Why I hate horses

Not really. They’re quite sweet, really.  But, there aren’t many things more expensive and time consuming than a horse-crazy kid.

When The Girl was about six, she developed a consuming passion for riding. So off she went to riding lessons – conducted on this poor old sweetheart reputed to be rising forty  – and learned to trot around under the eye of a watchful old harridan.

So far so good. Until she decided she wanted her own. A lady friend of my then boyfriend (and if you knew my ex boyfriend, you’d know that ‘lady friend’ is a euphemism for, at best, ‘woman desperate to get into his pants by any means necessary’) lent us this Shetland called  Mercury. He was cute. He was stubborn. He wouldn’t participate in rides for love or money, but did manage to overeat himself into a bad case of laminitis.

So my boyfriend’s lady friend, justly furious, ended the arrangement and we decided to stump up for a Pony of Our Very Own. At this point, I know nothing about ponies, except that given half a chance they’ll eat themselves into hospital. We bought the pony, a gorgeous little dappled white thing we called Clipsie, and settled down to anticipate years of happy horse ownership.IM000076.JPG

It wasn’t to be. A week later, we found that Clipsie was nearly blind and therefore unrideable.

I demanded a refund and got it. Clipsie’s ex-owner arranged for collection of the product – but little did I know, it wasn’t a return to the green fields of home, but a one way trip to the dog food factory. When I found out, we sent the knacker away empty handed and we kept our little white pony.  We’ve still got her, ensconced with her best mate Patch (ex-neglected rescue horse) in a happy-ever-after agistment near home.

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But now – my girl had no rideable horse. So – mum’s bank being obviously inexhaustible – we bought another one.  Pablo was no disabled pushover – he was a beautiful, good-natured, clever and thoroughly wilful beast who showed us who’s boss as soon as he got off his float.

Take Pablo for a walk on his lead rope? Sure – if you want to be nursing rope burn for a week while he canters off to do something more interesting. Saddle Pablo up for a ride? Maybe – unless he bucks his saddle off and gives it a kick for good measure. What about a nice trail ride with friends? Ok – but don’t get too cocky. You might just find yourself on your back while Pablo smugly enjoys an unscheduled meal break nearby. Don’t take it personally – it’s not you he doesn’t like, it’s being made to do Stuff.

IM000133.JPGWhich is all to say – horses are not my thing. Pablo was sold to a girl who had him too tired doing jumps to charge around farting his arse off (as was his wont). The Girl is now more interested in riding surfboards than horses. We still have our little Clipsie. I cherish my two dogs and a cat – confident that if they get pissed off with me, at least they don’t weigh half a ton.

Diablo is the story of Pablo – fictionalised, adapted and changed around a fair bit – but basically about a naughty horse and a girl who learns to deal with him – sort of – through a method called natural horsemanship. As the blurb says…

DIABLO cover

Would YOU buy a horse called Diablo? Seriously?
Kim is the world’s best parent pesterer. So when she pesters for a pony, she gets a pony. What she doesn’t know is that she’s just adopted an Evil Genius with only two things on his mind – hay, and World Domination. Having a horrible beast of a brother doesn’t help. Soon Kim realises the awful truth. There’s only room for one Boss in the paddock. Who is it going to be?

 

Diablo’s now on sale on Amazon in both Kindle and print versions. Ten percent of the proceeds of any sales will go to Horse Rescue Australia. Or – till 20 October – you can download it for free here from Instafreebie.

 

 

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One day you’ll realise how horrible you really are..

A letter to my children.

Who do you think does all the horrible shit in the world?

Serial killers, perhaps?  Evil dictators? Big Pharma and Peak Oil? Small men with big hair?

Sure they do.  But nobody can live the dream without help, and we’re the help.  If we were as nice as we think we are, these guys wouldn’t have a chance.  You really can’t have a nasty party if nobody comes.

Ok, let’s forget Big Evil and focus on Small Bad for a minute.  Have you ever said something really mean to someone? I have.  Have you ever promised someone you’d be there, and then, you weren’t?  Have you ever looked at a person you knew you should care about – but you didn’t? Wished someone dead? Wanted to actually, personally, make it so?  I have.

I just finished a book (Lily Brett’s Too Many Men, for info) where I didn’t like the heroine because she kicked a dog.  If a heroine is mean, I’d rather not read about her.  We probably all feel like that – we want to identify with someone who’s as nice, or nicer than, we are.  But I wonder if that’s because every one of us has a part that isn’t at all nice, that we don’t like to talk about or even admit to.  There are some heroines we don’t want to identify with, thanks very much.

