It’s Spring Again!

It’s Spring Again!

It’s Spring Again!


My windows and doors

have been closed all winter as

hermit-like, I shunned

its bluster.

As winter weather wanes,

westerly winds bring

dry heat,

dust haze.

Ants gather at my kitchen sink,

a million and more

form a black

magnetic maze.

Frustrated, I forget

the sixth commandment and


crush, kill.

The sickly stench of formic acid

fills the air. I reach for

the dust pan, and

air freshener.


My windows and doors

have been closed all winter.

I open them and invite

Spring inside.

She obliges, bringing Jasmine and

Peach Blossom with her.

I breathe deeply, and

step outside.

Spring blossoms attend my garden, refreshing my soul.



This blog post was originally published September 21, 2017.

As I was unable to transfer it directly to my new website, I’ve copied and pasted the comments from the original blog below.

4 Replies to “Mazzy’s Musings: It’s Spring Again!”


Nola Passmore says:

September 25, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for those musings, Mazzy. Love ‘magnetic maze’. Spring must truly be here because I massacred my first Huntsman spider of the year last night. Maybe he could have eaten your ants 🙂


Mazzy says:

September 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Haha! Shall I invite your Huntsman spiders over next time the ants visit? You could tuck them into your pocket while you drive here. Or … not! Perhaps, you could just write a poem about them – moaning the massacre. 🙂


Adele says:

September 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

What a breath of fresh air, Mazzy. The ‘magnetic maze’ also captured my imagination, perhaps even more because I spent time this afternoon removing such a maze. And so lingers the acrid taint of formic acid … LOL. Ah, spring and all its goodness. Thanks!


Mazzy says:

September 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Thanks Adele. Gotta love ants for their industry and persistence, if not for their presence in the wrong places.

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

The Muse can be a fickle and cantankerous beast. Give it a deadline and it will run away and hide behind any number of obstacles and excuses, be it a flu virus, a family crisis, or the sudden need to binge watch six seasons of a thirty-year-old television series because, you know, you can never experience too much historic authenticity in research mode … (a worthy cause according to The Right Honourable Idle Pro Crastination). Yet that same muse will shove its stubborn creativity under your nose when you’re trying to grocery shop, work the 9 to 5, drive a car, cook dinner, shower, catch up on desperately needed sleep, or during any number of awkward and inappropriate moments.

Despite her unpredictable (and unreliable) nature, I’ve learned to truly appreciate my creative writing muse. Her weird, wild, wasteful, wistful, and wonderful moods have inspired some worthwhile words over the years—not to mention several truly wacky ideas.

But hey, I love her anyway.

When we first met, I thought my muse was amazing—funny, clever, sophisticated—and, with my typing prowess, we had to be a match made in heaven. First love …

is blind.

Truly great relationships don’t just happen. Ours was no exception. Our relationship needed nurturing. It took time and effort for us to discover each other and to develop an understanding of each other’s hopes and dreams. It demanded tolerance, patience, persistence, perseverance, and mutual respect (we agreed Alliterers Anonymous meetings didn’t work for either of us).

We spent our courtship hours creating quick responses to writing prompts for uni, socialising with other writers (and their muses), dreaming and scribbling together, chatting about all the wonderful places we could visit, all the friends we’d make along the way, arguing over which of us would take the rap for the characters we planned to kill off, choosing cream and white sheets to make up our literary bed, picking out names for our book babies …

Licence To Die GRUnGE.001

Though I speak tongue-in-cheek, for a writer, the relationship between inspiration and actual, useful text on a page requires active encouragement, engagement, and frequently, some outside assistance (like education and counselling). Poems, flash fiction, memoirs, novels, informative and/or inspirational works of non-fiction don’t magically arrive, perfect and mature, on the first draft. It takes informed effort to transform ideas into useful and entertaining literature. For this reason, I say kudos to every writer who perseveres to improve their craft.

But today, I don’t want to focus on the hard slog of editing and perfecting. I simply want to rejoice in that crazy, delightful ‘something’ that calls and inspires people to write. I want to celebrate the huge variety of writing styles, voices, forms, and expressions arising from the relationship between muse and writer. I want to sing and splash around in the bubbling flow that springs to life when the muse turns on the faucet. I want to thank God for it. Thank him for the fun and the frustration alike. Thank him for the solid, worthy ideas that translate into powerful text. And thank him for the absurd, quirky ideas that remind me to embrace the momentum of words and enjoy the ride.

Speaking of quirky ideas, 10% of the marks for some of my creative writing university subjects were earned by completing ‘Quick Writing Exercises’. Students were required to read the prompt, write for ten minutes by the clock, post the piece to the forum, and engage in mutual feedback and discussion. I found the challenge daunting at first, but also very fruitful, because it taught me to think beyond the obvious, to stretch my imagination, to get words on the page without stressing about their initial quality (big ask for a pedant and perfectionist) and, ultimately, to not only discover my ‘voice’ but to trust and treasure it. But you know what? During one such exercise, a curious character invaded my psyche with such presence and force, I knew I would have to tell Mac’s story, and Licence to Die (GRUnGE.001) was conceived.

Like all good relationships, I believe our connection to the writing craft grows in quality as we invest in it and strengthen it through engagement. If your relationship with the muse is a tad stale, if you’ve been neglecting it (willingly or reluctantly) of late and it needs a bit of a jump start, or if your muse has been persnickety, hiding behind excuses when it should be making you a cup of tea, perhaps it’s time to try a quick writing exercise or two. All it takes is a prompt not unlike the example* I’ve posted below (or a word, an image, the poke of an umbrella …) and ten minutes of your time. It’s a small but invaluable investment for such an important relationship don’t you think?

One of my favourite uni prompts was this:

*Write a piece that begins with the words, ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink …’

The variety of responses posted to the forum ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it was a great deal of fun. Here’s what I wrote way back then. Why not give it a go? If you’re game …

Sitting in the Kitchen Sink

‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is an intriguing opening to a story. It raises so many questions at so many levels.

At level one, I consider the grammatical structure and its implications; if the absence of a full stop and capital letter is intentional and not accidental, the introduction proposes several truly mind-boggling possibilities. For example, I can envisage a scenario which quite reasonably puts me in the sink. I’ve cleaned the gable windows above my kitchen sink before and very nearly come a cropper. A landing in the kitchen sink would be a more viable option for survival than a continuance of movement downwards to the floor.

If, however, my comfortably large posterior is actually lodged in my kitchen sink, I doubt that I would have the peace of mind or inclination, given the unlikely and clearly uncomfortable circumstances, to engage myself with pen and paper and wile away several minutes, hours or days in creative composition. I suspect my first, and only, priority would be to dislodge myself from my constricted circumstances with as much haste and as little pain as possible.

At level two, conditional upon the previous assumption of grammatical correctness of course, another possible scenario involves my accidental exposure to some strange beam of light which has transformed me instantly into a midget. Or a teacup. But teacups don’t have hands, so the ‘writing’ part of the opening becomes problematic in this instance also. Perhaps the beam allows me special new skills, such as the ability to project an image across the room onto a piece of paper or onto an interactive whiteboard using purely the power of thought. That could be cool.

Of course, there’s level three, where I might not actually be me. I could be someone else. Or something else. That raises even more mind-boggling options. I could be a cockroach in search of a tasty morsel left dangling on a dirty dinner plate. If so, I am not only intelligent, but extremely skilful—and I have access to miniature writing implements, unless I intend to cocky-poo my message on the illicit bacon rind which should be residing in the bin.

I could be the mouse that I once clobbered with a rolling pin and then drowned in the kitchen sink. (Ick! Disgusting, right?) I doubt that in the midst of all that violence, with the threat of imminent death looming, I would have the presence of mind to write, not even my last will and testament. Hmm … Imagine that …

‘To my darling great-great-grand-nephew, Horatio Mousling, I hereby bequeath my summer nest in the pile of left-over roofing insulation in the rear right-hand corner of the Brown’s garage. To my cousin, Katrina Ratspring, I leave the directions to the dog-bowl at 57 Evinrude Avenue, St. Kilda …’

Sadly, given my current predicament, the creative juices just aren’t flowing as swiftly as they should. Perhaps I should play it safe—and punctuate. Therefore:

I write this. Sitting in the kitchen sink are the questionably salubrious leftovers of my husband’s first adventurous exploration into the world of gastronomic creation. I have to say, for a first effort, the dinner didn’t taste too bad. Even the aftertaste was reasonable. After the third and fourth regurgitations however, I have begun to suspect that something was not altogether kosher.

I would rise from my chair at the kitchen table and call an ambulance, but the slightest movement results in another violent altercation with my digestive system. Thus, I write this, just in case I don’t survive, so that any investigation of my demise will be straightforward.

I write this so you will know there was absolutely no ill or harm present in my husband’s intent. He’s just never tried to cook anything more adventurous than a fried egg before! 

As for the lengthy verbosity of my report, I simply offer, in my defence, that I never do my best writing when I’m throwing up.

© Mazzy Adams

(Adapted from my original blog posted  Christian Writers Downunder September 2019.)

Called by Name

Called by Name

Called by Name

One of the great joys of having children is the fun of choosing their names—or it becomes a joy once you get past the wrangling (as in ‘will Great Grandpa Gatsby ever forgive us for calling our son Scott Fitzgerald G.?’).  

When my husband and I chose names for our children, we opted for meanings which represent our prayerful desires and prophetic blessings for them, believing that every time we call them by name, our prayers and blessings are reiterated. How delighted we are that our adult children embody the very blessings we bestowed.

Name choices are significant for writers too. Character names, book names … we have to choose names more often than the average Jo. I have written stories with characters that seemed to name themselves. Other times I’ve gone searching for the ‘right’ name. Often my choice is influenced by the meaning of the name.

Sometimes, we rename ourselves. There are numerous blogs and articles on the subject of pseudonyms and the reasons authors choose them. I was happy publishing under my own name, until I wrote THAT story; one that had to be written; one that begged to be published; one that spoke to the power of God’s grace to heal victims of physical and sexual abuse; one that spoke of the overwhelming responsibility every adult has to protect our children from predators; one that challenged the wall of silence that has kept many adults, myself included, isolated in a room of pain, filled with unspeakable memories.  If only that story was fiction. But it wasn’t. It was the all-too-true story of my childhood.  

Writing THAT story was also a turning point for me; one that brought healing as I wrote it, and more healing as I shared it with my siblings. So, did I really need to publish it? As I prayed and agonised over that question, the answer was a clear yes. Not because the world needed another story about abuse. But because there can never be enough stories about the power that positive action, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation have to overthrow evil and release healing, wholeness, and goodness again. You see, the man that abused me as a child, died the same day he truly repented of his sins against me; in his place, I received a loving father who would also be a wonderful grandfather to the very end of his days. For that reason, when my story, Releasing Rainbows, was chosen for publication in the inaugural issue of Snapdragon, A Journal of Art and Healing, I used my pseudonym.  

I prayed much about that name choice too. After all, God’s an old hand at name-changing: Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, Jacob/Israel and Simon/Peter all had name changes at his instigation. In each case, their names were changed to reflect God’s calling and plan for their futures. God had a bigger vision for them than they or their parents had had. He wanted to call that future into being, and keep calling it in until it blossomed to his glory. With that in mind, I chose the penname Mazzy Adams; Mazzy which means ‘precious’, and Adams to represent all humanity; a new name to call into being a specific hope and purpose: to write stories which will bring blessing, encouragement, healing, wholeness and goodness to every precious person that reads them. After all, God is in the business of making people new again.

How do you choose names for your literary characters? Do you consider the meaning and blessing (or curse) inherent in those names? Have you thought of using a penname, perhaps one that speaks God’s calling into your work? God himself is known by many names; each represents his perfect qualities present and active as his name is uttered. Great Author of Life, will you please write your perfect desires into our literary lives too?


Original blog with comments posted on Christian Writers Downunder June 2015

Hats, Posts, and Literary Landscapes

Hats, Posts, and Literary Landscapes

Hats, Posts and Literary Landscapes

It was May 2014. It was also high time my husband and I gave our garden some much-needed attention. We felled weed trees, removed deadwood and spindly branches, trimmed the overgrowth, and carted several trailer-loads of green waste to the tip. Despite the hard yakka and the potential for danger implicit in our task, the only casualty was my gardening hat—its brim and bonnet ripped asunder as an inevitable consequence of its age. I’d had that hat for forty years.

In the way of writers, that hat got me thinking about the many hats writers wear. After all, writing is not the only thing we do. ‘What!’ I hear you gasp. You know it’s true. Life is filled with demands. Even readers put their books down (albeit briefly. Never make a habit of it innocent) when life demands it. But writers do landscape their text with experiences gleaned while they’re wearing other hats. My gardening hat only lasted as long as it did because I’m an occasional gardener, not a professional landscaper.

The post on which the hat sits is another casualty of time, displaced by a tree root. I confess, my trusty made-to-measure crowbar still awaits the day I’ve strength and energy enough to replace that post. It wouldn’t be the first posthole I’ve dug. I hefted that crowbar to hollow out holes in the ground for eighty-eight garden and retaining wall posts on our property. Here are a few writing principles I gleaned from my landscaping experiences.

The corner post (in the above corner under the rose) was my first. Hubby measured, marked where to dig and I went for it. I dug a whole lot wider and a whole lot deeper than I needed to, wasting time, effort, and concrete. I applied moderation to subsequent digs.

Principle learned: Preparation and research are necessary, but don’t get carried away with interesting, but unnecessary information. Likewise, the first written draft is rarely perfect. It requires extra time and effort editing. Practice leads to improvement, both in technique and result. Even those first drafts seem to get better the more you write.

The wall at the front of our property was 600mm high, which meant postholes needed to be 700mm deep to hold firm in our ‘plastic’ soil profile. Natural springs under the footpath moistened the subsoil there, making it easier to dig. Behind the house we had to dig 1200mm holes for our 1000mm high walls. But there, thanks to a hefty cut-and-fill, the ‘surface’ was already one metre below the topsoil level. The only way we could break through that clay, was by first soaking it with water.

Principle learned: A short story is different to a poem is different to a novel is different to a magazine article. Each requires materials, scaffolding and structure of the right type, size and shape for the genre. Lessons learned writing in one genre enhance writing technique and positively inform a variety of other writing formats.

As much as we loved the look of our round Koppers logs, they were difficult to work with. They had to be planed and chiselled and shaped to fit together and to fit the curve of the uprights. It was easy to get discouraged when progress was slow and tedious. Being prepared to try something different for the side and rear walls of the property allowed us to finish the job sooner and worked just as well.

Principle learned: Don’t get stuck in a rut. If the current writing (or any other) project is dragging on and going nowhere, try something different. A pleasant surprise may result. Varying the vista can bring fresh insights and enthusiasm.

Not everybody appreciates a garden, or a piece of writing, or any creative offering, in the same way. We didn’t plant retaining wall posts to feed termites, but the little beggars happily devoured some of ‘em anyway. I may not rejoice when the neighbourhood mutts water our front retaining wall, but my dog loved neutralizing their efforts.

Principle learned: Who knows, others may enjoy unexpected benefits from your efforts. Of course, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Any project—writing or otherwise—can seem daunting and overwhelming at times. Don’t get so stressed by the size of the project that you forget to enjoy the process. One day, you’ll look back and think, ‘Wow! I did that. And I enjoyed myself! I am awesome!’ and you’ll be right.

You can read an earlier version of this blog, with comments, on Christian Writers Downunder, May 2014.

Writers are Artists

Writers are Artists

I was a capable reader as a child, yet I still begged my mother to read aloud to me. I would close my eyes and enter a world where I could savour the flavour of music, inhale the aroma of colours or float as easily as a helium balloon. In that world, every house had a way of escape through a secret passage, and enough room to share with a small Swiss bear who loved meringues. I could conjure a landscape of snow-covered mountains, perilous rope bridges spanning treacherous chasms, labyrinthine underground caverns and I had the courage to conquer them all.

In the realms of my imagination, my artistic ability knew no bounds … a state of being that was quickly dispelled in real life by my year eight art teacher. The value she placed on my practical artwork convinced me I had better explore alternative career options. I gave up art and learned to touch-type.

But one day, I discovered the Reader’s Digest’s Towards More Picturesque Speech and a seed of possibility took root.

Words are a wonderful medium to work with. I’ve been collecting and collating them for years. Dictionaries are full of them, a treasure trove of opportunity, aided and abetted by those creative little vegemites who pull new words out of the air (and/or social media) all the time. Those careful and crazy collections of letters supply a never-ending creative palette to play with. One can mix them, spread them, stack them, blend them, rearrange them into endless combinations. I’ve discovered some absolute beauties. From the picturesque to the profound or the absurd, words can paint the most intriguing pictures.

It does take some effort, gathering tools, learning techniques, developing skills. It takes time and dedication to produce any worthwhile work of art. But what a privilege and joy it is to indulge the artistic muse and create more picturesque speech.

(Edited and revised; original version published 13 November 2013 on Christian Writers Downunder)

A World to Explore – Artwork by Catie J Sercombe

Writers are Artists

(Catherine Sercombe © 2011)

Tongue-tested words, selected and ordered,
glued into patterns or crazily paved,
mosaic montage or serpentine path
to step out and search
or sit still and dream—
a world to explore
or snapshot of life.

Tongue-tested words, soothing or seething,
waves at the beach or crabs in the sand,
motion that rocks the cradle of souls
or crashes and churns
soft sand into grit—
a pincer of pain
or pillow to sleep

Tongue-tested words, drifting and floating,
clouds in the sky or scum on a pond,
ethereal beauty or rank saturation
of raw sore emotion
from dark fetid swamp—
truth has its beauty
and ugliness form.

Tongue-tested words, the laughter of children
dancing and singing a rhyme in the sun,
music and mayhem, myst’ry and meaning,
daisies and daydreams
or we’ll all fall down—
sing me some wisdom
and I will be wise.

Tongue-tested words, surreal and confusing,
colours on canvas, flame upon glaze,
unyielding marble till hammer and chisel
chop off the dross
and the sculpture appears—
writers are artists
creating with words.