Structural Workshop with the Divine Dr @KathrynHeyman – #SydneyWritersFestival

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If loving Kathryn Heyman is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. There, I said it. Everyone else in the Structural Intensive workshop hosted by the Sydney Writers’ Festival was thinking it, I just said it. You would be hard pressed to find a more dynamic presenter, and the best bit was, that Dr Heyman had substance to back it up. I’ll be perfectly honest, I am not going to detail everything that she covered, partly because I wouldn’t do it justice, and partly because if you want to truly learn from Kathryn Heyman then you need to go and do a workshop/course/mentorship with her yourself. What you get out of a course is a deeply personal thing because we are all on different paths in this writing journey. BUT this would be the world’s shortest blog if I gave nothing away for free so here goes…

One of the first sound bites that really moved me was when Kathryn Heyman said, “Your fear drives why you write.” Now I’ve heard, “if it scares you do it,” “go where the fear is,” and all those other common things before but on that cold, wet, Friday, where I had arrived drenched, late, with a slightly broken umbrella and the memory of my kids crying ringing through my brain, this phrasing, and this women really hit home. For me, I’d got my money’s worth all in that one hit. Because, I’ll let you in on a little secret, come closer, even closer, shhhh, closer, I’m going to whisper this so listen carefully, every single novel I have written deals with exactly the same issue, no matter what the genre or target audience. My chick lit novel coming out in July has a main character who has an intelligent, and quirky main character who happens to have incredibly low self-esteem so can make some pretty dumb choices. My children’s novel coming out next year has a very confident main character but the backstory that never gets explicitly covered is that the mother is deeply scarred and traumatized individual trying to be that super mum who gets everything right. Memoir From the Madhouse (I’ve never shared an excerpt from that so will pop it at the end of this) looks at why we are who we are, how our past demons drive us. I could go on but in a nutshell, I write women’s fiction, no matter the genre, no matter the age range, and the story is always – What happened to the little girl that nobody loved. Fuck, I hope she turned out okay. Until Kathryn Heyman said, “Your fear drives what you write,” I did not realise that I had written the exact same story over and over again as I grappled with my fear. It’s kind of liberating to know that I am on a cathartic journey. It’s even more liberating to know that I love that story and I will tell it over and over again, in as many ways as I like until I am ready to put that issue to bed. Because that story needs to be told. That story needs to be told not just for me but for all those little girls. I’ll keep speaking out. I’ll keep publishing for you. I hope you will join me.

Now I think you can understand what I meant by saying that this writing gig is a deeply personal journey and you have to go sit at Dr Heyman’s feet yourself to get what you need. However, I won’t be a total spoil sport, there were plenty of general things that were good for everyone. Mainly, it really helps to have a concrete, physical manifestation of conceptual matter. So if there is an obstacle, how about getting another character to embody that. If you have some sort of transformation make sure there is some sort of event or location that can act as a metaphor rather than having it all inside the character’s head. If the character has an internal desire, give it a physical manifestation, as in what action or situation would demonstrate that the desire had been met or totally failed. I’m leaving it there because as I keep saying, you have to go learn from Kathryn Heyman yourself in order to get the real benefit.

 

As promised, and true to my blog’s about section, unedited, unkempt, and untamed, here is an excerpt from Memoir from the Madhouse.

 

I am running, running faster than I’ve ever run before. The cold from the dew damp ground runs up my bare legs and covers my naked body with goose pimples. But still I run on. The warmth is fleeting, the wind is chasing me, and they are hunting me. I run naked in the cold dark night and all the while I think – I’m not crazy, I’m not crazy.

Out of my periphery I see a nurse approaching me. I let out a delirious laugh and keep on running.

‘Run, run, run as fast as you can…’

The wind whips away my words and I still run on. The ground starts to gently slope downwards and in the darkness I lose my bearings. I trip. I roll. Arms and legs flail at impossible angles. The world slows down as sky and earth blur into one. I smile and think about what has brought me here, starkers, in the dead of night, chasing demons, in the psychiatric hospital’s grounds.

 

6 Hours Earlier

I sit in Consultation Room 2 staring at my psychiatrist. I have no idea what he is saying. His voice is so soft that I can only make out every second sentence if I’m lucky. Regardless I nod like I understand. I don’t want him to think I’m rude or worse, stupid. My constantly interrupting to say, ‘Eh?’ or, ‘What?’ only results in him repeating his mumbles anyway. So instead I just nod along like I agree.

‘Are you anxious about going home tomorrow?’ Finally a sentence I can hear.

‘No,’ I lie.

Of course I’m anxious. I’ve got newborn twins and a two year old. They’re hard work. I have to somehow keep on functioning, no, mumctioning, despite the fact that the twins won’t sleep, which means I can’t sleep either. All work and no sleep makes Robin a dull girl. Perhaps they could be trained to settle one another. One cries and the other rubs their back, then they roll over and swap jobs. That’d be pretty sweet but although I’m in the nuthouse even I know that won’t happen.

‘Really?’ my psychiatrist raises an eyebrow. ‘Last time you were supposed to go home you had such an anxiety attack that we had to transfer you to a medical hospital.’

I shrug. More words are spoken that I nod thoughtfully along too. God only knows what I’ve agreed to in these sessions.

‘Do you like cap guns and pillows?’ Nods in agreement.

‘Do you still wet the bed?’ Nods thoughtfully.

‘Do you have a Christ complex?’ Nods politely.

‘Do you like the smell of your own farts?’ Nods vigorously.

He probably thinks I’m the biggest psycho to ever have graced this Crackpot’s with Babies Unit. No doubt I’ve inadvertently agreed to having a fetish for gingerbread men, partaking in cock fighting as a chicken, and having to burp three times every time I hear the word purple lest the world ends. Not surprising that Doctor Huang is so shocked by my casual attitude.

Truth be told I’m just quietly packing shit. My husband and I have arranged for a babysitter to come for a few hours a day during baby rush hour. 4 – 7 sucks with the under threes. They’re cranky, they need baths, they need dinner and they need to go to bed. Times that by three and I seriously struggle. The babysitter coming at these times doesn’t help me rest. Just helps me make sure none of my kids are neglected. I want to rest. We can’t afford rest. Fucking money.

‘A lot can change in a week.’

3 Days Ago

I look across at a sea of nervous faces. The first art therapy class is always nerve wracking and everyone but me is new. I can see the fear in their eyes as they undoubtedly struggle with how to ‘art’ correctly. No guidelines are given in art therapy. No set topics, goals, images or even materials. It’s the only time us crazies get left to our own devices. Everything else is regimented down to the same potatoes, broccoli and crinkle cut carrots that accompany every single meal. Lasagne with potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Tacos with potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Sang Choi Bow with potatoes, broccoli and carrots. No doubt one of the nutters with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has been put in the kitchen and all he can do is plate up those same three vegetables no matter how poorly they go with the rest of the meal. One day at a time buddy, one day you’ll be able to put up different vegetables. But art therapy is different. You simply just art whatever you want. Being that all of us are mums are so busy catering to everyone else most of us have forgotten how to think of what we want. Sometimes the simplest things are the most daunting.

