Monday, 24 June 2019

Dream Rhymes

We all have dreams, most of which we don't remember. Today was a chance to explore our dreams but with the added complication of a rhyming scheme (now I can't stop!). We tried the standard format of ABAB and AABB and a few variations ensued. As always the theme is a starting point for creativity. We found that it is important to read your poem as you go to ensure it has the right rhythm which seems to have added importance in a rhyming poem.


I am dreaming consciously of you
while the concepts flutter around my head
I know my dreams wont come true
and sooner or later I"ll end up dead
Although I know this poem is wrong
it encapsulates everything I think
I think I heard this in a song
This dream is driving me to drink!

Clutching at a straw
I fall hard
This dream's a bore
Alone in my room
That's like a junk yard
All my hopes and dreams
I must ignore
What you sow
so shall you keep
A tale of woe
circling around and around you.

- M.F.


The fish rode the bike
Along the winding street
It was really a trike
But still pretty neat.

Next came a cat
Skipping with rope
On its shoulder, a bat
Dressed as a Pope.

Then 3 dancing hogs
It's not as strange as it seems
For like the green dogs
They were all in my dreams.

- Christine Philp

Monday, 17 June 2019

The Never Ending Night

Today we had a record 11 people at Writing Group, if it get's any bigger we'll need an extension! The theme today is Antarctica and the concept of a never ending night. In winter it gets dark earlier everywhere, but in Antarctica it is dark all the time. Our first challenge was to respond to the idea of 'The Never Ending Night' with a poem. Next we assumed the role of an explorer or worker based in Antarctica and wrote a fictional letter home.


Black canvas
Dark night
Swirling aurora
Clouds obscure
Perpetually temporary

- Pauline


Darkness, sun hiding, people using artificial light,
indoors, outdoors, penguins for company.
A few people manning the station.
Antarctica in winter,
temperatures well below zero,
all day, all night.

Lose your bearings, day or night,
it doesn't matter, check the 24 hour clock.
Working outside by moonlight,
by starlight, doing your chores.

Inside the station you still sleep,
eat, play games, do activities.
Contact outside by satellite,
can't get through in blizzards.

A handful of crew for company,
hope that you all get on, tough if you don't,
you are all together for the winter months,
Vitamin D, fruit, veges are necessary for your health.

Artificial light is not the same as sunlight.
Snow mobiles, skiing, no more huskies at base, all electric.
No pets, no supermarkets, no children,
not much left, just survival.

- Gail


No light
No signs of life.

I am alive
(I think)
Or am I?

I must be alive
I feel pain
Physical pain from the cold
Emotional pain from the nothingness.

Is this some sort of purgatory?
That gap between death and whatever happens next
If indeed there is a next.

- Christine


Hunkered down, shoulder by shoulder
Beaks low, eyes closed
The wind howls by as we stand en masse
and the darkness grows

Like one giant creature we flow together, Rotate
away the coldest point,  Stand in the lee
of our tight-feathered community
And about us only darkness

About, the gale whines and roars
Above, the blackest clouds
Around, the dark intense

And cold, and ice, and chill

- Kate Jenkins


I was created in the darkness when there was no form,
The deep made me in the night,
When it comes to beginnings, I was first
I was a continent, a land mass, 17,000 years in the making, so I’m told
The structuring of my financial infrastructure, is my DNA
I was formed in the secret parts of the universe
Today I am still here
My name is unchanged
I am a famous landmark

- Haki Davis 


I felt the ice
Fall off the end of the world
And the dark without light

I saw the empty trail
Forests longed for
Up over the hill and down
to fetch the pail from the windowsill

Here such descriptions fail
The morphing of the unfamiliar land
And the absence of life seems to derail my mind
The curves support an empty nihilism
And ice
frosts over the water to stop people setting sail

This emptiness, this cold, seems a collision of ideals
Emotions in my mind
I feel the ice
It is not nice
There is no trace of mind there
And I think it’s only fair
To leave myself to space and fear
As a decision to confine myself
That I am here to remind myself
That ice and only ice
Is not existence but
a dissonance
Is felt
A sense of human fleeting from the South

Ice and only ice is there

- Dylan Anderson


Dear ____

The sun has set for the last time. I will not see it again for another six months.
This feels very strange and I am afraid. Will I go mad? So much darkness surely can`t be good for one?! Six days seems like an eternity. An eternity of darkness.

