see him swallow that live goldfish.

Rory moved in, bumping his head against the doorframe, squeezing his Salvo’s mattress on top of pilfered milk crates.

Soon the terrace rocked with his parties, humming with strangers and music and alcohol. Rory shouldn’t have, but he really did dance like no one was looking. It didn’t bother her, she’d disappear with her swanky boyfriend.

More wank than swank, muttered Rory, cycling past the dude’s red MG on his way to odd jobs in Balmain and Harold Park. Rory studied harder. He concocted blubbery lamb stews that even the toilet rejected. He churned out custard like orange gap-filler, then polished off her rice pudding in the fridge.

Rory’s two flatmates rolled their eyes at him behind his old school jumper, at his Volleys with holes. But he clicked the shears over the postage-stamp lawn out the back. Rory washed up, and he fixed the leak in the roof.

Rory let his future wife paint his toenails red before they visited the Fish Markets. Once she cried on his shoulder. Another night he rang her late, drunk and sentimental. They laughed, but never mentioned it the next day.

Instead, they began to sneak the odd, sideways glance at each other.

Rory put off working overseas after his thesis, just to make sure she’d be ok.

Looking back, they should have bought that terrace, it would be worth a fortune now.

Susan Lattwein – copyright.

(How did you meet your partner?) :)

Posted in flash fiction, flash fiction romance, Glebe, partners, short love story | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

In Training

 

train

Absorbed in her book, the young woman inched closer to the window as he plonked himself down next to her in the near empty carriage.

She let out a sigh. Why beside her?

The guard blew his whistle and the train jerked to a start as if it had a learner driver. Tousled, blonde hair appeared in her peripheral vision, her personal space. Her brows furrowed as her co-passenger craned to see what she was reading. She tilted the book away.

“So—”

No reaction.

“Do you travel on this line often?”

She glanced up, reluctant to give the guy any attention. Her sister had a name for her expression – ‘resting bitch-face’. It usually worked.

“That’s pathetic,” she muttered, coaxing wayward hair behind an ear before returning to her book. She wanted to tell him he had eyes like a fox, soft and sharp all at once. But that would be weird.

He grinned, surprised yet delighted at her accent, and shifted a little closer now he was getting a reaction.

“Seriously, I’m just getting this amazing vibe from you,” he said, his voice low. “I think you should let me buy you a drink.”

He seemed a little younger than her, but the woman’s fingers froze on her book. She crossed one leg over the other.

“I think you should leave me alone,” she replied, eyes on the page but no longer reading.

“Come on, admit it.” The whisper of his voice had a hoarse edginess. “You’re feeling it too.”

Silence.

Her co-passenger was undeterred. “Either I’ve met you in my dreams, or—”

His bold gaze took in the smooth curves of her breasts, coming to linger where her caramel thighs met the fabric of her sundress. The young woman pulled the hem down as far as it would go, her eyes finding refuge in her novel.

“Or—” Sensitive fingers thrummed the side of his skinny knee. His voice dropped a notch further. “Or we’ve been lovers in a past life. In fact, I bet you have a Jack Russell tattooed on one of your extremely captivating buttocks.”

A sharp intake of breath came from the young woman, there and gone in an instant. She shut the book, adjusting the strap of the satchel-handbag on her shoulder. Their eyes locked for the second time.

“You are not only vulgar, but nauseatingly presumptuous.” She spoke slowly, enunciating her words with care. The train bucked to a stop and she got up, planting her feet apart for balance, waiting for him to let her pass.

The young man ignored her silent request, the corner of his mouth lifting at her rebuke. “What a co-incidence.” He sat up, straightening his shoulders. “This is my stop too.”

“Excuse me,” came a voice from two seats behind.

The young woman turned around.

The older passenger’s face showed concern. “Would you like some help?”

The young troublemaker crossed his arms, intrigued. The man shot him an indignant glare.

“Thanks very much for the offer,” she answered, giving him a reassuring smile. Leaning away from her unwanted admirer, she whispered, hand to her mouth. “I’m a black-belt.”

“Well….er…you should still tell the guard.”

***

With a spring in her step, the young woman headed straight for the station exit, looking back only once.

After stopping briefly to attend to his phone, the young man hurried, dodging a few people to catch up. Behind her lithe figure, he was a beanpole, his young shoulder blades threatening to transform into plates of armour.

