The wheels of change grind slowly…and then they don’t

Feeling slightly bloggy today. That is, I want to be saying something, yet I’ve nothing much to say.

This week is the week of waiting and editing. Waiting for the bathroom to be done (ONLY the electrician is left now); waiting for some editing jobs to come in; waiting for Friday.

Friday is job interview day. I’m asking myself why I’m not walking the dog or doing some shopping but hey, there’s not much to be doing here other than TV watching (now onto season 3 of The Good Wife – a step down from The West Wing because it’s not as complex and just a little bit more melodramatic, but otherwise excellent).

I’m waiting for something to start. And start it has. I’ve just had a phone call from a colleague who may have some project work for me. So for a few weeks at least, if I don’t get the Friday job I now have some editing work, a DECRA grant to prepare, teaching singing to organise (although not much because I’ve been winding it down slightly), a possible project, and 4 singing gigs.

The year is gearing up again. So I really should be planning my research work. For those who care, I have a PhD in music. I have a bunch of stuff to do with this research, even if I don’t have a paid job to go to. I could plan and write my monograph, I could write a couple of research articles. However, as everyone in research knows, writing research articles is like pulling teeth. I get engrossed in it but I hate starting it off. It’s like writing a term paper but much, much harder. Nearly everyone you know hated writing undergraduate term papers. It’s no different just because I’m a grown-up. Luckily everyone I know procrastinates on journal articles, too.

Stooges pulling teeth

Anyway, so. Editing. It’s a thing. Yesterday I wrote a Flash Fiction piece, 130 words long. Today I edited it. Let go, much? It’s better, but not much better. I read it aloud this time. It helps to read stuff out aloud. One gets a feel for scansion, flow, word placement, comma placement, narrative and dramatic tension. I’m no good with grammar rules or poetry / narrative / syntax / phrase rules – I wasn’t taught any memorable English language rules as a child, and as an adult I struggle to retain information like that. I might remember a Kardashian moment, but I won’t remember syllable emphasis. I have to go with intuitive rhythmic/ melodic placement of the spoken word.


Fiction so short is like poetry. Smells, sights, sounds, interactions, and a narrative arc told in 100 words. Brevity is vital, quality is paramount. No passive voice. Very few adjectives. The right word for the right scene, no excess or repetition unless the repetition adds narrative value. Tricky but doable. I’m getting better at it, I think. At least, my eye is sharpening.

So, waiting and editing is my thing this week. And now: to walk the dog.





Flash Fiction: The last game

pool hall

(Photo prompt courtesy of

She was a rough old girl. Faded memorabilia hung lopsidedly on peeling walls, floorboards were scraped raw. The ancient pool table had a peculiar lean to it and you had to account for the roll away from the far-right pocket. The bar was grimy and the barstools tattered and filthy.

A demolition sign was plastered on the door. Tomorrow.

He peered through the dirty window. It was here they had celebrated graduation with drinking games and too much boot-scooting. It was here he had bet fifty bucks – and lost – to a slip of a girl with a dangerous smile.

Three old codgers sat at the bar, but they were the only ones now.

He pushed open the door. The old familiar smell of stale beer and cigarettes. He smiled.

“Hey Mack! Give us a beer! And one last game.”


(147 words)

Flash Fiction for aspiring writers is hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy.

Flash Fiction




Flash Fiction: The pitch-drop experiment


(Photo prompt:

“Who’s that over there”? The new grad student nodded at the grinning skeleton propped in the corner.

Fiona chewed on an apple. It was floury. She grimaced. “His name is Tom.”

John looked surprised. “Tom? Rather prosaic.”

“Nope.” Fiona stood up and flung the apple at the bin. Rim shot. “He’s named after Thomas Parnell, who created the pitch-drop experiment, the world’s longest and most pointless research project. He died never actually having witnessed the pitch drop. The skeleton reminds us never to indulge in stupid research. So, what are you researching?”

John looked abashed. “Er…I’m examining whether there is a correlation between structured procrastination and high achievement.”

“Brilliant.” Fiona snorted. “Well, John Perry, you’re in fine company. Adios!”

And as the door closed behind her John suddenly spied on the shelf a bell jar containing a beaker and funnel. From the funnel was suspended a thick, black drop of pitch. And the skeleton grinned, and grinned, and grinned.


156 words.

(With winks to Prof John Perry at Stanford University, winner of the Ig Nobel prize for Literature in 2011 for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.¬†REFERENCE: “How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done,” John Perry, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 23, 1996. Later republished elsewhere under the title “Structured Procrastination.” )


With thanks to Priceless Joy from Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

Flash Fiction