On further reflection, there is still much to explore in the dark. It will be an inward time of eating, sleeping, staying still, writing. Finding the limits and the freedoms within and hoping not to go mad in the process.

love from ____

- Pauline


Hi Dan

One month gone and ok so far.  There’s only 8 of us here this season, and Scott Base is locked down. 

Bernhardt is a bit of a nutter, keeps everyone else wound up.  He has a permit for taking atmospheric measurements and insists on going outside to take his own instead of using the digital data – on low-med wind days at least.  He barely makes it back in the doors sometimes.  One of these days he’s going to collapse completely; we’re all hoping he doesn’t do it outside.  He’s from CantyU, one of the geophys lab lads; from Austria originally.

Dom, Mike and Barry pretty much keep to themselves.  They run the particulates lab and have been getting exciting results.  Their exterior sampler has stood up to the wind gusts so far.  They should all last the distance.  Working with Prof Thomas from Geology.

Cam seems to read the old newspapers all the time.  He’s some sort of psychologist, here to study us rather than the penguins.  “Professional Isolates” is what we are apparently.  Can’t help it that Antarctica is days from everywhere.  He’s ok to chat with though; a cricket geek, knocked up his first 100 in Feb.

Benji and Marko do ice studies.  Race outside when the weather is ok, grab a bit then off into the freezer room to look down their microscopes.  Warmer in there than outside.

I’m off to check over the radios.  All working ok so far but some of the batteries need replaced, the cold can kill them bloody quickly.

Cheers, Steve

- Kate Jenkins

To whom it may concern

I feel as you yourself may, an absence.  Something that was there or perhaps wasn’t.  It might have been, had I stayed, something cold, something obliterated.  Something.  Your love.  Yes, that’s right, I do believe I was searching for your love.  Yes, your love would suffice.  But had I found it, a cruel fate I might have suffered.  A sting in the thumb, paralyzing, so when you lay there tonight, as you do, cling to your pillow, feel something real.  Exploration hidden only reveals that not hidden.  So feel driven to love, to lust, accordingly and morally as yourself.  And feel obliged to do what you do.  I know now, that miles away, my spawn cries.  And wails through that lovely nighttime estate but be not ashamed for everything in your life has weight, to reach out.  So reach out as a lover, feel something, but make it loud, and feel.  Feel the wind and take the clouds, for ice right now is only there, for me.  And accountable is only darkness, so why not feel and be ecstatic.  To whomever it may concern, feel pain.  To whom it may concern, be the woman I knew, that lived and loved.
To whom it may concern,

- Dylan Anderson

To my loving wife,
This is my last diary entry
There is not enough food
And sombre is the mood.
If we are to survive
my dear wife,
it will be
without me.
My next step may help my crew
We are so cold we're turning blue.
These are my last words,
said with a forced smile.
"I'm going outside,
I may be a while."

- Phillip Porteous

Monday, 3 June 2019

Te Reo Poems

Today te wero, the challenge, was to use te reo Maori in our poetry. We first brainstormed all the words we could think of (which filled two A3 sheets!). We then created a poem in English incorporating some of the Maori words that we had written down - as many or as few as we wanted. Taking it to the next level, we attempted to write a poem entirely in te reo Maori. Some felt whakama/shy about putting their work up here but some great work was produced. Kia kaha!


The kupu of the pukapuka is like kai for the puku
Haere mai, haere mai
Like waiata to the rangi
As tamariki running along the whenua
Etu toa
Become tapu, become mana

- E. T.


The harekeke blew in the wind
Tui's chased korimako as the
waves of Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa relentlessly
crushed the shells to sand.

It was a lonely place
As if its name kept people at bay
- Murdering Beach, now softened
to Whareakeake, where a few
modest cribs live on and on.

Where the birds say -
Whakarongo ki te Tane
Whakarongo ki te moana
Whakarongo ki te Rangi
Whakarongo ki te wairua

The harekeke waved haere raa
As the waves washed our presence
from the sand
But the stories remain in
the shadow of Motutapu

- P.S.

Whakarongo wahine
Tamariki puka puka
Iwi kupu
Tangata aku
Tangata whenua
Tangata papatuanuku
Moana kakariki
Maunga Otepoti
Wahine toa
Hoha ka kite ano

- M.F.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Favourite Things

What are your favourite things and do you think you could write a song about it? Well they did it in the Sound of Music and so we thought we would give it a try. First we listed all our favourite things then attempted to rewrite the song using the same rhythm and style as the song My Favourite Things. Some of us went off on tangents but that's creative writing for you!

Dogs, cats and white rats, sisters and brothers
School friends and classmates and all of the others
Sometimes there's rainbows up high in the sky
These are the things that help time go by

When the door slams
That's where I am
When I feel sick
There's just one trick I can always use
I simply remember these wonderful things
And then I won't feel so blue

- M.F.

Hot tea and muffins with dark chocolate buttons
A warm bed with soft and luxurious cushions
A fire and a book and a code cracker too
These are good things when I'm feeling blue

A breeze blowing softly as we send stones skimming
Camping in Central exploring and swimming
A cold beer and a sing-a-long with friends in the evening
These are the good times I think of when dreaming

When the day ends
When the birds sing
When everyone has gone
I simply remember my favourite things
And recite this annoying song

- P.S.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on lions
Bright witches and magical wizards
Larnach Castle in the Spring
These are a few of my favourite things

Hot chocolate and Mac'n'cheese
Tigers and leopards
And Harry Potter with J.K. Rowling

When the Disney princesses dance
When Julie Andrew's sings
When witches and wizards are on screen
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad

- By Julia Godfrey

Camp stove by lake cove
Boots for tramping and a tent for camping
Alcohol free beer and other gear
A cup of tea and a place to pee
Tramping and camping is the life for me

Back country huts and ciggy butts
A Swiss-army knife, ah, that's the life
Smoking a cigarette while listening to music
Solar panel instead of a candle
Fire and solar power my USB
Tramping and camping is the life for me

- Phillip Porteous

Monday, 29 April 2019

Leaves Make Headlines

This week we took an Autumnal theme with a twist. Writers were asked to compose a news story involving leaves as the main subject. It could be serious or humorous, and the more serious the more humorous it is likely to be! We had a lot of fun writing and reading each other these quirky stories! 


In breaking news today the leaves are fighting back with people being assaulted by flying leaves. "The leaves are more intelligent than us," says the world's leading botanist. "Think Day of the Triffords."
The leaves are whipping into people's faces and laying traps that cause people to lose their balance and fall.
In further breaking news, the leaves are running for government and given the opinion polls they are going to win by a huge majority.
It looks like the plants will rule the world so people are advised to be careful when doing your gardening.
Signing off, No More News

- M.G.


A 13-year old rider was taken to Oamaru Hospital today but discharged with only minor bruises and scrapes. Amelia Zephyrus was sent flying into a pile of hay bales after her horse Gale Force shied at a blast of autumn leaves. "They were whirling all around us," Ms Zephyrus said. "I couldn't see where we were and then Gale Force shied. I was lucky the hay bales were so close." 
Doctors said that apart from bruising Ms Zephyrus was just winded.

- Karen


It was reported this morning that a leaf was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic. The leaf fluttered onto the radar resulting in the captain steering towards an iceberg. The leaf then also stuck onto the ship's clock so the time was all wrong. It took five minutes to sink the ship. The leaf then floated away on the water arriving in New York ahead of the survivors.

- Gail Palmer


This is CBN news reporter Miki Taka. I'm live from the Middle East where top scientists from around the world are gathered to confirm what Bible archaeologist Siqi Diqi from Taiwan believes he has found and that is the two leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover themselves after they ate the forbidden fruit. And I have with me Siqi Diqi. Mr Diqi, is it true that you have the very leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover themselves after the fall described in the book of Genesis?
"Yes that is correct".
Well what proof have you Mr Diqi?
"Well we have located an ancient secret burial cave near the Israeli and Egyptian border." Hieroglyphics expert Professor Motu Naka from the University of Cairo says that after 25 years of trying to break the Genesis coding written on ancient vessels made from olive tree we have finally broken the ancient coding of hieroglyphics.
"In the chamber we also found two fossilised leaves, and the inscription which was written on these vessels say....these leaves are the property of Adam and Eve passed down from generation to generation until they came into our hands after our archeological dig."
Well Mr Siqi Diqi I think that's enough proof for me and I'm sure for the scientific world that they are truly the leaves that our ancestors left behind for us to discover. Well that's all from me in the Middle East, CBN reporter Miki Taka. Goodnight.

- Haki Davis


Mayor David Cull declared winter officially begun yesterday as the last leaf fell from the Octagon trees. The Octagon resounded with applause as the leaf finally fell to the ground observed by a large an enraptured crowd.

Thousands of people had gathered to watch the leaf, waiting patiently for days, some singing songs and dancing around fiery braziers. The Great Fall is an annual event held each year in Dunedin with this year's event filmed live on social media. Millions tuned in from around the world.

Local resident Gail Southerland (9) said she was excited to see the leaf touch the ground as it is considered extremely good luck. "I didn't take my eye off it for 2 hours straight. Last year I looked at my phone and when i looked up it was gone, so I wasn't going to let that happen again."

The full event can be seen in slow motion and continuous loop at www.thegreatfall.dun

- Paul

Monday, 15 April 2019

This week we took a walk to a local bookshop - Dead Souls - which has one of the most interesting atmospheres. The ceilings are plastered with book covers, there's strange objects and artefacts throughout the shop which is floor to ceiling in book shelves - a perfect setting for a story. While there we chose a genre, a character or two and scraped together story ideas. Then we hurried back to Artsenta and started writing. Here are some of the stories.

   It was the scent that struck her. The faint smell of antiquity, the smell of well-thumbed paper. She blinked and saw a kaleidoscope of colours, dull reds and greens with decorative gold writing down the spine, flaking off in some places.
   Despite the myriad of best sellers and chick lit she was attracted to the older books. She got a tactile buzz leafing through the pages that were faintly sepia toned. She had broken up with her partner six months ago and she wanted to treat herself. Leaning over the books her eye's twinkled, that's when he saw her with a Mona Lisa smile flickering on her lips.
   He walked over and smiled. "Phillip K Dick, that's one of my favourites," he said. He could see the flush rising from her neck to her hairline.
   "Really," she stuttered. She took a second look. He was tall and thin with an olive complexion.
   He said "There's a lot here in the same genre". She smiled back tying to cover up her nervous reaction.
   She grabbed a few volumes and as she left he gave her his card and smiled. "Just come back any time you want a book."
   She walked out the door with a sense she had changed her whole future.

- Morag

   The Prince was in the most secret area of all. He had a famous halo that no one in the shop knew about. It was his secret. Although the Prince had access to some famous and historical sometimes mythological characters he noticed the gorillas were no longer part of the jungle, their natural habitat. But instead were forced to endure the cruel fate of a concrete and twisted steel jungle. They could not learn jungle warfare from a higher and historical perspective.
   The Prince learnt something secret about the Gorilla people in that short exchange of interaction at the bookshop. The Gorilla people had no bananas. So the great prince of divine tantrums was finally on track to mastermind shiploads of bananas for the great restoration of the Gorilla people.

- Haki 

   The place where Captain L G Greenaway resided was small dark and exciting. There were rows and rows of old and new books.Yes, it was the "Dead Souls Bookshop." He sat there majestically on the wall. Daphne du Maurier was there teasing him about the old times, when they both roamed on the  earth. The bookshop had secret passages and a tunnel which suddenly transported them to Cornwall. That's where Daphne and the Captain lived. How they got to Dunedin, who knows. Perhaps they came over on the sailing ship, as most people did in the 18th century, or they might have come through the smugglers tunnel.
   Smuggling was rife in Cornwall. Men would wait until a ship flounders in the battering sea. Then they would plunder the goods on board and store it in a dry cave on the coast.
   The houses were like castles with big rooms, nooks and crannies and cellars. There were secret passages which lead to other houses nearby, where smugglers could escape if the Captain got anywhere near them.
   Occasionally the cornishmen head through the tunnel to Dunedin. There they could live as free men, until the authorities wanted to know how they got there.What could the men say 'a magic tunnel from Cornwall' ? Ha if that was true everybody would want to come over to Dunedin. They didn't need to smuggle in NZ as they had a job building roads and church's.
   Going back to Cornwall for his annual holiday, Captain Greenaway decided to stay there, to help the revenue men catch the smugglers.
   He went on a beach walk and happened to find a cave, stuffed full of contraband, alcohol, tobacco and food. A cave where he could live undisturbed, until the bad guys came back to get their goods. He didn't live there of course, because he had two comfortable houses to live in. In fact he he had two houses, one in Cornwall and one in Dunedin.
   He kept an eye on the beach and eventually the smugglers came back for their haul. The revenue men trapped and arrested four men. The contraband was taken away.
   The men got a slap on the wrist and were transported to Dunedin for hard labour building roads.
   Captain Greenaway decided to go with them and they lived together in his house. After three years the Cornishmen were free men and they choose to stay with the Captain, in his house and worked building houses.
                                      The End.


                                                           BOOKS GALORE

  Their eyes met above the pile of books.  The sun flickered through the dust motes, giving her a sparkling aura.
  "Can I help you?" John asked, wishing with all his might that he could.
  "Um, yes, no, oh I don't know", she stammered.  "I was passing and felt I had to come in, something drew me in here."
  "Well I hope you're after a book", he said, laughing as he looked at the piles of books surrounding them.  Books in cases, books on shelves, books on the floor - even book covers on the ceiling!
  "Um, yes, well.... it was actually you that drew me in here", she said shyly.  "I saw you there, dusting and sorting, and just felt I had to meet you.  It's never happened before but I just felt I had to act".
  "Um, ok, I felt the same when I saw you standing there", said John.  "Let me introduce myself.  I'm John, owner of Many Books Inc".  John reached his hand out to shake hers.
  "And I'm Mary, reader of many books", she laughed, holding his hand for just that second longer than usual.  There was definitely something happening between them.
  What will happen?  Will this work, they both wondered?  Well, dear readers, you'll have to read the second installment to find out!

- Christine

Monday, 1 April 2019

Flash Fiction

Today we were inspired by the NZ Flash Fiction competition and each wrote a short short story using four prompts that we drew out of a box. The prompts were provided by ourselves at the start of our writing session. They were - a place, a person's name, an emotion, and a mode of transport. The prompts were sometimes challenging but really helped to get us started with some cool stories realised.

   It was a grey Thursday morning in Green Island. Rain was forecast for later in the afternoon, and it was cold. Local pensioners walked slowly to Moyle's Supermarket, pulling their trundlers as they went to get their groceries, happily anticipating a nice cuppa at the cafe with their neighbours or retired friends from the area.
   Along the road Dan kicked gravel off the footpath, as Poppy pushed the pram towards him. She was pale still, as if impending death hadn't left her when she had been discharged from the hospital.  Still looked hurt.
   "Howsit?" he asked, as he crouched to tickle the baby under the chin. "Have you named him yet?"
   "Called him after my grandads" Poppy replied. "Just cos I had to for the paperwork. Still not calling him anything 'cept baby."
   Dan knew she hadn't wanted the baby. A hard place to be, hopes cut short and all that.
   Down Main Street there was a flash and a bang and out of the dust a vehicle arrived, a Delorian.
   The door opened and Doc stepped out.
   "Nuts" thought Dan "he's not supposed to be real."
   "Come on then" called Doc "don't mess about you two!"
   Poppy and Dan looked at him. "Whaddya mean?" she asked. "Turn back time?"
   "Alternative path" said Doc impatiently "Choose where you want to go; who you want to be; who you want to be with."
   She and Dan looked at the unnamed baby.

- Karen

   He had waited for this day for so long. He'd read about them being in Dunedin, heard all the stories - for and against.  He'd been to Dunedin, just to see them, but couldn't find any.  Driven all the way down from the Waitaki Valley for nothing.  Disappointed, Rodriguez drove slowly home.
    But wait, what's that at the side of the road at Hampden?  Could it be?  Yes it is!  Finally Rodriguez could ride an e-scooter!
    Out came his phone (he'd downloaded the app months ago).  He pushed all the buttons, agreed to all the small print, and he was off, flying along the footpath, massive smile on his face.  Until he realised that the brakes weren't working.  He knew there had been brake problems, but thought they were all fixed.  His excitement turned to fear as he watched his speed increase - 15, 20, 25 km/hr, then there was a bang and the speedo died, but his speed kept increasing.
    Until he hit that crack on the path. He stopped then, but only after rolling 3 times, breaking his collarbone and grazing the left side of his face.
    Rodriguez became grateful for his ability to walk after that.

- Christine

   Suddenly she was drenched in consciousness. In a panic she reached for her purse.
   "Oh my God," she thought. "I'm lucky."
   Her cigarettes and cash were still there.
   She was on the London Underground. Glancing at her watch she realised she had been sleeping for three hours. The sound of other buses clattered in her ears. She had to get off the bus. She had gone by numerous stops and she had no idea where she was.
   Sweat was beading on her forehead and her hands were shaking. She needed a fix.
   As the bus jolted on the next stop she disembarked, and still shaking, lit her cigarette. As the smoke wreathed and danced around her head she stopped panicking. She tipped up her bag. A small foil-wrapped package fell out of her purse along with cigarettes, money and gum. She extricated the pill from its packet. Moments later she was in a state of bliss. The only thing now was to find out where in London she was.

- Morag

   "I know why you are having those dreams. It's a symptom of alien abduction and I can help you get over it, but it will cost you. If you pay me $100 I will come back and listen to you tomorrow."
   The conman walks away with $100 giggling gleefully.
   "Another sucker has just bit the dust," he thinks to himself.
   The person with the problem sleeping trusts him and expects him back.
   On the way home the conman's bike hits a rock and he is knocked unconscious.
   Waking up he finds himself in a room with beeping lights and buttons, with a strange alien creature nearby. The alien is light khaki green with a big head and great staring eyes, with a distorted human body. "Where am I,"
   "You're on board my flying saucer and I am here to help you mend your ways,"
   The man  started kicking and screaming. "You're not real."
   "I assure you I am. Touch me."
   The frightened man touched the creature's chest and found a warm rubbery skin.
   "What do you want me to do?"
   "I want you to go to all of the people that have paid you for nothing and work your fill. Starting tomorrow you will tell the lady that her dreams will go and she will have pleasant ones instead. Be warned I have inserted a probe so I can keep an eye on you. You will see me if you don't change your ways." Then all of the alien family came to say goodbye and set him back on his bike, with a bump on his head. He turned around and went straight back to the lady with the dreams. The conman turned into an honest person and helped everyone.

- Gail

Dream Rhymes

We all have dreams, most of which we don't remember. Today was a chance to explore our dreams but with the added complication of a rhymi...