Soon he was only a step away.

Grasping her hand and swinging her round, he kissed her hard, on the mouth.  It was so sudden the handbag slipped from her shoulder, dropping to the ground.

The young woman resisted. Grabbing hold of his barely-there backside, she dug her nails in—harder as the muscles clenched, resisting attack.

“Jack Russell, my arse,” she whispered in his ear.

He laughed in the silky softness of her hair, breathing her in.

Only then did she return his kiss, finally turning to go. “Rehearsals are early tonight. Don’t be late.”

Copyright: Susan Lattwein

 

 

 

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Indie Book Review: Arafura – Unfinished Business (Book 2) by Susan Lattwein

Susan Lattwein:

Thanks Marigold! :)

Originally posted on Versus Blurb:

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Review:

This book starts off with a bang, and it keeps on delivering. Nicely paced with good doses of action, drama and romance, I absolutely recommend it. After reading the first book, I knew it couldn’t end there, and the sequel takes everything that was great and builds on it, raising the stakes to a thoroughly satisfying ending. I loved all the supporting characters, who each had their own quirks and stories to tell. Kat’s world was wonderful to dive back into, and the tropical setting of Darwin was as prominent as in the first book. Isn’t it nice to venture into a different part of the world?

While I found it difficult to classify the first Arafura book in terms of genre, this one falls neatly into suspense romance. It’s the first I’ve read of that genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and so I’m open to reading…

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Have you created something that gave others a buzz?

Michael Leunig is a treasured Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet who I’ve posted about before. Leunig recently visited my workplace and shared a few honest and humble insights about his creative process.

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Michael Leunig Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1I7f19p

At the beginning of almost every project, Leunig shared that he sinks into something similar to self-loathing. He asks himself, ‘What on earth makes me think I can write about something I’m not an expert on?’ (I wonder if that’s the point where many of us stop, listen to our negative inner chatterbox and go no further.) Eventually, from the ashes of this dark, doubtful and uncertain place, with a very deflated ego, he begins to create.

In his cartoons, Leunig hopes to be interpreted more as a catalyst for discussion rather than someone with a firm opinion.

UnderstandascopeCropped_WordWEB.jpg

Credit: Michael Leunig

He spoke about the under-rated appreciation of ‘mature innocence’, a quality he uses to explores emotions, or, as his website states –

‘the idea of an innocent and sacred personal world, the fragile ecosystem of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world.’

For example –

‘We pray for the fragile ecology of the heart and the mind. The sense of meaning. So finely assembled  and balanced and so easily overturned. The careful, ongoing construction of love. As painful and exhausting as the struggle for truth and as easily abandoned.

Hard fought and won are the shifting sands of this sacred ground, this ecology. Easy to desecrate and difficult to defend, this vulnerable joy, this exposed faith, this precious order. This sanity.

We shall be careful. With others and with ourselves.’

AMEN (Michael Leunig)

Leuning

Credit: Michael Leunig

I can’t begin to do this thoughtful, gentle, spiritual (yet not religious) and outspoken artist justice here. But the reason I’m blathering on about him again is a story from his childhood that Leunig used as a metaphor.

As a youngster Michael Leunig lived in the bush, and like many children he believed in fairies and pixies.

Down by a creek near his home, he’d create miniature gardens for the magic folk to play in – using sticks, pebbles, flowers and whatever was at hand. In the morning he’d go and see if his garden had had visitors overnight, and he was always sure he saw tiny footprints in the dirt.

Leunig likens his creative works as an adult to those tiny gardens he made in the bush as a young boy. If a reader wanders through his work (like the magic folk) and enjoys it, is enriched by the experience—then that gives him, the creator, great pleasure. More pleasure than awards and accolades.

That’s when I realised that should be enough. When we create something (cook a meal, write a book/post, paint, sew, compose, make a home/family etc), it really is a wonderful compliment to know that someone enjoyed the experience our creation gave them.

It is enough.

Have you created something others have enjoyed? How did it feel?

Michael lenig2

Fairies or angels? Credit: Michael Leunig

Note: Quite a few male colleagues admitted how much they enjoyed listening to Michael Leunig (who doesn’t shy away from feelings and emotions). Should be more of it. :)

 www.leunig.com.au

 

 

 

Posted in creative process, Leunig, Michael Leunig, writing, writing and confidence | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments