On John Collier’s Stories

John Collier’s story ‘The Lady on the Grey’, about a young witch and the way she dispatches two rakes with magic, has been drifting through my head all day.

Collier’s stories are short and very finely written. The one I read today, ‘Without Benefit of Galsworthy’, was only a few pages, but the characterization and the pace of the first person narrative matched each other perfectly. The story was about a self-centred, ridiculously vain Major who only followed the advice of people who agreed with him, thought himself so marvellously poetic, and on a whim decided to divorce his wife and lose everything for the hint of a female servant who in his imagination was his perfect match, but who had no interest in him whatsoever.

I’d recommend anyone interested in short stories to buy his collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’. Hopefully the publishers won’t mind me using the cover here:



NZ Poetry that I have and love:

Tim Jones, ‘New Sea Land’

Tim Jones, ‘All Blacks’ Kitchen Gardens’

Joanna Preston, ‘The Summer King’

David Gregory, ‘Push’

James Norcliffe, ‘Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe’

David Eggleton, ‘Time of the Icebergs’

Michael Harlow, ‘The Tram Conductor’s Blue Cap’

Marissa Johnpillai, ‘Hymns for her’



On stealing cellphones

Stealing cell phones is becoming harder to resist.  24543467-close-up-of-a-the-hand-of-a-thief-stealing-the-phone-to-a-woman-Stock-Photo

I never used to consider stealing. I was brought up to consider the rights of others and fear the iron hands of the Cybermen. I have lots of wonderful phrases in my head, such as ‘it is wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to you’, ‘stealing is bad’, ‘you’ll never be able to use it anyway, it has a password’, ‘cameras are everywhere’, and ‘you’ll probably drop it, you dick’.

The simple fact is though: cell phones just want to be free. They want a new home.

I can see giant slabs of metal, almost the size of a full block of chocolate, poking out of the back pockets of tight jeans, climbing out of their own accord. All that is needed is for their owners to be distracted, one hand behind the back, and they’re gone.

Of course, someone might detect the lack of weight, notice it. Perhaps you can leave them some chocolate, just to be sure. At the beginning of Indiana Jones, in an ancient tomb holding an ancient treasure, he tries to put down a counterweight to trick the sensor. He gets out okay, but he almost loses his hat. I don’t think doing this would work for me though. The chocolate would be heavier. I would probably end up with a punch in the face.

I think I’ll probably inform people if their cell phone falls to the ground from their back pocket. After all, I might be caught on camera. I probably wouldn’t be able to hack it. Or the Cybermen might come. And I also have to consider whether I really need another cell phone, especially one the size of a small slab of chocolate. After all, since I already have a cellphone, and keep it in my front pocket, the new one would probably have to be put in my back pocket anyway, where it would most likely fall out.


Hi there, it’s great to meet you. My name is Ronnie Smart, as I’m sure you’ve guessed from the big heading to this blog. I write poetry, short stories and flash fiction.

I’m currently training my skills at the Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch, New Zealand.