Some good news

This is just to share the good news that three of my ‘horrorku’, or ‘horror haiku’ have been accepted by Scifikuest Magazine, and will be published online and in print by Alban Lake Publishing in November .

I have also received news that the respected and long-running New Zealand literary magazine, Takahe, has accepted my poem ‘From Ashes On’ for publication, possibly in the August issue.

Onwards and upwards!


Below the surface

There’s something about truly great short stories (OK- that’s rather subjective!) that touches me deeply, and drives me to immediately reread everything. Perhaps it’s because the first time I might read a little bit too quickly, and miss certain important aspects, but I think it might also be due to some other reasons, which include:

  1. I don’t want to leave the world of the story so soon.
  2. I want to see the way the story is woven together, to inspect the thread and weave of it.
  3. The twist has brought about some new understanding of the events in the story, and I want to reread the story after knowing what happens at the end.
  4. Confusion because I didn’t pay attention enough the first time around and I think I’ve missed something essential.
  5. Various other whims and reasons.

Stories that I have read in the past few months that have encouraged the rereading instinct in me include the following:

Roald Dahl: ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, ‘The Butler’, ‘Royal Jelly’

Neil Gaiman: ‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains…’, ‘Click-Clack the Rattlebag’, ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’

John Collier: ‘Are You Too Late Or Was I Too Early’, ‘The Touch of Nutmeg Makes It’, ‘Without Benefit Of Galsworthy’, ‘Ah the University’, ‘Back For Christmas’, ‘The Chaser’, ‘Special Delivery’

Ray Bradbury: ‘The Veldt’, ‘Homecoming’, ‘All Summer in a Day’, ‘The Pedestrian’

Joyce Carol Oates: ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’

Shirley Jackson: ‘The Lottery’

Isaac Babel: ‘The Story of My Dovecot’




One gain, one loss

I just got back on Saturday from a short holiday in Niue, a wonderful Polynesian paradise. We arrived there the day before we left New Zealand, and after a short flight, I returned to New Zealand the day after I left Niue. Back in the land of the tomorrow people, I’m getting back into my regular morning discipline of writing.

Ah Niue…it’s such a bright place of sunshine, coconut trees and blue water. I’ve brought so many memories back here with me. I think the most memorable part of the trip for me though was having my first adventure scuba diving, swimming about in the reef ten metres below the surface among sea snakes and a wondrous plethora of multicoloured tropical fish. I will dive again.

Now, back to the writing, to look deep down below the surface…



Never say never

It’s easy to make ‘whiplash’ decisions based on prior experiences, and lose the chance to experience new things. It’s easy to stay at home doing what you often do, playing computer games or watching television, and forget to engage with the world.

Perhaps I am naturally anxious, or have tended to be more careful, worrying about trying new things that could be truly life-changing. But when others suggest I try something new, I think I am now becoming more likely to experiment or try new things.

A few weeks ago, when my wife suggested that we take the kids for a walk in the rain, my first impulse was to think: ‘Hey, that’s crazy!’. And yes, it was bitterly cold that day. Wet, and muddy. But I’m glad I chose to ignore my first reaction to the suggestion.

I still remember the day we went walking together in the rain, my wife, the kids and I, huddled together against the cold, drinking coffee as we walked around the central city near the closed shops, and remember our youngest daughter giggling and trying to stomp in muddy puddles. I remember how we hid from the rain under one of the few shopfronts on Cashel Street near the restart mall as we ate our German hotdogs. The cold brought the family closer together.

But if I had chosen to stay at home that Sunday, it wouldn’t have been as memorable. I may not even have been able to recall enough details to be able to pass on the weekend events to my colleagues on a Monday morning.