15 May


Now the title is something I find very funny for two reason. One I hate the way people talk about having a muse to write, you either write or you don’t there’s no waiting for it to happen (I’m an optimist at the best of times but writing is work, you have to show up for work!) and two the muse does not exist.

Did you read that?

It does NOT exist.

It really doesn’t.

Writing is something you sit down and do regardless of if the muse is there or not. Sure I’ve used the excuse a lot, I’m even almost using it now, but I’m proving to myself that I’m not quite as museless as I keep telling myself. I’ve been back in Melbourne for about five days now and so far I have managed to write a total of like 50 words in my novel because I can’t bring myself to write. I just can’t seem to find the write, so I endeavoured to keep moving on with B-School stuff. I’ve finished the Website module and I’m up to the Communication module and in doing so I had something happen, I’m not sure of how to actually explain it but the first sparks of inspiration are coming back to me. I’ve started carrying around my tablet with me with my current chapter on Evernote so I can access it whenever I’m not at the computer (plus I always tend to get my best ideas on public transport) and something amazing happened yesterday when I was coming back from my cousin’s house. I actually managed to get some writing out. Granted it was small, but it helped. I also woke up feeling inspired the day before, which helped.

And with all of this, I learned something huge. Sometimes it’s better to wait it out. Don’t force it, don’t push it too hard. After losing my Dad I know that I’ve got a long way to go before I get back to where I was but I’m letting the process happen naturally. I’m getting frustrated at myself, because I don’t know what to do without my writing and it’s frustrating to have not made a bigger dent on what I wanted to do. On what I really needed to do. I have deadlines I need to meet. I have books to write (yes you read plural there, 2 non-fic and one fic) and I need to get off my butt and do it already, but slowly. My self care is more important and I realised that I slipped a lot because I currently have this sinus thing that just popped up. It’s frustrating as anything!

So while I don’t believe in the muse, I’m asking you out there, if you believe in the muse? Do you use it as an excuse or is it an actual empowerment? I want to know. I don’t judge and many people get very, very defensive when I tell them muses don’t exist, so enlighten me, hmm?

Fully Awake Dreamer – Tom O’Connell

14 May

Fully Awake Dreamer - Tom O'Connell

Today’s Dreamer is a writer who stumbled into my life when he entered a piece into the audio journal I was working on at uni (which is now my baby through my internship!) and someone who I wasn’t actually very close to until we started the back and forth commentary on our blogs! Amazing how things work out sometimes. He’s a really great guy and finally getting to introduce him to you all here!

Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

I’m Tom O’Connell, a writer, editor and tea aficionado based in Melbourne, Australia. I once defined myself as a literary short fiction writer, but my tastes have broadened. Lately I’ve been experimenting with genre stuff and embarking upon (then swiftly abandoning) longer projects.

What is your burning writing desire about?

Good question! This isn’t something I’ve given much thought. I write about whatever’s interesting me at the time, though I suppose identity and relationships (not necessarily the romantic variety) are recurring themes. (Gee, that sounds vague and pretentious!) I like my writing to have verisimilitude, and am particularly interested in the human condition. Plot has always been a secondary concern.

 Are you working on anything right now? Can you give us a little bit of a sneak peak?

Not with any real conviction. Full-time study and domesticity consume me. (One of the great paradoxes about studying creative writing is that you hardly do any!) I have a few projects on the back burner. They’re all pretty exciting to me, and I’ll probably pull one out after finishing my assessments, or during the winter break. I hate dividing my attention between several projects. I have singular focus, and would rather commit wholeheartedly to one project at a time.

I’m waffling. Here’s an excerpt from a work in progress: a short story parodying The Bachelor.


Elizabeth exited the plane, stepping face-first into a wall of humidity. One hand gripped the handrail; the other held the sunshine at bay. The wind was strong on the tarmac. Her mess of greying hair flailed about. Though mild by locals’ standards, the weather was a huge contrast to the dreary Melbourne she’d left behind. Flushed, she edged down the mobile staircase.

The trio on the tarmac – two men and a young woman – spotted her and straightened up.

The young woman put her whole body into it a two-armed wave. ‘Mrs Virden!’ she shouted.

Elizabeth meekly returned the wave. The greeting struck her as inauspicious; no one could miss three garishly dressed TV execs standing at the foot of a stairway. She reached the base of the stairs and the three flooded her with welcoming gestures. She pulled away, having received a collective six kisses.

So glad you could make it,’ said a stout man with cocoa skin. He brushed invisible lint from a crisp salmon shirt and introduced himself as Devon, the producer. ‘This is my assistant, Cynthia. And over there, of course, is Mike Straus, host of The Perfect Man.’

Mike flashed his signature grin. ‘Hey, how’s it goin’? Been watching at home?’

Elizabeth blushed. ‘Actually, I’ve never seen your program. It’s not really my thing.’

Devon smiled, placing a hand on her shoulder and directing her towards the terminal. ‘I admire your honesty.’

