Sunshine Blogger Award. I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of bringing sunshine, unless it was out of my…

Thanks, Mairi, for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger award. Please check out Mairi’s cool blog, Hitting 60!

It’s always nice to be nominated, but it takes me so long to write a post about it – DOH! I may be a mature-age student with little to do, but I have only limited time in which do little. If that makes sense…

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers who are inspiring and creative (or, in my case, depressing and morbid). Once nominated, a blogger is required to:

  • Thank the blogger for nominating them and link back to their blog (Tick!)
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you (Aghhh! More work! See my answers below…)
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 questions to answer (Because I’m lazy I’ll nominate some, but I may not make the total number. Does this mean I’m disqualified?)
  • Notify your nominees (Aghhh! Even more work! Can’t they just read my blog post?)
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post (Aghhh! Yet more work. Oh, alright, I’ll do that bit. I suppose it’s the least I can do…)

My answers to Mairi’s questions

Do you believe in God or another deity?

I sure do! The Big Guy Upstairs (as I like to refer to Him) and I have been in cahoots for about four years now. Every day is an adventure and every day is a blessing. Even when I’m depressed (which is often).

Don’t believe me? Check out this poem in His honour.

Are you a quick thinker or a deep think?

I’m a bit of both. And a bit of neither. I’m usually in two minds about that sort of think (see what I did there? I’m so funny, I crack myself up).

How long does it take you to write your average sized blog?

Depends on the size of the average-sized blog. A poem usually takes me about 10-15 minutes. About the same amount of time it takes me to deliver my ablutions.

Yep, I write most of my stuff on the loo. Not joking.

Why do you blog?

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I have no life.

Actually, that’s not the real reason. The real reason was to use it cathartically and to encourage me to write every day, as I’m a lazy writer. It’s worked so far.

How many books do you read a year?

I’d love to say 100, but it’s more like 40-50. I’m slowing down in my old age. Uni and life gets in the way.

What was the last book you read and when?

I’m currently reading a number of books: The Zom-B Chronicles (Darren Shan), On Writing (Stephen King), The Making of a Poem (Mark Strand et al), Reaching Toward the Heights (Richard Wurmbrand), Stories of Your Life and Others (Ted Chiang), The Book of Joy (Dalai Lama/Desmond Tutu), Cultural and Media Studies: A Semiotic Approach (Thwaites et al), Batman Rebirth: Volume 1 (Tom King) and the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Role Playing Game core rule book.

I’m also reading a few e-books on my iPhone: Slow Horses (Mick Herron), Skykeep (Joseph R. Lallo), and The Language of Bears (John Eidswick).

And, of course, the greatest book of all: The Bible (The Big Guy Upstairs).

I always have a number of books on the go at any one time. It’s exhausting.

What country are you blogging from?

The great and wonderful land of Australia, where the skies are always blue, and the people are too (well, I am, anyway).

What is your current profession?

I am a humble, slovenly, misanthropic, mature-age student with a penchant for writing half-decent poetry. I just published my first e-book of poetry, so I suppose I can call myself an author, now.

Do you have a hobby outside of work and blogging?

I love playing table top role playing games. I love working out (HARD!). I love walking other people’s dogs (HARD!). I love writing and recording music (HARD! I mean, not hard as such, actually more laidback…). I love spending time with my son (although that’s not really a hobby).

I love being miserable. Oops, shouldn’t have said that last one; now people will think I’m depressed, or something.

How many times do you laugh a day?

Not as much as I used to or would like to. But I get a few in here and there.

Were the above questions thought provoking?

They certainly took me long enough to answer. Who made up the rules for this thing, anyway? How about five questions, next time. Or better still, two.

