poetry, Uncategorized

Ants on My Mind

Yes I have ants on my mind at the moment. And no, of course I don’t have real ants inside my head! I have been thinking about ants a lot though, and further thinking about writing a picture book about the ants I’ve been thinking about.

These antsy thoughts were prompted by all of the ants that go past me when I’m outside sitting on the sofa we have on the back veranda. If I look down on the veranda, there are lots of ants, going to the left and the right, with some heading off in other random directions. Most of them seem to be going either toward or away from wherever their home is, which I think is to the left of me, away from the backyard, further away, but still on our property.

I see ants carrying dead things, and these are always heading to the lift, so I assume they’re taking food back to their home. I don’t really know a lot about how ants live, whether it’s mainly one gender who do the work, or if they all do. I think I’ll have to look further into this, I could get ideas for the picture book. If I’m writing for children, I want to get the facts correct, that’s important.

The ants I’m watching are mid-sized ants, not the little ones, and certainly not inch ants. These ants could bite, if I got in their way, I guess, but they’re not troublesome to us in any way. I suspect we’re more troublesome to them. Sometimes I see ants trying to pick up one of their comrades who’s been trodden on by people or dogs. I feel sorry for those poor dead ants, but I can only try to not tread on them, no guarantees I won’t do it, and I can’t prevent others here from doing it, the dogs and my husband wouldn’t care …

I have this idea of being a secular Buddhist, and while there is much I don’t know about Buddhism, I think not killing other creatures is a relevant concept. I don’t like killing things anyway, and I try not to, if I’m paying proper attention. I don’t massively swerve around things on the road when I’m driving at high speed though, killing myself wouldn’t be a good thing to do … and I have this silly fear that if I drove over a brown snake on purpose, trying to kill it, it could somehow get inside the car with me, and bite me …

Anyway, these ants … I need to write some more pages, at the moment I have potentially 18 pages done, if the set up of the book is to have one line to a two page spread. I need more than that. And I need something whizz bang clever/funny/amazing to wrap the whole book up. I don’t have any ideas on that part yet. I think I’ll get the research done first, so I don’t waste my time, when actually knowing more could actually hand me the perfect ending … Sitting and watching ants is fine, but understanding more on what they’re doing would be better.

I’ve written a little bit about ants, poetry, one of the poems in my poetry collection about creatures in my life has a funny poem, where an ant provides the punch line. This is the poem, I think I may read this one at a funny poetry event I’m attending Thursday night.



A lesson learnt


The little boy pulls down his pants

with no regard for decency

or any good reason, I can see;

he aims a stream at toiling ants.


Panic disrupts the ordered dance

and causes much unbridled glee

at such confusion caused by pee.

But one small ant sees a chance,


it latches on to one small toe.

Giggles then rise high to screams.

Boy shakes his foot to make it go,

ending all his urine schemes

of treating insects thus, and so

a needed lesson’s learnt, it seems.


No actually, I need a poem that will take up to two minutes to read, and a practise reading just them only went for one minute, which is nowhere near enough time. I’ll have to go back to my original thoughts on which funny poem to read … I hope I can find it …

Do you like rhyming poetry? I find I write rhyming poetry more when I’m trying to be amusing, and write non-rhyming with more serious poetry. I’d love to know how others feel about these things … Please leave a comment!


Dogs and Thoughts

Do you ever look at your dog (or other dogs) and wonder what they’re thinking about? I know I do, and that’s probably part of the reason why I began writing the third book in the “Buster the Dog’ series of books.

These books began with “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs” and continued with “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”. Originally, I’d had no notion of writing an actual series of books, but when I was well into the end of the second book, I thought about what might be able to come next …

It became obvious to  me that a book about the Dog Buddha was a great idea, and I’ve certainly had a fun time coming up with learned/Zennish thoughts from a doggy point of view. Buster, the mythical dog who lives inside my head is having a fun time too, Woof!

I look at our four dogs a lot. It’s hard not too really, these aren’t tiny little dogs who hide away outside. These are medium to large dogs, who are in our house almost all of the time we are, and they spend most of their time with us, lazing around inside, on their own sofa, when the TV is on.

