Wednesday, November 23

On a Serious Note, I Tell You Something Personal

I feel that it is important for me to confess something personal to you. To explain to you how I am. A lot of you know that I suffer from depression, and I have since I was about thirteen or fourteen. I was at my worst in year eleven, in 2008. But I'm really good and acting normal and not letting it interfere with my life. Or with anyone else's. I'd hate that. If I interfered with someone else's life just because I felt like crap.
I used to tell myself that I was just a little sad, that it wasn't that bad and I'd get over it. It was only when reading old diaries that I realised exactly how bad I was. I am not suicidal, never have been, but I did have a councillor diagnose me with severe depression when I was in year 12 and refer me to a psychologist - who I never went to.
I believe depression is different for everyone. For me depression is a dark, soft creature. The fact that I can only describe it as a metaphor just screams writer, which in turn kind of screams depression. This creature is always sleeping in my stomach. It never goes away. Some of you are aware that I sometimes have these little "breakdowns". Often I will rant on twitter when they happen. This is when the creature wakes and claws it's way up my throat, into my lungs and out my mouth where it sits on my chest, suffocating me. I don't see my depression as a monster or a beast. It's heavy dark creature, as soft as a kitten. But it's got these long sharp teeth that gently bite into my jugular and slowly bleed me out.
This creature terrifies me.
Today the creature stirred and I could feel it clawing it's way up my throat. I'm just thankful I have so many wonderful friends who came and helped me sedate the creature. So thank you, to you all, and maybe one day you'll help take the creature away from me for good.

Tuesday, November 15

Story: Percival X and the Mysterious Blue Parcel

I know I haven't posted anything for ages and you all probably hate me, especially now that I'm only posting this so I can get your opinion on whether or not I should submit this for my Writing Portfolio assignment. This was one of my Writing For Young People tasks in which I was to write a children's chapter book. As it is part of a chapter book, I have included the introduction and a much later extract. It's a story I'd really like to continue with. Tell me what you think.


Percival Xavier Crane, or Percival X as most people knew him, was eleven years old and lived in the eighth floor of an apartment building with his nanny, Mrs McClendon. The reason Percival X lived on the eighth floor with his nanny, Mrs McClendon, was because his parents were lepidopterologists. This meant they were often away, travelling the world, looking for rare species of butterflies. The last time Percival X had heard from them they were hot-air ballooning over the Amazon looking for the Spotted Orange Sundancer.
Percival X’s parents loved butterflies. That’s why they were always running around the world looking for them. Percival X hated butterflies. Even more so, Percival X hated that his parents were always running around the world looking for them. To tell you the truth, Percival X was jealous. He thought that his parents, not Mrs McClendon, should have lived with him in the eighth floor apartment. Better still, he thought that his parents should have taken him with them when they were travelling the world. Percival X would have loved to hot-air balloon over the Amazon, even if it was while looking for the Spotted Orange Sundancer.
Percival X’s parents thought that he was too young to be travelling the world. They thought that a hot-air balloon over the Amazon was no place for an eleven year old boy. They thought that Percival X needed a stable environment; somewhere normal, with normal friends, doing normal things. Thus Percival X stayed at the eighth floor apartment with his nanny, Mrs McClendon. He attended school, he played with friends in the park, he went to movies and he helped out with chores. Percival X lived a normal, stable life.
Percival X didn’t want a normal, stable life. Percival X wanted an adventure. His parents were always off on adventures, whether it was hot-air balloons over the Amazon or something else. Percival X wanted one of his own. It was for this reason he was so excited when he found a parcel on his doorstep early one frosty Saturday morning.
The parcel was odd for a number of reasons. First of all, the mail wasn’t delivered on Saturdays, particularly not early in the morning. Even when the mail was delivered, it wasn’t left on the doorstep. It was put in little mailboxes in the foyer or given to the doorman who then said things like “Ma’am, a parcel came for you this morning.” when you come down stairs. But Percival X’s parcel wasn’t in one of the little mailboxes or with the doorman. Percival X’s parcel was on the doorstep of his eighth floor apartment.
The parcel was a long and flat oblong wrapped in royal blue paper and tied up with pale lacy pink ribbon. In the upper left corner, butterflies had been drawn in silvery ink. There were fifteen stamps taking up the entire right half and scrawled on the left in the same silvery pen as the butterflies were the words:
To Adventurer
Eighth Floor
When Percival X turned the parcel over he did not find the senders name like one usually would with letters and parcels but instead, written in the same scrawl as the words on the front of the parcel was:
Your expedition awaits!