My Questions for Nominees to Answer:

  1. What’s your favourite aeroplane story? Or airport story? Or failing both of those, your favourite time on a bus. (Oh, come on, you must have travelled on a bus at least once…)
  2. When you get up in the morning, do you blow your nose? No? Wow, you must get quite a blockage up there. How do you breathe at all? Are you a zombie or something?
  3. Now that we know you’re a zombie, how do you prefer your brains? Straight from the skull or with some kind of relish?
  4. If you were in a zombie apocalypse, which best friend would you want to have with you? (Make sure all your friends get a chance to read your answer so they can snub you when they find out it isn’t them).
  5. Okay, so now we know you have no friends. Are you a basement lurker or do you have your own place? If you have your own place, I know a guy who would make a great room-mate.
  6. How many more of these questions do I need to make up?
  7. Are we there yet? If you answer no, you should describe the scenery you are seeing RIGHT NOW outside your window in the form of a 39-line Sestina.
  8. There once was a man called ‘Backstabber’. He had some problems with his _________ . He bent over once, ended up with a ________ , and finally went back to his _________ . Fill out the spaces in this inspirational limerick. Make sure it’s funny (HAH! There’s a catch to everything).
  9. If you are a depressing person, are you on meds? What are they and where do you get them? Send some to me so I can test them out. If you’re on non-prescription drugs, send those as well. (REMEMBER, KIDS: Say NO to drugs.)
  10. I’m running out of ideas for questions. How much more of this to go? Not there yet? Damn!! Make up your own question.
  11. Ever been nominated for an award before? You have now. Enjoy my nonsensical questions. And write something interesting for this non-question.

My Nominees (Sorry, I’m tired. These wonderful blogs will have to do):

Thanks for making me work so hard, Mairi! Now I really am tired.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Whirlpool. A poem.

My head is spinning,
lost in your days/daze.
Your whirlpool pulls me down.
I clamber for extant purchase,
a drowning man on your razor edge,
gormlessly clutching at eidetic straws
as water chokes my lungs.

Your centrifugal force,
it wears my patience paper thin,
teaches me mock restraint
and leaves me listless
upon a narrowing ledge,
where vertigo takes control.

I have no love for who I am,
but who am I in this fixation?
You drain the life from me,
like a purulent vampire,
and let the swirling waters
claim my desiccated corpse.

Your twisting, seething depths,
that churn and bite and goad,
and send be back to whence I came;
embittered, emboldened,
to begin the game again.

 

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. A Movie Review.

No Spoilers!

My son dragged me (literally) to see the new Jumanji film. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Four teens given school detention find an old game machine with the Jumanji game loaded. They are sucked into the video game-world of Jumanji, where they take on the roles of four game characters to try to return the ‘Eye of Jumanji’ to the final level to stop some bad guy from taking over the jungle world. Along the way they discover the meaning of friendship, yadda, yadda, yadda. All very uncomplicated.

Jumanji_Welcome_to_the_Jungle

Dwayne Johnson (that guy is in everything, lately), Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, all have a ball with their roles, with Black (playing a self-centred teenage girl in a middle-aged professor’s body) and Hart (a jock in a nerd’s body) getting the funniest lines (although most of the jokes fell flat with me, the teens in the audience seemed to be chuckling enough). There are some decent action set pieces, but the bad guy and the overall threat to Jumanji are pretty shallow.

The movie manages to deliver some nice moral messages—don’t judge a book by its cover; be yourself; your real friends are the people you can rely on—and it wasn’t even from Disney. And in an era of over-the-top violence and overwhelming narcissism (which, ironically, also feature in this film), that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Jumanji is a movie best appreciated by gamers, teens and kids. And the occasional adult dragged along for the ride.

Rating: C

Icarus. A poem.

My love is Icarus,
screaming on molten wings,
searing clouds with body heat;
an elevator ride straight down
to my beckoning crypt.

The ground is a winsome friend,
cajoling me as I approach.
The flames are streamers
as I hit the finish line:
winner? loser? both.

The wreckage of my fuselage
lies scattered over miles
of quiescent plain.
How do I fuse these pieces
back together again?
I’ll need more than wax
to achieve a greater end.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Upstart Photographer #6 – Dogs and Monuments

When I’m walking the dog around town (not my own black dog*, mind you, although he is always with me), I often pass by monuments that look pretty cool. Naturally, I want to take a picture of them.

