Jeffrey Hayes - Boxed Olives

Hello there world!

My writing course concluded Wednesday, as such I was fortunate enough to have my tutor give feed back regards my efforts (think touchy feely, not critical).  In keeping with all that I have put here on the blog over the last month, find below that that I mentioned.

Click the picture above, I am yet to figure out what to embed within it, but I am sure something will spring to mind. A wee snippet from the Rock and Roll Circus perhaps?

Love you inappropriately,

Hamish xxx

It’s been fascinating rereading all of your work in the one sitting Hamish. Death, mortality and immortality, gods, struggle, love, war, France and writing are all themes that feature in your work during the course.

I love this image in your beach exercise – I can see the dance happening:

Granulated lava to leave me dancing a dance akin to primitives celebrating the joy of harvest …

I really like the image of Death looking like everyone’s Nana in I remember and how she disappears with a pop:

‘Yes dear.’

‘But you look like my Nana?’

‘I’m everyone’s nana,’ she replied, and vanished with a pop.

I love this expanded description of Death in your party scene:

Look at her, blue rinse, twin set wearing biddy, and yet people still love her. Eye off this dress you old hag, I know you wish you could get away with it. Why on earth you prefer to get driven around in a clapped out 1967 VW Beetle, yet not that white charger you were issued is absurd. AND what is the story with those secateurs? How can a scythe be too phallic at her time in life? Seriously, she’s ‘Death’ for Loki’s sake! 

I really like your fear exercise and again your exploration of the character Death as an old lady – I love the way it confounds and surprises the MC:

Death is staring at me, my body is a tangle at my feet, and blood, so much blood, is everywhere. Sitting in darkness all is consumed, nay, enveloped by it, and yet I can see clearly through it.

When Death spoke, her voice was not one of the crypt nor the grave, it was, however, that of an irritated old lady, a veritable prune of a woman, and she was telling me to “keep bloody still boy!” and then “if you think I’m scary, you won’t believe your eyes when you get to the hot place.”

With one deft swoop of her secateur filled right hand, (I had always thought Death carried a long handled scythe, but it is apparently too phallic for a woman of her age?) she sliced through my necrobilical cord, severing soul from mortal remains.

This is a vivid and strong image from your standing in the rain exercise:

In these highlands, MY highlands, with the grass this day green, lush. The stones and craggy outcrops paint such a magnificent picture against the purple midday sky, heavy with dark clouds and foreboding.

I love these details of the red headed woman the MC is with in the coughing fit. It’s a wonderful scene filled with beautiful images that create a sensuality and delight:

Red hair, skin the colour of cream and a quizzical gaze cover her thirty something year old face. She is dressed appropriate to the evening; again, more in line with the practical than to impress. An ankle length heavy chocolate coloured cotton skirt ends where it is meant to, and the toes of a well-loved pair of brogues escape the skirts shadow. Her cream blouse sets off the green of her eyes, eyes of both mischief and intellect. She seats herself in the fold of a laughing throng; wine glass magically fills her hand.

I really like the repetition and the pace you create in love hurts with this Hamish. I can feel the MC’s determination and how tired he  is:

and I move,


and I move,


and I move.

I really like the humour in Life sucks:

The main character is a 24 year old one legged French prostitute with a hair lip and a squint. Set in war time France, she is a member of the resistance; incredibly after bedding Nazi Officers, she strips them of their dignity and information, then strangles them with the leg of her one legged stockings, leaving their corpses to float down the Seine.

Bast is tired of her immortality in your pressure scene but there’s no way out for her:

“How does an immortal step into the most natural part of life – death” is all she thinks.


A curse of life, such an abundance of life, an inescapable burden of life is her life’s’ deepest regret.

Hamish is challenged by his environment and he detests where he lives but his wife loves the place. He’s ruled by his heart and he belongs where she is and by what she wants:

A Willy-Wagtail is chasing cabbage moths across my green, lush, and about due for a mow front lawn; the big white gum across the road has just exploded into an eruption of white winged and squawky Corellas. If it weren’t for the carnage at the end of the street, it would be the perfect day.

I love this image in your intimidating scene:

Stepping backwards, he places his bare left foot onto one of the world’s most cunning and evil creations. A Lego block; red. Cursing he pulls out the high backed kitchen chair, glares at the five year old giggling to itself at his discomfort.

I can really feel the fear in your afraid scene where the MC is afloat and threatened by the terrors of the ocean – there’s a lot of pressure in the scene and it creates a lot of fear in the MC. I love the way he repeats that he doesn’t like being in the water:

The green ‘Pattern 50N’ salt water activated life jacket is close to choking me, but I am thankful for it regardless; my grey overall’s with reflective striping around the upper arms, and no bullet proofing are getting heavy. The boots I wore are now sinking rapidly somewhere beneath where I float, gone forever, and I really don’t like being in the water.

I love the grittiness and reality of this worst nightmare for the MC:

Half an hour prior on this stormy Thursday night, Agnes had answered her blue front door wearing her old and comfortable greenish knee length bathrobe.  The man delivering her pizza greeted her by punching her powerfully in the mouth; knocking her down, and dragging her into her lounge room by her shower damp hair. Hurriedly, hungrily, he tore the robe from her semi concussed form; a thought passed behind his eyes and he punched her again in the mouth, stood, and strode to the door he had first entered, closing then locking it.

It’s very easy to see that you have a love of writing Hamish and that you love to play with and create images in your work and it’s been a delight to read them. You have a great eye for an unusual detail and wonderful sense of humour in your writing too. Please feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss the next step you might like to take on your writing journey.

All the Best Hamish!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: