Daily prompt: Not everything turns out the way you want


I approached this post intending to wallow in a sea of glorious purple prose and got stuck before the end of the first sentence.

How pathetic is that?

Not that I don’t ever do purple. I do. But it’s mostly tongue-in-cheek purple, and while I realise not everyone gets that and just thinks I’m a git, that’s OK too. I resigned myself a long time ago to the fact that I had missed the ‘writer’ boat and might as well write for my own satisfaction and entertainment, which was very liberating. I can now write what I want how I want secure in the knowledge that nothing rides on it.

Mind you, not everything I write sees the light of a wider day. Not that it’s personal in that sense. I left that behind about 50 years ago, as you do.  No, the private stuff (mostly archived in ‘trash’) is a habit passed on by my father, who held various positions requiring relentless diplomacy (and also subscribed to the belief that if you lost your temper, you lost the argument). If someone really pissed him off, he’d write them an excoriating, no-holds-barred letter, lock it in his desk, take it out when he’d calmed down and chuckle over its sheer, uninhibited brilliance, then shred it.

I cannot recommend this too highly. As well as venting the spleen that might otherwise burn holes in your mental (and possibly physical) gut, it’s FUN! You can be as outrageously, cuttingly, insultingly rude as you like without doing one iota of damage, or having to face the consequences. Or, if you’re like me, getting tongue-tied right at the critical moment.

Anyway, back to the purple. It seems I can’t marshal enough flowery, fulsome, fatuous adjectives and adverbs to put together one paltry paragraph of purple prose.

I am a woeful, wishy-washy mauve failure.


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Daily prompt: Not one of my favourites


This is not a word that trips lightly off my tongue on a regular basis.

I know more or less what it means, but do admit I looked it up to nail the finer details before putting fingers to keyboard. And also before going to bed, as the DP arrives here at midnight and while my brain thinks the night is young and this is a great hour to be creative, experience says that’s a stupid idea guaranteed to mess with mind/body symbiosis. (Hah!)

It’s not a word that trips lightly off too many other tongues either, judging by the relatively slim pickings on the Prompt grid by the time I rolled out of bed this morning.

If I thought for a minute that an actual person had anything to do with choosing the day’s word – even to the extent of sticking a pin in the dictionary – I might wonder what they were up to. Which would be quite interesting. But no. The very fact that the prompt now arrives at the same time every day when it didn’t before, says that no human hand now sullies the perfection of the WP machine.

Which I suppose in itself is symbiotic. They do the tech, we do the content, we get a creative outlet and they get lots of lovely money.



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Daily prompt: About that gold coffin…



Ah yes. So much of what we make such a terrible hoo-ha about is exactly that, if you think about it. All this ‘image’ nonsense. All this fuss about how you look and what you own and which of your ‘friends’ said what to whom… In the final analysis, it’s not going to matter a damn. And I’m not talking about your score on Judgement Day – although I find it hard to believe that any of the Gods who may or may not be involved are going to care too much about the size of your telly.

But think about it. Yes, my mother did say ‘Don’t go out with holes in your underwear in case you get hit by a bus’, and yes, it would be embarrassing (if you were conscious at the time) to realise other people might even now be viewing your holey knickers. But I really, really don’t anticipate that I’ll be lying on my death bed worrying about my wrinkles or the label on my nightie.

Not that I’m intending to cark it anytime soon either. But there’s no denying that as you get older (and I’m a lot older than most of you) the thought of death is a lot more real than it used to be, and it does put things into perspective.

I’m not going to wax lyrical (carry on) about what I find meaningful these days. I can’t imagine anyone would give a toss, and besides, it’s not my job. We have to work out for ourselves what matters to us.

But I do often wish that all those people obsessed with youth and material goods would wake up and realise that being a rich and good-looking corpse isn’t really much of a prize.



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Daily prompt: You say tomayto…


If I said to you, The weather today is pretty ordinary, would you get what I meant? ie not ordinary in the sense of normal, but ordinary as in uninspiring. (Which it is, by the way: grey and flat.)

This is tricky, you see. Because American culture is the world’s most pervasive, and because I read a lot, follow world news, see American film and TV productions (and belong to this American site with predominantly American members), I am regularly exposed to the differences in language and vernacular. But I can’t possibly grasp the lot.

