Friday, August 31, 2012

Thought for the Week

Apart from all the fuss with the apple in Eden, I wonder what would have happened if Adam and Eve didn't hit it off on their first date.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Writing tip

I have had a method that keeps me interested in the story that I am working on.

Every so often writers get 'blank periods', and writers' blanks are not very good, as we wish to keep an idea moving and continuous.

I do this—every so often, I put in some sort of completely unrelated incident or moment and when I bog down I then go to that point in the story to see if I can weave it into my yarn so far.

This written moment is not necessarily permanent—I mean all you have to do is highlight and press delete and it is gone—however, I do not delete this teaser until I am happy with the story as it is.

It is only mind games, but isn't writing fiction mind games?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thought of the week

The Australian law system leaves a lot to be desired.

Did you know that it is not legal for a man to marry his widow's sister?

That's terrible Muriel!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Two Mates at the Pub

My mate, Norm, he doesn't usually get despondent, well not up to, maybe the tenth schooner, but normally, like when us blokes are 'bonding' in the pub.

As you know bonding between us blokes is a very important part of our development.  There is no way we could be such good partners if it wasn't for the male bonding thing.  It is also well known that the only suitable place to male bond is at the pub, the club, the footy, the race track and all those great male bonding venues, right?

So, I was bonding with me' mate, Norm. I had just had a beer with Duncan, who is also a mate, but it seemed that I could not go home and leave Norm in his deep despondent mood.  No self respecting bonded male would, would you, mate?

"Mate," Norm said, "Mate, I don't have any idea what I have done wrong. I've tried to be what every woman expects of her man." 

I could see that this might be a bit of a long session so I ordered a couple more schooners, and took the money out of the change in front of Norm, that's what mates are for, hey?

"Mate,"Norm said again, although I am pretty sure he knows my name, "Mate, what are ya' supposed to do? I mean women expect a man to spend more time at the pub with their mates, than they do at home with her and the kids, I do that, but it makes no difference. My missus," who I am sure Norm also knows by name, continued, "Take taking out the garbage, I don't take out the garbage because she would not be able to say, 'You never take out the garbage', would she, mate?"

"Yeah Mate! They are never satisfied," I offered.

"Ill tell ya' wot, mate, they are never satisfied," Norm mumbled in the bubbles of his beer.

"When are ya' gunna' mow the lawn?" she yells. "I'll do it tomorra', I say. 'No leave it, I'll do it' she rants. So what am supposed to say, I mean tomorra' there is a good game on TV between the blues and the other mob. I mean she expects me to watch the footy instead of mowin' the lawn, so what is she on about?"

"Ya' got me, Mate, They are never satisfied, that's the problem."

And I know my wisdom has helped me' mate Norm in his problem, otherwise there would be no point in male bonding, eh?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Me as Some Other

I used to travel Cyber Space, or if you prefer, the Internet, as Marakorpa.  Marakorpa has had a bit written about him here and there, so I will tell you who he is, or isn't as the case may be.

Well, Marakorpa is no one really, just a name I assumed.  Marakorpa is a name from a Tasmanian dialect among the Aboriginals.  Marakorpa means handsome man, so it is obvious why I picked that name, hey? All right, you are welcome to your opinion.

I am neither Aboriginal nor Tasmanian, which means that I am misrepresented twice out of three, as I am a man.

However, it is not a crime to assume names for the purpose of forums, writing fiction, talking to the Police, your girlfriend, maybe your father, even, but never your Mum ... they always find out when you are fibbing.

[Image source]

Monday, August 20, 2012

New story

I am really into a new story, a story that is not my traditional Outback yarn, but a complete release of my imagination 'bone'.

The characters are taking on an 'appearance', which helps to put them in catagories in my head.  I love choosing names for my people, odd names, but names that will give me a place to slot them into as the story unfolds and develops a purpose.

I have a New South Wales high ranking Police Officer by the name of Andy Mann. Andy is heard to say in the story, and is reported in this manner,
"Who stole ya' ute?" Andy Mann demanded in a manly but mean manner.

We have Chief Inspector Jim Gentle, who is ironically known as Gentle Jim. A knife expert, also a Police Officer of high rank, called Blade Cutter, and an often pestered Officer who's name just happens to be Bill Poster.

So, folk, you can see that this new story is a rare experience for me in that it is fiction, but really, I mean, really serious stuff.

It is a bit rude, and it worries me 'cause my sweet Fiona will have to edit it, and there is lots of IT in the yarn.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Odd Spot

As the average human only needs 16% of each breath to satisfy body function, the other 84% must be for talking.

My Mum used to say, "I have to keep telling you until I am blue in the face." So, obviously Mum had used up her 84% and was then into the 16% that was supposed to be used for other matters, like staying alive.
Another matter to contemplate is this: In the theory of evolution, could the evolvee talk before they could breath?  That would explain the preparation for talkative, but later evolvees.  If they didn't breath they wouldn't be able to talk, indicating that some preparation must have been made in this transition period ... Take a pick, talk or breath.