Cynthia’s voice tinkled. ‘You must be, like, so proud of your daughter, though.’

Elizabeth sighed. ‘Actually, I had no idea Ashley was on it until last week.’

‘Unreal!’ said Cynthia, not noticing this was an obvious point of contention. ‘But, like, can you believe she’s made it all the way to the final?’

‘Oh, yes.’ Elizabeth forced a laugh. ‘Certainly wouldn’t be here in a foreign country if I didn’t.’

Devon and Cynthia laughed self-consciously. Mike had all but checked out, and was busy trying to dislodge a piece of apple that was stuck between his teeth.

Elizabeth fanned herself with the base of her sweatshirt.

Cynthia bounced as she walked, though her large artificial breasts remained fixed in position. She looked down, noticing Elizabeth’s attire for the first time. ‘Cute sweater …’

Devon conveyed his verdict by scrunching his face. ‘Ugh! Tiger-print? Honey, get that thing off!’

‘Why?’ Elizabeth feigned hurt.

Devon back-pedalled. ‘Well, because … the humidity! There’s no need for sweaters here.’

Elizabeth smiled. Devon, squirming, was trying to turn this into an issue of practicality.

‘I had to wear it. There was no room left in my carry-on. Perhaps if I’d been given checked luggage …’

Devon stopped in his tracks. Everyone followed his lead. With dramatic flourish, his hands found his hips and he spun on his heels. ‘Cynthia, you denied this poor woman checked luggage? She’s the mother of one of our stars!’

Cynthia frowned. ‘The budget wouldn’t allow for it.’

‘Nuh-uh!’ said Devon, raising his palm. Elizabeth noted his wildly fluctuating cadence. ‘Unacceptable. You should’ve found a way.’

Cynthia lowered her voice. ‘I came to you about this, remember? You weren’t willing to give up the masseuse … Or the penthouse …’

‘Enough excuses, Cynthia! I hate when people can’t admit they’ve screwed up!’

Cynthia smiled through gnashed teeth. The walk resumed.

‘So, what’s on the itinerary?’ Elizabeth asked.

‘Right!’ said Devon, the fire returning in his eyes. ‘As you know – or, evidently, as you don’t know – Perfect Man Baxter will make his final decision tomorrow. It’ll be marvellous, darling. We’ve the most romantic spot picked out: atop a Balinese cliff. It’s helicopter-only, so only rich white folk are allowed.’ He laughed, held up his hand and flicked his wrist, like a cat pawing. ‘There’s gonna be laughter, a live band, sweeping ocean views …’

‘I’m getting tingles,’ said Mike.

Cynthia bounced back. ‘Me too!’

‘But,’ continued Devon, ‘the most exciting part is that, this year, The Perfect Man’s entire finale will air live, coast-to-coast!’

Cynthia balled her fists and stomped the ground. ‘The competition will be blown away!’

Mike raised a fist. ‘We’ll make history!’

There was a moment of silence. Elizabeth worried they were expecting her to fill it, so she raised a fist and gave a tepid ‘Yeah!’

What nourishes your dreams besides writing?

Music, I guess.

What inspires you?

You probably want a ‘proper’ answer, but everything inspires me! The world at large, people I know, stuff that happens to me, music, art, other writers, video games, nature, television, movies, the news. I’m a big filthy sponge.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from writing?

I’m not sure I can quantify what writing’s taught me. Perseverance, maybe. Humility (rejections sting!). Maybe discipline. A fundamental lesson is the importance of redrafting.

 What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome when it comes to your writing?

My inner-critic. He’s a real surly old bastard. Because of him (that’s right: no accountability from me), I’m not nearly as productive as I could be. I’m a perfectionist and perfectionism is not conducive to drafting. Something doesn’t sit right inside if I know a sentence isn’t as strong as it could be. (Mandi edit here, I’ve seen this first hand, this was draft number two of these questions!)

What advice can you give to budding writers?

I find the usual hackneyed advice holds true. Read widely. Finish your shit. Get a reliable critique group. Get out once in awhile. Redraft relentlessly. Eat your veggies.

Are you dreaming fully awake and how did you get there?

Not entirely sure of the question, but I think you’re asking if I’m living the life I aspire to. If so, yes (with an asterisk!). I’ve said before in an earlier blog post that the life I have is proportionate to the effort I’ve put in. I believe that. I love living in Australia (not originally from here, you see); Melbourne, in particular, is a wonderful creative hub. I’m also thankful to have found my life’s passion. That sounds a bit wanky, but so many of my friends are floundering about in careers, degrees or situations that don’t inspire them. They’re apathetic, directionless, which is a horrible fate.

I feel (perhaps naively) that I’m beginning to make traction with writing. I’ve had a handful of modest publishing successes and, in turn, my confidence is growing. Growing up, I often felt like a waste of space (thanks, sports-obsessed high school!), so it’s validating to now have others respect and value my work.

