Tag Archives: Creative writing



A moving story

Four days!  Four whole days!  Can you believe it?

I was relaxing by the window, just enjoying the view, when suddenly I was locked in a car.  I had no idea where I was going.  I couldn’t get out.  I had no room to run.  The car was jam-packed with stuff.  Stuff!

I cried.  I howled.  I expressed my unhappiness is so many ways.

The first day was not too bad.  It was a relatively short journey.  I was so excited when the car stopped.  I thought I’d have a chance to escape, but it wasn’t to be.  I was locked in a bathroom!  A bathroom!  You’ve got to be kidding?

No light.  No company.  Just me, the cold floor tiles, a shower and a toilet.  I was given a pillow to lie on, but what was the point?  I scratched at the door.  I cried some more.  Let me out!

Eventually I collapsed from exhaustion.

I saw the sun through the bars on the window the next morning.  I hoped to be going home.  She was talking to me through the door.  Telling me everything was going to be okay.  I didn’t believe her.

I was locked in the car once more.  I had no idea where we were going or how long it would take.  It seemed like forever.

The car stopped.  I was manhandled and told to go to the toilet.  Excuse me?   The indignity!  I didn’t need to go, well, I did, but I wasn’t going to urinate on command.

Back in the car.  Hours and hours and hours went by.  The light began to fade as the sun went down.  Again I was dragged out of the car and dumped in a small room.  At least it wasn’t a bathroom, I guess.

This time there was a comfy bed.  Some nice food, and some milk.  I still cried.  I still voiced my disapproval.  I just wanted to go home.  Why was she doing this to me?

Day three and it was back in the car.  I was too drained to fight.  The heat was unbearable.  I was panting like a dog.  A dog, of all things!  She stopped the car and put a rope around my neck.  She took me to a river.  I froze.  Petrified she was going to drown me in it.  I couldn’t move.  I didn’t know what to do.  The heat!  The flies! 

I didn’t drown, but I almost wish I had.  Back in the car!  This time I just hid.  I buried myself under all of the stuff.  Who cared about the heat?  I didn’t want to know.

Another small room as the sun went down.  Another bed, but not so comfy.  I slid under the covers and curled up tight.  I just hoped this would all end soon.

Day four.  She was excited.  Her voice became shrill.  It was painful to hear.  She was waffling about how great it was going to be.  Great?  Locked in a car for days on end?  What planet was this being on?  This was the furthest thing from great I could think of.  How dare she drag me away from home?  How dare she keep me from escaping?  How dare she even think that I would enjoy this?

The car stopped.  “We’re here!” she shrieked.

Where’s ‘here’?  What?  A house?

My confused mind had been addled by the trip.  I no longer knew where I was, what day it was, and I almost forgot who I was. 

Four days!  Four whole days!  It took four days to get here – to my new home. 

You look fine

Hidden pain

Hidden Pain

You look fine.

Can you not see my ugliness?

You look fine.

Can you not see the scars I carry?

You look fine.

Can you not see the sadness I feel?

You look fine.

Can you not see that big Black Dog that has been at my heels for the last three decades?

You look fine.

Can you not see the huge, heavy,  black box inside me that oozes sludge, pus and monsters?

You look fine.

Can you not see the blood I have lost?

You look fine.

Can you not see the bruises I have had?

You look fine.

Can you not see my body silently screaming in pain as it remembers the trauma it has lived through?

You look fine.

Can you not see the pain of an adult penis being jammed into a nine-year-old’s vagina?

You look fine.

Can you not see the terror of knowing your father could get you pregnant?

You look fine.

Can you not see I would rather be dead?

You look fine.

Can you not see all the things I cannot put into words?

You look fine.

Can you not see the pain my anger has caused others?

You look fine.

Can you not see how a song, a smell, a memory can cause me insanity?

You look fine.

Can you not see the nightmares that keep me awake at night?

You look fine.

Can you not see how your ignorance and arrogance cause me despair?

But, you look fine.

The Truth


I discovered this short story in my draft folder from September 2010.  

Collapsed in the corner, Tanya feels raw and exposed.  She feels like her skin has been stripped from her body.  She has carried the burden of The Truth inside for thirty years and it has eaten her alive from the inside out.  Her annihilation will be complete when the shell of her body finally gives way to The Truth’s crushing weight.

Tanya knows she should be feeling relieved.  She knows she should be proud of what she so recently accomplished.  She knows her family expects her recovery will now be complete and The Truth will no longer matter.  She knows others think she has weathered the worst and she has come out the other side beaten and bruised, but relatively intact.  She knows they are wrong.

Confronting her fears and taking The Truth to the one person that can validate her memories has used up the last of her strength and energy.  Tanya is barely able to breathe.  Her brain is low on battery power and the signals are not reaching their destination.  The pain streaming from her pores is all she can focus on.  The pressure of The Truth across the back of her neck and shoulders feels like a yoke.  Cries of anguish emit from her lips, but Tanya is oblivious to the sound.

Denial would have been easier to handle.  Tanya had planned contingencies for that.  Even anger would have been better than the calmness she had just encountered.  His lack of regard for the enormity of the impact The Truth has had on her, even after Tanya gave details, left her hanging onto life by one miniscule thread of hope.  A thread that seemed certain to snap at the slightest application of pressure.  A thread so frayed and stretched to capacity, it could be argued that its attachment to life did not exist at all.

A part of Tanya is fervently wishing the thread will break so she can enter the promised oblivion of non-existence.  However, out of nowhere, another part of her is praying in equal measure for survival.  Trying to ignore the vague hope within, Tanya wraps herself in loneliness.  The invisible cloak stings her exposed flesh, and it is almost too much to bear.

Tanya knows she will soon have to face the world.  She imagines her responsibilities hanging over her head like an executioner’s axe.  One false move and the blade will fall.

Distracted, her brain engages in this fantasy, and Tanya visualises her corpse being picked over and analysed.  She knows they will only see a body – headless and bloody.  No-one will know or understand the terror she has experienced.  Physical signs of torment will not exist.  Her mental and emotional scars will not be seen by even the most experienced scientific eye.  So, will that mean that her life has been wasted?

Tanya feels desolate at the thought of having lived for nothing.  Has she existed only to carry the burden of The Truth, and to drown in its pain?

The tiny thread of hope shudders and grows a little stronger.

Tanya’s keening stops and she struggles to sit.  On auto-pilot, she begins to draw deep, slow breaths and to still her mind.  Her meditation practice kicks in and her breath becomes endless – no beginning, no end – just a gentle flow of life, in and out.

The calming effects are almost immediate.  Tanya feels her muscles begin to relax and her mental strength begin to increase.  She allows herself to rest for a few more minutes, and then she pulls herself up.  She leans against the wall for a moment, takes a deep breath in, and moves to the nearest chair.  Her legs are shaking as she walks and she stumbles, falling into the chair rather than sitting.

Once seated, Tanya again questions the reason for her existence.  What if her years of torture caused by The Truth have been for a reason?  What if there is a purpose to her life after all?

The thread of hope grows stronger as she contemplates the possibilities.  The pain is still there.  How can she use her emotions to achieve something positive?  Tanya considers this change in her thinking.  Moments ago she was seeking oblivion, and yet here she is contemplating moving forward into life!  Is it possible there are others like her in need of someone who understands?  Pondering this question, for what seems like hours, Tanya arrives at the conclusion that there must be.

Not caring if this answer came from fact or wishful thinking, Tanya dries her eyes and starts to formulate a plan in her mind.




Please don’t make me go to bed,

the night is just too scary,

I’ll sleep tomorrow, in the light,

when I won’t be so wary.


I close my eyes and lay my head

down softly on the pillow,

but darkness brings the pain again,

like bathing with a brillo.


His touch, his smell and memory

is too much for me to bear.

So, out of bed, no sleep tonight

For I sense him everywhere.

Brave Heart Award


Many thanks to Turkey Bone Heaven for nominating Writing From The Ashes for the Brave Heart Award.

The Brave Heart Mission Statement

To encourage all those (men & women) whom have been abused (all abuse) to share their hope with others so that they will no longer be a victim but a survivor that knows that they are loved.

What is The Brave Heart Award? The Brave Heart Award is for Survivor’s of abuse.

Brave Heart Award 12 Question Interview


1. Tell us a little bit about your blog. Who designed it?

Writing from The Ashes  is a mixture of fact and fiction – some creative writing and posts about my real life.

2. What is the title and description  of your blog?

The title of my blog is Writing From the Ashes. The description is When all seems lost, there is nothing to do except write!

3. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your blog?

Anyone who would like to read it.

4. How did you come up with the title of your blog?

At the time, it felt like my whole world had disintegrated into ashes.  Those thoughts led me to thinking about the myth of the Phoenix, and so Writing From The Ashes was born.

5. Give us an interesting fun fact about your blog.

The Brave Heart Award is the first award Writing From the Ashes has been nominated for.

6. What other blogs do you own and what makes them alike?

Currently, I have no other blogs.

7. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I enjoy all sorts of hand-crafts.

8. How can we contact you or find out more about your blog?

Visit my About Me page and leave a comment.

9. What can we expect from you in the future?

Two books are in progress, and there will be many more short stories and posts on Writing From the Ashes.

10. What can readers who enjoy your blog do to help make your blog more successful?

Read, comment, and share 🙂

11. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers/bloggers?

Write what feels right.  Write what you enjoy.

12. Before you go, could you share a snippet from your blog?

A tortured childhood, dysfunctional family, and the everyday bumps on this journey called life provide plenty of inspiration for my stories.  Some are dark.  Some are light.  But hopefully they are all an enjoyable read.


Please take the time to visit my nominations for the Brave Heart Award:

How to Get Through Every Day

The Redheaded Wonderblog

Finally Speaking My Truth

The Power of Silence

Speak Out Against Child Sex Abuse

Bongo Is Me

Where Spirit Stops

Can You Keep A Secret

Disordered and Crazy


The Voice of Incest

Anna Waldherr A Voice Reclaimed Surviving Child Abuse


I just don’t understand.  Everything was moving forward, falling into place, and dragging me along for the ride, but now… nothing.  Worse than nothing.

What am I going to do?  I made all these promises that now, I can’t keep.  Dozens of people are relying on me, but I can’t come through for them.  I’ve lost everything.

Slowly I am drowning, dying, disappearing into nothingness.  Maybe they won’t notice.  Maybe… maybe I don’t really exist.  Maybe everything I think is real, really isn’t.  I thought what I had was real, but it wasn’t.  Maybe I am hallucinating.

Oh, what am I going to do?  No job.  No home.  No family.  Nothing.

This grass is cold.  My bum’s all wet from the dew.  My face is burning, but I don’t know why.  I don’t think I care.  I just need to work out how it all went so wrong. 

I smell.  I need a bath.  A shower.  Where was that pond I passed yesterday?  Why don’t they put taps in parks anymore?  What caused me to be here?  What did I fail to see, or do?

Dad always said I’d amount to nothin’.  How did he know?  “Useless as tits on a bull,” he said.  “Thick as two bricks, and not much bloody smarter.”  Well, I guess he was right.  I can’t be too smart to have lost what I’ve lost.

There’s no way out.  I’m pretty sure.  I mean, what can I do?  I have nothing to give, nothing to make up for everything.  It was all going so well.  What went wrong?

The sun’s up now.  It’s getting hot.  Steam’s rising from the ground as the heat boils the dew.  I can’t go back there.  I just can’t.  They’ll do things to me I just can’t bear.  The pain’s too much.  I need some peace.


Oh, shit!  She found me!  I can’t get up.  There’s nowhere to hide.

“George!  What on earth are you doing here in the garden?  You’re all wet, and what’s that on your face?  Ugh, you smell like turpentine, what have you been up to?  Everyone’s been looking for you.  You were going to play the organ for the dance.  Come along now, George.”

“But it all went wrong.  I’ve lost everything.”

“That was years ago, George.  You’ve got a nice home with us now.  C’mon, the nurses will help you.”

One Day

“But why, Mum? I don’t understand.”

Maisy sat on the riverbank. The green grass made a perfect contrast to the bright yellow of the skirt she was wearing. Her feet dangled over the edge of the bank and were touched, every now and then, by the cool, clear water of the river as small waves lapped at the sandy edge of the bank.

Maisy’s mother, Joan, was lying on the grass beside her daughter, shielding her face from the sunlight.

Sighing, Joan replied, “I don’t understand either, Maisy. All I know is that your father never left a note or any other indication that he was leaving – he just didn’t return home from work one afternoon.”

Joan wondered how she could ever explain the events of the past to her daughter when she didn’t know what really happened herself. Her mind wandered back to that fateful afternoon that changed her life forever.

The day had started just like any other day for the previous seven years. Joan had risen early and prepared her husband’s breakfast. Then, as he had carried out his morning ablutions, she had packed his lunch, put a load of washing into the machine, and started on her daily round of housework.

Her husband had hugged and kissed her goodbye in the same manner he had every day of their married life together. He picked up his lunch, said he would see her that night, and walked out the front door.

That was the last time Joan had seen or heard from him.

After getting the children dressed and off to school, Joan had scrubbed, dusted, swept and vacuumed her way through the house carrying out her daily chores. She had gone grocery shopping and mailed some letters to her mother and sister. Then she had returned home and started preparing the evening meal of roast pork and lemon delicious pudding, which were her husband’s favourites.

The children returned from school, completed their homework, bathed, and then started playing a board-game together. Maisy was very conscientious about not letting her children watch too much television, so they had to find other ways to amuse themselves until their one hour television treat after dinner each night.

At four-thirty in the afternoon, Joan began to listen for the sound of her husband’s car pulling into the drive way. By five o’clock she was a little anxious. Her husband never got home later than five o’clock. He was the most punctual person she knew, and he always made sure he was home by five so he could spend some time with the children before dinner.

Joan was very edgy at five-thirty, but made herself wait until six o’clock before she sat down and thought about what to do next. She forced herself not to visualise the accident that was most certainly the only reason her husband had not arrived home from work.

At ten minutes past six, Joan started to phone all of the hospitals in the area to see if her husband had been admitted through the emergency department. She was not sure whether to be relieved or terrified when they all told her that no one answering to that name or description was a patient in their hospital.

After calling the hospitals, Joan began calling all of her husband’s work mates to see if they knew where he was.

Bob, the first person Joan called, had been home sick all day, so he didn’t know if her husband had been at work or not, and had not seen or heard from him since the Friday before.

Joan rang five more people and although they all told her that her husband had been at work until knock-off time, they did not have any idea where he was now or why he had not arrived home.

As her anxiety grew, Joan became more persistent in her questioning of her husband’s work mates and discovered that her husband had appeared to be his normal self during the day and had given no indication that there was anything amiss in his life.

James and Billy, the last two people Joan spoke with, offered to go out and look for her husband. “He can’t be far away,” Billy had said. “I’ll just duck out and take a drive between work and your place. His car might have broken down or something. You’re probably worrying for nothing, Joan.”

Joan did not take any comfort from Billy’s words.  If her husband’s car had broken down he would have called. There were plenty of places he could have asked to use the telephone to get a message to her.

Trying not to alarm the children, Joan laid out their dinner and left them alone to eat it while she continued making phone calls in the search for their father.

