Damned Scarey Seeing This…

24 Jul

When hospitalized with a neurological condition diagnosed as Stiff Person’s Syndrome, I would often go into a spasmic shut down. Often these would lead to me passing out completely, lying unconscious for – must ask hubby as I wasn’t timing myself, that’s for sure.

Quite a few times, I was told, I was “out” and so unresponsive nurses expected me to die. I was warned that without supervision at home I could die after passin unconscious.

I think it may have been during those near final “outages” that I saw these two “screens” – just like the old 8-bit computer screens of the early 80s, and the final dot of light when black-n-white teles were switched off.

Termination 1

… then …

Termination 2

… and … The pin-point of light goes out.

This was me,  passing out.

wonder if it will also be me, dying. 

What can we expect, do you think?


A Writer’s only as good as her Observation skills

16 Jun

And, watching and listening are the major part of observations.

Here are some observations made while watching the Le Mans motor racing event in the weekend.


Watching, with Hubby, the Le Mans motor racing via streaming video down from the web, the commentary fed me with some hilariously amusing dialog and sound blit’s that I just Have to figure how to write them into a book.

Two commentators of the Irish kind, let’s call them Com1 and Com2:
Com1 – Andy Baker’s here. … Actually, both the Baker brothers are here.
Com2 – Eah, yeahr – they’re here–both of them.
Com1 – Tha’s right–both the brothers are here.
Com2 – Aye, both the Bakers.

I’m cracking up by then – such an intelligent commentary! LOL

Com3 (discussing a well known racer) – do you know what he does when he’s flying?
Com4 – Go on, tell us…
Com3 – He waits until the passenger next to him falls asleep, the he leans on him and takes a ‘selfie’ of the two of them, and straight away posts it on Twitter.
Com4 – Eah, good craik, that!

Again, I’m laughing myself silly

With the glitches in the sound track, the commentary sometimes would go into a loop. So these are a couple of the more amusing ones …

Com1 – Ooh, look, that’s quite a delay-delay-delay there in the pit.

Com? – and of course, here’s the Ferari-rari-rari coming around-round-round the tightest bend.

Someone in the house said…
“Jaysus, that’s a helluva stutter he’s got there!”

And I’m falling off the arm chair laughing !

And there were so Many of these loop glitches! I have Got to work these into Some story or the other!

Origins of an old expression – R18

29 May

A- He doesn’t know diddly squat.
B- He doesn’t know ‘diddly’ from ‘squat’.
C – He doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going.
D – He doesn’t know whether he’s Arthur or Martha.

Probably most of you will have heard of one at least of these expressions, each conveying the ignorance  or idiocy of ‘him’. Any one of them could be used for a ‘she’, in fact.

Have you ever considered the origins of the expressions themselves?

What seems to be simple amusement are in fact slightly ‘lewd’ in their origins. And they all share the same basic idea – ignorance of maleness vs femaleness, or of excretory orifices of either sex, or of one’s position or opinion in a new or strange situation.

‘Diddly’ was a euphemism in another generation in England for the penis, so someone who didn’t know diddly from squat had no idea of how a person being watched or admired would carry out what was required, as women of course have to ‘squat’ to urinate.
Then again, a man used his diddly to urinate but also would squat to defecate.

Doesn’t know diddly squat? A shorter version of B above.

Doesn’t know if he’s coming or going? Is he ejaculating or pissing? What a sorry specimen he is – or a really, really pre-adolescent.

He doesn’t know Arthur from Martha? He isn’t sure of the choices around him, as he isn’t sure whether he wants an Arthur or Martha for sexual intimacy, or if he, himself, is homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual.
Or, in a drunken moment and place, he’s selected a partner of the wrong sexual tendencies – a cross-dresser, perhaps.


This post arose from …


if the link doesn’t work C-n-P the URL into the go-line of your browser


Are Bad Authors Discouraging Editors?

14 May

I read a blog post (link below) which interested ne a great deal as I edit for a Romance publisher (not related in any way to this post’s company)
A good thought provoker for any writer, romance or any genre.
You write too? Go read…
💥  Are Bad Edits Discouraging Readers?.

My response there is …

“Then again, there are editors working with authors who have a poor grasp of English, and persistently refuse to Accept Changes. The book can end up going to publication with errors replaced by the author.
If the editor’s name is included in the published work, it doesn’t help the editor’s credibility either. “

Haiku Deck 1

13 May


Literary Studies … how (not) to …

21 Apr

Starter – a post which started a thread over at Scribophile…

  • D Gestalt   What novels have you studied? What do you mean by studied? How did you study them? Smile.   D

I read the replies, and found one with which I could empathise. The replies and the thread starter got me thinking.

I have actually Never “studied” any novels – at least, not Really studied any. Sure, at secondary school we were assigned novels to read, and sometimes (wow!) permitted to watch a black-n-white movie of a few of the novels. And we would be asked to write a “book report”.

