The Unreliable Narrator: Red Red Wine

I lift up the glass in my hand and swirl the luscious red liquid around.  I take a sip.  My favourite: a Rioja Tempranillo.  It has delicious hints of vanilla that make it taste more like eating a sensual desert than an alcoholic beverage.  Mmmm, I feel good.  I am in my prime, I can feel it; still young enough to be attractive, yet old enough to carry an earned confidence.  I am charming; the words flow from my mouth, as ripe as the grapes in my wine.  I am surrounded by people who love and respect me.

I have a captive audience of willing admirers, who hang on my every word.  No subject is too deep for me: religion, philosophy, theology, ethics.  I am an equal in mind to the people in the group forty years my senior and would you believe that I am educating them?  I talk with such candour, my body poised, my cheeks flushed with life.  I am laughing and cavorting with the very air that surrounds me I have such energy.

That handsome man with the accent and the dark hair is giving me a look that should have a certification.  My, he is an attractive man: tall, dark skinned with luxuriously muscular arms.  I am sure he is simply entranced by me, I can tell by the smile on his face.  I will just have another glass of wine and sit here seductively until he makes a move.  Have I finished that wine already?  Where is the other bottle?  I think I will just go over and speak to him myself, I have the balls for it and he has been looking at me all night.


Oh god, my head is pounding.  Water, I need water.  Surely there will be a glass there beside my bed. Oh.  What is that?  Oh god, I’ve been sick.  I don’t even remember getting home.  The last thing I remember is going over to that French guy.  Something is not right.  I can’t remember what I said to him.  Oh god, I have that awful foul feeling in my stomach, how did I get home?

Ready, Set, Done: Foreshadow

I decided today to combine the daily prompt with the weekly writing challenge and have written a short piece about foreshadow which I wrote in ten minutes.  I hope you like it.


I had not even met him yet.  Not in person, but we have been chatting for about a week.  It feels like much longer.  It started out as banter, as flirting, it very quickly escalated.  “Do you want to play a game” I asked.  “Go for it” he said.


He doesn’t want to fall in love, neither do I, yet I can’t stop myself from thinking about him.  Strange, how can you feel anything about someone you have never met.  He is only a few miles away and we are talking about meeting up.  I know that I will meet with him, but there is a part of me that doesn’t want to, that wants to leave it at this nice, fresh, clean place where nothing is known and anything is possible.


This is the best place, not the place where you have obtained the goal, not the part where you see the person in the flesh, but the wondering, the imagining, the dreaming.


No reality is ever as colourful as the pictures in my mind, no face as handsome.  I feel a glow inside of me, I am teasing myself with the possibility of love or lust or whatever it might become.  Other people can see it too because I am more alive than I was before, more hopeful.  It is the hope that makes you feel alive, the hope of something great happening, something unknown.  You know that no matter how wonderful your dreams are or how dark your worries are, reality rarely quite matches them, not if you are the creative type.


I wait for some more of his words.  They are not even romantic words or wonderfully poetic or anything like that, yet I feel a connection.  Can you feel a connection if it is not in person?  I am not sure.  I have never met someone this way before, so whatever happens, it will be an experience.


I will learn.  I am not sure if I will have to learn the same lessons as last time. I am trying really hard to remember the lessons from last time, because those ones were the worst; the ones about love.  You never forget those lessons, you never forget the pain you felt when you were being taught those lessons.  Now, years later, I am ready to try again, to throw myself into the unknown, knowing this time what it means to feel the pain of a broken heart.  Yet still, I wait, eager, but with just a little more patience.










Memoir Madness: A Moment

It is one of those rare hazy late summer mornings where the wind gently blows around the trees and bushes in a hushed dance.  Deliciously, no one else is around and I am left to enjoy a complete peace that I rarely feel.  It feels like I have forgotten the concept of time, and everything is still.  Simply existing in this moment is a wonder. The kitchen door is one of those old fashioned wooden doors with two parts, a bottom and a top so that you can have either one or the other opened or closed.  In this house, it generally stays constantly open and despite the fact that I am the kind of person who always feels the cold, even in summer, I leave it open myself because the view of the garden is so pretty.  It is a large garden that stretches all the way down to the river.  I can’t always hear it, but I can feel the water close by and it is comforting.