Maybe you’re lovely through and through, and it’s just me.  Or maybe, like me, you have to live with the fact that you’re not that nice – that you’re an apple with a worm or two in it.  It’s a lot better than being a plateful of worms with apple sauce.

Someone I know says that we are not bad people – we’re good people who do bad things sometimes.  I wonder how many bad things do you have to do before you’re a bad person? Or perhaps it’s not just the quantity but the quality that distinguishes, say, me, from your bog standard Evil Maniac.

And then, sometimes I’m good.  Once, I waded into a teenage bus-stop fight to save some random kid from being beaten up.  Once, I spent six months of my life making an old lady’s dream of authorship come true (kind of).  I can be a hero.  And I can be an arsehole.

Hey, forget I said anything. You don’t have to go round carrying a sackful of guilt on your shoulder because you once hurt your mum’s feelings.  You aren’t Hitler.  But you will have to live with the harm you do, one way or another.  Try not to let your mud puddle become more mud than puddle.

If you’ve read this and enjoyed it, would you consider doing me a favour?  I need people to review my book The Wyndham Werewolf on Amazon – and it’s proving hard as finding hens’ teeth.  If you’d like to help a poor struggling author…head on over to Amazon and get yourself some karma. If not, I’ll still love you.

 

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You’ve killed us all!

This is what my partner loves to say when anyone stuffs up.  It is, of course, a joke.

My darling daughter, this post is for you.  You’ve killed us all!

I know you think you’ve failed because you made some plans, and they didn’t work out.  You think you’ve wasted your time.  You think you’ve flunked some sort of ‘getting out into the world’ test – like a baby bird who spreads her wings and nosedives into the nearest cactus.  You think other people (like me) would have done better.

Other people didn’t do better.  The list of my failures and fuckups is embarrassing – so embarrassing that I probably haven’t told you about them, and so you think they haven’t happened.  When I took the Big Overseas Trip, I got sacked – twice, and for very good reason.  I alienated people.  I bumbled myself into stupid situations and was lucky not to get killed.  I didn’t realise that even a beloved baby sister battening on the generosity of her big brother really ought to do some housework.  There were lots of things I didn’t realise. But the main thing is, I’m here to admit it.

The only real failure in life is the failure to learn.  If you’d spent a year of your life doing anything and come out the other end unchanged and unchastened – well, that’s a waste.  But you haven’t.  You’ve bravely tried things and they’ve gone belly up.  So what!  You’ve become more confident and self-reliant.  You can catch trains in strange places.  You can charm beastly uncles.  You can go a whole eight months without losing your passport (more than I did).  You now know what it is to be all by yourself.  You now know what you’d do next time, if it were all to do again.

And it will be. All to do again.  And you will do it all again, and you will do it better, because, this time, you did it worse.  In time, you’ll become a skilled, seasoned adventurer, like your mum (ahem).  Only more so.

You did good, and I’m proud of you.  Always.

And throwing this out there – what was your most embarrassing fail (that you’re willing to share!).

If you’ve read this and enjoyed it, can you consider doing me a favour?  I need people to review my book The Wyndham Werewolf on Amazon – and it’s proving hard as finding hens’ teeth.  If you’d like to help a poor struggling author…head on over to Amazon and get yourself some karma. If not, I’ll still love you!

 

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When to let your dragon play with fire

Will I – or won’t I?

Sometimes I get super pissed off.  If I was Kim Jong Un, I’d probably fire off a few missiles, just to let off steam.  Since I’m not, I see red..then pink, then beige, then it’s the next day and I’ve got other things to think about.  Until next time you really annoy me.

I find it really hard to explode.  Maybe it’s a life time of feeling like an underdog, like nobody’ll like me if I let my true feelings show – but if you offend me, I’ll probably give you a funny look, shrug, and go away to simmer quietly until the gas runs out.

Exploding is great.  Everyone looks at you, everyone knows exactly how you feel right now, and anytime you start giving off smoke like an eruption is imminent, people pack up and back off.

Not exploding is also great.  Blow up in an instant, repent at leisure.  When you lose your temper with people, they take things away – like their company, their useful advice on plumbing problems, their plan to provide you with mind-blowing sex that night.  Or sometimes, your job.  So it pays to sit tight on the lid of that pressure cooker.

But after years of sitting on that temper, I’ve lost the ability to just lose it.  I’ve become too cautious, too utilitarian.  I don’t tell people how it is, straight up, because it tastes too raw and rude.  I can’t scream and cuss.  I’m a sputtering match, a lighter with no gas.