"Can't we have both?" indicated the bit of Primeval Slime with some manner of sign language.

"Oh! All right!" said Charles Darwin, "but don't going saying anything stupid."

I mean, I don't mind a bit of a chat me'sef', but I have been out-done many times by those that seem to have a breath intake of about 150% of the nominal amount allowed us average humans.

My Publisher, bless her, is not adverse to a bit of verbosity at times. However, I would not have it any other way.

[Image Source]

Me? Ego! Na!

The Coffs Coast Independent newspaper has done a writeup!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thought for the week

If your parents did not have children, there is a good chance that you wouldn't either.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A lack of understanding of the Wot-Not

After my experience of the Outback, an experience that I loved, and to where I went back to on many occasions, I did look into other pursuits. One such pursuit was home decorating; however, I was always confused with the use of some of the bits and pieces that folk wanted to put in their homes.

It is with this in mind that I ask these questions: If you were given, or on an some ridiculous impulse purchased, a Wot-Not, would you use it to display thingamajigs or would it be more appropriate to put out your antique watchamacallits?

I purchased a delightful gizmo once, but as it had no user manual I had no way of knowing how it worked. It is in a safe place in the work shed waiting for its time in life to arise.

However, I digress, and it is needed that I return to suitable uses for the Wot-Not. I did suggest to one home decorator that she may use the Wot-Not to show off her wonderful display of gozintas, those magical items that go into some other magical, but otherwise redundant item of great cost but of little value. But her argument was the she had a special item, a one off, that she had trouble of showing with other valuable items of a different value and usefulness, which she had found useless.

I did see a great hoozibob in her cupboard, amongst the cups, which cupboards are designed to hold, I think, which I said would look nice in amongst her watchamacallits, and maybe a smattering of thingos of equal charm.

I did find out that collectors treat their finds like they treat their spouses in that they may not be worth a spit, but they are nice to look at, and if the truth be known, the value is no where near what you have expended. Some even try to sate their thirst of the collecting bug by seeking other worthless spits to display on their Wot-Nots.

I did find that a Wot-Not really displays do-dads to the best of their shine, and that an occasional statue of a whos-e-wot looked exceptionally exceptional. 

I never seem to get it right, so I gave up this pursuit and pursued other things worth chasing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Campfire cooking 101

This is NOT the way to cook in a camp oven. Bush cooks know that flames, as shown, cannot be controlled in heat levels.

If cooked like this the item or items being cooked will either be burnt black or left raw in parts only. Either way this is a great way to waste food.

If you do not know, try this: Make your fire well in advance of your intention to cook. Ensure that you have a good amount of hot coals in the fire as it dwindles away.

Dig a shallow depression in the ground, and place a couple of shovelfuls of hot coals in the bottom of this depression.

Place the camp oven, with the prepared food in it, in the middle of the coals and shovel coals around  the outside of the camp oven and on the lid.

Times for cooking food stuffs vary, and the cook becomes more and more experienced as they use the oven more.  It depends on how hot the coals are and how much hot ember you have stacked around the oven.

You can increase the heat by adding more embers, and reduce the heat by taking embers away. Of course, it is important to have the same heat all around the oven and not just in spots.

At the learner's stage, ensure you have lifting wires to lift the lid up from the oven without spilling the coals, and then inspect the contents, aroma, the amount of sizzle and experience will soon make you the bush expert.

You can achieve damper as fine as this without a lot of learning, or burning, if you follow these simple instructions on how to use coal and a camp oven. Once cooked get yourself a hot billycan of tea, warm damper, slatherings of butter—real butter that is—and Golden Syrup. Doesn't the thought just make your tummy happy?

Character development

I often wonder what draws people to other people' writings.  In my case, and I forgive you for calling me an egotist, but my writings and stories draw me to read and listen to any hidden wisdom that is within my soul.  Not much found lately, but I will keep trying.

I cannot stress more the importance of those that wish to write, to develop your characters to the point that you actually ask them, the fictional characters in your head, what they think of your story, so far.  Of course, I am speaking of fiction writing and fictional characters.

If you have a very strict concept of what your character is about to do, you may find that you will bog down with a mental block because you are confined with your ideas of a character that does not fit your direction.

Let your characters be a little changeable. Through dialog, let them take a bit of control of the story direction. If you feel that you can not do this, and that you must be in control of everything that is said and done, you can only then make the main character you.

I enjoy the way "my people" come to life in my writings.  Many of them are a spark from this old flint, whilst others may be a conglomerate of the human species that I have met, have been involved with and have either liked muchly, or been annoyed by the same amount of muchly.

No matter what your intention of writing is, never give up.  I am 73, have been writing stuff for around 50 years and finally, in this last year, had something published with the idea of having someone buy and enjoy my mind.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Aftermath of Notty

Things did not go too well for Notty after his marriage.  When he had reached the point where he was almost screaming with anguish at the way his life had turned, he did the most honorable thing he could think of in regards to his marriage commitment to Martha. He shot through without a word to anyone.

