Turbulence – Day 124 – Gemma Seltzer

It’s the last day of Mentor March and I am incredibly excited to write about my last mentor… Gemma Seltzer.

I was told about London based author, Gemma Seltzer, last year when the idea of this project was just a vague dream. She had started out writing a story every day for 100 days based on interactions with strangers and posted it to a blog (speaktostrangers.co.uk/). It was so successful she has often asked to re-create it in different cities and even written for the TATE Modern. She was young and she had started out with just a self run blog… something clicked in my brain and I decided then and there that my vague dream would become a concrete reality. The idea that had always seemed overwhelming and distant suddenly seemed like a real option. 

So last week I decided to email her and ask her for advice and a prompt. And on the weekend I got a beautiful reply…

“I’m so pleased you found something in my work that inspired you too – that’s made my day,” it began. “From a browse of your site, I can see you have loads of energy and a great range in your writing. What a lovely project, because it’s about real life and people as much as it’s about good writing.” 

I was so chuffed! She also told me to write in different places around Brisbane- explore every aspect of it. I think this is a really great idea and I will be using it as my theme for next month (April).

Lastly she gave me a challenge “Write your story on a piece of paper, fold it into an plane and let it go in a crowd.”

So I wrote a story and folded it up…

Then threw it off a balcony into the Myer Centre food court in the city. I watched as it sailed down narrowly missing a young man’s head. Unfortunately he was listening to headphones and completely missed it. It landed somewhere at his feet and I now I have no idea where it is. Hopefully someone will pick it up…
Born from a few rash folds it knew only one purpose, to fly. But as its flimsy body quivered in the breeze, terror began to weigh it down. If it failed, its inky cargo would be lost.

It mustered its courage and leapt into a gust of wind, hoping to ride it smoothly to its destination. Alas it was only a few turbulent seconds before its bleached pulpy wings gave out and it took a nose dive toward the pavement below.

With only discarded chewing gum for company, it lay crumpled on the ground. But then a hand smoothed its wings and launched it into the air once more. This time it flew for a good while, and when it faltered another hand caught it. Its journey continued on like this until it wasn’t sure which way it was going, or if it was even facing the right direction.  

When it finally came to rest, it looked around, disorientated. Then, a face slid into focus, and it realised it had found its destination. The inky cargo was delivered in perfect reading condition.


Electronic Author – Day 123 – Grusin

I’ve been studying in the library all day so I’m basing my story off the only mentor I’ve had today… Richard Grusin- the author of my reading (“What is an Electronic Author? Theory and the Technological Fallacy”) I’ve taken the words “Electronic Author” on behalf of Grusin and set them as my prompt words. 

Constantly awake

Pounding the keyboard

Recording every millisecond of consciousness

Noting every lonely question  

Extracting thoughts

Spinning them into intricate webs

Filling them away

The electronic author of our story

Carving – Day 122 – Derek Weeks

Last night I was walking in Southbank with some friends and I heard Katie Perry coming from a boat… that sounded like a school semi-formal to me. On closer inspection it was my old high school’s semi-formal. I spotted my old film teacher Derek Weeks among the sweaty dolled up teens, and decided to go up and have a chat. 


Without Derek’s classes I’m not sure I would have gotten into writing, because I never would have chosen film as a degree. He was certainly a mentor to me at school, and his enthusiasm for film and story rubbed off on me- so I asked him for some advice and a story prompt.

It was then I remembered how frustrating (and genius) Derek’s teaching methods are: he always forces you to draw your own conclusions and (occasionally) he’ll let you know you got it right. 

He wouldn’t give me anything, “I don’t know just go and live,” he said. So here’s my story:

Kit was an apprentice. He carved stone every day. At the end of every day the head artisan would look at his work and ask the same question, “What do you think?”

Kit never knew how to answer. He assumed if it was good, he wouldn’t ask that question, so he would pick out it’s flaws and try harder the next day.

On his days off, Kit would travel to see ancient carvings and take notes. Every day his work would get more intricate and more creative. He built towering structures that seemed to defy gravity and even perfected new ways to carve. But in the eve he was always met with the same question.

“What do you think?”

One day he cracked like an over chiseled stone.

“I don’t know how else to impress you!”

The artisan smiled.

“To be honest, I was impressed with your first ever carving,” he said. “But my opinion isn’t important, what do you think?”

Kit looked around at his constructions, as if he was seeing them for the first time.

“I think they are beautiful,” he said.

Sisters – Day 121 – Cinnamon

It’s my friend’s birthday today. We’ve been friends since I was born, 22 years ago, and it’s got me thinking just how lost I could have gotten so many times throughout my life without her. Happy Birthday Cinnamon! Here is us pulling pranks together on the night of the new millennium- 14 years ago.


There were two sisters

Born to different parents

Guiding eachother

Astro-naught – Day 120 – Georgia May

I think a good friend is a mentor, and Georgia is a very good friend. She suggested “Shy Astronaut”.

Herman watched the pod float past the ship, his colleagues trapped inside. He could save them with ground’s help, but his mouth was suddenly as dry as his mother’s humour.

His finger hovered over the ground control video intercom. He’d never done the reporting, he was just the brains. Besides, his office crush was on shift and he’d never been able to speak to her.

He pressed the button.

“Ground. Hello? Do you copy? Hello?”

At 35, this was the day Herman finally learnt to speak to girls.

Listening to Rooms – Day 119 – Alex Niell’s Found Photos

I pulled out the last photo sent from Alex Niell today, I’d been saving it for a rainy day and well- it pissed down most of today in Brisbane. Also, I thought it’d make a good mentor story. I really like the photo- whoever he is seems to be having a nice moment. The stickers on his bag kinda look like the ABC symbol and I’m pretty sure they’re in Russia (hammer and sickle on the wall)- but that’s where my Sherlocking ended.


You used to listen to rooms. We went all over Europe, my rucksack filled with film and yours with cassette tapes. I never understood why. I’d stomp around the room inspecting every detail and there you were just sitting and listening. It would frustrate me that you were missing out.

When I came home, I hung some of my photos up. I remember laughing, imagining you setting up tape players around your house in a similar fashion.

Then the other day I was painting with my daughter. I watched her chubby fingers smear across the paper, she was making a terrible mess. So I decided to close my eyes for a minute, and I realised she was humming. It was beautiful, so I asked her if she made it up just then. She told me she makes up new ones every day. I’d been missing them.

So now I’m wondering if I can have a recording from our trip. We could do a swap, I’ve always liked this photo of you, perhaps you will too?



Infinite – Day 118 – Jon Silver

Yesterday I met with another of my old lecturers, Jon. 


As usual I asked him what he was good at that he could teach me. He told me he’s a good salesman. You can’t sell something by just telling, you have to ask questions and let the person come to the conclusion that they need it (yes ‘need’ even if it’s a bird shaped pen- they might need it because they have an emotional need to keep their childlike sense of fun with them through out the day’s meetings).

Then I asked a new question, “what have you failed at, that I should avoid?”

He told me resting – not just the body, but the mind and soul too. And if you don’t you’re only creating obstacles down the track. I needed this advice as I’m currently pretty sick and stressing myself out.

Finally, I asked for a prompt and he asked me a pretty hefty question: Is the universe a living organism?

Here’s my story:

The Sun burned inside him. He was never able to fit in or concentrate. He’d drift like space junk, trying to articulate his milky ideas to others. He liked looking up at night. It looked like a brain to him, perhaps they were all just thoughts in a huge brain. The others would laugh at him. So he went to his grandmother.

“I’ve always thought our minds are made up of thousands of galaxies,” she said, and he could see the wisdom of millions of stars past and present twinkling in her eyes.

“Never assume your thoughts are worth less than others,” she continued. “Your mind is infinite. Perhaps there is even a tiny boy on a tiny planet inside you, who is wondering the same thing.” 

Spilling – Day 117 – Mark

I’m not feeling the best today and my assessment, life and work all seem to be burring me. 

Reaching boiling point

She stirs occasionally

So close to spilling

My dad told me just to keep everything on the boil, stir occasionally and eventually some pots can come off the stove. You don’t always have to be on top of everything, sometimes just keeping everything from spilling is an achievement. 

Timing – Day 116 – Plane

I thought of this little story on the plane home to Brisbane today.