All that said, there’s still much work to do before the fantasy is reality. That’s fine, though; I’m learning daily and having a blast. The asterisk is because I live in a (figurative) shoebox – i.e. a cramped suburban apartment bordered by loud, inconsiderate neighbours – and am typically skint. Not ideal, but I do okay (excepting the odd demoralising dinner of baked beans on toast). Wealth’s not much of a motivator for me, but destitution (or at least the privileged white person’s definition of it) is definitely not part of the dream.

About the Dreamer

Tom is currently studying Writing and Publishing at NMIT. His work has appeared in [untitled]INfusionVine LeavesInscribe and Crack the Spine. Check him out at his blog.

The Bottom Of The Well

13 May
Dad's first and only selfie

Dad’s first and only selfie


For weeks I’d felt like something was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was having random chest pains from the stress at work and the stress of money. Or at least I thought I was. I took deep breaths and waited for the feeling to pass. I did meditation and had long hot bubble baths. But even still I felt off.

On Friday, the day before my life changed completely I felt weird; disconnected; hollow. I mentioned this to my bestie and she tried to help me through it. I thought I was past it.

Saturday rolled around and I woke up at 6:16am, a full 40 mins ahead of my alarm (that was not uncommon), and puttered around the house. There was a shroud of despair around me. I was heavy, feeling like I would much rather sleep through the day.

I got phone calls from an auntie that hadn’t spoken to me much and I was perplexed but used to it, she wanted to see me before easter, that was the next day. I bought eggs and went to work. I was determined to get through the day and not complain too much. I spoke to my friend and care taking manager and was working steadily through the day. It was going to be a long day but I was going to get through it.

My auntie came an hour and a half into my shift and pulled me out. I thought she was busting me out, but I should have known from the reaction of Shauna that something was up.

I ate. We chatted. I went back to my apartment with my auntie and uncle. Then I remember picking up the phone and my uncle back home telling me news I thought was wrong. I was sure of it. But his voice broke. And so did my heart.

My dad was dead. Gone. Passed away. Didn’t survive his heart attack. He tried to tell me that there was a flight I was meant to be on. I don’t remember anything but crying.

My best friend and rock was gone. He was gone.

I puttered around and remembered that I had to call people. I needed to tell them the news. All that was on my mind was the awesome raw dessert I’d made for the next day. Easter seemed like a total waste of space.

The rest of the day was a blur. There were drinks consumed and a flight home before I had to hold my mother as she sobbed that her soulmate was gone.

Everyday after it was a blur. It was forever a Saturday. My brother’s friends made Sunday a little easier. Then we had to tell people. And friends that I had lost contact with came forward and offered their condolences and their love. It was surreal.

The hardest day was the private viewing. Mum kept telling me that I just had to wait to see him; that he would be different. I was terrified of going into the room. I didn’t want to face the music. I didn’t want it to be real. I saw him and couldn’t handle it but then Mum cracked a joke about him losing weight and I died laughing. People thought I was sobbing inconsolably while I was positively shaking with laughter.

The funeral was harder still. With an attendance of somewhere close to 750 people, they saw as all our pain was put on display as the priest blessed Dad. I never thought that a church service could go for so long. I almost felt like I would faint and that the room was hot and stuffy and no matter how much I wanted to bolt. I couldn’t. I didn’t dare leave my mother alone, to deal with this alone. So I stayed and fought the panic and the horror and waited. Condolences were said, faces were a blur, friends made me smile and I swore in church (so not sorry) but the hardest part of all was one of my worst nightmares. I watched Dad’s coffin slip into the ground, away from me and I wanted him to come back; to wake up; to laugh at me, hell even tell me off. But he didn’t.

The wake was full of people who loved him. I told Mum that I wanted to say something, that I needed to say something. I made people cry while I paused to catch my breathe and resist the need to cry myself. After that I needed to escape. I hid in the sea of familiar faces who had been with us for the last week and a half and helped keep me sane. I can not than my gorgeous friends and my brother’s amazing friends enough. Without you I would not be able to come to terms with what has really happened.

But I’m still numb; still trying to process what happened. I have words but they’re blank; forced; empty.

If I didn’t have the support system around me that I do, I would not be able to write this. It took me close to a year and a half to find the words for my Pappou, but for Dad, I found them early and that was a testament to the man that raised me. He may not have been a man of very many words but I understood everything he didn’t say. And even with him gone, I know that I need to keep going because he would have wanted me to, and I’m going to do what I was meant to do and make him proud doing so.

Sharing Sunday – Wulfa’s Story Part One

11 May

Sharing Sunday-wulfas story Part One


Today’s Dreamer is a fellow NaNoWriMoer. I can’t remember how we got close but it happened along the way, he’s part of the reason as to why I’m building up a tolerance to beer again. Thanks for that Crash. Here’s his story.

Wulfa’s Story Part One

In a city the rain pattered around, in the loneliest of buildings odd sounds abound. In the darkest corner a creature did sit, with horn on his head and tail on his back, his big brown eyes watched the rain pita-pita-pat. His name was Wulfa and he was alone. He knew not where he had come from, nor not where he had been, his only company at this moment was his friend the fruit tree. The rain danced on the window pane as he watched it drift by. He clutched his knees to his ratty old suit, it was brown and worn bare. He didn’t remember where he got it from; in fact he didn’t really care.

