Monday, June 30, 2014

Tea With Me...

Hello, come in. Huddle close to the heater. I've the candles lit. (Clootie Dumpling candles anyone? - I've found a gorgeous place in Scotland that makes the most nostalgia-inducing, instantly cosy-fying candles.)

What would you like? Tea, coffee, hot chocolate?

With the start of the school holidays I've been making the kids decadent thick hot chocolate that verges on chocolate custard. You're welcome to some. (I'd be glad of the excuse to put another saucepan full on… the secret is the cornflour and constant stirring.) However there's also teas and coffee. (Although our coffee machine is broken - at the moment we're boiling the coffee in our copper teapot. It doesn't quite taste the same, but after our sleepless nights with the wee one it's caffeinated and that's what matters!)

Now, sit yourself down. (I don't think there's any play-doh on the seat, but do check! We made eucalyptus scented play-doh today and the kids have been re-creating themes from Frozen. Play-doh is scattered haphazardly throughout the house) There's a blanket for your knees if you're still a bit cold.

Do admire the little one - eight weeks this week, but she's needing a feed. (She's always needing a feed, and growing so quickly, the clever, guzzling one.)

 Oddly enough, with a newborn to savour and two little ones to run herd on, I decided to do a blogging course. It's run by the lovely Pip over at Meet me at Mikes. And strangely, it has all seemed to work well. Seeing everyone else in the course doing amazing things inspired me to make the change I've been meaning to make for awhile - find a real focus for my blog and redesign the layout … and change the name! Goodbye Mischief, Magic & Mayhem, hello A Wilder Magic.

Joining with the Meet me at Mikes cup of tea with me Linky… here are five things I'm loving

My Littlest one - out of hospital, smiling and well. She came down with bronchiolitis and there was a fraught week - but she has recovered so quickly into her sunny, chubby self that no one could guess she was ill so recently. She is lying on my chest now, her feed finished. She stretched her little milk-drunk self and cuddled up in a warm little bundle, her mittened hands tucked under her chin, her sleeping face at just the right place to drop kisses on.

My wonderful sister-in-law is visiting from Queensland. It's so lovely to catch up, to see how much the kids enjoy her company. We're drinking copious amounts of rose and vanilla tea and have already gone on our first op-shopping expedition. We're talking about our up-coming trip to Europe and so many exciting future plans…

Sometimes, just sometimes I catch a tantalising scent of blossom in the air. I breath it in greedily. I always forget how much I love the smell, and then each year it strikes me anew. Now, in the midst of winter it's sweetness is such a gift.

My bulbs are coming up. The jonquils have speared the earth and each day I admire their growth - eager to see the first buds. It always strikes me as wonderful that little lumps of brown shoot greenery and then such sweet smelling flowers.

Winter inspiration - there's something about the brisk air of winter, the sound of the rain upon the roof, the mist surrounding, that seems to nourish writing ideas. Images and scenes for my more wintry manuscripts are rapidly growing. I just need to steal the time away to write them down…

And you - what are you loving?


-Poppet on the train as we go into the city to pick up Aunty Bec.
-Hot Chocolate at Southern Cross Station.  I love the little candle warming the chocolate. I've been experimenting to make the same thick, rich hot chocolate and I think I've nearly found the recipe. The perfect hand-warmer for the bitter weather recently.
- Sprocket celebrating Aunty Bec's arrival throwing around Autumn leaves.
- snowdrops in mum & dad's garden.
- seed pods in rain. I love the colour and the velvety texture.
-my beautiful gap-toothed boy.
- Sprocket enjoys the long grass.
- over there. Sprocket and Poppet discuss matters.
- Littlest on our walk, undercover from the rain and well rugged up.

Joining with the lovely Em with moments from our week. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Littlest (week seven)

Sunday 22 June (Written from hospital)


O my tiny darling, this has not been a good week for you. (And I'll have to come back to your sixth week, if indeed I ever remember it. Worry and stress and lack of sleep seem to have wiped a lot of things from my memory.)

As I type now we're in the hospital. I am sitting up in bed and you are sleeping wheezily on my chest, the gastro-nasal tube still in your nose - although you no longer need to use it, and the oxygen tubes finally taken from your nose. There's still a probe bandaged to your foot, attached to a machine that monitors your air saturation and heart rate. Every so often the machine attached to the probe starts beeping and flashing red, but now the beeping is being put down to you kicking and confusing the machine. This was not always the case.

We have been in the hospital since Thursday - three nights - and you are final becoming more like your own curious, inquisitive, happy self.

On Monday you had a cough, a bit of a sniffle and were unsettled in the evening.

On Tuesday your cough was worse and you were breathing a little fast. Your Daddy and I didn't really sleep Tuesday night as you didn't want to lie down and your breathing was so laboured. One or the other of us, and often both, sat up with you all of the night, holding you and listening to your exhales and inhales, your coughing and spluttering and checking the rate of your breathing and listening to your chest.

On Wednesday your breathing was worse - your Daddy stayed home from the hospital - which considering he only took a day and a half off for your birth shows how worried he was.

I was petrified about whooping cough as there was a case at your brother's school last week. Your Daddy thought bronchiolitis. I took you to the doctor and while in the waiting room I nearly got up and took you straight to emergency, your breathing seemed so unsteady, your colour so sallow. I should have. The doctor said you seemed to have a cold or flu and to keep up the fluids. He gave us saline drops.

I never had a winter baby in Victoria before. Your brother and sister were both tropical babies. The colds and flus of winter look so different in a newborn and I was unsure how to interpret them.

Watching you breathe terrified me, but maybe it was normal for a small baby with a cold?

I went home feeling foolish - your colour was bad, but so was your brother's and sister's. They've been coughing and either flushed or pale for weeks.

Thursday morning, after another sleepless night taking turns to hold you, after doing the school-run listening to one ragged breath after another, constantly getting the kids to check on you as we drove,  I took you to the maternal health and childcare nurse, and asked if I should take you to the hospital. I'd been reluctant  because of the long wait in the Emergency Ward. After the longest drive of my life, the fifteen minutes home to change you, (you'd just thrown up all over your clothes and most of mine) and then the drive to the hospital, just listening for each unsteady breath, I discovered there are worse things than waiting in ED.

There is going to the triage nurse and being led straight out the back. First into a little room where you were checked, and then into a room behind where you were put on oxygen. I phoned your Daddy and he arrived so fast I was afraid he must have sped the hour long trip. Luckily, the broken down car for once did not break down. As soon as a bed was free we were taken onto the paediatrics ward.

The nights and days blur together. Beeping machines and doctors and nurses and your little heaving chest and bobbing head and wheezing, expressing milk, and all the milk coming up again. Your brother and sister coming in for brief, manic visits, hyped on treats and running rings around your shattered Daddy and causing mayhem.

Looking out the window, it is the same view we had when you were born, only from a different angle. Beyond the little peace garden directly out the window (cala lilies and coastal rosemary, and one little unflowering rose) is the same row of eucalypts, the staff car-park. You lie in the same type of clear plastic bassinet. And you looked so very, very different.

You're getting better now. I think we'll be able to come home soon. You're smiling again, your big, joyous grin. You're talking (you have the sweetest voice in all the world), and waving your hands and feet like a very enthusiastic conductor. These last few days you've just been lying still, apart from your head bobbing with your breathing, and your tiny chest labouring.

Little one, we were so very scared. We are so very grateful to all the lovely staff who looked after you so well. We are so grateful for modern medicine - for air. I don't know what would have happened if we did not have the technology to give you oxygen. My mind shies from it. But I am suddenly thinking of all the children in developing countries who do not have access to the oxygen that kept you going.

Littlest, you are on the mend now. It seems there is a very clear course to bronchiolitis - progressively worse for 3-5 days and then better. You are past the worse and soon we will be home.

O Littlest, it is so very, very good to see you smiling again and studying the ceiling with awed wonder.

(About to come home, Monday)

Monday, June 23, 2014

moments - the walk before

Last week my girls and I went on our usual walk - to see the unicorns (although only Poppet can see their horns), to look at the blossom I had seen from the car and to see if the fairy mushrooms that had been there last winter had returned.

My Poppet jumped and leapt and ran and cavorted. I admired the high blue sky, the deep green of the grass, the crisp air and trees that managed two seasons in a day - with autumn leaves and blossom on the same branches, even though we are in the heart of winter.

My Poppet had the nasty cough she has had for the past few weeks - my Littlest had the sniffles. Over the next few days my Littlest's sniffles developed into something far worse - bronchiolitis and we ended up spending four nerve-wracking days in hospital. I have never been so scared. My sweetest Littlest was wheezing and coughing and struggling so badly. I have never been more grateful we live in a place and time with amazing medical skills.

We are home now, my Littlest is smiling again. But these are moments from our walk 'before.'

Joining with Em for moments from our week. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

a wilder magic

'And then for one glorious, supreme moment , came "the flash." …  It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very near a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside but sometimes just for a brief moment , a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of an enchanting realm beyond - only a glimpse - and heard a note of unearthly music.' 
(Emily of New Moon, L.M Montgomery)

I've been meaning for awhile to change the name of my blog - it never seemed quite right, but I wasn't sure what to change it too.

I began thinking about what I really wanted to reflect in my blog, what I'm really wanting, for my children, for myself. And for my children, for myself, and for my writing, I want a wilder magic.

I want that sense of wonder, that we are terribly close to something joyous and startlingly beautiful.

So much of our world is bound up in screen time - and I am one of the worst offenders - but when I look back on my life, it's those moments spent outside that I remember most clearly and with most delight.

Held in the green curve of a cresting wave, the shore spread before me.

Running into midnight water in Scotland, friends giggling around me and phosphorescence around our feet.

Walking along a narrow cliffside path towards a promontory castle, the wind so strong I can lean over the cliff edge and be held.

Running through rain, feeling it's bitter cold on my face and feeling intensely, exultantly alive.

Floating in un-still, luminous tropical ocean with my Beloved, frangipani floating around us and the rain steadily falling.

These are the moments I want for my children - the outdoor moments. The wild moments. The times that aren't comfortable, aren't clean, are often not entirely safe. But make you feel so alive - so close to a sense of 'other.'

These are the moments that I want to capture in my writing. These are the moments I want to capture here, in my blog. Those wilder times, outside, the times that sing. Those times of mud and sand and walking home wet and shivering and sand-encrusted and mud-laden.

Screen time is easier. It's less work. It's more comfortable. It's safer. It lacks the squish and ooze and mess.

But it doesn't have that wilder magic, it doesn't even allow for the possibility of it.

Of a dolphin swimming alongside you in the sea - or a fleet of manta-rays come to glide amongst you under a lightning filled sky.

Of seeing a certain slant of light through mist and having your heart contract.

I love to see the joy of my children as they play along the shore, run barefoot and red-toed over a rocky reef. As we talk about the names of the birds and the markings on the sand. I'm learning to hold my tongue when they turn the front path into a mud-pit and play happily in it for hours.

There's a line in a song by the Scottish singer Jackie Leven (now sadly deceased) -  'The old islanders say that neon steals the poetry from the young.' And to me it seems so true. This screen glare of iPad, iPhone, computer, television, is stealing the poetry away. The poetry found in time spent in nature, in lines of great beauty written by someone four hundred years ago, that you read and then it haunts you for days, years.

 I feel it in myself - time I once spent outdoors or reading actual paper-books, is spent scrolling. It's easier. I can scroll in bed, in the dark, as the kids sleep beside me and I feed the baby. Or I can light a candle and sit with my little one in the rocking chair and just drink in her fast-changing wonder. I can check my Facebook while stamping my feet in a cold playground, or I can climb up the ladder and speed down the slide, study the trees surrounding us, the patterns of the clouds.

I love the internet. I'd never willingly give it up. Having information at my fingertips is wonderful. Being able to keep in touch with far flung friends and relatives is a great gift. To make new friends, to have amazing, inspiring images, sayings, movies from around the world and time sent to me, wherever I am, is a great privilege and mind-blowing. I have no intention of separating my kids from it.

But I want to find a better balance.

I want more of that wilder magic. I want this space to reflect that search, those times spent outside, or reading, when we leave the door open to wonder and wildness. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

by Sea

- Poppet, climbing the shoreline trees.
- my Poppet
-Littlest, smiling, close to her Daddy's heart.
-Sprocket, joyous by sea.
-throwing sand in the sea, a favourite game.
-the fisherman's ramp.
- Sprocket, the sea monster.
- trees in silhouette as we return home.

Last weekend we journeyed through the city to the far side of the state. We'd planned to spend most of the weekend at a music festival - one I had been looking forward to all year, that I  love and have been going to since it started when I was in my very early twenties. When we got there, tired and wound up from the drive, it started bucketing down rain. And we decided that much as we wanted to listen to the music, and dance with the kids, maybe, just maybe, tired and stressed as we are and with a newborn, this year is a year we'll have to give it a miss.
And we bundled the soaked and wailing children into the car and drove on to our beach house. And unbundled at the far side we ran down the twisting path to the sea and realised that sometimes it's not so bad letting things go.

Joining with Em for moments from our week.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Littlest (week 5)


Once again I am a week behind, but I am going photo heavy to make up for the delay and hope my rather addled memory can cast itself back a week.

