I wrote this poem when I was relatively new to writing.  I still don’t consider myself any great shakes with poetry but I enjoy looking back and seeing my baby steps of progress.  I’m even happier to realize that I feel the same enthusiasm for words that I always did.  I held the typewriter on my knee and typed this poem in the passenger seat on the way home.  We couldn’t wait to begin 🙂



Hei Ho Silverette

My literary steed

Let’s fascinate them, fibrillate them

With a click clack ribbon read

I know that you’ve been put to pasture

You and all your breed

For the greener grass of technology

And so long as it’s at speed

They call it progress

But they fail to notice

You have stories of your own to tell

And even as I wonder now

Some history seems to linger

If only you had a little paper

If only you had fingers

Then you’d put your keys to use

Story-teller over alphabet, rushing

Tell us of Miss So-and-So

Her paid fingers tapping

Some frustrated poet, wiping his brow

And how you came to sit

On an auction store shelf

Not even able, now, to talk to yourself

And from the shelf you saw them

Short, fat, skinny and tall

Browsing, shrugging, wallet hugging

Still not needing you at all

Then I hobbled in one day

You hailed from across the store

You hailed, canary loud

I didn’t need to look any further

Now I hope I do you proud.


The Pain of Prison Things

I wrote this poem some eight years ago regarding my personal struggles with disability and sexuality, among other things.  It remains near and dear to my heart for the torn hope it represents in the cycle of human potential.  Enjoy.

My breath flies, hot and pacy

Through widened nostrils

I’m stalking up and down my cage

My paws are growing thin

I have no use for claws

When there’s no flesh to overcome

And the deafening roar

I bellowed, once,

Returns unaccompanied.

I wonder of all the pride, why me?

Why the keepers made me live

Behind iron bars

And threw away the key?

Every day the people gather

They take photos with their eyes

I wonder what they see –

What they couldn’t just find in a magazine?

They don’t understand the pain of prison things

Don’t know the wonder of being free.

Six-by-ten doesn’t seem so wrong

Because they haven’t seen where I belong

In my mind, I’m crouching, low;

Twitching, hungry,

In the golden grass

Oh, to again have those kind of bars

The ones that sway

Like metronomes in the breeze

And I can come and go as I please

The sun riding warmly on my back

And I can change my spots

Without the dream-breaking crack

Of the lock being opened

And it’s dinner on a hook, again

What I take and do not earn

What I could do without

As I mill and yearn

For when paparazzi eyes

Are a thing of the past

And the Africa of my dreams

Is mine, again, at last.

You had me at track one…

You had me at track one…

Dang, Canada.  You got some craazy talent.  

Of your musical exports in the past decade, the band Stars remains solidly in first position for me.  Music, understandably, is considered a subjective matter depending on the genre leanings of the listener.  Yet, since I first discovered the album “Heart” in a dingy, labyrinthine music store some seven years ago, Stars has never failed to woo me with crystal clear vocals, enlightened lyrics and organic, upbeat tunes.

I say all of this to give a nod to the band which has, without fail, been an accomplice to my writing over time, inspiring many a thought and providing timely encouragement during the occasional writer’s “mind blank”.

Many writers prefer to write in silence.  For me, music and writing go hand-in-hand.  I couldn’t have done without the company along the way. So, here’s looking at you, Stars.

NZ Summers…

Once the ciccadas begin their crisp-winged chirp in November, you know you’re in for a good summer season in Kiwi land.  Break out the beers and barbecues, short shorts and mozzie repellent; go camping in a tiny tent and temporarily dislike who you’re camping with because of the cramped conditions, dig for pipis, get drunk and make silly promises, learn to swim or swim ’til your digits turn to prunes…

Here’s my nod to poetry. It’s not entirely my ‘thing’ but I do find my thoughts at least sound a little prettier, as do most people who write poetry. And they say writing is purely masturbatory unless it is shared, so here we go for the plunge. (Water-wings optional).

Warm thoughts

It’s possible to feel more possible

In summer

Decisions are easier to make

When it’s summer

Ice cubes and lawn mowers

Sand pressed into pink buckets

And wardrobe do-overs

Now it’s all about temperature

Your body being free of heavy things

Having and holding browner skin

The wind pushes, white wine cool,

In the spaces between your veins;

You can watch things grow

Into what you planned

And wonder if, when you look inside

Your heart has expanded too

The world is a brighter shade of hope

And it will fit you in

In summer.

The Art of Self-Promoting… does it ever really pay off?

I always dreamed of the day I would see my fiction novel sitting on a bookstore shelf. There is something about this mental image far more exciting in prospect than having your work sitting as a flat link in cyberspace. Don’t get me wrong, the Internet has opened up whole new avenues of availability for writers like me in terms of worldwide pockets of readership groups, peer reviews, digital reading formats, etc. However, after the initial excitement you feel when a digital publisher announces your ‘masterpiece’ has been unleashed on the worldwide web, there is a gradual feeling that you have – in some way – let yourself and your work down.

