Chapter 62: Ode to Christine de Pizan

Favourite Forgotten Women

An Ode to Christine de Pizan

Hester Pulter (6).pngHester Pulter (7).png

Chapter 61: Ode to the Oracle Pythia

The Oracle Pythia – Poetry.

This is an ode to the delightful What’s Her Name pod-casters who transported me to ancient Greece during a recent solo commute to Albany. This episode was truly captivating. I cannot recommend these auditory magicians enough if you are a lover of history.

The Pythia (Oracle of Delphi) was a priestess who chanelled prophecies of Apollo whilst in a tranced out state. Most likely she was off her head on volcanic choof, but she sure did draw a crowd. She could have been ranting ancient nursery rhymes for all anyone knew – as her incites were only interpreted by a male priest and relayed mainly to whoever was packing the most gold. No surprise rich and powerful men were ushered to the front of the very long queue, though even those guys could be rejected if Pythia wasn’t feeling the prophetic juices, or other ancient conundrums were afoot. Pity the sacrificed goat – if his hooves faced the wrong way – that was a huge Oracle cock block. The supplicant would leave unenlightened and the poor goat died in vain. Brutal.

Women were most definitely not invited to the sanctuary and there were certainly no nuggets of enlightenment wasted on the supposed fairer sex. This was strictly a boys only club. No girls allowed.

Men would make the pilgrimage from all corners of the earth to have their one burning question answered by the possessed priestess. Business was booming until 393 CE when Roman Emperor Theodosius shut all things Pagan right down to make room for a groovy, new religion – Christianity. This was defo a no-fun zone for Goddess worshippers, women, the poor, slaves etc etc etc …….. we know how that story goes.

So I played around with some poetry – in honour of the Greek women and the wives who may have travelled with their husbands so he might hear a stoned Delphian rave an answer that could have quite easily been discovered had he just looked around a bit. I wonder if these rejected females felt bitter – standing on the outskirts watching the procession of ambitious men handing over their riches in return for a few seconds of secret life sauce. Perhaps these women just had the smarts and possibly heard or read (if they had the privilege of being able to read) the famous inscription on the temple –

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Know Thyself

“Done,” they probably said, dusting themselves off and calling it a day.

So here is my what if poem. A little imagining of an ambitious female sneaking in to get herself a hit from the Pythia bong.

References: Wikipedia & Ancient History Encyclopedia

Eugène_Delacroix_-_Lycurgus_Consulting_the_Pythia_-_Google_Art_Project
Eugène Delacroix – Lycurgus Consulting the Pythia Public Domain

the long path I away
laurel branches
do take
today
i feel
priestess
sweet springs
Castalian
bathings
cleansing privileged skin
oh oracle on high
oh Pythia prophesise
me
vapors
volcanic
to her breath
to her mind
Apollo whispers
and she to find
my answers
and hear Delphi blooms
amidst the plumes
will come
visions
unburied
revealing
drawn forth
deep
asunder
unseen fingers
foreseen figures
will come
visions
though
forbidden
trivial
formality
for my finality
and the answer
birthed upon
thine priestesses lips
sweet
pure and true
that her berry breath
bring forth
a brew
to flood all suspicion
birth ambition
my path
me
she shall see!
she shall see!
a fountain
an ocean
a stretching
commotion
that the tide
would see fit
to sweep over it
to rid all untrue
Goddess
reign true!
and i with my tresses
tucked
hidden
breasts veiled
and white dresses
dare not to toy
Naiad
as a boy
waiting
listening
in melody
in verse
of all the universe
for Pythia to sing

Naiad1
John William Waterhouse Public Domain

Chapter 60: Winging It

Or – my life as a chicken wing buffet.

The term “winging it” for me has been more of a life ethos I fell into for the sheer reasons of survival. When you’re not particularly bright and naive as a box full of puppies, a certain skill set is developed in order to manage in society.

A perfect example is the brilliant Stath Lets Flats and the hilarious AF sibling duo Stath (Jamie Demetriou) and Sophie (Natasia Demetriou). These not-so-clever humans scrape through life blissfully unawares of how thick and fumbly they actually are. It’s an admirable formula, albeit a fictional one.

Thankfully, I’m not quite at that level of absurd silliness, though I have certainly known people who literally could have been modelled off them. Dimness thrivers.

