Every word counts

Bus Stop

Today was not a Fun Friday. I didn’t do yoga, shop, coffee and chat with The Bestie. No, today was an office grind day.

Tax toil

I finished the final Business Activity Statement for the quarter, but not without some stumbles. The bank account refused to reconcile, forcing me to go back two quarters and tidy.

The payroll, always something I do at the eleventh hour, tripped me up and caused a few double entries. But I fixed them and remembered my password for the online portal and finally, I paid The Taxman.


Now my desk is a mess, littered with unopened mail and doodle pads and half-edited documents.  Manila folders stuffed with health receipts  and forms with ‘sign here’ flags jostle for space. There are x-ray films to be filed and B3 sized sheets of paper with logo designs awaiting approval and battery chargers and lens caps and miscellaneous cords. There is dust. The feng shui is all bad. It screams ‘here sits a chaotic book keeper and the last person an organisation should elect as secretary’. Yet here I sit, keeping books and writing minutes. Reluctantly.

Aural pollution

Today’s achievement is even more remarkable given the noise outside my window. It’s been a week of house maintenance, with painters here every day. Yesterday a man vacuumed the gutters and my hero pest killer wielded his poison wand. Today a short man with wrap around sunglasses and skin like an ancient handbag cleaned my roof. He used a high-pressure hose run by a compressor, parked strategically outside my office window. The drone rattled my teeth like a tap dancer rehearsing in my mouth.

A prize

But amidst the stress of termites and drudgery of numbers, the relentless administrative emails and frustrating phone calls to bankers in the Philippines, I had a small writing victory.

I learned the Queensland Writers Centre has selected my eight-word story for publication. My pithy prose about ‘home’ will appear on billboards around Brisbane next week, along with those of 19 other successful bidders.

It’s only eight words; hardly a novel. Not even a poem. And I don’t think I’m keeping company with literature’s giants. But it’s a small sign that I can choose and arrange words in a way that stands out from the crowd. It’s the gentle slap I need from time to time to stay focused.

I’ll take this sign, my billboard prize, and use it to stoke the smouldering creative embers lately buried beneath the BAS. I’ll tidy the desk and keep my mouth shut during Sunday’s committee meeting and not add anything more to the volunteer pile.

Watch this space.


Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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