Later Extract

Percival X entered the room with caution. One should never rush into a room gated by a ten foot crimson door that mysteriously creaked open as one happened to be walking by. Percival X placed on hand on the door and the other on the doorframe and peered his head inside, careful to look both left and right to make sure nothing was hiding behind the door ready to jump out and gobble him up.
Once Percival X had diligently checked behind the door he stepped inside and examined the room. His mouth opened into a little ‘o’ and, without meaning to, let out a gasp. At first he thought the floor was carpeted in thick green shag but when he looked closer, Percival X realised he was standing ankle deep in luscious grass. The domed ceiling was painted navy blue, with tiny lights set into it, twinkling like stars. For a moment Percival X thought that he had stepped outside, but the walls proved that that wasn’t the case.
Every wall was lined with glass shelves. They started a foot above the ground and rose all the way to the ceiling. There were no windows in the room so the only place the shelves stopped was across the crimson doorway.
In the centre of the room was a very enormous lounge chair with a very tiny, very old lady perched in it. “Don’t let the door close, dear. It catches.” The very tiny, very old lady said. “And it is awful troublesome to get it open again.”
“I received a parcel…” Percival X began, thinking perhaps this lady could help him, but the very tiny, very old lady interrupted him.
“The door, dear.” She prompted.
“Oh. Right.” Percival X turned back just as the door was clicking into place. “Sorry.” He chewed his lip, “I guess I was too slow.”
The woman sighed a loud, drawn out, sigh, “It really is such awful trouble to get back open again.” She pointed Percival X to the glass shelves and told him to have a good look at them. The shelves were cluttered with hundreds and hundreds of tea cups and saucers and, when Percival X stepped closer, he noticed that none of the cups were with their matching saucers.
“Now.” The lady ordered from where she sat in the enormous lounge chair. “Match them up.”

Wednesday, September 21

Story: The Shadow

This week in my Writing For Young People class we are doing older reader picture books. This is the text for my picture book, it works fine without pictures so I thought it would be alright to share. Next week is children's chapter books, so expect an extract from that next week.

There’s a shadow inside mummy. You can’t always see it, but I know it’s there. Sometimes I see it under her eyes, a grey and green and black shadow, and I tell it to leave her, but it won’t.
The shadow makes mummy sad.
“She’s just a bit down,” grandma tells me, “feeling a bit blue. That’s all.”
“She’s had a little nervous breakdown.” My aunt says. I don’t know what this means. “It’s nothing to worry about.” She sends me off to play.
I don’t want to play. Not when mummy won’t leave her room. Not when mummy won’t stop sleeping. Not when mummy doesn’t talk to me or daddy or anyone else.
Some nights mummy cries so loud she wakes me. I go to her in her room and cling onto her. Maybe if I hug her hard enough I can squeeze the shadow out of her.
“It’s okay mummy. I’ll save you from it.” I tell her. I’ll fight away the shadow.
Daddy strokes my hair and wraps his arms around mummy’s shoulders. “Mummy’s fine. Go back to bed.” He tells me.
Everyone keeps telling me mummy is fine, but she is not. The shadow has her. It’s dark and heavy and steals away smiles.
One day I’ll make mummy smile again.

Saturday, September 10

Story: Children's Poetry - The Lady

This past week I was to write a picture book for my writing class. I thought about sharing it with you, but decided against it. Because it hasn't been illustrated it reads more like a script than a picture book and it really loses effect. This coming week we are to write childrens poetry so, to make up for not posting something last week, I'm posting my poetry to you guys early.

One day a lady stole our dad.
She was a thin as a newspaper ad.
She was so mean, she was so grumpy,
She flushed mummy done the dunny!
She locked dad in the tallest tower,
Cut off hot water to the shower.
My brothers tried to break him out
An elaborate mission came about.
Danny had weapons skills
While Miles had been trained to kill
They plotted long and hard that night.
I supplied the dynamite.
Clad in black and camo paint
With a tank they broke the gate
The lady stood before the spire
And with a cry we opened fire
She threw her head back, gave a roar,
My dynamite blew in the door
Dad was free, it seemed we won,
But then the lady grabbed a gun.
Dad wrestled her for the rifle
Her last attempt had been stifled
So Miles, who had lost his cool,
He pushed her in a nearby pool.
Danny, with a colossal tug,
Pulled out the gigantic plug.
Swirling through the hole and down
To the sewage works out of town.
To this day we have not seen her.
It’s said she’s in Argentina.

