Category Archives : Uncategorized


Breakfast with a spider

Picking tomatoes for breakfast, the two vines I have are producing nicely. Even the little mini plants I grew from seeds halfway through the summer have tiny fruit.

SONY DSC

 

Appears the monster spider that has taken over my lavender bush is having an equally delicious, if not nightmare inducing brekkie…

 

SONY DSC

 

Although on the same plant, a few stalks over, two jewel beetles were happily humping in the morning sun, so…circle of life, I guess? I just wanted to end this on a picture of Buprestidae doin’ it.

SONY DSC


#FlashFiction in #London: “Reap What You Sow”

shea wong Da had me picking berries since I could walk; said picking from under leaves kept me in the shade, so I didn’t get any more brown. Da loved teaching me about fruit. He showed me which pieces were ready to jump off the vine, and which ones needed to set awhile. We laughed while we worked, till one day I repeated something Mum had told a friend when she thought I was asleep.  “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”.  Da got real quiet.   That was the last day I was his helper.  #microstories #flashfiction reap what you sow

 

Da had me picking berries since I could walk; said picking from under leaves kept me in the shade, so I didn’t get any more brown. Da loved teaching me about fruit. He showed me which pieces were ready to jump off the vine, and which ones needed to set awhile. We laughed while we worked, till one day I repeated something Mum had told a friend when she thought I was asleep.

“The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”.

Da got real quiet.


That was the last day I was his helper.

#microstories #flashfiction


I’d give anything for a garden of blue flowers right now.

I know she’s missing a pinkie, and a bit of fringe (bangs), and she’s got a wee chip in her paint on the other side of her temple, but when I saw her sitting all alone on the £1 bric-a-brac shelf at the charity shop in Camden, I knew I had to take her home,

 

shea-wong-death-sandman-collectable-bust-2

 

(For ya’ll who aren’t fans of the comic book, this is Death, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Go purchase it sight unseen, I’ll wait. No, go on, you’ll thank me later.)

 

shea-wong-death-sandman-collectable-bust-

 

The blue flowers reference is an exceedingly long story that ends with a lovely framed page of a comic - this page, in fact – in storage somewhere in the States.

shea-wong-death-sandman-collectable-bust-3

 

Peachy keen.


Won (well, placed) my first writing contest!

You all know I like to write (badly). Well, I placed (runner up) in a writing contest for The Moth, a group/event that is just ridiculously cool. The Moth is an evening of storytelling – one person, one mic, no notes, just their true story. That’s it. It’s theatre in it’s most pure form…you share, you laugh, you touch, you are touched. Brilliant. Anyways, The Moth FINALLY came to the UK this summer, and the Guardian ran a writing competition – winner gets to perform at the show, runners up get to attend, everyone gets printed in the Guardian in a few weeks.

 

Bloody chuffed to bits about it. Show is tonight, I’ll let you know when the story is printed.


#flashfiction in #London: “Mightier Than The Sword”.

shea wong #microstories #flashfiction mightier than the sword

 

“You’re sure you want to rent this pen?”

It had taken her decades to find this store and afford the cost, but the writing world whispered that using these pens would produce a bestseller.

Her savings poured onto the counter, taken and inspected in turn by the elderly shopkeeper. When the agreed amount was counted, he turned toward her, blade drawn. 

“I-I don’t under-I don’t have any more money-“

“Oh, you’ve paid for the pen, dear.” The metal glinted. “Now, you pay for the ink.”

 

 

#microstories #flashfiction


Why I hate blogging. 2

The kid and I spent the morning at the park, and when we came home I noticed a bit of an anomaly on the header above my blog page:

shea wong I hate blogging

My blog isn’t terribly popular – I don’t do ‘what I wore’ or ‘here is my kid’ photo posts, and I’m not big into recipes, etc. I tend to write about boring stuff like mental health and journalism, or birth trauma, or writing fiction. This stuff isn’t ‘hot’, but I like it, so I write about it. And while I average maybe only 150-200 hits a day, its fine for me – people check it out, or they don’t. So to see 362 hits in one hour was a bit…odd.

So I looked at the dashboard, and it appears a post I slapped up about a year ago is popular on Pinterest today. It’s about farting. THAT’S ALL IT IS ABOUT. And apparently it’s worth the vast majority of the hits today.

shea wong I hate blogging 2

Now, I understand we as a society have the attention spans of mayflies. And I understand that graphics are easier to digest than weird hard words. And I even understand that in a world where bad stuff seems to bombard us at every turn that a bit of fluff and escapism is necessary.

I just don’t want to be a part of that. At all.

It kills me that a post describing a fart as a strangled balloon animal is getting 350x more views today than a serious post about childrens’ online privacy. It kills me that the Hugos were yesterday, celebrating some of the best and brightest in writing, and those same writers will see their blogs dwarfed by what someone wore or ate that day. It just…kills me.