And that was it. The only two novels I remember reading for class are Lord Of the Flies, Christmas Carol and Great Expectations – LOTF I never finished, and I only remember CC and GE from the movies.

No in-class discussion of character, plot, conflict, resolution – neither as generic terms for study nor within the context of a particular novel. We were on our own. And, as either the school never sent reports to parents or my parents never let me see any, i never had a clue whether what I was doing was what was wanted or not. We were left to our own devices.

And as serving behind the counter at the family dairy (corner drug-store to US readers) was much more enticing a way to spend an evening than study, literature study was the minimum – just read it. Or read it until I got bored. Then back to the dairy a.s.a.p.

Then, Teachers’ College, and one major was Victorian Children’s Literature. It was a study more of the physical environment of NZ’s Victorian settlers’ way of life than it was a literature study, but we were expected to read or have read many book s which the convent school had never put in front of us.

I faked it – admirably, in terms of results. Disgracefully in terms of ethics. In the on-campus book store I spotted a large green leather (yes, I said leather) bound and gold lettered tome – A Compendium of English Literature. Within its pages were all the “great” books ever studied in a school or university – complete with overall synopsis, and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, defining the most significant character flaws or action or relationships, ad a quick summation of its comparison against other books by the same author. Oh yes, and also black ink sketches of the climactic scene.

All that year I never read a single novel for study. I simply read the Compendium brief, and used it for my contributions to in-class discussions.

My reading focus was the theory and how-to’s of Teaching – hell, that was why I was at teachers’ college – not for literature or Art, or Social Sciences at a tertiary level. I was there to learn how to Teach these. But the majors classes did nothing to teach us how to teach pupils (or students for those expecting to work at secondary or tertiary institutions.

I learned how to Teach in one class in my third (final) year. The lecturer pretty much turned the course curriculum over to us student teachers, and we spent whole sessions discussing what we’d seen work well or badly while observing “real” teachers or had experienced while on practice. I also learned something of the most importance – I wanted to teach Children, not only subjects, and I learned that by honing the skill of observing children – at play, in class, interacting with each other or with a teacher; I learned to read body language, expressions, and cultural behaviour in our multi-cultured nation.

Literary study – I learned how by teaching it. Distributing a class set of novels, and reading them aloud in serial to the class, so poor readers never got left behind. Augmenting the novel with background facts from history, or poems or short stories on the same topic or theme, or portions of books by the same writer, and asking them questions they could answer without having to struggle with out-dated Victorian language.

I kept a store of Classic Comics in the classrooms, and would hug myself in delight when a lad who’d just ‘read’ the comic would look for the novel on the school library shelves.

When the NZ curriculum changed for all subjects, I was in a school where I taught Years 7 & 8, so I’d have pupils in Year 8 who I’d taught in Year 7. So every two years we would recycle a particular set of novels to study. One year’s theme was Children in Hardship, and it included (among others) House of Sixty Fathers, The Silver Sword, and a pupil’s own choice from a carton of on-loan hard-times related books from NZ’s national Library School Service

The following year’s theme was based on a curriculum requirement for students (Students? At age eleven to twelve, these are pupils, not students!) to examine how a story can be related via more than one channel of communication. My novel was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I found and bought, at $2-oo each, a book about Oz, the movie and Lyman Frank Baum’s other Oz books. I had a vcr of the 50th Anniversary of the movie Wizard of Oz, with Angela Lansbury as narrator, and I had the School Services of the National Library send me a carton with as many books about LF BAUM or of his Oz world books as they could pull off their shelves. Most times, the carton would be complemented with books about other fantasy worlds, or on other themes but which had also been made as a movie.

I would tease the class with Lansbury’s documentary, then they would have to read the novel (the reading age made reading it to them unnecessary) and discussing chapter by chapter. Then They would be given access to the carton of National Library books (they’d fight for a BAUM book) and the non-fictional $2 books.

Only when we had looked at every source would I reward them with the movie – which would be stop-started every time a pupil spotted a difference between the movie and the book, Questions would fly – Why aren’t her shoes diamond? Why isn’t Munchkin land blue? And the answers would always come from another pupils who’d read and studied that very matter.

My favourite point of discussion would be the Wicked Witch of the West, as played by Margaret Hamilton vs the original actress choice. It was a good teaching moment to point out how important it is, when writing a story, to make sure you create a “really good baddie” – one who makes you dive under the couch to hide.

I am smug in saying , as this class was the Junior department of a full secondary school, English teachers of the upper classes would always be able to tell me how well my pupils were at literary studies.

And so, by teaching literary study, I learned how to study literature. But it still hasn’t changed my taste in reading material. Victorian literature is still a “walk past quick” section of the library or book store.