Fountain - stevestillstanding.com

Here are some black and white, unfiltered (but slightly cropped) photos of things I’ve passed. Below is the Obelisk, a major monument overlooking the city:

obelisk - stevestillstanding.com

And a dog who ended up ‘following’ my father home when Dad found him wandering the streets early in the morning.

stray dog - stevestillstanding.com

He was returned to his owner after several days of advertising and Facebook searches. Yes, the offset shot was intentional.

Enjoy!

Cheers

Steve 😊

* Don’t know the Black Dog? Lucky you. Depression is the Black Dog’s name, hounding me is the Black Dog’s game. Check out this early poem of mine for more.

The Sale. Part 18.

Junifer Vasilikov limped closer. In the moonlight we could make out a ghastly, bloody smear covering her features. Her hands were empty. “My mother was killed by a vacuum cleaner,” she said, wearily.

Aisha leapt to her feet, knife at the ready. I stood up and we faced Crazy Junifer, together. I raised my hands in a conciliatory gesture.

“Junifer,” I said. “We don’t want any trouble. We just want to leave this place.”

The mad woman’s eyes were wide, her tears mingling with dewy raindrops. Every few moments she would quirkily brush her hand across her wet, stringy hair, as if something annoyed her there.

“My mother…” she said, the words almost a whisper. Junifer lowered her head. She stood trembling.

“Junifer,” said Aisha. “Please let us go.” She lowered the knife to her side and extended a shaky hand.

Junifer sobbed. The light rain was drizzling, now, and our clothes were wet through. Aisha looked at me sadly, indicating to go around the poor woman. I stepped to the right.

Crazy Junifer leapt forward, screaming like a banshee and clutching at Aisha. The two grappled, twisting around as I watched in abject horror. Then Aisha pushed Junifer away.

A trip. A scream. A nauseating crunch. Junifer had fallen down the open hatch next to the house.

Aisha stood in shock. “I didn’t mean to—is she?”

I knelt and glanced over the rim. At the bottom of the ladder, Junifer’s body was twisted, broken and deathly still. A pool of blood grew around her as I watched.

The rain’s intensity had increased, the sound of each drop a hammer beat on the mansion’s roof and walls.

“NO!” screamed Silas. I looked up; he was standing over me. He must have come around from the front of the house. His face was a contorted cacophony of pain and rage. Watery rivulets cascaded down his forehead and cheeks. His eyes were wide with fury.

“I’ll kill you,” Silas screamed.

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here to read more.

What is The Sale?

The Sale is an unplanned, multi-part short story I created to challenge myself as a writer. My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the issue and continue the story.

Only you can tell me if it’s successful, or not. I hope you enjoy my little experiment.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Longing. A poem.

The loving and the longing
soaked into heart and soul.
Sponges wrung at a moment’s notice,
all captured in a bucket
and mopped across the entirety
of my empty little world.

Here loving words are written
on lonely pages in electric cursive,
tempting fate with imagery
born of perceptive symbiosis.
Singular takes on whole new meaning,
along with didactic metaphors.

I would douse this pain with you,
but you’re so far away;
an unearthly, flowering oasis
in the unimaginable distance.

And my mouth is so dry.
And still longing to drink of you.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Cut. A poem.

When the bone wails
in time to my beating, breaking heart,
and the blood curdles
along with my myopic tears.
I will reach for thee
and mark my emboldened flesh
in your honour.

I will scour my skin indelicately
so that I might feel again,
so that I might wallow in my
weariness and paint the sink
the bold colour of my distress.

Every scar will scream my story
behind a thin, linen veil
and come out to play
whenever I need your full
and desperate attention.

This is my needlepoint fairy tale,
umbilically wending its way along
my forearm and inner thigh.
Onwards, the fabulist spins
my yarn of truth and rage
and misbegotten sights and sighs.

This is my gift to you from me.

This silken cut that slices deep
and constantly reminds me
of your joyous regret.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

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