April 16, 2011 in Dag

The Snot Fairy

A truly wondrous organ is that thing you call your nose.

It runs and snorts and sniffles, and it dribbles, drips and blows.

But did you ever wonder just how do its contents build up.

And why the more you empty out, the more that it gets filled up.

Of course there is an answer to this question that I pose.

Just how it is that all that stuff gets up into your nose.

It’s placed there by a being, not much bigger than a dot.

A sweet and fragile spirit called the Fairy of the Snot.

This magic little fairy is a marvel to be seen.

She wears a dress of silver and her flowing hair is green.

She has a crown upon her head, and wings upon her back.

And slung over her shoulder is a little golden sack.

Across the sea the fairy flies, and when her journey’s done.

She sees the snot fields far below her, glistening in the sun.

Then down she swoops, and in her hand she holds a scythe so tiny.

To harvest up the crop she finds, so ripe and fresh and shiny.

From bush to bush she flitters, like a busy bumble bee.

Until that sack upon her back is full as it can be.

Then up into the air she soars, and back over the sea.

She flies and flies until she has returned to our country.

And now it’s time at last for her real mission to begin.

She looks around and finds a nose, and then she flies right in.

She scoops a handful from her sack and rolls it in a ball.

And then she gently flings it so it sticks upon the wall.

From nose to nose the fairy flies, delivering her load.

To noses inside houses and to noses on the road.

She flutters through the city and she floats upon the breeze.

Sometimes we feel her tickling, and that is why we sneeze.

And when the day is over and it’s time for her to stop.

Her sack is finally empty and she’s so tired she could drop.

At last the busy Snot Fairy is able to relax.

And spend some time with her great friend, the Fairy of Earwax.

A note to any illustrators watching – I’d love to see this turned into a picture book.

Interested in sampling some more Dag-Lit? Doodling is now available for just 99c until the end of April from both Amazon and Smashwords.

April 14, 2011 in Dag

Why Dag-Lit?

In order to answer this question, I need to first explain a little more about exactly what the term “dag” means.

Dag is Australian slang. It refers to somebody who is a bit odd or unusual; someone whose appearance or behaviour don’t fit in with what is considered to be conventional or “cool”. Originally it was not a particularly pleasant way to describe someone – it actually derives from the wool industry and means the little pieces of crap that get stuck to the wool on a sheep’s backside.

But as with many other terms commonly used down under, what began as an insult soon evolved into something more complicated. People who didn’t think it was such a bad thing to be a bit odd or unconventional began to see it as a badge of pride rather than something to be ashamed of. These days when the word is used, it’s often in an affectionate way to describe someone who both doesn’t feel the need to conform and is also quite a bit of fun to be around as a result. And every second celebrity, actor, model, etc always seems to make a big deal of claiming that away from the camera they’re really a total dag.

So, in summary, a dag is a person who doesn’t easily fit into the boxes society creates to categorise people.

But how does this relate to writing and books?

Nobody (at least not in the publishing industry) has ever been able to figure out where my stories fit. Are they for kids or are they for adults? Are they science-fiction or fantasy or something different again? I once had a story ping-pong so many times between the different departments of a major publisher that it got completely lost and when I eventually rang them up, nobody had the faintest idea where it was. Another time, a publisher told me that my book dealt with adult ideas but couldn’t be for adults because it had a lot of funny names.

So that’s when I began to realise that my stories are dags. They’re unconventional and odd, and they don’t fit into the various boxes that the publishing industry has decreed books must fit into. And also, like a true dag, I reckon they’re lots of fun. Therefore, what better name could I come up with for a new genre to describe my stories than dag-Lit?

So go ahead and try a bit of dag-Lit. If you’re eight or if you’re eighty, as long as you’re the kind of person who likes to look at the world in your own particular way, and who doesn’t like to be pushed down into a little box, then I reckon it’s for you.

Interested? Like to know more? Doodling is now available for just 99c until the end of April from both Amazon and Smashwords.

