‘Letter to My Younger Self’: Perfect Tea

Last semester I took 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 three. For that week we had to write a ‘Letter to My Younger Self’. This is what I came up with!


Dear Anna,

I’m writing this to you today to give you an instruction of sorts. That probably sounds a little ominous, so I apologise in advance, or technically, late, depending on how you look at it.

Anywho, I digress.

I’m not sure how old you are at this point. Especially as if I aimed to get this to you at a certain age – knowing my track record – this letter would reach you either too late, too early, or it would simply end up here. In my letterbox. In 2017. The latter scenario being of no use to either of us.

Leaving the technicalities behind, I am writing to tell you how (or maybe when?) to make the perfect cup of tea.

Personally, I do not remember learning. Which may sound strange, but years of watching mum boil the water, spoon the leaves into the pot, a dash of milk in the mug, and then wait probably did the trick. I can now make a solid cup of tea. My problem is drinking too early and scorching the inside of my mouth.

Trust me, we never learn.

I know that you will most definitely learn (and most likely at this point know) the perfunctory ins and outs of making a cup of tea, but there is tea, and then there is tea.

Tea: A drink; made and drunk when you’re cold/when you feel like it/to fuel the writing of assignments/to fuel writing in general.

Tea: A drink; made and drunk with love/to calm/to comfort/for others/with apologies.

The former is your everyday cuppa. The breakfast tea. The ‘I have two hours to write this’ tea. The ‘I’m so exhausted I need a cup of tea’ tea. This cup of tea is not in any way less important. It does the job. It warms you, it fuels you, it tides you over ‘til you’re next bothered to eat, it even helps to write essays. (That last one, I can assure you, does work.)

The latter you make when you know that it’s not only you who needs it. When you brew the tea to perfection, with love, for someone special, or just for someone who needs it. This tea is the comforter, the calmer of anxieties, the beginning of an apology that you’re not sure how to start.

For us, Anna, tea is more than just a drink.

Tea takes us home.

Remember that.


Book Review: Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford

bad-behaviourGoodreads Blurb:

It should have been a time of acquiring confidence, building self respect and independence, of fostering a connection with the natural world through long hikes…

A gripping, compulsively readable memoir of bullying at an elite country boarding school.





My Thoughts:

Reading Bad Behaviour off the back of The Golden Child was either an interesting coincidence or just not a very well thought out decision on my part. I do not regret reading this memoir, more than that, I am so glad I did, but I feel there is a certain waiting time that I should have taken before reading a book of such a similar strain. The more I think about it now however, the more I come to realise that whenever I read it, I would still be just as shaken.

In writing Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford has written something which is incredibly, but beautifully raw. She paints a brutal picture of the pack mentality which can develop within large groups of school girls and how that can affect the victims of the resulting bullying. Her year spent in a Victorian boarding school not only brought out a side of herself which she never thought she had, but also left her scarred.

For me, this memoir left a much deeper impression than I could ever have expected. The scenes and actions of the girls a reminder of the first couple of years at my own all girls’ high school. Though for me and my year of girls the bullying never got as bad, it was all still was painfully familiar, and not just the group dynamic but the people as well. Despite this, it was written in such a way that even though the events recorded were true enough, to me they felt almost surreal. So that in finishing this book I was left with the feeling of waking up from a bad dream.

Reading the breakdown of the relationship between Rebecca and her mother however was what most struck a chord with me. It is something which I found to be the most heartbreaking to read. Lastly Rebecca Starford’s memoir is poignant, deep, and a real insight into the turmoil which teens experience and work through at this age. Beautifully written, this memoir something which I am sure will stay with me for quite a while.

Ficlet: ‘Carry it On’

For a different subject from the last posts we had to write 300 word pieces based on different prompts. Another we wrote was a ‘Carry it On’ story based on one of two scenes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The section I chose is below:

“I trembled, and my heart failed within me; when, on looking up, I saw, by the light of the moon, the daemon at the casement. A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed on me, where I sat fulfilling the task which he had allotted to me. Yes, he had followed me in my travels; he had loitered in forests, hid himself in caves, or taken refuge in wide and desert heaths; and he now came to mark my progress, and claim the fulfilment of my promise.

As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of malice and treachery. I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like to him, and trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew”.
      Frankenstein, Mary Shelly pg. 166.

I watched him as he worked, such concentration, such precision. In that moment, I wasn’t just watching Her creation, I was watching mine too. Then why, why do I not feel that way? There was no humanity in his vision. I had to learn that. He gave me life but only a half-life: enough to survive, but not enough to live.

Frankenstein paused mid-stitch, as if thinking, brows knitted. That was when he looked up.

His gaze was laced with disgust. Cold eyes staring not just at me, but through me. Pursed lips turned downwards in an ugly frown. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from such loathing.

Why do you look this way at me? Lips of judgement. Eyes of hatred. You created Me. You are creating Her.

The answer was clear within moments. I watched in horror as He started tearing her apart. All that intricacy. All those details. All that time. So quickly erased. Gone.

Then all of a sudden. Pain. Pain in the form of pure, unbridled anger. It flared within me uncontrollably as Frankenstein tore Her apart. He destroyed Her with a viciousness only a monster could hold. Within seconds all hope of acceptance and love was gone, and it was all because of him.

I crashed through the door, its small glass pane shattered on impact with the ground. His head snapped up, staring at me with a look of terror.

So this, I thought to myself, this is what it is to be human? The strongest, most overpowering emotion: hatred.

