A life in pictures and in words of love

My Dearest Pa,

There’s this picture of you from when you were a boy sitting in a small go-cart surrounded by three of your sisters. You don’t look happy. Surly is the best description I have for it, but it makes me laugh when I think what might have been going through your mind at the time. ‘I’m hungry’, ‘why is Jean allowed in the go-cart too’, ‘why am I here’, ‘why do I have to smile’ part of any four-year-old boy’s nightmare – to stand still for a photo for five minutes.

The next photo I look at, you’re fourteen, and it’s your first British Merchant Navy passport. You look so damn young — too young to be off to sea, without a parent and without the doting sisters around you. There are photos of you on the ship smiling, hoisting rigs, chummy with shipboard mates, drinking beer and sharing a laugh.

There’s a photo from your first visit to Australia, outside a Fremantle hotel, then there’s the one of you crammed into a photo booth laughing it up with a mate.

As you became older you became more handsome, you dressed smarter, looked dapper and there are pictures of you with your arm around pretty girls, the prettiest of all being mum. There are photos of you and mum at your wedding, standing stiffly on the church steps and later there’s honeymoon pics, Blackpool I think, standing on the deck of a ship your arms around each other, on the beach in fashionable swim wear. Later you’re holding Jan or Stu, or the dog who’s name I never remember. There are ones from when you came here, cooking barbeques in late setting summer suns wearing nothing but the skimpiest of seventies shorts. There are party shots too, laughing and drinking and dancing and canoodling. There is so much laughter and life in those photos.

That is what I want to remember, what I want to thank you for sharing. When I look at these photos, I see your gentle heart, the man who teared up at Lassie films, who sang me silly songs with snippets of languages you learnt on your travels. I see the man who knew many fine Scottish folk tunes, ones he sang in houses and halls drunkenly slurred when your arms were around friends or family. Or as you donned a kilt or slew us with your terrible skills on a bagpipe.

You were the one I went to when I needed to remember the lighter side of life, you made me laugh, you made me forget that life is sometimes not fair. I love you and will never forget you.

Nancy

Day 7 Prompt: the magpie and the cockroach

Sleek and quiet, the black and white of the magpie blends into the shadows of dusk.  One last meal is all it’s after, before the sun sets and only streetlights illuminate the grey asphalt of the road.

Focussed and alert the magpie observes the sleek antennae of the cockroach glimmer in the last rays of the sun.  It’s preening itself, unaware of the danger that lurks barely three feet away.

A flurry of movement and feathers.  The magpie hurries back to its roost, belly empty once more.

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Day 6 prompt: nightflight to Venus

Eva dug her elbow into her companion’s rib cage.

James, shaken from slumber barely stirred and Eva rubbed her elbow in annoyance.

“How can you possibly sleep?  We’re supposed to be on a romantic flight to see Venus.”

He yawned and stretched, stroked her hair and her bare shoulder before laying a kiss on her lips. “We don’t need to go to Venus to see the stars. They’re right here.” He kissed her again and gave her a sleepy smile.

Eva sighed, snuggled in under his arm and closed her eyes.

 

Day 4 prompt: A sound, a smell

The bell rings for the second time.  Fashionably late in unfashionable clothes.

He sidles close and I can smell him, earthy and fresh.  His formal attire sits well on him, far better than I thought it would.  You can see his figure, stout but not fat, poised and surprisingly handsome.  His posture is almost perfect yet I notice a slight hesitation in his gait as we walk into the ballroom together.

Day 2 prompt: fork, shoe, map, whistle

The explorer looked down at his shoe covered in a strange goo.  “I thought this place was supposed to be like Kew Gardens,” he said with distaste as he tried to shake it from his foot.  He began to rummage inside his jacket pocket, pulled out a fork, and scratched his head as he held it aloft.  The second time he produced a whistle, which he blew, much to his companions’ annoyance.

One final delve and he produced a sheet of paper.  “Here it is!  The map!”  he said with reassuring smile.

One companion shook his head, the other plastered a hand over his eyes. They both sighed in unison.

Day 1 prompt: Begin with white

The blinding white of snow obscured her vision of the way ahead. A branch of a mountain pine whipped across her uncovered face. The trickle of blood flowed rapidly into her eye before slowing and freezing into a dark red line that marked her forehead. If she believed in God, she would have uttered his name in crude commentary.

IMAGE SOURCE: https://wallpapercave.com/snowy-forest-wallpaper

The hard yards – editing

It’s true what they say, write drunk edit sober. However I never expected that the editing process would be so sobering in itself. Despite that, I’ve enjoyed the process, having wonderful critique partners and an editor who knows you and your strength and weaknesses is a godsend. I’ve learnt so much in such a short time since going through all of this. I’m on to the fourth edit and when that’s done I’m sure there will be a fifth.

I’m planning on pitching my novel to prospective publishers at the Romance Writers of Australia conference this year – it will be the first time I’ve done a ‘pitch’, and no matter the outcome it will be awesome just to have got this far!