It is Saturday, and I have absolutely nothing that I need to do today.  I sleep later than usual and when I get up, one of the guys is leaving for work and suggests he takes us out for dinner later.  The other is away for the weekend.  I think they like having a female around.  They enjoy the company and perhaps the gentleness without the complications of a relationship.  I am intrigued, but I actually don’t care as long as I am around people who are nice to me.

The last time I was here, I was different.  It was all new to me, and I was still learning.  To tell the truth, I only started learning when I came here.  I had not learned how to appreciate the moments.  I had not learned how to be happy.  I would not have known how to enjoy this morning.  I would have felt like there was something I should be doing, or I would have been out the night before, or going out tonight.  I would be hoping that something would happen that would move my life on when I went out, that I would meet someone who would make it all seem worthwhile. I was looking for meaning in my life and I thought that love was the only way to feel that.  I was right and I was wrong.  Love is the only way to feel it.   Love is the only kind of real meaning you can find in life, but not romantic love.  It is a love that is hard to describe, a love for everything and everyone, including myself.  I learned how to feel that, and I learned to do it particularly when there is no one else around.  It is looking out at the garden and loving how beautiful it is. It is a love for the way the sunlight is throwing shadows and light onto the kitchen floor.  It is a love of the spider web that is shining on the kitchen window.  It is a love for the warmth of the sun on my arm as I write. It is love for the Neil Young song playing on my Ipod which reminds me of lying on my floor after school listening to my dad playing music in the living room before my mum got home from work. It is seeing particles of dust fly through the air when you move that you would normally never see when you are busy. It is a love for all of these in between moments.  These moments where nothing at all is happening, and no one is around, but you feel a love for life, love for everything in your world that surrounds you right at that moment.  These are the moments that keep me going when life is difficult, because I know that they will come again, and I will always remember what it means to be quietly happy.

It is the end of Summer and Autumn will be coming soon.  I remember autumn afternoons in my mother’s house, when the days are getting shorter and the afternoons darker.   The air is colder and it is often windy, but it is nice and warm in my childhood home.  I can see the big tree in front of our house starting to turn orange and the leaves floating to the ground like feathers.  They took that tree away.  I remember sitting with my mother in the living room, it seems bigger than it is now, although it is the same.  My mum is busy doing something, possibly ironing and I am lying on the couch watching a film.  It feels heavy, but not in a bad way, in the way a woollen blanket feels on you, comforting.

I know that this feeling means that everything is about to change again soon.  I can feel it. In the short term, someone will come in, perhaps Dot, and the spell will be broken and the charade will begin again.  It’s not always unenjoyable, playing at real life.  Sometimes I move through all of the acts like a graceful dancer, moving from one task to the next.  At other times I am aware of all the little acts that I am doing, and I wonder why I do them at all.  Every morning I do the same things, I get up, I brush my teeth, I get my gym clothes on, I workout or run, I go to work, I spend all day organising meetings, cancelling meetings, re-organising meetings, attending meetings, writing about what happened at the meetings, arranging the next meeting.  I come home, I meditate, I hang upside down, I make my dinner, I write, I read, I go to sleep and I do it all again.  Sometimes I feel like I am watching myself doing all of these things and that I am a second or two behind everyone else, and I can see that it is all one big movie and none of it is real at all.  Sometimes this makes me laugh and I am light about it, at other times, I can’t stand the banality of it and I just want to stop it.  I want to run away and travel and simply do whatever I feel like doing at the time.  You can’t always do that when you are a part of the system, when you have a nine to five job, when you have bills to pay.  I would you know, I would just up and leave it all and in fact, I know I will again.  I would like to be able to do it for the rest of my life, and that is what I am trying to do now.  I will work for the rest of the year, I will strive, I will be brave, I will take opportunities, I will ask for success so that I can go out into the world and experience it all.

