Showing posts from March, 2009

Slice of Life Story - Scenes From A Supermarket

My final March Slice of Life Story Challenge piece finds me at the supermarket.
I called in to pick up some milk, breakfast cereal and bananas. As I made my way through the ailses I was struck by the following realization...

I am increasingly of the view that people should have to pass a driving test to operate a supermarket trolley. There should be on the spot fines for blocking the aisle, and sudden un-announced u –turns should be banned. It is challenging enough to operate a trolley with the obligatory wobbly wheel without decision challenged individuals obstructing your access to the fruit and veg section while they prop and ponder over heaven knows what. I don’t resent having to gather food in this manner. I view it as a highly evolved form of hunting and gathering that has mercifully eliminated the need to set traps and snares, or fire arrows. That is evolution at its best.

No, what upsets me about the supermarket trolley bash is the consumer who enters the food gathering environme…

Slice of Life Story - The Art of Shelling Peas

Whilst browsing our recipe book collection searching for culinary inspiration, I stumbled across an entry in Bill Grainger’s foodies book ‘Holidays’ Below the recipe for Tagliatelle with fresh peas and lemon, Bill extols the value of fresh peas.

‘Fresh peas are so wonderfully evocative of spring and another ingredient we seem to bypass in our modern lives. In an ideal world, we’d all spend half an hour a week on the back doorstep, shelling peas.’

This simple observation set me to thinking of a simpler time before frozen and processed foods made us lazy. I vividly recall as a boy watching my mother sit with a generous pile of peas in her lap and patiently work through the process of shelling them into a saucepan. She would split open the pod before running her thumb along the length of the pod and directing the firm, green contents into the nearby container.

Whenever my Nana visited, it never took long before she was drafted into the pea shelling process as well. There was something calm …

Slice of Life Story - Developing Self Belief As A Writer

My mind is on topic choice this morning because nothing influences a child’s attitude to writing more than the choice of topic. If the child is given control over topic choice and if the teacher displays genuine interest in that choice, then there’s usually no limit to the effort the young writer will make. Young writers who are given this power soon develop confidence in choosing appropriate topics for their writing. They are engaged in thinking and preparing for the writing that follows.

Sometimes I hear teachers say, ‘They’re not good at choosing something to write about.” The logical starting point is, ‘What can you do to assist them to improve this aspect of their writing?

Actively teaching the inexperienced writer to make good choices, showing them how to identify a suitable focus for their writing, and harvesting ideas are good places to begin. Teacher modelling is critical to students making improved topic choices. They need to see us in action! They need to see how we narrow do…

Slice of Life Story - Join Me For A Cup of Tea?

Sitting on the back deck in the mid morning light of an autumn day my thoughts land on the idea of enjoying a cup of tea. The sun is slowly warming to its task. By mid afternoon it will bring soothing warmth to my shoulders. Right now the air is still crisp after a rather cool night. Remnants of dew linger on the timber deck. This is the pattern of autumn days. Cool nights followed by days of clear blue skies and mild sunshine.

My choice of tea fluctuates between Earl Grey and Green tea these days. I take it black with no sugar. I like to share a cup of tea. I rarely drink tea alone. Drinking tea is a social event. We sit and ruminate. We plan action and solve problems. We review. We speculate. Tea helps a conversation flow it seems.

When I was growing up it seemed there was only black tea and you chose between two brands- Robur and Bushells. Now there are so many tea choices. We even have a dedicated tea shop in town. It is there that I learned of white tea which is tea harvested from …

Preparing For The Test Writing Genre

This is writing like no other writing we do! It’s artificial, strange, and yet we owe it to our students to teach them how to deal with it. If we treat it as a genre study, it can be dealt with more effectively!

The following ideas are presented in no particular order. I am offering them as suggestions. It is aimed at providing students with essential understandings for dealing with this abnormal writing situation. I am not advocating 'test prep' as I have too often seen it practiced. I am suggesting that we teach these strategies in the normal course of writer's worskshop.

Provide plenty of opportunity to write

Continue to encourage talk as a pre-writing prompt. It encourages thinking, and while students do not get to discuss their writing intentions under the test writing conditions, we certainly need them to activate their thinking around an idea for writing, so talk will facilitate this action. On the day of the test, this action will hopefully take place in their min…

Slice of Life Story -Your Time Starts Now!

On Saturday mornings a magazine comes with the newspaper that is delivered to my door. The magazine contains a variety of topical articles, some engaging, some merely page fillers. However, it also contains a regular feature entitled, Your Time Starts Now.
This involves a different person answering a series of pre determined questions each week. I always look forward to reading their responses. I am naturally curious about their experiences in life. I often find myself wondering, how would I respond ? How my answers might differ or equate to those printed before me. So today, I put myself to the task of responding to the questions posed.

My earliest memory: Watching my mother go to hospital in a taxi just prior to the birth of my sister and wondering if she would ever come back. Months earlier, my dog, Buster went to the dog hospital (as my parents put it) and never returned!

My favourite gadget is: My Ipod, nothing else holds a tune to it! Although, I am becoming very attached to my iph…

Slice of Life Story - Photographs and Memories

Photographs trigger memories. I had this clearly illustrated yesterday when a photograph of our old Brooklyn apartment flashed across my computer screen. –I use my picture library as a screen saver and when I walked back into the study there it was –the old Brownstone fourth floor walk up apartment in all its faded glory. For some unaccountable reason, the first thing I thought of was the mouse who lived with us for a while. I had an instant mouse mind movie…

I had never seen a mouse in a dishwasher before. Not until the screaming of my dear wife Vicki, drew me to the kitchen in our new apartment. She ran from the kitchen screaming, “There’s a mouse in the dishwasher! Quick do something!” So I did. I went and had a look for myself. I opened the dishwasher ghingerly and there staring back at me was a tiny mouse. I almost said hi and then remembered that I was dealing with a rodent. Our eye contact was fleeting –literally a few seconds. The mouse scurried away in a flash and though I sea…

Slice of Life Story - Searching For A Solution

Last evening I had dinner with the Governor of Victoria. Well, in actual fact more than three hundred people dined with the Governor, but he was at the next table.

We had gathered together to raise funds and awareness of ovarian cancer. The aim of the evening was to raise funds for much needed research into this mystifying disease.

Each year around the world, 200, 000 new cases of ovarian cancer are reported. Of these, 75% are initially reported in the advanced stages of the disease. This is the baffling challenge faced by science. The symptoms of the disease do not make themselves immediately apparent and subsequently go undetected until they are advanced. Ovarian cancer is a disease that is not respectful of age, so women of all ages are susceptible. I was struck by relatively young age of some of the women afflicted by this disease. A global challenge is under way discover more about this mysterious cancer.

It is re-assuring to know that contributing in this small way may assist thos…

Slice of Life Story - The Primacy Effect

Legendary rock band, The Who have arrived in Melbourne to play a one off concert as part of the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix racing circus. I have never been a fan of Formula One racing. It does nothing for me and it costs taxpayers money to stage it. It takes over city streets and is environmentally unsustainable.

On the other hand I have always loved the music of The Who. As a teenager I loved the teen anthem, My Generation and the lyric line of Substitute fired my imagination every time it played out. "You think we look pretty good together You think my shoes are made of leather..."

The first time The Who toured performed in Australia they performed at Festival Hall in Melbourne. Festival Hall was little more than a glorified barn and the acoustics were not state of the art as they are today. As a teenager, I thought the concert was amazing. The sound the b…

Slice of Life Story - Ready to Rehearse Writing Ideas

Writing ideas swirl round in my head. I live with them for days and sometimes weeks before they emerge on the page. I frequently wake up thinking about the possible shape of my writing for that day. I woke up thinking about my writing this morning. Later in the morning over a welcome cappuccino, I even talked about it –further sorting out took place. -Rehearsal for the writing to follow.

I understand rehearsal is critical to my writing. I embrace it. I know it assists me to clarify my ideas; find my direction. Playing with words and ideas in the head is such an important part of the writing process. Think of it like a tumble drier with thoughts and ideas rolling around and around until they are ready to be taken out.

Mind you there are times when all that emerges is a single sock of an idea –along with a bit of fluff attached. It looks and feels incomplete. It is writing in need of further consideration. But that’s okay; it may just require further shaping to align the mind’s vision wit…

Slice of Life Story - Lost For Words

Today I bought a new book from Dymocks book store and in the introduction I read the following:

“Language tells us who we are: because we are the words we use. If we adopt the language of another society we lose our rights to memory in our own kingdom “

These words belong to social anthropologist and author, Hugh Lunn. They are taken from his book, ‘Lost For Words.’ Hugh Lunn, is fearful that we are in danger of losing our language identity; that language is becoming increasingly homogenized and simplified. I fear he may be correct.

