COURSE COMPLETION

I’ve completed my creative writing course and I must say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In addition to stepping out of my comfort zone in terms of attempting different writing styles and confronting my fears of the unknown, I have met and gotten to know some wonderful people, albeit briefly.

What have I learnt or gained from this course?

1. Sharing my written pieces (some very personal and revealing) to a group of strangers and waiting for their opinion is anxiety-producing. It made me feel vulnerable and exposed, and it was difficult to sit in that emotion. I learnt that I am stronger than what I give myself credit for. Not only was I mindful of those feelings, I consciously accepted them and as a result, felt less anxious about the process.

2. Writing is a personal thing. We all have different voices, different preferences in writing styles and different stories to tell. There is no right or wrong way of telling a story. Your story is yours to write and those words will resonate with someone.

3. I realised that this fried and frazzled brain of mine still works and I am capable of rising to the challenge of adult education and weekly homework tasks. Despite my misgivings about adding school work to my expanding list of ‘things to do’, I made it work. We are more resilient than we think.

4. I discovered that poetry might be for me. If I get inspired, I might try my hand at poems in the future.

I’d like to thank everyone for being a part of this short-lived journey. It’s now back to my usual random musings about life and parenting the troublesome two. Perhaps, there might be a poem thrown in every now and again.


Links to the previous homework tasks: Week One – A Slice of Life, Week Two – My Faulty Character Descriptions, Week Three – Short Short Stories, Week Four – One-Act PlaywritingWeek Five (part one) – A Mother’s Love, Week Five (part two) – Poems and Poetry

 

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THE WATER BOTTLE

The morning school run is the bane of my existence and the after school assault is akin to corporal punishment, especially if you take into account the dreaded “tantrums”. Bring home an exhausted prep child from school, add in some “hanger”, plus some poorly received words from just about anyone and you have yourself the formula to a ready-made explosion waiting to be unleashed onto some poor fool. Namely, Mum.

Mandy is always on the precipice of a meltdown after school, so I tend to tiptoe a little in order to keep some peace. More importantly, to cling onto any shred of sanity I may have left for the day.

“Darling, would you like a piece of fruit as a snack before dinner?” I ask sweetly, hoping for the first time she relents and takes the healthier option.

“Can I have chips?” she asks, expectantly.


Henry hears the word chips and sidles up to his big sister, hand reaching out expectantly.

“No sweetheart. How about some Vegemite cheese sandwiches?” I counter offer, praying that I haven’t set off the bomb. I’ve still got to prepare dinner, get their lunches ready for tomorrow, bathe the troublesome two and help with school readers. A gigantic tantrum would be a setback. One that I could do without.

Mandy’s face starts to collapse in untold pain at my sheer audacity to refuse her the one thing she ever wanted in her life. Tears start streaming down her flushed cheeks. The wailing begins. Henry looks at her in confusion. He’s not sure why she’s crying, but he’s become worried. He mirrors her behaviour and starts crying himself.

I look to the heavens above and ask why? For the love of my sanity, why?!

I look down at my crying offspring and debate the merits of relenting with a few chips versus my sanity.

Giving in will mean I’m reinforcing bad behaviour. Bad saturated fats and salts aren’t good for growing bodies and minds. It’s almost dinner and it will ruin their dinner.

A slew of thoughts crosses my mind in a frantic disorderly manner.

The wailing becomes louder. There’s screaming involved now. Slamming of doors is probably not far off. I don’t think our doors can handle another beating. Ah heck! I don’t want to deal with this. I need a wine, possibly a long tropical island vacation, away from any wailing.

“Fine!! Only a handful. I mean it,” I say with as much conviction as I can muster.


“Yeah right. I’m such a bloody pushover.” I think to myself.

“Please watch your brother for a minute, so I can get dinner ready and your lunch organised for tomorrow,” I plead with Mandy.

“Yes Mum,” Mandy replies, walking away with her brother and the chips. The tears stopping as quickly as they began.

I turn around and potter about in the kitchen for a few moments. I’m about to wash Mandy’s school water bottle. It’s a silly expensive Smiggle bottle that she insisted she needed otherwise she couldn’t possibly go to school. This bottle had a flimsy soft body that was collapsible. The darn thing was hard to open and clean.

As I am about to lift the lid, I see in the corner of my vision Henry pushing his high chair towards the counter. As quick as a flash, he uses it to climb up onto the counter top. I squeeze that damn bottle upon reflex as I race over to grab Henry before he falls off the counter and hurts himself. Water ends up everywhere. I look at my cheeky giggling child and the watery mess on the floor.

Blast that stupid water bottle.

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100 ROCKS

There is half-eaten toast haphazardly tossed on plates, spilt orange juice and smeared Weetbix on the countertop. Crumbs everywhere. I shudder at the thought of having to clean up this mess.

“Mandy! Hurry up with getting dressed! We’re leaving in fifteen minutes!” I yell over the noise from the TV.

“I am! Stop yelling!” replies my cantankerous five-year-old.

I look down at my toddler sitting happily in his high chair, his cherubic face smeared with Vegemite. With a heavy sigh, I quickly wipe him down and go about getting his nappy changed. I sniff then peek in. No gold nuggets. A win!

While the children leisurely make their way to the car, I lug a heavy school bag, keys, jackets, Henry’s snacks and a nappy bag.

The minute I park the car, my daughter asks, “Mum, is the hundred days party today?”

A trickle of doubt seeps into my mind until I catch sight of other prep children walking to school dressed as old people.

“Yes sweetheart, it’s today,” I reply, confident.

“Mum, did you pack my hundred things?” Mandy questions.

I look at her, drawing a blank. A vague memory pulls at my subconsciousness, but I can’t quite grasp it. It feels familiar.

“I told you a few days ago? A zip locked bag of a hundred things like beads or sticks?” Mandy prompts.

Ah heck. That’s right. I finally remember. And I had completely forgotten. I frantically rummage around in the boot for this magical bag that I know doesn’t exist. Nothing. I grab Henry’s plastic disposable nappy bag. This will do.

“Honey, I’m sorry but I forgot. How about we quickly find something to put in this bag?” I say, trying to appease my daughter.

“Mum! You never listen to anything I say!” Mandy starts to grumble.

I flinch at her accusatory words and search again for a zip locked bag. Luckily I find a couple of coin bags in the console. Score! Fist pump!

We race around the car park looking for suitable things. Time is slipping. I am sweating from fluffing about like a mad chook on steroids. I silently pray that I don’t have embarrassing sweat stains visible under my armpits.

We walk to a nearby crafts store. The door is locked. Of course it was closed! With heads hung in defeat, we walk back to school. There I see a pile of small rocks discarded out front of a construction site next to the crossing level. Bent down, filled with mortification, I count and collect the rocks while other parents pass by. Mandy grabs the filled bags and without a backwards glance or thank you, races off to join her friends.

I look at my daughter’s retreating form and sigh. Some days being a mum is a thankless job. I glance down at Henry who is pointing at a dog and saying, “duck!”

I laugh, relieved to have survived yet another morning school run.

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