He watched the rain and listened to the thunder, he had been in the house longer then he had remembered. He couldn’t remember anything beyond this house, he couldn’t remember how he had gotten to it and he couldn’t remember why he stayed. Thunder roared and he whimpered again, he remembered now. It always rained here, or if it wasn’t raining it was about to. He hated the rain, it always meant lightning. He watched through the safety of the house. It had survived many lightning strikes and no matter what shattered or broke it was repaired the next day, sometimes even when he watched it he could see the wood reform or the glass return seamlessly to the pane. He sometimes watched it do it actually, but not often it was scary. Wulfa looked out at the fruit tree, he liked the tree. It was always green and had fruit.

He stared at the fruit. He liked the fruit, it was so tasty and sweet, although he never went out to get any when it was raining, and the rain and lightning seemed to take offence to it. Lightning thundered and Wulfa whimpered clutching his knees, he had been struck by lightning before while he had tried to get a piece of fruit when it was raining. It hurt, and was the reason he always waited for the rain to go away. Wulfa watched the rain silently as he stared at the tree.

The rain gradually dwindled to a stop and Wulfa brightened instantly, he waited though, and as he waited the streets outside filled with life. He didn’t dare go outside when the rain dimmed it was too flooded with people. People he didn’t trust, they walked strangely and spoke in a language that only after listening to for a while Wulfa got used to. He sighed and stared out the window. One of them, a little one, a child, used to live here with him and bring him something called bread. He also used to bring him fruit from the tree outside even if it rained. He sighed. He missed the child, he was lonely because of it and the child was always smiling or always had a game and it rarely rained. Wulfa stared at the window and waited some more until he was satisfied it was safe.

Wulfa slinked outside into the fresh air. He breathed in the fresh air deeply as he made his way to the tree carefully. To say Wulfa was afraid of everything would be a lie; he led a life of secularity so he was merely cautious of everything. He scampered over to the tree and began to climb, he had found from experience the best fruit was always at the top. He carefully made his way up, the tree was always slippery after rain, Wulfa looked through the leaves, they curtained him from sight of passersby and only the most astute watcher would see the bestial hand grabbing a piece of fruit.

Wulfa smiled happily as he grabbed what he thought was the most luscious and descended without a care. He reached the bottom and slipped crashing onto the ground. The muddy ground was no consolation that it broke his fall. He’d need to stay out in the rain to clean the mud off. He whined slightly but immediately brightened when he saw his fruit unharmed and still looking as tasty as it did before, even if it was a bit mud covered. He smiled and brushed the mud off before he realized he was being watched.

He stared at the small figure watching him for a moment and scrambled up the tree, only looking back when he was safe in a branch. The child sat there looking at him curiously and then began to climb after him with a broad smile. Wulfa watched in a mix between fear and curiosity as the child climbed. Whenever he got near Wulfa scampered up to a higher branch, the child followed him. Fruit in mouth and filled with fear as the child closed in he leapt to the tallest branch and watched from its safety. The child laughed and followed like it was some big game until he got to a branch he could not get to. After moments of trying he gave up and sat looking at Wulfa with a broad grin.

He stared at the small child who stared back. He wasn’t sure what to do, Wulfa cautiously took a bite of his fruit and the child laughed and applause as juice dribbled off his chin. Then as if mimicking him the child took a nearby piece of fruit and bit into it. Juice dribbling from his chin as he did so, Wulfa sat on the branch and looked at the child in confusion as he finished his fruit. The child merely laughed and watched him with big green curious eyes. He laughed and said something which Wulfa couldn’t understand before taking another big bite. Wulfa picked another piece of fruit from the branches and offered it to the child. The child accepted it happily.

It was about then the branch snapped. Wulfa hung there in surprise for a moment and then came crashing into the ground. He groaned loudly and slipped into unconsciousness. He dreamt what he always dreamt, he dreamed of his wonderful friend, and then the memory of being alone in the dark and stormy night as fire was everywhere around him and a terrifying roar echoed as a figure fought against a something.

Wulfa awoke and the child was watching him silently but with a smile. He stared at the child with his brown eyes and tried to return the smile. The child stared back and smiled and then laughed. Wulfa looked around hesitantly unsure of what to do next.

“I’m Julian.” The child announced happily as he gestured towards himself. “What’s your name?”

“Wulfa.” Wulfa replied hesitantly. He was at a loss; he hadn’t dealt with anyone in a long time. “Fruit was tasty. Tree always has tastiest fruit.”

“Really?” the child asked with a smile. “Nice! Want to play?” he asked with all the energy of a ten year old behind him. Wulfa’s memories of the first child and him playing resurfaced and he remembered all the fun they had.

