Australian Mythology

Tags

,

After considering a story set in Australia instead of Europe or the Americas I became interested in Australian Aboriginal stories.  Here are three collections of stories I’ve found.

Gadi Mirrabooka

The second book I found (but the first I read through all the way was Gadi Mirrabooka: Australian Aboriginal Tales from the Dreaming.    (Edited by Helen F McKay. Libraries Unlimited. 2001)

The first third of this book gives an explanation of the geography, plants and animals of Australia, a brief history of Australia and details of aboriginal culture and life.

I read this one before I read the Grimm Brother’s tales.   I was disappointed by the short length and lack of depth in the stories but then later I came back to it and could compare the stories to the European tales of the Grimm/Anderson types they are actually not that different.   Swap some bird names and they could easily move between the two cultures.  I think originally I was unrealistically expecting something on the scale of the Odyssey or King Arthur and didn’t know what to expect.

Torres Strait

The first one that I found was Myths and Legends of Torres Strait (Margaret Lawrie.  University of Queensland Press. 1970).   I found this electronically in the Uni library as I was looking for something from the Torres Strait as that would be the spring board for the story which would head north into German New Guinea at the turn of the 20th Century.

Again if you like Grimm and Anderson you’ll like these stories.   There must have been a lot of contact between the islands because the stories followed similar themes of betrayal and revenge and lots of people ending up being turned to stone.

Sciency Stuff

The one I am reading at the moment is a book of science papers called Monster Anthropology in Australasia and Beyond (Edited by Yasmine Musharbash. Palgrave Macmillan.  2014).

Tales of cannibal monsters, lights and dragons!!!   If you can stomach reading science papers.   Tends to show lean to the dry story telling but still worth reading.  Want to know how monsters are changing in Aboriginal stories from pre-contact to now this is the book to read.   Evil spirits who smoke and drive cars with Oedipus thrown into pyscho babble.   What’s not to like.   And the Referenes at the end of each paper gives further reading one of which led to a paper on UFO sightings in an Aboriginal community, fascinating stuff.

Heart of Darkness

Tags

, ,

So I finally got round to reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, started it yesterday and just finished.

Short 110 pages, but the pages were very densely packed.   Not a great deal of dialogue to give the book some whitespace generally recommended in novels. What dialogue there was was melded together with multiple speakers in the same paragraph mixed in with description.

I do not really see that as a bad thing, may have been deliberate, I should read one of his other novels to see if he does spacing with dialogue at all.  I say may have been deliberate because a book about claustrophobia and loneliness needed that denseness, that constant torrent of description to give the reader that feeling of pressure.

For a novel where the main character is mostly waiting or staring at trees it was gripping and I wish I had been able to read it all in one sitting.

 

I think Apocolypse Now brought the book beautifully to life and Coppola’s manipulation of the ramblings of Brando was a better Kurtz then Conrad’s.

Reality Has Set In

Tags

,

Ok, so I’m not going to be writing in this blog every day.    That is painfully obvious.

I think the blame can be planted squarely on my inability to get away from World of Warcraft.    Deleted twenty-ish characters today, leaves me with eight.   I set up Play Time Limits, I know I can go in and change them, wonder if I will.   Limited myself to 4.30am to 6am and 4pm to 5pm Monday to Friday and 4.30am to 9.30am and 3pm to 5pm on the weekends.   Still 26.5 hours and considered “Addicted”, but it’s less then what I play now.

I did learn something today – Joseph Conrad (the author) was born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski and English was his third language.   Might explain why his novels are big on big words, he is overcompensating.  Started Heart of Darkness and Marlow is using Martin Sheen’s voice as I’m reading.

 

 

Procrastination

Tags

The dishes are done, the man cave is tidied (well, in my eyes, crumbs on the floor are decoration not mess), I’ve read another chapter of my book and done my daily quests in Warcraft.

Nothing left to do before I start cooking dinner except putting an entry up on the blog.

Need help procrastinating?   Try 1000 ways to procrastinate. 

Sadly before I finished this post I opened another window and went looking for things to distract me – try – https://wronghands1.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/wasting-timeline/

 

Death Has Green Eyes

Tags

,

This is a short story I wrote a few years ago for a uni class that I never finished. It has quite a few things wrong with it, I never re-wrote it into a better version. The tutor’s comments are at the end.


Why am I sitting here in the Narrenbah bus depot at one in the morning? What makes a person want to just hop on a bus at that time?

I’m running away. I didn’t tell my boss I was leaving. I did tell my landlady I was leaving in a note. I liked her better than my boss; I told her to sell our stuff and keep the money. I wouldn’t miss anything in this little town, not anymore. I’d taken only a few things and thrown them into my backpack. Some clean underwear and socks, a bible and a photo my now-dead wife and a little package of CDs was all I had.

I didn’t go to work yesterday. I should have—then maybe she’d be alive. She didn’t want me to steal those files, but I figured I could cover my tail until we could get out of town. Jess, my secretary, called me from work to tell me there had been a robbery there and my wife had been shot. Jess said the cops were looking for me. They weren’t concerned for my wellbeing that I knew. The local cops were the best money could buy and they’d been bought; I know because I used to pay them for my boss.

Now I was at the depot, which was a bubble of light in the pitch blackness of rural Australia. The town was to the north, across the river, and was just a glow behind the trees. I was alone with the moths and bugs; the nearby highway hadn’t had a car pass on it for the half hour I’d been sitting there.

I paced back and forth along the length of the depot’s length. It’s just a long, open-sided shed really—a couple of benches, not even toilets or a ticket office. I’d been there about fifteen minutes when my mobile rang.

