100-Word Challenge–Dad’s Midlife Crisis Cars (2)

The Austin

[My dad’s catchcry, “for the time being” dogged the choice of cars he brought home. The Austin was no exception… ]

The Austin appeared one winter’s afternoon in our backyard; Dad’s solution to the worthless Wolseley, and of course, just for the time being.

Only cost $100. What a bargain!

Next morning, his breath steaming with excitement, Dad marched up to the green lump of a car. I sat sulking in this woe-begone wreck, the vinyl seat threatening frostbite on my delicate buns.

Dad hopped in and turned the ignition key. Nothing. Not even a squeak on this icy morning.

‘Ah, well, we have to crank it,’ Dad said.

Crank it? Yep, we had to crank this ancient Austin to life.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019

Feature Photo: Not actually the Austin, obviously…but was it the same end? © L.M. Kling 2010

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For good holiday reading click on the links below…

And catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and the mischief and mayhem he generates.

Click on the links below…

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

Tuesdays with Carol–Good Storytelling

Having both studied English at university, the subject that comes up often when visiting Carol is about all things writing and what makes a good story. So, one of my first blog posts came to mind…to encourage and inspire all of us who are writers.

Writers’ Privilege

‘Writing is a lonely craft,’ my university tutor said.

All of us in the group nodded and I thought: Yes, a writer has to hide away in their study clacking away on their typewriter. They have to concentrate. Those were the days back in the 1980’s…

I recalled as a student, hours locked up in my bedroom, writing my essays, trying to concentrate while my family went about their business, stomping in the passageway, dishes clattering in the kitchen and the television blaring in the lounge room. Not to mention my dear brother lifting weights, and dropping the things with the inevitable clunk and thud, in the lounge room. Did I mention trying to concentrate? Yes, trying, but not succeeding. And even now, as I write this blog, can’t go five minutes without interruptions. These days, though, I write my first draft, by hand, in a quiet place at a quiet time, and then I write this blog on the computer as a second draft.

Suffice to say, the statement by my tutor all those years ago, has an element of truth. And compared to being an artist or musician, writing is a lonely craft. I belong to an art group and enjoy going each week as the hall is filled with happy chatter and my fellow artists are friendly and welcoming. And I can imagine a musician, mostly has to play and sing with others in a band, their craft has to be performed to an audience. The lonely parts of a musician’s life, from my observation, is the process of composing music. Although, many musicians collaborate when they jam together and create new songs together.

[Painting and Feature: Alone Sellicks Beach (watercolour) © L.M. Kling 2016)

On reflection, though, my experiences over time with the process of writing as isolating, no longer resonates with me. I don’t write alone. I have my characters. I go into their world. Call me crazy, but it’s like when I was a child and had imaginary friends. Come to think of it, perhaps because I was lonely, I became a writer. Figures, hours after school, on weekends and holidays to fill. There’s only so many hours my brother, five years older than me, would share with me playing games. And friends, too weren’t with me all the time. So, books became my friends, as well as characters in the world of fantasy I conjured up. I swooned away, sitting in my cubby house, and whole days drifted by in my other life of fiction, science fiction.

As I grew up, I became used to my own space. My loneliness transformed into the joy and peace of being alone. Time to think and explore ideas, the “what if’s” of life’s path, stories of people I’ve met, my story, and also the stories of my characters. Time to express these stories, writing them down. Many of these stories remain hidden in my journal, a hand-written scrawl; a mental work-out, sorting out ideas and emotions. Some make it to a Word File on the computer, others a blog post, and a few hundred pages have ended up as works buried on the shelves of Amazon—self-published but published all the same. And for six years, now, there’s my blog, again mostly hidden in the blog-pile of the world-wide web, but more visible today than in 2015 when I started the blogging journey.

Yet, once I’ve written the first draft in quietness and peace, the craft of writing becomes a collaborative process. Good writing needs feedback, editing and proof-reading. An effective piece of work needs a second, third and numerous sets of eyes, and many minds to weed the “gremlins” that beset the plot, content, and pacing. And a keen set of eyes to comb through the text to pick up grammar and spelling issues. The computer’s spell and grammar check are not enough.

[Photo 1: Miyajima Monkeys a-grooming © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1985)

I love to go to writers’ group. I heard someone on radio say that reading is the ultimate empathy tool. When we read, we enter into another’s world and how they see the world. Exploring another’s world—how much more social can one get? This is what happens at writers’ group. We share our own world through our writing, and we explore other writer’s world as we listen to each other’s stories; a privilege and an honour to be trusted with these gems. As fellow writers we need each other to hone our skills as a writer. We need each other’s feedback. How else will we refine our craft without feedback?

Still, there is an aspect of writing that makes it a lonely existence. As writers we are modern-day prophets, proclaiming words given to us, believing these words can and will make a difference in another’s life. Hoping, the change will be for good. The word is a powerful tool; a double-edged sword. God’s Word is described as a double-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) There’s a saying that sticks and stones can break bones, but words cannot hurt me. Not true. Words can hurt. Words can also heal. Spoken words can sting or soothe, and then are gone, but the written word can endure and have power. People believe something is true because it’s in print. Reputations have risen and fallen on the power of the written word.

The printing press revolutionised the fifteenth century. Imagine words once written and hidden in some monastic library, then with the advent of the printed word, being duplicated and spread, and even appearing on church doors, for all to read. In our times we have witnessed the evolution of the power of the word through the internet. Need I say more—the gatekeepers of the past, by-passed, allowing all who are wanting to have a voice, freedom of written expression.

However, with freedom and power to influence, comes responsibility to use our gift and passion to write wisely and for the good of others. As a writer, I have written with good intentions to help others grow, help others see the world differently, change attitudes and effect a positive change in the world. Even so, my good intentions posted on my blog may have affected others in ways I didn’t intend. So, I have an understanding now what it means that writing can be a lonely craft as there will always be someone who doesn’t see the world as I do and may find my public interpretation of life offensive. My voice in the world-wide wilderness of the web may actually alienate me from others. So, I’m back where I started as a child, alone, with time and space to explore my world of fantasy with my characters as friends.

[Photo 2: Shikoku Sunset © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1985]

I guess that’s why I’m drawn to write. With fiction, it’s out there, it’s fantasy and it’s a safe platform to explore ideas, issues and ways of looking at the world, the other world of “what-ifs”, that help readers open their minds to investigate alternative attitudes and create discussion. And with fact through my travel memoirs, sharing my life and worldview, joys, challenges and faith. Through this process, I hope to bring goodness and personal growth to all who are willing to join in the journey into my world.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

[Painting and Feature: Alone Sellicks Beach (watercolour) © L.M. Kling 2016)

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Catch a Free ride with the T-Team…

One more day until Wednesday May 11

Longing for more travel adventures? Dreaming of exploring Australia?

Read the T-Team’s Aussie adventures, click on the link below:

Trekking the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

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Or if fiction is more your thing

Read more, and lose yourself in this tale where the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first…

Click on the link,

To download my novel

The Lost World of the Wends

Or…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

OOPS! Weekend Writing Woes

Enough of the Re-Runs

‘We had that one!’ That’s what my brother would say when mum read him the same story when he was young.

“We had that one!” maybe was the cry from readers all over the world, as this is what I have done with the Out of Time project. For four weeks. How did I not notice?

Anyway, I think I know how it happened. I changed the sequence of chapters as one does in the editing process. Then up came that particular chapter and it was repeated. All part of the editing process.

So, in the spirit of the day, here’s a post from the past on feedback, which also is about a vital part of refining our work and making our stories the best they can be.

Feedback

I like to celebrate. As a child, when I received full-marks for a spelling test, Dad rewarded me with a Kitchener Bun from the Fish ‘n Chip shop/Bakery which in the good ol’ days of my childhood was situated opposite Glenelg Primary School. A few years ago, when I used to drive my son his course in Magill, my mum and I treated ourselves to lunch at the local hotel.

Every so often, I check my Amazon account. I wipe off the virtual cobwebs of neglect, and dig deep in the files of my mind, retrieving the password to enter. I expect nothing much to have changed.

I’ve been busy with my blog and the rewards, small, though they are, compared to the rest of blogging world, but the steady trickle of views, likes and comments, satisfies me. Over the years, the number of followers has steadily grown.

Once long ago, now, I made a daring move, and posted my short story, Boris’ Choice—not for the faint-hearted or while one eats breakfast…After the post, I checked for results on Amazon with my War on Boris Series books?

The Choice (painting in acrylic) © L.M. Kling 2016

And…there were. Yes!

Then, I checked the reviews. Now, I don’t know how other writers have fared with reviews, but for many months since my books were published, I had received no reviews. Yes, I asked my readers to do the deed and tick the star-boxes and comment, with no results. Yes, they’d say and the weeks went by and nothing. Were they just being polite? I have no illusions and the reality is that art and literature are subjective—what one person likes another won’t.

Anyway, back to checking the reviews…I looked again at one of the countries one of my books sold. The page appeared different. A yellow bar, and a comment. Genuine feedback. Not a great appraisal, but an appraisal all the same. I knew the person responsible for this first-ever comment for my book, but was not surprised at their response. I did wonder at the time how my novella would work for them—not well—just as I imagined when they informed me they’d bought the book on kindle. As I said before, Boris and his antics are well…not for everyone.

That being said, and for fear my works may be misunderstood, I would describe the over-riding theme of my stories are the classic fight of good against evil. How evil, like Boris, can creep into our lives. And when for whatever reason, usually when we maintain and enhance our self, and to avoid discomfort, we allow evil to stay. This evil, however subtle, will drive us to isolated places in our lives, much like Boris does in The Hitch-hiker; places we never wanted to go. I want young adults and people young at heart, to make choices and use their energy for goodness and to fight evil, so they can live a full life and also be an agent for good in their community and the world.

Especially at this time.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Tyranny of Golf © L.M. Kling circa 1982

***

Read more, and lose yourself in this tale where the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first…

Just click on the link:

The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (14.3)

Fast Forward

Part 3

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it.

This week, it became obvious to me that something had to be done with my time-travel mechanism in this story. Let’s face it, a black box is just a bit lame and over-used. Then the idea came to me, what about a box of chocolates? What assortment of adventures one could have with chocolates laced with the time travel microbiol mud from a cave on the *Pilgrim Planet? In this episode (14.3), I begin to explore how these chocolates might work. Unlike Forrest Gump’s famous phrase, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates…”, in Out of Time it is: “Time Travel is like a box of chocolates, you may not know when you’ll end up.”]

Meeting with Mutti

‘I thought you would never make it.’ A woman’s voice floated over his head.

He recognised that voice. ‘Mutti?’

‘Ah, Gans, immer spaet! (Ah, Goose, always late).’

‘What are you doing here?’

A slight woman, aged somewhere in her thirties, flaxen hair tied in a bun, locked eyes with him. ‘To rescue my future grandsons, naturally. Why else would I ask you to come here?’

‘Yes, I know.’ Gunter stood, dusted himself and sneezed. ‘But, I was expecting someone else…’

‘Have you got the chocolate box? You know, the time travel bon-bon thing. I left it here last time.’

‘Oh, Mutti! Always leaving your stuff wherever you go! We could trace you through time and space the trail of chocolate boxes and their wrappers you leave.’

‘Just as well I did, or I’d be lost forever.’

‘Ja, natuerlich.’ Gunter paced down the hall. ‘Let’s do it!’

‘Hey, not so fast.’ His mother caught his sleeve. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’

‘Saving the boys.’

‘Ja, aber, I have the matches and the bomb is all set up.’