I happened to be one of those kids who didn’t quite get things as quickly as my peers. It might be argued it’s a disadvantage to not comprehend life as rapidly as others and each year I wished every birthday wish away hoping I would be gifted with better smarts, better math skills and an upgrade in running. Everything I feared and was slow at.

None of them came true. Bastard, bullshit birthday wishing fairy.

Instead, I developed techniques to deal with shit in the most efficient and subtle way possible to at least appear to function like everyone else, so as not to draw attention to my truth, nor constantly look like a dick. I’ve never considered this a con, or a lie, or deceitful, but the exposure of how truly thick I actually am – was always cause for anxiety.

It’s not pretending to be something you’re not… it’s not even faking it till you make it. It’s comprehending the absolute basics, having a crack and crossing your fingers you can pull off whatever task you’re attempting to succeed at without being exposed. Aka – winging it.

While this is a stellar skill to have that enables one to move through life with a false sense of perpetual luck – I’m over winging it. I honestly thought at this point of life I would have well and truly shelved my wings and was at the knowing it, navigating it successfully stage.

Alas, nay.

I have JUST edited the final touches on So You Are… Pregnant! and am even now questioning the writing style, the four gazillion mistakes, the shit formatting, the lack of paragraphs due to lack of e-space and general lack of clue. I’m even doubting if I should tackle the self-publishing thing at all and letting every one of those doubts fill my already overloaded head.

It’s all very, very boo-bloody-hoo, though not completely doom and gloom. I signed up to Ingram Spark. I sorted out my Google Play account. I did stuff. I released the wings. Yay.

And now – as I typically do when processing overthinking trivial crap – I flashback:

In 1983 one of my favourite shows to watch with my Dad was The Greatest American Hero. Of course I related. He was gawky, he was unco and he just wanted to do good. I loved it so much that I somehow managed to convince our teacher to let us sing the theme song for a class assembly (I also convinced another lot of teachers a few years later to let us sing The Henderson Kids closing credits theme song – Carry On. Oh to channel those mini-wings of the eighties.).

It was a success.

Peers enjoyed singing it. Everyone in the audience knew the song and sang and smiled. It brought people joy. My winging it about literal wings had paid off. 

But it wasn’t a typical wing. It was a win. A success because I tapped into what I knew. My strengths. Creativity. The arts. All that I adored.

1984 me got it. She wung it.

I’m tapping back into it.

That blissful oblivion of not being paranoid of your short comings.

Those Stath and Soph vibes.

Wing on…ward

#wingon #facethewing #embracethewung #justgettheeffonwithityouwingingwuss

Chapter 59: Dear Flight of the conchords

TOO MANY DICKS ON THE BLOG FLOOR

…and why this is the greatest song ever written or performed.

Disclaimer: Proceed with caution. Much non-sense making obscurities lie ahead.

…Too many men, too many boys
Too many misters not enough sisters
Too much time on too many hands
Not enough ladies, too many mans

Too many dicks on the dance floor…
(…see below for full brillance)

This may seem like an utterly… like seriously ridiculous post that has no place on paper, the interweb, in thought, or nay – even in the world. However, this ludicrous song has truly, truly brought me out of some rather depthy funks – it deserves to be glorified way more than it has been.

I honestly believe Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor should be prescribed as an anti-depressant.

So You Are Pregnant started out as an exercise in leeching the demons from my mind and then morphed into some psychotic parallel reality of Preacher’s version of hell. Where the inhabitants re-live a moment in time that lead to their demise down the dark side path.

Writing this thing was tricky enough. Editing and re-editing was a monumental and literal head fck. It’s hard enough to live a few shitty moments and carry them around in your memories, but actively dissecting them over and over and over and over and over ……………………………………………. and over again can send one up the loco tree.

Cue the loco-iest of them all – Flight of the Conchords.

Over the years and particularly whilst writing my head fckery book I would melt into a drippy, droopy sludge like consistency that took on the form of a really emotionally unstable jelly-fish. Floppy, mopey, very un-copey.

The first time I saw Jemaine and Bret doing Frodo Don’t Wear The Ring (community service – watch both links) skit I fell in love. Kiwi humour is the coolest. Dry. Unbothered. Non-showy. Fcking funny. The band became my fave, the show a new obsession and even back then I used it to combat depression sessions.

Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor was my saviour. I shit you not. WHENEVER I felt myself in a space I knew was unhealthy, I’d YouTube that bad boy and be filled with the healing vibes that only a song about dancing penises can bring.

There was only one time it didn’t work. When I miscarried. Not even FTC could combat the messed up hormones running rampant within me at that point. But, once the recovery took flight, I used the TMDOTDF technique that had served so well and found a few equally, if not greater – deranged vids.

Of course – What We Do in the Shadows

and many randoms followed.

All hail Laura Clery.

Yes. She is one warped little kumquat. Oh, but the brilliance.

Top 3: If Baby’s could TalkCheese on my Titties and Titties Fo Days that will be stuck in your head fo fricken days:

Seriously, I dunno if any of it’s wrong, right and/or just mental… but this stuff is hypnotic. I could not stop watching these and the tears were finally happy ones.

Next up came the batshit crazy cat/ferrit things singing some Moldovan pop song.

Why? Dunno. Some bonker with way too much time on their hands creating fcked up “art” for people with even more time on their hands. I thank them all.

But none of them, nothing will ever equal the pure delightful mastery of Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor:

I replayed this thing so frequently, my kids began to notice.

So one day when my son was having a melt down, I thought – fck it – and I showed him. He was crying – joyful tears of what the holy hell Mum?

Yes. Yes I did.

“Should you be showing them that,” my husband questioned as a disco doodle thrusted too and fro. My son giggled hysterically.

“Probably not, but all the experts say you should be sharing your interests with your kids, why not this?”

Dicks on the dance floor may be a stretch.”

“I’m viewing it as a love of humour. I have a vested interest in Flight of the Conchords I wish to share with my children. My Dad shared his comedy favourites with me. The Goodies, Benny Hill, Absolutely Fabulous, Faulty Towers, The Two Ronnies… “

“This explains so much.”

“… Blackadder, Kenny Everett, that weird Max Hedroom thing, Monty Python, Comedy Company, Fast Forward, Let the Blood Run Free, Doug Anthony All-Stars…

“What’s your point?”

“I’m just passing the shit parenting torch.”

“Do you need to show them the video?”

“You think the song on its own is less damaging?”

“At least they won’t see the disco shlongs.”

“But that’s the best bit!”

“I’m questioning your parenting.”

“Get in line buddy.”

Technically – I should be commended for switching on their humour gene and opening up the creative flood gates. Plus I’ve found many practical and therapeutic ways you can use the song to suit, rather than heading for the bottle. Example…

Too many kids on the dance floor
Too many kids
Too many kids on the dance floor 
Not so easy to fix
Too many kids on the dance floor
Kick out the kids
Too many kids on the dance floorwa
Goin to the pantry

Wanna get some choccy
Tryin on the quiety but there’s grabby guts and chompy
There’s greedy out of no where-y
He’s come up from the armchairy
The only sweets i’ll see tonight will be clogging up the dunny

My darling, vengeful spawn caught on quick.

Too many Mum’s on the dance floor… (lame)

Too many farts on the dance floor… (Dad & pug)

Too many shops on the dance floor… (suck it up)

Too many turds on the dance floor… (dog)

Too many Santa’s on the dance floor… (tricky)

Too many peas on the dance floor… (just eat them!!!)

Too many pancakes on the dance floor… (me, whining at the speed they’re eaten)

Too many fishy bums on the dance floor (My daughter came up with this one – when the pug is overdue an arse gland squeeze) … too many fishy bums

They even use it when they’re having melt downs as a coping tool for wayward-emotions.

“Too many chores on the dance floor! Too many chores…” my son screams between tears because he not only has to bring the bins up from the curb, but take out the rubbish AS WELL! Oh the humanity!

Too many bins on the dance floor!

Too many lectures on the dance floor! Too many lectures…

Too many embarrassing Mum’s on the dance floor…

There are too many to list.

Try it out. Basically slot any word in the song to suit. So versatile and guaranteed to make you smile no matter what the situation. I really love it after 3 minutes of online scrolling and feeling utterly inadequate as a mother because I don’t write sweet notes on my kids banana skins, or cut cloud shaped sandwiches they’ll throw in the bin uneaten, or remember their friends names, sometimes their names, or that we actually took them with to the shops with us…

“Too many abandoned kids on the Kmart floor!” they may or may not have yelled as they caught up, slightly panting.

Too many whiners on the dance floor… too many whiners…” we responded and proceeded to whip out the dance moves at the Kmart entrance we may or may not have accidentally walked out of… without them. They were mortified. Much eye ball rollage. Mission accomplished. 

They have no clue how rad their parents actually are. Bugger craft and play dates. This is where the real parenting is at… though probably shouldn’t be. 

Regardless… THANK YOU Flight of the Conchords. I would be a most sad, dull puddle of a parent if it hadn’t been for your creations.

x

Chapter 58: Eff You em – en – em — dash

“I’ve always put a space between the dash when I’m writing. It’s aesthetically pleasing and I’ve seen it done in plenty of books and online.”

Never put a space before or after an en dash. Whilst the trend is becomming more popular online, particularly in the blogging sphere – in the literary world the accepted format is no spacing at all.

(NOTE: WordPress auto-formats a dash without spacing to a hyphen. Fun.)

“Righto,” she says and goes back over the entire 80 000+ word manuscript and removes all the spaces. It looks shit. It’s crowded and claustrophobic, but because there is so much slang and bastardisation of language and formatting – she wants to produce something that is professional – even though it probably reads like it was written by an echidna.

Popularity of spaces either side of the en dash are increasing.

“Ay? Really?”

She goes over the winners and finalists of a local short story competition. Mentors and writing peers have placed, so this should help in clearing up what correct formatting looks like. Academics being judged by fellow academics should be void of confusion, right? Wrong.

Entry 1: Spaces galore.
Entry 2: No spaces.
Entry 3: A completely different dash never seen before.

Much panic and confusion ensues. She investigates some of the other finalists.

Spaces:

Yes…
NO…
Yes, yes, yes…
no… no… nooooo…
YES.

“Fck this,” she cries to no one and returns to her novel. Let the butchering begin.

Scroll
space – space…
scroll…
scroll……………………………..
backspace…
backspace…………
space – space… etc for entire novel. Thirty two migraines and an eye twitch later she exports to Mum. Of course.

“I can’t keep obsessing over this – it’s seriously sending me round the twist. I’m going insane.”

“In all my years I’ve always put the spaces in, but I suppose I’ve never written a book. The rules might have changed from my day, but you watch – in a decade – they’ll change again.”

“Forget a decade, they seem to change hourly. It’s madness out there. Go onto Google and there’s warfare about this – the debate is divided 50/50. The “experts” can’t even agree. It’s soooooo fricken confusing. So, for now I’m sticking to Oz rules as much as I can until the US and UK sort their shit out. Trying to figure that lot out is a mind numbing rabbit hole I’m still recovering from.”

“Look, I think you can put it down to “writers style” and be done with it. At the end of the day it’s the story that counts. Do you look at this stuff when you read a book, especially a really good book? No. You keep reading because of the story, not because of the bloody punctuation marks used. As long as you’ve got the main ones in correctly, everything else just distracts the reader. Em dash, en dash – they’re up there with the bloody semi-colan.”

“Oh, don’t even get me started on that bastard.”

“Nup, I’m done with him too. Just a confusing pain in the arse. Unnecessary. Get rid of it.”

“So – just go with “writers style” then?”

“Absolutely. The people who you want to serve are the people who are here for the story. They’re the only ones that matter. And what you’ve written, love is far more important than stressing out over a space or a dash. That’s my five cents.”

“And it’s worth 5 million. Thanks Mum.”

“No worries love.”

Na naa na naa naa! Busted en – dash! I dobbed on you to my Mum! Pull your head in.

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***

Thank you Karl Craig for being one of the few voices of reason I found amongst the sludgy overly opinionated and ridiculous pompousry.

The below content has only be copied and pasted because there was an expired security warning on Karl Craig’s website and I was worried all my fellow confused and clueless writers may miss one of the most straight forward, uncomplicated and simplest explanations on the em/en dash. Please contact if you wish me to remove.
DASH — –
The dash must not be confused with the hyphen (). It comes in two sizes: the em-dash (), the width of a letter ‘m’; and an en-dash (), the width of the letter ‘n’.
In the USA, the em-dash is mostly used, with the en-dash reserved only for numeric series (see rule 5 below). Traditionally, British and Australian publishers preferred the en-dash for all cases, but some style guides now adopt the US convention.
Here are a few examples of how dashes can be used:

  1. To denote a sudden change of thought:
    • Everyone seemed happy – but not so. [UK/Aus. Note there is a space either side of the en-dash.]
    • Everyone seemed happy—but not so. [US. Note that em-dashes do not have spaces.]
    • I was about to comment on her smudged mascara – but thought discretion was wiser. [UK/Aus]
    • I was about to comment on her smudged mascara—but thought discretion was wiser. [US]
  2. To indicate a sudden break in a sentence:
    • Everything was going along quite – hey, wait a minute! [UK/Aus]
    • Everything was going along quite—hey, wait a minute! [US]
  3. A dash is often used in place of brackets or commas:
    • His golf handicap was low – not as low as he would like it to be – but low enough to be competitive.
    • The third item in the auction—the Renoir—was expected to fetch a small fortune.
  4. Two adjacent em-dashes can be used to indicate missing letters in a word (i.e. bowdlerisation – kind of expurgation or censorship):
    • So, where the b——dy hell are you? [A now abandoned advertisement for Australian Tourism.]
    • “Truth never comes into the world but like a b——rd, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth.” [John Milton – English poet (1608–1674).]
  5. Only use the en-dash (without spaces) to join inclusive numbers, or text, in a series (i.e. replacing the word ‘to’):
    • pp. 64–76 [pages 64 to 76]
    • Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
    • 10–30°C [that’s 50–86°F for non-metric readers]
    • Open Monday–Friday
    • Winton–Julia Creek rail link
    • The Mason–Dixon Line.

    Note: rules 1–3 can take either the en-dash with a space either side, or the em-dash without spaces—although the em-dash is gradually winning this race! However, the examples above in rule 5 can only use the en-dash without spaces.

  6. Some publishers use the en- or em-dash to signify an unfinished sentence:
    • And then it dawned on him—
    • She looked up, and froze –

    Note: Although this is perfectly acceptable usage, common practice nowadays prefers the use of the ellipsis (…) in these cases.

Chapter 56: Ode to chocolate

Another lovely evening filled with laughs and camaraderie at Writers Group last night.

Writing exercise included Topic & Poetry style. A gorgeous wicked, little woman bought a sack of chocolates so naturally my inspiration was taken from the graveyard of wrappers strewn across the desk before me.

Chocolate. 3 Haiku & an Ode

My sweetie my dear

Milky silky love of mine

Get in my gob now.

My dear chocolate

The two of us will not last

You go to my arse

Me and my blubber

Could never love another

Get in my belly

Ode to Chocolate

My darling

My love

My soft centred turtle dove

Vanilla wings on the breeze

You melt milkily with ease

On my lips

On my tongue

On my hips

On my bum

Forcing me to run

A long distance race

Prevent migration to my waist

They say I am quite silly

Maneuvering all this jelly

At the very least

I probably should cease

Worshipping all I hold true

Beautiful, delicious, fat forming you.

Protected: Chapter 55: Ode to Claudia Severa

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Protected: Chapter 54: Ode to Hester Pulter

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Chapter 53: Poetry: When I was a Witch

Poetry Exercise.

Trying to creatively express some current interests without being so over the top obvious. Failing badly. I’m either subtle as a rodeo hippo or so cryptic that on a re-read even I don’t know what the hell I’m waffling about.

To help anyone brave enough to read on – this is a combo of a documentary I watched on Netflix recently about the witch burnings in Britain; my fascination with Scottish and Welsh witches when I went to Scotland and Wales in 1991 with my folks as a surly, Beatles obsessed teen – AND – my Mum’s go-to costume for many a school dress up – naturally – I was frequently a witch.

Enjoy.

witch-1606525_1920.jpg

WHEN I WAS A WITCH

Bubble Bubble

Always in trouble

sketchy DNA

coursing veins

No doubt the same

gypsy healers

before

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales

thrifty costume

screams

and wails

on platformed pire

engulfed in fire

for a brew of lavender tea

when i was a witch

holiday trip

Scottish witches

new obsessions

every school dress up

fascination,

drawn –

hypocrisy and horror

the quickening

the fem and masc…

always interesting.

Sabrina in the know

Archie comics just for her

check bags

royal show

though

not the little pig tailed witch

playing at pretend

shunning screams within 

it’s them!

it’s them!

it’s them…
again.