“They are coming for you.” It was some woman’s voice. No idea who.

“Who is this?” I asked.

“My name is Mercy. You don’t have time for me to explain more. There is a boat to the north of the bus depot; get in it and cross the river.”

“How the hell did you know where I was?”

“Your iPhone can be tracked, you idiot. Throw it away and get to the boat. Now!”

Making a quick decision, I threw my phone on to the highway. I ran out of the depot and immediately tripped. Couldn’t see a damn thing—no night vision. I stumbled up and made my way to the river. I could smell it. By the time I got to the bank I’d regained some of my vision. Spotting an inflatable dingy under a tree, I grabbed it and waded a little way out into the river and jumped in.

A flashing light in the dingy caught my eye. A mobile on silent receiving a call. I grabbed it out of its plastic baggy and answered.

“You made the right decision. Keep this phone; paddle quickly; I’ll give you more instructions in five minutes.” I didn’t get to talk this time; she hung up before I could. I started paddling. From the direction of the bus depot I heard the screech of breaks. I paddled quicker. The river was only a football field wide at this point, but I’m not a rower and it felt like it was taking forever.

As I pulled the dingy out of the water, I could see people with torches on the other bank. I hustled into to the other side of the trees that lined the river. I hoped none of them would find where I went into the river.

The phone vibrated in my pocket.

“Now what the hell do I do?” I was a little scared.

“Keep your voice down. Go up to Lizard Drive and head west; that’s upriver. My brother will meet you at the end. He’ll be in a white ute. His name is Maurice.”

“How will I know it’s him?” I asked.

“How many white utes are you expecting to be waiting for you? Get moving, and hurry, it won’t take them long to drive back to the bridge and come around to find you.” Again she hung up.

I guess I just wanted to be told what to do. I started jogging up the road.

Maurice turned out to be six feet of muscle and possessing the charm of a hungry, angry bear. I got into his ute anyway.

He drove without lights on; I closed my eyes and prayed.

“Shit!” His only word the entire trip. He said it as he swerved to the side of the road as a black, four- wheel-drive running without lights slammed into us head on. Maurice went through the window. Always buckle up people.

I opened my door and fell out crying in pain and fear. My left arm was definitely broken and it hurt to breath. I reached in to get my pack and started to stagger down the road. The mobile rang.

“What happened down there? What was that noise?”

I groaned.

“Look to your right; do you see the house with the flashing lights?”

I turned and groaned a positive.

“That’s me; come up as quickly as you can.”

The walk up her driveway from the road took me five agonising minutes, but it gave me time to stop sobbing. I staggered up the steps to her house and knocked. Mercy called out for me to come in.

Mercy turned out to be one of the most gorgeous women I had ever seen. Her hair was black, long and wavy. She had the most amazing green eyes. She smiled beautifully as I walked into her living room and slumped down on her lounge. I placed my pack on the floor beside me and smiled back.

“Thank you, Mercy. I don’t know how I can repay you.”

“No need,” she said as she pulled out a gun and shot me twice. I slumped down on the floor and the last thing I saw was her opening my pack and reaching in.


Matthew,

This has a great pace and style, but I’ve reached the end and now had to look back and see what was in the pack? What was he killed for? (Forgive me if I’ve missed it. I can only see reference to some ordinary things placed in a backpack? The CDs? Or should I be assuming he’d put some money in there as well?)

That aside, I really enjoyed this. I’ve made a few corrections and comments regarding punctuation errors. The most common one is the comma splice—you have a lot of sentences ‘spliced’ together with commas, when in fact they’re two or three complete sentences and need to be constructed as such (or, if you want to indicate a connection between them, they can be separated by semicolons).

Sentence construction is mostly good, although there were a couple of places where it could have been stronger, and I think you could have taken more chances to show rather than tell in places. The first half was definitely the strongest stylistically—the story and ‘voice’ of the narrator captured my attention from the beginning and retained it to the end.

NaNoWriMo 2014

Tags

,

So I entered NaNoWriMo in November 2014.  The idea being that you write a novel of 50000 words within the 30 days of November.

You write quickly and do your best to get the first draft of a novel down.   No one expects to be able to sell what they write in NaNoWriMo without some serious editing, but it gets you writing and has both a goal and a deadline backed by a community of helpful supportive people doing the same thing.

I managed to do the fifty thousand words by the 24th, of which I’m proud.

Stats Winner-2014-Web-Banner

What I wrote is never likely to be seen by anyone, I have no intention of editing it for publication.  Partly because it is horrible and partly because I never wrote it for anyone but myself.

The “Pirates of the Arafura” had pirates and zombies so you can imagine how horrible it was.   And plot holes that would swallow solar systems.   It was a learning experience and made me feel good to actually show I could write that much.

I hope I can follow up on it this year.   I am thinking short stories for the first six months then work on planning another novel for November.   Little of the planning I put in for the 2014 effort made it into the book, but maybe it’ll work better next time.

Hello World

Tags

,

Every first post in my list of blogs that I’ve started and abandoned has been titled Hello World.

I don’t even know why, I know I’ve picked it up from the first program anyone ever writes, but I’m not a programmer.

I would like to blog something here every day.   It’ll be interesting to see if I can keep that schedule.  I do not think anyone will ever visit this blog except perhaps by accident.   Nothing I write will be earth shattering or interesting to anyone but my therapist (if I had one).

This entry is already three times the length of everything I posted in the last blog, may it rest in peace.

Current image at the top is from Hawaii trip in 2013.

(edited to add tags)