Timeline

image for travel through the tumble weed week 10 featuring a story titled 'timeline' a short story based on a writing 101 promptSo here we are at week 10, the series finale. It has been lovely having you along for the ride, and getting to know some of my readers in the comments section of  posts which had been largely barren until we traversed the tumbleweed to rescue them from the cyber dust they’d been hidden under.

This week’s edition is a story which got a little traction in the comments when originally posted, with a few readers asking to read more. It never seemed the right time to explore the story further, and for a long time, I felt I’d exhausted all inspiration for the story line with the final punctuation mark. However, reading the funny and engaging Dalston Noir series on the blog Tomorrow, Definitely, I’ve been inspired to create a serial of sorts with this week’s travel through the tumbleweed post (thanks Dagmar!). There will be 5 to 10 installments coming up, of approximately 400 words each (theoretically, one a week*). Why 5 to 10? Well, aside from the next post I have lined up, I have no idea where the story will go, so who knows at what point:

  1. The story will come to a natural end; or
  2. I’ll get bored of it, in which case I wouldn’t want to bore you with it; and
  3. More than 10 is really pushing it (and my short attention sp..

Click on the image to take the final voyage through the tumbleweed. Mind the gap, and keep a look out for missing persons and objects you might stumble upon!

If you’d like to read  other posts from this series, check out menu item ‘travel through the tumbleweed.’

*installments, not words

A Word…

An image for week 7 of the travel through the tumbleweed series on 10000hoursleft.wordpress.com, featuring a post titled 'a word...' using writing 101 creative writing prompt with the word 'never' in a letter format

Here we are at week 7! It is getting harder for me to pick the posts to take us to the end of the 10 week travel series. I might have to do some creative accounting.

This post was fun to write and fun to re-read after all this time. It was based on a WP Writing 101 prompt, referencing the first word that grabbed my attention on page 29 of the nearest book, and featuring the word in a letter, tying in neatly with last week’s letter themed travel through the tumbleweed. What was the word? I could never spoil a surprise like that!

Click on the image to travel through the tumbleweed! Mind the gap, and heed the warning in the letter!

If you want to read other posts in the series, you can find them under menu item ‘travel through the tumbleweed.’

Two Stray Lette r s

It’s week 5! We are at the half way point of our travels. This week I have cheated and given you two posts in one. Both are a short (really!) response to the same WordPress Writing 101 prompt.

If you’ve been along for the ride in previous weeks, you know the deal. If you’re new to this, mind the gap! and take your time to pick up and read a stray letter or two that you may find along the path.

Click on the image to travel through the tumbleweed. Once there, you will find directions to the next post.

If you want to read other posts in the series, you can find them under menu item ‘travel through the tumbleweed’.

Bon voyage!

House Sitting Ducks

Week 4 already? Bringing a little creative non-fiction into the 10 week series, I invite you to jump into the world that was mine many moons ago, at the age of 12. Click on the pic to be transported. Watch for road works, flammables and eye rolls!

This week’s edition is a response to one of WordPress’ Writing 101 prompts. The course encouraged me to explore personal stories (which until then, I’d shied away from on this blog) and experiment with different writing styles and narrative voices. I feel I stumbled onto something good with this post, and hope to one day build on it for a longer story.

Want to check out what else you can find among the tumbleweed? Click on the menu item “travel through the tumbleweed’ at your leisure!

A Year in the Making

A year has passed since my very first blog post! Unsure of the direction to take, but wanting my blog to be a place to practice and maintain the craft and habit of writing, I decided to kick off with a 30 day writing challenge (it has its own dedicated menu header). I stayed true to the challenge for 20 odd consecutive days before being rudely interrupted by DRESS syndrome- a hypersensitive reaction to a rheumatoid arthritis medication I was on which had the potential to put a permanent stop to further posts! Anyway, once that cleared up, I was grateful to be alive and I made up for the shortfall on the 30 day writing challenge, with a renewed perspective on what challenge means.

Aside from my 30 day  writing challenge, the other period of prolific posting here was via the Writing 101 assignments which were a great way to stretch myself, particularly in writing about my life (e.g. favourite childhood meal, house I lived in when I was 12). I found it quite confronting to delve into my past for a story, but those posts are amongst my favourites. Writing 101 was a great way to engage with other bloggers and become a part of a community that spans many countries, cultures, customs and communication styles. Interestingly, looking at my “top” posts based on likes, it is my non-fiction posts that feature in the top 5- clearly truth and authenticity resonate with readers, and what greater truth is there than sharing what we have known and experienced?

It has been really lovely to know that what I write is being read by people, and sometimes even receiving a like or comment and engagement in further discussion. Thank you if you are reading this now, and thank you if you have read any of what I have previously written- it is an honour, as there is so much competing for our attention online and in real life, so to have a splice of your time  wherever in the world you are means a lot to me. Apparently the day and time that means the most for readers of this blog is Sunday 11:00 UTC/GMT + 10hours, happy hour here according to the WordPress stats.

Over the past year, where my days have largely been dictated by the whims of my now 13.5 month old baby (more toddler now, but he’ll always be my baby), the majority of reading I have done has in fact been blog posts through the growing number of blogs that pop up in my reader. Just ask the librarian at my local library- I usually walk in with a stack of well intentioned books that I return late, unread. The librarian normally looks at the stack, looks at my pram, looks back at me, and nods in understanding, waiving the late fee. I have fond memories of reading blogs when awake at 2am, 3 am, 4am during the sleepless baby phase. Some posts would make me laugh, others would make me think and probably infiltrated my brief dreams, no doubt inspiring me to continue blogging and connecting with my fellow bloggers.

Here are some interesting numbers:

365 days that 10000hoursleft has existed

55 posts (including this)

71 followers– four of whom I know personally, probably about 10 that are bots, and the rest other bloggers who follow my work in progress

5 top posts at time of writing this, plus a couple of wild card entries which didn’t get much of a look in when first published:

1. A Year of Sunrai

2. House Sitting Ducks

3. Memories in a Meal

4. That Place

5. Writer’s Manifesto

Wild Card Poem- Moonrise

Wild Card Story- Intermission: Kathleen

1.5 hours: typical time spent per post- conception, writing, editing, publishing, then editing agian cause I didn’t edit well the first time. Technically I should rename my blog 9917.5hoursleft.wordpress.com

1 birthday wish: more engagement in the comments section, particularly constructive feedback on writing – but I guess I may need to work on inspiring that!

Sweet Nothings

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This week marks my second attempt to quit sugar. Sugar. That appealing, seductive, addictive vice that comes in the tempting guises of pretty coloured cupcakes, tasty Thai dishes, and blocks of smooth, velvety chocolate that leaves you wanting more. No more. I have a compelling reason for breaking my ties with sugar. I have an autoimmune disease, and as is largely documented, sugar equals inflammation equals so many health issues that can be avoided or at the very least, alleviated with abstinence. Forget the countless mentions on the internet, in health magazines and pop science sections of the weekend lift-outs, I’m going on my own experiential evidence to back my reason for quitting, again.

When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), I went into a state of denial, sadness, anger, a little bit of whoa is me, but then I got a grip and started doing some research. One common factor in all my reading was that lifestyle, namely diet, stress and exercise seem to have an influence. Aside from that, there is a lot of conflicting advice- you can eliminate dairy, legumes, grains, gluten, nightshades, acidic foods, meat- you name it, there is a claim of its connection somewhere, so filtering through all that information and finding what worked for me was quite a challenge, but one that seemed to me a better alternative than the drugs with some nasty side effects which ironically also include the very symptoms that inflammation causes.

Stress? Yes I had loads of it in my life then and for much of my life prior to diagnosis. Stress was one thing I had to avoid – easier said than done! I am still working on stress management and though I know the benefits of meditation, I struggle with making it a daily practice.

Exercise and yoga? I was doing plenty of that, so a big tick on heading in the right direction there. Right now though, there is little of either, but something else to add to the lifestyle changes I would like to make, with quitting sugar being the beginning.

Diet? I was already a pescatarian, and I briefly tried but failed to eliminate nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, chilli to name a few). I didn’t forego dairy, but I reduced it. Post-diagnosis, my first major dietary change was gluten, probably influenced by the plethora of claims of gluten being the cause of all evil and the rising popularity of the paleo diet. I can tell you, it is a lot easier to avoid sugar than gluten. I briefly had an overlap of avoiding sugar and gluten. Add that to explaining to people what pescatarian meant, and I was that awkward person that nobody wants to cater for or go out for a shared meal with. Continue reading

Falling

Mum always tells me to be grateful for all we have. When I go to school, John Reinhart and Tristan Andrews pick on me for all we haven’t got. I’ve seen those episodes of A Current Affair where they talk about the “battlers” in the worst streets, in the worst suburbs and it always makes me sad that whatever they show is not as bad as here. Mr. Pauley used to tell me that the neighbourhood was once respectable, with hard working people, who looked out for one another and took pride in their homes. Him and Mrs. Pauley have lived here for over 40 years. Well, had for him. He’s been dead for three months – I know cause the day of his funeral was the day of Tristan’s 12th birthday party at the go kart track that I wasn’t invited to. Seeing as every other kid I know was at that party, I had no one to hang out with and was sitting here on the verandah like I am now when the creepy looking car came by with Mr. Pauley’s coffin in the back. Continue reading