Monday, 24 August 2009

two poems

party animal

I walk these streets by day when I have to hug the shade to stay cool
I walk these streets in the evening when the little owls call in the valley.
I am walking to another party tonight
barely recovered from last night's insanity
someone is turning twenty, yes I feel old
I pass three other parties between Archers Road and Chivalry. Someone calls hi to me from a yard crackling with barbecued sausages and I greet them back. It's Saturday after all.
But at these parties you'll find me not amidst the noisy crowd
I'm the one outside with my boots in the soft earth and wet grass
trying to capture the moon in my camera

no stuff thanks

I don't believe in birthday cards
nor Christmas gifts and such.
Don't be perplexed, don't be dismayed
I've always thought as much.
I do not mean you disrespect,
nor do I mean you harm
The customs that I thus reject
Don't keep a friendship warm.
Who wants rooms full of well-thought things
And stacks of trinket love?
I only wish they could sprout wings
and disappear above.
The odd thing to expect from me
In spite of what I've said
Is that I might give a random gift
At other times instead.
Why wait until a special day?
Please let's not have a row.
For if I have a thought for you
The time to give is now.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


...AT ALL! Har-har, you thought I was going to say by bread alone, didn't you?

For some time I had been getting bored with my food. I was like, why bother? Sure, we have to eat and nourish ourselves, but so much of the everyday fare was driving me nuts with its sameness.

Then I spoke to a member of the extended family, who shall remain unnamed, who had recently given up eating carbohydrates. Aside from a quite significant weight loss, the food she described sounded far more interesting than the norm.

So I decided to give it a go. That's right, folks - no bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, and all that stuff.

"But wait a minute," I hear you cry,"How can you ever get full without those things? You must be starving!"

Not so. Not at all. My question to you: Why do we eat bread and potatoes and rice and pasta? I propose that it's mostly just to get full.

Fact: You can get very nicely full without them.

Lunch has become the main meal of my day, consisting of a base of green salad and diverse other items, such as bacon, eggs, mushrooms, avocado, capsicum, fish, and cheeses. Not all at once of course. Just enough to provide variety and of course to get full on. And usually at least three kinds of sauce, such as balsamico on tomatoes and soft cheeses, tomato or basil pesto on hard cheeses, mayo on the greens, and the mustard that comes in the sardine can. I'll put some photos in so you can see what I mean.

There! Now you can't say those are small meals. I have never experienced hunger after finishing off a plate like that.

Eggs are magic. I eat two of them most days for lunch, unless I'm having sardines. And they are incredibly satisfying. No need for bread.

In fact, I have not once noticed a lack of carbohydrates. No sleepiness or weakness, no hunger, no craving for a spud. And don't forget who you're dealing with here: the one-time pasta queen who used to demolish at least four servings of fettucine at one sitting in the all-you-can-eat Spaghetteria chapel bar in Regensburg.

Kiwifruit are also magic. I eat two of them most days for breakfast - the yellow ones mind you, but that's a matter of taste. I eat them with yoghurt and a sprinkling of muesli to give it some crunch. Now strictly speaking, muesli is carbs. But I couldn't give it up entirely, as its lack made breakfast into a very insipid affair.

I also haven't entirely given up porridge oats. The reason for this is simple: eating like this without carbs, when you run out of food, you REALLY run out of food. No bread and jam for a hurried meal. No instant noodles or potato flakes to fill you up. So my emergency ration is now a hot cup of instant soup with a few spoonfuls of oats left to soak for a minute. I don't do that often but it's good to have something on hand for those days when the fridge is looking sadly raided. And no, I still don't go hungry.

Dinner is interesting. Because I eat such large lunches, it doesn't have to be a major thing. Minute steaks are great, as are mushrooms and eggplants and any veggie that takes my fancy. Other times I make a batch of kumara and leek soup. Now the kumara is indeed a potato - a sweet one - but its carb levels are a lot lower than the ordinary humble spud. Fine, I say, fine indeed. I love kumara! And even a small bowl of this soup is very satisfying. You can also add bacon of course. Put it away in little freezer tubs and voilĂ  - my version of a TV dinner.

If you're into sports or you have a relevant medical condition, it is not recommended to quit carbs. Just thought I'd mention that. However, I am still well able to take my brisk half-hour walk each day with no ill effects.

I must admit that I'm fond of a piece of carrot cake now and then. Now that is true luxury. And I have supplies of chocolate on hand for when dour moods must be fought off. But I propose to you that my little piece of cake still has less carbs than all your sandwich bread.

