Tag Archives: short story

Handwritten Pages #12

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The boy said, “Daddy, you’re crying. Are you hurt?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Where? I can’t see it.”
“In my heart and in my head.”
“Why?”
“Because Grandpa, my father, died and I miss him.”
For the first time the boy knew a pain beyond the physical scrape of a grazed knee, the sting of Dettol and the salve of attention.
In the awkwardness of facing human pain he saw the wounded soul seeping out from behind an imaginary Band-Aid; a too small covering for a gaping wound.
He leaned forward and kissed his father’s forehead.

The Heart Is An Echo Chamber Release Date

It has taken a little while but on August 10th I will have a new story coming out in Jodi Cleghorn’s collection, The Heart is An Echo Chamber.

My story, “Untethering” is a response story to “Squeezebox” from No Need to Reply.

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Follow the link below to get your hands on one or both of the books.

The Heart Is An Echo Chamber

Handwritten Pages #8

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She watched the rain fall in light sheets, imagining a giant cloth wiping away the crumbs of a broken day.
Yet in the morning when the rain had ceased and the dampness dissipated a thin film of dirt remained. The skerricks of an eraser left after rubbing out the pencil marks on a sheet of paper. To make the new day fresh required more work than she expected.

 

SIDE NOTE: When I was writing this, transcribing it from my notebook where I first scribbled the idea, I asked myself why I ascribed the feminine pronoun to the character of the narrative. It was arbitrary, without conscious assignation.

I then reread the paragraph replacing ‘she’ with ‘he’ and saw a different reading. As a personal reflection, I think I tend to write more from a female perspective than a male one. For purely unscientific research I did a gender breakdown on the Handwritten Pages.

  1. “I” (indeterminate)
  2. Couple (male/female)
  3. Female (2 sisters)
  4. Female 
  5. “I” (indeterminate)
  6. He
  7. Male (2 brothers)
  8. Female

In examining the content of each piece, the seemingly arbitrary allocation of gender pronouns was determined by its focus. The third Handwritten Page was inspired by a friend’s recollection of her childhood with her sisters so it was a natural response to use the feminine. 

In last week’s Handwritten Page I ascribed masculine pronouns, except to the “I” persona. In reality it could easily be the sibling rivalry between a brother and sister yet in my head it was between brothers; we tend to pair brothers with brothers and sisters with sisters in terms of sibling rivalry and not a brother/sister combination.

It also made me think about how the content of a narrative influences the reader’s understanding of gender. Does it affirm or subvert paradigms? Why or why not? Just asking.

But the distinction of female or male POV in a narrative made me think about how I read gender in a story (being male) and how others would read the piece above (male or female). I know men and women will read the paragraph differently based on their own gender, and their reading of gender. 

Try reading today’s piece replacing ‘she’ with ‘he’. Does it make a difference in your reading? What nuances or differences are borne out of a different reading? Does it matter? I’m interested in your ideas.

Handwritten Pages #7

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My brother and I sailed paper boats made from sheets of grease proof paper down the gutter after heavy rain. A peaceful camaraderie in a turbulent sibling rivalry. 
We raced them from our driveway, running alongside on the nature strip, swooping down to collect them before they were swallowed by stormwater drain eight houses down.
They were sailed until they were soggy and losing integrity before we let them disappear down the gaping maw of the stormwater.
One day I set my boat adrift, letting it chase my brother’s, but did not follow it. I watched it retreat before turning away, knowing its destination, and went inside.
Later I found two boats on the dining room table sitting on a plastic plate in a puddle of water. Two boats sailing calmly midst every storm.

Handwritten Pages #5

I grew up in a house with a corrugated iron roof and loved hearing the sound the rain made on it. It’s a familiar sound and a familiar memory and I used it as the basis for an idea developed below.

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Like the wind picks at the corrugated iron roof, this memory is a scab I have picked at for years and years.
I have scratched and scratched.
Sometimes out of curiosity, out of a need to understand; to comprehend how we failed to relate to one another. Or out of frustration and anger at failed intimacy. 
I retreat into the solitude of the bedroom, into a book and a pen and bury myself beneath headphones where the music thrashes and yells and pummels.
And like the wind, I return to pick at the scab of memory.

Handwritten Pages #4

Sometimes it’s random images that lodge in my head like a splinter. This is one of them. I think there’s more to this story but I’m putting it aside for later to see what grows out of the compost heap.

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The child stood on the crest of the hill overlooking the city. She turned her eyes upwards to the uniform inky expanse of night sky. It was spotted with dots of white; a scattered litter of light like tissue fragments on a black jumper in the wash.
Turning her gaze downwards the city lights exploded in a galaxy of white, orange, red, blue, green.
She bent down and performed a headstand, inverting the world, and for a brief moment she believed the earthly heavens were brighter than she ever hoped for.

Why Do You Write? A Revision

Almost four years ago I wrote this post, The Reasons Why. It lead to Light My Way – A Creative Manifesto. It was first and foremost an exploration of why I write. It also examined why others write. 

This is my manifesto:

I write because I want to tell a story, but not just any story.

I write because I want to tell the story of those who are not heard.

I write because I want to tell the story of those who cannot speak.

I write because I want to tell the story of those who are disempowered.

I write because I want to tell the story for those who cannot.

I write because I believe that telling a person’s story is integral in understanding who they are.

I create art to speak into the darkness, that I may be a light for others to ignite their own flame and walk clearly.

The other night I was talking with my collaborator, Jodi, via Skype and she was discussing her social media sabbatical. Part of the sabbatical involved a three-week camping trip to the middle of nowhere in Central Queensland, without phone reception. It allowed her time to revisit the fundamental question of “Why do I write?” 

For her, the stripped back existence allowed her to return to what it was about writing that inspired and motivated her.

Every so often we need to pause where we are and revisit why we write and see if it still aligns with the vision we had. It may need a revision, a realignment, a reappraisal, a reworking.

If you’ve moved away from the core reason for writing, you’ve lost vision.

I returned to my creative manifesto and asked if these were still the reasons I wrote. I am pleased to respond in the affirmative. It’s a good check, perhaps once every six months or once a year, to reevaluate why you write to ensure you are aiming to produce the best work you can.

Why do you write? Have you made a revision of your purpose?