And furthermore, the same is not true in reverse: you are not exposed to Australian culture in the same way.  (Why should you be? We’re pretty small beer.) So I’m never quite sure where we overlap and where we don’t.

Some things are obvious.
Woop Woop
And thongs, of course, which I’ve never really understood since the ubiquitous, basic rubber flip flop first popped up in New Zealand and to them and to us, they will always be thongs.

I don’t suppose you spit the dummy, either, since you don’t call them dummies and ‘spit the pacifier’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Anyway, I’m going to bugger off now.




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Daily prompt: Label me Australian, female, aah…


Hard to know where to start, really.

My paternal grandmother was born in a tent and grew up on the goldfields, where her father was not one of those who struck it lucky. She left school at 13 and was apprenticed to a dressmaker. My paternal grandfather was a tram driver knocked down by a tram when sick pay and compensation didn’t exist. My father was set to leave school at 14 to help support the family, but his mother said ‘over my dead body’. He finished school on a bursary and attended University on a scholarship, graduating with first class honours and a university medal. He subsequently spent 2 years at Oxford (UK) and left with a D.Phil in economic history.

He then went on to design and establish the Australian Army Education Service in 1940, and serve as its Director until the end of WWII.  In 1947 he was appointed Warden of the New England University College (then a campus of Sydney University) and became its first Vice Chancellor when the university gained its autonomy in 1953.

My mother grew up on the far more privileged side of the tracks. Her father was a solicitor with a thriving city practice. They lived at Woolwich Point (Sydney) in a large and beautiful house with its own private harbour beach, boatshed and harbour baths. (The property was ultimately divided into 7 blocks.) My grandmother never quite came to terms with the fact that my father, for all his success, was not what she’d had in mind for her youngest daughter.

So there we were, social mongrels from birth, with parents impossible to label, and far more interested in developing our social and intellectual awareness than our social status. And then we went to Armidale (a town in rural NSW, home to the university) and landed squarely in limbo.

Armidale had three clear divisions, back then (and possibly still): Town, Gown (the university) and Landed Gentry. We obviously didn’t belong in the third, Town considered us Gown, and Gown regarded us with deep suspicion, being administration not academic. But people are people, to hell with labels, and my parents made good friends across the board because they were genuinely nice people whom other people liked. And to us, that was normal. But didn’t lend itself to easy labelling.

And then I went to drama school (Out There) and married and actor (Way Out There) thus ensuring that I was irredeemably unlabellable in perpetuity.

There’s a lot of freedom in this ‘no label’ business. You’re not stuck in a box with ‘like minded’ people, which makes life much more interesting. But it can be lonely, too.


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Daily prompt: Let’s hear it for the galah


I just had a quick browse through the DP grid and every post I read was D & M, which leaves me feeling a bit like a galah in a flock of songbirds.


Not that I’m too good at fitting in here anyway, being Australian on an American site which is harder than you think, but this wave of angst and soul-searching has really caught me flat-footed. Being as how I did my angst and soul-searching a long time ago and revisiting it would be bad for my health.

Mind you, I’m not sure that you ever entirely conquer the desire to search your soul. It’s a fascinating little repository of who-knows-what, after all. But these days I’m usually looking for ethical rather than emotional nuggets.

As for being flat-footed – I never did conquer that either, despite the best efforts of the school in which I was semi-incarcerated for five years. Oh yes indeedy! No stone unturned, no genetic trait too firmly entrenched. We were examined on arrival and signed up (involuntarily) for special remedial classes designed to rid us of those physical attributes not desirable in young ladies; in my case, flat feet and poor stomach muscles. (I was fat as well as flat-footed).

But the classes weren’t entirely useless, despite my unresponsive feet. They helped to nurture my lack of self-esteem so that it blossomed like a little flower in the spring sunshine and became a highly reliable source of angst.

Oh the joy of it all!



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Daily prompt: This is me behaving myself


This post deserves five gold stars, lots of likes and dozens of congratulatory comments.


Because I am keeping my mouth shut. Even after the NATO tweets.

How’s that for good behaviour?


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