Her husband’s family had not seen or heard from him in weeks. Mutual friends of Joan and her husband had not seen him. Joan’s family had not seen him.

Billy rang Joan at seven-thirty and let her know that neither he nor James had located her husband. Billy told her he would send his wife around to Joan’s to look after the children while she continued her search.

Joan was almost out of her mind with worry when Ann arrived. Ann and Billy had been friends with Joan and her husband for as long as they had been a couple. In fact, it was Ann and Billy who had introduced Joan to her future husband.

Ann wrapped her arms around Joan and told her not to worry. “I’m sure it’s going to be something we can all laugh about tomorrow. Maybe he’s gone to the pub?”

For most husbands that could be a possibility, but Joan’s husband did not drink alcohol, not even an occasional social beer. Ann knew this, but she didn’t know any other possible scenario that she could tell Joan to help her stop worrying.

James and Billy arrived at Joan’s at nine o’clock. By that time, Ann had managed to have the children in bed and asleep and had set Joan the task of  making a list of all the people she had already contacted and another list of anyone else she could think of that might know where her husband was. The tired and despondent expressions on the faces of the men as they entered the dining room sent Joan into a debilitating mixture of crying, sobbing, anxiety and panic. Billy hugged her until she had calmed a little and then held her face between his hands, looked her in the eye, and calmly said, “I think we should notify the police.”

Joan slumped to the floor and covered her face with her hands. She felt she had not a single drop of energy left, but she slowly nodded her head. “Could you do it please?”

The police had arrived shortly after Billy made the phone call. The rest of the night was a blur and the investigation that followed seemed never-ending, and in reality it was because they had never located her husband, his car, or any of his belongings. Nothing.

Joan’s husband had walked out of work, waved and shouted goodbye to his mates, just like he always did, and started driving down the road to his home – but he never arrived.

His bank account had never been accessed in the years that had passed, and despite endless hours of searching, a national broadcast of his photo and plea for help from the public to solve the case, the police received very few leads, and the ones they had were mostly hoaxes.

Joan had tried to stay strong for her children. She had almost taken her own life though when she had found out she was pregnant two weeks after her husband had disappeared. At the time she had felt angry that this child was coming into the world when the man whom she loved with every fibre of her being had been taken from her. She had felt she could not bear another child to bring up on her own as she already had three – two boys and a girl.

In the end, however, Joan had found Maisy to be a blessing. Maisy had taken her mind off of her missing husband enough to bear his loss. The pregnancy and Maisy’s birth had provided some positivity and happiness in an otherwise bleak and depressive period of Joan’s life. The other children had been wonderful. They were all too young to remember a lot of the details of the afternoon their father disappeared or the tough times their mother experienced in the weeks and months following.

These days they are all well-adjusted young adults building fantastic futures for themselves.

However, it was Maisy who asked all the questions and now it was just her and Joan at home, Maisy seemed relentless in her quest for answers but Joan was unable to supply the answers her youngest child required.

Sitting up and moving closer to her daughter, Joan put her arm around Maisy and said, “I don’t have the answers for you sweetheart. I don’t have the answers for myself. All I can do is be here for you, Maisy. Maybe one day the police will find out what happened, but maybe they won’t. In the meantime, I have enough love in my heart for you and your brothers and sister to compensate for a dozen parents and I will support you in anything you do.”

“I’m glad, Mum,” Maisy said, “because I will find out what happened to him. One day.”

The words arrive

It has been six months since my last post on this blog, in fact, it has been almost six months since I have written anything at all – no short stories, nothing on my novel, no journal writing, note-taking or even scribbles.  Two years ago I started a legal proceeding against my father and the last six months have almost completely been focused on trying to get through all of the legal hoops leading up to trial and retain at least a small thread of sanity.  This, combined with medication for anxiety, completely dissipated my desire to write.

