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Time will tell

Where is the laughter and joy. It’s behind a wall that cannot be torn down. That cannot be climbed over or dug under. Will I survive? Only time will tell. This too shall pass.

Where is the freedom where are the smiles. They are behind the bars that keep us apart. The bars cannot be broken cannot be moved. Will I survive? Only time will tell.

Where is the sunshine where is the rain? They are outside this box they are keeping me in. The box cannot be torn cannot be opened. Will I survive? Only time will tell

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A garlic a day? Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

word count 100

“Thanks for letting me move in”.

Her building being the target for a bombing meant that she was now homeless.

“That’s fine. It’s what friends do. You are welcome to my humble home. Let me show you around”.

 I showed her the bedroom and the bathroom and explained the nuances of the hot water tap.

Then we reached the kitchen and my chain of garlic was spotted.

“You must like cooking to have so much garlic”.

“No”, I said, “some buildings have problems with mice, this one has a problem with vampires. But no worries, this keeps them away”.

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Breakfast Creek, a memoir

Breakfast Creek

Breakfast Creek, Marayong | Blacktown Memories

The cricket pitch was mowed on a part of our property, because we had the largest place in the area. My brother and I would mow the back part of the property by hand, and the 22 yards in the middle just a little bit closer to the ground than the other grass.

The boundaries would be the fence along the creek on the off-side, the blackberry brambles on the on side, and the back-street fence which was long over the bowler’s head. The “wickey” was the fence behind the batter’s end. This barrier fenced off either a vegetable garden, or a duck yard. It changed as we grew up. If you nicked it and it went on the full into the fence, you were out. The creek side fence was six and out, the other two sides were not out, but you had to help find the ball if it got lost.

Illustration Featuring Kids Playing Cricket Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors,  And Stock Illustration. Image 31678306.

The back streets made up of two cross cul-de-sac streets which were a new development after the Fergusons sold their paddocks and the houses built. Immigrants were amongst the people who occupied the new houses there. The kids of the neighbourhood were diverse in nationalities which included Scottish, Maltese, and Sri Lankan.

Cricket in our back yard was one which united the kids of the neighbourhood. It didn’t matter where you came from, or how old you were, as long as you could catch a ball or hold a bat, you were welcome. On a Sunday afternoon, the men of the neighbourhood would put down their beers and join us. Being a little under the weather, they were the source of laughter and mirth as one father would try to bowl, with a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth falling as he released the ball, which then went bouncing in the general direction of the wickets. It was great to be in bat at that time, as the balls were dispatched to various corners of the ground. The challenge was to lose the ball long enough for the men to regather their beers and retire to one or other of the garages, leaving us kids to get on with our game.

Derek was a good batsman. He was built like David Boon; very solid with wide shoulders. He and his brother Clifford who was lanky and thin, were Sri Lankan and always envied for their skills with the bat or ball. Jamie was the eldest of the Scottish kids. He was the same age as my younger brother and came with his own pads in Summer, or with his own football during the Winter when the pitch was transformed to a footy pitch of many codes. Jamie was fearless and would not hesitate to jump the fence to follow the ball down the creek, or chase it into the blackberries, not fearing the thorns as they scratched his legs.

The game was often called off after someone looking for the ball amongst the blackberries came across a snake, or the blackberries were in season, and we all decided to eat them rather than slog a cherry ball all around the yard. The game was ended for the day when the lights came on in the back streets, which meant that all the kids were due inside. Last over would be called and the one in bat was declared the winner for the day, regardless of the scores kept by Clifford, the mathematician in our midst.

Girls were allowed to play too; as long as they didn’t play like girls. No such thing as being politically correct or inclusive back then. Tanya could bat but really couldn’t throw and Mellissa could play like a boy until she turned around fourteen then lost interest in cricket, choosing the swimming pool instead. Little kids of all ages and sexes dotted the infield, and it was up to the bigger kids to look out for them. We would pick them up if they got knocked over, wipe their noses, and wash off their apples, but if they cried, the game would be postponed as they would be taken home.