And I sit outside on another sofa sometimes with one or all four of the dogs, watching them and wondering about what the do and why they’re doing it … My back veranda wonderings have brought these thoughts to me, and I enjoy the almost meditative  state I achieve as I do this. I feel at one with Nature in its many states, with the plants from the grass to the mighty gum trees and all in between. And from the smallest insect up to the tallest of our dogs …

So these thoughts of the Dog Buddha I’ve come up with – do I believe them to be true? No of course I don’t believe that. The Dog Buddha is a figment of my imagination, as Buster the Dog is also a figment of my imagination. But the ideas are ideas, and ideas are true. Does that make sense?

It makes sense to me. I have a creative mind, I think about things, I come up with thoughts that many others would never come up with, because they don’t have the same mix of life experience as I have. We all different, human and canine, after all! We are individuals.

We have four dogs, three of the dogs are Pharaoh Hounds, one is the mother of the other two. One of the offspring is a male, the other female. The female is desexed and has never had puppies. They have the same instincts in chasing things, even though they have different personalities.

Our other dog is the oldest of them. She is a Schnauzer and is the smallest of them. She doesn’t have the strong ‘prey/chase’ instinct of the three hounds. She is more obedient through having more of an inclination to doing what we, the humans, want her to do. Schnauzers and Pharaoh Hounds are quite different dogs …

Buster the Dog is a crossbred dog, being the offspring from a father Pharaoh Hound and a mother Schnauzer. This is why he looks as he does. The book’s illustrator, Allyson Hean, imagined what an adult dog of such a mix might look like, based on her knowledge of dogs in general, and of the particular two breeds as well. Ally is been my friend and has seen these two breeds through the years of our friendship …dig it coverpic

dogs, Uncategorized

Work on Book Three Progresses

Yesterday I took advantage of the nearly empty house, and so free computer, and got stuck in (finally) to work on Book Three \in the Buster the Dog series, entitled “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts”. It’s starting to take shape in a good way, although there is a little thing it’s doing that I don’t like. It’s a minor thing that I’m sure the person who will put together and print my book will be able to fix.

I’ve been doing clever things with dropbox, and editing the document on various devices, and I hope I’ve saved it enough times in enough places so it won’t suddenly disappear …I don’t like thinks disappearing when I though they were safely saved. It’s happened to me, and I certainly don’t want to lose this nearly finished book.

I say ‘nearly finished’ but there are still quite a few thousand words to write. I feel in control of the material though, I know what sort of thing I have to write, and a couple of solid days would be enough to get it done well enough to send to others for their part of this book making process.

Making a book is never a solo thing. At the very least, there is the future reader there with you. I have my lovely friends helping me, one with illustrations again, the other with a foreword, and I am looking forward to the time I can hand over the manuscript for both of them to do their bits, and give me feedback on the book.

This process is fun, frustrating, and sometimes frightening. What if this book is no good at all? What if no-one gets the humour I’m aiming for? I am not a Buddhist, what if my words are offensive to those of that religion? If it caused a huge uproar, and was offensive to all, even though it would bring attention to the book, I would certainly not be happy …

But that time isn’t here yet, I hope my friend who is writing the foreword can let me know how she feels about it. If it offends her, I hope we can work out some way to get around that. She has read some parts of it, and didn’t indicate any problems, so fingers crossed.

Being a writer can be a worrying thing at times. Being with friends who are also writers, and who understand the good and bad times is great. Being understood is a fine thing …

Here are a couple of parts from “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts” – Please tell be what you think about it, leave a comment below.

The first part of each section is from The Dog Buddha, the second bit is from Buster the Dog who is writing this book with me.

“The unkempt lawn gives the best back rubs …

There’s nothing better on a sunny day than to be outside on the lawn, rolling and rolling on the grass. And the best kind of lawn, the lawn that feels the best on your back, is not a perfect just-mown lawn, oh no. As the Dog Buddha says, the best lawn is the unkempt lawn, the lawn with lumps and bumps that knead your back like the best massage ever!”

“Old bone hidden, new bone bidden

The wise dog knows the truth of this one, yum! When a human sees the whitened old bone in the backyard, or hidden behind the sofa, they will often throw the treasure out, not understanding the truth of the whole of the process with bones. Live, dead, loved, donated. These four stages happen as they were always meant to happen, and only the unknowing ones seek to change the foreordained timing of the way of life to death and then back to life.”