Tag Archives: slavery

An Explosion at Harper’s Crossing…Friday Fictioneers.

Jack Cameron was standing on the bridge sweating blood, trying to decide whether to blow himself up, or the train. Alternatively, he could just head home for breakfast and go to work as usual.

This was his third attempt to get the job done, and he couldn’t be a terrorist without any terror. He had to take a stand. Make America great again. Get rid of Donald Trump. Harper’s Crossing was good enough for John Brown’s raid. He didn’t need to go to New York.

Yet, as he lit the fuse, he started to wonder whether anyone would join the dots…

…..

100 words exactly.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller.

The features image this week was taken at Harper’s Crossing in Virginia where John Brown to initiated an armed slave revolt in 1859 by taking over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown’s party of 22[1] was defeated by a company of U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Israel Greene.[3] Colonel Robert E. Lee was in overall command of the operation to retake the arsenal. Wikipaedia.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Parking Lot Near Bologna, 1992…Flash Fiction.

As part of an inter-agency operation, the Guardia di Finanza was staking out the notorious Bologna car park. It was said to be the change over point, for trucks trafficking young women from Croatia to the UK.

“Ze cargo good. Very good,” said the guy in the green pants, reportedly  Sergei Demodenko. The other man, known as the Kissing Assassin, was Luigi Pepperoni.

“Disgusting!” a female officer spat. “They can roast in hell.”

“But they are just the little fish. Talk is, this goes high up.”

Suddenly, the men peered up, and sped from the scene. Evidently, a tip off.


This afternoon, I intrepidly advanced into my teenage son’s bedroom and took off with his school folder to dig out the art assignment he had due, and evaluate the carnage. As you could perhaps appreciate, I need to be in the right frame of mind to take on his messy folder, but desperation called.

His assignment was on Australian Artist, Jeffery Smart . I’d heard the name, but despite having somewhat studied Australian art in the context of social history at university, I couldn’t place him. So, before I even chased up the questions for the assignment, I did the usual Google search and caught up.

What followed was several hours working through the painting with our son and also for myself. I don’t know whether you’ve seen what homework’s like these days in the post-Google Internet era. However, our son does his homework online and submits it to his teacher via Google classroom. This is very much “Beam me up, Scotty” territory to me. He still has exercise books, yet his learning is so interactive, and light years ahead of what we were doing. I left school in 1987 and I remember studying art history from a black & white text book, which hardly did anything justice. I don’t remember studying Australian art at all and discovering the likes of Australian Women artists like Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor, had to wait until university.

Art appreciation, also meant a trip to the Art Gallery of NSW in the city, not a Google search from your lounge chair.

We really were deprived.

Anyway, as we went through the questions, I found out that he had to write a 100 story about the painting. I was initially a bit baffled about what he should write, but then it suddenly dawned on this bear of little brain, that they were just asking him to write what I write all the time…a 100 word piece of flash fiction.

He hasn’t done something like this before to my knowledge. So, I thought I’d write an example to show him to help him formulate his own ideas.

This was much harder than expected. While Jeffrey Smart is an Australian artist, he lived in Italy most of his life and the painting is set in a car park in Bologna. After spending so much time researching, staring at and pulling this painting apart, I decided there was something like a people smuggling ring involved and these men were dealing in human cargo. So, i found myself needing to pick up a few words of Italian, find out a bit about their Police force and think up some kind of interesting twist for the end.

I do this every week for Friday Fictioneers. However, it’s never easy and there’s a huge part of me, which almost capitulates every week, when seeing the photo prompt produces a nasty case of writer’s block. I really do freeze and the words stop dead in their tracks.

Anyway, there’s a bit of a back story to this. I hope you enjoyed it and might I also encourage you to write something about this intriguing painting prompt and put a link to your effort in the comments below. I’d love to read it.

xx Rowena

PS I just put 1 + 1 together and realized that 1992 was the year I was in Europe and that I actually went to Florence the year this was painted. That wasn’t long after The Wall had come down and Germany had been reunified. The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I remember that you couldn’t send mail to Croatia at the time…just the tip of a dreadful iceberg.

