Noah’s Nose Knows

Noah's Nose Knows

Noah’s nose knew something was wrong. He smelled a siege. Nervously, Noah followed the odour to the fridge. He peered inside. Organic leafy lettuces crowded the veggie bin; lumpy helmets of broccoli lined the shelves; spears of asparagus stood menacingly in a glass.

Inside the chiller drawer lay a suspicious package: tofurkey. Tof-what?

In the bottle next to the milk, a murky substance bubbled sinisterly. Its name sounded like a sneeze. Kom-BU-cha! Ew.

Noah pulled out a bottle of liquid the colour of pond sludge. Vegetable juice? Blech! No way! That was wrong—as wrong as carrot cake’.

“Mu-u-m! Help! The vegetables are taking over the fridge!”

Mum breezed into the kitchen. Don’t be silly, Noah. It’s a new year, and we’re on a health kick!”

Noah put back the gross green juice.’ He stared at his mother. Oh no! Yoga pants AND a crop-top. This was serious!

“But I’m hungry! What am I supposed to eat? Everything in there is green!” His tummy snarled. I’ll die!”

“Noah. You’re overreacting.”

“Mu-u-um!” He clutched his belly. All I want is some nice morning tea! Is that too much to ask?” He raced to the pantry and scanned the shelves. In place of his snacks were creepy packets:

Lentil crackers
Protein Balls
Millet NumNums

Quinoa Surprise

“AHHH!” Noah screamed. Where are the Iced Vo-Vos and my volcano-flavoured corn chips? I want my neon squeeze cheese!”

“Noah, please,” Mum said. I made your favourite muffins. Go sit down while I warm one up.”

Noah skulked to the table, clutching his ravenous belly and imagining a sweet muffin, warm from the microwave, oozing with melted choc-chips and slathered with butter. Mmmmm.

As the plate was laid in front of him, he closed his eyes contentedly and let his nose do its work…

He gasped. His eyes popped open. “Something’s in there! My nose knows!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Mum said sliding a Fitbit on her wrist. It’s just a muffin. Here. Have some millllk.” The corner of her mouth twitched.

Noah narrowed his eyes. Why’d you say it like that?” He squinted at the cup.

“Like what?” she said, snapping a sweatband across her forehead at a jaunty angle.

Noah’s nose sniffed and sniffed again. Wild-eyed, he pointed at the muffin. You sneaked zucchini in there. And turmeric! My nose knows! I bet you slipped in some of that QuiNOAH just to be cute.”

“It’s Keen-WAH.”

“Whatever.” He slumped in his chair and glowered at the icky muffin’. His tummy panged with hunger.

“I’m going next door to do yoga-kickboxing with Prue.” She kicked her leg sideways. YA-maste! Enjoy your snack.”

The screen door banged shut, and Noah frowned. My nose was right. It’s an all-out assault,” he muttered. He picked a crumb off the suss muffin and put it on his tongue.

A flash of green at ten-o-clock. Cauliflower paratroopers armed with asparagus spears stormed the table.


Photo Credit:
Boy on River Cruise by Bernard Yeo, CC BY-2.0
Modified by Ali

The Cult of Daffodils


I want to share my new garden and flower blog with my loyal followers and readers here at Spilling Ink. Oh My Garden! is full of lovely floral/botanical content. There are even book reviews, like the reblogged post below that follows up on my October poem.

I’d be so encouraged if you’d follow Oh My Garden! (It’s lonely over there!)
– Ali

Oh My Garden!

It’s no wonder daffodils have enjoyed a cult-like following throughout history. They are a complete sensory package: Their vibrant colour is visually stimulating. Their scent, in my mind, is the essence of spring, freshness and hope epitomised. Even their texture is highly agreeable. At the thought of them, I can conjure up the sense of the stems, cool and springy, in my hand.

Daffodils have inspired artists and poets alike. Wordsworth’s poem, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ is possibly the most famous example. On my literature blog Spilling Ink, I spent the month of October (spring in Australia) memorising those lovely verses. That exercise ignited an intense bout of xanthophilia, a fondness of all things yellow. It also led me down the garden path, thinking about daffodils and wanting to know more.

Flower Fanaticism?