Bah. Anyways, maybe the fart chart made someone laugh today, and I suppose we could all use a laugh (feel free to check out howtobeadad.com for more funnies). And maybe everyone already knows about childhood privacy, which is why that post is so poorly read.

Maybe.

 

ETA: In the amount of time it took me to write this, the fart post hit 800 hits, and it’s only 2 pm. Ugh.


Robin Williams, mental health, and where to reach out. 3

It’s 4 in the morning, and the kid has woken us up. After he’s settled in, I grab the tablet to lazily scroll twitter till I feel sleepy again. And that’s when I see the simple tweet and link: “Remembering Robin Williams.”

“Remembering”.

 

Oh no.

 

I’m a huge Robin Williams fan. Grew up with Mork and Mindy. Had the old VHS tapes of his comedy club performances. Would go over to my neighbour’s house who had HBO to watch Comic Relief. Been lucky enough to watch him perform standup live. And of course, all the life-altering characters he portrayed on the big screen. He was smart, he was fast, he was truthful, he was poignant. And by god, he was funny.

I’m not interested in the how pertaining to his manner of death – it’s been ruled consistent with suicide. I’m not even interested in the why – it was openly acknowledged he’d battled sobriety and addiction issues for years, and his publicist had stated he’d been going through a severe depression. I’m writing this to remind you…to remind myself that mental health affects 1 in 4 of us regardless of our socio-economic status, or talent, or gifts. It does not discriminate. And while the resources we have or can access (such as having the saved cash to take time off work, or having comprehensive health care) can often facilitate a speedier forward momentum through the mental health issue, “perks” like money, fame, adoration, support aren’t guarantees that you’ll get “better”. Everyone is still facing a challenge.

The tributes have begun pouring in, and I’ve already noticed a theme, the phrase ‘a sudden loss’. It’s sudden, yes…for the people left in the wake of suicide. It’s almost never sudden for the person who has killed themselves. I’ve written about my suicide ideation before, as have many others, and while our stories all differ due to our circumstances, one thing is shared – suicide would not have been ‘sudden’ for us. It would have been the end of a very long battle.

If you are going through a mental health issue, please know you aren’t alone. UK people can call the Samaritans day or night at 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org. Americans, you can call the Samaritans hotline at 1 (800) 273-TALK. If you are really in a jam and can’t remember that number, dial 211 and tell them you need to talk to someone now – 211 is a nationwide health directory number who will connect you to someone who can listen. Everyone around the world can use Befrienders.org’s directory to find their local organization to listen.

I’ll end on a quote by Robin that makes me smile: “Comedy is acting out optimism”, and a bunch of gifs, because..because I need a laugh, and Robin Williams was, and is, the master of making us laugh.

shea wong robin williams Mrs-Doubtfire-Dancing-and-Vacuuming shea wong robin williams rainbow ralph shea wong robin williams the birdcage michael kidd shea wong robin williams throw fruit mrs doubtfire shea wong robin williams peter pan gif shea wong robin williams toys bed shea wong robin williams hook

 

shea wong robin-williams-gif 1 shea wong robin williams win this for mother russia shea wong robin williams mrs doubtfire boobs shea wong robin williams inside the actors studio heaven shea wong robin williams hot dog impression gif shea wong robin williams broke my bag mrs doubtfire shea wong robin williams flubber

 

 

 

And with comedy, optimism…

 

 

 

 

shea wong robin williams z dead poets society

shea wong good will hunting stay alive for shea wong robin williams dead poets society sieze the day shea wong robin williams good will hunting bad times shea wong robin wiliams stole my line

 

shea wong robin williams genie alladian applause

 

 

shea wong robin williams gif thank you


#StopCensoringMotherhood, privacy, and you. A primer.

Mumsnet had a really powerful guest post last week from Hannah Weller, singer and wife of Paul “The Modfather” Weller, who successfully sued the always deplorable Daily Mail after gross paparazzi photos were published of their children. She now spearheads Protect, an initative to protect children’s privacy. Their mission statement: “This campaign is calling on the Government to protect children’s privacy by making it an offence for the media to publish photographs of children without consent from parents or a legal guardian.” Her post about the whole sordid affair is HERE, and is worth a read.

 

I told you that story to tell you this one.

 

I tend to keep the kid out of this blog. It’s rare to see any photos of him on my Instagram or twitter feed – it’s usually the top of his head, or his hands, or just his toes. I don’t call him by his name; he’s almost always known simply as ‘the kid’. My reason for that is the same reasoning that everyone who was really active on the Internet in the early 90’s, but who you can’t find a trace of now, is this: We understand just how awful the WWW can be.

 

Before I continue, a caveat: I get that blogging is about sharing your experience in this world, and for many people, that involves the experiences with your family. This isn’t about shaming anyone who likes to post pics of their kids. This is about making you aware of the quiet but substantial risks online, risks that rise exponentially in line with the types of pics you post. 

