Starting in my chest


The feeling grows

Filling down
Stretching out

To tips of fingers
And tingling toes


Colour after colour
Bursting free
and drawing in the crowd

For me
You make me better
Than the darkness
In my mind

Thank you

For helping me be me

I wrote this as a part of one of the sessions on RYLA, along with the image above. It is one that I ended up reading aloud to the group, and because of that it is one which I hold close to my heart.

Thoughts on… RYLA 2018

“When you shine your light you allow others to shine their light too”

Even weeks after returning from Mt Evelyn it is hard to articulate just how much RYLA has done for me. 

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award is a leadership camp for 18-25 year olds which “focuses on personal growth, leadership development and community”, but after my week away I know that RYLA is so much more than that. 

In just seven days I learnt more about myself and how I want to live my live than I have ever been able to understand. RYLA provides a safe space for you to explore who you are and open your mind to new understandings of what it means to be a leader.

I won’t go into detail about what actually happened during the week, as for anyone interested in going, the less you know before hand the more you will get out of the week. What I can say though is that everything you do each day is carefully picked out and designed to benefit you, but that your experience with something will be completely different from the person next to you. You can only get out of this camp what you put in, and in that way, the lessons you learn aren’t just for that week, they are forever.

While the lessons I learnt about life, leadership, and myself are important to me, something I have really taken away from this experience is a bunch of the most beautiful, and inspiring people, each one of whom enriched my experience and will stay in my heart forever (apologies for the cheese, but it was unavoidable). I really do love these people so much. We laughed a lot, we cried a lot, but most of all we supported each other through a new and challenging experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.

To everyone on RYLA 2018 – if you are reading this – thank you so much for everything. You are the most beautiful people and I absolutely loved the week we spent together. Your friendship, support, and the lessons you’ve taught me are something I will value for the rest of my life.

If you’re looking for more information on RYLA here’s a link to the website:

Book Review: The Silent Companions, Laura Purcell

Goodreads Blurb:
When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure–a silent companion–that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition–that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

My Thoughts:
There’s nothing better than a hearty ghost story to keep you on your toes. Well, maybe an actual ghost, but that is not the point here…

Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions seems to be one such ghost story, but on reading it, this novel turns out to be so much more than just a ghost story. With the lines “The Turn of the Screw meets The Little Stranger” printed on the back cover, there was no doubt that this would be a chilling read, and definitely not one to read home alone in the early hours of the morning (not that that stopped me from doing so – which is now something I highly regret).

The Silent Companions focuses on the character of Elsie Bainbridge. Recently widowed while pregnant with her first child, she moves to The Bridge, the old country estate she was meant to move into with her late husband only months later. With the house isolated from the closest village, and only the cold mannered servants and her late husband’s strange cousin for company, Elsie is dreading the thought of having to move there at all. To make matters worse, the villagers are less than welcoming to her as she travels through the village to get to The Bridge. Elsie soon realises that not only does the village not have the warmth and friendliness she expected, but also that The Bridge isn’t really that homely at all either. It isn’t long though before ‘unfriendly’ becomes rude, and ‘less than homely’ becomes sinister, leaving Elsie with nowhere to turn. With the introduction to some startlingly realistic second-hand wooden sculptures of different children to the house, Elsie thinks that the place will feel less empty, and though she isn’t wrong here, neither is she completely right. As the Companions fold themselves into her life, there is something much darker at work in the house which is not only dredging up the lives of the previous occupants of The Bridge but also uprooting the normality of Elsie’s life forever.

This novel jumps between three voices and points of view, two of which are Elsie’s but at two different points in her life. Those being the present, and Elsie’s experiences at The Bridge in 1865. This does mean that you basically know Elsie’s fate from the start of the novel, but these parts are written in such a way that not everything is revealed too early but you are given teasers of what is to come for the Elsie of 1865. Cleverly though, this allows you to become completely caught up in the mystery and horrors of the how and the why, rather than becoming too focused on the outcome. The third voice is that of the words of a diary from an occupant of The Bridge in 1635, found in a once locked room of The Bridge itself. Though at first the pages of the diary feel like they don’t quite fit into the story, it isn’t long before you make chilling connections between the events of the past and those in Elsie’s time at the Bridge. Though the jumping between voices threw me a little at first, there was a point where everything clicked, and you could see where all the pieces fit together in a chilling climax and then conclusion to Elsie’s story.

Purcell’s The Silent Companions is one of those novels which is a little slow to start but even more so, intriguing enough to keep you wanting to know more. It doesn’t take long though for it to become the gripping and spooky read you expect it to be. As a main character, Elsie is honestly not one of my favourites. Despite this, she carries the story very well, and through her eyes you can feel her confusion and terror as everything falls apart around her. The story’s close is tied together nicely with a perfect, and rather daring twist which makes you question what you’ve just read but somehow still leaves you satisfied.  Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions is a cleverly crafted novel and is definitely worth reading for anyone who wants to delve into something which may leave you a little shaken, and maybe even haunt you as well.

CC – It (1990)

It (1990)The Real Adults:
Children and the Power of Friendship

Take any horror film, look at the list of main characters, and ask yourself the question: ‘are they all adults?’. If the answer is ‘yes’ then there are a few guarantees you can readily assume before watching. One, they will make a terrible decision at some point (or maybe more). Two, they are most likely not going to survive the full film, or at least not make it out in out piece. And three, if they have children, they’ll be in one of two parenting categories, overbearing or oblivious. When it comes to children in horror films when they are deemed the target of the evil, they do have much more of a chance of survival: not only do the children use their brains, their instinct is much stronger. In this way in some films you can see the children take on the responsibilities of the adults, and do more than what the adults could do: both survive, and manage to save others too. The 1990 film adaption of Stephen King’s novel It (1986) is one such example where the children become responsible for the fate of their town, and not only do they defeat the monster, but they survive.

It (1990) is also an example of how adults can not only be oblivious to what their children are doing, but also the reason that their children are the targets of the evil in the story. The adults in the film – other than the future selves of the ‘Losers Club’ – are a collection of abusive, overbearing, or absentee parents who continue to turn a blind eye to both the growing number of missing children, as well as doing very little to stop the children doing what they want. This difference in character adds to the already eerie mood of the town, which is elevated by the deaths of many of the town’s children. Just as much as you can’t trust Pennywise, you begin to feel like you can’t trust the adults either. So those that you are meant to be able to trust, and to rely on aren’t what you think, and so the outcast children of the town are brought into the spotlight. In this case, it is the negligence of the parents which leads to the already alienated children becoming Pennywise’s targets. To punish the parents, Pennywise takes the children, but this backfires and it is this group of children who fight back.

The seven children who make up the ‘Losers Club’, and the main characters of the film are a group who not only take action against Pennywise, but also kill it. The control and power which is meant to lie with the adults gets transferred over to a group of children, and they not only take on this power, they utilise it. At the end of the first fight with Pennywise, the children are only able to defeat it as a group. Not only do they do this together, this scene brings them together in a circle. Within this circle the children depend on and look out for each other, thus generating enough power to eventually kill Pennywise. This shows just how much stronger they are together rather than apart. Like the circle of friends, the story also comes to a well rounded close as they defeat the evil before them.

It (1990) presents a group of children who take on the responsibility of the adults to protect both themselves and the other children in the town. It is this though which seals their fate as they are forever stuck in the mindset of their past selves, and so have never really left Derry. In this way, they are yet again the only ones, and now, the only adults who can really do anything about Pennywise. Those who left managed to move on just like the other adults in the town, but all it takes is for one phone call for everything to come flooding back. Who they were as children when they defeated Pennywise is still there, and so as adults, they have the ability to do what others can’t. They can defeat It again.

The members of the ‘Losers Club’ are given the power and responsibilities of adults in their status as outcasts, and they utilise it against their common enemy. They do this not only as children, but for a second time, as adults. Thus, in the film It (1990), the adults of Derry aren’t the real adults, the ‘Losers Club’ are.


CC – Lucifer (2016)

Lucifer (2016)Dance with the Devil

If the Devil came to earth, what would you expect to happen? Here are two options: Option 1, death, destruction, raging fire, and a little bit of punishment; Option 2, Move to L.A., open up a night club, and end up solving crimes with a local detective. You’d expect ‘Option 1’ wouldn’t you? Well, for Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), after growing bored of his duties in hell, he went for ‘Option 2’, and honestly, as Lucifer puts it kindly, “L.A. is the land of reinvention”, he himself is a prime example. This doesn’t go to mean that ‘Option 1’ is completely out of the question for him. I mean, the Devil and punishment go hand in hand, but never has it been done in such style.

The pilot episode of Lucifer (2016) opens up on a black screen with the song Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked (Cage the Elephant, 2008) overlaying the words:

“In the beginning…the angel Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and condemned to rule Hell for all eternity. Until he decided to take a vacation…” (Lucifer, 2016)

Though a possibly cliched choice of song for the opening of such a television show, the lyrics are apt to what becomes the main drive for protagonist Lucifer Morningstar. Not only that, but the almost playful twang of the guitar and sickeningly smooth lyrics of this song manage to embody the suave character of Lucifer himself before he has even come on screen. This is reinforced as the scene opens up on, a well-dressed man speeding through the streets of L.A. in a shiny black ‘61 Corvette, a character later introduced as Lucifer Morningstar. Sirens soon blare and a smirk lights up the man’s expression, as he is pulled over Lucifer is disturbingly calm, and it is as the policeman pulls him over that things get, well, to put it simply…weird. Lucifer is asked if he knows why he was pulled over, and his response manages to sum up the smooth talking characterisation which makes up the first and most visible layer to his personality.

“Well, obviously you felt the need to exercise your limited powers and punish me for ignoring the speed limit. It’s okay. I understand. I- I like to punish people, too. Or at least I used to.” (Lucifer, 2016)

As the scene plays out, Lucifer proceeds to try and bribe the police officer before prompting him that he breaks the law sometimes too. The strangest thing is though, the policeman answers with an almost glazed look in his eye. This interaction becomes commonplace within the episode, but there is something beautifully comical about a policeman answering that “Sometimes, I put my siren on and drive really fast for no reason at all, just ‘cause I can.” (Lucifer, 2016) plus for me, it was near impossible to get Lucifer’s gleeful smirk from my mind as I watched the rest of the episode.

Something within the episode which could only be seen as minor but really plays a larger part in making this new embodiment of such an overly done character who he is, is through the addition of perfectly timed father related humour. Not only does this reinforce the character of Lucifer as a rebellious child but also embeds him within the L.A. culture as he rejects his father, God, in an almost snarky manor. As well as this, this level of humour is very cleverly played within the overall story of the episode, and manages to defuse moments of tension as they arise. As it is not something over worked, the cleverly written humour within the episode not only adds to the character of Lucifer, it creates him.

As far as pilot episodes go, Lucifer (2016) creates a protagonist that you know from the beginning you are going to hate to love. He is charming, dramatic, playful, and – for some – quite sexy, but his morals (unsurprisingly – he is the Devil, of course) are far from that of an angel, or so you think. As the episode progresses, you are able to peel away the layers of suave charm, bitter sarcasm, and his lofty demeanour to reveal someone rather sensitive, and possibly even kind – even if Lucifer can’t see it himself. This adds a very interesting level of characterisation which not only keeps you guessing but also paints a very different picture of what nearly everyone understands Lucifer to be.

CC – Rosie Waterland

Rosie Waterland#WaterlandWritestheWacko

If you’re like me, and you find yourself (somewhat reluctantly) skimming the range of cringe worthy reality television shows which take up the 8:30pm timeslot on numerous commercial channels, there is a high chance you’ve come across The Bachelor. The cringiest of the cringe, a show where twenty-something young women all compete for the attention of this year’s Bachelor. If so, like me, you have probably become caught up (somewhat sceptically) in the seemingly scripted romantic tension of the whole thing. Rosie Waterland is someone who has not only watched the show, but expanded upon it as a sort of commentator, and in doing so she has made my Bachelor focused evenings not only much more entertaining, but she has almost made them redundant.

Rosie Waterland is an Australian television writer, author, and comedian based in Sydney. To quote from her own website: “I’m a writer of all the things and generally find my own jokes particularly hilarious” (Waterland 2017). The more of Waterland’s writing you read it is impossible to separate this statement from what you’re reading, and honestly, you are better off for it. In the terms of her ‘Rosie Recaps’ segment in MammaMia [A blog written by women for women], to understand how Waterland’s writing works you need to be familiar with just how ridiculous The Bachelor is as a form of entertainment. Looking closer at Waterland’s ‘Rosie Recaps’ not only sheds new light on The Bachelor itself, but also brings into account what one can do with such well-honed comedic talent which Waterland has.

It is simpler though, with Waterland’s writing, to show rather than tell. The 2015 season of The Bachelor introduced us to #BachieWood, and me also, to ‘Rosie Recaps’. Waterland titled her recap of this season’s first episode ‘Bachie Wood meets his 19 girlfriends’ and it was from this moment on that I knew I was in for an all new form of television ‘review’, plus, I was already hooked. In addition to the title, the opening lines of this piece not only introduced me to Waterland’s ‘Rosie Recaps’ persona but also the attitude of her writing. With this next line I knew exactly what I was in for, and honestly, I was excited to read the rest: “His last name is so perfect, I don’t care if it’s referring to his brain or his peen I just want to christen him Bachie Wood and have nobody call him by any other name ever again” (Waterland 2015). Though there is a certain finality in Waterland’s tone there is also cleverly played humour, which is something which hooks you into her clever writing style.

When it comes to her writing style it is safe to say that Waterland has a very unique and personal flair to her writing which is hard not to find some enjoyment in. Through the use of a collection of almost absurd metaphorical phrases and outrageous nicknames she manages to convey a multitude of images depending on your own context. In terms of outrageous nicknames, there is no limit. This one from part of Waterland’s recap of episode 5, “Nina heads back to the Girl Prison, and, let’s be honest, aren’t we all just hoping that Totally Laid Back Cool Girl Heather will freak the FUCK out when she sees her [Nina’s] rose?” (Waterland 2015), is one of the less strange nicknames, yet it encompasses perfectly how The Bachelor’s production team painted Heather from the beginning. This speaks strongly for how Waterland manages to take such a formulated reality show and turn it into something which not only surpasses the entertainment value of its source material, but also creates its own genre of writing.

For Waterland, her series ‘Rosie Recaps’ shows how even just a different angle, and a selection of choicest nicknames can make for an entertaining read. Not only is she imaginative in her style, Waterland is wonderfully sarcastic, on the verge of being rather blunt. In any case, this sort of writing in the television industry wouldn’t usually sit too well, yet for Waterland it works, Waterland has made it work. The selection of truer than true statements regarding The Bachelor which are executed in such an overexcited tone, matched with the over the top production of this reality television show cancels out any out of place ridiculousness and makes it the norm. There is a skill to making the ‘out there’ seem common place, yet Waterland does this in such a way that she has made it into an artform.


Fictions as Nonfictions: Early.

Last semester I did a writing creative nonfiction class in which one of the tasks was to write a small response to a different prompt each week. Seeing as the semester is over I can now post this piece from week two. We had to write a story about ourselves which wasn’t true as if it weren’t true. This wasn’t what I’d originally planned to write, as well as this, it turned out that I pretty much missed the brief (it ended up a lot more fantasy than reality) but I’m happy with it all the same.


There’s a lake that hugs the outskirts of a forest which lies on the border of my friends’ property. I go to her cottage there once a year to write, get drunk, then write some more. This morning I woke surprisingly early; for once I’d had a dryer night the night before.

I took to the misty, dew covered morning, pulling on yellow gumboots, and my long woollen jumper over my pajamas. The crisp air nipped at my exposed ears and nose, while leaving the tips of my fingers to grow pinker by the second. The crunch of dead twigs caught underfoot was almost an intrusion on the tranquility of the still hour of the morning.

It was then that the most angelic voice broke through the blanket of hush. Even in my sleep muddled state I knew the beautifully enticing sound came from the point where the forest met the water of the lake.

It filled my chest with an overpowering longing which only grew stronger with every step. My feet moving without any prior instruction, they pulled me towards the water as opposed to my usual route along the forest line nearest the cottage. The voice guided me to the water’s edge before tugging me painfully to my knees on the gravelly earth.
I couldn’t move a muscle, yet I didn’t seem to want to.

The source of the voice raised its head above the surface or the water. The singing growing louder still as she – as I now knew her to be so – leant towards where I knelt. Tears brimmed and proceeded to roll down my cheeks as her voice reverberated through my shivering form. Her long, wet hair framed her pale features as she as gazed at me with unabashed curiosity. Her purple irises no more of a surprise than the gills which sat snugly beneath her small pointed ears. She reached out a hand to rest it on my knee. Though wet to touch, her skin was warm, leaving a trusting calm to settle in my stomach.

Then as suddenly as it had started, the singing stopped, leaving only the lull of early morning bird chatter. My breath caught in my throat, the warmth leaving my skin as quickly as it had come.

With a small smirk and a wink, she turned to dive back under the water. Her ebony tail leaving ripples in the glassy surface of the lake.