I sit and make very simple jewellery. Those around me try to paint or draw. Rookie mistake. I tried that in my first class too, everybody does. But soon they’ll all come to realise that being genuinely creative is hard when you’ve gone completely mental with anxiety. Looping beads on a thread is much easier. Gives me a chance to be ‘mindful.’ ‘Mindfulness’ is super important. I’ve been told to practice it three times today already.

‘I’m feeling anxious.’

‘Try practicing mindfulness.’

‘The hot water isn’t working.’

‘Have you tried mindfulness?’

‘I need to go to the toilet.’

‘Don’t forget to practice your mindfulness.’

Unfortunately I’m a bit of a thinker, not a great one but I do think a fair bit, so don’t really do mindfulness that well. This once a week beading exercise is as close as I get. I stare at the beads. I count the beads. I sort the beads. I thread the beads. I am a clear blue bead. I am a bracelet.

Shhhhhhck, shhhhhck, shhhhhhhhhhhck. The woman to my right is slowly tearing up what she has just arted.

‘You going to do some decoupage or collage, Ruby?’

She looks at me with her squished up, chubby face full of lament, ‘It isn’t perfect.’

Looking at her disastrous haircut I find it hard to believe she really is a perfectionist. Admittedly I’m sitting here next to Ruby as a slipper footed bedraggled mess. But I’ve never claimed to be anything short of walking chaos. My husband calls me a nightmare of self-discipline. I pour too much juice into cups, I drink around eight cups of tea a day and I love shoes just a little too much. We don’t even have a shared bank account as he fears I’ll blow all our money on sparkly things. Me, perfection? No way.

I pick up one of the slivers of paper and look at splotches of green and grey. It isn’t recognisably anything.

‘What is it?’

She looks at me like the uncultured buffoon I am.

‘It’s an abstract about Mary mourning the loss of her son.’

I look at the remaining slivers and frown. How can an abstract not be ‘perfect?’ It’s not like she was drawing something real. It’s not like you can look at the real thing and say, ‘Nope, not even close.’ I don’t get it. Scribbles are by their very nature imprecise so how can she want hers to be ‘perfect.’ I think all this but instead I simply say, ‘Oh.’

She sighs.

‘I don’t expect you to understand.’ Her face begins to redden and her neck fat trembles. Is she angry or embarrassed? I don’t know. ‘I love art and I’m really good at it so unless it’s perfect I can’t stand to look at it. I’ve got high standards for myself.’

Then what the fuck is going on with your mismatching outfit and foul body odour. I of course don’t say that. As usual I just nod.

‘So how much stuff do you finish?’

‘Well nothing yet,’ she snaps.

Yet again I nod as if I understand but I don’t. Surely it would be better to finish something rather than continually scrap everything for minor imperfections. Heck Michelangelo’s women looked like dudes with melons strapped to their chest but he’s considered so brilliant that there was even a Ninja Turtle named after him. All sounds like an excuse to me. She’s a lot like my students. Kids who pretend not to try so that they can claim they didn’t really fail. They have failed though. They’ve doubly failed, failed at the task and failed at bettering themselves. This may not be high school and this may not be a test but it sure seems like the same thing to me.

‘I’m gonna do a stencil instead,’ she says as she gets up to leave.

‘Can I have these?’ I point at the scraps, she shrugs and walks off.

I take that as a yes. I grab some gold cardboard and some glue and set about some mindless busy work. Time ticks by but I barely notice as I am being so ‘mindful.’

 

‘Okay ladies, ten minutes to go. Let’s do our debrief.’ The art therapist’s voice brings me back to unmindfullness. ‘How about we start with you Robin. How was today for you?’

‘Yeah, it was nice.’ I nod non committally and shrug. ‘I made another bracelet for my daughter.’ I hold up my study in blue and jingle it out in front of me for all to see. Perhaps if I make enough bracelets the guilt of not being with her will go away. I’m not sure there are enough beads in the world. I love her, I miss her. I wish I was holding her not the bracelet.

‘And how did that feel?’

‘It felt alright.’ I shrug. I hope they think that I’m casual and don’t care. I hope they all can’t see how awful I feel about not being able to have my daughter with me as well as my boys. I miss you my little Star Child. I should have put a star charm instead of an angel on the bracelet. I am stupid. I wanted her to know I was always looking out for her and she was loved. The bracelet should have had a charm that represented her not me. I am selfish, I am a cow. ‘It’s nice to be able to do something for my daughter even though we can’t be together. I hope she likes it.’

We move onto the woman to my left. She looks every inch the stereotypical mum. Slightly unkempt, wavy, blonde bob, dusty pink top, pale blue jeans with an elastic waist, all accessorised with a smile that is twitching with uncertainty. Why is she in here? How could someone so obviously the perfect mum be in a place like this?

‘I really enjoyed it.’ Shaky smile. ‘It reminds me of being in high school.’ Furtive glance at the art therapist. She seems to be checking in to make sure what she is saying is okay. ‘I went to an all-girls school so it was a lot like this. Just sitting about chatting with a bunch of girls.’

‘And was this a positive or negative memory for you?’

The woman’s smile becomes a little steadier. She’s beginning to look like a mischievous cat.

‘Yeah, I loved high school. Particularly art.’ I nod thoughtfully in response. I thought high school was a mouldy arsed death trap but I nod thoughtfully at everything. It’s what I do, it’s my thing.

‘I wasn’t good at it but our art teacher would start every class from Cosmo and we loved it.’

We all laugh.

‘You would have gotten a lot of important art lessons from that,’ the diva looking mumma sitting across from me laughs. Her fake fingernails are drumming out a beat on the table for her large hoop earrings to dance about too like some sort of crazy disco. I worry that her head will get cut off by those giant circles of death clashing about her neck. Fuck, I really should have kept my Senior First Aid up to date.

‘Who cares,’ Cat shoots back. ‘We were only interested in the sealed section.’ We all laugh again. Nothing like those sealed sections when you haven’t got the faintest idea what sex is.

‘I loved Dolly,’ the acrylic percussionist pitches in. She’s clearly interested in the conversation now. I should have known she would be. Saucy minx.

‘Dolly Doctor, always the best source of bizarre info,’ I chip in.

We stare at each other smiling. We are having a moment.

‘Doesn’t seem like a very appropriate thing for a teacher to do.’ A pastor’s crackpot wife is unimpressed.

The Cat and the Diva begin to falter and look down at their hands guiltily. Our moment is fading. I don’t want it to fade.

‘She’s probably just getting her own back,’ I pipe up. ‘Students come up with the filthiest thing these days.’ I’m a high school teacher so I should know what I’m talking about. ‘In my third year of teaching the kids came to my class after they’d been given boxes of condoms in PE.’ The room is quiet, all eyes on are on me. Sex sells. ‘In the box of condoms they had instructions and even some rather tasteful diagrams of different positions to try.’