I can feel the moment passing already, my reverie is lifting.  I can hear sounds next door which mean Dot will be over soon.  I will look at my phone and answer text messages.  I will have a big sigh and I will go to my room and close my door and start writing with a purpose.  I will go for dinner and perhaps I will meet a distraction.  I will discuss life with Laurie and I will remember why I am here.  I can feel it coming. I can feel it because it is not something that is happening to me, but something I am doing.  Everything will change very soon, I have asked for it.  I have asked to be rocketed out into the world.  I know it will come, but I don’t know with what else.  That’s the thing, you ask for these things, but you have to remember how to ask for them, because you get them, but they don’t come on their own, they come with problems and difficulties and most likely heartache.  I know this from experience.  I asked for somewhere beautiful to stay in the country that I could afford, and that is what I have, I never imagined that the opportunity would come for me to be here, and I know that there may be a price to pay for that, I will accept it when it comes, although I have no idea what it might be.  I know my being here cannot be permanent.  So I will look out at the garden and I will look around my room content. I will sit down to write my stories, and I will love as many moments as possible, because it is not permanent and I have no idea what is coming next.  Nothing is permanent. You can fight that, or you can sit down quietly and appreciate those little moments before you are propelled into the unknown once again.

Once Upon a Time the Earth was Rich and Full


In the Beginning

Are you ready to spin a good origin tale?


Once upon a time, the earth was rich and full and it was filled with billions and billions of people.  The people had evolved physically and intellectually for thousands and thousands of years.  They were very ingenious and creative and invented all sorts of commodities and things to help them to live their lives and survive longer.  They created a complex world full of buildings and skyscrapers and the most advanced technology.   They began to travel to all the other parts of the world and trade with other countries for all the things their lands had and it became necessary to invent a way of trading for all these goods and so they created money.  Money at first was gold and when people found gold, they loved it so much it became extremely valuable and people died digging up the ground for it because it was so shiny and precious and people could trade it for food and stock and grains.  Because the gold was so valuable and precious, it ran out, so the people had to invent something else to trade with, so they started to trade with special paper.  This worked even better, because the paper was not precious and they could just make more of it.

They worked tirelessly to earn paper which they used to trade for necessities such as food and homes but also for numerous luxuries.  The paper became their absolute favourite thing in the world and some people enjoyed nothing more than collecting it and storing it in steel vaults.  Because these people loved the paper so much, it became a big game to see who could collect the most paper and people went to extraordinary lengths to collect it, whatever it cost to anybody else.  The people who loved it the most got so good at collecting it that in the end less than 100 people owned half of all the paper in the world and the rest had to be shared out between the other 7 billion people, some of which had none at all.  The people with money however were so few that they could not possibly eat all of the food so there were piles and piles of food in the poor people’s countries that they might even have grown themselves but they could not eat because they did not have enough paper.

The 100 people who owned all the paper usually did not work, but invested their paper in things and other people so that they made sure that the other 7 billion people worked and kept making and buying the goods.  The working people knew this and knew it was wrong, but they were not sure what they should do about it.  They would go to prison is they stopped working and paying taxes and they had to put all of their paper in vaults or they could not buy anything because now all the paper went into the vault and they used one small card with a microchip that could tell a computer how much paper any one person had and they could use the card to pay for things in a shop which had another computer that would send the message to the computer at the vault.

The second favourite thing these people liked to do (particularly the 100 people who loved the paper) was to take things out of the ground which could be used that would run out, because if they would one day run out, people would pay so much more for them.  Their second favourite thing was therefore oil, which was extracted from the ground and used to make cars and machines go.  At first this was the only thing they could use to make the cars and machines go, but some scientists did look into what could be used instead that wouldn’t run out and they found lots of other ways to make the machines and the cars go.  The people who loved the paper did not like this, because how could the prices on such things go up and up and up as they run out, they couldn’t very well put a tariff or a price on the sun or the wind.

As this oil ran out, the countries in the world where the 100 stayed went to war with other countries who were trying to keep their own oil so that they could play the paper game.  They used a lot of their paper on these wars even though the people disliked them because many innocent people died in the wars and it hurt some of the soldiers so much to see these people die, they killed themselves.

The oil was burned to make the machines and the cars go and this had a terrible effect on the layer of air that protected the earth from the sun which would otherwise burn alive.  Again some scientists investigated this and let the other people in the world know what they should do to stop the sun burning the earth alive, but no one believed them, because it had nothing to do with the paper and that was all that really mattered, particularly to the 100 paper people.