We know from experience that language is ever changing and evolving, but television speak has stunted our range of language terms. Shades of meaning have been reduced. Many people are now content to use a few stock phrases to get by. They figure it saves time, I guess. These have replaced a plethora of words and sayings that were once a feature of conversation with colourless grabs. Terms like whatever, tell someone who cares, get over it or get a life have …

Slice of Life Story - Finding Your Voice

Writers are readers –avid readers. Writers carry within them an enduring love of words and remain keenly interested in how other writers write and what they write.

For these reasons I scour book shops for books about writing and writers. It is where I found, ‘Writing The Memoir’ by Judith Barrington. This book aims to provide a practical guide to the challenges and dilemmas in crafting your own true stories. In the book, Barrington makes the point that in order for the reader to care about what you make of your life, there has to be an engaging voice embedded in the writing –a voice that captures a personality and breathes life into the words. The author further states that memoir requires that the reader feels spoken to.
It is timely that I am reading this because next week I have to teach a class of 10 year olds that voice is a critical element of effective writing. Sometimes voice in writing is referred to as personality on paper. So my planning will attempt to hold true to this ide…

Slice of Life Story - Mystery of the Stolen Olives

In our front garden stands a single olive tree that was planted about nine years ago. From the outset it has been a prolific provider of olives. Interestingly for the past three years someone has arrived in the dark of night and harvested the entire crop of olives. We have been shocked to discover our favourite olive tree devoid of olives. Whoever is perpetrating this nefarious act is meticulous –as well as sneaky. Not a single olive is left behind, whether on the tree, or on the ground surrounding the tree. It is a continuing mystery. A conundrum of puzzling proportions.

I have made enquiries with an Italian friend of mine, an olive expert, in the hope of finding a solution. I thought maybe the curse of Strega-Nona might be able to be invoked. My friend suggested hanging an evil eye ornament in the tree as a deterrent to any would be olive-nappers. Close circuit video for a single olive tree may be considered a tad extreme, and sleeping under the tree in June is a health hazard. Natu…

Slice of Life Story -The Danger of The Screen

I listened to Professor Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist from Oxford University discussing her theory that ‘screen technologies’ may be having a detrimental impact on child development if used excessively. She admits that at this time her view has not been tested. However, she expresses a concern for the dulling of creativity and imagination where children are not interacting in normal social intercourse, but indulging in repetitive narratives that many screen technologies present. The nature of these technologies mean that the same discourse is repeated and this is by itself limiting cognitive development and sensitivity. You finish the game and start again. You watch the video and then watch it again. It is the game that holds sway. You respond to the game, not the emotional response of another human being. You don't respond to the emotional impact of your actions because it is not reflected in the screen characters.They don't smile, cry, and laugh when you take action. By…

Slice of Life Story - A Lemony Snippet

In the supermarket today I noticed that lemons had reached the astonishing price of $1.28 each! -Now, I understand that we are experiencing a global economic downturn, global warming and a protracted drought, but lemons at such prices is almost incomprehensible. Imported lemons at that! It seems locally grown lemons are unavailable. Last week, I searched for lemons, but the shelves were empty.

My desire for lemons is predicated on the need to start my day with the juice of half a lemon in a glass of warm water. It is reputed to cleanse the liver –and let’s face it, a clean liver is an admirable goal. But $1.28 per lemon is beginning to stretch the friendship.

The irony of my lemon lament is the knowledge that growing in my backyard is a stand of five lemon trees that are laden with lemons. There must be at least one hundred lemons hanging from the limbs of my lemon trees. I only planted them two years ago, so the lemon harvest is remarkable.

The problem is that none of them are showing a…

Slice of Life Story - Grabber Leads!

It is always gratifying to observe a group of students make a genuine breakthrough in their learning. Today I watched a group of young writers grapple with the challenge of writing 'grabber' leads. Their teacher urged them to write leads that aroused curiosity and interest. To scaffold the learning the teacher had provided powerful modelling of her own by using Aimee Buckner's 'Try Ten' strategy from the book, 'Notebook Know How -Stragies for the Writer's Notebook'

This strategy involves writing ten different leads to a writing piece before choosing one with which to run. The teacher chose as her topic the recent devastating fires that had afflicted so many lives in Victoria, Australia. She wrote from first hand experience given that the fires had come so close to her home.

