Tag Archives: creative writing groups

Pushing Up Daisies


Chapter One: Casting Shadows continued

Viola flung the rest of her stale drink into the garden and carelessly dropped her glass on the day table. She turned and watched the remaining yoke of the sun slide away and as quickly, the darkness enveloped her. The evening breeze caressed her, nudging her silk cream blouse under her full breasts. Her navy linen pants hung loosely about her short fat legs. It felt weird but nice. No-one has touched her for so long. She made no attempt to rejoin her guests inside. The time had crawled to 6:30pm, when the automated sprinklers were due to start spitting. She paced the verandah to check if the entire irrigation system had come on to water her beloved garden. Her mind went back to events earlier.

Nora had asked her if she was all right – the stupid girl. Viola felt anger rising in her like bile, but swallowed it, only responding with “good”. For years, she had been telling her friend about how ‘he’ had treated her. Nora knew. Just like she had, Viola gritted her teeth and told Nora everything was good.

To Viola, “good” was a great word. When people ask how she was, she would reply on a reflex, “good”. According to Viola, the word good was so vague and final that anyone who asked could not ask any other questions. They left her alone. The word ‘good’, Viola thought, had protected her all these years. Kept her safe from the pity and concern that exhausted her so. Viola hesitated, as she paused and put the lights back on. They instantly flooded the lush bushes enclosing two carports and her guests’ extra two cars parked next to her black BMW and his silver Nissan 280Z. He would catch the $150 cab ride home tonight. She felt glad, she was not picking him up from Brisbane airport.

Over the years, she had kept all her feelings deep inside her, in the smallest pocket of her heart, layered with obligations and responsibilities as the daughter, mother and wife. But tonight, she was going to tell him everything when he came home. She would tell him she has had enough. She began thinking of her plan. Letting the scenario play out, she strolled back to the front of the house. Viola noticed at the end of the verandah that the sprinkler at her rose garden, nearest to her neighbours was off. Without thinking, she stepped bare feet onto the dying lawn and walked straight across towards the dark shadows to turn the sprinkler on. The light switch was near the tennis courts.

To read part one, see my earlier post and for more – visit my Wattpad:



When you write, who will you hurt?

Photo: Greg Broom

That was the question of our discussion in creative writing workshop tonight.  My friend Bill Heather is an architect. He is also a writer in my creative writing workshop group. The group is tutored by Isabel D’Avila Winter, a published author. Pamela Jeffs, another writer-friend suggested that I should blog this discussion and my own response, to help writers who are planning to write autobiographies and memoirs or fiction based on real life stories.  I begin with Bill’s email to me and others in our group.

Bill Heather: Hello all you aspiring and proven writers,

  • Is there a limit to what you can mine from your own life experiences for a story?
  • Are authors of autobiographical fiction or memoir at risk of alienating their family and friends in their search for that elusive storyline?
  • Is ruthlessness in search of your best fiction a necessary attribute of a writer?
  • Would you publish a story if it could destroy the marriage of your closest friend?

There are good questions to ponder as we head towards the end of another year, and ones which are addressed in the attached article from the November 2014 issue of the Monthly. Link at the end of my response to Bill.

Omar Momani: Ferguson’s pen mightier than the sword 

My Response to Bill: Dear Bill and friends,

Thank you Bill. I found the article very interesting and very true. The most safe writing would be fiction.

The pen does ‘cut’ deeper than the sword.

Source: http://typem4murder.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/undeniable-proof-that-pen-is-mightier.html


In my Memoir writing, I question everything I write. I know there will be a lot of ‘hurt’ of others as well as my own. I have created pain in many stories I read in our evening workshop. For example, if I had told my mother the old uncle rubbed my sore leg the ‘wrong way’ I think there would have been some serious charges or bloodshed in my family. The man is dead now but if I spoke about it now – what could happen? I don’t know. I also spoke to my mother and step brother about some stories I have written so far, and we discussed them. These stories were all painful…my stepbrother is my late step father’s son. But my step brother is my best friend – we are very close.

So my point is, as often as I do, I ask, should I just change my memoir to fiction and pretend it is not me or get my ‘freedom to express’ in fiction? Perhaps some stories could be written differently, safely..? Those and others are questions I ask myself all the time. 75% of what I have written, I don’t bring it to our workshop, I am scared to. Sometimes, I write the whole thing and then delete it.
Every now and then, I write fiction for the class exercises, because, this gives me the freedom to write freely without guilt, pain, horror and more. I totally lose myself in the ‘fake’ when I write fiction.
I deal with my writing the truth ‘problem’ this way; I write about me, the events, people and places and things that affect me. I write it all, then I decide what I can manage to live with, and I keep that story. I tell myself, ‘stop thinking about everyone else’. I just write ‘my’ story. I can always pull out what I think is too much at the end of the day. The final choice is mine, and I have to live with it.

I hope that makes sense.



Click here to read the article by Ceridwen Dovey : Monthly 11.14 pp42-45