Year 2316 NA

The two of them were bending over a case, browsing through three-dimensional projected images inside the glass case. The young lad kept flicking through the menu, rejecting choices faster than the old man could keep up. He was frowning at the boy’s rushing, and hit the [Project] button on one image, of an old tower building. He seemed to recognise it.

Majestic Hotel, 1930.

“Here… my great-great- great…who knows how many greats, Grandah helped build that!”


“Built over 300 year ago, now Grandah.” The boy was reading the projected data

“Do you tell me that?”

“I do, that. Majestic Hotel, it were. What’s ‘hotel’?”

“Do you not know that? A hotel was a place people stayed when they came to visit a town.”

“Like our Home-blocks, then?”

“Not at all, not at all. Guests they were called, and only stayed a short time before moving on, and paid for their staying.”

“They paid for a place to live, then?”

“No, for a place to stay…listen boyo. Back then, people paid for everything.”

“Everything, Grandah? Like, food, and clothes, and school, and—“

“Not school. That were Gummint provided, no cost. ‘Cept for rich people; they paid if their chil-derns were at a private school. Least, dat’s what I’ve read.”

“So, Grandah, this hotel… built ‘way back in th’ olden days then. But it looks same as our home-blocks, dunnit.”

“So it does, so it does. Back then, it were called ‘futuristic’. Wonder what them people’d think if they saw our buildings today.”

Ding! …and the Simulated Automatic Mouth recited…
“Doors close in fifteen minutes. Those on floors thirty-five to fifty, use the express elevators one, two, three, four and five. From floors fifteen to thirty-four, use elevators six, seven, eight and nine. Those on floors fourteen and below, use elevators ten, eleven and twelve to the third floor. Those on the third floor use the rapid escalator in the central foyers. Do not use elevators thirteen and fourteen. At the sound of the next bell, you will have thirteen minutes to clear the building.”

“It’s closing time, Grandah; we’ll have to use a rapid elevator.”

“Do you tell me that, boyo?”

“I do that, I. Can we come again?” He grabbed his mePad and stuffed it into the meBag which began to buzz, ready to follow him.

“Can you not use the Explorer on your edication pad?”

“Yea, I can…but here, it’s more like real. Can we come back, then?” He grabbed Grandah’s hand and began walking to elevator three, along the footway between exhibits. His meBag followed.

“Next time your edication pad posts a day off, we will, for sure.”

“Thirteen minutes to clear the building.”

“That’s a promise, is it?”

“It’s a promise, boyo.”

This post created for the Google+ ‘Writers Discussion Group
(Hoping the link take you straight to the starter post there”

Why I love being a writer

I wish I could say “Why I Love Being an Indie Author”*, I really do…but as a writer, my only published work was a selection of poems written for Rotorua’s ‘Mad Poets Society’ collection Rotorua – Spirit In Verse – and that was published ‘way back in 2011.

Between then and now, I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo a few times, ending with a couple of completed drafts, and a partial draft of too complicated a concept…and filed them in the [Disheartened] folder. I’ve written short stories and further poems, submitted some to competitions…filing failed submissions in the [Rejected] folder.

I do have two works on the go…a fantasy, which is going to be at least a two-booker, and a non-fiction work, based on “write what you know”.  That is my ikigai – my full sense of self, self accomplishment, my contribution to society – teaching. A combo of memoir and commentary of schooling in NZ from my enrolment in the education system as a five-year old (1956 – collective ‘gasp’ acceptable) through to lecturing at tertiary level (2007).  Not a short piece, this.

In the meantime, I blog (here), edit for other writers and authors, and write book reviews. I’m also learning epublishing, and when I’m sure I know I’ve “got it”, will put up a treasury of short stories and poems as an Indie Writer/Publisher – as a “tester”, and will seek feedback for other Indie Writers on how well the conversion/publication has behaved.

So…why do I love being a writer? Well, that’s easy. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, held conversations and told stories (some of my best) with or to  imaginary friends, from when I was four. I tell stories to myself now…my imaginary friends evaporated, in my pre-teens, as they do.

