Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love actually ...

Hi, it's Biskit. I haven't blogged for a while.

But I have something to tell you. Something exciting. It is about my new friend: Mia McCann.
She is a Yorkshire terrier.

And she is very pretty!
Mia is Andy’s dog and Andy visits Phoebe quite often … and, the rest of the time, Phoebe visits Andy and, sometimes, when Andy comes to our house, he brings Mia.

I like it when Mia comes to visit. We run up and down, around, the house sniffing. We gambol in the garden, with our tongues hanging out, panting. We drink out of the same water bowl and stare through the glass doors waiting.
We are like peas and carrots, Mia and I, jelly and ice cream.

Yesterday, Liz told me some very good news – she said Mia is going to become part of the family. I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. Was she moving in? Was I moving out? Was it going to be one of those weekend access kind-of-things?

But now, I have it all sorted.

You see, I love Mia, and Mia loves Andy, and Andy loves Phoebe and he … has asked her to marry him.

Yes, that’s right.

Phoebe has a ring on her finger and a smile on her face. She is like a rose in spring, a wattle in winter, the soft red tipped new growth on a gum tree.

She is engaged.

This means Liz will be Andy’s mother-in-law and Andrew will be Andy’s father-in-law. It means Jack, Seth and Priya will get a new brother-in-law and, of course, Ness will still be the best daughter-in-law. But, most of all, it means Mia and I will be related.

It is, of course, a little sad because when Phoebe gets married she won’t live here anymore. She will live with Andy. When she gets up in the morning she will have coffee with Andy. When she goes for a walk it will be with Andy. When she goes home … it will be with Andy.

Liz says it’s ok, that she will visit … sometimes, that when she comes to visit, she will bring Mia. Sometimes they will stay for lunch. Then Mia and I will race up and down the house with our paws skidding on the wooden floorboards. We will go in and out in and out of the back door, not sure whether to run in the garden or to stay with the family. We will tussle over toys and stand by the laundry cupboard begging for treats.
We are like peaches and cream, Mia and I, brandy and pudding.
She is the soft centre in my Cadbury Roses, and the liquorice in my all-sorts. She is my meat, dry biscuits and my marrow-bone-jelly. She is eyes and ears and a furry tummy. I think about her all day, every and throughout the day. I couldn’t stop, even if I tried.

I think it’s love actually.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My 'almost' good news ...

Hello People,

I just wanted to share my 'almost' good news. I entered my Welsh wartime story into the Phoenix Park short story competition. It didn't get a place, but it was one of those competitions that offer an assessment for $6.00 extra. Well, I have just heard back from Stuart Reedy (my new best friend). Here is a summary of what he said:

It just missed out on being short-listed (yeah! or is that booh?)

He enjoyed the narrative voice

I captured the character's innocence

I used enough detail to create an authentic picture

Metaphors like, a Guy Fawkes without stuffing, gave the character a really unique voice and took the story and event beyond cliche

That I obviously had a good feel for my subject matter (thanks to Doug and Joyce fore their drives around Port Talbot).

Characters are well drawn

Dialogue covered accents and personalities well.

Dear, sweet wonderful man this Stuart Reedy (I could kiss him)!

Here is why it wasn't shortlisted:

The story didn't take off until after page two (ok, so it's only an eight and a half page story).

The early stages were not quite powerful enough to grab the reader.

That's all! Two itty bitty little pages.

I should be able to bust my brains and fix that up - then it's the Bridport for me!


Responding to a phone call ...

I haven't posted in Cymraeg for a while.

I bet you thought I was slacking off.

But rest assured the pursuit of bilingual proficiency is still gyda fi - with me.

Last week I learned about how to respond to phone calls. Now this is a great relief because, when I grow up, I want to live in Wales.

I plan to work in a library.

Now, I am presuming old ladies are the same all over the world. That somewhere in Wales there is a library, like my current branch, that specialises in services to the antiquarian female of the species.

Just in case you are not familiar with the antiquarian female. They are renowned for worrying about their fines - even when their seniority makes them exempt. They chase up their reservations with terrier like tenacity. They also like to speak to their favourite librarian - which can be a problem when a library service employs a new phone system, and their call no longer goes to a specific branch.

But not to worry. Now I have done Gwers un deg tri - that's lesson 73, I reckon I am now employable anywhere in the Welsh speaking world.

Here is how I think it will go:

It is 10:01 am. The library opens at ten, and if the antiquarian female is not pacing up and down outside the library door, she will be on the phone.

Bore da, ga i'n siarad gyda Rhiannon, os gwelwch chi 'n dda? - Good Morning, may I speak to Rhiannon, please.

O (that's, Oh, in Welsh), mae Rhiannon yn mewn y cyfarfod, bore ma. Ga i chi helpu chi? - Oh, Rhiannon is in a meeting. Can I help you?

Nage, unig Rhiannon - no, only Rhiannon (you gotta hand it to the elderly, they are persistent).

Ga i ymryd neges? - May, may I take a message

Wel, dw i 'n eisiau yn gwybod a Rhiannon wedi ffeindio fy llyfr - Well, I want to know whether Rhiannon found my book.

Beth ydy y llyfr enw? - What is the name of the book?

Dw i 'n ddim yn cofio enw. Roedd e'n enw doniol - I don't know the name. It was a funny name.

Gadw Rhiannon yn llyfr i ti? - Did Rhiannon reserve the book for you?

Wel, dydw i ddim yn gwybod! Dw i 'n eisiau gofyn Rhiannon - well, I don't know! I want to ask Rhiannon.

Ydych ch yn cael y card llyfragel? - Do you have a library card?

Wrth gwrs! - Of course!

Fe fyddi di 'n darllen y rhif yn y card cefn, os gwelwch chi 'n dda? - Will you read the number on the card, please?

Here, you must bear in mind that I have had to repeat these quetions a number of times, in a very loud voice, but I am not sounding harrassed or impatient. I am impeccably polite. It is the first thing we learn in library school - especially in regard to old ladies.

O, mae 'n dau, sero, sero, wyth, pedwar, sero, sero, dau, pump, naw, un, pump, dau, saith - Oh, it is: 20084002591527

Ydy y llyfr enw y Guernsey literary ac tynnu croen taten cymdeithas? - Was the name of the book, the Guernsey literary and potato peel society?

Ydy enw yna! Sut oeddet ti 'n gwybod? - Yes, that's the name! How did you know?

Fe welais i 'n ar y cyfriadur - I looked on the computer.

Wel, dyna deallus! - Well, there's clever!

That's it folks, five minutes in the life of a bilingual libararian.

I will not tell you how long it took me to write that crisp and rivetting piece of dialogue. Nor will I let myself think of the possible number of mistakes, contained therein.

I will simply sit back and await lucrative job offers from all around Wales. I will probably get Llareggub (that's buggerall backwards, in case you were thumbing through your dictionary).

So I won't be giving up my daytime job, just yet.