What'd you think? Next week is Older Reader Picture Books, so I'm not sure if you'll get anything that week. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 31

Story: Trim the Rat Girl

For this semester I'll be taking a break from writing Story Saturday's but don't worry, you'll still be getting a story once a week. I'm talking a writing class, Writing for Young People, where I have to do a piece of writing once a week and share it with my Tutorial class on Thursdays. Because I have to share my writing with my group 24 hours before class I have it ready on Wednesdays, thus Story Saturday has moved to Wednesdays.
This week we were supposed to be writing a character description so that is what I give you. Tell me what you think and let me know what age group it comes across as being for. I'm not sure it's right.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

There’s a girl who lives in the walls of the subway. People pretend she’s not real, but everyone knows she is. If the platform is empty enough, and it’s late enough in the evening, you can hear her moving about inside the walls when you’re waiting for the train. On the quietest of nights, the nights when you feel as if you’re the only person awake in the entire word, if you have a little food, you can tempt her out of the walls.

She always materialises out of nothing. One moment there is shadow and the next there she is. She scurried over and snatches the food from you before scurrying into a corner to eat. She scurries everywhere. She gnaws on the food, nibbling at it with her front teeth. She seems more rat than girl.

It’s not just the way she moves and eats, she looks almost like a rat. Her nose is long and thin, and her eyes squinted and startled as if she spent her life hiding in the darkness of the subway tunnels. Then again, she probably had. Her hair was that undefinable almost grey colour that is somewhere between blonde and brown. She looks about eight years old but she’s been living in the walls for as long as anyone can remember.

Her name is Trim. Everyone knows it, no one knows how, they just do. Trim the Rat Girl. Trim the Rat Girl who lives forever. “She can’t be human” people whisper on the rare occasions that they acknowledge her existence.

“What else can she be?”

“I don’t know. Don’t let the children near her.”

And what else can she be, if not human? People have all kinds of stories; that she really is descended from rats, that she’s an otherworldly spirit, a monster, alien, brownie, fairy, some kind of magical being. I think that she is Trim. Not defined by other names. Not catalogued into some group of mythical species. But there is no denying that she is special.

I wonder if she is happy; living such an unusual existence. She has no friends or family, unless the rats of the subway count. The subway patrons certainly don’t count. It’s only ever the really curious and fanciful commuters who ever try and tempt her from the walls and she’s more interested in the food than the person who gave it to her. She doesn’t talk to you, doesn’t answer your questions.

Sometimes you ask a question and she looks up with you with the brightest grey eyes. They’re so inquisitive and intelligent that I wonder if maybe she wants to answer you but she can’t. Perhaps she is mute. Perhaps she never learnt to talk.

She’s a mystery. Sometimes I think she should stay like that. Sometimes I want to know more. I want to know all there is about her. So I try again. I bring butternut cookies, her favourite from my experience, and go down to the subway after the late train is gone and all the commuters have left. I tempt her from the walls again.

Next week is picture book week. Not sure how well I'm going to work the illustrations, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Saturday, August 27

Story Saturaday: Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Finale

It's been a long time, but here is the concluding chapter of the Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Story Saturday. If you missed the first parts they can be found here.

I am taking a writing class this semester, Writing For Young People, so instead of Story Saturday's you may be getting some of those stories for the next few months. It's just easier on me that way, and I can continue publishing something on my blog.

Anyway, enjoy the final chapter:

“Ice-cream! Ice-cream! Ice-cream!” Penguins cheered, jumping up and down with her mission well and truly forgotten. Penguins had an insane obsession for lemon sorbet. When it came to lemon sorbet everything else, no matter what, was put on hold. She pressed her hands together and looked at Laura with a pair of terrifyingly persuasive puppy-dog eyes. “Oh please can we?”

“Of course!” Laura hadn’t heard a better idea all day.

Slowly everyone turned to look at Maddog. He was likely to be a hard one to convince. Someone as cranky as him probably didn’t even like ice-cream. “Oh, all right.” He eventually agreed. Penguins’ puppy-dog eyes were somehow far more coercive then his own; maybe because his always had a little bit of a scowl to them.

Penguins and Laura each grabbed one of O’Malley’s hands and together, with Maddog at their side, they skipped off towards the ice-cream parlour.

Zella was offended that Till thought her loyalty could be so easily turned. “Betray the Chairman?” She squeaked (she’d been trying for indignant, but she had one of those voices that rose in octave when she got angry or scared. In this case, she was both). “I could never do such a thing! Tom, get me out of here!”

Tom immediately jumped to Zella’s rescue, throwing books off her and pulling her free. “Are you okay, Zella?” He gave her a little bow and she nodded in reply, glaring at Till. “I… I don’t really need a kiss.” Tom said, shuffling his feet bashfully. “I mean, it’s a bit sleazy… demanding a kiss. Maybe I could take you out for ice-cream first?”