The oil ran out before all the machines could be made to work with the other energy sources and the lights went out.  The sea boiled, the ice melted, the deserts burned and the islands flooded.  All life on earth was wiped out and the earth produced such powerful toxins and gases that it created a big bang and tiny pieces of the earth ended up on other planets.  On one of these planets the conditions were just right for the particles of energy to change and evolve into life and things started growing.  At first it was just plants, but the more the matter evolved, the more intelligent it got and it grew fish, the fish then jumped out of the water and grew into land animals and after billions of years of intelligent evolution, the earth produced a species that could think and you will never guess what it chose to do with its existence.

The Lost Art of Living (from After the Lights Went Out)

How did it get like this?  How did it all get so quiet?  I walked along by the river again this morning and everything seems so lonely.  Not me, I am not lonely, but the city, it is lonely.  It has no people to keep it company.  The big wheel is still and solitary and it is getting rusty.  The ferries sit at the docks waiting for passengers that never come.  The wind blows right through the riverside restaurants and bars that used to be filled with Friday night revellers.  If I close my eyes, I can see them all there again.  I can remember getting off the ferry all dressed up with my hair done and my makeup on ready for a night out with my friends, eager in anticipation of what the night might hold, the whole city bustling with life.

I remember sitting at a bench by the river looking over at the pier.  It felt like I was watching a memory.  It felt like the last time I would see it that way.  I don’t think I will ever see it that way again.

Tables and chairs are knocked over now and no one has bothered to pick them up.  Some of the windows are smashed and there is glass on the floor.  That restaurant was where I had my leaving lunch with the people from my temp job.

I kissed a handsome Belgian boy over there with a French accent on my birthday.  He was beautiful.  Different thoughts were going through my head then.  There was not this dull sadness that hangs over me now.

How busy we all were: working, running, cycling, eating, shopping, dancing, smoking, drinking, travelling and living.

We passed thousands of people every day that we did not notice.   I loved people watching:  standing in line for the ferry watching a young couple on a first date; overhearing another couple having a domestic dispute; teenagers messing around with each other, one quiet one paying attention to something else; men in suits, wondering what their jobs were – a banker, a lawyer, a salesman?

It is the simple things that you miss – the everyday things that you didn’t think about at the time:  driving to work with my music on, singing along, the sun shining and the clouds rolling over the blue sky; that Friday feeling when work is over and you had enjoyable things planned like meeting friends and eating out; wandering around the shops looking at clothes you might never buy; sitting by the pool lost in a book, idling away time because there was all of the time in the world.

There is still time now, it does not run out, they were wrong when they said that.  There is none of the other stuff though, the ordinary, everyday stuff, the stuff that I thought was so mundane; the living.   I never thought I would ever be sad about it, but I am.  It is the people I miss, the people getting on with their own lives without a thought for me – funny that I should miss them.

Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Student, Teacher: Jo and Verity


An excerpt from “After the Lights Went Out”.  Verity talks to Jo.


The worst thing about it all was this kind of wave of hopeless despair took over the whole country. I have thought about this in some depth. I thought to myself, what if how you feel is not just something subjective? What if your feelings have a purpose other than to motivate you alone? What if how you feel is a frequency that you omit out into the universe that other people can feel? What if it can influence how other people feel?

Would that not explain why certain places have a feeling to them? Would it not explain why at places where something awful has happened like murder or suicide it feels eerie? Perhaps it is not ghosts. Perhaps you are feeling a frequency that was so strong and that unsettled that part of the universe so much that the feelings that resulted can still be felt years later?