‘Bomb? What bomb?’

‘The one to blow Boris into a million itty bits. You know, kaboom.’

‘But, but you can’t just go around killing people. Besides, a million itty bits would make a million itty Borises that would grow up into a million big Borises.’ Gunter shrugged. ‘Besides, look what happened to Letitia because of you.’

‘Hmph! What is she? Your papa’s second child? With that woman? Hmmm? How could he do that to me? Tossing me aside because I’m…I’m…’

‘I’m sorry, Mama, but we thought you were…’

‘Tot? (Dead?)’

 ‘So, then how is the bomb going to work?’

‘Oh, the bomb will work very well, indeed.’ She grabbed her son’s hand and dragged him out to a courtyard and onto a patch of lawn.

‘But, but, how are we going to save the boys, then? I cannot believe I will be the father of boys.’

‘Simple.’ She struck a match and tossed it onto the porch. The flame flared and then fizzled.

‘Yeah, right! And your point is?’

‘The point is, Gans, that the flame is a signal.’

Gunter stood scratching his head. ‘I don’t understand. I thought you were after your chocolates.’

‘Come on.’ His mother sighed and tugged at her son’s shirt. ‘You must get back to the house before they notice you are missing. I think Mrs. C is cooking you Bratwurst, your favourite sausages, you know, and fried onions on her outdoor barbeque.’

Gunter gazed back at the house. The weatherboard with its untamed cottage garden. The driveway concreted but cracked. He realized that since the flame throwing, the night had morphed into midday. A fine summer’s day. An afternoon southerly breeze cooled the air slightly. The smell of BBQ sausages wafted, making Gunter’s stomach growl.

‘How did that happen?’ Gunter asked.

‘Come,’ Wilhelm Thumm nudged him. ‘You can introduce me to the famous Mrs. C.’

As they approached the house, a slender blonde leapt from the Aston Martin parked in front of the boarding house. She slammed the door and marched down the street, away from the house.

‘Who is that?’ Gunter asked.

‘My wife,’ Wilhelm replied. ‘Frieda, remember her?’

‘She has not changed.’ Gunter stared at the gravel on the footpath. ‘She saw me, and she does not like me.’

‘Don’t be so hard on yourself.’

‘She blames me for what happened to Letitia.’

‘She’ll get over it.’ Wilhelm patted his back. ‘You’ll be friends, one day.’

 ‘Yeah, sure. Pigs fly, as they say here in Australia.’ Gunter locked eyes with Wilhelm. ‘And another thing, if I may ask, how did you…? Where’s my…?’

‘Don’t ask.’ Wilhelm burped and tossed a chocolate wrapper in the gutter. He flashed a shiny black box at Gunter.  ‘I’d offer you one, but, um, we need you here and now, not some random time in the future or past. By the way, do you have the money?’

Gunter nodded and handed Wilhelm the wad of notes. ‘I don’t see why you need so much.’ He watched Wilhelm toss the box into the front seat of his Aston Martin. ‘You look like you are…’

‘All for a good cause. Besides, that greedy brother of yours can do with a bit less. So, I hear.’

As they walked up the rose-lined path to the front door of the house, Gunter said, ‘Won’t they melt? The chocolates?’

‘They’re not that sort of chocolate.’

‘So then, where’s my mutti?’

‘Don’t ask.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Chocolate Box © L.M. Kling 2022

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*The Pilgrim Planet is where Boris takes the Wends, hoping to enslave them.

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Out of Time (13.1)

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it. Characters such as Frieda have been developed. Plus, characters, like Ella, have emerged from the shadows of past backstories that never before have been in print. In this episode (13.1) we have the meeting of these two characters…]

An Untimely Visitor

Part 1

Frieda

Meanwhile in Tasmania, the grass was dry and the weather about to heat up for the start of school.

The first rays of dawn filtered through the lace curtains of Frieda’s bedroom. After glimpsing the start of a new day, she turned over and settled back into a deep sleep.