‘See that’s my mistake,’ the Cat says. ‘I need to show my husband the diagrams.’

The Diva starts shaking with laughter. A snort escapes from her nose. We all laugh even harder.

‘I didn’t even know they had diagrams.’

‘Neither did I, until one of my kids wandered up to my desk to show me. He then asked me what my favourite position was.’ The room is in shocked silence. Have I gone too far?

‘It’s called the dead starfish kids.’ I am saved by Cat’s impeccable comedic timing.

My eyes are stinging, tears are streaming down my face because I am laughing so hard. ’How did you know?’ I manage to gasp out.

The Cat, the Diva and the Robin stare at each other laughing. We have bonded. We are Nuthouse BFFs. But the class is over so the laughter must pause.

I turn and lightly touch the frumpy perfectionist on the arm. She startles as if I just licked her up the nostril. ‘Here’s your artwork.’ I hand her the scraps of paper pieced together on gold card. Seams of gold run through her original image somehow enhancing the original image. Broken but more beautiful. She stares at me uncomprehending. Maybe she’s annoyed I put it back together or maybe she hasn’t had someone do something nice for her before. ‘It’s a bit like Kintsugi.’ Her eyebrow twitches. I guess I’m not the uncultured bogan she mistook me for. I’m possibly not the uncultured buffoon I mistook myself for.

She takes the artwork with shaking fingers and stares at it for a full minute. ‘Thank you. I will put this on my wall.’

I’ve had two moments in this art class now. I prefer the funny one. I am more comfortable with jokes.

 

5 Days Ago

The light fills the cold dark group therapy room with greyness. I don’t know how this room does it, but it somehow manages to twist warm golden rays of light into cold greyness. That’s a skill right there. Well I guess transformations are supposed to happen in this room. Maybe it’s a metaphor for dulling the spark of insanity into monotonous uniformity. Maybe I’ll become as grey as the light and the chairs in this room. Maybe my husband will finally like me once I’ve sucked up this room and become one with it via osmosis. Why did he marry me if he hates people having opinions and emotions? All he wants is someone to fade away and fit in. Hell he wouldn’t even let me put my own furniture or cutlery into our apartment because his was ‘better.’ Everything of his is always ‘better.’ Not sure how his tacky chipped plates and discoloured glasses are ‘better’ than my pristine white sets of china. I mean they’re certainly less dusty now that mine have been relegated to storage but ‘better’? What the fuck does ‘better’ mean?

‘Mwafafafaolp?’

Shit, I’ve been off day dreaming again. Thinking about myself. I’m always thinking about myself. Why am I so self-obsessed. I should be thinking about whatever the Therapists says we’re thinking about today but I’m too busy thinking about some fucking plates. Fuck it I’ll just nod. I’m a smart cookie, pretty sure I can catch on. I look at the whiteboard. It’s full of hieroglyphs. I squint, ah good, they’re words.

CBT

ABC

  • Activating Event
  • Belief
  • Consequence

 

 

Faboo, I know all about this stuff. Thank you Martin Seligman. You’ve come in handy for faking my way through assignments and now therapy. So what are we doing this ABC on? I squint at the board again. I swear I’m going blind. Does PND cause blindness? Is this another metaphor? Is this the mother fucking metaphor room? What the fuck is going on. Focus.

 

  • You’re baby is crying

 

B-

Seriously…. You’re… Don’t you mean Your? It’s just a ‘typo’ move on with you’re life and do what they want. Pretentious bitch. They’re wanting us to give the B. Just do it. Time to scribble in my notebook. If you can’t be productive you may as well look it.

My baby is sad

            I have to fix my baby

            I don’t know how to fix my baby

            I’m doing something wrong

            I’m a bad mother

            I’m not a good enough parent

Cool beans. All done. May as well move onto some C’s

I’m anxious and get very distressed and tired. I start to get angry at myself. I become unpleasant company. My daughter will get upset because I’m upset with the boys not sleeping and my husband will lecture me on not being able to ‘just keep cracking’ and tell me some offensive stories on what a magnificent parent he is and how he has routines and systems in place that make everything flow easily… flow easily into the kids crying more and not getting any sleep but whatever. My husband hates me. We get a divorce. The kids are permanently scarred and never have a happy home life and become destitute crack users.

May as well move into the disputing of this because they always want that.

The kids will stop crying, I have better luck with them than anyone else, my husband may have routines but they take so long that the kids miss out on their needs being met so my way is ok, he hasn’t left me yet so he probably wouldn’t.

I look around, the busty, hair lipped, accountant across from me is still writing away, the fat house wife is still staring into space. She won’t write anything. She’s too lazy. The angelic blonde across from me is biting her fingernails nervously. She probably won’t write until the rest of us talk. She’s clearly an actress doing research. Nobody is that perfect and that blonde all the time. She’s even nervously biting her fingernails in a dainty way. I look like a rabid mongoose who hasn’t had a snake in days when I bite mine. Who does she think she’s kidding? For God Sake it’s 10am and she’s wearing makeup. Who the fuck wears makeup at this hour. I look around again. Shit. I’m the only one not wearing makeup. I’m also the only one with bare feet. Fuck them, they don’t know how to do crazy. If they have enough time to put their war paint on then they don’t have problems. Fucking fakers the lot of them.

‘So what are our beliefs?’

A thick German accent makes me leap out of my seat a little. Whoops, day dreaming again. I wonder if the German therapist is another metaphor. Not sure what of, but it’ll come to me if I think long enough…

SILENCE.

… maybe it’s those hideous happy pants that are a metaphor. That happiness is really a disgusting mess and it’s better to be grey. Grey like my husband’s hair. Grey like my husband’s heart…

Holy fuck burgers people. SAY SOMETHING!!! This is death by silence. Ugh, so awkward.

‘That I’m not looking after my boys’ right.’ Fuck it. I’ll break the damn silence. Bitches! They probably think that I dominate every therapy session because I always talk. Well it’s their fault not mine. Can’t believe those bitches judge me. It’s not like their shit don’t stink. They’re in here too. Stop staring at me. Stop judging me. Ahhhhhhh. A giant, wet gulp escapes the hairy accountant’s snout.

‘Yes, yes.’ She looks at me with red eyes that are probably usually blue in the real world. ‘That’s exactly how I feel. I can’t do it right. I’m not a good enough mother. I’m not good enough for her. I don’t know why I’m so bad at this. I’m supposed to be her mother. I should be able to do this.’

I don’t know what is more repugnant. The combination of snot and tears beading in her moustache, the fact that she has a moustache or that she seems to be mirroring my own sick twisted mind. I look down at my hands. How can she see into my soul? Does she feel this way or is she mocking me. Looking at her pallid face and her slumped form I know that she isn’t faking it. She and I are the same. I’m petite and perky looking, and she looks like a sack of potatoes that has been worn away by the ravages of time and circumstance but we are the same. She knows how to do crazy. She’s awesome. She’s my mirror. I want to hug her. I want to tell her it’s okay. I want to tell her babies cry. Because they do. But how can I hug her and tell her that when I don’t do it to me. Shit. A tear is escaping from my eye. I better brush at it roughly, pretend I am picking lint out of my eye. Phew, that’s fooled everyone. They’ll think I’m not weak as piss now. Just a speck of dust, not tears. I’m okay. Move on people. Keep on going with your lives. Nothing to see here.

‘That they’re doing it to annoy me.’ Chubster speaks up. She’s always got a weird perspective. I think she hates her kids or something. Seriously thinks everyone is out to annoy her.

‘I don’t think she’s trying to annoy me. I think I’m annoying her. She’s not the problem, I am.’

Preach hairy snozzled sister. You are so inside my mind. Fuck I feel sorry for you. It’s a nightmare living in such a hateful head. I nod supportively at her. She probably can’t support herself so I’ll do it. Somebody has to support me. I mean her. Somebody has to support her.

‘Yeah, but your kids aren’t as clingy and needy as mine.’ Shut up Chubster. Your kids are fine. Stop being so mean. Why do mums have to blame their kids for everything? My kid ruined my figure, my career, my dreams. Fuck off. We, I mean, they, don’t need that kind of guilt. Can’t the kid be your new dream, can’t I, shit, THEY, have added to your life and enriched it not taken it away. Stop being so self-obsessed Robin. What is with all this I shit? She’s a whiney bitch because she’s mean to her kids, not because of anything to do with me. What is my problem? Why do I always make everything about me? I’m such a narcissist. My mother and sister are right. I’m an arrogant, self-deluded, egotistical, narcissistic bitch. I make everything about me. I sicken me. I have issues. Oh yeah, I’m in the nuthouse. I definitely have issues. Bigger issues than can be fixed in four weeks here. I could spend a year in here and still come out completely fucked. May as well just go home and get on with it. Me being fucked is no excuse to make my daughter all insecure and equally fucked. She needs her mum. She needs to know Mummy will be there for her always. That’s what mums do. They be there. I’m not there. I’m here indulging my pathetic self when I should just ‘crack on’ and be a parent. Grow up Robin.

‘So we’ve got two very different answers here.’ No shit Sherlock. Are group therapists paid to state the obvious? Are they even qualified? Or are they just here to make sure we don’t start flinging poop at each other? ‘So what do you think the different core beliefs are?’ Eh? ‘Robin, you look confused.’ Of course I’m fucking confused, we’re supposed to do Consequences now. I’ve written up consequences. I’ve done the right thing. Why is she doing it wrong?

‘I thought C was for consequences, not core beliefs.’

‘It is, we’re just taking a different direction at the moment.’ A different direction? How can you just go off in a different direction without warning people? What the hell is your problem? We’re crazy people here. We need routine and structure and… and… tethering in order to keep us confined and out of harm’s way.

‘What’s a core belief?’ It’s what the message you tell yourself is. It’s why you react to situations the way you do. It’s why when faced with a crying baby you have one reaction where as someone else may have entirely another. Our core beliefs inform our beliefs about our individual situations.’

I nod dumbly along. Fuck, now I have to master a new thing to write down. How the heck am I ever going to pass this if they keep changing what I have to do?

‘That I’m not a good mum.’ Snot and tears come flying from the direction of my moustached mirror. She heaves forward over her heaving bosom and sobs. Great big gulping sobs. She’s about as pretty as I am when I cry. Fuck we’re hideous. I nod. Yeah. Sounds about right.

‘What about you?’ Our therapist is looking at the Chubbed Avoider.

‘I don’t know.’ She pauses and then sighs loudly. ‘With me it’s not the same. I know I’m a good mum, my kids are just a pain. Like I like everything to be orderly and they deliberately mess everything up. It’s so annoying. So I guess my core belief is that my kids are annoying, but that’s because they are.’

The therapist pauses for a moment. I can see that even her happy pants are starting to look a little less happy.

‘That’s not exactly a core belief. It’s about what you think of yourself rather than others.’

Chubby sighs and rolls her eyes. She begins staring off into space. She’s done for the session. Once she gets disagreed with or an alternate viewpoint she always has a hissy fit and tunes out. She’s such a brat.

‘Maybe it’s that you think everyone is out to get you.’ Whoa, Robin. Think it don’t say it. What is up with me today? Saucer of milk much.

‘No!’ Chubby breaks out of her space break. She is defiant, she is cross, she is obviously guilty. I raise my palms up in order to show I come in peace. She stares off again.

‘How about a new circumstance.’ The therapist is clearly trying to ease tension. Me and my big mouth. No wonder everybody hates me. ‘You’re stuck in traffic and running late, thoughts?’

‘I should have planned better.’ Get out of my head bearded lady. Our minds are so one. It’s like she’s saying stuff before I can even think it. We are the same. I nod vigorously. We look at Chubster, nothing. Space Invaders is still playing.

‘But you can’t control traffic.’ The Therapist offers.

‘No, but you can control yourself, and use logic to know what rout to take and that there are a possibility of accidents and so you should know how early to leave.’ I’m feeling quite adamant about this. I hate getting stuck in traffic. I hate making stupid mistakes over and over again. Wrong time to leave, wrong route, wrong lane. Augh. Driving is a nightmare. And don’t get to parking. I manage to screw that up too. I screw everything up.

‘You can’t anticipate everything.’

‘Probably some dickhead driving to slow just to annoy me.’ And she’s back, and as paranoid as ever. Nut.

‘No, obviously I know I’m not psychic, I just mean I should plan better.’ Bearded lady nods in agreement with me. I feel like we’re mentally high fiving, whilst Chubster is mentally head butting the walls.

‘Sounds like you seem to blame yourself no matter the circumstance. Baby cries, your fault, stuck in traffic, your fault. What do you think that says about your core beliefs?’

Oh my God. I can’t get my pen to write fast enough. Either the world has frozen or it’s sped up but I have to write. I have to write this out quicker. I can’t get this down quick enough.

I can’t do anything right, I poison everything I touch, I’m not good enough, I’m not enough enough, I am a bad person, I don’t deserve to be happy, I deserve to be punished, I AM AN EVIL PIECE OF SHIT.

 

Book Review: The Wish List by MELANIE LA’BROOY through @PenguinBooksAus #AWW2015

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thewishlist_ausnzThe Wish List by Melanie La’Broody is stereotypical Chick Lit, as is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice so there is certainly no shame in that. Who doesn’t want a slice of Mr Darcy? It has fresh modern writing and a modern setting which gives it a lovely sense of newness without having to bend over backwards with shock tactics in order to entertain a reader. It is good, simple fun, with a bit of sexy sexing, which we’ve all come to expect from our modern Chick Lit. Lizzie and Dracy may have set readers’ pulses raising with prolonged glances and so much slow blinking but todays reader needs a little more. So for an entertain read set it Melbourne with some fun and romance you can’t really go past The Wish List. Enjoy. I did. I adore the nods to fairytale romance and classic love stories.