“But we remember you shouting at us, mum! Will you fucking stop that right now you little…”.  Sure.  But it only lasted for a second.  And you’re my kids, so of course, I’m going to pull my punches.  But as for you – the outside world – I want to be able, sometimes, to tell you my true feelings, at the top of my voice and the height of my fury, and I want to be able NOT to regret it.  I want you to know what I think in no uncertain terms.  I want to unleash my dragon and shout ‘Dracaris!’.

But I don’t want you to hate me when I burn you up.  It’s a bind.

So all I’m saying is, think about it.  Keep your temper on a leash, but understand when it’s time to take it to the park and let it rip.

What do you think – when should you blow your top?

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Don’t worry about missing the life train, there’ll be another one along in a minute

A letter to my children…

It’s ok to spend your time grouching and moaning about the way things have worked out for you.  After all, it’s not like you’re on some incredible round-the-world trip you’ve saved up for years to afford, and you have to have a great time (and take plenty of photos) otherwise you’ll look like a complete idiot.

Actually, on the kind of trip most of us are on, we spend a third of our time sleeping, 5% on the loo, 8% waiting for stuff to happen, 10% driving to places, 10% watching mindless tv, and a whopping 36% earning enough currency so we can do it all again the next 24 hours.  And no, those figures don’t add up.

So why not whinge, get cranky with the neighbours, write letters to the paper about people with the wrong sexual orientation wanting to defile marriage as we know it, and lie down and have yourself a lovely sulk?  There’s plenty of time for all that, right?

Um, no.  If we fail Life, you don’t get another go at it.  And when I say fail, I don’t mean ‘fail to succeed’, I mean ‘fail to try’.   Sure, we can’t really live like every day is our last (because if it was, we’d spend every cent we had enjoying it, and then what would become of tomorrow?).  But we don’t want to live like we’re immortal, either.  I know you think they’ll invent the elixir of youth in a few years – but don’t count on it.

Me, I feel that the quality of my time matters.  I guess I feel that I matter.  I’m important enough to warrant the VIP Life Experience, which for me comes with the joy of creation, the rush of romantic love, and lots of bananas for my inner ape woman.  To me, you’re also a VIP – that goes without saying.   But this isn’t a prize you get because other people think you’re worth it.  This isn’t something to consider yourself entitled to.  This is something you give yourself – yes, and something you earn.

This is your once in a lifetime trip.  Don’t waste it.

What do you NOT want to regret, when you reach 99 (IF you reach 99. Here’s hoping!)

Like my writing? My new story collection, The Wyndham Werewolf, is available FREE here.  Or visit my website at www.fallaciousrose.com to download my free novel, Deeper.

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What can you do without?

A question for you.

When is a library not a library?

When you take away one book? When you take away a hundred books?  Or when you take away ALL the books – or is it, then, a library without any books?

You haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced what it is to live without.

Without, for instance, other people.  I live in the country.  All of my friends live in the city.  When my man (pictured above..well, more or less) goes away for a while, this is what happens –  first I get lonely, then I get used to it.  Finally, I get Strange.   I find that I don’t really need friends (until I do need them, that is).

Without washing.  I used to bathe once a week when I was a kid, once a day when I was a paper-pusher, and now I wash when I smell (which generally takes about four days.  Disgusted? Whatever.)

Without ‘the daily beauty routine’.  Trust me, it doesn’t make you any more beautiful (that would be impossible).  I don’t cleanse or tone and my skin is just fine. I slap on sunscreen and Sorbolene – set and forget.  Makeup is a thing of the past (but then, I don’t eat pizza either. If you eat pizza, makeup is essential.)

Without nice clothes.  I HAVE nice clothes, great overflowing chests of them – but you can’t wear a velvet dress to dig up weeds.  So I wear The Man’s jeans, instead (Levi 501s, as it happens).

Without books.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I can’t live without books.  (No problem for us, you say – but the world would be a desert without Youtube.)

Ok, so I haven’t yet had to live without things like legs, drinking water or a home – but such is the propensity of people to make the best of things that, if I did, I’d probably consider it instructive (if unpleasant – a bit like my highschool maths teacher).

But THEY don’t want you to do without.  The more you think you need, the more money you’ll spend to get it.  And make no mistake, I’m part of this evil empire.  I’m doing my best to convince anyone with a pulse that they need to read my latest novel.  They don’t (especially if, like so many people nowadays, they haven’t yet read War and Peace). But I need the money.

And that’s where living without comes in handy.  When you know you don’t really need it – whatever the latest ‘it’ is – you Have the Power! May the force be with you!