Daffodils are lovely, but do they inspire obsession? Yes, absolutely, and if you doubt me, read

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My Epic Poetic Odyssey – October


October’s Poem

Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud‘ is the poem I’ll memorise in October. I’m two months into my Epic Poetic Odyssey, in which I commit a poem a month to memory.

Why? Personal enrichment, brain exercise, and to practise a cool party trick. Poetry memorisation is good for the brain and the soul. If I’m lucky, I’ll acquire a life-long habit, and maybe even develop a poetic sensibility.


October is for falling leaves and pumpkins, right? Not in the Southern Hemisphere where I live! It’s funny—even after nearly thirty years of living Down Under, I still thought of autumn when I was picking this month’s poem.

It’s spring here, and the jacarandas are exploding in a soft purple haze. Colour is peeking out of every corner of my garden. Even my house plants are showing off. I wanted a poem about flowers, and this one is perfect.

After September‘s bleak and heavy poem, I also wanted something light, like skipping through a field of brilliant yellow flowers!

I’ll be back at the end of the month, when Wordsworth’s words have become part of me.

Happy spring – or autumn, wherever you may be!


Over to You

Got a favourite poem? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credits

Stefanos Kogkos via Unsplash, modified by the author

Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Mythopoeia & Me


I came across a poem by JRR Tolkien today called Mythopoeia. I have to thank fellow blogger Glaiza at Paper Wanderer. (Do check out her gorgeous book blog!) Her post launched me onto one of those fascinating, time-sucky adventures in Cyberspace, where you lose the better part of a day and gain a sackful of shiny nuggets of knowledge and an impressively swollen TBR list. In fact, I sprouted a new shelf on my Goodreads profile: Mythopoetic.

Mythopoeia & Meaning

Mythopoeia is a literary term that refers to myth making. JRR was a modern master-mythopoet with his creation of Middle Earth. His fellow Inkling CS Lewis was also a Jedi mythopoet. And speaking of Jedi, George Lucas’s Star Wars fits the criteria too.

JRR wrote his poem Mythopoeia to address CS’s disdain for myths. JRR believed that myths were vessels of truth whereas CS saw them as “lies and therefore worthless, even though breathed through silver.”

God, I love these guys. Arguing in heroic couplets–how badass is that? I wish people nowadays discussed things in verse. Instead, worthy online discussions are hijacked by outbursts of Twitter Rage and devolve into expletive-clogged troll-fests.

Back to civilised discourse: According to the poem’s Wiki:

Mythopoeia takes the position that mythology contains spiritual and foundational truths while myth-making is a ‘creative act’ that helps narrate and disclose those truths.”

To convince his friend and associate of the fundamental nature of myths, JRR writes:

…There is no firmament,mythopoeia

only a void, unless a jewelled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb whence all have birth.

JRR’s poem converted CS to a trust in the power and truth of myth. (Tolkien must have been a persuasive man; on a spiritual level, he famously led Lewis to embrace the Christian faith). Lewis set a new mythopoeic benchmark by populating Narnia with around 50 species of mythological creatures, including fauns, griffins, jinns, naiads, and even Santa Claus. I remember rereading The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe as an adult and having the sensation of sitting on the sidelines, sad and sober, at a Mardi Gras parade.

Mash-up & More

Mytho-mashup is not new of course. It’s a feature of popular urban fantasy, where werewolves and vampires clash, and fae do battle with demons. Then there’s the fabulously fun Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, who brilliantly blends Celtic mythology with, well, just about every other kind of mythology. Seriously. What a romp! (I LOVE Oberon!)

My interest in Tolkien and Lewis’s discussion, and in the word mythopoeia itself, relates to my latest book Toby Fitzroy & the Quest for the Scales of Time. I describe the story as “MG maritime fantasy-adventure with lashings of steampunk.” Toby’s sea adventure pits him against scary traditional mythological beings as he quests for a prize of my invention–The Scales of Time. (You’ll have to read the book to find out what they are and if he secures them…)


I’m happy to learn that a Mythopoeic Society exists to keep alive the spirit of the Inklings with the study and celebration of modern mythopoeic literature for adults, children and scholars. (Click the link to the site at your own risk! You won’t emerge without a swollen TBR list.)

And I am chuffed to confirm my stories fall into the same category (but, sadly, not the stellar quality) as works by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Juliet Marillier, Peter Beagle, and Jane Yolen. Hats off to my mythopoeic heroes!


Image Credits

Mythology – Taygeto – Greece by John Prassas, CC BY-ND 2.0

starry night by Kevin Jaako, CC BY-ND 2.0

Pirate Ship HHS Bounty Docked of Peanut Island by Kim Seng, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Even More #WRAD15 Favourites & Fun

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The 4th of March is World Read Aloud Day 2015, an event sponsored by LitWorld. Its aim is to promote literacy as a way of combating poverty and inequality worldwide.

For the past week, I’ve been sharing some #WRAD15 inspiration by interviewing Read Aloud experts–teachers, librarians, and children’s writers. Be sure to check out the earlier posts to see their choices for favourite read aloud texts and memories.

Today, we hear from two children’s writers and teachers:

Karen Tyrrell

miss_nelson_is_missingAuthor, Speaker, Teacher, Resilience Advocate

“I loved reading Miss Nelson is Missing written by Harry G. Allard Jr and illustrated by James Marshall to my year 1 and 2 classes. My children loved the sense of fun and mystery, especially the unexpected twist at the end. Miss Nelson influenced the writing style depicted in my resilience books STOP the Bully and Bailey Beats the Blah at”

Read the Ali’s reviews of Karen’s children’s books here and here.


Rachelle Sadler

Author, Teacher

“I have so many favourite read aloud books so it’s difficult to choose only one! A book that quickly comes to mind is Wombat Stew, written by Marcia Vaughn and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. This book is so wonderful to read aloud. I love the Australian language and bush setting. I love the rhyming, alliteration and assonance used throughout. And I love the beautiful illustrations that bring the characters and story to life.

wombat-stewMusic has always been a big part of my life, and I enjoy stories that can incorporate music and songs so seamlessly. The Wombat Stew song is entertaining and invites readers to participate.

I have fond memories of having this story read aloud to me as a child. I then went on to read this story every year as a teacher to my grade one students with follow-up activities involving dance and drama – LOTS of fun!

And I now read this story aloud to my own children who thoroughly enjoy it (and still gasp every time Dingo says it’s time to put Wombat into the stew). Such a special, timeless story about friendship and standing up for others.”

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Thanks for sharing your favourites, ladies! I bet it was super fun being in your classrooms! Lucky children!

UPDATE: Little Meerkat’s BIG Adventures for #WRAD15

After Little Meerkat’s BIG beach adventure, he was ready for something a little more subdued–like jamming with a muso. Here he is on bongos accompanying Peter H. They’re playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Little Meerkat’s favourite song.









This morning, Little Meerkat was very excited to write a letter to Aleesah. He wrapped his seashell souvenirs in tissue and put them inside the envelope. Sticking the stamp on was his favourite part. He needed a boost to reach the slot on the postbox.









Little Meerkat, written by Aleesah Darlison, illustrated by Shannon Melville, and published by Wombat Books is Spilling Ink‘s featured #WRAD15 book.)

Stay tuned for more World Read Aloud Day fun! Be sure to leave a comment telling us your favourite read aloud books and moments!

One Thing Marked Off the To-Do List: Head Shots Done!

It only took me three years to get around to having my professional photos done. I have an enormous aversion to cameras, regardless of which side I’m standing on.

But here’s the result, a photo that doesn’t make me cringe. In fact, I’m really happy with it. Isn’t the light wonderful?


The photos were shot by the wonderful Cassie Eggert of Ivy &Pine Photography in her family’s fabulous, hand-built, recycled timber shed. Talk about a dream writing studio! Oh, Lordy. Surrounded by greenery, filled with natural light–don’t get me started on the loft (swoon!) that’s fully equipped with a Juliet balcony.

I set the scene with my vintage typewriter (a gift from my lovely editor friend Liz), a beautiful teacup, and a stack of gorgeous books.

So, that’s one task I can scratch off the rambling to-do list. Funnily enough, I found out this morning that I totally missed the Google Authorship boat. At least my blogs, Twitter, and FaceBook pages will benefit.