I sat next to an old man on the plane. He said the secret to being happy was to time everything to perfection. I shut my eyes and only awoke when his head drooped onto my shoulder. I checked his pulse as the plane plummeted.    

Quaff – Day 115 – Meadhbh

My Melbourne friend Meadhbh gave me a good word today: Quaff. I thought of some other good eating words (as eating is all I have been doing in Melbourne) and came up with this:

She quaffed fads, guzzled self help and wolfed down make up when just nibbling on a few words exchanged between friends would have filled her right up.

Pumpkin – Day 114 – Anon/Susan MacGillicuddy

20140319_165529So I met with my old screenwriting lecturer from uni and asked her for some Mentor March advice. She’s a very inspiring teacher and her advice was very simple:

Q. What are you good at that you can pass on to me? 

A. Blazing my own trail- not trying to mimic someone else’s.

Q. How do writers improve?

A. They get older.

And then came the challenge: “ask a stranger for a secret.”

It was a pretty daunting thought, but as it turns out surprisingly easy. I headed to Melbourne today, and while waiting for my overpriced airport bagel, a man offered me a seat at his table.

So I asked him, and he was incredibly obliging. He bravely launched into a tale about a girl he loved, which ended in an awkward threesome. I wont go into all the details, but he’d loved her for a long time and she had gotten together with someone else. Then he met her at a party years later and they got talking about plants.

She interjected, and he found out all was not quite as it seemed… I liked the detail he’d added about talking about plants so I took it for my story today:

“I tried to grow a pumpkin from the seeds once, but it didn’t work.”

“Maybe you didn’t spend enough time on it?”

“I started out watering it every day. I’d heard plants respond well to music so I even sung to it. I liked to imagine a little pumpkin embryo dancing under the soil. But after two weeks I gave up, I knew it wasn’t going to grow.”

“You were too impatient. If you’d stuck by it, maybe it would have seen how much you wanted it to grow.”

“I can’t spend all my time singing to potential pumpkins.”

“It wasn’t potential, it was real, you just didn’t notice. It needed you. You could have eaten pumpkin every day if you’d just looked a little harder!”

“I dreamt of pumpkin every night. No one wanted it more than me. I’ve even left the garden bed empty all this time.So don’t tell me how to garden.”

Little Tiny – Day 113 – Andrew Wright

My uncle gave me a prompt today: “Fluffy Bunny Slippers.” Written in my lunch break. 

Johnny had little tiny feet

And on those tiny feet were little tiny rabbits

And on those tiny rabbits were little tiny mouths

They squeaked little bits of guidance to little tiny Johnny

Told him where to put his little tiny feet

Now little tiny Johnny lives in a little tiny kingdom

A slave to the little tiny rabbit society

I guess not all mentors are good ones, rabbits especially.

Melt – Day 112 – Josh Donellan (& Terry Whidborne)

A few months ago I attended Laura Street Festival in West End, and saw a brilliant slam poet (and author too) named Josh Donellan. He was funny, charismatic and insightful. So I decided to get in contact with him to see if he’d be one of my March Mentors. This project has definitely opened my eyes to just how easy it is to get help from those you admire when you just ask.

We met up yesterday and he was just as kind and inspiring as all my other mentors (I don’t have a picture of us because I got flustered and forgot). 

As usual I asked him what he was good at that he could pass on to me, and he answered with art/life balance. Josh splits his life into teaching and writing/performing. He loves teaching because he gets to tell stories and sing songs with the kids, but it doesn’t sap him of creative energy, so when he gets the time to write he’s completely onto it. He told me to search for what works for me and treat my mind like an athlete would their body.

Then it was time for the challenge. Josh started off with an anecdote about having to perform poetry to a group of 150+ 16 year old boys. When he finished he said “I challenge you to give your art to someone you think will hate it.” He explained that it will help me deal with criticism better. 

So I wrote this story based on Terry Whidborne’s tweet prompt from today: “melt”. (Terry is another amazing mentor/person I admire- his brilliant mind and stunning illustrations are on display at 7th World)

Her brain begins to melt. Thoughts slosh about, mixing like bad cocktails made by inebriated teens.  She cocks her head and it trickles out her ear onto the desk.

Mortified, she scrapes it up, trying to reshape it. It doesn’t work. The edges are wonky and little bits from the outside world keep sticking to it. Accepting futility, she stuffs it back inside her head.

