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 ::

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 ::

One hundred words on the link between Alzheimer’s and masturbation ::

Challenge yourself, said the Professor. He was a short man with fierce, beady eyes. An enormous beard sprung from his face. It made him seem powerful. Don’t go trawling around on websites, he said. Bring reality to life in your mind. Think of the way things felt. His eyebrows flared upwards. Think of the lighting. Think of the smells. Were they sweet? He sniffed deeply. Were … Continue reading One hundred words on the link between Alzheimer’s and masturbation ::

One hundred words on imagination and autobiography ::

To write autobiographically is to confess a lack of imagination. That or the writer is no writer, just someone possessed of the notion that their story deserves telling. That is the first school of thought. The other says that to retreat into one’s imagination in anything other than an allegorical fashion is to confess one’s inability to commit reality to the page, to shy from … Continue reading One hundred words on imagination and autobiography ::