Cricket was not the only thing that united the families. There were bar b ques for everyone’s birthdays. These would be a feast of the nations, with the best Pastizzies, curries and baked goods and salads. It was at one such BBQ that marinates for meat and flavoured sausages were introduced. My father, an Englishman, who claimed Aussie heritage, was shocked when someone suggested marinating meat, until he tasted it.

Bonfire night was an annual event also held in our backyard. For weeks beforehand, nothing got burnt in the incinerator, or thrown in the garbage, or taken to the tip without the scrutiny of the neighbourhood kids. We deemed that anything being thrown out was suitable to go onto the bonfire on the corner of our soccer pitch. It would grow as wood of all sizes from a plank to a stump were piled on. The pile kept together by discarded sheets; we would burrow into the bottom of it to make our cubby house until that cold night in June when we could light the fire. The blaze would light up the yard for the night, enough for us to see when lighting our Catherine wheels or rockets, and adults sat in garden chairs swigging beer, supervising the little kids, keeping them far enough back to not get burned.

Each family would celebrate Christmas apart, but afterwards we would compare presents and have turns at using each other’s gifts. Then New Years Eve would provide another excuse for the adults to get together for a booze-up. At midnight we would all be gathered at the Scottish family’s house and after Auld Lang Syne, the sing song was led by the scots and their friends, while we kids would go around the back streets banging on saucepans.

People move on. Brad and his family moved up the hill, beyond the Czech cucumber farm where I worked after school and during the summer. I would get five dollars for an afternoon’s work, plus a cucumber in my pocket for my mum and one in my hand to eat on the way home. When I had turtles, I used to take them to the Chinaman’s market garden to show them and get a lot of worms to feed them with. It was the Chinamen who taught us how to catch carp from the creek, in a more efficient way than a bobby-pin on a string.

How To Grow Vegetables On A Hillside

After Brad moved, there were a number of sales in the back streets. High school being over, we older boys all got jobs and cars and the younger ones weren’t really into playing cricket. My father became an honourary Pop, Papa, and my mother a Nonna to many of thee little kids in the back streets. But with all of their own kids grown and moved on, it was time for my parents to subdivide the land and retire, moving to the south coast.

That was 40 years ago. I have never found such a bond between neighbours like my childhood home again. I miss the innocence of youth.

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The world beyond: Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It was an unassuming door in an unassuming building but what went on inside was fascinating, even amazing. The door tinkled when opened and tinkled till closed.

Once inside, you had to adjust your eyes to see through the gloom and dust, to make your way past the piles of hessian bags and stands to the curtain made of pasta strings at the rear. It was clean back here, lighter and on the floor of polished oak, one could see all manner of creatures, sitting in a circle, playing cards with a dealer who really was a snake.

word count 98

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The Chocolate shop. Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

Word count 100

The chocolate shop was hidden in an alley. It advertised in newspapers and men’s magazines so fathers and grandfathers would spend a little to spoil the child without a frowning female’s disapproval.

Chocolates were displayed in barrels behind glass and on the shelf behind the attendant’s head; their bright coloured wraps gleamed under the orange light. They were scooped and weighed, set in a box with a ribbon, awaiting an astonished child to untie.

Grandfather presented me with such a gift, which I duly shared with him, smiling on the swing under the apple tree, where grandma could not see.

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Note. I am writing 40 one hundred word short stories using the minor characters of Nabakov’s Despair. I have 3 days till submission is due. This was warm up for them.

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Its time

Just a poem about nature.

We battle our way on these tracks we call roads, following all the other sheep going who know where to do who knows what, until we use the same tracks to take us back to get fed and rested before we all do it again. We live in concrete towers, in boxes within them, we work to earn money for the right to live there and eat processed so call food with plastic knives and forks, and spoon or shovel dessert into the gaping hole in the front of our heads. We wear coverings called clothes and shoes from people who are clever enough to get us to part with our earnings for pieces of material held together by the flimsiest of threads.

Those pesky Ibises have come around again, making a mess of our manicured lawns and concrete parks. The try to deprocess the food so they can digest what goodness if any that has been left behind. Get out! We shout. Go back to where you came from. But, they say, this is where we came from before you knocked down out trees, filled in our lakes and built airports so you can fly free like we once did.

We don’t like where this river is going. The river doesn’t like where you are going. Fill it in and it will flood. Then the people complain. Their habitats are wet. Go live on the plain says the river. This mountain is in the way, lets blow it up. But that’s not what God meant when he said to move mountains. You change the water courses, you level the mountains, you build your palaces and expect nature to comply. Its not gonna happen.

Ghost towns pop up where resources have dried. Land is reclaimed and rivers gouge out the paths they were originally intended to take. Bend with the land or it will beat you down. Bend with the land and it will feed you, shelter you and care for you like its own babies. But cross it, continue to cross it and ask for devastation. Man is not going to win this war.

It’s time. Time to reconnect with the land. Time to listen and no longer demand. Time to give back and not just take, until your back aches. It’s time to plant and to grow, then later reap the harvest that was meant for you. It’s time to let the animals run free. To allow them to frolic and just let them be. It’s time to listen to what the land needs. It’s been shouting for years, it pleads, and it bleeds.

Will we shut up and let nature have it’s say? Before it destroys us all and calls it a day. We can blow bits off it and leave it barren and bare. We up and move house to another part where the leaves still grow and the meat is plentiful, before we destroy that too and then we may know.

Oh shit, what have we done.

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How dare you!

Who are you to come disturbing the peace on winters night.
Don’t go coming around here stomping your feet and shouting loud at the trees.
Who are you to start shaking the floors and breaking the walls.
Then you cry your tears of rage when your destruction is not enough.
Hail stones fall from your icy heart,
upon us who have heard your anger and felt your wrath before.
We are still here oh mighty storm.
You have done your best but we have survived.
We know you will return with a fury, in disguise with an alias;
a new and different name.
But it’s too late you see.
We shall rise again and conquer thee.
We see through the cloak you wear,
and when the smoke has cleared,
we’ll still be here.
Run away with your tail between your legs,
grumbling as you go.
We laugh. HA!

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I’m out of here: Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehudah

Word Count 100

The taxi was finally here. My bags are packed. I know I am leaving a lot behind, but I need to get out. I can’t live with the violence anymore. The coming home late and pissed, then the shouting, things getting broken. The children asleep, or pretending to be, upstairs. I can’t handle them being afraid anymore.

So I am leaving. He has told me many a time to leave.  He and the children will be better off without me if I was to continue drinking. I left a note. First stop Central, then detox. I WILL be well again.

 

  • Domestic violence is never ok. I wanted to write a story that reflected that, but I wanted to highlight the mostly hidden domestic violence scenario of the man being abused, and the woman being the abuser. This does not discount that mostly it is women who are on the receiving end of that abuse.

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Literature movements of the twentieth century

preview

The twentieth century saw the rise and fall of Literary groups, as different perspectives on importance had become realised. After the first world war, many groups wanted to distance themselves from the mainstream. Artists and musicians also aligned themselves with literary movements. This essay seeks to summarise these movements or separatist groups and explain why each was unique.

A change in literature really took place during the First World War, with poets either being realistic, showing the true horrors of war, or trying to gloss over the details, promoting the romanticism of fighting for ideals.

The Dadaist movement was a movement where sense and nonsense were both considered of equal value. Kafka told a story of a man becoming a bug in the Metamorphosis. It made no sense of course, however his brilliance was shown in his ability to write nonsensical content. The Dadaist movement used exercises which took words of a known piece of literature or even a newspaper article and rearrange the words to make a nonsense verse. In this way it defined its group and made it unique.

The surrealist movement was a natural progression from the Dada movement. Rather than emphasise sense however, it was aligned with Freud to explore conscious and unconscious states and used exercises which promoted writing without thought, putting pen to paper and letting whatever came out to flow (BRETON et al.). The Surrealists also used collaboration in exercises. This collaboration involved members writing a sentence or phrase following another, without knowing the context of the sentence before. These were amusing for members, but it also helped Andre Breton to define the movement.

Breton was somewhat of a bully and dictator within the movement which he claimed to have founded. He wrote the Surrealist Manifesto, stating what was and was not acceptable to the group. He used this manifesto to exclude members who did not line up with his own ideals. Breton did not like the novel and longer works. It was perhaps socialism and communism which caused rifts within the group to see it dissipate.

