Monday, December 12, 2005

The Anarchist on the Train

I had this brilliant idea for a story once. It came to me as I was travelling to work on the train. There was an anarchist sitting facing me on the other side of the carriage. At first I was just observing him, not really thinking much of it, and then it struck me – an anarchist on a train.

‘The Anarchist on the Train.’

Trains are all about rules and doing what you’re told and penalties if you don’t. They’re about timetables and, hey, railway tracks! I mean it would be a story about a guy who some people would say was “off the rails”, on the rails.

Instead of just staring at the guy outright I started to observe his reflection in my window. He would never catch on.

Well, once I got off the train I forgot about my idea for a while. It wasn’t until a few days later when I was talking to a friend that the thought re-entered my head. I told my friend about my idea. Yeah sure, partly I was trying to sound creative and cool, but he liked my concept.

Over the next few days part of my mind was writing the story. I’d gotten to the bit about the leather jacket and the nose ring when I had a slightly deflating thought. The title, “The Anarchist on the Train”, it had to have been done before.

So I did some research and found I wasn’t the first person to put those words together in a sentence. Okay, so I gave up. But who really wants to hear a story about an Anarchist on a train?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


When I was seven my family moved from a small sunny town to the capital of New Zealand - Wellington city.

Wellington can be moody. Winds fast march from the hills to the harbour. If you walk the hills on such a day you hear nature howl with rage. It was such a day as I walked mile after mile my mind far from the wind that pushed and shoved me. I did not notice the rain that soaked my clothes and froze my body. I walked into grey clouds. I walked alone. As I approached the highest point in those hills I started to run. I ran, I ran to the edge, and I screamed. I screamed in to the wind all my pain all my aloneness all my frustrations.

Wellington can be sullen. Hematite clouds sit low over the city covering the hill tops. The harbour becomes a dark looking glass. Boats make small waves that travel to the waters edge. The sound is a bards prophecy - a tale of leaving but not returning.

You think you’ve given up hope only to awake in a day where everything’s changed. The sun shines, a fresh and gentle breeze strokes your skin, and the harbour twinkles and smiles. All the myriad vibrant colours of houses and hills are accentuated. People walk a little taller and a littler slower.

Maybe you have to be born in a place to truly understand it. I never understood Wellington, but I think it understood me.