Last week you had your four week check up (unusually alert was the nurses verdict) and continued noisily gulping down the milk. Your grandad claimed you sound like a demented mouse when you feed but this is clearly not true. When all went well you gazed up at me with flattering intensity, when things were not to your satisfaction you kicked one little foot and punched one little arm with vigour.

I loved the way you curl your little fingers and toes - all going in different directions. You often rested with a little fist by your mouth and just one little finger thoughtfully resting on your lips.

You have a very characteristic expression wherein you thrust out your lower lip and your face seems to go very wide and chubby cheeked. Your brother had it too. It is very sweet, you do it especially when you're having a curvy little stretch, bringing up your knees and arching your back, especially when replete with milk.

You continued to travel exceptionally well. You fell asleep as soon as the car started and remained asleep as I loaded and unloaded you in your sling, your little head just beneath my chin and in the perfect place to drop kisses.

You still made little snuffle sounds when you slept, and sometimes the sweetest little sighings.

You still smelt like baby - milky and possetty but no longer like newborn. I missed the newborn smell - it is so indescribable, so fleeting and so precious. Your smiles and ever growing awareness do make up for it though!

Last week we were still embroiled in sickness - your big brother came down with the horrible fever that has been plaguing us all and I kept him home from school. It's so hard to see your brother sick - he's normally so full of action and movement that to see him flushed and achy and falling asleep in the middle of the day seems ridiculously wrong. Of course, while at home he had enough moments of energy to keep the house in turmoil. He is incredibly sweet with you though, and loves to hold you and sing you songs. (I am embarrassed to admit it was a lot easier to wait with him at ballet for you sister when he was sick - there was less climbing of walls and campaigning for the sweets and chips they sell as fundraisers..)

Your daddy started a new rotation at a hospital further up the highway last week. Nothing much changed. He leaves the house before six am - occasionally before five for the ward round that starts at 6.30 and generally gets home around seven pm. The little car my granny loaned us is not liking the increased drive and he often has to stop three or four times to coax it along.

Last week was also the week we applied for internships for next year, ranking and re-ranking all the hospitals and then deciding to change it all again. It was exciting and scary to realise what a change these decisions will mean. We have no idea where we'll be next year (although strong preferences!) City, country? Queensland, Victoria? We should know in a couple of months. We spent a lot of time in the early hours of the morning with me feeding you while I edited cover letters and obsessively checked your brother and sisters temperatures.) It's strange to think our four years of med schools is nearly (touch wood) done. We're 7/8ths of the way through. (Not that we're desperately counting down the minutes weeks or anything.)

You were smiling more and more and each time it is amazing, so full of joy and wonder and promise

(Photos from our weekend down at the beach - enjoying the sun in your uncles old bassinet out on the verandah)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Writing Wednesday - Ode to Pinterest

As a teenager I would get inspiration for my writing and fuel for my dreams leafing through National Geographic magazines. Our school had a big pile of them, and others I picked up in op-shops.
I loved reading the articles about far away places and dreaming about visiting them some time. Kashmir, Norway, Alaska… I'd read up about them hungrily and dream of 'when'…

But more - I would steal use images from the magazines as the basis of stories.

There are certain images that linger with me still.

There was a particular article about wolves that had a photo of a white wolf sitting on a ledge on a snow covered mountain that struck such a cord with me that it inspired two different manuscripts - the first - Lumi's War, begins in a mountainous region very similar to the one in the photos, the second I'm presently editing - Overly Caffeinated Werewolves (Are not Pretty), and again the otherworld landscape of the wolf people is inspired by that photo.

Considering I first saw the image over twenty years ago - I think that's fairly good milage.

Scrolling through images on pinterest recently, I found the image again. I promptly pinned it on several boards, alternating between smiling and biting my lip as I mulled over all the memories.

And I began pondering how pinterest has taken over the role of those National Geographics in my life.

Rather than leafing through the pages, (often in magazines twenty years old) I scroll down the screen, inspired by so many piercing images. While I could say that a lot of my life has been eaten by pinterest, (and those who follow me probably have an inkling of the embarrassing truth of exactly how much time) in it's favour it's something I can do one handed while holding a feeding babe, and it doesn't require any mental acuity - a good thing, as nursing completely steals my brain away.

