Creating characters – just for fun :-)

I go to a creative writing group every other Monday afternoon. We were to develop two characters and then arrange for them to meet. I was given a door-to-door sales rep and a story-teller and they were to meet at the races. I really enjoyed developing the characters while considering the following:

  • sex, detailed appearance and age
  • ancestry
  • likes and dislikes
  • interests
  • strengths and weaknesses
  • desires, secrets and fears
  • where they were born, had lived and so on

Just to be different I decided to present my story in a poem and here it is:

WILLIAM AND THEA

A lad is born and they call him William
His family think he is quite odd
But all agree he is one in a million
They celebrate his birth with smoked cod.

**

A girl is born far, far away yet very, very near
She is a real cutie
They proclaim her name will be Thea
All agree she is a beauty.

**

William grows to be six foot tall
His eyes are bright blue and clear
He settles in a little town called Stawell
And sells from door to door with no fear.

**

Thea, fully grown, is only five foot four
Her eyes are a deep dark brown
When it comes to money, she wants more and more
She spends all her savings and ends up quite poor.

**

William loves to frequent the races
Thea is there to write a story
They meet when Thea trips on her shoe laces
In actual fact, it really is her moment of glory.

**

They landed on top of each other
Both were too shocked to speak
Who knew they were bound to be lovers
When they were both born to be so meek!

****

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Emphemeral

EPHEMERAL – “fashions are ephemeral”

lasting for a very short time

transitory

transient

fleeting

passing

short-lived

momentary

brief

short

cursory

temporary

impermanent

short-term

Life wasn’t meant to be easy – who said that?

In light of former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser’s death this week after a short illness, I am re-posting an earlier piece I wrote about the Constitutional Crisis in Australia in the 1970’s. Rest in Peace Malcolm. Give our warm regards to Gough Whitlam when you get to the Pearly Gates.

Welcome to allaboutwordswa!

“The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis (sometimes called “the Dismissal“) has been described as the greatest political crisis and constitutional crisis in Australia’s history. It culminated on 11 November 1975 with the removal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam  (elected in 1972) of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr. Kerr then appointed the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, as caretakerPrime Minister. When the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, went to seek the Governor General’s approval for an election, the Governor General instead dismissed him as Prime Minister, and shortly thereafter installed Malcolm Fraser in his place. Though Kerr, who died in 1991, continues to be reviled in some quarters, Whitlam and Fraser later reconciled.”

Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was 18 in 1972 and voted for the first time.  It was an exciting time in politics…

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Philosophy

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

When I first read philosophy over ten years ago I felt reassured that many of the thoughts, hopes and fears I had were common to many. I think Arthur Schopenhauer captures some of the deepest and bleakest aspects of the human experience. I was going through a tough time around then and found some comfort in his words. If you are interested in reading philosophy, I highly recommend a book by Alain de Botton called The Consolations of Philosophy published by Penguin Books. Schopenhauer features in a chapter called Consolation for a Broken Heart.

I have included some quotes of his below.

*****

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“… that when you’re buying books, you’re optimistically thinking you’re buying the time to read them.
(Paraphrase of Schopenhauer)”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, Studies in Pessimism: The Essays

“Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

A clumsy jump into retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

The post below was written for an exercise in my creative writing class.

I can’t do it any longer. It will kill me if I keep going. After all, it is only a job and there must be more to life than going through the motions and playing the games. The pay and conditions are good but they don’t make up for the emptiness of the soul in doing something that no-one cares about.

The games – well they aren’t much fun. They are word games mostly. The government agrees to being a party to a strategy or initiative. Each year some lonely public servant checks what promises were made and provides some affirmative words to demonstrate that, yes, we, the government have really done something about it. It is written down in black and white weasel words, so it must be accountable. If it is not written down, there may be hell to pay.

I worked for the Office for Women’s Policy – in fact I was the last of the team to resign – I don’t think it is called that anymore. The issues considered were important but they got lost in the midst of political battles and point scoring. Either that or they got stuck in the mud of bureaucracy. For six months I worked on a cabinet submission to encourage greater participation of women on government boards. There was no appetite for this. The public cry was that women shouldn’t be supported to get on boards. After all, men don’t get support – they get appointed on merit. What – are you suggesting that every man on a board has more skills, knowledge and experience than the average female applicant? No, that doesn’t hold water.

Working full-time meant I left home at 7.30am each morning and got home at around 5.30pm each evening. I had little energy to enjoy my leisure time. Work consumed me. Some people can switch off after a day at the office but to me it was personal. The quality of my life was questionable.

We got away for weekends down south as often as we could. I couldn’t wait to get hold of the local papers and check out the real estate pages. We looked at houses and drove down the streets of Busselton and wondered what it would be like to live there. We dined out and pretended we were locals – could we make it a reality?

Unbeknown to me, Tom had done some research online about Busselton. I found a brochure in the mail one day about a Lifestyle Village in Broadwater, close to the beach. I didn’t pay much attention to it but suggested that we could have a look at it next time we were in Busselton. On our next visit we met with the sales rep and looked at a few houses on the Saturday. We decided to have a second look on the Sunday and took away a package of information to consider.

In no time at all, we signed the contract for our new home. We had three months to sell our Perth property. We put it on the market and it sold after thirteen days. Crunch time came at work – it wasn’t difficult to leave as I mentioned earlier, I was the last of the team to abandon ship. I was lucky to be able to keep a tenuous link to my job in case the experiment didn’t work out – this was six months leave without pay.

I haven’t looked back. I didn’t decide to retire – I just jumped out of the workforce when the opportunity presented itself. Now, five years later, I am still considering what my next act will be.

What do you do when you are bored?

boredomSo, boredom – what is it? I rarely say that I am bored as there are so many options of what to do. But there are some days that I don’t feel inclined towards any of my options.

Recently I have brought together a small group of people around my age who are no longer working full-time. Last week we talked about what we hoped to do in retirement or semi-retirement and then reflected on what it is REALLY like. Most people expressed at least some of the following concerns:

  • Fear of not keeping up with what is happening in the workplace eg technology
  • Running out of ideas on how to fill the day (after doing the house and garden until it is perfect)
  • Loss of interaction with other people
  • Loss of identity now that we cannot be defined by our jobs
  • Feeling guilty that we should be happier not working
  • How long does the money have to last?
  • Too much time for contemplation
  • Lack of boundaries that we forced on us when we were working

I am aware that there seems to be little support or training to prepare people for retirement. There is always a big emphasis about the financial side but not as much about the social aspects.

There is the good side as well – I haven’t focused on that in this post. I think we would all agree that not having to set the alarm to get up early for work is the number ONE bonus of not working full-time 🙂