All posts by Kellie

About Kellie

(Blog Editor) lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing at as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

Peculiar Treasures: Short and Sweet


If you’re the competitive sort, and also the reader sort, you may like this 30 authors in 1 minute matching game.

If you are in the life of someone who reads, particularly kids and teens, this article explaining why boys should read “girl books” is compelling, and not a little unsettling.

Finally, a sweet little comic about a “Mom Knight”, who is asked by the king to slay a dragon. It is far from expected.

First Draft Poetry this week is by yours truly.


Don’t seek after dragons-

their fey booty bodies

are far beyond your want-more.

Instead hunt for the roar

caged by your ribs –

let your pulse out to explore.

Shut Up and Learn Something

“Kel, sit down for a minute, I need to talk to you about something.”

I’ve never sat down after hearing a sentence like that with anything approaching excitement. Usually those words combust into a roil of foot-long worms in my belly, or start an acid burn in the back of my throat that drips and pools directly behind my breastbone. This specific time, just recently, I was looking at my beloved Mimi who smiled at me and patted my hand as I sat warily at my Nanna’s dining table.

I love my Mimi, Mim for short. She’s my aunt, barely a decade older than me, has a fantastic laugh, is allergic to stupidity, lives in a different state, and we only found ourselves in the same place due to my Nan’s ill-health.  I had no clue what Mim wanted to speak to me about – I didn’t have footlong worms happening, but Tabasco gummiworms were certainly making themselves at home.

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad,” she nodded as she patted my hand, “I just want to talk to you about something you put on Facebook.”

Instant movie-reel of recent ramblings whizz, and I am still baffled.

“You know, the one about finding out about your… um… ah… dad… Ken – what do you call him?”

I’m blinking repeatedly, processing this stealth bomb launched across the table. “Uh… Ken.  I call him Ken.”

“Ok. You know that post? When you were talking about how you finally found out about all that? And you said something like you couldn’t believe your family kept their mouths shut about it for so long.”

I’m sweating in the airconditioning, feeling my Mum’s concerned stare sunburning the side of my face, wondering if my Nan is paying this taboo conversation any heed. Thankfully the cricket’s on so she’s critiquing the umpire, oblivious, while I’m hyperaware of my breathing, Mum moving closer to the table to hear better, the shine in Mim’s eyes as she looks away blinking then back at me.

“Yes,” I tell Mim, swallowing hard, “I remember that post.”

FB 22nd Jan post

I can’t not remember that post. I can’t not remember that date – it’s the birthday of the woman I grew up believing to be my grandmother, and I was told the truth of my paternity on her birthday. I can’t not remember growing up knowing I was never going to please my Dad, of asking my family to tell me the truth that I was adopted, I can’t not remember the mess and burn of finding out, the ache and mess of finding that family again, the puzzle and mess of trying to piece together who I really was, after all.

Mim looked at me, her smile heartfelt and sliding slowly off her face. “That post hurt me Kel.”

We both swallowed, and I bit the spines of the words trying to fire from my mouth – hurt YOU? Some words hurt YOU?  – and kept the missiles to myself, steaming.

“It hurt me, darl, because I never wanted to lie to you.  Never.  All those years – what? twenty something? – years of knowing we weren’t to talk about it, not to say anything to you, it was so hard. It hurt me, darl, to not tell you truth. But I had to keep your mum’s wishes.”

Mim was staring at me, earnest and intent. “Then to see your post…” She tried smiling again, and a tear dashed away. “Don’t ever think that it was easy for us… easy for me, Kel. Not ever.  I love you. I hated it, all of it.  And I am so sorry for not saying anything.”

DEFCON minus 3697 engaged.  All spit and vinegar vapourised. Tissues were grabbed, destroyed, and hurts soothed and bandaged.  I am so impressed by Mim’s courage in speaking up about her feelings, about coming at the issue head on.  Looking back on that conversation, I’m also knee-wobblingly relieved that I kept my mouth shut long enough to learn something important. Something about my past, something about a beloved aunt, something about the difference between reacting and responding.

I love words, in creating beauty and warmth in the dance of meaning and syllable. I’m also guilty of using my mouth as a weapon.  I’ve used words to amuse, to entertain, to guide and show appreciation.  I’ve also used words to splinter, to burn, embarrass and belittle.  Sometimes I use my words wildly like throwing glitter and paint, and othertimes with savage, gutting precision.  Then there are the magnificent, painful and tongue-biting times when I don’t use my words, but listen while someone else shares theirs, and I learn.

Do you think before you speak? When is the last time you shut up and learnt something? How do you see your relationship with words affecting others you love?

Peculiar Treasures: All The World’s A Stage

natural woman pic
On children being seen and heard: a mother’s response to seeing her 3-year-old daughter copy her morning routine of standing on scales raises some interesting questions, as does this article asking if kids should address adults as Mister and Missus.

Stage or arena? Michael Bublé has his show interrupted by a mother, and ends up sharing the stage with her son and a whole lot of surprise. A fabulous quote by Brené Brown on facing our inner critic in our own arena is wonderfully put to pen and picture by the incredible Zen Pencils.

It’s all in the emphasis! A wide range of notables argue how best to emphasise the line “to be or not to be…” with hilarious results and guest appearances. All hail the comma in pacing and emphasis, with personal input on the glorious punctuation mark from the New Yorker’s Comma Queen.