A week ago the trial was set down for the District Court sittings commencing 3rd September, 2012. On Sunday, 1st July, 2012 my father took his own life.

Needless to say, the days since Sunday have been a bit of a blur.

But now, after a 3000 kilometre journey of closure, I am sitting in a motel room in the town where I was born, which I have not seen since my parents left here when I was six weeks old.

Driving into the small country town, it felt like the mountains were hugging me and welcoming me home. It has been an emotional return for a number of reasons and the urge to write has been overwhelming from the moment I saw the mountains in the distance.

I have no idea if the desire to write and the creativity that is enveloping me at the moment will last very long, but I am hoping the absence of fear and feelings of freedom that have resulted from my father’s passing will translate into many more words on the page in the coming weeks, months and years.

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #241

The people over at Write Anything have a weekly writing challenge called[Fiction] Friday. The rules can be found on their  [Fiction] Friday page. The following is my first, (albeit belated), attempt at their challenge, but I hope it will become a regular part of Writing From The Ashes. This week’s challenge was:- Include these characters somewhere in your story–a weasel, a priest and a spinning wheel.

“Father, please, I’m begging you. Please officiate at Sam’s funeral. I can’t bear the thought of having a stranger do it. It has to be someone who knew him, who loved him.”

The priest stood silent. He had known Sam for a long time, that was true, but he wasn’t sure it was appropriate for him to take part in Sam’s funeral. Besides, he was having great difficulty keeping his composure in the face of this request. If he was on the verge of hysterical laughter now, how would he be able to keep a straight face during the ceremony?

On the other hand, how could he deny such a serious request from Jim? Dear Jim, who he had loved for ten years, and who meant as much to him as a son?  Jim, whose innocence was such a rare thing to find in this day and age?

It was the thought of hurting Jim while he was devoured by grief that caused the priest to hesitate and consider agreeing to the request.

“Jim, it might be better for someone else to conduct the funeral. Have you considered doing it yourself matey?”

Fresh tears flowed from Jim’s blue eyes. His nose became redder as he attacked it with a handkerchief, and the freckles on his cheeks seemed painted on his face because the spaces in between were so incredibly pale. He opened his mouth to speak, but was overcome by wracking sobs that left him bent over double and choking.

The laughter the priest had felt bubbling to the surface dissipated in a heartbeat. He walked to Jim and knelt next to him. He placed his left arm around Jim’s shoulders and gently drew Jim into a hug. Feeling Jim’s body shudder against him, the priest chastised himself for treating the impact of Sam’s death so lightly. He waited for Jim’s choking sobs to subside and then said, “Jim, just for you, and just this once, I will step away from my better judgement and agree to your request. But Jim, you must promise not to make a big deal of the part I will play in Sam’s funeral, and I will not be able to wear my robes.”

Jim’s cheek rubbed against the priest’s rough shirt as he nodded his head in agreement to the conditions. He closed his eyes and leant a little harder against the priest, drawing comfort from the embrace.

The priest allowed Jim to remain in his arms a few moments longer, then carefully drew back, placed his fingertips under Jim’s chin, and tilted Jim’s face so he could look directly into his eyes.

“Now Jim, you need to go and make the necessary arrangements. The funeral’s tomorrow afternoon, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is. It will be under Sam’s favourite tree.”

“I will see you tomorrow then.”

Jim threw his arms around the priest once more and whispered, “Thank you.”


The mourners gathered in the shade of a large oak tree. Before them was an open timber coffin. Jim was at the front of the congregation, and in one hand h held a small blue and silver, toy spinning wheel. In the other hand was an extra-long, green woollen sock. The front of Jim’s shirt was wet from the tears dripping from his cheeks.

The priest cleared his throat and started the ceremony.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to farewell our friend Sam. Sam has lived a full and active life, and has brought a tremendous amount of joy and love into the life of his closest friend, my nephew, Jim. When Jim asked me to conduct today’s ceremony I was hesitant to do so, but now I understand how important it is for Jim, and Sam’s other friends, to have the opportunity to say a proper good-bye.”

