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Showing posts from December, 2011

The Short Story Abysm

Seasonal disruptions being what they are - the getting ready for parties, cooking, socialising, extra cleaning etc - I thought I'd have a try at a short story this month.

There's a strong beginning, yes.
Is there a plot? Not yet.
A narrative, yes. Premise, scenario, world building, no problem. 
An interesting main character needing a bit of research to clarify his/her various genetic possibilities? In the bag.
No plot yet, but a squad of different scenes trampling the ground while they are waiting. For a plot, of course.   
No plot yet, apart from an escape. 
A cast of thousands, still being whittled. 
No plot yet. Or rather, the only plot that auditioned, the escape, refuses to fit itself into a three thousand word story. It's crying out for a bigger vehicle. 
There are a couple of levels of meaning, which is not really a short story thing as I understand it. The superficial adventuring thing and the ethical/philosophical thing. There's no bloody violence. There's…

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

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Atul Gawande Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance 2008 Profile Books London.
The sorting trolley at the local library can be the source of good reads without having to go to the shelves. When I’m in a hurry, must not tarry and cannot not allow myself to get sidetracked, I stick with the sorting trolley. There will be the usual squad of noirish detective fiction. The odd sf and fantasy. Literature. And a few non fictionals. Like this one. Better: a surgeon’s notes on performance.
I opened it a quarter of the way through, my usual check, and began to read. Page 65, the chapter heading was Casualties of War. Why soldiers refused to wear their goggles and that the reason for the increasing eye injuries. I glanced back at page 64, where a section conclusion said, Ask a typical American hospital what its death and complication rates for surgery were during the last six months and it cannot tell you.
About ten pages later I realised I was hooked. I checked the book out and took it home. I b…

Woodwork for Women

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For the last five weeks I’ve been learning to join wood in a class taught by Patt Gregory at her workshop in Mullumbimby, NSW. In the first series of classes I learned how to make a housing joint, a rebate joint and a butt joint.
Patt is such an inspirational teacher, that the process of work and the finished beauty of my beginner project led me to immediately sign up for a second series of classes with the mortise-and-tenon joint as the objective.
I went home and revived my once-upon-a-time want-to-make-this-one-day list and embellished it with sketches. One and a half courses in, I’m fantasizing that I’ll build the window seats and bookshelves I’m planning as part of my house renovations, myself and from scratch at that.
Along with writing, gardening, knitting and embroidery, I’ve also always done do-it-yourself stuff searching out cheap second-hand timber furniture and taking it apart and/or changing its function. In that way I made a couch from a single bed. A sewing table from a d…

Lodestar Part III, Free Read

Sard Kerr is Srese's twin brother. Where she is chosen to act in the new, habitat-wide entertainment, he is remaindered and must leave home or be moldecked.


1: Sard Sard forked his breakfast down as fast as he could swallow it, to be out of here. Scrambled eggs it was supposed to be. Pap in different colours, most of it. As usual, Youk diagonally across the table, watched everything he did. Didn’t the guy ever have anything better work for his yellow eyes than make sure the avatars didn’t get ahead of him?
Youk said, “Shovelling it in rather, aren’t we?”
“What?” Sard said, mentally kicking himself. When would he learn not to react?
“Shovelling the food in like the farmers didn’t grow it to your taste.”
Phin, beside Youk and directly opposite Sard, smiled benignly at his henchman. Kicking Sard’s feet out of his way, he stretched his legs under the table. Phin, the bloody boss-farmer. Youk his off-sider, and Sard his yokel.
“Finished?” said Youk. “I’ve got some important news for you.”
“…