No doubt Notty will turn up somewhere else as he is not an old man, he still has his shifty ways to fall back on, a shiftiness that sometimes got him into trouble but a shiftiness that he treated as his life long trade, or career even.

Rumor has it that Notty is somewhere in New South Wales ...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Code of the West

Was there a code of the West in the Outback? Does it still exist? What is the code of the West?

One main thing I could remember, and it is a pity that it is still not 'the code', but anyone that pulled a knife in a fight would not last long in any Outback town. It just wasn't done, and anyone that did was labelled as a "Wog."

Now, I know that word is offensive to some people, but to cover myself from litigation, please recall the book and movie, "The Wog Boy", or expressions like "Wog Football". These expressions are used by many ethnic people in this country to this day.

It is odd, I know, but I never suffered a cultural cringe when I was in the back country. We accepted the Greek Café owners, the Greek and Italian pub owners, and they in turn, accepted us Australians just as though we were actually humans.

In a Greek Café you were sure to get more than you could eat if you asked for a mixed grill, and as many cups of tea or coffee as you wanted.

So, Code #1 was fight fair.

Code #2 was respect the people around you, the ones that would help you out without hesitation, the ones that fought nature's onslaughts, standing side by side with all other men and women of the West.

Code #3 was definitely the hand shake. To shake on a deal was like writing it in blood, and consequently if one reneged on a handshake, there would be plenty of blood to write another agreement. Mainly from the reneger!

To have a reputation for someone that cannot be trusted was probably worse than someone that was a bit of a mug, a fool, as they often could not help themselves.

Code #4, I remember well, was respect women. They were so few women in the Outback towns that it was more awe than respect. I remember only too well young Nerida in Longreach saying "Are you going to stop babbling and kiss me, or not?" I kissed her, but I am sure the red glow of my face gave her sunburn, so much was my awe of the fairer sex.

Don't ever steal from your mates ... this one could be any number but I will give it Code #5. You see, trust features in The Code in a big way, and if you lose your mate's trust, you lose your mate, and many more mates along the way.

Code #6: never leave a man in trouble, be he broken down on a dusty road, hurt in some fall or accident. I say fall, as many of us fell from horses, as well as falling for a girl or falling from the graces of a girl ... lots of falling about went on in the good old days. Life was a bit slower, and we had time to stand by a mate, or anyone else, for that matter.

Code #7, do not be a coward. If for some reason, during a drink or two in a pub, a bloke says "You ... out where the bull feeds," there is a good chance you have been invited to a bit of a donnybrook, out on a patch of grass, grown for that specific purpose in a good few of the Outback pubs.

Being a smallish bloke, I won a few of my fights by at least fifty yards. However, there were the times that I was forced to stand toe to toe, nose to nose, eye to eye, finger to chest and likewise, reciting the well known battle chant ...

"Yeah! Sez 'oo?"

"Me, I sez,"

"Yeah?" Jab with the finger.

"Yeah!" Jab back.

And this would go on until someone in the gathered assembly would say, "Come on blokes, these pair of pansies ain't gunna have a stoush ... let's go have a beer," and off they would go, leaving the combatants standing there glaring until one or the other would say "Your shout."

Later in the evenings the real 'blues' would be on, and some serious, well bet upon, fights would take place. I never saw a coward in my time. Many of these blokes would be the best blokes to have around you as you would ever find. In fun someone might say "YOU! Out where the bull feeds," quickly adding "And if I'm not there when you get there, start without me." But you had to be good mates to get away with that.

Code #8, although you might be called a pansy in circumstances like the one I relayed above, if you showed any sign of being what a pansy intimates you would have no mates, inter or otherwise. I do remember one chap in Aramac, that made advances to a young bloke in the middle of the night, and I tell you, I have never seen such a bloodied, almost corpse, in my life. I never came across him again in Queensland, and although his gear was still at the pub, he never came back for it to the best of my knowledge. Such was the Code of the West.

Editor's Note: These are thoughts and recollections on life in Outback Queensland in the 1950s and 1960s.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Spun Poetry #3


Tranquillity and peace
As the breeze gently caresses towering trees
Carpet forming
As leaves fall gracefully to the ground
Music heard
From bubbling brook and when a magpie sings
Comfort felt
As I lose myself to nature all around
Cathedral Sky
Where stars beam the radiance of the night
On Open Plain
Horizons unbroken by any form
How small I feel
Under the velvet canopy, the vast expanse.
Emotions Rising
Pondering why we destroy what nature has born
Smog filled cities
Tearing at the throat, eyes rebel in watery revolt
Cars and mills
Creating clouds, from which, only toxic rain will fall
Chaotic Urgency
To appease the god that demands the might of wealth
No time to see
The beauty of the land, to pause, to dream at all
The Spirit Calls
I return to the forest and the plains with joy
I feel the earth
I walk alone, feet bare, naked as born
Once more nature's energy flowing in my veins.