Tag Archives: short story

Remixing Is The New Creating

if:books Australia is running a remix challenge, Future of the Book.

Each week, 4 or 5 very short pieces (all sub-200 words) are posted and you get to use a paragraph or line or word and remix it in whatever way you choose.

You can write a poem, submit a drawing or photograph or write a short piece of fiction.

This week, one of my pieces is up for a remix.

Here’s the link:  Future of the Book

Have at it!

Tincture Journal Winter Edition #6 The Cicada Clock

Today I have a new story published in Issue #6 of Tincture Journal: The Cicada Clock.

Tincture Journal (@TinctureJournal) is a relatively new Australian-based literary magazine, edited by Daniel Young (@jazir1979), Stuart Barnes (@StuartABarnes) and Jessica Hoadley (@JessicaHoadley)

My story, The Cicada Clock also seems to have inspired the front cover.

Tincture Issue 6 Cover

Image copyright of Stuart Barnes

I also get to share the Table of Contents with Brisbane-based authors I know, Stacey Larner and Tiggy Johnson.

From the Tincture Journal website:

Issue Six of Tincture Journal is available now. To celebrate the launch of this issue, an interview between Stuart Barnes and poet Stu Hatton is now freely available on our website along with the rest of our interview series. Inside the issue you can also find Stuart’s interview with Nathanael O’Reilly. Both of these poets have new books being released this year and we are very excited to be featuring their poetry and the accompanying interviews.

Table of Contents

  • Editorial, by Daniel Young
  • Inferior Bedrooms, Part Six, by Meg Henry
  • The Horror of the Body, by Sam van Zweden
  • Waiting, by Tiggy Johnson
  • The Interesting People of Mount Kiliminjaro, by Stephen Koster
  • Christian Girls, by Nathanael O’Reilly
  • I Was Not Like the Other Kids, by Nathanael O’Reilly
  • Nathanael O’Reilly interviewed by Stuart Barnes
  • The Cicada Clock, by Adam Byatt
  • Spash, by Les Wicks
  • Carnival, by Beau Boudreaux
  • Rain of Ashes, by Rhys Timson
  • It’s a Marilyn Free-For-All, by John Grey
  • The Man Who Killed James Dean, by Sam Ferree
  • Back to Front, by Nathan Hondros
  • Memory, by Andrew Hutchinson
  • hail the goer, by Stu Hatton
  • i sit unfinished    in breath-, by Stu Hatton
  • A Look of Revelation, by Deborah Guzzi
  • The Favour, by Annette Siketa
  • Circles, by w.m.lewis
  • Only After School, by Anna Ryan-Punch
  • Mrs Fernandez, by Su-May Tan
  • The Happy Mule, by Frank Scozzari
  • Proximity, by S. G. Larner
  • White Noise, by Eleanor Talbot
  • It’s An Adventure If You Want It To Be, by Calista Fung

I hope to post a review of the issue next week; I’ve already read a few pieces and there is some amazing work.

Can I please encourage you, if you are a reader, to support small literary magazines whenever you can as they are vital in building our literary culture. A copy will only set you back $8 (and back issues are only $5). There is a wealth of reading material in a superb range of short stories, poetry and interviews.

But a bit of background to the story (and no spoilers).

I wrote the story in January when on holidays on the beach in Brunswick Heads, just north of Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia.

I forget which book I was reading (I was working through three) but it had  a line about cicadas and the image stuck. I began the story on my iPad, throwing down scenes and ideas about two childhood friends in their final year of primary school, prior to starting “big school” the following year. It is set in the late 80s, a time of nostalgia for me (but it’s not autobiographical).

It took a while to find the focus of the story, utilising the cicada as a metaphor of adolescent metamorphosis, framed by school as the awkward ground of burgeoning adolescence and puberty, mixed with the innocent acceptance of life as it is and a burgeoning awareness of sexuality.