Shine spotlight here… Omid Safi visited Salt Lake City while giving talks, and considers the power in spotlighting the good people and communities do, instead of highlighting the bad. If you’re waiting with baited breath, or need a break from a plague on both your houses, use this flowchart to suggest which shiny Shakespeare play is best for you to watch right now.

Open air theatres. A huge coral reef been discovered at the mouth of the Amazon river, and here’s 10 more ideas to get kids to get outside. This interactive photo display of numerous theatres of war show beach landings, French towns and cathedrals – where the 1944 snapshots fade away to show the same places today.

First Draft Poetry this week is by Lara.

Sometimes we stay hidden
for generations,
for hours,
silty rivers camouflage what’s really
going on, flowing by.

And we emerge,
seen suddenly,
a new species in a
plume of clarity,
the poverty of sediment

washing our reef-selves,
and we are

Peculiar Treasures: Pink Herrings


Eating Rules! No, this isn’t a link to kale smoothies or “never eat anything bigger than your head” type wisdom, but some morsels to chew on. Like how balanced is your tech diet? Far from crying doom and catastrophe from their e-soapbox, this examines with empathy and prompting questions just what our tech diet may be doing to us and those around us. Eating would be front and centre in my mind when I eventually find myself in a French bakery, and the sale of this French boulangerie for ONE – yes, one! – Euro is just as wonderful to consider. (Breaking news: looks like the sale won’t be going through after all, after a firing…)

Here Bookie Wookies!  No, this isn’t a lead-in to the latest Star Wars teaser trailer, but some warm and fuzzy bookish finds.  Ever wondered what librarians do when the doors close? I wouldn’t take this video as canon, but these librarians have really put their best moves and costumes into this musical parody (and the internet!) last year as part of the US “National Book Week”.  Speaking of years – would you believe it’s been TEN years since the release of The Book Thief?  I can’t, though the upcoming 10-year anniversary special edition mentioned in this discussion of the creation and reaction to The Book Thief stole my attention immediately.

Does Hindsight Make My Bum Look Big?  No, this isn’t about delightful missed interpretations, but about the getting of wisdom.  The advice here is earnestly given by all ages, including tips involving Lego, viking hats, racing cars and dentures from those “wiser” – I can’t pick a favourite! Then, some parents learning about their daughters, who at 27 are unmarried and called “leftover women”. This short clip explains the term, the pressures, and then shows the Marriage Marketplace where the hearts of some parents are turned to their daughters, for and by their daughters.  Learning from the past and looking forward, the need for artists and arts majors in digital and technological companies focusses on particular skills such as listening, empathy, vision and more.

Climbing Family Trees Results in Nuts and Splinters! Ever thought of the family trees of bacteria? Of giraffes?  Well, this newly unveiled scientific “Tree of Life” shows the connection of life on the planet.  Asking people about what sort their family tree is, or what it looks like can lead to some very unexpected answers.  The sleuthing involved in tracking down the clues from a funeral verse in this grandmother’s Bible lead to family hurts, generosity of spirit, and personal reflection.

This weeks First Draft Poetry is by Kel, inspired by a couple of treasures.

Leftovers Poem 17-4-16


Peculiar Treasures: Winging It

andes NASA
INFOGRAPHIC: The Andes Mountains captured by ASTER on April 7, 2000. (Supplied: NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and US/Japan ASTER Science Team)  Source

Forget about a bird’s eye view – the above picture, and 3 MILLION more like it, of the Earth’s surface from space have been released by NASA. Then take a look at drawing patterns on the fly, with this mesmerising zen doodle creation.

Asking “how does the path of a bullet change a life” results in a soaring piece of writing about the life of someone affected by the first mass shooting at a school 50 years ago. It is a long piece, but well worth the time.  Switching from then to now, the dangers of recent food fads and subsequent relationships with food is not a topic to chicken away from.

This next collection is for the birds! We have some aww-inducing rescues of a pelican with fishing line tying its beak shut, and a swan complicating the rescue of its cygnet from a fence, then peek inside the huge archives of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History where there are birds, butterflies, shoes (really!), pretty rocks and so much more to drawer (heh) your interest.

Did your imagination ever take flight with Ramona? Her creator, Beverley Clearly, turns 100 tomorrow (there will be carrot cake!) and in this interview discusses many topics, including how when she was a child she and her friends had more freedom and were more free-range than kids today. Also stretching out wings is this flying peacock, captured in slow-mo for a regal viewing.

Of course, if shaking your tail feather is preferred, this peacock’s display is sublime (and kinda freaky too) – it really kicks off 20 seconds in. It’s around that mark that my imagination exploded with a story idea, and it turns out letting ourselves daydream or track down what we’re thinking about can help our works in progress get closer to launching.

With launching comes the safety of our nests, and this companion app lets friends walk home safely together, no matter where they live and no matter the hour.  Then hitting us right where we live is this wonderful Adele parody featuring two missionaries saying Hello (from the othersiiiiiiiide….)

First Draft Poetry this week is by Teresa TL Bruce,entitled (hugely serendipitously) “Winged”.

“Winged” by Teresa TL Bruce

bird’s-eye view
a pummeling flap
requires turning, tilting, setting aside sharpness
to see
what’s right
before me

bird’s-eye view
coordinated push-pull
frees footing, standing, perspective from short-sightedness
to reframe
what’s right
beneath me

bird’s-eye view
orbital soaring
supersedes politics, borders, boundaries of limitations
to reach
what’s right
above me