Friday, 25 February 2011


Feeling mildly accomplished tonight – have just finished a short story and submitted it to an anthology. At this point I can’t tell if it’s good or bad, but that’s not the point. It’s finished! And what’s my word for the year? Yay, me! Another project done.

This one’s been in the works a long time. Every time I drove home from visiting Mum last year I passed under a bridge called the Skye Winter Bridge. I looked it up just now; it’s named after a poor little toddler killed in a police chase.

In my head it turned into the Winter Sky Bridge and I started thinking about a magical bridge that appeared in the sky at a certain time of year – a transient, unstable bridge that was the centre of a whole world’s creation myth. A bridge that the people of the world believe leads to heaven, but in fact goes somewhere else entirely, and a boy who has to climb it in search of his lost brother.

Stories get started in the strangest ways, don’t they? I love hearing writers discuss the evolution of their stories. Such big, amazing things can grow from the tiniest seeds of inspiration. A word, a phrase, a line of poetry or an image in a magazine can spark a whole book. It’s like magic. Creating something where nothing existed before.

And speaking of books – now I’ve finally stopped procrastinating and finished this story, I can get back to Verity. Which also deals with a search for a lost sibling, come to think of it. Seems to be a recurring theme of mine lately. Should my brothers and sister be worried?

I only have a couple of chapters to go to finish the first draft. Then Drama Duck can stop harrassing me to find out what happens. Poor kid, she’s been very patient. But she’ll have to wait till next week. February’s nearly over, and I still have to meet my goal of finishing a quilting UFO this month – guess it’ll be a busy weekend!

What about you? Have you finished a project lately, or accomplished a goal?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Mad dodo skillz

Well, the holidays are well and truly over, and we’ve gone back to all our usual activities, including taekwondo. At the end of last year, the girls and I moved up to high yellow belts. One of the black belts made taekwondo gingerbread men for everyone in celebration. Ninjabread men? She went to a lot of trouble. They had white taekwondo uniforms on and everyone got the appropriate coloured belt for their grade. So cute!

Sadly, Baby Duck is still languishing among the white belts, two grades behind us.

Baby Duck has a lovely nature, very caring and sensitive. Sure, he can be loud at times, and is certainly not above whacking his sisters when the provocation is great, but on the whole he’s a gentle, laid-back little dude. He just doesn’t get taekwondo.

At our school the sparring is non-contact, ie you’re supposed to stop short of actually punching or kicking anyone. Of course sometimes a foot or hand will connect accidentally (particularly among the younger practitioners!), and when it happens to Baby Duck he’s outraged.

“He kicked me!” he announces to the world in horrified tones.

You’d think he’d realise, from all those ninja cartoons he watches, that that’s the whole point of martial arts.

Most of the time, however, he’s quite safe since he allows a good ten-foot margin between him and his opponent at all times. I was trying to spar against him at our last lesson, and every time I kicked he fell back ten feet, then retreated another five feet before delivering his return kick. I tried to persuade him that he’s never going to defeat an opponent by standing on the opposite side of the hall, but I don’t know whether he bought my arguments.

Of course I’m happy that he’s such a sweet kid, and I don’t want to change him, but, you know, just a little more aggression would be helpful. He thinks the best part of taekwondo is chatting to his friends when they’re supposed to be learning their forms, hence the form is still pretty wobbly. Watching him go through his form is like watching a marionette. He’s all floppy and gangly. At this rate he could be a white belt forever, which wouldn’t go down well.

I instituted an incentive scheme, thinking to appeal to his greed. $30 for every grading! The girls have earned 60 bucks apiece already, which brings on tears when they get paid and he gets nothing, but doesn’t translate into motivation. Maybe I just have to wait for him to grow up a little more.

It’s ironic, though – the whole reason we started taekwondo was to find him a sport he’d enjoy. Yet he really couldn’t care less, and it’s Demon Duck and I who are keen. Demon Duck has a phenomenal memory. Show her a form once and she’s got it. She’s a good little sparrer too. I’ll have to work hard to keep up with her. Don’t want her beating me to black belt – although that’s a distant goal at the moment. I’d settle for just being able to do a side kick without losing my balance!