“Yes.” He replied making up his mind. “What game?” he asked as Julian launched himself at him with a smile and they began to play wrestle in the mud. Time past as it does and eventually the sun began to set. The rain set in again but only as a drizzle.

“I need to get home.” Julian sighed looking at the sky. “It’s getting dark.” Wulfa nodded and looked at the sky. “Thank you for playing with me Wulfa!” he proclaimed and hugged him. “Where do you live?”

“Here,” Wulfa replied as he yawned loudly. “This is home.” He said as he brushed the mud off himself.

“Can I visit tomorrow?” Julian asked with a smile and Wulfa nodded happily, it was good to have someone else around.

“Great!” he exclaimed, his smile increasing in size. “I’ll see you tomorrow then!” he exclaimed as he rushed out of sight. Wulfa sat patiently, today had been fun, normally he would have to have entertained himself by watching the street from the tree again. His stomach growled loudly and it quickly cut off any further thoughts along the lines of loneliness. Wulfa looked at the tree and a piece of fruit swayed there before snapping from the tree and into his hands. Wulfa brightened and let the drizzle clean him off. Today had been a good day.

Sure enough, Julian came back the next day even when it was raining Wulfa waited by the door patiently “It’s too wet to play.” Wulfa said unhappily as he looked at the rain pouring outside. Julian laughed.

“It’s never too wet to play.” He said happily coming inside. “We’ll just have to play inside.” He announced and dragged him in. For his age Wulfa was surprised by the amount of strength that Julian had and was dragged slightly for a moment before following him.

Julian reached a corridor and stopped letting out a slight gasp.

“This place is huge!” he announced happily. “It must have taken ages to explore!”

“Explore?” Wulfa asked curiously “Home change constantly.” Wulfa murmured as he looked at a flight of stairs up, “Never go upstairs above second for. Get lost.” He whined and looked at the flight of stairs. “Don’t like being lost.” Julian looked at Wulfa and smiled before dragging him towards the stairs.

“Don’t worry Wulfa! We won’t get lost. It’ll be an adventure!” and with that Julian rushed up stairs. In one of Wulfa’s more courageous moments he decided to not resist and follow.

They explored the third floor with amazement, some rooms opened into complete new worlds some mystical some hellish, others were filled with books upon books upon books, and although never entering. As they explored Wulfa made very sure that he remembered which way to get out in case something horrible would come. So in the months that passed on the sunny days they played outside on the wet days they explored the ever changing third floor of the house. Months of this passed until one day.

Storms had echoed for days and Wulfa had hidden himself in a room on the second floor overlooking the tree. He watched Julian rush in from the torrential rain and waited patiently as he heard rushed footsteps. Thunder cracked and Wulfa huddled into a ball and whimpered.

“Wulfa!” Julian exclaimed hugging him happily, as he entered, he was dripping wet. “Want to go explore again!” Wulfa shook his head and looked outside unhappily.

“This Storm.” Wulfa whined as he cowered in the corner, “Strong storm. Don’t like this storm.” Wulfa murmured as he watched the lightning outside. Julian looked outside with the assured confidence of a ten year old.

“Granpa’s angry!” he chirped with a smile sitting down next to Wulfa as he watched the rain and lightning play in the sky. “Papa said that when there’s a storm it’s cause of Granpa!” Julian laughed. “Granpa’s always angry!” he mentioned in way of explanation.

“Why?” Wulfa asked slowly as he tried to get his head around it. Was Julian related to the sky? Lightning echoed around and Wulfa whined slightly. They watched the rain some more and it increased to a torrential pace. “He very angry.” Wulfa murmured as they watched bolt of lightning slam into a roof and set it on fire, the fire soon put out by the torrential rain. The lightning was stronger now than he had ever seen it before. Silently Wulfa wondered what the sky had to be angry at. The ground seemed inoffensive enough. His musings were cut short as a streak of lightning shattered the window.

Wulfa immediately backed into the nearest corner and cowered, Julian joining him almost as quickly as they watched the lightning crack and rumble outside. In a point to design for the other houses, some bolts linked from rooftop to rooftop as lightning rods drew fire from the houses and dispersed them. Wulfa sniffed the air; the smell of ash assaulted his nostrils. He looked around and wondered fearfully where it was coming from. Almost in answer to his question there was a tremendous roar from the next room and everything was suddenly hotter. In silent recognition Wulfa and Julian looked at each other, and Wulfa shakily stood up and went to the door.

About the Dreamer

Chris Ashworth is an accounting superstar and web enthusiast who lives in Adelaide. He has no previous publications but he organises the local Adelaide NaNoWriMo chapter.

Sharing Sunday – Wulfa’s Story Part Two

11 May

Part Two

The door swung open easily and Wulfa immediately tried to back into the corner as he saw an inferno of raging flames. Julian looked at the flames in shock and coughed loudly before covering his mouth. Wulfa looked out the window. The ground window was billowing with flames as well. A piece of roof collapsed sending a shower of sparks near him and he rushed towards Julian scooping him up and stared at the inferno. The fire was frightening to him, even more so then getting hit by lightning again, the child coughed loudly again and Wulfa breathed in the air and snorted out the smoke. The scent of ash filled his nostrils. He looked at the raging fire and then at Julian who was huddled in his arms, he knew the stairs were made of stone and would still be there, he had seen houses on fire before, the stone was always the last to burn. Wulfa whined as he made his decision and sprinted through the fire to the stairwell.