What can YOU do without? I’d love to hear.

Like my writing? Click here if you’d like a FREE copy of my new story collection, The Wyndham Werewolf – and don’t forget to let me know what you think of it (good or bad.  Go on, I can take it!)

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An orange is NOT an avocado

A letter to my children..

Oranges are round and, well….orange.  Avocados are green and squashy.

You may think this is obvious, my beloved ones, but you’d be surprised how many people think that an orange – with enough love, patience and hard work – can be turned into an avocado, and vice versa.

You probably read the story, somewhere, of the frog that gives a scorpion a lift across the river.   When the frog asks ‘but won’t you sting me?’ the scorpion says ‘no, of course not, then we’d both drown!’.  But whaddya know, they get to the middle of the river, the scorpion stings him, and they both start sinking.  ‘Hey,’ says the frog, ‘I thought you said you wouldn’t sting me!’.  ‘I’m a scorpion,’ gurgles the scorpion,  (who is underwater, by this time).

In fifty years I’ve learned how very true that is.  A person cannot be what they are not – not even if they yearn to be otherwise.  Not even if it costs them their marriage, not even if it costs them their life.  It’s no use pointing out to the cheat (or risk-taker, or wife-beater, or layabout, or drama queen) in your life, ‘hey, you’d better stop that or I’ll divorce you and take all your money!’.  They would if they could – but they can’t, any more than a bicycle can fly. (That said, occasionally I’ve met bicycles who can fly a short distance, like chickens.  Never say never.)

Time and time again, I’ve believed the promises of an orange.  For you, it’s said (with the utmost sincerity) I will be the greenest, squashiest avocado you’ve ever seen.  Yes I’ve been sceptical (hang on…is this peel or what?) but I just had this picture of me, at the perfect cafe, eating the perfect avocado, on the perfect toast, preferably with a water view.  So I brushed aside the evidence and looked at my orange through pea green glasses.  Yes it tasted funny on toast – but I’m the persevering type.

And looking at this from the other side of the shop window, I’ve often pretended to be an avocado myself – a kind, gentle, submissive fruit.  In fact, I’m a rose – tough, wilful, stubborn, and liable to stab you just when you’re least expecting it.

Enough of all that.  You can see what I’m getting at.  The point is, when it really matters, you need to see your fruit for who he (or she) is.  An orange is a lovely thing, cut into wedges or juiced in the morning and served with coffee.  It just doesn’t go on toast, so if your dream is about toast – don’t hook up with an orange.  And lest you think this is all about who you hook up with – it’s not.  It applies equally to best friends, business partners, and people who say things like ‘sure I’ll drive carefully when YOU’RE in the car.’

Don’t blame people for who they are.  SEE them for who they are.

love

mum

 

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A letter to my children: pick the pretty one!

I always thought that if you got something for a reason (like, to sit on, or cook with, or drink out of), it didn’t matter how it looked.  I mean, it’s a toaster for chrissake! (or a couch, or a table.  Whatever.)

But recently, thanks to The Man, I had an epiphany.  Just because a thing is useful doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty.  Or, as I generally prefer, weird.  Purple toaster? Yes!

Too many people live with plastic and metal, red bricks and Bauhaus.  You don’t have to get your plates in plain white or flowered forgettable from KMart or the discount rack at the op shop – you can make every plate an artistic choice, a unique delight.  You don’t have to paint your walls in beige, so that whoever buys your place in ten years’ time can ‘imagine’ themselves into it……they’re just going to stick with the same beige so that whoever buys the place from THEM can ‘imagine’…and so on.  Turn imagination into reality and colour your surroundings pink, scarlet, aquamarine and gold…or, sure, if your tastes run that way, beige.

Most common household objects come in ‘ordinary’, ‘elegant’ and ‘mysterious’.  I urge you to pick mysterious – that kettle with the dragon handle, that candlestick right out of a Victorian melodrama.  With any luck, if you surround yourself with the right accouttrements, Count Udolfo will turn up.  Or a gaggle of sex-starved vampiras, if you prefer.

Which brings me to civic architecture.  Is anyone going to walk by the local council chambers in 200 years time and say, look at those beautiful archways!  No.  Because we build our municipal buildings, our warehouses and commercial premises, for comfort and cost, not to uplift our souls and rival the Mona Lisa.  But can’t we do both, as they somehow managed back in 15th century Dubrovnik?

Anyhow, gone are my days of choosing sofas simply by sitting on them and then saying ‘this’ll do’ – or buying anything at all from Harvey Norman.  Black leather jackets are timeless badassery, but black leather lounge suites are boring as hell and cold as eternity. Who in their right mind would pick a vinyl identi-couch when they can have the patchwork extravaganza above (care of https://au.pinterest.com/pippaconnolly/creative-upholstery/)?

