On Reflection, People

Not holding out for a hero

Imagine. You’re on public transport and someone lights a cigarette, blowing a cocktail of carcinogens and nicotine into the air of your bus, tube or train.

Who are you?

(a)       the person trying to catch the offender’s eye so you can give them the most cutting of looks – before looking away quickly in case they see you giving them the most cutting of looks;

(b)       the person looking around for the red emergency handle because you know shit’s going to go down;

(c)        the tut-tutting person who doesn’t look up but needs to make their displeasure known; or

...continue reading

On Reflection, Writing

On finding the culprit sucking the fun out of writing

When my children were younger, I wrote them an original story about four children. The children in the story were loosely based on them (okay, a lot based on them) and delighted their budding imaginations.

Spring forward to years later and my young people are now young adults. Much has happened in this springing forward time. The children have lost their father to a sudden heart attack, and me my husband and closest friend.

In that time, I also became a blogger and newspaper columnist in an attempt to retain much of the personality quirks my husband loved about me. Writing became a place to pretend I had not died along with him and to remain recognisable to him should he have the ability in some afterlife to be looking down (or up) at me.

...continue reading

On Reflection, Writing


This week’s Post-40 Bloggers’ writing prompt is about surprises, and I remember attending an Anthony Robbins conference, a few years ago now, where he asked for a show of hands from those of us who liked surprises. Many if not all hands went up.

Tony called ‘Bullshit’ and explained most of us only liked surprises that were welcome. For instance:

  • Walking into the local supermarket to do the weekly shop, it would indeed be a surprise if all the staff were walking around butt naked covered in mud. (Imagine the mess all up in the soft fruits aisle.)
  • Or calling in the plumber to fix the small nuisance of a dripping tap to find out your newly fitted kitchen was, well, badly fitted and the whole thing needs to be re-done. Only the original builders have “dun a runner, mate.”
  • Then there’s rocking up at the doctor’s office for a pat on the back for getting your cholesterol down to within acceptable limits… to be told you have breast cancer. SURPRISE!

And I had accepted Tony’s wisdom until a recent conversation with one of my daughters illuminating that, good or bad, some people just don’t like surprises. My clue in her case was when she said:

...continue reading

EDP Column, On Reflection

You can only take five memories with you

On the writing magazine I run, we recently set a writing prompt which has provoked more of an emotional response than any other we have set in the past. The premise is: “You are being shipped to an island, but can only take five memories with you.”

I have sat down several times to tackle this writing prompt but, like many others, soon sit back from the screen realising, “Gosh, this is hard.” I started again this weekend by making a list of every notable moment in my life. These moments currently fill a large notebook, so Lord only knew how I was going to pick only five.

...continue reading