The Honesty Ferret

So, this return to the blog has been interesting…

I was under the paw of the black dog of depression for a long time.  Well, a long time for me.  Not compared to those who have struggled always, but it took two years out of my creative life.

Recently, I got help and I’m feeling much better (you can read that story here if you want to) and the words are flowing again.

But what words!  Something interesting has happened.  I don’t know whether it’s the relief – make that the unbridled joy – of feeling normal again, or whether it’s opening up about my malfunctioning brain, but it seems my filter has fallen off.

In one week back on the blog, I’ve posted about mental health (mine, as above), music (nothing new there) and religion.  I don’t know what the modern list is for ‘things you shouldn’t talk about at the dinner table’ (or on social media), but I think I’ve hit two of them there!

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Hypocrisy V Compassion

Forgive another reblog but this expresses brilliantly something I have felt many, many times myself as a person of faith. Go Morgan, another storytelling friend. And I love the blessing at the end. St Benedict was a very practical man. It seems appropriate that it comes from a Benedictine nun.

stories in my life

Storytellers are eavesdroppers and liars; we harvest the words of others and transform them into a palatable product for our consumers.  Public places provide ample opportunities for the discerning listener to pluck a phrase, witness a dialogue and record a scene which will find a home in the stories we create for future telling.
So there I was at the gym; yes I drove there to spend half an hour huffing and puffing on a cross-trainer – irony is not lost on my own ‘first world’ actions. It was a quiet morning because I had an early school drop-off, and the cardio area was not reeling under the efforts of mass sincerity. There was only myself, another woman who was plugged in and therefore oblivious to any conversations and two men. It was their conversation I was privy to; or elements of it.
‘Asians.’ This was the word that punctuated…

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Sorrows come tumbling down: A Jumbly Tale

I have a friend who tells stories… Actually, I have many, but this one has special tales about, among others, the Jumbly Man. This one suits the somberness of my mood at the moment. There’s more to this one, so hop over and follow so you don’t miss the next installment.

time for stories

Let me tell you a story

Once, the Jumbly Man was returning from washing his woes, striding along, deep in thought. It was coming close to night and he began to look about for a camp.

As the sun gave the trees ever longer shadows, he saw a she-oak that would provide shelter and fallen needles, a comfortable place to rest. As he came closer he saw a figure huddled to the side of the tree. It appeared to be a small woman, huddled in on herself. He called out a jumbly greeting, saw a flash of a face full of fear as she scrambled to her feet, trying to stumble away.

Jumbly could see she was hurt. In a few long strides, he reached her and caught her under her elbows before she tumbled. The woman whimpered and cowered away from him. He jumbled soothing sounds at her and…

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Storytelling in Australia

I was going to post something else today, but I found this post about oral storytelling, by my friend Morgan and really wanted to share it. You may not know that I am a storyteller as well as a novelist (and copywriter). In fact, I was a teller of spoken tales long before I started writing novels. It is an ancient art form, often misunderstood in the modern world, but one with great power to counter the unhelpful and unhealthy profit-driven stories that saturate our media. If you get the opportunity to hear a storyteller, take it. It’s life-changing stuff.

stories in my life

I was prompted to write this blog after reading a facebook post by Jo Henwood, a storyteller from Sydney, Australia. Jo writes:

“Last Sunday I did storytelling for the Autumn Vibes festival at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. It was African themed, I had 14 stories (most of them new) arranged in 3 different story safaris throughout the Garden (with all the challenges of time management, sun, seating, and performing to a background of drumming, jazz bands etc) . Only 18 children came through the day. And of them, although it was advertised for 5-12 year olds, 11 were aged 5 or under. What was also interesting, in a depressing sort of way, was how parents responded when given a choice of $5 activities: clay work, drumming workshop, self guided activity sheet, plant material sculptures, storytelling – the vast majority acted as if storytelling hadn’t been mentioned. – ??? Australian culture in…

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Silver medal!