As he rushed ahead floor collapsed underneath him billowing flames coming in his wake as he rushed to the stairs. Fire billowed at the bottom as he made his way down to the second floor. He rushed and weaved through the rooms avoiding all fire he could and leaping through the stuff he couldn’t avoid. As he reached the top of the stairs that lead to the first floor he stared in horror at the raging wooden beam that laid on it and then the floor underneath him splintered and he and the child he was holding collapsed onto the ground floor.

Wulfa got up slowly everything was painful and hot, he was sweltering in the heat. Julian stood coughing nearby as he tried to avoid the licking flames. Wulfa whined and scooped him up coughing and snorting smoke himself as he looked for the passage way to the back door. He spotted it through the smoke and noticed the roaring file that was in his path. He whined loudly and wheezed as he turned around, he hadn’t ever gone through the front door before, but through the smoke he spotted a path to it. It shined through the smoke with the promises of safety and Wulfa rushed for it, ignoring all the fire and falling timbers he could as he clutched Julian to him and reached the door.

He stumbled outside panting heavily, as he tried to breathe in all the air he could. Gingerly he looked at Julian who was coughing loudly and he placed him on the ground, and then finally he looked up. A crowd of people stared back. Voices muttered through the crowd as they all stared at him and he stared back. He looked at them all fearfully as a sharp crack echoed in the air and a support beam splintered behind him blocking his way back into the house and showering him in sparks. Instinctively he huddled down to protect himself but as he a number of burly men pushed their way through the crowd. As one made his way to the front of the crowd he looked at Wulfa eagerly as more pushed their way past.

“Halt monster!” One exclaimed as he drew a sword. Wulfa did the only thing he deemed smart. He ran.

He fled from the crowd and the men followed, throwing comments at each other. They were fast, but not nearly as fast as Wulfa though. The rain continued to pour and lightning crackled in the air, striking around the house. Wulfa turned a corner treacherously, he was used to hiding in the house so he had only one other option, the tree.  He turned another corner and saw the tree. He had gained some distance on the men. He skidded to a halt in the mud and scampered up the tree as far as he could. Saving the child through the fire had taken it all out of him. He was burnt, he was sore, he was exhausted, but that wasn’t the least of his problems. Lightning slammed into the tree and Wulfa flew off. The last thing he remembered was the burning house and tree.

Wulfa didn’t know how long he had been asleep for, or if what had just happened was all a dream. Wulfa tried to stand up but realized he was covered in a net. He struggled against it to no avail and whined as unpleasant noises echoed. A pair of feet clomped in front of him and he was hauled up.

“The magic academy is going to have a field day with you.” A frightening figure laughed as he looked him over. Wulfa struggled against the net. “You’ll fetch a fine price to any wizard or-.” He continued to only be stopped by a thunderous amount of thunder. “Damned storm.”

Wulfa struggled against the nets as the man turned and returned to his chair. Another roar of thunder echoed and the door slammed open bringing rain and a number of men inside.

“Something got that old man stirred up.” One muttered as he took off a cloak. “He came down to the house to have a look around himself. Did you know that it was his grandson that the beast had with him?”

“Maybe that’s why he was so angry last night?” another chuckled, “He looked pretty cheesed off at what happened to the house though.” The man shuddered. “Even though it’s being rebuilt stone by stone. Are you sure we should have-” a knock on the door interrupted him. “Who could that be in this storm…?” He muttered and swiveled on his foot and opened a hatch on the door. A muffled curse echoed and he leapt aside.

The door shattered and showered the room with splinters. Wulfa closed his eyes as deafening thunder echoed and then slowly dulled. When Wulfa managed to gather the bravery to open his eyes again, there was silence. The silence was much more frightening for him then the men had ever been. Thunder didn’t just appear, it only happened when it rain. Wulfa began to struggle against the net anew in hopes of escaping until he noticed the smell of rain in the air.

He looked up to see three figures silhouetted against the back of the glaring sunshine outside, two large, one small, the tallest one stooped down a shine of metal glinted in the light as the net fell down around him. Wulfa slowly got up and looked around him. The shadowy figures watched him. Wulfa sniffed the air, amongst all the ash that was still in his muzzle and the smell of rain, he sensed a smell that was familiar. He gingerly looked up at one of the figures and focused. A vastly older man stood there looking happily around him, satisfied with what he had done. He knelt down next to Wulfa and placed a calm hand against his brow and ruffled his hair slightly. He smelt of rain Wulfa noticed as the figure made a gesture the other who merely nodded and disappeared out of the room.