‘Mummy!’

Frieda groaned. ‘Go back to bed Johnny.’

‘Mummy!’ Johnny pushed at her back, rocking her. ‘There’s a funny lady in our good room.’

‘What’s she doing there?’

‘I let her in, Mummy,’ Johnny sighed. ‘She says she’s my “Cross-mother”.’ Another sigh. ‘But she doesn’t look like a “Cross-mother”, she looks too young and pretty to be cross.’

‘Now you are making me cross, Johnathon, dear. Go back to bed. You must’ve been dreaming.’

Johnny tugged at Frieda’s hand. ‘No, Mummy, she’s a real cross-mother. You must see her. You must!’

Frieda rolled her eyes and gulped down a rising sense of seediness. ‘Oh, alright, if I must.’

Mother and son pad down the stairs and into the lounge room.

A petite figure dressed in a blue dirndl stood gazing at the panoramic view of the Derwent.

She turned and flicked a platinum plait away from her face.

Frieda gasped.

The stranger smiled, her deep blue eyes twinkling. ‘Beautiful view. I love it when the sun rises over the sea. Don’t you?’

‘Who are you?’

The woman stepped towards Frieda and took her hand. ‘Come, sit down. There’s something I need to explain.’

‘What?’ Frieda asked.

The German lady paused.

‘Well, don’t just stand there. Tell me.’

‘You need to sit. It’s important.’

Frieda exhaled and shook her head. ‘Fine, then, I will sit.’

She perched on the edge of the couch. The German lady sat beside her and caressed the frills on her baby blue dress.

‘I’m sitting,’ Frieda said.

‘So, you are.’

Johnny peered into the German lady’s blue, blue eyes. ‘Why are you cross, lady?’

‘I am not cross.’ The lady smiled. ‘My name is Ella and I am a friend of your mother’s.’

‘I find that hard to believe.’ Frieda leaned back and studied this strange woman called Ella. ‘You must’ve been a very young friend, my mother died during the war. So did my father. I am an orphan.’

‘To tell the truth, Frieda, your mother is very much alive. She is living in Melbourne now. You see, you were not an orphan; you were kidnapped.’

‘Really? All this time, since I was a child, I have believed I was an orphan, Lebensborn, they called me. Bred pure for the Reich. And now you tell me my mother is in Melbourne?’

‘Yes. Are you not happy about that?’

‘Ecstatic!’ Frieda scoffed. ‘And how long have you known about my mother and me?’

‘Um…’ Ella shrugged. ‘A little while.’

‘And why did it take you such a long while to come over to Tasmania to tell me?’

‘I have been elsewhere…on business. Out of…’ Ella touched Frieda’s arm. ‘But I am here now telling you. And she wants to see you. She wants you to come to Melbourne and for you to meet.’

‘And how exactly are we to travel to Melbourne?’

‘You have a sailboat, don’t you?’

‘Yes, but…I can’t…’

‘But I can.’

‘But my husband Wilhelm won’t…’

Ella’s eyes twinkled. ‘Don’t worry Frieda, I have been in close contact with your husband. In fact, I met him in Melbourne recently. One of the reasons he went there, to meet with your mother. And yes, he has agreed to lend us the boat.’

‘Not too close, I hope.’ Frieda frowned. ‘You and my husband.’

‘No! Not at all!’ Ella laughed. ‘We go way back, Wilhelm and me. Just old friends, to tell the truth.’

Johnny danced on the spot. ‘Are we going on a sailing trip, Mummy?’

Frieda nodded. ‘Yes, my darling boy. And you are going to meet my mummy, your grandma.’

Ella

As Frieda and Johnny packed clothes and essentials into a suitcase, Ella sipped a cup of tea that Frieda had prepared for her. Ella watched them and while the pair were busy packing, she chuckled. I remember Gunter, my youngest at Johnny’s age, she mused. So sweet, so innocent.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Morning on Derwent, Hobart, Tasmania © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016

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Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling