Monthly Archives: January 2011

Please help with Queensland emergency

I have taken to going ” off line” on Friday night, only returning to the Web on Monday –
perhaps a reflection of my January mood. During last weekend off, I was wondering what to post today – scratching my head for inspiration.
Ten minutes ago I opened my  “Writing from the Twelfth House” email:, and found the post: an urgent appeal for help for the Queensland flood disaster, from my Australian writer friend and colleague, Annie Evett.
Annie writes:
……Blessed with our modern technology, no doubt you will have heard via facebook, twitter, live feed news coverage or seen incredible scenes on youtube outlining the disaster befalling Queensland in Australia.

Well over 75% of the State of Queensland has now been declared a Disaster Area. To put this in perspective – for those who haven’t grasped the enormity of it or are unfamiliar with this part of the world; Queensland is Australia’s second largest state measuring more than 1.72 million square kilometers; 25% of Australia’s land mass; it is four times the size of Japan, nearly six times the size of the UK and more than twice the size of Texas in the US. This is not a small flood or localised event and is affecting thousands of people right now.

The people of Queensland need help. They are looking at a post war reconstruction effort in all areas from infrastructure through to rebuilding family homes in the near future.

When faced by situations such as these, often people don’t know how they can help..

You as a writer, or as a reader, or as someone who knows someone who reads, can help today by being involved with 100 Stories for Queensland.

From the editorial team who founded 100 Stories for Haiti and 50 Stories for Pakistan, this new Anthology is being formed with sales directly assisting those in need within Queensland.

WritersWe are asking writers to assist in one thing they love to do. To write. 

As with any competition or submission process for a publication, writers will need to submit a piece of work for consideration. It will go through a professional process of judging.

Something between 500-1000 words, something upbeat, even light-hearted, any theme, any genre.

We need it by Friday January 28th.

The submission guidelines are short and sweet and are found on the submission page at:

More info can be found either on the Facebook Page (  or the Website.(

It doesn’t stop there though.

Please get onto facebook and ‘like’ the page 100 Stories for Queensland
Suggest it to other people.. you know – the ones who write, or read.. or know people who read.
When it gets published, buy a box full of them.
Get everyone you know to buy them as well.

Just in case you can’t imagine the extent of the damage. Check out the  Incredible Flood Photos aerial shots Brisbane floods: before and after of before and after of the capital city…….

Annie Evett

Annie Evett

Annie  Evett
Writer and Thaumaturg
0414 771 367
If you do not design the future, someone or something else will design it for you.


All friends following or finding “Writing from the Twelfth House”, please respond to this appeal by helping any way you can – passing the message along your networks would be a great start. Thank you. Anne W


550 words copyright Annie Evett/Anne Whitaker 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Licking a blackberry problem…

Greetings to my loyal followers from underneath the January Linus blanket (large, warm, covers me all over). Since I am currently dealing with protracted computer hassles of mind-frying tedium, I have not got a post ready this week. Don’t go away!

(All messages of support welcome whilst I sort out broken links, lost files, et bloody cetera.)

To keep you entertained as January grinds on, steeped in recession with the spectre of inflation looming and political disruption ramping up across the globe (do I exaggerate? I think not….), here are two of the UK’s funniest comedians being consummately ridiculous – courtesy of YouYube, via my husband Ian. Enjoy!

The Hermit, that's me in January!!

The Hermit, that's me in January!!

120 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Cheer up, it’ll soon(-ish) be Spring!

In the last year I have intermittently been reading my way through the work of  that well-known writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway. Whilst leafing through a slim collection of  poems sent to us supporters of the charity ZANE at the end of last year, I came across the following quotation from his work.

In my current January mood, as I sit here in my life, grumpy, with a metaphorical blanket pulled over my head, these words speak powerfully to me: I offer them to my fellow January-ites out there, with the thought that it really, truly, will soon be Spring….

St Magnus Cathedral Window, Orkney

St Magnus Cathedral Window, Orkney

photo: Anne Whitaker

“This is my dilemma. I am dust and ashes, frail and wayward, a set of predetermined behavioural responses, … riddled with fear, beset with needs…the quintessence of dust and unto dust I shall return…. But there is something else in me…. Dust I may be, but troubled dust, dust that dreams, dust that that has strong premonitions of transfiguration, of a glory in store, a destiny prepared, an inheritance that will one day be my own…so my life is spread out in a painful dialectic between ashes and glory, between weakness and transfiguration. I am a riddle to myself, an exasperating enigma…this strange duality of dust and glory.”


(NOTE: Having googled this quotation, I discovered that it has got around, and some of the wording varies slightly depending on who is quoting! So I hope Richard Holloway will forgive me any minor errors which may appear in this version, whilst I track down the exact quote, in the precise book in which it appears….)

Richard F. Holloway (born 26 November 1933) is a Scottish writer and broadcaster and was formerly Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church. To read more about him and his writing, click HERE


300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Richard Holloway 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


The year 2011 begins……with Dylan Thomas and ancient Akkadians !

I am gazing through our wide bay window towards the shadowy hills, as city lights illuminate a cold, rainy early January night.  A very bare bay window. Where have all the jewels of multi-coloured reflection gone? Back to the ‘Otherworld’, the Romantic in me thinks. Waiting, waiting for another year……

Today we took our Christmas Tree down. This day is always ‘throat-slitting day’ in the calendar of our New Year. We rarely wait for Epiphany to carry out this doleful task. After New Year’s day is over, the richly decorated, multi-coloured glowing beauty of our tree ceases to bring us comfort and magic in the heart of winter, and stands before us reproachfully (as we imagine), waiting to be dismantled, recycled. We cannot bear to prolong this post-festive inevitability. And now it’s done.

Here I stand, in the bare, empty, dusted, wiped, hoovered space left behind. What comfort is to be found in this bleak moment? My husband has the right idea.He is off to the pub with my brother – the third tree-dismemberer.

I stand, and stand, remembering the magic, remembering how we flicked some malt whisky on the fully lit and decorated tree on the night of the Winter Solstice. We do this every year too – and every year I remind my  family members present for this ritual that  this tree has a very ancient pedigree. Consider the following quote, from :

“……The Prophet Jeremiah condemned as Pagan the ancient Middle Eastern practice of cutting down trees, bringing them into the home and decorating them. Of course, these were not really Christmas trees, because Jesus was not born until centuries later, and the use of Christmas trees was not introduced for many centuries after his birth. Apparently, in Jeremiah’s time the “heathen” would cut down trees, carve or decorate them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlay it with precious metals……”



The need to bring comfort and cheer and significance to that cold dark time in the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun’s warmth seems a distant longed-for memory, is a very ancient one. This thought comforts me, as it does every year. I like to feel part of the ancient river of humanity as I stand here in my 21st century bare bay window.

Dylan Thomas’ famous line from the poem “And death shall have no dominion” comes to mind:

‘Though lovers be lost, love shall not……’

This tree may have been sacrificed by us, but its spirit lives on in that bare window space, inhabiting another world, waiting to be given form yet again when the seasons turn and we feel yet again a powerful need to affirm that the life force is still with us – just gathering its strength in the dormancy of winter.


500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page