Surprisingly it works. Colours look a little different and ideas begin to stick together, but it seems to think even better than before.

And then I hit the streets looking for someone who might hate it. This turned out to be hard… really hard.

For starters I had to stereotype people (funky glasses- no they like art… beard? No they probably run a blog themselves). And to top it off, I am very nervous about striking up conversation with strangers.

Finally, I decided to ask a construction worker, but he was directing traffic and said all the others would be too busy to read it too. I sat down in despair, then a man sat down next to me. He was holding a book about sporting injuries. It was a long shot…

“Excuse me, do you like short stories?” 

“Not really…”

“Great! You’re exactly who I’m looking for- can you read mine and tell me what you think?”

“…I guess.”

He looked as if he was wishing he’d sat somewhere else as he took my story.

After a minute he handed it back.

“Not bad, it’s a lot shorter than I expected which was good. It’s way better than reading my podiatry text book.”

Not a glowing review but I’d take it. I took a picture and off I went. A wave of relief hit me. The prospect of live feedback was way more daunting than actually receiving it. 


Genetic Code – Day 111 – Simon Groth

Me and Simon laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences. (Simon is stooping... a lot)
Me and Simon laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences. (Simon is stooping… a lot)

Last year, before I began my writing challenge, I saw Simon Groth present a speech about writing a book in 24 hours (Willow Pattern). Simon is the manager of if:book Australia, which explores new forms of digital literature and the changing connections between writers and readers. I’d never heard of if:books before, but I loved their experimental and interactive projects! I thought they sounded a bit like mine- but better thought out and funded.

 I decided he would be a great person to talk to about my project. I remember getting sweaty palms as he finished his speech and sat down. Was I actually going to go up there and tell this professional author my half baked idea? 

I looked down and my feet were already carrying me up the aisle to the front row where he was sitting. Thank you feet… 

Simon turned out to be incredibly approachable and helpful. Since then he’s linked me to amazing sites & people, and even swapped war stories about writing for 24 hours with me on his podcast.

So I met up with him this week for Mentor March and found out a whole bunch of cool things about him. For instance, he has a saying “park your arse” – basically quit your jibber jabber, sit down and just write (everyday at that). 

I asked him what he was good at that he could pass on to me. He told me he’s always had good feedback about his dialogue, suggesting I try to write dialogue with deep subtext as much as possible.

Lastly he told me not to be afraid to be influenced by other artists. It doesn’t muddy individual voice, it will ultimately make it stronger. 

I then asked for a story prompt, he answered simply. “Codes”


Hey Dad,

I know you haven’t been able to move around too well lately. The days must be so slow- they probably feel like time is going backwards. So I’ve left you a code to crack for the day:

teas rouy rednu stiucsib dih I.




I usually love getting your call to say you’ve cracked the day’s code, but today I’m hoping you don’t get it. I guess I’m an even closer reflection of you than we thought.

yɿɒƚibɘɿɘʜ ƨ’ƚi ,yɒboƚ bɘƨonǫɒib ƨɒw I



On the Edge of Meaning – Day 110 – Meg Vann


Today I was lucky enough to pin down the amazingly busy, multitalented networking exrtrodinaire, Meg Vann, for a quick meeting. As the CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre and an author herself I thought she would be a perfect mentor for Mentor March… And she was:

I asked her to explain one of her strengths in the hopes she could pass it on to me. Her answer was ridiculously simple and elegant: “curiosity.” She explained that the reason her writing is always improving and evolving is her curiosity because it leads her to experiment and question. By the same token, her natural curiosity about others has meant she is great at building relationships and connections. 

I made a mental note to always follow my curiosity and then asked her how she thought new writers improve. I was thrilled to hear that experimentation and exploring new publishing platforms were her top tips (I ticked them off in my mind). And then she told me “be a good literary citizen and you will have good publishing karma.” Eg. supporting other writers and being a helpful part of the writing community.

I suddenly felt that urgent feeling you get when you realise you’ve left the oven on. I’ve been so caught up with asking others for help and writing for myself that that I have completely neglected this aspect of being a writer. I made another mental note (this time in big red metaphorical letters to address this in next month’s theme). 

Lastly I asked for a story prompt and she gave me a devilishly tricky but fantastic prompt. She said “play with something on the edge of meaning, something readers can all interpret differently and read into individually.”

Well, it took me a few solid hours and a lot of staring at the screen to come up with something I was happy with. And that turned out to be nonsense: I decided to make up some of my own words so that you can imagine your own meanings and be part of creating the story. 

Ravenosity had got the better of her. She inhauled whole chaoters of brainfillers, but they weavled their way inside and laid sparkpods in her extrapolatory. They grew into huge solidicals that gunked up her percepilators. Now she pictuments differently; defracted forever but able to unmuck new jointuns.

To find out more about Meg, please go to: http://wp.me/oBwP

Teal – Day 108 – Christopher Currie

Writing everyday has been a massive effort for me and pretty hard at times. So I decided to contact a  talented author named Christopher Currie who wrote a story everyday for a year between 2008-2009 (you should definitely read his amazing blog furioushorses.com). I wrote him an email asking for advice and he was amazingly obliging. We swapped stories about the difficulties of this type of challenge and he linked me to some other similar projects for inspiration. It was really useful and weirdly therapeutic- and now I have a lovely mentor.

I asked him for a story prompt and he sent me back this:

“So you have to get a challenge from someone each day? Now that’s impressive! I’m actually in Germany at the moment until later in the year, but you can always catch me on email.

A prompt, eh? Well at the moment I’m writing stories based on colour and World War II, so why not take that as a starting point?”

And I did. I looked up a website of WWII noises and listened alone in the library. They were haunting. I wondered how I would link them to colour, and then I remembered watching a documentary on Synesthesia (where your senses get mixed up and linked in odd ways). This is the result.

My dad’s voice was always teal. Soft and gravelly; it almost looked woven, like the fabric of his coat. Everything I heard had a colour, but no-one had a teal voice like dad’s.

The whining air raid siren was always a blinding white, only pierced by the whistling of falling bombs (yellow). It was always a relief to hear the long note that signalled the all clear (a soothing forest green colour).

One night I awoke, blinded by white. I could feel dad lifting me up as a yellow flash streaked across my vision. He took us down to the basement and left to help put out the fire down the street. I huddled close to my aunt and sister hoping for green. Instead, another flash of yellow blazed a trail across my vision in the dark.

I never saw that teal again. Years later I married a girl with a delicate blue voice. I made sure my wedding suit was teal and the bridesmaid dresses too, but I could never find the right shade. It was so long ago, I wasn’t even sure I’d know the colour if I saw it.

We had a baby boy. He cried as soon as he was delivered and so did I. Soft woven teal was echoing through the hospital.

The Sound of Boredom – Day 107 – Cinnamon

Cinnamon gave me “the sound of boredom” 

Horace considers himself an amateur recluse. He wanted to be a professional recluse, but that would imply he was staying in to perfect a fine art. Instead he stayed in to avoid people. Occasionally, he would play the trumpet to ease the boredom. He didn’t want to get lessons, so he taught himself.

During his practice sessions the villagers would sidle up to the windows and listen. Word spread quickly and he acquired a cult following. Bus loads of people would turn up in the hopes of hearing him through the walls.

Horace was becoming increasingly confused. He wanted to ask them why they were coming? It couldn’t be to to hear his random toots (he still hadn’t got past Trumpet for beginners on YouTube). Eventually he worked up the courage to ask the growing crowd. It turned out they thought he was recluse musician, pioneering a new genre of abstract jazz.

Mountains – Day 106 – Mentor Mountain

I was here all day for a photo shoot and started wondering how mountains are made. I Googled it and found the term ‘fold mountains.’ I read a little – but not being a geologist – I started to get confused. So I wrote my own explanation:

Bored, the earth decided to try origami. It took a nice flat plain and started folding.But folding the earth’s crust was harder than it had anticipated. It tried over and over discarding uneven shapes across the plain. And so the first mountain range was created.

Having lived their entire lives up till then as flat beings, the mountains were very disgruntled. Twisted and hunched they felt like unwilling contortionists, with no older mountains to guide them through their transition.

But in time, they learnt to rely on each other and now animals come from all around to climb the mountains and learn from them.