April 10, 2011 in Dag

Doodling Chapter 4

Not So Peachy

Neville stared at the girl who had pulled him out of the way of the world. He could still feel the blast of air rushing past his face and hear the whooshing roar, gradually diminishing now as the world hurried away. Finally he found his voice again.

“Th…thank you,” he managed to stammer.

“It’s okay,” she replied in her serious voice. “I saw you lying down in front of the world and I thought I’d better do something.”

“You saved my life,” exclaimed Neville. “What can I do to repay you?”

“Don’t worry about it,” said the girl quickly. “I did what I had to do.”

“Well I still feel like I owe you something. My name’s Neville by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Neville. I’m Helen. Why don’t you come this way?”

Neville followed Helen to a small asteroid not far from the edge of the field. He lay down on the soft ground and closed his eyes, waiting for his heart to stop racing and his nerves to stop bouncing and jangling like an extremely agitated marionette.

Soft ground? None of the other asteroids he had visited had soft ground. He opened his eyes and sat up again, and was instantly amazed by his new surroundings.

He was lying on a grassy lawn. All around him were pots full of colourful flowers and at the far end was a small tree. Helen was watering the flowers with a little yellow watering can, but when she noticed that Neville was sitting up again she walked towards the tree and picked a piece of fruit from it.

“Would you like a peach?” she asked.

Neville nodded eagerly. He accepted the peach and took a big bite. It was delicious. Sweet and juicy, with just that little touch of tartness that a good peach should have.

“Is this your asteroid?” he asked Helen. She nodded.

“It’s lovely. Did you plant all of this yourself?”

She nodded again, her face still looking very serious.

“Wow,” exclaimed Neville. “This is definitely the nicest asteroid I have ever seen.”

“Thank you,” said Helen quietly. “Have you been out here for long?”

“Not really,” replied Neville. “I’ve been to a few other asteroids but the people I’ve met have all been completely mad. In fact you’re the first sensible person I’ve met in this asteroid field.”

Helen almost smiled at that. She picked up her watering can and began watering the flowers again. Neville finished the peach and looked around, searching for a rubbish bin to put the pip into. But there didn’t seem to be one anywhere.

“Excuse me Helen, what should I do with this pip?”

“Oh just throw it away.”

“Throw it away?” Neville was shocked. “But I don’t want to litter your lovely asteroid.”

“It’s a peach pip,” said Helen. “If you throw it away, it will grow into a peach tree. And that means even more peaches for us to eat.”

Neville was impressed by Helen’s logic. He threw the peach pip so that it landed next to the peach tree. Then he lay back again, watching the other asteroids fly past. “Now this is the sort of asteroid a guy could really get used to,” he said. “You don’t mind if I stay a while do you?”

“Stay as long as you want.”

Neville was beginning to like Helen too. He watched her as she moved about the flowers, carefully measuring out a little stream of water for each. She had gone to such an effort to create a little paradise in the middle of a wasteland. And yet there was something about her that didn’t quite fit. Something about the way she didn’t seem able to just relax and enjoy her surroundings. She always looked so serious. Even when she smiled, it seemed like she had a great weight on her shoulders.

Suddenly Neville was concerned about her. After all, she had helped him out. Maybe he could find some way to return the favour and make her feel better. “Is there something wrong?” he called out to her.

“I’m worried,” she replied.

“About what?”

“About the world.”

“What about the world?”

Helen stopped her watering and sat next to Neville. “It’s moving too fast.”

“But we don’t have to worry about that,” said Neville. “We’re not on the world anymore. It can move as fast as it wants and we can just sit back and watch it.”

“Pick up that peach pip again,” instructed Helen, pointing to where Neville had thrown it.

Oh no, thought Neville. After everything had seemed so good, suddenly it looked like Helen was just as mad as everybody else.

Helen must have been reading Neville’s mind. “I’m not mad,” she insisted. “Just go and pick up the pip.”

Neville did as he was told. He crawled over and picked up the pip. Then he crawled back to Helen.

“Give it to me.”

Neville handed it over. Helen had already picked a few stalks of grass and tied them together to form a sort of string. She looped one end of this string around the pip and knotted it tight. Then she handed the other end to Neville.