I love mastering prosody – the skill of the differing classic or oriental forms, and modern forms. When I’m “in the writing groove”, nothing intrudes.  Especially if I blank out life’s noises by playing hard rock as I write. I play lyric-less music when editing. I can totally ‘zone out’ – off and away from housework, yard work, meal prepping, dishes…

Sure, I admit, I sometime produce some rubbish. I keep everything, as with a revisit or rewrite it may become usable within another work. Writing requires a dedicated space, as NZ teacher/author Sylvia Ashton-Warner knew; I have to ‘make do’ with the areas I have – desktop for work, laptop for my own work, iPad for a switcheroo between the other two – with only the desktop with a permanent home. The others come with me to wherever I feel like writing…

One day, I will be able to call myself an “Indie Author”
– and with a bit of pride, I hope.

*[KDP for Amazon suggested this: ‘Share why you love being an indie author in social media and on your blog…  use the hashtag #PoweredByIndie so we can share your stories as well.]

Teaching the 3 states of H2O

via Photo Challenge: H2O

Immediately, a memory of a lesson on the ‘three states of matter’ arose. It was a science topic for the (NZ Intermediate School) Year 7 class. As we’d done, by the end of the school year (approaching Christmas and the eight week summer break), every other topic in science, I had left it to the end-of-year, for no particular reason.

We discussed the solid state, the liquid, and the gaseous. I demonstrated the difference between water as a gas and a vapour, not wanting them to think steam is the gaseous state.

I held the last science lesson over until the afternoon of the very last dismissal, letting them know they had to pass a practical test in that lesson.

At five minutes to three, I sent a runner to the school office for Mrs. X’s science test kit. He returned with a chilly bin (‘Eskie’, in Aussie), in which were thirty-two ice-blocks.

The practical test was to turn the ice-blocks from their frozen state to a liquid as rapidly as they could. They would pass the test and be dismissed for the holidays as soon as they’d completed the test.

Excited cries of delight as they saw the brightly coloured packages of a variety of flavours, ripping off wrapper, slurping and sucking. They all passed the test and were dismissed one by  one, although one early finisher stayed back until the others had all passed through the door.

He blew me away (and made me laugh uproariously) when he commented…

“I know how we turn that liquid into gas, Miss.”

I waited for the expected punchline…his cheeky grin showed something was coming.

“We’ll fart it out as gas!” he called as he turned and ran from the room.

~ ~ ~

Only in the last moment of the school year could he get away with that…but I would’ve laughed at any stage in the year – in the staffroom!


Toilet paper from the bottom

Although I prefer the roll to unroll from the top, when Sharon mentioned “from the bottom” and “cats” in her post, I remembered our clever little kitty.

She came to us from the SPCA via my daughter, and had the LOUDEST PURR you can imagine (I wanted her to be named Harley).  Both daughter and I had places to go each day, so Hayley had to learn to use a litter tray. As we were flatting, the litter tray was kept in the bathroom cum shower cum laundry.

Hayley sometimes opened the door and would watch me on the loo, even putting her paws on the seat and peering down into the bowl! (I can laugh now…)

Daughter occasionally forgot about clearing the tray each day. I came home to the flat one day to use the ‘facilities’ and nearly gagged on the tray’s odour.

Then discovered that, beside the loo, there was a pile of toilet paper (as Sharon mentions).

On picking it up to drop into the waste bin, I realised Hayley had in fact pulled down a pile, dropped her own pile, then pulled down another pile to cover her doings. Clever wee kitty! Needless to say, it was all flushed away.

I’ve sometimes wondered why we didn’t smooch her into doing it all the time…who knows, she may have learned to actually perch on the seat for her daily doings. What a time saver that would have been, and So much more healthy.

A memory recalled by Sharon Hughson’s blog post Epiphany on the TP Roll
Click over and have a read.



August’s 250-word opinion piece

Should We Borrow or Hire a Novel?

[Redacted]Public Library should cease charging for “borrowing” Adult Popular Fiction (including paperbacks), of $2.00 for up to three weeks. Currently, each book—if constantly on loan for its maximum time allowed—will bring in $104 in its “shelf life” of three years. Multiply that by the number of books in this section!