To illustrate this kind of feeling, let me briefly digress. I once owned a beautiful Golden Retriever. After extensive grooming and lead training, I entered her in the local dog show. She wasn’t just a beautiful dog in my eyes, alone; everybody that met Jade felt she was a uniquely special dog. Anyway, the long-awaited day had arrived. It quickly turned out that Jade was the only Retriever in her age category, but she was shown anyway. She performed well. She earned the first prize ribbon, essentially because there were no other dogs or ribbon places to give my dog anything but first place. The point? I feel that I’m in competition against myself, whereas a publisher can at least confirm (first thing out the gate) that you’re odds-on to be at least a minor hit, or they wouldn’t have backed you.

Family and friends are wonderful at encouraging you with your writing, and telling you to ‘get the book out there’. Luckily, I have friends and family who – despite loving me – are not in the habit of sugar coating their feedback. This did wonders for my editing, and for my self esteem, and I ended up with (to the best of my ability) a stream-lined vision of my original flabby story. I was finally ready to unleash the product of my imagination on the world. I always knew that my story didn’t fit into any one genre, however, and neither did I have an exact idea of my Ideal Reader. I just knew I was onto a unique idea, and I hope that some day it will really find its stride.

One would think that a novel concerning the life and times of people ascribing to different belief systems (Atheism, Wicca, Christianity) would find a home amongst the more open-minded of this 21st century. But, I’m getting the sneaking feeling that Western society has developed a taste for the purely supernatural, rather than the spiritual. The funny thing is that the two go hand-in-hand. Spirituality doesn’t have to be a dry, clunky affair. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In my novel, spirituality delineates how it draws some together, and forces others apart. How that many spiritual assumptions begin with the best intentions but are based on ignorance, or define you simply by virtue of your upbringing. It may be something you hold onto as a last-ditch effort at what seems sane in a crazy world. Spirituality forces situational change, can cause a change of heart, or cause a heart to harden. It starts things. It ends things. As someone who spent 10 years growing up in a religious cult (my parents’ decision), I find the subject of spirituality endlessly fascinating, though something that should never be treated lightly or written presumptively.

Short of getting a tee-shirt printed with BUY MY BOOK ONLINE! or planning a multi-suburb leaflet drop, I’m definitely going to keep plugging away online. It doesn’t help to hear of new snapped-up writers who get their book optioned for movies before the print’s even gone cold. Having said that, maybe that’s the elusive hope of the Internet that keeps people like me plugging away. That, at the end of the day… who knows what could happen?

The Other Side

I don’t know about you, but I think…

The modern fictional character has largely gone the way of the dogs. Call me a cynic.

In my personal opinion, Fifty Shades of Grey was a new low point in modern story telling; in that there was no story to be found besides routine bonking and an over-abundance of adverbs. (Gasped, paled, blushed, groaned…) I read – most – of FSOG. Almost couldn’t bear it, but I had to know what all the fuss was about. The passage that stood out to me the most, and which many others may have overlooked, was when the main character took a long trip in her car. That was literally all that was written there. It looked like this, in a matter of three lines or so:

The MC (main character) got in the car to go to destination X. It was a long trip. MC got to destination X.

She was simply driving on a page. Zero scenery or weather or landmark descriptions.

I believe that fiction should be, and can be, tangible. As close to non-fiction in that realism as possible. This is how readers connect with characters, and the only way. I believe implicitly in BACKSTORY. If I walked up to you in the street and said, “A character in my novel, Nell, is only 22 and she dies in a horrific car accident”, I’m sure most people would agree that a car accident is a gnarly way to go. However, there is nothing much more that I can elicit from you in terms of emotion that that fleeting ‘Oh, shame’ sentiment, because, quite frankly – you have to know someone in order to care about them.

Getting to the nitty-gritty of a character’s makeup is one of the best parts of writing. Every living person has a history, and so should a character. To ascribe details to a character’s life, I focus on building around certain themes: MOTIVES. FEARS. FLAWS. PROBLEMS. GOALS. SECRETS. Subtlety is also a dying art, and is underrated. Secondary characters should be just as colorful and just as alive as MC’s, because we’re all the main actors on our living stages, so how are secondary characters to know that they are not the main characters in their story?

My first, and my eternal inspiration for writing short, powerful word pictures was through the lyrics and music of Joni Mitchell. I quickly learned that she could tell me more about the feeling of living through life than one hundred How-To writer books ever could. The point? She has been there. She is sending back postcards.

I’m not suggesting that everybody has to listen to Joni Mitchell in order to learn the subtle art of the metaphor. I’m simply saying that we need to dig a little deeper than the average mainstream dross we’re fed from every direction in the 21st century – from endless sex-scapades to seen-it-a mile-off punchlines and one-dimensional characters. We need better heroes, to become better writers – to better our readers’ experience.