I credit pinterest with my return to an idea for a manuscript that I had when I was fifteen, and decided to  try a re-write of the fairy tale the frog prince, but set in medieval Scotland. Beautiful micro photos from forests persuaded me that I'd like to take the idea up again, and try to capture the beauty of the forest-world from a toads eye view - the caught dewdrop on a mushroom, the rich green of moss, the fall of light through woodland trees. While the first draft of The Toad Lord (now set in 1801) is now brewing in a folder on my desktop, I am looking forward to returning to it soon.

Pinterest is also responsible for an upcoming voyage to Iceland for one of my characters. Prior to pinterest it never occurred to me that Iceland is a Very Desirable Place to travel to, with a wild, stark magic to it. It is now firmly on my to-go-list, and my young hero-god Lugh from a manuscript called Fosterling will soon be traveling there - for reasons I've yet to work out…

Turning to the other side of Europe - Santorini's sun drenched, colourfully painted villages swathed in hibiscus have proved inspiration for another novel, although I've transferred the villages to a tropical island and set them amidst coconut plantations rather than olive groves.

On a personal level I might never have discovered the wonder that is the BBC's Sherlock without Pinterest. Presently I am looking forward to watching The Avengers and Thor, as so many pinners I follow have pinned Loki … And then of course there's Outlanders...

Pinterest - although you steal my midnight hours, I thank you!

It would be interesting to know how many other writers and artists owe a debt to pinterest…

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Littlest (week four)


Once again, I'm running late with this - as you are now five weeks old. But I'll try to play catch up.
Your fourth week was a blur of you being entirely beautiful and miraculous and the rest of the world being entirely overwhelming.

The sheer relentless rush of looking after all three of you is amazing and I think it must surely be the hardest thing I've ever done. I am beginning to see the words 'school run' as the worst curse words in the world.

But you were beautiful. The way your eyes meet mine, the darling expressions, from quizzical, to red-faced fury, to rapt awe (generally at something I can't quite work out, but on the wall somewhere). The delicate line of your face as you feed and the thoughtful look in your deep eyes, to the rather more jowl-y disdain as you survey the world when you are beginning to think that it's milk time.
The moments when it is just you and I in the world when you wake in the night are my very favourite, and I think the smell of baby (milk and posset I expect) should be sold in a tin, for however bad the day is, it instantly brings joy.

While your Daddy and I were nearly over our sickness, our Poppet was ill all week with a high fever and nasty cough. She stayed home from creche but I still had to bundle her into the car (with her pyjamas, fleece robe and ugg boots on) to drop our Sprocket off at school. She is improving now, but the nasty cough is still there. It seems too big for such a small little girl.

The Big Bad Bold Black Beastie continued to play a major part in our lives. Your brother remained entranced and woke in the dark each morning to let him in to cuddle with him on the couch. I remain less entranced. Of all the cats in all the world, this one had to adopt us? We discovered his owner is a man from across the road who is away a lot of the week, so it is no doubt lonely. But there is lonely and there is seeking world domination, one house at a time. Your brother insisted on feeding it milk, so there was the unfortunate time when I saw it squatting in the kitchen, pounced on it to put it out before there was more mess, it ran, and spread diarrhoea all through the kitchen, the hallway, the living room and up onto the throws and cushions on the couch.

While I was clearing up the mess you started crying and the kids got worried, and took you out of your bassinet to bring you over to me. With my hands full of cat-diarreah-cleaning-stuff, and my thinking processes somewhat slowed, there wasn't a lot I could do but ask them to put you back in your bassinet.

Thankfully, they didn't drop you.

Your Daddy has not got to see you a lot. He leaves in the early hours of the morning in the dark, and returns in the late evening in the dark, often when we're all already in bed. On occasion he changes one of your nappies in the night, but knowing his long commute and long day, I don't like to ask him too much. I feel so sad he's missing your first days, but while he loves you very much, he is looking forward to the time you realise there is a world outside of milk and start interacting with him more. It is interesting how everyone has favourite times.

This was your Daddy's last week at our local hospital. There is something called 'on take' wherein his team deals with admissions. We hates it. Basically it means he doesn't get home till eleven pm. As he leaves the house before eight am, this is a very long day. It is strange to think you won't remember this intensive time of study (he will probably still be studying when he's in a nursing home, and to become a specialist there's at least another seven years of training and exams to go, but this unpaid training). The Sprocket should remember some of it, the Poppet a little less, but you none at all.

I love the little moments of having three of you. When we are all in my bed and I'm reading stories, a little one cuddled to either side and you nursing.  When the kids are in their beds and I sit singing lullabies to them while you nurse (notice a trend here!)  I wonder what will be your favourite lullaby - your brother loves Brahms' Lullaby while your sister loves Mama's Going to Buy you a Mockingbird, although she presently has a strong preference for Frog Went Walking on a Summers Day.

A lovely mother from playgroup gave you a bagful of beautifully knitted little woollens as she'd noticed that you always wear them and her own children are too big. The kindness of it was so uplifting and you look so sweet in them.

You are making noises that signal you are about to wake, and the light is silvering - daylight approaches - I'd better hurry and have a shower before you all wake.

But your fourth week little one - incredibly precious and incredibly hard, and one I never want to forget.

P.S I forgot to say you visited your first university library this week. (Obviously you've already been to a public library - although a small one - your Nana and Grandpa have more books!)  Everyone admired your brilliance properly. I'll be going back to work for a few hours next semester (don't worry, your Daddy will look after you for my weekend shift, and your Nana and Grandpa will train it up from Melbourne for the shift that falls in the week. Expressing is not something I've done before, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it!) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How Far Would You (Should You) Go? Writing Wednesday

A few years back (okay, quite a number of years back) I found myself driving down a ramp into the sea, in a remote corner of the Irish Coast in Mayo. 

This was not intentional. Nor had I had any alcohol, although it was approaching midnight.

Luckily, I realised my error in time, and reversed before I reached the water. The big sign with a ramp and a car and a line through it was a bit of a clue that perhaps this wasn't the way to my youth hostel. 

I had decided to track down the island where four mythical swans who formed a major plot point in one of my stories, were said to have spent their last three hundred years. Inish Glora. Driving to the island was not my plan, and in the end, the closest I got was a distant view of silver flatness in an un-still sea. The manager of a golf course overlooking it having been kind enough to take me over the dunes in the golf buggy. (It was a place of great kindness, there was also the man at the petrol station who, when I admitted to being hopelessly lost and having driven for eight hours from Shannon, (I swear it looked like two on the map) made me a cup of tea, told me to wait a few minutes until he finished his shift and then follow him back as he lived just down the road from the hostel. 

That was the trip I took to research a book I'm still mulling over, re-writing and playing with. My journey to Inish Glora (almost) was not my longest. After much research and deliberation, I decided that the magical chalice at the heart of the story needed to be found on… St Kilda. St Kilda being suitably remote, majestic and bird-ed. (I had considered Orkney - but they were too flat and not quite as bird-ful). 

Reaching St Kilda (the islands, rather than the seaside suburb of my home town) involved flying across several seas, catching a bus, a ferry, a bus, another ferry, walking two kilometre with a heavy back pack and then traveling eight seasick-y hours by yacht.

After one brief, magical day on the island, scrambling along cliff faces and looking down vast drops, we learnt a gale was heading straight towards us and rather than staying the five days we had intended we needed to leave for safer harbour on the nearby and uninhabited Monarch Islands off Benbecula.

The story?  I'm still ruminating. The plot is there. 

Drafts one two theree up to seven are written, but I think I might need to start from scratch and re-write. I don't think I've caught the wild magic I see in my head, I haven't captured the isle, the sea or the myth the way I wanted, the majesty of the plot, the intensity of the characters.

My biggest regret of the trip? Not leaving my camera charger at my grandparents house, just outside Glasgow, although it was lowering to travel all that way and return with distressingly few photos, but that I didn't swim in the bay we were anchored in all those gale-bound days. I didn't swim in that arctic cold bay with the gale at our back and metres from the curve of sand covered in seals singing with their pups.

I was remembering that time on St Kilda as I came across this video on pinterest recently and was catapulted back. 

Siiga - Michelle (Seashell) from Siiga on Vimeo.

I know I am not the only one to travel far and run seemingly bizarre experiments in the name of research. I'd love to read other people's stories. 

(In other writing news, I am ridiculously behind on my self imposed deadlines, but just as I thought we were free of the grippe my Sprocket started running a high fever - also my Beloved's intern applications are due in and my editing has been focused on cvs and cover letters.) 

Sunday, June 1, 2014


-chrysanthemum. The pot was on sale after mother's day and I was unable to resist. When the rain took one of the flowers from the bush I popped it in a bowl.
-a cup of coffee. Essential in these days of sickness and sleeplessness.
-spiralling greenery on my granny's passionfruit vine.
-an unknown flower in my granny's garden.
-moss on a winter tree.
-the season for gumboots arrives.
- my Littlest one. Four weeks old.

Joining with Em for stills from our week.