Zella thought about this. He had rescued her. She’d feel a little cruel turning him down now. “Sure…” she replied cautiously. “Maybe you could come too!” She turned to Till. She didn’t want this to be a ‘date’.

Till glared. Going for ice-cream when she was supposed to be looking for the Chairman? It was a silly and frivolous activity, but maybe if she went along she might be able to find something out from Zella. Who knows, maybe Zella gets awfully talkative when faced with cake batter ice-cream with a marshmallow mix-in?

Zella gave a little cry of excitement when they entered the ice-cream shop. “Maddog! O’Malley! Fancy seeing you here?” He scurried over to a table where her colleagues were sitting with two girls.

Till was gobsmacked. “Penguins, Laura, you had better have a good reason why you’re here with the enemy.”

“We’re getting ice-cream” Penguins replied. Her teammates’ incompetence was too much for Till. She had to sit down.

Tom came over to join them, staring love-sickly at the girl Till had called Penguins. She was the most beautiful thing her had ever seen. In his mind Celine Dion was playing and he fancied rose petals and confetti were falling from the sky. “Can I get you anything?” He asked her breathlessly.

“Sure.” Penguins smiled, unaware of the dreamy way Tom looked at her. “I’d love some more lemon sorbet.”

Laura nudged O’Malley, “Hey, I think the ice-cream serving girl is smiling at you. Her name tag says Lara.”

“You really think so?” O’Malley blushed red.

“You should go ask her out.”

When Lara had finished her shift they all went back to Penguins’ place to watch zombie movies, much to Till’s and Maddog’s protests. Penguins had a few roommates and Donut, Pieman and Jack came out to join them in the zombie marathon. “My other roommate should be home soon.” Penguins told everyone.

They settled on the couch and a plethora of beanbags and switched on Night of the Living Dead. It was Donut's birthday, so they even had cake. O’Malley and Tom were both the happiest they’d ever been and even Till and Maddog were contented.

Halfway through Shaun of the Dead (one of Zella’s favourite films) the front door opened. “Hey, I’m home.” Penguins’ fourth roommate came into the room.

“Boss!” Zella squeaked.

“Eek! Ze Chairman!” O’Malley jumped about three feet in the air.

“WHAT. THE. HELL!!” Till Hammerette screamed.

“Uh… Hi.” The Chairman replied.

Happy birthday to my pal Pvt Donut. He's 12, I mean... 17 today.

Sunday, August 14

Story Saturday: Tom and Laura Work Together

Tom and I were talking to each other and realised that I only had 15 minutes to do a Story Saturday. Together we tried our best to get you a story worth reading. Instead you get this:

Story Saturday
By Penguins and Tom

It was a dark and stormy night... Again. Penguins swore that if they didn't pass the Anti-Weather Magic Act soon she was going to do something that only the witch down the road would regret. It wasn’t that it rained every night, it was that the witch knew the nights that Penguins wasn’t busy and made it rain on those nights. It’d been two weeks now since she’d had the chance to do any washing and her underwear was reaching a critical shortage.
Penguins sighed and closed her book, “Tom” she said, “we have got to do something about this, I don’t see why you can’t do some washing for a change.”
“Well you see my dear Penguins, it’s really quite simple. I am a man.”
“And?” Penguins asked, looking angry.”I only have flippers! I can’t do it properly!”
“I don’t know how to wash clothes. All I know is how to cook Mi Goreng and play Minecraft.”
“Don’t stereotype! At least you can make Mi Goreng. I may be a woman but every time I cook I burn something!” She shook her head. “Remember that Greek salad last week?”
“I think everyone on the street remembers the Greek salad from last week. I still hold that you burnt it on purpose because you think the firefighter are cute.”
“If you’re not going to do any washing then you should at least stop that witch’s it stupid weather spells for me!”
“I don’t want to go by myself, you know how shy I am. I wouldn’t be able to knock on the door without anybody there. Can’t you just call her?”
“You know she doesn’t believe in phones.”
“What, she thinks it’s better to talk to people in person?”
“No, she honestly doesn’t believe they exist. I’ve shown here photos but she says that they’re photoshopped.”
“She believed in photoshop but not phones?”

Saturday, August 6

Story Saturaday: Choose-Your-Way-Adventure Part 6

If you missed them, you can find part one, two, three, four and five here

“Woah now.” Tom backed up, prying Till’s fingers away from his collar. “Let’s not go making threats, alright?” Till ignored Tom’s attempt at diplomacy. She wanted information and she wanted it now. She swung the hammer at Tom again.