 

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What you can learn from your neighbourhood psychopath…

A letter to my children…

People are like buffets.  You know how, when you come down for breakfast in a big hotel chain, they have a long table at the side with lots of nice things to eat on it – five different kinds of cereal, brown, white and pumpkin-seed toast, eggs poached and scrambled, Bircher Muesli, big swirly tubs of fruit juice and yogurt……you get the picture.  You never know what’s going to be on offer, but it’s usually fancier than what you get at home. Then maybe the next time you go shopping, you think, maybe I’ll branch out – try coconut yogurt on smashed mango instead of the old Weetbix and toast!

To put it another way, other people are like an open university.  You can study any subject you like, for free, and add it to your portfolio.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and also a cheap (and non-habit forming) way to become a more effective person.  For instance….

I grew up with not much idea about how to socialise with people.  My parents were Bircher Muesli (healthful, tasty, great values) – but I missed out on bacon and eggs.  So when I ventured out into the Great World, I had to study Basic People Skills.  The first subject I audited was called Elizabeth.  I was awed by her ability to talk for hours on end with barely any response required – whereas I was too shy to get out more than a couple of sentences.  I’ve got to learn how to run on like that, I said to myself – so I did.

For wit and charm, I got myself a plate of a woman called Sian (you notice the mixed metaphors? That’s on purpose.  Rules are there to be broken).  From Sian, I learned that charming people is all about making them feel that THEY are the sole focus of your attention, the most fascinating and delightful person you’ve met all week.  I did as well as can be expected, without plenty of application but not so much natural talent (and mendacity). I passed.

And so on, through life.  You meet someone, you think ‘I wish I was a bit more like that’, you take note of the essential points, and lo and behold – a little bit of THEM turns into a little bit of YOU.  I’m not trying to turn you into budding young psychopaths who see people as nothing more than useful (or not) to their evil plans. But –

There is wisdom even in psychopathy.  People are much, much more than tools for learning – or dishes to be ingested and digested.  But there’s nothing wrong with nibbling a little of her, a little of him, sampling a someone of every flavour.  Go on, indulge your inner cannibal, my beloved ones – you’ll be better for it.

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Forget the mouth, it’s all about the feet

To my children,

I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for words.  I believe almost anything anyone tells me, especially if it’s nice.  For years I believed that those little windmill things you see in fields in the country were to keep the cows cool (nope, they’re for bore water).  Ok, I was only ten.

I believe – if a man says so – that I’m the most beautiful woman in the room, that he would walk a thousand miles just to spend an hour in my company, and that he is really sorry and will never do it again.  I also believe – if I say so myself – that I’ll write a thousand words a day, become well organised, and never lose my temper.

Words, words, words, as Hamlet said.  Sometimes I think it would be an advantage to be deaf and dyslexic – on the same principle as Odysseus tying himself up to the mast and sticking plugs in his ears when he sailed past the Sirens.  What I’ve learnt, is that it’s feet, not lips, that tell the real story.

Metaphorically, that is.  I’ve learned that it’s best to believe what people do, not what people say.  Say that man who said he’d walk a thousand miles for me – turned out he wouldn’t even go down the shops for a packet of panadol (‘what…walk?’).  Plenty of people will tell you they love you (because you’re beautiful and brilliant) but you can pick the ones who really do.  They’re the ones who make you dinner when you’re sick, and drive all night to rescue you from a highway breakdown, and make nice with your cat and your kid and your mother because they know how much YOU love them, even if they don’t.

The person you’ve got to watch the most is you.  You are always trying to bullshit yourself.  I tell myself I’m a writer – but whenever I get the chance, I don’t rush to the computer to write.  Instead, I potter.  So actually, I’m not a writer – I’m a potterer.  I tell myself that I’m going to start eating salad and fruit every day and going for long walks, just as soon as I move to the country – and whaddya know?  Here I am in the country and I STILL don’t like salad, fruit and long walks.

Some body language guru claimed you can tell if people at a party want to be stuck with you by looking at the direction their feet are pointed in.  If their feet are headed for the fridge but their face is pointed in your direction – pretty soon they’re going to come out with that age-old line ‘well, nice to have met you….I think I’ll get myself another drink’. Same goes for life.  We are what we do, not what we say.  You aren’t a lead guitarist stuck in the body of a truck driver.  You’re a truck driver.

Until you get up on that stage with your guitar, that is.

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