“Now stand up and swing it around your head.”

Neville looked at the strange contraption. Then he looked back at Helen. She had insisted that she was not mad but Neville was beginning to have his doubts.

“Just do it,” said Helen in a stern voice.

Neville stood up and began to swing the pip around his head. He felt a little silly, as if he were a pretend cowboy swinging a lasso at a rodeo, but he kept on going anyway.

“Now faster,” ordered Helen.

Neville swung the pip around faster. It began to make a soft whooshing sound as it spun around his head.


The pip was really racing around Neville’s head now. The whooshing was beginning to get louder and he could feel the strain on his arm as the pip pulled at it.

“Even faster!”

Neville was getting dizzy as the pip hurtled around.

“As fast as you can!” cried Helen.

Neville had almost had enough of this. The pip was going so fast he couldn’t even see it, and his arm was really aching now. But just as he was about to stop, his suspicions about Helen utterly confirmed, something happened.

The grass string snapped. Freed from its restraints, the pip immediately flew away over the lawn. It crashed into one of the flower pots, smashing it into a hundred pieces.

“Oh no!” cried Neville. He raced over to the broken pot but there was nothing he could do. It was completely destroyed.

“I’m so sorry about your flower pot,” he said.

“The pot isn’t important,” said Helen. “But can you see now why I’m so worried?”

For a moment Neville still didn’t know what she meant. Then suddenly it hit him. The pip was the world and the grass string was the sun’s gravitational pull. And if the world kept on getting faster and faster, it would eventually break away from that gravitational pull and fly off into space. And if anything lay in its way? Neville looked down at the shattered flower pot, instantly realising what it represented. The first thing the world would crash into once it had escaped from its orbit.

He looked back at Helen, totally panic-stricken. She returned his gaze and nodded, resignation in her eyes. At last Neville managed to speak.

“This asteroid field is doomed!”

Want to know more? What further adventures does Neville experience? Can he possibly save the asteroid field?

Doodling available for the special price of 99c till the end of April. Just go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4110

April 2, 2011 in Dag

Doodling Chapter 3

Taking Aim

Neville hurried away from the asteroid of the Toaster People. He looked around, scanning the other asteroids for signs of life. If one of the asteroids had been populated by humans, then surely there must be others. Not everybody that had let go of the world would want to settle in a place where a toaster was the ruling deity. All Neville had to do was find another inhabited asteroid. One occupied by people who were a little more sensible. Then, at last, he could find a home.

As Neville gazed across the great sea of celestial bodies, he couldn’t help noticing for the first time how spectacularly awesome the scene before him was. It was like a vast hanging mobile where each individual piece had been specially crafted by a different sculptor. Each asteroid had its own unique shape and glowed with its own unique hue.

But there was one asteroid in particular that caught his attention. Smaller than most of the others, it moved unpredictably across the sky. First it would flit one way. Then suddenly it would stop and veer off in a completely different direction. It was like a small dog that had lost its master and didn’t know where to start looking.

Neville was intrigued by this strange asteroid and decided to take a closer look. Approaching it was difficult. Every time he started to get close the asteroid suddenly darted off at right angles, forcing Neville to quickly brake and change direction, a difficult task in zero gravity.

Finally Neville made it to the asteroid. He reached out to grip it before it could change its trajectory again, then hauled himself aboard. He sat down for a minute, to get his bearings, and then tried to stand up.

Standing up was not a simple task. Neville felt like a surfer riding a particularly treacherous wave as he staggered and swayed to keep his balance atop the winding, twisting asteroid. He fell down and struggled back to his feet three times before he finally started to get the hang of it. Then he set off to explore this strange new place.

After walking for about a minute, Neville noticed something even odder. A bright orange beach umbrella. He approached the umbrella and saw a girl lying underneath it, on a large rock shaped somewhat like a banana lounge. She was wearing a swimming costume and a pair of dark sunglasses. Presently she spoke.

“Did you bring the sunscreen?” she asked in a fairly expressionless voice.

“No,” replied Neville.

For a second there was an awkward silence. Then she spoke again. “I guess I’d better get back into the pool then.”

“But there’s no pool here,” said Neville, somewhat perplexed by the nature of this conversation.

“There isn’t?” The girl moved her head from side to side, quickly realising the truth of Neville’s observation. “Well that’s okay. I can’t swim anyway.”

“Then why are you wearing a swimming costume?” asked Neville.

“How tall are you?” replied the girl.

“I don’t know,” said Neville, as it had been a while since he’d last measured himself.

“My uncle is tall,” said the girl.

“Oh really?” said Neville.

“His name is Ron and he has a moustache.”

“Oh.” Neville struggled for something else to say. Fortunately the girl’s thoughts had already moved on.

“Maybe I’ll go down to the newsagent. Buy myself a book.”

“But there’s no newsagent here,” protested Neville. “We’re in the middle of outer space.”

Once again the girl made that movement of her head “There isn’t? Well that’s okay. I can’t read anyway.”

“But if you can’t read, why would you want to buy a book?”

“What colour skirt do you think would go better with this swimsuit, red or green?” asked the girl.

“Red,” said Neville without even thinking.

The girl screwed up her face. “I don’t like red.”

“Well then green.”

The girl screwed her face up even more. “I don’t like green either.”

“Then why did you ask me?” exclaimed Neville who was now totally confused.

“Why did the leopard change its sheets?” asked the girl without even missing a beat.

“You mean why did the leopard change its spots,” corrected Neville.

“I don’t know. To get to the other side?”

Neville had finally had enough. “This is a particularly aimless conversation,” he said firmly.

The girl shrugged her shoulders. “This is a particularly aimless asteroid.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Throw a stone at me.”

“Do you deliberately try to not answer any of my questions?” demanded Neville.

“No I mean it,” said the girl. “Throw a stone at me.”

“But I might hurt you.”

“Just do it.”

Neville bent over and looked for a stone to throw. He chose a small pebble because he didn’t want to cause any injuries. Then he took careful aim and threw it softly at the girl. But the girl didn’t even flinch as the stone flew harmlessly away to the side.

“See,” she said.

“But I aimed that stone straight at you,” cried Neville.

“Do you understand now?” said the girl. “Nothing on this asteroid has any aim. Nothing that you say. Nothing that you do. This is the most aimless asteroid in the whole asteroid field.”

Neville looked around. The girl definitely had a point. The way the asteroid twisted and turned through the asteroid field, it seemed to have no idea where it was going to go next. It made Neville dizzy to watch. He looked back at the girl.

“Nothing on this asteroid has any aim?”

“Including me. I have no aim.”

“But surely you must have some sort of aim,” protested Neville.


“I don’t know.” Neville thought for a moment, trying to figure out how to back his argument up. “It must get terribly boring after a while.”

“Maybe it does,” replied the girl. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really seem to be that important. Not on this asteroid anyway.”

“Then I think it’s time we both got off this asteroid,” said Neville who didn’t like the idea of not having any aim. “Will you come with me?”

“Oh all right, if you insist. Just let me go and get the car keys.”

“But there’s no car here.”

The girl moved her head from side to side. “There isn’t? Well that’s okay. I can’t drive anyway.”

Neville sighed and turned away. She wasn’t going to join him. She was just going to lie around, living her little aimless life on her little aimless asteroid.

He jumped off the asteroid and watched as it zigzagged crazily away. In his heart, he knew that what the girl had said was wrong. It was important to have an aim. What was the point of living if you didn’t?

Neville decided there and then that he had better find an aim for himself. But thinking about your life direction while you’re standing in the middle of an asteroid field isn’t such an easy thing to do. The best way to work out what his aim would be was to get out into the open, so he could concentrate better.

Neville found a nice quiet spot, turned himself around so that he didn’t have to look at the asteroids any more and started to think. What would be a good aim? How could he create a fulfilling life for himself here in the middle of nothingness?

Suddenly Neville’s concentration was broken by a roar. A great whooshing roar, coming from right behind him. He turned to look and then froze in fear. The world was rushing into view again. It surged forward at a crazy speed, spinning wildly and throwing people off in all directions. And it was coming straight for him.

For a couple of seconds Neville was too terrified to move. Then he collected his wits and began to run as fast as he could. But it was no use. There was no way he could get out of the way in time. The world loomed behind him, larger and larger. He could not possibly outrun it.

Neville closed his eyes and curled himself up, preparing for the shock of impact.

Suddenly he felt a strong hand tagging at his shoulder. In a flash he was pulled out of the way, just as the world hurtled past. It came so close that Neville could see all of Africa, only millimetres from his nose. He breathed a great sigh of relief then turned to face his saviour.

It was a girl, about his age and about his height. She had medium length, slightly curly, reddish brown hair, and a serious face which softened slightly as she met his eyes.

“Phew,” she said. “That was a close one.”

Confused? Wondering what’s going on? Check out Neville’s previous adventures in Doodling chapter 1 and Doodling chapter 2.

Doodling available from:
March 26, 2011 in Dag

Doodling Chapter 2

A Toast to You

Neville felt lost and alone as he wandered slowly through the asteroid field, looking for a new place where he could settle down. All around him enormous rocks bounced and bobbed. Some were bright and colourful while others were grey and dull. Some were smooth and round while others were craggy and jagged. One had a flagpole on it…

Neville started, then looked more closely. His eyes were definitely not playing tricks on him. It really was a flagpole with a small makeshift flag on the top, fluttering gently in the solar breeze.

A flagpole on an asteroid! Was it possible? Could this mean what he hoped it would mean? Were there actually other people out here in the asteroid field?

Neville quickened his pace, heading towards the asteroid with the flagpole. The asteroid was a little bigger than his earlier preference and it was moving a little faster than he would have liked, but when you’re out on your own in the middle of deep space you really can’t be too picky. Besides, the possibility that there were other people out here, other cast-offs from a world that had left them behind, was too exciting to ignore.

Neville reached the asteroid and climbed on. Its surface was rough and rocky, save for one large space, about fifty metres square. Neville’s heart leapt with joy as he walked onto this space. It had been cleared and flattened out into a sort of plaza, a sure sign of human habitation. The flagpole stood at the far side of the plaza. The flag on the top displayed some sort of silver symbol, roughly rectangular in shape, with two parallel black lines across the top.

As Neville stared at the flag, trying to figure out what the strange symbol represented, he noticed a small group of people coming towards him. They stopped about ten metres away and one of the men, who was obviously the leader, peeled off and approached Neville.

“Greetings friend,” said the man, his hand extended in greeting. “I would like to welcome you to our humble home.”

“Thank you,” replied Neville. “It’s nice to meet all of you.” He smiled broadly at the rest of the people but none of them said a word. Instead they looked at him intently. Neville felt a strange feeling of expectation, as if these people were waiting for him to say something.

“We, like you, are refugees from the world,” continued the man. “We, like you, could no longer handle the pace and the pressure. We, like you, have made the decision to escape the madness and to find here, on our asteroid, a far simpler lifestyle. A lifestyle you are more than welcome to join us in.”

“That’s awfully friendly of you,” said Neville. He looked again at the other people. They stared back at him. Even the leader was now staring at him, a rigid smile fixed to his face. The tension was unbelievable. Neville sensed that these people were looking for some sort of signal, perhaps a message in something he said, but he couldn’t imagine what it could be.

Finally the frustration became too much for the leader of the group. He dropped his smile and looked down at the ground for a second. When he spoke his voice was soft, quavering with nerves.

“I don’t suppose you brought a toaster.”

Neville shook his head.

There was a collective sigh from the group. Suddenly all of the tension had dissipated, to be replaced by an overpowering feeling of disappointment. The other people quickly dispersed leaving Neville, standing beside their leader, feeling somewhat let down.

“I apologise if our reception seems a bit, ungrateful,” said the man. “It’s just that we don’t have any toasters here and, well, we could all really do with a nice hot piece of toast.”

“I’m sorry,” said Neville. “I didn’t think to bring one. It all happened so suddenly.”

“That’s all right, you weren’t to know. None of us thought about it when we let go either. Still, we live in hope that someday, somehow, someone will come to us with a toaster, and then we can once again enjoy our breakfast in a civilised fashion. Till then, why don’t you let me show you around.”

Neville thanked the man and began to follow him away from the flattened square. As the man disappeared amongst the rocks at the edge of the square, Neville took one last look up at the flag. Suddenly he realised what it was supposed to be. Although poorly drawn, it was definitely meant to be some sort of stylised representation of a toaster.

Away from the square, the surface of the asteroid was a labyrinth of weirdly sculpted rock. Neville followed the man along a winding passageway, passing a series of holes carved into the high stone towers. Inside the holes the shapes of people could be made out, setting up homes in this amazing new world. Presently the man led Neville to a particularly large hole, a great open door in the rock, and motioned for him to enter. Neville paused for a moment, perturbed somewhat by the strange high pitched chanting he could hear coming from inside the rock. Then, as the man assured him there was nothing to fear, he walked through the door.

Neville found himself in a large cave. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see that he was not alone. All around him people crouched on the ground, as if at worship. In front stood a man wearing ceremonial garb, holding a book and chanting and wailing in some sort of indecipherable language. Every so often the chanting would reach a crescendo and the people would leap up off the ground. Then they would crouch back down on the floor again.

The man from the plaza was standing next to Neville. “Welcome to our temple,” he said.

“Who is the man up the front?” asked Neville.

“He is our high priest,” replied the man.

“Why?” asked Neville. “What’s so special about him?”

“He brought to us the Holy Book.” The man indicated the book the priest was reading from.

“The Holy Book? What sort of Holy Book?”

“Do not question. Just listen. Let the wonder of the words enter your soul and fill you with life.”

“But I can’t understand what he’s saying.”

“Listen. Listen hard.”

Neville listened hard and found he was able to understand what the priest was chanting.

“…adjust thermostat if necessary to attain desired degree of darkness. For rye and raisin toast, a lighter setting may be required.”

He squinted his eyes and was just able to make out the title of the Holy Book.

Operating Instructions for the A367 Toasterama.

“Your Holy Book is the instruction manual for a toaster?” cried Neville in disbelief.

“It was in his pocket when he let go of the world,” said the main reverently. “He can’t explain why he had it there but we regard it as a sacred sign.”

Suddenly Neville realised what the people in the room were doing, why they were crouching down and then leaping up. They were toast. This whole ceremony was some sort of ritual imitating the making of toast.

Neville turned on his tail and walked quickly out of the cave. This was as much as he needed to know.

The man from the square hurried after Neville. “Where are you going?” he cried.

“I’m leaving,” retorted Neville.

“But you only just got here.”

“I don’t care. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life living in a world where people worship toasters.” Neville reached the flattened plaza. He hurried to the edge and climbed off the asteroid. The voice of the man followed after him as he made his way back into the asteroid field.

“But you don’t understand. Our prophecy tells us that some day a toaster will come, and on that day we can all sit and eat toast and jam and crumpets and steaming hot muffins and…”

Neville suppressed a laugh as the man’s voice faded into the distance. Their prophecy was clearly ridiculous. If anyone was desperate enough to make the decision to let go of the world, the last thing on their mind would be what kitchen implements to bring along. Besides, even if someone did bring a toaster, what use would it be? They didn’t have anywhere to plug it in.

As Neville set off again, he suddenly heard a loud whooshing sound. It was the world spinning past again, now moving even faster than when he had let go. If Neville looked closely he could actually see the people on its surface running to keep up. And even as he watched, a number of people let go and were left lying in its wake. Some of them instantly leapt up and chased after the world. A couple even caught up and grabbed hold again. The others gradually got their bearings and began to wander into the asteroid field. Most of them made a direct line for the asteroid with the large flag flying.

Maybe, just maybe, the prophecy of the Toaster People was about to be fulfilled.

Wondering how Neville got out here in the first place – check out Doodling chapter 1.

Doodling available from: