Fair Dinkum

Who put this plank in my eye?
I could see quite fine
IMHO before this thing, this
catastrophe?, happened to me;
I could see the faults in
the world, in others -
(too many immigrants, I heard);
I could see where to correct the
direction of my life -
(get a better paid job, I heard);
My eyes were open to injustice,
the downtrodden, the oppressors -
(the unions are rabid, I heard);
I saw ways I could help make
it all better, IMHO -
(get private health insurance, I heard);
I have 20:20 political and social
vision, so I ask you,
how did this plank get in my eye?
(I didn't see that coming!)

© David McKenzie 2020

Short, but not quite short enough

I finished the first draft of my short story for the Limnisa Short Story Competition 2020. Great work (if I do say so myself), good story, interesting plot twist. Only problem was when I rechecked the entry requirements on the Limnisa site I discovered my story was 1600 words. over the allowed word limit. I tried editing it down but it just lost too much of the feel and the context of the story to make it work. I’ll save it for another competition or publication.

So, I’ve started on a new story for this competition. A very different style and plot, focused on characters and their motivations, no matter how warped. I’m keeping an eagle eye on the word count this time!

There’s too much in my head!

Where to start? What to write? Do I work on the next chapter of my novel, sadly neglected over the last few weeks as I focus on setting up this site and finishing some short stories? Do I work on Turn, Ugly Truth – part 2? Do I begin the new story that has begun to float around my head and distract me? Or do I take a break from all this pondering and watch Netflix?

These might look like easy decisions. They really have no importance to anyone but me and would seem trivial and insignificant to anyone reading this. But this is the constant struggle of the writer. Writing is a solitary art most of the time. It is me and the computer or notebook. Writing is also introspective as an activity. Whilst I could sit and writer a description of the world as it revolves around me, I am really writing an interpretation of that world filtered through my own mind.

And the mind is the engine for all writers, no matter the type of writing they do. Even factual writing takes mind energy to express those facts in a way that is interesting to the reader and enhances the narrative.

As a fiction writer, my mind is a self-fueling engine of my stories, and as such I spend a lot of time in there, hunting around amongst the ideas for something I could use, something that could enhance my story, or something to seed a new one. As I watch the world revolve around me it’s as though I am viewing it through a veil, or on a screen, separate from me and being analysed, picked apart and scavenged for story fodder.

So when I am feeling overwhelmed by the ideas frothing inside my head, I can find it hard to focus on just one thing. Making lists helps, saving some ideas for another time. But it’s also about the energy behind an idea. An idea brewing in my mind today might be full of energy and captivate me immediately. But if I wrote this idea down and came back to it later, it might seem flat and dead and provide no impetus for me to follow it. Thus the things that should be done (the next chapter of my novel) often get relegated to the list while the things that are new and exciting (the idea for a story distracting me) get all the attention.

I know, it’s not fair to the poor novel sitting patiently in the background as the Jan Brady of the literary tasks, given some attention but never the star of the episode. I just keep promising it that one day, when it’s finished, it will be it’s own star and will no longer be ignored.

So what’s new on Netflix….?

Limnisa Short Story Competition 2020

This is one of the submissions I am currently working on (yes, the one inspired during a massage!). If you’re interested in the competition, or their writers’ retreats and services, check out their website – limnisa.com

FYI – full disclosure, it is a condition of entry of this competition that I promote Limnisa on my social media, but they’re not paying me for it 🙂

Man, can those creative juices flow!

Fantastic 90 minute massage at Body Freedom in South Melbourne (cashing in a birthday gift). Spent the time thinking about a short story I wanted to write for a competition, using a photo and the words ‘Stay rude’ for inspiration. After the massage, a slow walk to Docklands, and a pale ale at The Wharf Hotel on the Yarra River, I had the words spewing out of my pen. By page five i thought ‘Wow! i wonder what’s going to happen now?’ and shocked myself when a major arc of the story turned out not to be the case. Shows how much the body, mind and spirit are inc control when in harmony. Hooray for massages and beer!

And so it begins …

Welcome to the official launch of my new Creative Writing blog! Let the champagne flow! I am hoping to use this site as a means of sharing some of my writing, to inspire others and open my work to comment and engagement, I will also make regular posts about my writing journey – the ups and downs, the groups I’m part of and the outcomes of my efforts. I hope it makes for entertaining reading.