Rift Valley

sketch of train tracks winding along a coastal scenery to illustrate a story set on a transiberian train tripRead Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

Read Part 4: The Order of Things

My last terrestrial memory is that of zooming plains through the dirt-speckled windows of the cabin we shared. Crossing the mass of land, and multiple time zones, it was my unwitting farewell to life on firm, solid ground, although I didn’t know it at the time.

I had gone along with Liam’s suggestion to take the trip, guided by a strong sense that everything I would be doing was destined to unfold, that I only needed to go with the flow, so to speak. We shared our second-class quarters with a soldier on his way home from a posting in Moscow, and a grieving widow heading to Irkutsk to collect the body of her fisherman husband who’d met his end while navigating the cruel seas. In that confined space, I’d learnt a lot about my Russian cabin mates, with crude sentences pieced together from the weathered Lonely Planet, and the outpouring of human emotion born of rowdy card games and shots of vodka. Liam however, remained a mystery. Continue reading

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The Order of Things

Image inspired by a vintage lotto card game produced by galt toys, to illustrate a story set in a primary school room 

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

The bell rang for recess and the children bustled out of the classroom, leaving me with some peace and quiet, and a mess of watercolours, textas, and butchers paper to tidy. It was then that an otherwise ordinary day was made extraordinary by her arrival.

‘Hi, my name is Sue, Sue Blackmore. We need to talk.’

I couldn’t do much more than nod, my nervous excitement making my eyes fix in a stare, a blink too much to muster in the moment, with all my energy consumed by trembling hands and the array of thoughts her visit sprung on me. Continue reading

Matter of Fact

I’m chuffed to have received the One Lovely Blog Award! I was nominated by reader, writer, editor, minimalist poet, new blogger WREADITOR–  go check out his blog! The honour came with the responsibility of carefully selecting seven facts about myself to share. I hope they surprise and amuse you. Some contain facts within the facts, giving you even more inside knowledge! Continue reading

Depths of Baikal

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The zig-zagging light flashing in the periphery of my right eye announces the arrival of an atypical migraine. I don’t know what has caused it, but relaxation always seems to help, or at least it cannot hurt, I reason, so I think of a place where my mind can rest at ease. With the power to transport my thoughts from the present unease to a place and time that will bring me stillness, I start to see the approach of Olkhon Island, as the ferry from Irkutsk charters the deep waters of Lake Baikal. It is summer, so the great lake is glimmering emerald and turquoise hues- an iridescent wonder with an abundance of omul teeming beneath its surface. The green pastures jutting out to meet the lake seem to be arms outstretched, embracing all who arrive. What struck me then, and now, as I am returning there, is the sense of vastness on the sparsely populated island. On the bumpy ride in a Soviet-era mini bus from the ferry stop to Nikita’s Homestead, we cut through stretches of empty land, covered in the kind of grass that normally grows on the “other side”. Lazy cows linger, occasionally looking up at the new comers to their island, but not for long before bowing in reverence to their good fortune. Brightly painted houses- pinks, blues, greens are spaced close enough to be a community, but far enough for a sense of solitude and peace I imagine the occupants feel when they retire within their coloured walls. Locals walk without a sense of urgency and share a ready smile. Before checking in at Nikita’s Homestead, I drop my heavy rucksack and take seat at the base of a tree, fashioned from a group of rocks leaning up against its trunk, a frequented vantage point of many a local and a traveller, I figure, from the well-worn path that ends there. The tree’s branches, one wrapped in swatches of shiny coloured cloth, extend beyond the cliff face that is a few metres from my feet. The fabric offerings wave in the wind, carrying the prayers and hopes of countless visitors, perhaps in salute to Shaman Rock, the mystical site rising up from the lake just beyond the cliff face where I sit. I lose track of time but notice the dimming of the bright light in my right eye, it’s zig-zagging oscillating less and less until smoothing to a stop. My vision and sense of peace has been restored, re-calibrated to Olkhon Island time.

 

Prompt from Writing 101, Day 2 A Room with a View. Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now? Today’s Twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.