Wulfa looked at the old man who merely smiled and lifted his palm. He looked unfamiliar but smelled the same as the child did. In order to confuse him even further the child rushed to him and enveloped him in a hug. The old one smiled as he patted the child on the head happily and pulled something from his clothes. To Wulfa it was something known but it what it was escaped him. In reality it was a loaf of bread, the old one tore it into three chunks and passed one to the child and offered another to Wulfa. Wulfa took it gingerly unsure with what to do with it until the young child began to eat it.

“Bread?” Wulfa struggled hesitantly as he remembered something like it; his friend had used to bring him it. The old one smiled and nodded, Wulfa looked slightly relieved as he gingerly took a bite.  It was tasty. “Good.” He struggled and the old one smiled before producing a piece of fruit. Wulfa recognized it immediately as the fruit from the tree outside his home. The old one smiled as he snatched it eagerly and began to eat it along with the bread. It was by far the tastiest fruit Wulfa had ever gotten.

“Nice.” He announced and the child nodded happily and continued eating the bread and fruit in unison. The old man merely watched as he ate a vague look of sorrow in his eyes as he did. Wulfa finished what was left but the minute his hands were free the child tackled him with a laugh and began to wrestle. Their laughter painted the room as they began to play. As they did the old man silently sidled out of the room.

Outside the sun shone brightly as a well armored man rushed towards him.

“Father.” the man began as the old man nodded at him. “I’ll be billing you for the door you understand…” thunder echoed softly and the skies darkened the sounds of laughter from inside drowning out his muttered reply. “Is my s-“

“He’s fine.” The old man retorted harshly. “Wulfa is in there with him and their playing.” The man’s eyes grew wide and he rushed past the old man and a very audible gasp exhaled. “Still think I’m senile?” the old man chuckled mirthlessly “That I was trying to get my grandson to believe that he was real for my own amusement? No. Wulfa has always been here, ever since I came into the gift. Why do you think I let him run free in that house? Everyone needs a familiar face… It’s just mine also happened to be my imaginary friend…”

About the Dreamer

Chris Ashworth is an accounting superstar and web enthusiast who lives in Adelaide. He has no previous publications but he organizes the local Adelaide NaNoWriMo chapter.

Idea series – How to use an idea

8 May
Is this you?

Is this you?

How do we use Ideas? I’ve always been mystified as to how people actually use their ideas. Some people jot them down and let them rot away and others put it into motion. I personally love putting them into motion, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t have book I love to rewrite. Life would be pretty dull if I didn’t push further.

So this is where I call you to action. You have an idea. Flesh it out. Get out a pad and some paper (because this works best if you can scribble in the margins) and nut out what this idea is all about. Is it a short story? A poem? Or maybe it’s the start of a melody? Whatever it is hash it out. Some people say that you shouldn’t do this, that you should let it flow naturally but I say screw that. Do what you feel is right. I like to frantically run around putting pieces together in my head and sometimes i forget them, which is why I’m starting to use this notion of writing things down.

If you haven’t, start carrying a notebook around with you, and a pen, because without these you really don’t get anywhere and I want to make sure that you get your pretty little idea out of the way. And if you don’t have time, sit down and download Evernote (it’s free!) and set up an account. Write out your idea on the go without needing to judge bumps in the road or even people crowding you on the train, sometimes that’s not fun.

Jot down dot points, or complete sentences, write out a to-do list of things you want to research and double check. Don’t let the fear of a blank page hold you down.

So you’ve done that? Great. Let me know all about how it went in the comments below.

Fully Awake Dreamers – Ru Tripodi

7 May

Introducing Fully Awake Dreamers

Welcome to the new segment on my blog. It’s all about finding out about those people who sit around behind the computer screen and make things, they also are predominant writers and my friends! I’d love to be able to branch out and interview people who were not friends or I knew of but, one thing at a time. So without further ado I introduce the mind of Ru! You would have seen her beautiful words on Friday. Make her feel welcome!


Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

Hello! My name is debatable, but I go by Ru a lot of the time. I like to write fantasy, sci-fi, historical, romance, horror and whatever else tickles my fancy at the time. I’ve been known to write bad poetry upon occasion.

What is your burning writing desire about?

It changes at any given time, to be perfectly honest? Sometimes I’m twitching to write fantasy, other times I could really use a nice romance. I’m extremely unfocused, as a writer. But then, that’s nothing new? I’ve been writing, drawing and just generally living in my head since I was a kid. Creating places and populating those places with people who all have their own thoughts, feelings and motivations has always been the driving force behind everything I do.

Are you working on anything right now? Can you give us a little bit of a sneak peak?

