Champagne and whoops

By Sue Trollip

It’s resolution time again.What to aim for in 2013 is tricky, how to judge the success of 2012 is not easy either. Is it by the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve watched or the scary things I’ve done?

Well I survived so kudos to me!

Now for 2013 … I don’t want the boring things like breaking bad habits. What I would like is something exciting (in a good way) for next year, something that induces whoops and champagne. I’m not sure what it will be yet, my one resolution, but I’ve still got a few days to narrow it down and I’m prepared, there’s champagne in the fridge … so here’s to the success of 2013.

Happy New Year!

And – She Smiled At Me

By Jacqueline Dowling

Call me a sceptic, which I probably am, but when I hear the first muzakal Christmas drones grinding through our local superstore in mid-November, I take fright and run.

The day was hot, no white Christmas in sight. Red nosed reindeer and jingling bells had failed dismally in their task of muffling the world in white. Glitzy trees flashed their signals – Come and Spend spend spend. Only nine hundred and sixty shopping hours left ’til Christmas.

And then I heard it, very faintly through the hubbub and clatter of trolleys, the cadences easy and gentle. ‘….And he smiled at me – pa – rup -a -pom -pom…’ suddenly my hectic materialistic world, for a moment stood still.

I left the noise, the glitz and frenetic Come and buy buy buy of the stores and went down to the cliffs. To the sea. To the birds and whales.

The rocks were warm, the sea just a summer whisper of clear aquamarine. Sapphire pools filled with tiny darting fish and huge waving sea-anemones where flocks of Oyster Catchers strutted their scarlet way, their high pitched wheeeee carried on the southerly breeze. Across the bay Southern Rights spouted and lolled, lazy in the swells. I was quite alone, blissfully detached . But still the haunting lyrics of The Little Drummer Boy stayed with me, like a carousel going around and around – and around.

A shadow moved into the pool at my feet, silently slipping through the kelp. A large shadow, followed by a much smaller one. It was a whale cow with her newly born calf. She came to rest within metres of my rock, nudged the little body towards her and suckled it. I watched, awed by the love between these two gentle creatures, by their grace and utter trust.

And then, in one swift movement, the mother thrust her calf to the surface and blew.

Twin spouts of warm oily mist drifted towards me as she raised her head, opened her massive jaws – and smiled

Picture

 By Susan Roberts

I used to feel sorry for old people who turned senile and drifted into a fantasy world. I pitied those who muttered to themselves as they walked past, not really seeing me. And then I became a writer and joined their ranks. Now I wander around in my own fantasy world, conducting imaginary conversations between the characters in my head. I don’t really care if people look at me with pity, because in my head I’m having a wonderful time creating my next book.

Of course, it doesn’t help that age has crept up on me too, and that the old woman in my bathroom mirror doesn’t reflect the young person I know I am inside. Whatever lies the mirror tells about my outer shell, writing keeps me young inside, because the characters I create are younger than me.

They are also better looking, and luckier in love.

At the end of each novel, they emerge battered, bruised, but triumphant, from underground tunnels, medieval castles or military hospitals, and run or sail off into beautiful sunsets, wiser than they were in the beginning. That’s because I’ve allowed them to escape death, survive ordeals by fire, elude kidnappers and prevent great works of art from falling into the wrong hands. They deserve their happy endings; they’ve worked hard for them and so have I.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a fantasy world!

In fact, I have three different fantasy worlds into which I retreat daily. I write as soon as I wake up each morning, before the day intrudes. Armed with my first pot of tea, I indulge in my current writing project until my alarm tells me it’s time to get ready for the real job; the one that pays the bills. Driving to work takes 25 minutes and allows me my second fantasy – the audio book in my car. That saga continues at the end of the day when I travel home.

There are some who would tell you that my working life is in a fantasy world too, and I suppose they could be right. I work as a production manager in a local theatre, but putting together a staged production that allows the public to escape into a fantasy is neither as glamorous nor as easy as most people imagine. However, in my numerically-challenged mind it beats being an accountant or a banker, and I wouldn’t still be doing this after thirty years if I didn’t enjoy it, would I?

My final fantasy is late at night, when I lie in bed with my beloved… Kindle! Yes, sad though it sounds, I rely on the writings of others to relax me and send me into slumber at the end of the day.

Sometimes I think that only children and old people know that the real way to cope with life is to indulge in fantasy. Well– children, old people and writers.

Carpe Diem

By Michelle Dennison, writing as Julianne Alcott

I was planning to write my blog about books, but something happened to take books totally out of my mind. So I changed my blog topic to the thing that is most in my thoughts at the moment.Having someone to love is great. Having that someone love you back is an incredible experience that can’t be matched by much else. But there is a downside to loving someone who loves you back, as I discovered today.

When that special someone phones you to say that he has been hijacked, you suddenly realise that you could so easily have lost him.

I was calm at first. I told my co-worker Ann what had happened, and she suggested that I make myself some coffee. I felt okay, but decided to make the coffee anyway. It was when I was stirring the coffee that it hit me. Instead of him phoning me, it could have been his work colleague contacting me with an entirely different message.

Ann is one of those wonderfully practical people. Her take on it was that the worst didn’t happen, so I mustn’t think about the worst at all. I wish that I could have that outlook on life.

With my writer’s imagination, I had thought up several awful scenarios before I had put the sugar in, and I had a quiet cry into my coffee cup while wilting over the office sink.

I went to his house as soon as I could, and held him tigPicturehtly for a few minutes, thankful that he was alive and unhurt.

It made me think afresh of our lives, and what we spend time doing.

The movie Dead Poets Society introduced poetry to my friends and I in the early 1990s, and our motto became “Seize the day –Carpe Diem

Life is too short to waste. It can be taken from us in a heartbeat, in the blink of an eye.

Love those people who are special to you, and tell them as often as you can what they mean to you. Do what is worthwhile. Make very day count. Work hard, play hard, love hard, die hard…

Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today. (James Dean)