Recommended for anyone after a light, funny read. Get your tissues ready because you will laugh that hard.

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Prepublication: What Happens in Book Club…

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As those of you who have read my ABOUT section will know it states that this blog is – “The works of Robin Riedstra unedited, unchecked, unkempt and totally untamed. Read them if you dare travel through the grammatical jungle.” So I thought I should give you a sneak peek at roughly the first 5,000 words prior to editing. Typos, grammos, and the occasional just plain wrongo, all there. I think you’ll still have plenty of fun reading it. Will post a link when the editing is finalized and the book is live on Amazon.

What happens in Book Club… is unashamedly Commercial Fiction for Women. I am a woman, I write stories that I’d like to read. So if you hated all things Bridget Jones, Pride and Prejudice, Devil Wears, Jane Eyre, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Wuthering Heights, and Sex in the City… For the love of your sanity read no more! What Happens in Book Club… opens at the end of Gwyn’s book club’s meeting about Fifty Shades, it is awkward to say the least and the women decide that they need a year of classics to cleanse their minds. But unfortunately this doesn’t help Gwyn, who now seems to see sex and sexy sexing in every text she reads. Mr Rochester, Mr Clerval and Mr Bingley never looked so good… and so bad. :-(

Warning: Contains a sexy silver fox and my love of my hometown Sydney is very apparent. Think of it as Sex in the SYDNEY. Lol.

What happens in Book Club…

Bookclub cover websiteIt was over. We all stared at each other in awkward silence. The dirty deed had been done, empty wine glasses sat on the dingy bar table between us and we did not quite know how to move forward from this point. There needed to be empty shot glasses lined up as far as the eye could see for the women in the book club to be able to meet each other’s gazes again.

‘I think now that Fifty Shades is done we should cleanse our loins with a classic of some sort,’ Selene finally broke the silence. She was the leader of our little book club. Bright red lipstick, slick black hair, and dark brown eyes. If she would just wear a short black dress instead of business suits, she would fit right in on the set of a Robert Palmer video.

‘I think about a year of strong women is in order,’ Mac agreed vigorously. Her face was almost as red as her hair. She dabbed absentmindedly at a wine stain on the frilly long sleeved blouse she was favouring of late. It must be another pirate phase or failing that Shakespeare?

The rest of us still just stared at our hands too embarrassed to look at one another. Some had flicked through Fifty Shades and only read the sexy bits, desperados; some had flicked past the sexy scenes, prudes; and others had stopped reading because the sentence structure made their brains hurt, snobs. Either way, Fifty Shades had stirred up something inside of us that nobody wanted to name or discuss. Our book club was usually so boisterous that we disturbed other patrons. Thank God we knew how to drink, otherwise we would have been far too much bother. Instead, we were welcomed each month. Well, at least our wallets were. However, that once a month shrill disturbance at the Longie had been practically a whisper this evening. We should have drunk more wine. All that was on the table between us was a few empty glasses and E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey standing erect in the middle of them. It almost seemed to pulsate and call out to people, ‘Look what these naughty girls have been reading.’

‘So, Pride and Prejudice?’ Selene asked.

There was a general murmur of agreement before everyone but Selene, Mac and I fled the scene.

‘Well, that was awkward.’ I finally found words.

‘No shit, Gwyn,’ Mac slumps back in her chair and drains the remains of her seventh wine glass.

‘What was up with you?’ Selene clearly does not have a bad case of loving me this evening. ‘We rely on you to say inappropriate things at poorly positioned moments to lighten the mood.’

‘To be honest after reading about a lot of sex I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to go out and have it. Just a lot less rapey.’ Unfortunately, as a boring schoolteacher, reading about a bunch of erotic sex was about as close as I was going to come to… well… cumming.

‘Perfect. Why didn’t you say that?’ Selene challenges me. ‘It would have opened up a whole lot of conversation.

‘I don’t want to talk about sex with those women!’ I am utterly aghast. ‘They’re old enough to be my mother.’

‘Actually,’ Mac has apparently appointed herself as my fact checker, ‘only seven of our members are old enough to be your mother.’

‘I just wasn’t feeling it today,’ I mumble into my hands.

‘I’m feeling something.’ Mac has managed to un-potato sack herself and is sitting bolt upright, breasts stuck out as if attempting to push their way out of her pirate shirt into her intended target’s hands.

‘You were quiet tonight ladies,’ the barman flashes his perfectly white teeth at us. As he collects our glasses, he pushes a strand of blonde hair away from his eyes. His electric blue eyes run a warm current up my spine. ‘I missed your laugh red.’

Mac dissolves into giggles on the spot.

‘Yours too red.’ He is looking at me. I feel like I am being struck by lightning as he focuses the full force of his charisma on me.

‘First week back at school,’ I purr. Every man has a sexy schoolteacher fantasy. ‘Those kids are running me ragged.’

‘She isn’t really a red-head,’ Mac throws water on our moment and it fizzles out. ‘I am.’ Dear God, are her breasts growing.

His tractor beam shifts from me to Mac and she meets it head on with her laser green eyes. Ugh, of course she will win. Damn those green eyes. All I can shoot back at him is a poor imitation of his own, much more spectacular, blue.

‘I’m sure I’ll find out one day,’ he flirts back, then walks back to the bar leaving Mac with a wink to keep her warm.

‘He’s so hot,’ Mac swoons back into her chair hugging her wink to her chest.

‘He looks like a lost Hemsworth brother,’ I sigh.

‘Forget that!’ Evidently, Selene is still not happy. ‘You better bring your A Grade Ditz routine next month. Your weird humour always makes them open up. And that is what we are here for. Info.’

‘Sorry,’ I frown at my hands. ‘It’s Maureen’s fault.’

‘She wasn’t even here’ Selene rolls her eyes at my seemingly poor excuse.

‘Yeah, but she’s so wild. She would have put a firecracker up this evening’s arse… and… well… I’m just horny,’ I confess.

‘We’re all bloody horny,’ Selene explodes.

A silver fox businessman at the bar looks over at us.

‘Get a bloody vibrator,’ Selene is clearly still unimpressed with my excuses.

Hemsworth from behind the bar stifles a snicker.

This is not my night.

Selene sits for a while fuming until she finally calms down. ‘Sorry. I’m just frustrated. We’re only running this book club so that we can find out what women want so we can write a great book, but tonight we got nothing! How does that help me get published? I’m just so frustrated. I want to write Fantasy, but nobody wants to publish fairy stories, so we try to write something people want but the people aren’t speaking to us. This should have been a slam-dunk. That book was so popular. They should have been gas bagging away like nothing else telling us what worked. But no. It’s just… I mean… I’ve gotta head.’ She kisses Mac and I on the forehead and says, ’emails tomorrow girls,’ and then vanishes.

‘I’d like someone’s head,’ Mac drools. She has somehow managed to get her hands on her eighth glass of wine whilst Selene and I argued. The tip of her delicately upturned nose is already starting to turn a far too merry shade of pink. It is going to be a long night.

*          *          *

‘Did Hemsworth see me throw-up?’ Mac is looking at me with such pleading eyes as I strap her into her taxi that I find it within my heart to lie to her.

‘No.’

‘Did he see me trip over?’

Yes, it was at that point that he called you this cab.

‘No.’

‘Good.’ Mac smiles for a moment and then starts to cry.

I smile sympathetically at the driver before standing up, closing the door, and rapping the taxi on the roof to let him know he is good to go. I stand back, breathe in the fresh night air, and stretch out my neck after the strain of carrying Mac to the cab. I cannot be mad. Half the time it is me.

The North Sydney Street is practically empty at this time of night. Wednesday nights are not known for their wildness in these parts. I am sure Coogee would be off the hook right now but it is nice and peaceful here. I need a taxi of my own but it could be a long while. A miracle, a yellow glowing beacon comes swinging around the corner like a golden gift from the Gods, hooray, I am saved from waiting for hours for cab never to arrive and eventually walking home.

I go to put my arm out to wave the taxi down but I am beaten. The silver fox from the bar has just exited the bar and already has his arm out waving down the taxi.

What an arse hole.

The taxi pulls up and he opens the door then pauses and stares back at me. He has the most amazing blue eyes that I have ever seen. His perfect lips break into a grin and he calls out to me.‘Care to share a cab?’

I do not know where he is going but I do know that this is probably my last chance for a cab and so going a few minutes out of my way to drop him off is probably worth it. Besides, there are worse ways to spend an extended cab ride than gazing at that perfect mouth. Then again, my mother did tell me not to get into cars with strangers.

Well I guess that decides it then.

I nod enthusiastically and charge forward.

*          *          *          *          *

I stare out at a sea of bored faces. Fifteen-year-old boys and girls are sitting slumped in their chairs as if I am their cult leader and have just given them a spiked communion. Me teaching Geography is definitely one of the signs of the apocalypse, so there is probably some truth to this metaphor.

‘I’m bored,’ whines a girl wearing more eyeliner than I actually own.

I want to yell at her, ‘It’s only the first week back, how can you be bored already? There are no boring subjects, just boring people!’ But I do not.

‘Well of course you’re bored,’ I respond with a sniff, ‘this is Geography, I’m not a miracle worker.’

The class giggles in response. Always a good idea to humour the teacher.

‘Seriously Miss, this is so stupid, when am I going to have to know about coastal management?’ Eyeliner questions me with a pout from her highly glossed lips.

Mental note: bring sunglasses to class, gloss is back in, big time.

Mental, mental note: I love gloss, buy more… and put some glitter on that list. And tampons, ugh, my lower back is killing, I’ll be needing them soon.

I try not to let out a sigh. I felt the same level of What the fuck is happening to our society? when I was asked why we had to study The Removalists last year. Apparently, domestic violence just is not an issue anymore. I take a deep breath to calm myself so that I avoid giving an impassioned speech that will only proceed to alienate the student, a feat I did not manage last year. I still remember the parent phone call after I had reduced their seventeen-year-old daughter to tears with current domestic violence incidents in the news. Making kids cry is not cool. I proceed to attempt to meet her needs in a way meaningful to her.

‘Tell you what,’ I bargain, ‘we get through all our work for the week today and we can watch an interesting show instead of working on Friday.’ Ah, the evil genius of the teacher, using media and celebrities to make points that our lame selves cannot. They will get educated quite happily if I tell them they are not learning.

A general murmur of agreement comes from the class and the previously roofied class turns into a class on speed. It is my turn to slide down in my chair in a rohypnoled state. I stare at the clock. I have an important chat date with the girls at 3:05pm. It is important, it is tradition… it is habit. We always have a chat catch-up at 3:05pm. It is the one thing I can rely on. I may spend my rent money on shoes, I might forget my own phone number, I might even forget that I am a non-smoker and have a few cheeky cigarettes on a big night out… okay, a few packs, BUT, I know that every weekday, like clockwork, I will have a flurry of emails from the girls at 3:05pm. Easy for me, it is the end of my school day, but how the girls manage to schedule it in everyday is a miracle to me. A miracle that I am not going to question. I am just thankful that my high flying Executive Assistant pal Selene and my Banker buddy Mac can make time for a cretin like me.

TICK

The minute hand moves from 3:03 to 3:04.

‘Okay guys, time to pack up.’

A flurry of noise and activity erupts that makes me believe that perhaps I have just announced the end of the world. This may explain why the students are constantly bringing stashes of food to class. Always better to be safe than sorry.

‘Remember to put your chairs up on the desks,’ I yell over the thundering storm.

‘Miss,’ a tall boy I always have to remind to take off his baseball hat, complains as he no doubt will every single lesson, ‘No other teachers make us do this. It’s so Primary School.’

Ouch, the ultimate insult. Unfortunately, I happen to like cut and paste, and glitter, so would make a most excellent primary school teacher.

‘Yes, and that is why I have got the cleanest floors out of everyone,’ I dutifully give out my standard response. ‘If you make it easier for the cleaners, they’ll treat you right.’ I finish it off with a wink and the lanky boy blushes a bit. Oh dear, another one. I will have a week of being stalked followed by months of being called a lesbian. Oh what fun. I hope that he is more creative in his toilet graffiti than the last kid. A picture of a stick figure with enormous boobs with my name written next to it is just so last season.

The bell goes and without awaiting any instructions, the students run for the hills.

I open up my laptop. Our group email has already started.

Selene: How’d you end up?

Mac: Drunk, but thankfully managed not to embarrass myself and got home in one piece.

Selene: Sure you did.

Mac: Seriously I did. Ask Gwyn.

Me: I had sex.

Selene: We need to meet now.

Mac: What the fuck?

Mac: Bullshit!

Mac: You lie!

Mac: Yeah we need to meet.

Mac: The Usual?

Mac: Come on guys, you’re killing me. The Usual?

Mac: 5pm?

Mac: Guys!!!!!!!

Selene: Chill out Mac. It’s been like 5 fucking seconds, not everybody types as fast as you do.

Mac: Shut up mole.

Selene: Game on mole.

Me: You’re both moles. See you at 5:30pm.

Mac: Fine. 5:30pm. You better be on time.

Mac: None of this 154 minutes late shit.

Mac: *15 minutes

Mac: Any details to share in advance?

Mac: Who was it?

Mac: Did I speak to him?

Mac: Guys?

Selene: See you at 17:30.

Mac: You girls suck!

*          *          *          *          *

When I arrive at the Usual, Selene and Mac are already sitting at our usual table. Nice and close to the dark timber bar and a high table with high stools so we can semi stand and not have our thighs go all squidgy on the seats. It may be our Usual but we are not animals, we still want to look hot. Just not actually utilise that hotness to its full potential. Mac is tapping at her wristwatch with a frown whilst Mac is staring meaningfully at the ornate, silver watch hanging around her neck. I am only five minutes late but clearly she and Selene got here early in anticipation. How did they get out of work early for this? Why did they get out of work early just for me?