My International Women’s Day 2013

When it comes to writing about International Women’s Day (IWD), you could say that I’ve well and truly missed the boat. IWD was two weeks ago and in this era of instant news, this story is well and truly done and dusted. Dead. It’s definitely a case for “Bones”

Yet, I would like to think that perhaps as bloggers we are somehow beyond the restrictions which constrict and limit the so-called mainstream media. That if we want to write about something, we just do it…especially when we are beyond the flow!

So I’m sorry this post is a bit late. I was struck down by some strange stomach bug last week and essentially spent the week in bed. I did manage to write some other posts and clean out the pantry but that was about it.

Our banner

Our banner

International Women’s Day is also my son’s birthday and so while I was out there marching for women’s rights, it was also my celebration and otherwise of being a Mum. I have been a mother now for nine years. I had been baking a birthday cake the night before and sending Mister off to school with cupcakes for his class and I was back there to pick the kids up from school afterwards.It was a busy day.

A joint Birthday Cake for my kids who turned 7 & 9.

A joint Birthday Cake for my kids who turned 7 & 9.

So in some ways for me, IWD was a case of wearing a number of different hats. I was there as “myself”, as a working woman and a mother. I was marching to celebrate being a woman but also to acknowledge that when it comes to women’s rights and equality, we still have work to do. Not just for ourselves but we also need to stand up for those we have dubbed “voiceless women” who are unable to speak for themselves.

Perhaps, you might joke about a woman being voiceless. You wouldn’t be the first. Women are usually great talkers. However, there’s a difference between talking and exchanging social chit chat and being able to express what’s really going on behind closed doors and revealing bruises not just to your physical body but also to your heart and soul. These things, which are so incredibly private, are kept secret behind locked and closed doors. It is a secret but perhaps the signs can be all too clear even if the words aren’t there. I sometimes suspect that as much as we talk about wanting an end to violence against women, as a society, we really don’t really want to know about it. We don’t want to get involved and that’s why so many of these women remain silenced. We are not looking. We are not listening.

I am no better than anybody else when it comes to trying to help these voiceless women. There’s nobody sleeping on my couch and I have a roof full of baby stuff that I really should drop off for somebody, anybody to use. We stuck it all up in the roof in case we had a number three and that’s where it’s stayed. All that’s stuff is now out of circulation and in a sense is now going to waste not that these thoughts have mobilised me yet. Like I said, it all gets a bit hard. Takes too much work.

Out of sight…out of mind.

International Women's Day March through Gosford.

International Women’s Day March through Gosford.

That is why we have to take to the streets and make these women visible again. We need to stand up and be counted and say no to domestic violence and we also need to end an evil I thought disappeared centuries ago… slavery and human trafficking.

My daughter who has just turned 7 asked me why I went in the women’s march. I had to put a bit of thought into that. Why? Why? Why? I don’t march for any other cause so why this?

I marched because I believe in equality for all people. I believe we all deserve respect and I feel women don’t always get the respect we deserve. In particular,  I feel that mothers as a group are not respected in our society. In too many instances, the words “mother” or “Mummy” have derogatory overtones. I particularly don’t like the term “Mummy blogger”. A woman’s parental status shouldn’t enter the equation.

So I marched for that little person inside me who still believed in the vision…the sky somewhere beyond the glass ceiling.

I also marched to celebrate the breakthroughs for women in the past such as gaining the vote, which should never just be taken for granted as well as looking forward to a more equal situation for all women in the future. In other words, continuing the good fight.

This was my second IWD march and it was extra special this year.

You see, I was walking down the main street of Gosford when I spotted Paralympic gold medallist Liesl Tesch and introduced myself. I am on the Status of Women Committee which organises our local march and Liesl was the keynote speaker at the post-march event.

Anyway, Liesl hung her gold medal around my neck and I completed the march with a Paralympic gold medal around my neck. I was stoked. Not just to wear the medal for what it really was but also what it represented to me.

Eureka! After nine years of being a mum, I had finally received my gold medal!

I was a happy woman!

If you would like to see a clip of our International Women’s Day March in Gosford, please click here: http://www.mygosford.tv/community

Any thoughts?

xx Rowena