This is tantamount to changing the function of public libraries from service to income generator. Adults should not have to pay for hiring a fictional novel.

From the RDC Annual Reports for the financial year 2014-5, the District Library failed to reach its performance target measures in all three parts.

  1. The percentage of the population being members of the library for 2014-5 was 59% (target was 60%) a drop of 0.6% against the 2013-4 year
  2. The percentage of households using the library during 2014-5 was 68% (target was 75%), equal to 2013-4; but below 2011-2 and 2012-3
  3. The percentage of residents ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Fairly Satisfied’ with the library was 84% (target was 84%)
  4. Another 16% answered ‘Don’t Know’ (does that mean ‘Don’t use it’?). 2014-5 was the same as 2013-4.

I asked our Library five questions to gather statistics, but received no response. Reluctance? Something to hide?
I now use our library when I want nonfiction, as I refuse to pay a fee for what should be a public service. Perhaps a city-wide boycott of Adult Fiction would force a rethink—maybe a change.

The Brief:

Write 200-250 words expressing your opinion about a topic of your choice.                             Have you persuaded your reader to your point of view or call for action?

Appendix: Not as part of the homework writing…
Before writing this, I had been advised that Adult Fiction was $3 for 3 weeks, with “Hot Picks” rented out at $5. This appalled me (hence I cancelled my membership).

Since removing into temporary premises, (and after writing the above) I’ve been advised Adult Fiction is now free to borrow, with “Hot Picks and DVDs hired out at $3, and Magazines hired out at a fee ranging from) 0.50c to $3 (depending on how long ago the magazine was added to the shelf).

See  actual statistics drawn from the [Redacted] District Council Annual Report 2014-2015
page 37

Level of service
Performance measure
Target for 2014/15
Achievement for 2013/14
Library readily accessible to residents and visitors for the purpose of information gathering, education and recreation.
60% of the population are members of the library
Target substantially achieved. …
75% of households which have used the library in the last 12 months.*
Same result as the previous financial year, but still at levels below the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years. …
85% of residents are very/fairly satisfied with the level of service.
Target substantially achieved with 16% responding with “Don’t Know”.
Of those responding to the survey who had used the library in the last 12 months,97% were satisfied with the service.


Off the Page July’s homework

“I need to go now.” She reached across the sofa for her handbag, fumbling to grab its straps.

“Now? You’ve twenty minutes before the bus comes.” The tea towel in his hands twisted in a knot, his hands winding and unwinding it. “Can you wait?”

Looking through the pouches of the bag, checking without seeing its contents, her side vision caught them both reflected in the mirror. She couldn’t look—at it, or at him. “It’s a nice morning. I’ll walk to the next stop.”

“About last night. I want…“ He turned away, threw the tea towel into the kitchen. Head down, he rummaged in the baggy pockets of his old cargo pants—a cigarette packet. He drew out a half-smoked fag and the lighter.

“Don’t light up inside.” He wouldn’t, but it was something to say. She groped through her bag, as she groped through her mind for the words needed. Nothing came.

From opposite sides of the room—the space between empty with its minimalistic décor, as empty as each felt—they faced each other, not looking.

“Let’s just pretend last night didn’t happen. It won’t happen again.”

She walked out, touching the new bruise on her eye.

The Brief:

Show a relationship between two characters using Subtext – what’s not said or told, what’s not in the lines, but between the lines.

B is for Book, Bored and Below Compulsory School Age

Wonderful outlook on progress of early reading.


IMG_1859I’m not an early years teaching expert, but I have witnessed firsthand how ingrained a hatred of reading can develop in some children, and was acutely reminded of this when I watched the BBC 4 documentary ‘B is for Book‘.

As a former secondary school teacher who has tutored numerous children in English (boys in particular) for more than 15 years, I could plainly see how easily a love of books can be jeopardised very early on in a child’s life.

Shockingly, the BBC film showed children who were not yet naturally interested in reading and writing independently (much less the daily monotony of phonics and lacklustre books) being deprived of precious playtime as punishment for academic failure at just 4 and 5 years-old.

Why are we doing this to children???” I wanted to know.

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