Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Walking Woman

There's an old woman in our area who walks almost every day. I see her when I'm driving to work and when I'm driving home, always walking the same path. Each time she's carrying a small bag in one hand, just a simple little cloth bag that looks as if it's seen better days. One of the strangest things about her is that her right arm -- the one that carries the bag -- is much longer than the left, as if she's been carrying something heavy in that little bag for sixty years and it's gradually stretched the limb. Is that even medically possible? I don't know. It's an interesting idea.

My wife has lived in this suburb all her life. She tells me the old woman has been walking since she was a little girl, always along the same paths, always with the little bag in her hand. She's never spoken to her and knows nothing about her. Only that she's been around a long time.

What is she carrying, and where is she taking it? It's not shopping, unless she buys only a few small things each time. And in all my years living here I've never bumped into her in the shops. I've only ever seen her walking along the road, travelling from one mysterious place to another. Her and her bag.

Perhaps it contains nothing more than a purse and the usual assortment of mysterious odds-and-ends found in women's hand-bags, for which the cloth bag is a cheap and convenient substitute. Or it could be some kind of medication. She might be asthmatic and unable to go anywhere without a puffer, or she might have to carry an Epipen in case of a bee-sting or a reaction to something she's accidentally eaten.

Or maybe the bag contains something more. Perhaps it's the ashes of a departed husband, a man she spent only a few short years with before they were cruelly separated. Maybe she chats to him as she walks, confiding in him, dreaming that he's strolling alongside discussing all those little inconsequential things married couples talk about. Or maybe the relationship was not a good one. Perhaps he was abusive, and yet his hold over her continues in death so that she is driven to walk with him, hearing his taunts echo in her mind as clearly as they did in life, driven to bear him from nowhere to nowhere in a vain attempt to find a peace that will never be hers.

But maybe it's nothing like that. Maybe, after all, it's just a cloth bag with a few odds and ends. It may be that one day I'll meet her and the mystery will be solved, although I can't help but think that once that happens, a little slither of magic and wonder will somehow disappear from my world forever.

Friday, January 18, 2013




Testing something in feed reader. Normal service will resume shortly.


Sorry for empty post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Man of Leisure

Sort of.

On Monday I emailed off (yes, emailed off! That old print and post-office thing is so last year) the manuscript for book 3 of Tales of the Blue Jade. Now I have the nervous wait to hear what the publisher and editor think of it.

As for me, I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with the result. As with everything I write it didn't turn out the same as the original outline but I like the way new plot twists and situations showed up while I was writing. Creating a story can often be as much of a discovery as reading one. I just hope the powers-that-be like it too.

So last night I watched the tennis. I actually sat on the couch and watched the tennis, and drank wine, and I didn't feel the slightest shred of guilt. Having said that, I did get the laptop out and look through my list of unfinished short-stories to see if there's anything I'd like to work on over the next few weeks. There's a couple of possibilities. It's always bitter sweet when you're enjoying something you wrote so long ago you hardly remember it but it ends half way through. Why didn't I just finish it at the time! I can be so frustrating sometimes.

And I've started a new book. Nothing at all like Blue Jade. I wanted to finish The Weight of Souls seeing as I have a first draft already but I've had another idea rattling around my head for the past few months and I've decided to take a punt and do that first. At least there are no deadlines, so I can hammer a way at is I'm able. My aim is to have it ready for submission by the end of the year.