The power of this modelling proved compelling. Her grade three students when asked to produce five lead samples embraced the challenge with a zeal that was not present in their writin…

Slice of Life Story - Fear of the Dark

Having spent the last three days in Sydney enjoying the wonderful company of my grandson, Cooper, I have noted that in many respects he is relatively fearless. He is willing to try new things and is most trusting. He climbs and runs with a genuine confidence and spirit. He displays persistence when faced with a challenge and clearly wants to be seen as independent. Not bad for a three year old.

Spending time with him set me to thinking about some of the fears and concerns that visited themselves upon my own childhood. By comparison to Cooper, I was a wimp. Particularly, when it came to the dark as I recall...

Darkness in my early years was associated with fear. Fear of things that lurked in the dark. Fear of the unknown creature that was waiting to pounce. Fear of snakes that lay at the foot of my bed. Fear of someone hiding beneath my bed. With my phobia well developed it was little wonder I had a night light in my bedroom as a child. Not a really bright light that lit up the whole ro…

Slice of Life Story - On The Water

Sunday in Sydney brought with it a ferry ride on the harbour. Sailing past the majestic Sydney Opera House with its pitched sail roof canopies was uplifting. It glowed white in the bright autumn sun. Boats of all sizes flitted across the waves as our ferry forged its way to the Circular Quay terminal. Sydney can be seen at its best on such days.

There is something quite soothing about travelling across water. It calms the soul and some of life’s concerns somehow just seem to drift away.

I am fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the ocean. It affords me an escape when the ideas are not flowing in my writing. On windy days it blows away the cobwebs. The sea is also an inspiration for ideas. Beachcombing brings with it unexpected treasures –sea-glass, shells and driftwood.

Along one fence at home there is an odd assortment of found objects collected from beach visits. Numerous balls, flippers, buckets, spades, single discarded thongs (flip-flops) hang brightly from the fence …

Slice of Life Story - Risk Assessment

Avalon Beach, north of Sydney was recently in the news when a young man was severely mauled by a white pointer shark while surfing. He suffered significant injuries to his leg and was fortunate to survive.

This morning I stood on the rise overlooking this same stretch of beach with my grandson, Cooper. We watched young surfers ride their boards in those same dangerous waters. They appeared unperturbed by the recent incident. It is often the way with youth. They perceive themselves as immortal, danger-proof, shark proof. Such is their bravado that the desire to surf outweighs any potential danger. Older heads would take a more considered view of matters and err on the side of caution. Life has a way of making risk a more formidable foe. A surf patrol boat constantly cruised the waves and at one stage a helicopter zoomed along the coast. I have little doubt that they were insuring that the waters were safe.

Our particular beach activity was a little more pedestrian. With Cooper in tow, …

Slice of Life Story - Scenes that take you back

Today in the company of my grandson,Cooper, I watched an old seaplane take off from Palm Beach, situated on Sydney’s northern beaches. As it gathered speed across the water, the lumbering craft slowly lifted into the air. I felt a sense of relief as I watched it become airborne; the engines whining and straining to deliver the power necessary for lift off. The pontoons that support the plane’s body appearing like oversized feet. I had instant flashbacks to old black and white movies, Humphrey Bogart, and smugglers. The plane swung back towards the land before passing overhead at a comparatively low altitude. The entire experience was like a flashback to a bygone era. The small boy that still resides in me and the small boy standing beside me, holding my hand thought the whole scene was just plane wonderful

Slice of Life Story - Becoming A Life Long Reader

Today I am flying to Sydney to spend some quality time reading, sharing books, playing games, and generally having fun with Cooper, my grandson. The fact that we live in different cities makes the time we spend together all the more important. Cooper is three years old and has wonder in his eyes. He loves having books read to him, so my suitcase will contain some new titles for us to share.

Multiple readings go with the experience. The phrase-“Read it again!” is a familiar refrain when Cooper and I gather to share books. He will ask me to come sit somewhere he considers special so we may have a ‘chit chat’ (his term, not mine) The last time we sat down for an in depth discussion the topic was ‘roofs,’ Cooper chose the topic and away we went. I look forward to new revelations and discoveries.

By the time Cooper reaches school he will clearly possess that essential set of literary understandings that the late Don Holdaway identified so many years ago. He has been launched on the journey t…

Slice of Life Story - Talk, Question, Wonder!

The child of my youth appears to have gone the way of tape recorders, cassette players and the like. At the very least they are an endangered species. When sharing childhood experiences with today’s generation of students, I realized that our respective childhood experiences are literally a world apart.