I think first a wave of panic and chaos swept over the country and then a feeling of utter despair. People stopped hoping, they stopped believing in religion, they stopped believing in anything and a feeling of sheer hopelessness gripped everyone. No one knew what to do; we had collectively given up on our existence. It got to the point where everyone knew someone who had died; everyone had held someone dying in their arms; many people had lost their children, their parents, their sisters, their brothers, their lovers, their friends. The fires killed so much, so many people, so many animals. Many of the farmers were as devastated at the loss of their stock as they were of the people around them. Death seemed to be blowing over the country with the wind, leaving it in a dark shadow, the people left walking around like ghosts. Hope, Jo, is what keeps us surviving, hope and faith, without those we are a dying species. Oil doesn’t matter, electricity doesn’t matter, money doesn’t matter without hope. It is what made us the most progressive and wondrous of the creatures on earth. Without it we are left with empty buildings and deserted cities. We should have realised that we do not need the governments or wealth to survive and be happy. Money was an illusion. Money is actually worth nothing unless we all believe it means something. If we stop believing in money, we shatter the illusion and we put down the imaginary chains that we’re bound by. That is one thing I am not sorry for and I do not miss. Here we are surviving, living without money. We are finding food and shelter and existing, but we are dying out because we have lost hope. We have stopped reproducing because men and women have lost hope in the human race and there are no children. What a world without children. You, Jo, are among the youngest people in the country, trust me, we have looked and very soon you will be an adult. I do so hope that you get to hold a baby in your arms, to look at its face and see the beauty of human life in its simplest form, to hear children laughing and playing oblivious to everything except love and play.


I saw all of this happening before me. I could understand what was happening to the world. I am not sure why Jo, but I see things other people don’t see. There are moments when I feel like my awareness of my experience of life is slightly in front of the reality if it, like I am looking back and remembering it. Like I am dreaming, or reminiscing. It is like my mind is ahead of time itself and I am looking back as a third person – watching the story play out. I can also very succinctly feel what other people are feeling. I feel feelings from other people that they are not aware of themselves. So I could see all of this happening before me and while most people were terrified of their uncertain future, I could feel the hope, the human experience floating away up to the sky, drifting into the dark with the ashes from the fires. I have tried to capture that feeling of hope and faith and keep it here, but I am only one person and I find it difficult enough to convince myself sometimes, particularly when I realised that women had stopped becoming pregnant. That realization was aching to me, I felt afraid. I truly thought to myself that we were doomed. I knew and understood that this was happening because of the loss of hope but I could see no way to reverse that, because we had stopped believing in ourselves. I cried for a long time in a way I had not done in years. I felt so utterly alone. When I had cried all the tears I had, I lay down and slept and when I awoke I meditated for a long time and I accepted the situation. I was still alive and I was a part of a universe that I knew existed for its own purpose. I still believed that. I still believe that now. I had stopped believing in God in the Christian sense when I was 10 years old and although I had lived many years not believing in anything and living the way people do when they don’t believe in anything, I had learned another way to believe in God. I believe in something I call the universe and that there is a divinity in everything in that universe including myself. I believe we are all connected, every person, every animal, every plant, every particle of energy and that the universe exists in a perfect state of harmony. I still believe that and at that point I had to remind myself of it. Whatever was happening was happening to regain balance in the world. I do not believe that when a person dies that is the end of their energy or their spirit. I have a feeling that we are born again. I am not sure whether it is into this world or another one, but my brain cannot reason that the energy that comprises living creatures simply disappears and becomes nothing. I do not actually believe there is any such thing as nothing, even the air and the space in between is something, has gases and particles of energy. I believe that when we die we just become something else.  I did not believe that it was possible for the earth to die.   I reminded myself that there are things I have control over and things I do not and that I cannot worry about things I have no control over. If the earth was changing, I had no control over that, but I had control over my own thoughts and actions and I while I was alive I had to make sure that what I choose to think and do mattered in some way. I decided that more than ever I had to keep going with what I had started, I had to convince everyone around me that there was still hope. Then something happened.


We heard a story. It came as a kind of Chinese whisper, passed from person to person and I am sure it was being spread all over the country. There was talk of a child who was born the day the last light went out . They said that this girl was going to save us. They said that she was the last pure, good innocent thing left in the world and that she would return the lost children to the world. They said she was here in Australia and soon she would be coming to return our faith in ourselves. They said she was a child of divinity and that she had the power of the universe in her. People started writing things on the sides of buildings everywhere around the city. When I heard people talking about her I was inspired. When people asked if I had heard about her or if I knew anything about it, for a long time I simply smiled and walked away. You see Jo, people think I have some kind of special power, that I can see the future and see into human souls. I can’t see the future in the sense that people think I can, but I understand the nature of the universe and the way it works and I can guess what will happen a lot of the time. I cannot see through skin, but I do see who people really are because I truly understand myself and therefore most other people. The only people I cannot see are truly evil people, because my mind cannot comprehend that and I will tell you, I have only come across one such person in my lifetime, and you have seen him Jo; the cowboy but we have to leave that one for later.