Tom drew a sword from his belt and blocked Till’s strike, by the hammer was still forceful enough to push him back a few steps. “Now, now, hold up.” Tom raised his hands but quickly had to drop them and raise his sword again when Till swung her hammer a third time. “Hold up!” Tom blocked her blow and stepped back out of reach. “I don’t want to fight a woman.”

Till glared at him. "Were you born without balls or did you just recently lose them?"

“Hey now! That’s just mean!” Tom crossed his arms defensively across his chest. It was a rather awkward gesture, with him still holding his sword. He unfolded his arms crossly and pouted. “I should let you know I’m rather well endowed, thank you very much.”

"He's like a hormonal teenage girl in a mansuit when he gets his feelings hurt." Someone whispered from across the bar.

“Hey!” Tom glared at the man who had spoken, but next to Till’s magnificently well-formed glare his looked like a pathetic frown on a cranky infant. “What’s with everyone attacking me today?”

“You’re a pirate! Fight back!” Someone shouted.

“Fighting women is not fitting with my character profile.” Tom retorted. “I’m surprisingly chivalrous.”

“If your chivalrous you wouldn’t mind helping out the lady.” A third man pointed out.

Tom thought about this. It’s true. If he was as chivalrous as he thought himself to be he would help out the lady. He sheathed his sword. “Okay, Miss Hammerette. I’ll help you out. I’ll take you to talk to Zella.”

“Madpup! Will you be my friend?” Penguins begged, reaching out her hand to pat him.

“No.” Maddog snapped his teeth at her extended hand.

“Madpup! Will you please be my friend?” Penguins begged, reaching out to pat him.

“No.” Maddog snapped at her hand but then sighed. “How much longer are you going to keep this up? It’s tiring.”

“I know what you mean.” Penguins replied. “I feel like I’m a robot stuck in an infinite loop but without the cool buttons and weapons and I don’t make beeping sounds. All I have is this -” She waved her umbrella at Maddog, “and can imitate sounds like this – beep beep bop beep bop bop beep – “

Penguins continued to beep while Maddog curled up into a ball with his paws over his ears. "I am visualizing putting duct tape on your mouth.” He muttered.

Footsteps echoed from down the corridor from which Penguins had come followed by a shriek. Penguins stopped beeping and looked up to see Laura with a very eerie, eerie Goth clinging to her., terrified. “Oh god!” the Goth squealed, “Its Maddog! We have to run away!”

“Run away?” Laura asked. “It’s a dog.”

“Maddog is the terrifying guardian of the Chairman’s lair. He’ll kill us all!”

“Don’t be silly.” Penguins told him. “Madpup’s my friend.”

“We never decided that.” Maddog growled.

Penguins rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. We all know you would have caved first.” O’Malley and Laura nodded and even Maddog had to agree.

Laura introduced O’Malley and explained how they were going to the Chairman. “Oh! I’m coming too!” Penguins hopped from foot to foot, excited and anxious to be on their way. Everyone glanced at Maddog.

“Fine,” He growled, “but I better get to maul someone.”

The group hadn’t gone far when O’Malley stopped. Laura turned to him, questioningly, and Maddog growled with impatience. “You know…” O’Malley began, “Now zat I have friends, scoldink the Chairman doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore.” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I don’t really need to go tell ze Chairman how I veel about him. I’d much rather go vor ice-cream.”

Zella was not what Till had been expecting. She had The Chairman’s right hand built up in her head as something of a James Bond villain – a black leather seductress – but instead she found a lanky college student with messy, waist length hair stuck under a collapsed pile of books.

“Are you sure this is the Chairman’s subordinate?” Till whispered to Tom, sure she had been misled.

“Yup. I’m certain.” He replied. “Isn’t she cute?”

Zella wriggled, trying to free herself from the pile of books. The pile was dislodged and books went spilling over her face. Zella whimpered as she disappeared under the avalanche. “Help! Someone! Get me out of here!” She cried.

“I will,” Tom announced, “in exchange for a kiss.”

“I know that’s you, Tom!” Zella cried from under the books, “And for the last time, I’m not kissing you! Now get me out from under here!”

“Alright,” Till stepped forward, “in exchange for some information on the Chairman.”

Does Laura

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Continue with her mission to find the Chairman

Does Penguins

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Continue with her mission to find the Chairman

Does Maddog

a) Go for Ice-cream with O’Malley

b) Go find the Chairman so he has someone to maul

c) Attack his new friends instead :O

Does Zella

a) Accept Till’s offer and tell her where the Chairman is

b) Accept Tom’s offer and give him a kiss