The Difference between Boys and Girls by Hilary Green (Short story 1)

“The difference between boys and girls, is that boys are big bullies!” I stop washing dishes to hear what Sarah says next, but the crash of the Jenga blocks and Jack’s giggles prevent further sage words from my five-year-old.

On any other day, the sound of Jack giggling would make me laugh, but today I want him to be quiet. I need to know if Sarah has anything else to say. Did she hear us last night? Maybe she heard the thud? God, I hope she thought we were playing Jenga!

Jack crashes through the swing doors and into my legs. I wince on impact but can’t resist ruffling his blonde curls with my wet hand. He wriggles with delight at the sensation. I instinctively bend down to take him in my arms and wince again. Please don’t let him notice my pain.

He runs back to Sarah and their game begins again. All talk of boys, girls and bullies is forgotten. Had Jack been listening to his big sister when she shared her wisdom? Maybe I had misheard her. Was she talking about something else? She has a busy social life now that she is in school.

I shake my head, as if the movement will clear my thoughts. I grab a stemless glass from the drying rack and the bottle of Sauv Blanc from the fridge. It doesn’t feel like day drinking if there isn’t a stem. I pour a glass. I glance at the kitchen clock. Not much time. A swig. Another. One more for luck. I rinse the glass in the lukewarm water and return it to the drying rack.

I hear keys rattle in the front door. Shrieks of delight from the kids, happy barking from the dogs. I breathe deeply and I brace myself.

  • Wordcount: 300
  • Prompt: Men and women
  • Genre: Family, drama
  • Warning: Domestic violence
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Coffee or Tea?

If you had to pick one only hot beverage to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be? Coffee or tea? I wouldn’t want to have to choose!

Coffee is easy.

Coffee is go go go.

Coffee is wake me up and keep me going.

Coffee isn’t fussy. Coffee does her job in mugs, flasks and paper cups.

Coffee can be black, white, frothy, cheap or real. Sweet or bitter.

She is a dance partner for vanilla, cream, chocolate, toffee and ice cream.

She loves a dunk. A rusk or just buttery bread.

Coffee is quick, moving, grab on the go.

Coffee works.

 

But tea – ah… tea.

Tea is pure.

Tea is ritual.

Tea is soothing.

She is specific. Ceylon and China only.

Tea is same. A drizzle of cold milk, less than a teaspoon of sugar. Hot and strong. Always the same.

She is soul. She is calm.

Tea fixes. Just putting the kettle on for tea is the beginning of the solution.

Tea is slow and calm.

Ah… tea.

And Rooibos – never ever!

 

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Touching base with your team

How is it almost April?  This year seems to be flying by at a ridiculous pace and we are almost a quarter of the year down!

At the speed that we have become accustomed to working at, it is so very easy to get caught up in the urgency of the daily running of our businesses.

The important, but less urgent tasks sometimes fall by the wayside, with all our good intentions of dealing with them later. When they are looked at, it is in a rush and perhaps without the care and attention that they deserve.

One of the tasks that I am thinking of is internal communication, particularly written internal communication.

Keeping your team updated on developments, events, industry news and progress is essential!

The advantages of excellent internal communication

• Encourages trust and ends the rumour mill

• Maintains staff engagement and decreases staff turnover

• Boosts morale

• Builds company culture

• Ensures that your customer has the best possible experience with your brand, through your informed and well trained front-line staff

And most importantly:

It is key to achieving your organisation’s purpose!

Think for a moment about social media. We have become used to receiving a constant, bite size flow of information and feedback. Social media engages us and keeps us coming back for more. Similarly, your team want to know what is happening, why and how they are contributing. Your regular communication with them keeps them engaged and motivated.

But… regular, positive internal communication is tricky and time consuming.

How I can help?

Let me do the writing for you!

I have years of experience in working with various organisations, from the very small to the very large corporates. I have studied strategic business management, so I understand what goes into making a successful business tick! This experience, together with my flair for the written word and my natural ability to adapt to tone and audience means that I can easily and effectively help you communicate with your team.

How do we do this?

I can write your staff newsletters, informational displays, resource documents, event updates and even scripting of oral communication.

I can work with you on an ad hoc project basis, or on an hourly or per word rate, or we can do this on a contract basis, for a reasonable monthly fee.

Let me know what you want to your people to know, and let me figure out the rest!

Contact me now and we can set up a time to discuss your needs.

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A writer must write, right?

My little blog has gone through quite a metamorphosis in the last few years. My earliest blogs were on Tumblr. Then I created a WordPress blog entitled “RunRoundGirl” where I chronicled my journey from couch potato to runner (amongst other things). After that, a brief spell of being “In Hil’s Head” and now finally, my blog is at home here on my official business website, www.hilarygreen.co.za.

Time out!

As is typical of a metamorphosis (or so I recall from biology) it might have appeared to be quiet from my side over the last few months. I certainly haven’t blogged in a while! But there have been loads of things happening behind the scenes.

I’ve been considering my career aspirations, crystallising some ideas, adding to my experience and working on my degree. I’ve also been dealing with some challenging family stuff. I’ve been writing a regular monthly column for a couple of community magazines. Oh, and I’ve been learning to ride a horse. More about that in another post!

Writing has always been one of my favourite things to do. I absolutely loved creative writing in high school. I remember one project that we had to do for English class – I think I was in Standard 6 or 7 at the time (that’s Grade 8 or 9 if you’re a millennial). We had to keep a journal for a week. My teacher insisted that I kept writing long after the project was over, and the marks were in. She believed that I wrote well and encouraged me to write as often as possible. On another occasion, we had to write a parody of a fairy tale. I wrote a long, extremely rude and funny poem about Cinderella. It was a huge hit and was published in the school magazine. From those early days in English class at school and sharing my teenage angst with Dear Diary to dreams of being a journalist – words have always featured strongly.

Side note regarding the journo thing: I could never make up my mind whether I wanted to do serious hard news (think Christiane Amanpour and the photojournalists of The Bang Bang Club) or work at a glossy magazine (I loved The Devil Wears Prada before it was even a movie!)

The journalist thing never happened and a career in insurance did. I’m not sure why it took me so long to connect all the dots to realise that maybe, just maybe, I could turn my love of word craft into a career. Now it’s time to put my words into action. I am officially launching my writing career.

Onward and upward

Thank you to all of my cheerleaders on this venture, you know who you are! If anyone needs a good great writer, you know who to call! And please share my Facebook page, my website and my blog posts. Sharing really is caring!

I might not be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada (although I am sure she would play me in a movie about my life) but dreams do come true. You just have to make them.

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