Oh, No – He’ll Find Out!

28 Mar

Have you ever suffered from ‘Imposter Syndrome’? (The Daily Post challenge for Thu, 27 Mar, ’14)

It’s the first day of the new school year in summer, and I’m in the assembly hall with all the pupils waiting to find out in whose class I’ll be this year. It’s the start of my second and final year at Intermediate – it only teaches Forms One and two, then we have to move onwards and upwards to Secondary School.

The Principal is standing at the lectern, the teaching staff seated in a row behind him. One or two are wearing strange black robes. One by one, a teacher is called to stand beside him, and a list of names is read out. The children leave the rows where they’ve been sitting with friends or foes from their Primary Schools or last year’s Form One class. Their teacher stands over them, pointing to the first girl to arrive to show her where she’s to stand They form a line across the hall in front of the stage, then follow their new teacher who in a military style, comes down the stage steps and leads them off,

“Sshh! Silence as we walk!” We hear that from inside the hall as the line is led across the quadrangle to block B, room eight. My classroom last year.

The allocation continues… until I’m one of those left for the last teacher. We know him – it’s Mr Turner, the Deputy Principal. Our name’s called, and we form the line, and he walk behind us as we leave the hall.

“Room A4. You know that.” His voice is brisk, but friendly.

Once in class, I see the seats are arranged as they’d been in my last year’s classroom. Rows of neatly aligned desks, in pairs, which have name tags and a pencil on each. I find my seat and at last can look around to see who I know and who’s new.

My heart sinks … Robert from “Por’smiff-in-Englan’ “ isn’t here. I hope he is at the school, and me jabbing his bum last year with my new compass didn’t make his Mum and Dad leave town.

We start lessons, first having to stand at the front of the class and tell who we are, whose class we were in last year, what we had enjoyed most over the December-January holiday. Then we had to show a sample of our best writing, in our best handwriting, so we were asked to write for half an hour without stopping or talking, about either the holidays or what we wanted to be when we left school.

More routine tasks – then the bell rang for morning break. Outside, among the hordes of new kids running around exploring the grounds, peering into the windows of the Art and Science, the Woodwork and Metalwork, and the Cooking and Sewing blocks, I roamed around the quadrangle. I’d not recognised many of the girls in my new class, and was looking for one of last year’s friends. Joanne came pelting up to me.

“Lynne! G’day! I’m in Mrs Percival’s class. Where did you get put?”

“Mr Turner’s class.”

“Ooh, that’s the ‘brainy kids’ class! Boy are you going to have to work hard there!”

“No, it’s not the brainy kids’ class. Why would they put me in there? I’m not brainy.” I felt indignant at the idea that people could have decided so wrongly. Then she dropped another bomb-shell:

“Well, we were in the Form One brainy kids’ class last year. Of course they’re going to put you in Mr Turner’s class. Ooh, there’s Mary – see you later!” And she was gone.

Leaving me feeling numb and dumbstruck. Me – brainy? No, they’d got it wrong, surely.

Well, I was in the “brainy kids’”  class all year. And it was a year of hell, emotionally. There were funny moments – like when one of the boys went snooping through papers on Mr. Turner’s desk one lunch time, and announced to us all …

“Hey, he’s Frederick, Gordon, Sylvester, Turner!” I don’t think any one of us ever forgot his full name. after the laugh we got out of it.

Mr. Turner demonstrated playing the violin – bowing and pizzicato, tunes, sound effects. It was that which made me ask my Mum if I could learn the violin. He called in a St John’s Ambulance speaker, to demonstrate reviving someone with chest compressions, I asked Mum if I could do the St. John’s First Aid course, and finished it in half the expected time, passed the tests, and started on their Home Nursing course.

As Deputy Principal, there was a time each day when Mr Turner had to leave us with work and go and work in his office in the Staff Block. He’d be away for between a half and a full hour at a time.

Whenever he was over in his office, I would keep  my head down, not talk to anyone, and make sure I got the chore done – while all the time expecting him to say on his return…

“Lynne, it looks like we made a mistake. You’re not meant to be in this class after all. You’re meant to be with Miss Porteous” (She was the teacher in charge of the special needs kids who couldn’t learn and the hard cases who wouldn’t learn.)

It was that shock of being lumped into the role of imposter, feeling I didn’t deserve to be there and the fear I would be discovered as an imposter, a fake, a dumby, that made me work so bloody hard for him.

It was many years later that I knew enough about schools ( trained as a teacher) that I realized I was one of the brainy kids, which had been why the private convent school had placed me into the Academic stream, rather than the Trade & Commerce stream. At the time I thought only the clever kids got to do sewing, cooking, domestic science, typing and in their senior year, shorthand. I was SO jealous of my older sister, who was learning French AND German, and Clothing, I was sure she was (is—still do think so) the clever daughter in the family.

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