‘Sorry I’m five minutes late,’ I say dumping my over-seized beige, faux-alligator skin handbag on the corner of the table.

‘Seriously, you’re the first one to get off, how can you be the last one here?’ Mac is not happy with even a five minute tardy. Selene comes across as the uptight one but deep down it is Mac. She adjusts her frilly pink blouse and squints those green eyes at me. I swear she knows her eyes are special so she uses them as a weapon as much as possible.

‘Apparently she was the last one to get off,’ Selene smiles into her wine glass. I laugh in return. Sensible Selene is here customary black business suit. How many of those things must she own? At least one hundred and fifty.

‘Oh shut up you two,’ Mac is frustrated. ‘So, details? Who was it? Was it Thor?’

Ahhhh, now it makes sense, she is worried that I have been getting my hand on the God of Thunder’s hammer.

‘Come on, spill.’ Selene as always is simple, direct and to the point.

‘Ladies, chill, at least buy me a drink before violating my privacy.’ Two sets of eyes stare at me. One set green, the other brown, but identically unimpressed. ‘Okay, at least let me buy myself a pint before you start in on me.’

I spin to get up and nearly clash with an unfortunate looking bar tender.

‘Hey Gwyn,’ he is like a puppy, practically panting, ‘a customer ordered a pint and then decided they wanted something else, so I thought I’d bring it over to you. I know it’s your usual.’

I thank him for his generosity but assure him he really should not put himself out on my behalf. He stares at me with big cow eyes, which let me know that it is far too late for that.

I turn back to Mac and Selene.

‘We need to find a new Usual.’

‘No,’ there is no arguing with Selene. ‘You made your bed, now you lie in it.’

‘How is this even my fault?’

‘You shouldn’t have flashed him,’ Selene responds flatly.

‘But I was drunk, it was late, we should have moved onto a new location by then. I clearly remember saying that we should leave. I know that you never stay at your local to disgrace yourself.’ I plead.

‘I’m more interested in hearing how you disgraced yourself last night,’ Mac butts in, ‘and with who.’

‘Do you remember the Silver Fox?’

Two heads shake no at me.

‘There was a hot older business man, really good suit, amazing smile, dimples? He was there with a bunch of other suits, and stood at the bar.’

I am met with shrugs.

‘Well, him.’

‘So, not Thor?’ Mac asks.

‘Not Thor,’ I respond slightly frustrated. ‘Mr Grey.’

‘What?’ Selene is looking at me incredulously.

‘You know, like in the book.’

‘Oh my God!’ Mac is staring at me aghast. ‘You didn’t read the book. He doesn’t have grey hair.’ Not reading the assigned book is Mac’s equivalent of swearing in church. I am a little stunned by the attack.

‘I know,’ I raise my hands trying to placate her rage, ‘I read it.’ She is still glaring at me. Clearly, she does not believe me. ‘I just thought it was a funny play on words. And he was all hot and businessy and we’d just been reading about all hot and businessy so I thought…’

‘Why not fuck an old man?’ Selene interrupts bluntly.

‘He wasn’t old! He was one of those just going silver guys, still young and fit.’ So fit, so hot, strong body, abs that you could carve a mountain with, so fucking hot. Hard body pressed up against me, lips mashing, tongues touching, hands gliding along skin, hot mouth running along my neck, hands clutching at my thighs, buttocks, lips teasing nipples.

‘Are you still with us?’ Mac is waving her hands up and down in front of my face.

‘Sorry, I was just having a flashback.’

‘A flashback?’ Selene is frowning at me with her WTF face. ‘You went to war last night? With the Grey Man?’

I nod slowly and my crotch twinges at the memory.

‘Sexnam,’

‘Sounds intense,’ Mac is leaning forward, eyes bright with anticipation for details.

‘I’m now suffering from PTSD, Post Tremendous Sex Desire.’

‘That’s hot,’ Selene says.

‘That is hot,’ Mac gives a confirmation on that.

‘He really loved my hair,’ I can still feel his hands running through my hair. ‘He said he has a thing for gingers.’

‘You’re not a real ginger,’ Mac’s rebuttals come virtually automatically these days.

‘My hair might be fake but my orgasms certainly weren’t.’

‘Orgasms?’ Selene picks up on the plural.

‘Oh yeah, multiple orgasms.’

‘I need a vibrator,’ Selene always knows just what to say.

An Irish backpacker sitting behind us swivels around with his best attempt at a suave grin pasted onto his sweaty face.

‘Ladies, have you ever heard of an Irish eight-pack…’

‘No!’ Selene’s word is final.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

‘Have you read it?’ Mac is looking at me accusingly over my pint. She seems to be attempting to coordinate her drinks with the colour of her bronze sequined top. A new level of fashion obsession even for Mac. Is she into disco now? I have only just got used to her pirate princess look.

‘Read it?’ I am slightly offended, ‘I’ve taught Pride and Prejudice!’

‘So you’re definitely prepared to speak at tomorrow’s book club meeting?’

‘Of course!’ Our routine, pre-book club, book clubs are not usually so hostile. ‘Why are you getting so sassy? Save your arguments for the Longi. We don’t want to taint our usual hang out.’

‘By flashing our tits at the barman?’

‘It was my bra!’

‘Settle down girls,’ Selene has had enough of our bickering. ‘They should be thankful to see Gwyny’s B cups. But, to be totally honest, you were awfully quiet last month. It kind of stuffed up the whole vibe of the evening.’

‘I’m sorry. I was just embarrassed. I already told you, I just didn’t want to discuss sex with those women. They’re old.’

‘Too embarrassed to talk about it but not too embarrassed to fuck about it,’ Mac spits out.

‘Woah, what is your problem?’ Sure Mac is feisty, and she loves our book club, but this is ridiculous. ‘Have you got your period or something?’

‘Ohhhhhh,’ I can see Selene shrink down as if she wishes to duck for cover. If it is true it will snap Mac right out of it, if it is not, there might just be a catfight in our Usual.

‘That is so insulting,’ Mac sniffs loudly then breaks into a grin, ‘but yes I do.’

I nod understandingly and we touch hands.

‘Let me get you a nice Sav Blanc and we can talk about Pride and Prejudice further.’

‘You going to bang a Darcy this month?’ Mac asks as I am walking away. I shake my head and laugh. She is too cheeky sometimes.

I sidle up to the bar. The middle aged bar manager puts a pint in front of me. I may be just a tad too predictable.

‘I’m grabbing a drink for Mac too.’ He slaps a white wine next to it. Well, at least I am not being predictable on my own. ‘I should get one for Sel whilst I’m here.’ He stares at me, no automatic response for Sel. She seems more strict and proper than Mac and I but deep down she must be the wild one. After all, she even changes her drinks. ‘I think she’s favouring dirty martinis this evening.’ He raises his eyebrows at me and I cannot resist winking at him, ‘That’s right, dirty.’

When I return to the girls the bar manager is still blushing.