As for the chocolate...well, there's got to be something to live for, right?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Muse

Hey! This is the day I've been waiting for...the unveiling of the trailer movie for The Muse, a fantasy by Fred Warren - a new author to be published by my imprint, Splashdown Books.

You can find out more about The Muse and Splashdown Books at and keep up with the news at We are also taking pre-press reviewers right now, so get in touch with me if you're keen to read and help us promote it!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Excess Exhilaration

I want...
to write the six books in my head.
to make movies for all of them. Several for each, in fact.
to start and finish my Travel Photography project and the several books and movies emerging from that.
to walk in forests and on mountains and drive the length of the country and gallop on a horse through ocean spray.
to dance my heart out at open air concerts and sing prayers with thousands by my side.
to share my life with people who are good at both talking and listening.
to be at peace with the way I am.
to play loud music and pump exuberance into every place I go.
to learn the piano, or rather, to practice it, since Dad already taught me everything.
to put my guitars in hands that will play them better than I am able to do.
to host a tribe of contented cats who like me.
to travel the world yet again and capture it on camera so anyone can see it.
to look into space whenever possible and gaze at planets and systems and galaxies.
to know the secret treasures of my hometown and homeland, and other towns and lands.
to stand alone on a mountaintop yelling at the storm.
to cook delectable feasts for crowds and watch them enjoy.
to feed carrot cake to many visitors.
to explain the meaning of my life in other languages.
to exude all of these things day after day.

However, the things I must do are different. I must...
work for money
critique a lot of writers
organise blog tours
talk on the radio
typeset and design
liaise with distributors
use dilapidated machinery
empty the dishwasher
tidy my room
learn to drive
edit videos
deal with difficult people
accept the consequences of mistakes
be content without companions
be at ease in crowds

The two groups do overlap and it is there I must find the way to go on...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Stone of Destiny

Movie Review

One of the more eccentric true stories to appear on the big screen, this is a documentary about the courage of an oppressed people. That a division on this scale existed so recently within Britain is nothing less than astounding.

So the Scottish coronation stone was carried off to London hundreds of years ago. In the 1950's, university student Ian Hamilton is a passionate supporter of the Covenanters, a political lobby group campaigning for Scotland to have its own parliament. After yet another petition is ignored, Ian casts about for a symbolic act to force London to pay attention, and arrives at the plan to uplift the Stone from Westminster Abbey and bring it home to Scotland.

The film follows him through the search for accomplices and preparation for the heist, and of course an extended period of edge-of-your-seat action on Christmas Eve. Panicked sprints through London alleys, epic foul-ups and disheartening mishaps conspire against our motley but relentless crew of Scots.

Fighting for ownership of a lump of rock results in one of the year's most preposterous storylines. In this case, truth is definitely odder than fiction. There are many delightful scenes, such as the encounter with the night watchman, the conversation with the gypsy, and the poignant final standoff in an ancient ruin.

An incredible story indeed - loaded with symbolism, patriotism and determination against astounding odds. It's about the heart of the Scots, and that heart is big and wild and brave.

Rated M, for language considered mild in Britain if nowhere else. No violence. Kid-safe if you don't mind a bit of heartfelt 1950's swearing.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Where I'm From

With thanks to Cathi who showed this to me; and here is the template for you to try it yourself. A writing exercise well worth a go.

I am from concrete footpaths, from double chocolate Magnum ice cream, and winter beaches.

I am from the yellow house by the park, the long muddy driveway and Dad's homemade letterbox, the silence of soft rain.

I am from the eucalyptus and pohutukawa and mandarin trees, the passionfruit, and the jasmine that gives you a whiff as you pass below.

I am from sailing and carpentry and pioneers, from May and Doreen and their husbands both Toms, four grandparents from four nations.

I am from the stubborn sense of justice and the constant battle against personal clutter.

From snoring birds - what Tom called the crickets' evensong - and being smaller than my little brother.

I am from holy rollers and God chasers, in a score of churches whose walls have witnessed miracles.

I'm from a city sandwiched by oceans, from Irish and Scottish and English and German, long draughts of cold milk, and carrot cake with walnuts and cream cheese on top.

From the great-grandmother who left Ireland for Scotland and work, and found love; the miner in the Coromandel gold rush; the 1978 Renault.

I am from farm holidays, beach camps, church foyers, and sun-drenched verandas.