Okay, I was going to post something silly today about cheese but it will have to wait.

Stop the presses, halt the horses and otherwise cause astonishment and disruption!

My sister’s eight (the sister I talked about on Monday, the one rowing in the Masters Games) won a silver medal!

Whoo hoo!  How cool is that?

That is iceberg cool, that’s what it is!  And there are other finals to come, so who knows what could happen?

I’m summer happy dancing here in freezing cold Melbourne.

Also, in other news, I would like to mention that it is International Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, August 9th.  The link is to the UN information but may I make a suggestion?  As well as reading about indigenous people, may I suggest that in honour of the day, you make contact with an indigenous person or community near you?  And if you are an indigenous person, I hope you have a great day and that the celebration of this day helps you and your communities.

In honour of my Australian Aboriginal brothers and sisters, here’s a Dreamtime story you might like.

Hope you’re warm and your weekend is happy.

A New Short Story – but not by me

I was going to beg your indulgence, for some parental skiting.  But I changed my mind, because what I am sharing is so good that it needs no apology.

My girl recently completed an assignment for her English class at school.  They have been reading a book called Chinese Cinderella, by Adeline Yen Mah.  The assignment was to write a story inspired by something in or about the book.  This is what my girl came up with:


My Name Is Feng San-San; The Story of the Girl by the Roadside ©

My name is Feng San-San. I live in the streets of Hong Kong. Every day I scrounge for food, beg and look in garbage bins. It is very seldom that I get so much as a watermelon rind. People say I smell, but how can I wash when I live in the filth of the streets? They say I should not be idle, but who will let me work?

My name is Feng San-San. The winters are so cold, and all I have to wear are rags. I shiver so much, but I have no food to bring back my energy. Mother started coughing today.

My name is Feng San-San. I am so scared. Mother’s cough is getting worse, my nose is running and we have no medicine to get better. I am so scared that we are all going to die.

My name is Feng San-San. My mother died today; I will miss her forever, her loss is so painful. Now all I have is my dad, and he becomes more depressed every day.

My name is Feng San-San. We get less and less food, as there are so many beggars these days. My father is getting desperate, and blames me for everything. He beats me almost every day now. I am so scared, will we survive?

My name is Feng San-San. I really don’t think that we can survive. Our situation has never been more desperate, and I wonder what we will do. My dad mutters incessantly that he will get money, we will have food. I think he is too hopeful.

My name is Feng San-San. My father has gone mad. He says we will be rich. That I will make him rich. I am more frightened than ever.

My name is Feng San-San. I am for Sale.


This story is copyright 2013.  No reproduction without written permission.

For those who are interested, the last line of the story above appears in the book.  That was the inspiration she used to create this story.

I think it’s great.  If you do too, please tell her so in the comments.  I know she’d appreciate it.



Sunday Salon Honours its Origins

This is a reblog from the Storytelling Australia (Victoria) blog, because

1. Stories are awesome
2. Storytellers are even more awesome
3. It is advertising a SALON about FAIRY TALES and that is so awesome that I think my head might explode.

Apparently, the whole concept of a Salon started with 17th Century women in France who gathered in their ‘salons’ to write, read, perform and discuss, Fairy Tales.  We never hear about these women, but we apparently owe them the term ‘Fairy Tale’ and they played a hugely important role in the spread and popularisation of folk tales among the upper classes.  They also wrote new tales. (For a fascinating article about the period, see this site – and if you are in Melbourne, go to the Salon!)

I can’t believe I didn’t know this already, but now that I do, it seems like fate.  This blog is all about fabulous, active, subversive women, writers, stories and storytellers and the sharing of all of those things (not least in Sunday Salon).  When I found out about this, so soon after starting this blog, well, let me tell you, it felt like a SIGN.

The repost from the Storytelling Australia (Victoria) site is after the cut.  Please have a look!

ALSO, please note that the Salon itself is in June, in Melbourne, but they are calling for papers and they want the submissions by 26 APRIL 2012.

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