Looking skyward, then bowing his head and closing his eyes, the priest continued, “Dear God, please find a place close to your heart for Sam’s soul and keep him safe and well until we meet him again.”

After a moment’s silence, the priest said, “Everyone, please say a silent prayer for our friend, Sam, and then feel free to approach the coffin to say your final farewell.  Tea, coffee and refreshments will be available in the kitchen.”

Jim approached the coffin first. He carefully placed the sock in the coffin and stared at the spinning wheel in his hand. Slowly, he raised the wheel to his lips and kissed it. As he placed the toy into the coffin he whispered, “I love you Sam. I will miss you always.”

Jim walked away from the coffin and the other mourners approached in single-file.

Meanwhile, the priest stood with his head bowed and looked at the inscription on the lid of the coffin. It read, “Fare Thee Well my Dear Sam. The best ferret a boy ever had.”

The last mourner winked at the priest as he approached the coffin, and said, “Bit over the top for a weasel, ain’t it?”

Thank you Mr Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway circa 1937

It has been the most productive day I have had in quite some time. I have been revising the first seven chapters of my novel and the feeling of being alive has returned.

It’s probably obvious to regular readers of this blog that my motivation for writing ebbs and flows and I go through periods of manic activity which then give way to periods of procrastination. If it was possible to pinpoint one thing that turned procrastination into action, those periods of not writing would probably not worry me so much. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any connection between the things the seem to revive my writing motivation.

So, who or what was it that brought about a resurgence of motivation and activity this time? Believe it or not, it was reading Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not.

This might not be considered such a strange event, especially since Hemingway is considered one of the greatest writer’s of all time, but it’s not exactly what you might think. The reason Hemingway’s book motivated me is not because it was a fantastically well-written novel, in fact, it was the exact opposite.

This was my first Hemingway. I plunged into it expecting to be blown away by some mystical power of amazing literature – boy, was I disappointed. Part 1 was okay, nothing totally amazing, but it wouldn’t be the first book I have read that took great persistence to get really involved in the story.

The change of perspective in Part 2 was when I started to have doubts about the greatness of Mr Hemingway. Although, in truth it wasn’t just the change in perspective, lots of novels do that, it was also the disconnected and disjointed feeling that came through reading it.

When I started on Part 3, I wondered out loud if the book wasn’t really a collection of short stories.

Then, I was overcome with complete confusion as the whole thing seemed to take a major detour from the original idea. I was seriously starting to question why this guy was supposedly considered to be some kind of writing God. Hope and motivation for my novel were starting to return.

I finished the book, and straight away started to research Mr Hemingway. I discovered that To Have and Have Not came 8 years after his previous novel, although he had published some short stories in between. I also discovered that this novel started life as two short stories and a novella, so some of the change in perspective and disjointedness started to make sense. But then, according to some contemporary reviewers from the late 1930s, disconnection seems to be a common theme through all Hemingway’s work (that and the lack of distinction between characters in his dialogue).

To Have and Have Not has been referred to as a ‘bunch of junk’ although there seems to be some confusion as to whether this comment should be attributed to Hemingway, himself, or to film director, Howard Hawks, who made the novel into a film of the same name. However, once you start looking into the novel a little deeper than words on a page, and start to question Hemingway’s motives for writing it or what he was trying to explore, then you can start to see that, as a piece of literature, and as an author, Ernest Hemingway was bordering on brilliant.

Regardless of whether this is Hemingway’s worst book or indicative of his work in general, if a great writer can produce a novel like this, there is hope for me yet. That is not to say that I, in any way, shape or form, consider myself in Hemingway’s league (heck, I haven’t even finished writing 1 novel yet, let alone published 7 of them!), but if readers of my novel are not left scratching their heads or having to resort to Google to work put the story together then I will consider myself successful.