The existentialist movement was primarily interested in self, and his own existence or the importance of it. The games, puzzles and exercises which the surrealists used were not active within this group. Paul Satre was far removed from some of the ideas of the surrealist movement. Satre praised the novel and longer works as utilitarian but poems as useless. He did not see the point of writing for writing sake (Elsby).

The Beat Generation arose from the existential movement and protested against the commercialisation of society. Commercialism and consumerism being the focus of the general public following World War Two.  This group came together to discuss ideas in cafes and bookshops and again didn’t really use games, puzzles or exercises to define their group. The beats did not censor themselves or their writings and much of their work was banned in some countries and heavily censored in others. This made it very attractive to younger people who were also rebelling against the society norms.

The beat generation was instrumental in the 60’s hippy movement as it promoted free love, in any form, and the use of mind-altering drugs. The hippy movement also believed in protesting, but their protest was aligned much against violence and war. While this movement was not necessarily considered a literary movement, some very poignant poetry was written in this era, much of which was used for the cross purpose of music and song. Bob Dylan for example was recently given a Nobel prize for literature for his work which encompassed not only his poetry but also his songs.

If one were to investigate the lives of those prominent in literature groups up till this time, one would see not only eccentricity of some members but also a rebellious nature. The use of mind and consciousness altering drugs was prevalent during these eras, and it was only in the early seventies that this attitude changed. Opiates and acid-based narcotics were preferred until this time, whereas from the 70’s drug culture changed to a more organic base, being hemp and marijuana as the drug of choice. In 1970, after John Lennon split from the Beatles, he wrote ‘The dream is over in his song God following the symbolic end of the hippy movement at Altamont and Woodstock.

It was during this time that the Oulipo movement was created. It continues to this day. What made the Oulipo movement different from others, is that they are disciplined far more than previous movements. The movement aligns mathematics with literature forming strict constraints which members of the movement are encouraged to adhere to in their writing (Queneau, and Stump). All members have input into the group monthly, with all members having equal value. Membership of the group is for life. No member can be expelled for differing views, and although members can choose to become non-active, their work is still considered valuable to the group (Roubaud). This group also differs from earlier movements in that they place no value on the use of drugs or mind-altering substances to enhance their writing. The membership of this group is very exclusive, however public readings are given for those who have an interest in their practices.

Each month new constraints are proposed to be adopted by the members. These are mostly a marriage between arithmetic and literature with an example being the N+7 exercise (Roubaud). This asks the coherent to take a known work and replace each noun with the seventh noun following it in a dictionary. Of course, constraints of this kind can be altered or adapted for a particular work or use. The importance is not on the actual code, but the adherence to a mathematical alignment to literature text.

In modern times many literature groups have been birthed. Community groups are common adopting some exercises from earlier groups and creating their own. Fellowships of writers have emerged to offer critiques of unfinished works prior to them being sent to publishers and online groups which promote the use of constraints in style, content and time.

Each writing group has had agendas which have defined their parameters and engaged its members with exercises to enforce them. Each group has sought to separate itself from the mainstream literature circles of the time, thus creating a separatist group. With the coming of a new century, one hopes a new mindset is now in place for groups to be inclusive and welcoming, promoting literature in all forms.

Works cited

BRETON, André Robert et al. Manifestoes Of Surrealism. PDF given as class notes.

Elsby, Charlene. Clio. 46th ed., Purdue University, 2017, p. Introduction to the special issue, “Existentialism and Literature, https://www.academia.edu/39876070/Introduction_to_the_special_issue_Existentialism_and_Literature_. Accessed 9 June 2020.

Queneau, Raymond, and Jordan Stump. Letters, Numbers, Forms. University Of Illinois Press, 2007.

Roubaud, Jacques. The Oulipo And Combinatorial Art. 1991, Accessed 9 June 2020.

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The offering: Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Word Count 100

I always ate my lunch on the same bench, under the same tree. I watched the dogs catch frisbee and the kids chasing them trying to get it back. There were birds here. One particular bird would swoop down. We had an agreement. He would keep all the other birds away while I ate. I didn’t like begging birds that hovered around your feet for the smallest morsel that fell.  When I finished eating, I would leave the offering. It would be eaten gratefully, and the clever bird would put the paper in the bin while I returned to work.

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