Category Archives: Writing Prompts

Thoughts of a Quixotic Nature

Thoughts of a Quixotic Nature

Don Quixote, how do I explain how much joy the privilege reading this work means to me? I ask you to have ‘Patience and shuffle the cards,’ while I  explain.

Don Quixote is unique.  One of the earliest novels written, it is for me the most inspiring book ever penned.

It has been embraced successfully by every facet of the arts. Opera, ballet, cinema, and novels and it is encompassed in contemporary palimpsest, all drawing on the crafting of this work. The message is timeless.

Cervantes writes of a frustrated man, out of place and time. A man of honour above all else.  He tackles questions that were unspeakable in the 1600s.

‘Don Quixote’ addresses questions every writer wrestles with today.  It speaks of class distinction, censorship and challenges time honoured beliefs. It tears at the very underpinnings of the fabric of society.

The paradigms created between the incompatible moralities of the high-born and the peasants, and the clash of imaginary worlds have set a blueprint for authors to follow throughout the centuries. Cervantes provides permission by precedent to question the status quo.

Don Quixote is the ‘package.’   It has everything a reader can want in a plot line. It embraces romance, intrigue, despair, questioning the norms of society and alienation of the main character from all that he strives for.

Long before professors lectured weary students about the importance of symbolism in the novel, Cervantes was filling his work with images. The horses are used to make a straightforward statement about the status of the individual.   The inns are representative of the fractured worlds in which both we and our characters survive.  They are essential to the traveller, a place to meet, to exchange ideas, to buy and sell information and goods.  A place of safety,  of devious intrigue.   Inns are a paradox of place, where a man who would seek comfort and companionship, find nothing but disquiet when excluded and alienated from the happenings around him. This is Don Quixote’s fate, whereas Sancho, who is more grounded and connected understands the truth of the place, he is connected and it his reality.

The inns are the board rooms of the modern world, the Don Quixote’s of today have their minders who groom and fashion their charges for the jousting of day to day business. They protect and lead the vulnerable who cling to ideals and ethical behaviour to prevent them from being trampled by the bulls of commerce.

It is a plot line that can equally apply to the now, some five centuries after the novel was first published.  The messages are as relevant to the world today as they were then.  The characters are well developed and rounded, providing gravitas to the work.  We are all  acquainted with  characters like Sancho, Don Quixote, and the Duchess. Each of us knows of the besotted but controlling partner who cannot accept their loved one is faithful and ultimately this leads to their death. We see this acted out daily in cases of domestic violence where no one is the winner.

Words, phrases, and images from this novel have survived translation and help demonstrate how the work has become  one of the most widely read and loved books, written by a foreign writer. ‘To tilt at windmills’ or be ‘quixotic’ are two such examples of its influence on everyday speech.

The question is often asked, is the author enshrined in his character? The gallant, chivalrous, honour bound knight, or is he a pale reflection of the disaffected author who has taken a tilt at the contemporary mores of his time?  There are as many opinions as there are answers to this question.

The desire to engage a discussion of  this seminal work is my tilt at the windmill of life.

“And so, to sum it all up, I perceive everything I say as absolutely true, and deficient in nothing whatever, and paint it all in my mind exactly as I want it to be.” Volume 1, Chapter 25, pg. 157’


Thoughts that fly by my mind

Thoughts that fly by my mind

Today the challenge is using the same prompt, “Today I notice ……” and to begin each sentence with those words to discover how  my thoughts may be drawn to one thought or another. The trick being to let the words fall where they will without guidance. I guess a little like automatic writing and see what surfaces.  So here goes ……

Day 2 of the challenge…………………Today I notice that I have started writing later than yesterday because the weather is cooler this morning and I slept in. Today I notice that it is much easier to stay abed when it is cold than it is when it is hot and muggy. Today I notice that as I sit and write the sun is coming out, it has been raining and the drops of rain lie nestled in the grass glittering like a million tiny rainbow bubbles. Today I notice that although the sun is shining, as yet there is no warmth  and the breeze flows across the wooden slats of my blinds  and raises goosebumps on my arms.

Today I notice that the breeze is light and barely there like the memory of a lover’s kiss upon the nape of the neck, slight and sweet and treasured. Today I notice that when I sit to write the writing is not as strained as yesterday. Today I notice the absence of sound, the bird calls are quietened and the prayer flags move less eloquently in the breeze.  Today I notice one bird call only as any overlay against the traffic noise.he birds calls. Today I notice the single call Ta whee who, the trill is like the melancholy call of a lover and then the brash pee wee’s strident taweet taweet,cuts across the lover’s cry.

Today I notice that the birds are not as varied or as numerous as they were when first we moved here eight years ago. Today I notice and mourn the passing of the rural peace that we enjoyed when we first came to this place.  Today I notice that the sky remains clear and the air is sweet and breathable and far removed from the petrol-laden fumes of the big cities.

Today I notice  this cleanliness then causes my thoughts to turn to the area 300kms to the north where the air should be as crisp and clean but is fouled from fracking. Today I notice that as my thoughts turn to the desecration of the great Condamine river and the rape of our country by mindless and faceless mining companies that my heart rate has quickened.  Today I notice that I not longer experience the peaceful solitude of writing my thoughts, but instead a heightened sense of anger. Today I notice that my mouth has become dry, my shoulders have tensed my neck has become more rigid and fixed in position.  Today I noticed that my pulse rate has increased and my hearing is more acute and my fingers move faster on the keyboard as my anger builds.  Today I notice that as I write my heart is pounding and my stomach is churning as I think of the methane fires upon the Condamine’s surface and of the unnatural lights and smells that assault the town of Chinchilla.

Today I notice  I am reminded of parables and bible stories where people have sold themselves and their land for the equivalent of thirty pieces of silver with no understanding of what it meant to engage in the idolatry of the 21st Century.

Today I notice and understand their plight and send my prayers skyward from the prayer flags to the heavens that these mining monsters will one day be banished from our lands.


The photo is from The Brisbane Times and shows Dayne Pratzky lights methane from the Condamine River.

Thoughts that fly by my Mind

Thoughts that fly by my Mind

Yesterday I commenced a 10-day online writing challenge and this is is my first entry .  The challenge is to write for 10 minutes every day using the prompt  “Today I noticed …..”

DAY 1 —–  Today I noticed that the air is crisp and cold.  This is so different from previous days as the weather as been so hot and steamy. This is is shaping up to be a different winter.  Last night I could hear thunder rumbling in the distance.  I said it was crisp and cold, but what do I mean by that?  I can feel the breeze on my right arm as it passes over the wooden slats of the blinds and I  can feel the coolness of it on my skin. There is a hint of rain in the air as the breeze ebbs and flows. I look out my window and the prayer flags and moving in the wind.  I notice that they are faded and ragged and that this surely represents the impermanence of life.  A car has turned the corner by the house  and the sound of its tires shushing on the road makes me wonder if it has rained during the night. But I am too lazy to get up and check  The truck across the road is pulling out of the driveway across the road is pulling out of the driveway and it makes a sound  like the roar of a balloon gondolier.

I can hear the birds, there are pigeons whoo whooing, and the long, leggy sharped beaked,  brown and white plovers, making their mournful call. I can hear at  least four other birds and then it is quieter with just the pigeons. The breeze picks up and the blinds rattle against the frames and the chimes are moving sounding like the temple bells in Nepal.

And all at once I am back there in the Windhorse hotel  laughing and joking with my holiday companions and I am back twenty years in time   It seems like yesterday and I can’t believe how long it has been and how so many years have passed.  It was the great adventure of my life and it is easy to recall the memories  of that trip and the flight over the Himalayas.  I especially remember looking out the window and seeing these clouds and think what and incredible  cloud formation and the realising that I was looking at Mount Everest.  It nearly blew my mind away on so many levels.

And now the sounds of the here and now intrude and force their way back into my reality .  The sounds of trucks in the distance on Peachester Road  and then another car down the  road and up Pine Camp Road.   It is so different to when we first bought our house here eight years ago.  The chimes are singing in the wind again and now I feel the  breeze on my face.   My eyes slide to the clock on the computer I have been writing for ten minutes  and don’t want to stop but I have to as this morning we have to be in Kiawana by 9.00 to meet the GP to find out the results of Bernie’s tests.  I haven’t looked at what I have written  as I am sure it is covered in red lines as I am just allowing the words flow and I am not the best typist in the world.  Bernie’s razor is humming in the background and so I will close until tomorrow.

The Rock


It is my time to move on and create my own shadow on the landscape. The magnetic impulses that draw me closer to my destination grow stronger and stronger. The channel I gouge into the parched earth throughout my journey will, in the future become an important river. Now I leave the shadows and  shelter of my family and move with inexorable slowness across the desolate wilderness. I will grow through the eons into a great mountain. This is my destiny.