Yes – several things, actually. No. //pokerface!!// …. loljustkiddingMandiwillkillmerooofffllll~ Here’s something I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with! Enjoy:


The fog closed in thickly around them, as the last shreds of moonlight ducked behind the abnormally thick cloud cover above. Dark, winding tendrils of barren trees reached for the old, cobblestone roads clicking under their feet, the sounds all the more hollow for the desolate atmosphere. The faint glow of enchanted orbs illuminated the immediate area before them, but did little to nothing to penetrate that nearly opaque wall of spider-silk hued ill will. Somewhere behind her, she could hear the soft grumbling of the group’s resident diplomat, Lord Lucaeus of the Silver Accord. Also a vampire, which she didn’t feel any which way about, really. Being undead, with blood that had dried up in her veins some several centuries ago, it wasn’t as though it made much difference to her one way or another. Although admittedly, there was a kind of novelty factor she found refreshing about the whole thing, in not being the only creepy critter around, that is.

“It’s too quiet,” he mumbled, voice barely above a whisper, yet even that seemed loud compared to the utter silence that surrounded them.

“Dampening spell.” That remark had come from a dark shrouded figure, whose very form seemed to phase in and out of existence, like a faintly glowing shadow. High Mage Weiss, of Dark Weaver infamy. There were few who knew their stuff quite like that guy, so when he said things which made utterly no sense to someone whose powers were innate enough that she never paid much mind to what she was tossing out, it forced a certain amount of attention upon the situation. What could she say? In life, she’d been a fighter and in death, not much had changed, save for her heavy affinity for runic mayhem.

“So, they’re rollin’ out the red carpet for us.” Faint murmur from the heavily armored Dark Wraith, her armor clinking pointedly, while she reached around to draw her sword. “Whatever floats their boats, for all the good it will do them.” Overconfident? Not like she didn’t have reason to be.

Frowning though, from the diplomat. She didn’t even have to turn to look, to know it was happening. He was the sort of guy whose voice betrayed a great deal of what he was thinking or feeling at any given time and the beginning of his lecture couldn’t hide his exasperation at her attitude regarding this mission.

“This is not an assault. It is a diplomatic meeting. Please, bear that in mind, before you get all kill-happy. Our first order of business is to make contact with these people; not create an international incident.”

Dry, faintly eerie laughter came from the shadowed mage, now moving up beside the knight herself. “Save it, whiny. We all know what direction this encounter is going, so let us simply be prepared for the inevitable.”

“That doesn’t mean we have to go in there with the attitude of–”

“–of what? Wanting to stay in one piece? I have no intentions of ending up someone else’s spell components this night, Sir. We will do what we came here to do, but I assure you, at the first sight of violence, this place will become a crater. I dare not risk the consequences, should something befall you.” They were there to protect the diplomat, after all and their instructions were very clear. Protect him first: mission second. Nice to know they were on the same page, but to be fair, she and Weiss generally were. “For your conscience’s sake, I hope you’re as smooth a talker as they say you are.”

Aeria laughed outright, the sound far too echoed and disjointed to ever have come from a living thing. “Darlings, darlings. You both have great hair, your shoes are cute and definitely neither of you looks fat in those jeans – now can we please focus on the fact that they have us totally surrounded and two more steps will put us in a binding circle?”

What nourishes your dreams besides writing?

Drawing, coffee, listening to music, coffee, daydreaming… cupcakes?

What inspires you?

Music is a big inspiration for me. Also doing a lot of reading into other genres. I try pretty hard to not limit myself to one arena or one style of writing. Different stories and different worlds might require different styles of storytelling, to get the right feel across to the reader.


Dreamer Days - Ru

What’s the biggest ting you’ve learned from writing?

Not to give up. Not to automatically hate everything, just because it’s mine. You ever do that? Just assume that because it’s your writing, that it’s not good enough to share? Or even good enough to continue working on? I’m still learning how to cut myself a little slack and just trust in my own process. It’s slow going, but I’m getting there.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome when it comes to your writing?

Uuuhhhh… Consistency. What I mean there is, writing on a regular basis. I tend to go on these binges where I’ll write chunks of chapters at a time, crank out 10k words at a clip, then… Take months to return to it. Or worse, never return to it at all! I get so frustrated with myself when that happens!! I honestly do need to just make sure I write something every day. Even if it’s just a couple hundred words. Even if I hate it. Just something. You can’t edit something, if you’ve never written it in the first place.

What advice can you give to buddying writers?

WRITE. That’s my advice. Just plain write. I don’t care if you don’t like it! I don’t care if that scene isn’t working! I don’t care if you can’t find a different word for ‘said’! I don’t care if your head hurts and your arms feel like jelly and the cat is lying on your keyboard and that gif set on Tumblr is freakin’ hilarious! Write. Whether it’s one word or one thousand – just write.

Are you dreaming fully awake and how did you get there?

Psshhh! Of course! I’ve always been this way! We’re going to blame my mother. Pretty sure this condition is genetic…


Dreamers Day - Ru


About the Dreamer

Ru Tripodi is a varied writer, whose attention span likes to wander far more than what is likely conducive to finishing any given project.  She lives in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, Pennsylvania, with her daughter, her cats and a collection of assorted ‘other’ strays she’s managed to pick up along the way.  Sometimes she likes to draw things, most times she likes to drink coffee and when they’re in season, she has an unhealthy obsession with persimmons.  They are the perfect muse food.  Seriously.


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