I knew that people believed I had some kind of special powers, which I usually just laughed about and denied, but I had an idea. I thought that if I encourage people to believe in this girl, this “saviour” if they truly began to believe in her then people might begin to hope again and believe. I started to encourage the rumour. I have to admit Jo, I may have written some things on some walls myself. I may have even written some notes and put them in bottles. I may have asked someone to spread the rumour. Well, it grew arms and legs this rumour. People started to believe that this person actually existed and that she would save their souls and the earth. The people around me had a renewed energy. They started to progress in their projects. They were coming to me all the time with new ideas and they were getting things finished. They built a boat Jo, a solar powered boat. They sailed it to Sydney and brought more people back. They were coming to me with thoughts on where we should go, on where this girl might be and they travelled around Australia meeting all of the people who were left and asked about the girl and if the people hadn’t heard about the girl, they told them about it.


“Verity, I am not a saviour or a daughter of god” Jo stated, worried she was going to let everyone down.


Verity smiled “Oh but you are both Jo, in the same sense that we all are. You are a human being who is not hopeless. You are not a daughter of God, you are life itself – we all are, but every now and again we humans need to be reminded of that. You are the light in the dark, the stars in the sky, the sunlight on the sea, sun in the sky, the rain in the air, the reason for existence. We all are. We were not created by a force that is separate from ourselves. We are life, we are creation, there is no difference. What we have lost is simply hope and whether you are real or a metaphor personified, you give us that. You have already given us that. Even just imagining that you exist gives everyone hope. Don’t you see that? Whatever you believe or know about yourself, the way I see it, we have two choices here, we either tell people that you are not the saviour and that in fact she does not exist and the hope dies and kills us all, or we let them believe that you are the saviour, because in a way, in the way that I am explaining to you, you are our saviour. You are youth, you are the future, what you decide to do will affect us all.

And Jo, there is something in the way this has all happened that is strange, don’t you think? I did not start the rumour about you, someone else did. I just ran with it. I did not expect that Tori would find you, but she did and don’t you see you are exactly the kind of person the story describes. Don’t you think there is something in that? You are good and loving and beautiful in the way every person should aspire to be. All you want is to be happy and for other people to be happy, that is all any of us should want. By being you, you inspire other people how to be, you inspire them to be better, to be more like you, because they can see that it is possible. Don’t you see? When you create a story, when you tell it to other people: that makes the story real, imaginations are spoken and let out into the world and come into existence. Don’t you see? People know what an angel is, they know what it looks like, they know its characteristics, not because they have ever seen one in real life, but because someone described it and wrote about it and then other people drew it and painted it and portrayed it and now everyone knows what it is and what it looks like and in that sense, it exists.


“But what will l do? Won’t they expect me to walk on water or turn water into wine or something? I can’t do anything like that. I can’t really do anything special”.


“You just have to be you Jo, you just have to smile and talk to people and make them feel loved and tell them what they need to hear. You will know what that is. I am not telling you to lie about anything. You don’t have to say “Yes I am the daughter of the universe” say what you believe, say what I have said, that we are all sons and daughters of the universe, that we are all divine. Say what you honestly believe, just don’t say all of the things that you are not. If you say you are not divine, you are lying anyway. How can you really know what you are and what you are not? How can you know any of this is what you think it is? This life, how do you know it is real? How do you know it is not a dream? How do you know you are human? There is no real way of knowing these things in this lifetime, so how can you say they are true or not true? Now, it won’t matter what you say. Everyone knows that I sent Tori to find you and that she has brought you here and now everyone believes that you are going to save us”.


“So what now? What do we do?”


“What is it that you want from your life?”


“I want to be happy”.


“And what do you think will make you happy?”


“Mmmm. I guess I want it all to be a big adventure”.


“How does sailing to the other side of the world sound for an adventure?”


Jo’s eyes lit up and widened. “Oooh. Yes please”.


“Let’s do it then”.