I wonder where I’ll wander?

If you decided that you wanted to write a story about writing a story, where would you start?

I used to go to restaurants on my own to listen to other people’s conversations and then try and figure out how they had got to the point of having that conversation and what would happen next. This didn’t get me very far. To be honest, most people’s conversations were the wrong side of boring and even though I tried to be terribly discreet, it was pretty obvious I was listening in, which was a bit creepy really.

So where else do I look to find an idea?

Have you ever tried body scanning? It’s a meditation technique. You close your eyes and, starting at your toes, you scan your body using your mind’s eye and asking yourself, how does it feel? – ‘It’ being your toes, your ankles, your shins, your knees etc.. It’s much harder than it sounds and inevitably something else pops into your head as you are trying to focus on your body. Now, when meditating, one is encouraged to notice the thing that pops into your head, then let it go and return your focus back to the scan. But, if you’re looking for a story idea, why not grab the thought, ditch the scan and run (or hobble if you’ve been sitting cross-legged for too long) to your laptop and get it down!

Actually I think there’s some story-searching truth there. I get my best ideas when I let my mind wander which then leads me to wondering. I’ll be driving or walking or running and I’ll be thinking about one thing and it’ll cause some questions to rise up which will lead me in a (mental) direction I hadn’t thought of before. The trick is remembering the ideas. I had a whole bunch of ideas when I was driving around this morning – can’t remember any of them now …


Poems from a night shift (experimenting with style):


big bed bouncy soft

snuggle down warm safe snoozy

deep dreams cuddle me

working through the night

brings a camaraderie

missing from the day

day sleep lightweight sleep

sunshine speckles heavy lids

I dream lucidly


smug day-walker boss

sleeps at night

night active right brain

writes freely whilst left half sleeps

haiku is harder

                      My favourite haiku:

eating alone

my alphabet soup

speaks to me

 Brenda S Duster       

Customising – how to create a human being, possibly female.

She opened her toolbox. There was much to be done and she had to make sure she had the right equipment. Peeler, scraper, stuffer, colourer, stretcher, whizz bang, noodle doodle, yummster, curly whirly, basher, smoothly screw and stitch tight. Not the most up to date kit in town, but comprehensive. It would do the trick.

The 3D printer had nearly finished. The silicon-morpheme was three quarters life size. It was big enough to practice on but not so big that if it went wrong, the wastage would be too great to justify. Jenna was confident that she would have a successful outcome. She’d finished 4th in her class in the final year of S.T.A.K (structure, texture, aesthetics and kinetics) and was an experienced parlour primper, although she only worked Friday nights and Saturdays. For a part time job it paid OK, her clients were grateful and largely well behaved and she enjoyed the creativity and using colour and shape to enhance personality.

Taking the STAK course enabled her to take these skills to the next level. She had studied for 3 intense years and now she was ready to build an entire character, taking it from carefully carved template to a semi-sentient, locomotive, verbally viable caricature. Art and life in one. More biological robot than synthetic android but less human than A.I.. Her aim was to create a companion for her younger sister. A plaything. Loyal, fun, gentle and engaging with the ability to come up with ideas for games and stories. Attractive and charming, a character her sister would want to play with and would also want to show off to her friends. The creation of custom playmates with a relatively limited, and therefore cheaper, array of tools, software and gels was new to the home market. If Jenna could showcase her new skills and end-product to her sister’s friends they in turn might persuade their families to order bespoke caricatures for themselves.

The 3D printer beeped to alert her that it had finished creating the template. Jenna looked at the inert blank. It seemed to be anticipating the spark of life that she was preparing to give it. She knew she was stretching herself but she was so excited about what she was going to do next. She was well-aware that custom-made ‘living dolls’ was a tough market to break into. But she also knew that she had talent and, more than that, she was convinced that it was her understanding of the beauty of empathy that would really make her endeavour a success. She wasn’t just creating in the artistic sense, she was using her unique skills to make a sili-morph that was more than a plaything. With her input, it would be a character that could relate to its owner. It would have the potential not just to learn but also to teach, not just to play but also to enjoy, not just to accompany but also to be a friend to the human who had chosen it.

In Jenna’s mind this would be taking art to another level. She was challenging herself to identify, access and use all her creativity and imagination to make a character that was unlike anything that had been created before. It was a kind of giving birth. To make it happen she had to risk all her experience and energy, apply it, manipulate it and allow it to synthesize into something new. The caricature would be an impression of this new self. It would be part of her but she would also be part of it, as all the characters that came from her would be. With each creation she would evolve a little bit too, each time becoming more and more a part of her own creativity. More and more herself.

Warrior pose; yoga theme


I stand strong. My feet are placed wide apart. My left foot points away from my body, my right foot digs in at 90 degrees to my left. My right leg is straight. My left is bent. My arms are spread wide apart. I am centred and balanced. I feel the earth spreading up through my body. I feel my feet and legs rooted into the soil. My palms are turned upward towards the sky. The sun warms the hairs on my arms. I am part of my environment. I am connected to it and fed by it. I contribute to it and I stand tall to protect it. I am a warrior!

My world gives me everything I need to be healthy and strong. I have food and water to sustain me. I have books and articles to educate me. There are people and animals to be my companions, and there is yoga to connect me to everything I love and keep my body strong and powerful.

My responsibility is to think and care and make decisions and act. I do not wait for others to tell me what to do. I do not give up my power nor ask someone else to give me value. I know what is important. My world is important and I must protect it and teach others to do the same.

We are amazing people. We are clever and adaptable. We know how to love, we know how to fight for what we believe. We know how to come together in families, groups and communities to look after each other and care for our environment. We know what respect is. We know how to give it and how to earn it. We are warriors and we fight for what is important! We fight for each other, we fight for ourselves. We are tenacious and we will win because we know how to discover what what needs to be done and we will do it.

Dream reader

He used to sit next to me whilst I was in bed. He’d have one foot on the floor and the other tucked underneath his body, like a hinge that would rock him closer to me. He’d hold my hand with one hand and put his other hand on my forehead, stroking my hair away from my face. Then he’d look into my eyes. No matter how good or bad my day had been, I felt totally understood, completely heard and utterly accepted.
“Close your eyes.”
Even though it was still light outside, and I could hear the children playing in next door’s garden, I’d let my lids fall. He’d lean in a little bit closer so that I could feel his breath on my cheek.
“Kiss me.”
Closer still. His beard would prickle my chin. His cranberry lips would pucker and press. His sweet tongue would brush against my teeth and slip into my mouth.
“Go to sleep.”
Then he’d let go of my hand and my head and walk to the other side of the bed. He’d lie down next to me on top of the covers, his weight tucking me in as if I were the apple in a turnover.
“I’ll stay until you’re asleep.”
I was safe. I was warm. I was loved. I was protected. I slept and my dreams were free to blossom and bloom.

In the morning I’d tell him the stories from my dreams and he’d listen.

Andy & May

old couple

There’s an old couple living next to me. A man and a woman, they are brother and sister. Their names are Andy and May. Andy is bent over like a willow stick and he always has bits of food stuck to his jumper. He smokes rollies on his doorstep because his sister won’t let him smoke in the house (I think she’s right).  May is tiny, tiny, tiny. Birdlike. She has white hair and bright eyes and she chats away like a budgie, there’s no stopping her. She has an opinion on everything (usually I think she’s right) and she’s always so friendly even though Andy’s in hospital with a chest infection and she doesn’t know when he’s coming home.

May was cold-called today by a funeral director.  She told him she didn’t think it was appropriate to talk to him when her brother was in hospital (I think she’s right).


I’ve heard it said that if you tell someone your real name you become theirs to command. No one really does anything that they don’t want to nowadays, do they? Does that mean that none of us have revealed our real names? No one else knows our names. Maybe we don’t know what they are either. Imagine forgetting your name.  Imagine thinking your name was one thing but actually you were wrong and your name was something completely different. How strange that would be!  It’s one of those things that if you think about it too much your brain ties itself in a knot.

What would you like your name to be?  I have a very boring name, but I’m not going to tell you what it is in case you use it to control me. I would like a more interesting name.  I would like to be called Lalalouloulabelle. Isn’t that a fabulous name? If you called me Lalalouloulabelle, I’d do anything for you.  So that’s nearly as good as knowing my real name, isn’t it?