 

I want you to all think of an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, as we all know from science class or that interminably long James Cameron film, is the smallest part of the structure. The really dangerous part sits below the surface. On the internet, every website you have ever visited, every video you have ever watched, every cat meme you’ve ever created, those all make up only 4% of the actual world wide web. The other 96% is made up of what is called the Deep Web. And what is in the Deep Web?

 

 

deep web iceberg analogy

Sorry I don’t have attribution for this – it’s been shared so often, I couldn’t find the originator.

 

Well, it has many strata, from relatively innocuous illegal torrent sites to get the latest films, to drug markets, to human trafficking networks, to assassins for hire, allllllll the way down to a healthy trade in snuff child pornography. (No, that’s not a typo. Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, you will want to hug your child harder after you learn about it).  The further you go down, the worse it gets. More than likely, you will never see or experience the Deep Web, but here’s the sick part….if your children have a major online presence, more than likely, they are there.

 

There is a huge trade in those innocent bathtub or naked-running-through the sprinkler shots that parents used to take and keep to themselves, but now share with the whole world, because I guess if you aren’t Pinteresting it, it didn’t happen.  And those shots, and a whole host more, are finding their way into the Deep Web. Some, like the naked ones, get traded openly. Others get photoshopped to look sexually graphic.  The FBI (the USA’s main arm of federal investigators) has the vein-opening job of tracking down the identities of the children in these authentic or digitally manipulated photos, and informing the family when these shots are about to be used in trials against paedophiles or child porn traffickers. And while the NSPCC has been trying to make parents aware of photography dangers when taking shots for sports teams or dance recitals, etc, there seems to be no guidelines for parents themselves, which is a real shame in my book.

 

I told you THAT story to tell you this one.

 

For the past few months there’s been a brouhaha in the States over facebook’s and Instagram’s TOS regarding nudity, especially concerning mothers. Hashtags like #stopcensoringmotherhood have sprung up in retaliation to what some see as Instagram and facebook unfairly punishing mothers for having mother’s bodies versus being a size 2, etc.  Comparison photos of dick pics from Instagram are put up next to previously banned photos of a mother serenely breastfeeding to highlight how cruel FB and Instagram are being to mothers.

 

Here’s why I think they are full of it.

 

 

  1. The TOS for both Instagram and facebook are clear – no nipples exposed on women, no nudity on children, no genitalia for anyone. However, neither company has the resources to vet each photo prior to upload, so unless a user flags the image for review, you could potentially have an Instagram user who posts nothing but fully naked photos and as long as their followers don’t raise the alarm bells, nothing will happen. So if a mother’s photo was flagged, it means more than likely a follower or random concerned person flagged it.

 

  1. When photos do get flagged, it’s almost never because of the mother in the photo, it’s almost always because there is a semi or fully naked child in the frame. And you can go on all day about how childhood should be innocent and not sexualized and I will nod my head and remind you that we live in the real world, where kiddie murder porn is a thing, and I don’t need to see your 10 month old’s labia on my newsfeed to understand you are a mother. I get it. We alllll get it. You had a kid. Congrats.

 

  1. When a 20 year old ‘hottie’ posts a wet tee shirt photo, it’s…well, it’s stupid in this day and age, especially considering the tough job market and employers’ understanding of how to Google applicants, but that 20 year old is at the age of consent. She can choose how to disseminate her image. That 10 month old with her labia all over Instagram? She cannot give consent for another at least another decade and a half. And the person that is putting her genitalia on the WORLD WIDE WEB without her understanding or consent is the person who is supposed to be her protector.

 

 

Instagram and facebook aren’t stupid, they can see the potential lawsuits coming down the line from former toddlers who will sue the hell out of them for hosting photos of them without their explicit consent. That’s why they take minors’ photos down when there is even a hint of nudity – it’s not that they hate mothers, it’s that they know we are a litigious culture, and they don’t want the future hassle.

Think of it this way – if your neighbour convinced your 5 year old to let him take photos of her naked, and then put them on the Internet, would you be angry? Of course. So why in God’s name do you think its okay for you to do it?

 

 

I’ve been on the Internet solidly for 22 years and counting, almost since the beginning of the public face of the web. And while people think the net is tough today, it was the Wild West back then – you could wander into a whole mess of horrible, eye-bleach requiring stuff with just a few keystrokes. So while I applaud Hannah Weller for her push towards more substantial privacy settings for children in the media, I remind you all that like the iceberg, the majority of shots of kids aren’t coming from gross paparazzi with telephoto lenses – they are coming from our own cameras and phones. They’re being uploaded with glee to prove we’re ‘true mothers’. And they’re being shared on public networks without apparently the slightest thought of how these kids might feel when they reach puberty and realize their naked bodies have been put on the Internet specifically to earn their parents clicks of approval from strangers.

 

We want to do right by our kids, I get that. But I think in the newest wave of social media, where hits and clicks are tied to fame (well, ‘internet’ fame) and money (in the form of blog sponsorships and product reviews), we’ve forgotten how big and bad the Internet can be, and in ‘celebrating’ ourselves and motherhood, we’ve potentially exploited the very people we would do anything to protect.