My generation grew up in small houses with big backyards. The focus of our daily existences was the world outdoors. We had extraordinary freedom to explore our immediate world. The children I now work with, (and I’m talking in general terms here) live in bigger houses, with small backyards and the focus of their lives is frequnelty indoors. The growth of technology in its myriad forms calls them like a siren to remain under cover. X box, computer games, dvd’s win out over an outdoor lifestyle. Freedom extends to the front gate for many of these children. The world has become a more potentially dangerous place. Anxious parents control so much of the time children spend beyond school. Man…

Slice of Life Story - TV Viewing and Health Issues

I have just watched a report on television about the American health system. On the evidence presented, the system appears to be morbidly obese, in danger of collapse and only a major operation will save it.

To think that almost fifty million people living in the U.S are not covered by any form of insurance, many others have inadequate cover and the cost of basic services is prohibitive is an anathema in such a developed country. Drug companies appear to exert so much power over the running of the health system. How did this happen?

I viewed a documentary on America’s health system way back in the 1980’s titled, ‘Don’t Get Sick in America.” It presented a scary picture back then. This latest report makes the earlier assessment positively glowing by comparison.

I recall having cause to undertake a blood test whilst living in New York. I was totally shocked when I was charged in excess of $1500 for what I considered a basic procedure. Back in Australia the same blood test would have cost m…

Slice of Life Story - Renovations and Revisions

Today, it is a public holiday in my home state of Victoria. –and what a glorious day it is 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) A gentle breeze and bright blue skies. We are blessed. A barbecue lunch and a glass of shiraz and the living is easy. You will note the positive vibe of my message…

Today, we have also started yet another house renovation. This time we are removing part of the wall in our upstairs bedroom and installing floor to ceiling cupboards against one wall. The bathroom adjoining the bedroom is being given a major makeover as well.

It was Bob Dylan the singer, not Bob The Builder, who said, “We spend our lives in a constant state of becoming.” House renovations seem to exemplify Dylan’s words. Houses morph and change continually to reflect the changing needs of the occupants. Children grow, move out, return again, then finally leave for good to make their own house renovations. A bedroom gets converted into a study, a room is added, a deck extended, a kitchen upgra…

Slice of Life Story - Meeting With A Blue Tongue

Today our dog Boo found a large lizard at the bottom of the garden. Boo is an exceptional little dog. Highly intelligent, loving, and extremely quiet; she rarely barks, so she has no future as a watch dog. However, when Boo and the lizard crossed paths, she began uttering a throaty noise that drew my attention and so I felt compelled to check things out.

I initially thought she was choking on a large bone, or something similar. I found her standing a suitably safe distance from a large Blue Tongue lizard, doing her best imitation of a bark. It was akin to a throaty cough. It was difficult not to laugh. The lizard slid away to a less threatening section of the garden and Boo, suitably impressed with her efforts as a canine warning device, followed me back to the house.

I sat down in the study and Boo took up her usual position lying on top of my foot and snoozing while I worked at the computer. Her adventures of doggy derring-do were over for the day it seemed. I resumed my writing focu…

Slice of Life Story - Saturday Newspaper Indulgence

Saturday morning and the pace slows. I gather the morning newspaper, lying in the driveway in front of our house. I then spend the next couple of minutes extricating it from the plastic wrap that is protecting it from the elements. For someone who is keen to get in touch with the news of the moment, this problem solving activity creates some level of frustration. Once the paper is freed from its cling wrap covering, it is down to some serious reading. The smell of the newsprint and the sheer pleasure I gain from reading the world is all that is needed to activate my Saturday.

Last evening Melbourne suffered an earth tremor that measured 4.6 on the Richter Scale. It was described as an earthquake, but it hardly qualified as such. I was sitting on the couch at the time watching yet another police drama when the room began shaking. It was all over in a matter of a few seconds. I expected this event to make it to the front page of this morning's news, but no, it received three paragra…

Slice of Life Story - Juicy Verbs Can Make A Difference

Teaching young writers to embrace the idea of revision is not as difficult as it is often made out to be. If we approach the challenge from the view that a good piece of writing becomes even better with the application of a range of revision strategies, it is possible to change the pictures students hold in their heads. -the view that revision is either irksome, or unnecessary.

I often find myself chanting the mantra –Revision is the magic behind great writing.
To break down this resistance to revision, we need to teach student writers a range of revision strategies that allow them to witness the power of revision to almost instantly transform the writing, giving it greater clarity and reader connectedness.

Today, I worked with a Grade 4 class with whom I had not previously spent class time. We began by looking at some of their writing samples. After a short discussion, we agreed that our goal for the lesson was to ‘polish’ them a little.

I talked about verbs and how they provide the musc…

Slice of Life Story - Avoiding Brain Drain

Returning to a class of third graders after an absence of two weeks, I began by asking them if they were able to remember what we had focused on during our previous session together. They thought for a moment and then began to recall some of the writing ideas we had previously examined. I was most impressed when they mentioned that we had been looking at the ways in which writers gather ideas. It was then a student seated at the back of the group raised his hand enthusiastically looked me directly in the eye and told me,
“ We did lots of brain-draining.”
“Close,” I said. “I think you mean brainstorming, although sometimes it does feel a little draining.”
Ah yes, from the innocent we often get refreshing honesty and accuracy.

Now that their prior knowledge had been activated, it was time to move into the new workshop. This time we were looking at the craft strategy of ‘inside/outside’ (physical world/emotional world) The teachers and I had noticed that much of their writing of personal na…

Slice of Life Story -Savouring Small Moments

I woke early this morning. I woke in the twilight zone –that brief period of half light just before sunrise. Outside the bedroom window a chorus of pre dawn birdsong drew my immediate attention. A cacophony of noise, sounding like an orchestra in warm up phase grew in intensity as I slowly emerged from a state of sleep.

Fully awake, I marvelled at the intensity of the chirruping. I was mesmerized by the massed voices of the winged warblers; their voices merging and colliding in the morning air as they strived to outsing one another.

After a time, the volume subsided somewhat, and identifiable voices emerged. The lilting song of the thrush contrasting with the sharp shrill song of the parrots, the joyful cackle of the kookaburras and the soft, low cooing of the doves.

The volume softened further until it was merely a twitter, before the carolling of the magpies rose up. What a glorious and somehow fitting finale they provided. This symphony of the morning had heralded the dawn of a new da…

Slice Of Life Story- Travelling With A Mentor

Today finds me reading Jerry Spinelli’s ‘Maniac Magee.’ Not for The first time, I might add. This book is beginning to show the obvious signs of significant handling. It has that warn,yet loved look about it -for this book is clearly a personal treasure –a mentor text.

The front cover has a burn seared into it because on one occasion I unwittingly used it to block a projector screen and the heat was too intense. Consequently, the book incurred third degree burns. It has become a talking point among the students with whom I work.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read extracts from this text in celebration of the writing craft. Jerry and his words go with me to all the schools I visit. He is a fellow teacher of writing; a friend I turn towards constantly for support. He frequently assists me to make a point about what makes writing so wonderful, so empowering. I love his use of repetition, his short punchy sentences, his evocative use of show, don’t tell. I love the way I d…

Slice of Life Story -Writing In Different Places

I do the majority of my writing nestled comfortably in my study. Surrounded by books and life treasures, I am able to write freely. However, I have been making a conscious effort to write in different locations in recent times. My favourite alternative writing place currently is café ‘Via Boffe’.

To enter this inviting, little diversion, evokes an immediate celebration of the senses. As I step into this authentic replica of the traditional Italian café, the pervasive aroma of coffee meets me at the entrance,. Snatches of conversation float on the air as regular customers come and go. This place is warm and friendly even to the uncertain stranger. Tasty pastries direct from Isla di Capri catch my eye and freshly prepared lunch delights whisper ‘eat me please’ as I seek out a place to commence my writing. As a regular, my coffee arrives without a formal request. There is a comfort is this familiar ritual. I choose to sit at the front window where I can view the street and the passing par…

Slice of Life Story Challenge -Summer From Hell

Every day for the month of March I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge and posting an event for each day. The idea comes from Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing TeachersThey kindly provided the logo you see.

As the name implies, I will attempt to capture and document daily slices of life as they present over the coming month.

Here is the first entry:

Sunday morning found me indulging in a bit of hedge trimming with our new electric whiz bang trimmer. I could have been forgiven for imagining I was wielding a light sabre but that’s just a momentary regression into boy land. As I trimmed and sliced, I realized that it is now officially autumn in Australia and our summer from hell is over. Devastating bushfires have demonstrated the awesome brutality that fire can deliver. This was indeed a summer never to be forgotten. Two hundred and ten lives, in excess of two thousand homes and two towns have been lost to the monster flames that tore across my home state of Victoria in F…