So in letting instinct take control I had discovered the essence of my humanity, and just as quickly as I’d found it, I knew I’d lost my desire to be human. So, without regret, I destroyed it.

Frankenstien fell as easily as if he were a rag doll, blood pooling around his wound.

Ficlet: ‘Up-Side Down Narrative’

For a different subject from the last posts we had to write 300 word pieces based on different prompts. The first was to write one of our favourite childhood stories as an ‘Up-Side Down’ narrative. This meant that we had to take any aspect of it and change it so it was the opposite to the original. I chose Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll to change.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, you have probably also heard that I inspired the story a family friend wrote. This is partially true. Yes, he did write it, but I told him the story you all know so well, I spun it from perfectly ordinary happenings to keep him from bothering me further.

You won’t be surprised I still fell down that damn rabbit hole. I remember, I ruined my dress. That little white rabbit definitely did NOT speak and the pocket watch – one of my fathers’ I think – was tangled around one of its legs. That’s why I chased the thing; father in one of his moods is never good.

Anyway, down I fell and hit my head and that is where the similarities stop.

There was a glass of milk and a slice of very dry cake which I tasted and decided it was not to my liking. There was no growing in any direction and absolutely no tears. They would have been helpful though seeing as they would have saved me the walk.

Along the way I came across a group having tea at a very long table, they were singing the most horrendously out of tune version of that rhyme about the stars. The dormouse was somehow asleep despite the noise, it quite surprised me. The hatter, the hare, and the dormouse definitely had no idea how to host a tea party, and they most certainly were not mad. I moved on from there as quickly as possible, their singing irking me all the way.

The Cheshire Cat wasn’t grinning at all, in truth, it glared at me, it’s piercing gaze followed me all through the forest. It was a short time later when I came to twin girls rudely blocking my path. Infuriatingly they talked in unison, and what wias worse, they harmonised in their rhymes. I cannot stand rhyme

The cards were chess pieces, and they were doing anything but painting the roses red. Reading, sleeping, laughing – you name it. This was because the Queen of Diamonds was so sickeningly polite!

Ficlet: Weather Report

Last uni semester our writing class was tasked with putting together a folio of writing tasks based off a series of prompts, a different one for each week. This prompt was to rewrite a weather report they gave us into any genre we chose, I chose to write 200 words of a comedians speech.

Look here, there’s something which really frustrates me about science in Australia, and it’s not the fact that they are telling us the world is doomed, because it most certainly is doomed, it is the lack of belief Australia has in that fact. No, seriously. I was talking to a Sciencey friend the other day – yes that’s what I call her – I’m Comedy, and she’s Sciencey, together we make the state of our climate: apparently an absolute joke.

Seasonal temperatures are steadily rising and look at us…most of us are sitting around laughing.

I kid you not! I was walking from the station to do this show and I had to take off my coat because I was too hot…it’s August!

When I asked my Sciencey friend about this she says to me, ‘there is to be a shift in weather conditions to something a lot warmer than the normal, and it doesn’t seem to want to stop.’

‘What even is normal?’ I ask, and from the perspective of this scienceless mind, what would you expect? You know what she replied?

‘Look at these two south eastern Australia temperature maps, they’ll explain everything.’

Did I mention I failed high school science?

Ficlet: Monologue

Last uni semester our writing class was tasked with putting together a folio of writing tasks based off a series of prompts, a different one for each week. Another prompt was to write a 200 word monologue on any topic we chose and from any character’s point of view.

Do you ever just want to scream? Scream so loud because there is no way things like this can still be happening in films but they do. Again, and again, and again. The same old story. The boy saves the day. The boy gets the girl. How about this: the girl saves the day, or the girl gets the girl, or better yet…there is no side love story at all. Just women kicking ass and saving the day without needing tight leather suits or sad backstories. For once can the token lesbian character in the film series or television show not be built up in an awesome story, as an awesome character only to be killed off for affect? For once can the main female character not die in her lover’s arms for no reason other than to further the main male’s development and move the plot along? Give us powerful females, black females, lesbians, trans girls, large females, strong females, anything but these women who exist solely to benefit the male characters in the story. We are better than that. Women have more to offer than just a supporting role in a story which has been told so many times before. We do.

Ficlet: Bluebeard

Last uni semester our writing class was tasked with putting together a folio of writing tasks based off a series of prompts, a different one for each week with a limit of 200 words. The first one was to regenre the given Fairy Tail, Bluebeard, which was originally by Charles Perrault.

“He’s taken another one! That is five women now! Five!” Gray Jones slammed his clenched fist down on the desk. “We just can’t prove it.”

“Bluebeard is our cleverest killer yet.” Natasha Carter replied calmly. “…but we’ll get him, Gray, I know it.”

“…but how?” Gray’s dark eyes flashed dangerously, “we know it’s him killing all his wives. How have we not managed to prove this?”

“Bluebeard is good.”

“We need to be better!”

All of a sudden Gray straightened up. He pushed his dark fringe from his eyes with a triumphant grin. “We need someone on the inside.”

“Gray what are y-“ Nat frowned at the taller man. “No.”

“You know the case so well though! All you’d have to do is marry the guy…”

“He has a blue beard, and I’m a lesbian! He also murders his wives in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“Sorta noticed that, yeah.” Gray waited, but Nat still glared at him with her stony green gaze. “We’d be there the whole time.”

Nat raised an eyebrow.

“Trust me, I’d rather marry the guy myself then let him kill you too.”


“Nat I could kiss you!”

“Please don’t.” Nat smirked, “I’m getting married remember?”