Shapeshifter, prose poem by Magdalena Ball (MY IMAGINARY SKILL Poetry and Prose Series)

Shapeshifter by Magdalena Ball For years I thought it was a curse: leaving my body to inhabit another. I couldn’t control it: the desire to taste with another’s tongue; to feel the rising of strang…

Source: Shapeshifter, prose poem by Magdalena Ball (MY IMAGINARY SKILL Poetry and Prose Series)


Sponsor Sara Elizabeth Joyce: Cory Bernardi apologise to the Transgender Community for your Transphobic Slur.

Source: Sponsor Sara Elizabeth Joyce: Cory Bernardi apologise to the Transgender Community for your Transphobic Slur.

Day 4: Ten facts about me

  1. I have photographed Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller
  2. I have interviewed the director Ramin Bahrani
  3. I am a crazy cat lady, short-haired tabbies are my weakess
  4. Almost all of my best friends are gay men
  5. I am asexual and aromantic and identify generally as queer
  6. I am an atheist and a feminist and have taught Primary Ethics
  7. I am diabetic, a very misunderstood autoimmune disease which is often paired with depression, but the insulin needles don’t hurt
  8. I love flowers but over-water plants, I can only grow money tree succulents
  9. I was an army cadet in high school, attending a bivouac camp and debutante ball
  10. I watch a lot of baby name videos, not because I want to have babies, but because I find name meanings, etymology, derivations, and shortenings endlessly entertaining; two of my favourite names for each gender are Christopher and Samson, and Edith and Clover
Morgan Bell circa 1998 – Army Cadets Debutante Ball


Day 3: My first love (aromantic version)

I’m going to go all high-school essay on this one and start by defining the terms. I know what is meant by ‘love’ in this context – a common romantic love – but as I am aromantic I will tease out the idea a little.

LOVE (noun)

  • a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

LOVE (abstract noun)

  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend.
  • an affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.
  • an enthusiasm, or devotion.
  • a profoundly tender passion for another person.
  • a sexual desire.

to LOVE (verb)

  • to have love or affection for.
  • to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for.
  • to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in.
  • to need or require; benefit greatly from.
  • to embrace and kiss (someone).
  • to have sexual intercourse with.

So although I have not had a romantic ‘love’ (noun) in the commonly accepted usage of the phrase, I have had many friends with which I have shared ‘deep affection’, ‘warmth’, ‘attachment’, ‘admiration’, and ‘devotion’ with.

ROMANCE (noun)

  • a love affair, especially an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people and/or unmarried people
  • a love story especially in the form of a novel, treating love in an idealized or sentimental way
  • something (a story, account, or explanation) that is extravagant, absurd, or fantastic and lacks basis in fact

To me romance is purely a literary device.

Day 2: My earliest memory

I have a vivid memory of scooting around in a brightly-coloured baby walker when I was maybe one or two years old. In my memory I was on wooden floor-boards and I scooted close to an open sliding door to a verandah and was herded back to a less precarious area of the house by an adult – possibly a parent or family friend – on a summer day in a house surrounded by dark-leafed plants.

The baby walker kind of looked like this:


But as I was born in 1981, I’m sure the design was a lot more dangerous than the one pictured.

I have a baby memory of eating super glue and getting my lips stuck together, and another one of eating coins. Of course both of those memories are more of my parent’s frenzied reactions than any details of where I was or how it turned out.

I also have a particularly vivid memory from a pre-school age of coming down from my tree-house, in a yard that grew a lot of bamboo, to meet one of my dad’s former work friends, a man with long straight black hair down to almost his waist.

Day 1: Five problems with social media

Problem 1

Assuming everyone is on social media.

The degree to which individuals engage in social media varies greatly depending on personality type and available time. While it is convenient to organise parties and book launches through Facebook events, not everyone will use Facebook as frequently as you do, be as diligent about checking notifications, or have the tech savvy or online etiquette to respond as you would. Many people still refuse to create Facebook accounts for concerns about privacy. While Facebook groups are a great way to keep track of a large amount of people, you need to be realistic about the fact that some notifications will be missed and quickly drop down the timeline if they are not popular.

Problem 2

Flooding an account with updates.

We all do it. And we all know it shouldn’t be done. But sometimes if you are at a music festival or writers festival or on holiday or catching up with old friends you suddenly have a lot to say all in one go. A friend of mine often tells me when they open up Facebook sometimes they mistakenly think they are logged into my account because their entire newsfeed is just posts from me. This has a little bit to do with Facebook algorithms, where if you click Like on a friend’s post they automatically show you more from that friend, but it is exacerbated by posting peaks and troughs. This isn’t a huge big deal on a personal Facebook profile, but if your Instagram or Twitter is primarily aimed at promoting your brand or creative product you may want to investigate scheduling tools like TweetDeck or Buffer to pace yourself out a bit or people may unfollow.

Problem 3


I know, I know, this is a form of humour. Or it is intended to be. But is it? If it is an actual joke it is pretty much indecipherable unless you capitalise each word to give the reader a fighting chance. The hashtag is really only searchable if it is a unique combination that is used by all the people from a group or common interests to flag similar posts. So people watching the Australian ABC’s political panel TV show ‘Q&A’ all comment on Twitter and Facebook using the tag #qanda so other viewers can search the term and filter their feeds to only see others in the same conversation. People attending Sydney Writers Festival this year will use the hashtag #swf2016 and if you live-tweet Eurovision in Australia you use the hashtag #sbseurovision.

Problem 4

Moaning about your woes.

I’m from the old-school internet where your online persona is supposed to be the super version of your real self. I think social media, particularly Facebook where all your relatives and high school friends are, is for highlighting the positive or interesting. If you are in hospital or suffering a flu or an allergy maybe just give one general announcement for sympathy (maybe someone random will send you flowers) and just a recap at the end when the diagnosis is known and you can assure people you are okay. Anyone who really needs to know, you are calling or private messaging anyway, so why worry the rest of us? Same with job uncertainty, relationship problems, and microwaved meals – you can keep some things private (or at least abridged). However, if you are having a vendetta with you mailman, or have developed a conspiracy theory that involves cats, it is your duty to tell the world!

Problem 5

Like notifications.

We don’t need them. Full stop. Notifications telling me someone has clicked Like on one of my posts or photos are simple not necessary. They clog up my notifications, increasing the chance of me missing something important: a comment with a question in it. Nobody wants to be the snob of Facebook, ignoring those rare people that actively interact with you. Likes are a form of passive communication, they can be nice, but I don’t need a notification going off every time someone hits the button. Unfortunately this is something Facebook users do not currently have the option to turn off.

30 Day Writing Challenge

I am going to pledge to doing this challenge:

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