I made the conscious decision to write this story in a different style; to forgo my usual poetic, flowery prose and instead strip it back to bare, almost minimalistic sentences. I have a tendency to use imagery prolifically in my stories; here I pared it back to single images or none at all. Instead I wanted the action and dialogue to create the characters, setting, thematic focus and subtext of the narrative. It was to mimic the headspace of the pre-teen protagonists, letting the story unfold through their eyes.

I hope I can encourage you to purchase Issue Six of Tincture Journal, support literary magazines and enjoy the literary delights.

10 Fingers To Understand Silence Is Not An Absolute – Twitfic

10 Fingers To Understand Silence Is Not An Absolute

He lived without a singular sense. His hands felt sounds at his throat, resonating in his head; a voice muted because it had no comparison.

He voiced his language, clumsy at first, in the intricate dance of his fingers. Frustration was best countered with an upright middle finger.

He smiled at her fingers speaking like a 3 year old: focused, exaggerated movements and incorrect spelling. No need to shout, he jokingly chided.

A text flickered on her screen.
“Take me to a concert. Bring me some ear plugs?”
Between the speaker and sub-woofer he found the sweet spot.

The argument gesticulated angrily. She turned her back to silence. His hand reached to her shoulder, cold as it was, to apologise.

He uncrumpled the letter, like peeling a mandarin, to devour the words written he had spat out the night before. A hand to speak words when no voice attended.

Silence has layers, nuances, light and shadow, he said. It’s not an absolute.
Why are you silent with me? she asked. Will you listen?
She leaned in and kissed him.

Over the time I’ve been writing twitter fiction, I have come to appreciate the brevity of the form, limited as it is to 140 characters. It is, in essence, to capture a breath of moment, holding it for a little while and expecting the release and exhalation.

I like the number seven, echoing The Seven Ages of Man by Jacques in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Thus my collections of twitfic are anthologies focused on a theme or have a narrative thread.

Playing with form allows me to link these brief pieces into something resembling a music video. Quick, short edits, compiled into a unified whole to tell a bigger picture. 

Coupled with Post It Note Poetry, another short form of writing I enjoy, I can post these experimental works here while I work on my current novella and put my novel through final edits.

I have considered compiling my Twitfic collections into a singular text, as well as collating my Post It Note Poetry into an anthology. Would anyone be interested?

Light My Way – 7 Very Short Stories

Creativity is a significant part of my life, and I hope to encourage others to pursue creativity in their own way (there are lots of posts here on the site to read about the creative life). 

My creative life is focused on writing: novels, novella, short stories, bad poetry, and twitfic. Currently I have had to put my WIPs: a collaborative epistolary novel (edits almost complete) and a novella (first 4K is down), on hold due to work commitments.

But I can spare brief moments to compose short pieces of twitter fiction to keep my creative well filled and enjoy playing with language. 

These seven pieces of twit fic were inspired by a radio interview where the interviewee, an actor, talked about the presence of cameras and flashes. I wanted to explore different ways of seeing light, from the whimsical and playful to existential and reflective but based on my focus on the ennui and minutiae of life as the basis for my stories. See if you can spot the Star Wars reference (it’s pretty obvious). The last piece is a nod to my collaborative epistolary novel, Post Marked: Piper’s Reach.

There is no narrative thread here, unlike other twitfic series Polaroid Memories and A Thought’s Reliquary (I like the number 7 as  a form, like Jacques speech from “As You Like It”). They are lights strung in a sequence like lights on a Christmas tree.

I hope you enjoy it.

Light My Way


“Let there be light,” he said flicking the switch.

“Daaaad,” was the groaned reply.

The Christmas tree exploded in colour, their groans silenced.


As the camera flashed she closed her eyes.

“Stop ruining the photo,” yelled Mum.

She wondered how many pieces of her soul remained.


The dust motes floated in the tractor-beam like shaft of light on the desk. She splayed her fingers and wished, “Teleport me off this rock.”


Beside the pillar of empty milk crates, he studied the shadow’s patterns; his own stained glass windows. He went inside the milk bar to worship.


His first digital watch enthralled him but it was the ability to see the numbers in the dark kept him awake at night. It deterred the monsters.


Each boy shone his torch through the smoke of the bonfire.

“Light sabres!” one yelled.

The melee started, dying with the fading smoke.


He held the mirror fragment and reflected the beam from the lighthouse across the bay onto the notepad on his knees.

“I will light your way.”

Have You Read A Very Short Story Today? Part 4

A smorgasbord of twitfic from the past couple of days, and a bonus poem. The content ranges from absurdist romance, existential contemplation and a nod to childhood games and Indiana Jones.

On Friday I will post a bonus themed set of twitfic based on the idea of light.

Today’s Menu


He pegged his clothes in semaphore, glancing over the fence to see if the neighbour responded. The following day her own code answered.


He patted the black dog sprawled like a blanket over his feet making it hard to get up. “I think it’s time to go, Old Yella,” he said.


The handwritten note taped to his bedroom door read, “Teh floor iz lava.” “This will make getting to bed a bit tricky,” he said.


The thin shaft of light from the curtains divided the lounge room in half. He prepared to cross, wondering if there were poison arrows.


“It’s a matter of perspective. Are you coming or going?” he asked.

“From there to here or here to there?”

“Wherever your feet lead.”


Their connection sparked as they reached for toilet paper. But he knew it wouldn’t work; she reached for 2-ply while he grasped 3-ply.


Koi circled over, under; a universe expanding, contracting as their tails flowed like comets and mouths as black holes consumed food.

And today’s bonus poem.

While I sit on my bike
At the level crossing
The bells sound ding-da-ding
Red and white arms crossed
Then open and beckon
A thousand paths

Have You Read A Very Short Story Today? Part 2

Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that you can write a complete story in 140 characters, there is a challenge to compose a piece of writing that can be loosely termed a “story,” something that has a beginning, a middle and an end.

I see Twitter fiction (twitfic) as capturing a moment, a breath, a held thought, but one that has movement and momentum both forward and backwards.

The power of the story relies on the choice of imagery and sentence structure by the writer to paint the broadest picture with the fewest brush strokes.

It does rely on you, the reader, to fill in the gaps and create the character, using your knowledge and understanding of story to join the dots and create your own meaning to the story.

Here is my latest collection of twitfic.

The coins gratefully absorbed the warmth of her hands. Placed on his eyelids they tried to give back warmth where there was no life.



He stood watching the town’s first set of traffic lights order the comings and goings. After the third set of changes he went on green.


He played every game show, answered every question, took home fabulous prizes but his biggest regret was losing Monopoly to his nephews.


He collects the whispers like butterflies; pinned to mounting board and labelled. When he has sufficient they burn and float as ghosts.


She replaced every mirror in the house with a funhouse version to imitate the reality she saw. One day someone offered her a hammer.


Fold, crease, fold again as the water lily took form in paper. She dropped it into the gutter’s surge and wished as it sailed away.

Do you have a particular favourite? Which one and why?

The History of a Relationship As Told By A Mix Tape of U2 Songs

Side 1

  1. A Man And A Woman
  2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  3. Desire
  4. Mysterious Ways
  5. Into The Heart
  6. Love Comes Tumbling
  7. The Ground Beneath Her Feet
  8. When Love Comes To Town
  9. Moment of Surrender
  10. All I Want Is You
  11. I Will Follow
  12. Trip Through Your Wires
  13. Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?

Side 2

  1. Two Hearts Beat As One
  2. Love Is Blindness
  3. Is That All?
  4. Stay (Faraway, So Close)
  5. With Or Without You
  6. Another Time, Another Place
  7. Some Days Are Better Than Others
  8. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
  9. Running To Stand Still
  10. If You Wear That Velvet Dress
  11. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
  12. Love Rescue Me
  13. Until The End Of The World