‘What did you say to him?’ Mac asks indignant.

‘He does have grey hair,’ Selene says. ‘She probably put the hard word on him.’

I snort loudly as I try to repress a laugh. One fuck a month ago and they are still banging on about it. We need to get laid more often.

‘So?’ I ask, getting us back on track, ‘Do we love it or hate it?’

‘Love the idea of having a good shag with a sexy businessman,’ Selene helpfully answers.

‘But not with the bar manager at our Usual,’ Mac responds.

‘I know, don’t shit where you eat.’ I am resigned to the fact that we are not going to be doing our regular pre-bookclub discussion this evening. I will be needing a lot more pints.

‘Or flash your tits at your food.’ Mac does not miss a beat.

‘Okay. But is it alright if from time to time I flash my bra at a side salad or something?’

‘You do what you need to do to get us free drinks,’ Selene says with a wink. ‘Meanwhile, I’m not feeling Darcy.’

‘Me neither,’ I agree, ‘but you can’t say that. The ladies will flip. Particularly the older ones.’

‘I’d like me a slice of that Wickham,’ Mac is bobbing on her seat as if she is grinding to sex music. ‘He’s a bad boy but you know he’d be good in bed.’

‘What about poor old Bingley?’ I ask, ‘He’s a nice guy.’

‘He’s totally whipped!’ Selene nearly spits out her dirty martini in horror. ‘Seriously if he was alive now he’d be living in his parent’s granny flat with his tragic sisters.’

‘No.’ I shall defend my sweet natured Bing. ‘He’s a good boy, he’s just a bit Cinderellee.’

‘That’s not a word,’ Mac interrupts.

‘Oh, it’s a word!’ It should be a word. ‘He’s all dominated by his wicked stepsisters.’

‘He doesn’t have wicked stepsisters.’

‘I’m using creative license!’

‘Whatevs,’ Selene says flatly, ‘he’d be a fumbler in bed.’

‘I think Mrs Bennet gets a bad rap,’ Mac muses thoughtfully. And with that, we are back on track. No more sex talk, no more teasing over silver foxes with strong arms, pulling me into him, my nails digging into his broad shoulders, spreading my legs as wide as I can eager to have all of him inside of me.

‘Sexnam?’ Selene is staring at me, Mac is nowhere to be seen. ‘Mac was so engrossed in her thought about the novel she failed to notice you’d departed.’

I start guiltily.

‘Has she gone home?’

‘No she’s just gone to the can.’

‘Sorry.’

‘It was that good, huh?’

‘Yep,’ is all I can utter in reply as my vaginal muscles contract as if searching for the Grey Man’s cock.

Selene pats my hand sympathetically.

‘I really do need to get a vibrator,’ Selene says as if thinking aloud.

Mac comes rushing back across the bar looking really excited.

‘Girls, I have had the best idea!’ Her face is flushed with her own brilliance. ‘Instead of hiding the fact we don’t like Darcy, how about one of us admits to it. You know, get the ladies really fired up. Add some spice to our meeting.’

‘Great idea,’ I nod. ‘Last month was so quiet that we could use a good shake up.’

 

Book Review: Gucci Mamas by CATE KENDALL ( @lisajblundell & @shellwrites ) #AWW2015

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9781863255653This is escapist Chick Lit. If you’re after the meaning of life please go see the works of Douglas Adams or Monty Python. If you’d like to have a guilty giggle over posh Melbourne socialites then read Gucci Mamas. I have to say I love the name, and all the names of the Cate Kendall books. It really let’s you know that you’re in for a book of high class, high fashion and high drama. And yes, the book does deliver. There are laughs, there is mayhem, there are tragic issues which some of us can’t relate to but do get to live vicariously through for a bit. An absolute, switch your brain off and just be entertained delight. Loved it.

Warning there are some genuine issues faced in this novel some of which you may find upsetting if you have ever had an unsuccessful pregnancy. And despite the fact these characters do seem vapid on the surface you do grow genuinely attached to them, so you will feel for their circumstance. But generally it is a light and entertaining read. Perfect for those ladies who don’t have time to lunch but wish we did. aww-badge-2015

 

I am a Rude Bitch!

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I am so sorry. I do not know what has happened to my brain but I have realized that I had completely forgotten to post replies to most of the comments made on my blog. I am so sorry. Can I blame it on having a three year old and one year old twins without coming across as a sucky, blamey, mum? Because if I can, it’s totally they’re fault. :-) So again, I am so sorry.

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These guys, it’s all their fault… so worth it!

Book Review: The Soldier’s Wife by @pamelahartbooks #AWW2015

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24945463Full disclosure: I was sucked in by the cover. I wanted to buy it because I loved the hair of the model on the cover and wanted to show it to my hair dresser. It was still a cracking good read! So I got my money’s worth two fold.

As everybody knows I don’t do spoiler reviews, kind of takes away from people reading the novels if I give them away already, but I do have to give away some information in order to comment on it. Nothing major, so don’t fear, but otherwise all I can say is, “It was a nice book with words in it… Dear God, I’ve said to much, wahhhh!”

The Soldier’s Wife is a historical fiction novel written by Pamela Hart set in 1915. What I loved about this book was that it did the whole, prissy city bitch moves to the country and has to adjust, in reverse. So we saw this poor woman, moving to the city, trying to adjust, her husband is away serving in the army and she has to really pull things together and do it tough. She like many women in this time has to find work, manage finances, arrange her living conditions, in a society that makes these simple rights that we see, very difficult. AS DOES THE HUSBAND. Don’t get me wrong, as does the husband. You think that’s sad? Oh no, you are going to cry so much more that that implies. Because the husband comes back. He comes back after being emotionally and physically destroyed by the ravages of war. This is where the real tragedy starts. So pack your Kleenex because this historical fiction is going to get you right in the feels.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves military history and or women’s history… or anyone who likes reading. aww-badge-2015

Book Review: The Chocolate Promise by @josephine_moon #AWW2015

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1427263745101You know what happens when you say I will never…? You end up doing exactly what you said you would never do. Well in Josephine Moon’s The Chocolate Promise, Ms Livingstone says an emphatic NO to relationships. You do the maths.

As I keep saying, I don’t do spoiler reviews, otherwise why would you need to read the book? But I do need to give away some information to actually say something. Nothing major though.

What I really loved about this book was putting good old Tasmania in the map. When you think romance you think Paris, Italy, maybe even New York. You don’t think Tassie. So I loved the fact that this story was partly set there. I loved that the book had plenty of chocolate in it, although I may have gained an extra pound or three reading the book. A girl has cravings! And I loved all those sweet (I request a pun hi5) moments. I actually learned some new chocolate facts. One can never know enough about chocolate. And I also just generally love the use of language. Just beautiful classic touches with terms like apothecary and the like. I just love those little details.

A really good read for anyone who enjoys commercial women’s fiction and chocolate… of which there is a 100% overlap. ;-)

WARNING: Some stereotypical statements about over 50s are made but they are made in humour not in offense.

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