Two hundred words on writers foreseeing calamity ::

Writers have in the last century been sounding rods for threats inherent to human progress. Huxley for the implications of standardising life. Orwell for the reality-altering potential of controlling information. Plath and Kesey for the repercussions of medical and surgical interference with the psyche. Vonnegut for the inability of the mind to cope with industrialised warfare. Dick for the impingement of intelligent technology on the … Continue reading Two hundred words on writers foreseeing calamity ::

One hundred words on activism ::

A friend of his was in the quadrangle holding down a recently adopted dog and beating it, for what he never discovered. He was in university at the time. He’d just stepped out of the shower. Towel around his waist, he had walked to the window of his third-floor dormitory. He ran out of his room and downstairs, losing the towel at a leap in … Continue reading One hundred words on activism ::

One hundred words on a village community’s relationship with water ::

In the northern foothills of the Alborz mountains, bordering the Caspian Sea, a small village community once existed. It thrived temporarily on the artificial water systems provided to it by a government that lasted not all that long, water pumped from the great dams that watered Tehran on the southern slopes of the mountains, water that ceased to be pumped when certain people ceased to … Continue reading One hundred words on a village community’s relationship with water ::

My weird fish (aka my first ever zine) ::

This scanned, uploaded zine would not have existed without Safdar Ahmed, an inspiring, emotive man who ran a workshop at the 2014 National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. I made it in the second hour of the two-hour session using this technique, which Safdar taught us, and its unselfconsciousness (a quality my writing usually lacks) owes a lot to his stories of the Refugee … Continue reading My weird fish (aka my first ever zine) ::

Winter time ::

[The following is a short story I wrote for the National Portrait Gallery’s The Big Chill: Fireside Tales short story and poetry competition. The prompt was the photo below, which was taken in Sydney by Dr Julian Smith some time in the 1940s. Nothing is known about the subject, so entrants were asked to use her as their inspiration.] Her father’s arm is around her … Continue reading Winter time ::

Two hundred words on a shot that rang out ::

A shot rang out. Blanks, thought Detective Hunt, the thought proving to him twice over in a single instant that he was still alive. First in the realisation’s presence in his mind. His mind was still equipping itself for business. Second in the fact within the realisation. The blanks Espinosa had subbed into Griggs’ gun had rendered his execution stayed. And yet, when Hunt raised his gun with the … Continue reading Two hundred words on a shot that rang out ::

One hundred words on the most successful chain of shopping centres in the world ::

I work at Westfield Belconnen, est. 1978. The best way I could envision for you a day inside it is as a cut-scene from a news story. The news story is about rising rates of obesity. The cut-scene is one stories about obesity always use: a landscaped herd of bulging waistlines heaving towards and away from the camera, thick hands clutching large postmix soft drinks or half-eaten Subway sandwiches, … Continue reading One hundred words on the most successful chain of shopping centres in the world ::

One hundred words on electric sheep ::

Some winter mornings when I check my weather widget, it tells me the day will be warm. Not just warm: beautiful, perfect. My weather widget dreams. I put my computer to sleep and it drifts away. I wake it up in the morning and it’s still there, away, sleepily oblivious to cold Canberra mornings. Doe-eyed, it tells me it’s a beautiful day, Ashley, and tomorrow … Continue reading One hundred words on electric sheep ::

One hundred words on men’s urinal troughs ::

Open urinals bring a level of intimacy to the process of relieving yourself that has no parallel in women’s excretions. Though you keep your fucking eyes on the floor, the sound and smell of the man’s piss, whether it was intermittent, immediate, weak or confident, you share that. Waiting at the internal door on busy nights, propping it open with a foot—enough that you’re in … Continue reading One hundred words on men’s urinal troughs ::

One hundred words on vengeance ::

The boys were confused by Grandma’s sight. They were glad to read to her—proud to get the long words first—but they wondered when her eyes would heal like their scrapes. Rather than explain Grandma’s mortality their parents lied. Grandma was blinded by shieldbugs in the lemon bush in the back yard, they said. They sprayed her in the eyes when she was picking lemons for … Continue reading One hundred words on vengeance ::

One hundred words on spelling lessons ::

The boy sat in the gym teacher’s office listening to the rain. Know why you’re here? Mr Gempson was bald. His protruding ears had cauliflower cartilage and a vein stood out on his forehead. I wrote a swear word on my homework, replied the boy. On purpose? Sort of. I knew I wrote it but I forgot where. Gempson squinted. You spelt it wrong. The … Continue reading One hundred words on spelling lessons ::

One hundred words on the natural inclination of children towards cruelty ::

Every desk in the classroom had a microphone that relayed sound to the teacher’s hearing aid. But the hearing aid was unreliable. Its sensitivity fluctuated. Her students knew this. On days she turned her head to hear them they knew it was weak. She was weak. They would start mouthing words to each other like extras in a film. She’d raise the volume on the … Continue reading One hundred words on the natural inclination of children towards cruelty ::

One hundred words on Palestine ::

Sir. The man had paid when the barista stopped him. Sir. She pointed to his cheek. You have a— He half-raised a hand and answered in vowels, Oh, I— She gestured with her hand. He hesitated. She gestured again. Here, she said. He leant forward and she lifted her finger, stroked it across his cheek and held the eyelash out. Like a birthday cake, she … Continue reading One hundred words on Palestine ::