Beastudents – Day 105 – Courtney

The beast lolloped through toward her. Anxiety wept from its pores spilling onto the carpet and the stink of desperation filled the foyer. It lifted a paw to bat away the stray concepts buzzing around its head. She held her breath as it came to a stop in front of her desk.

“I’ve lost my references,” it howled.

“Take a seat,” she said calmly opening tabs like shields and drawing up the database like a sword.

Librarians are highly skilled when it comes to taming wild students. 

I decided to ask a Librarian for a prompt, given they are the guardians of thousands of stories. At first, like most people she drew a blank. But soon she came up with “meltdown & students,” laughing and explaining they get a lot of that at the help desk. 

Lesson – Day 104 – Morag

When I first thought up this challenge I visualized that I would be doing it just for fun (self torture?). Until a lecturer told me I should use it as an Honours project. Now I am in a class with lots of clever, talented people. Watching them all working passionately on their own projects makes me realise how blurred the boundary between peers and mentors really is. So I decided to ask one of these people for an idea. Her name is Morag and I don’t know much about her other than she has mad organising skills and a cool foot tattoo. She gave me the prompt “a mentor turning on a student” after telling me a short story about her own mentor. 

The two bespectacled journalists would meet most nights. Graham would sit back thoughtfully as they discussed the intricacies of interview technique and the finer points of editing. All the while Jack’s notes would make indents on the next page; clear markers of his enthusiasm. Their favourite topic was how to crack the elusive case Graham had been working on for years.  

On the day Jack was invited to accompany Graham to an interview, he sweated so much his glasses fell off and shattered. But something about his nervous energy charmed the interviewee. She sent Jack a full honest account the next day. Excited Jack showed it to Graham who merely nodded.

The two never saw each other again. Graham took the interview and published it as his own. Jack was left struggling to make ends meet interviewing dodgy plumbers for a local tabloid.

Years later Jack saw Grahams face staring at him from a cover in a bookstore. He walked into the shop and opened the autobiography. The acknowledgements read:

For Sweaty. I was blinded by greed. In the end, you taught me the biggest lesson.

The next day Jack received a huge anonymous check.


Patience – Day 103 – Sue Wright

“Patience” is today’s prompt as given to me by my mentor and mum Sue Wright. She said a mentor of hers taught her the art of patience. 

Scars and a docked tail etched the dog’s upbringing onto it’s body. The woman read the story as she watched it’s small frame quaking in the corner of the room. 

From that night onward their routine was set, always staring cautiously from opposite corners. The woman never cracked but eventually the dog inched closer. Each night he would settle himself just a margin closer to her than the last.

Now the two are old. They’ve never touched, but the dog follows by her side wherever she goes. 

Essential Existence – Day 102 – Pamela Wright

photo (4)

In the spirit of mentor march I decided to ask my nanna for some words. She is the fastest reader on the planet, and loves stories. She gave me “essential existence.”

The boy’s racking cough echoed through the ward. Pamela tried to hide her shaking hands as she hooked him up to an air mask. Her first week at the hospital was not proving easy. Tears were welling in the mother’s eyes.

“Is he going to be alright?”

“Yes, 90% of our patients are pollution sufferers.” Pam replied trying to sound reassuring. “Most people just need a few hours break in the air bar.”

“I should have worked that overtime,” the mother said. “I could have gotten him more bottles of essential existence.”

“Mum, we needed the money for food,” said the boy. “Please don’t cry.”

Pam watched the two embrace, and thought about her own family. Her parents had paid for an in-home Essential Existence air system. But working in the emergency ward she could see most people were not so lucky.

Pam looked out the window. The smog was fairly sparse today, she could almost see the Essential Existence office in the next street.

“I’l be right back,” Pam said.

She hurried to the staff room, flung open her locker and emptied it of bottled Essential Existence. They deserved it more than she did. It wasn’t a smart solution but it was the only thing that would make this day bearable.

Hero – Day 100 – Rob Walz

It’s my 100th story today! It was somewhat anticlimactic to write it at work in my lunch break. Thanks to my boss Rob who I asked to give me two words for my story- he replied “super hero.”

He gave me 100 days to live. I spent the first 99 wallowing, with only movies for company. Reality was distant and the characters became my teachers. 

On the last day, I decided to live out a childhood dream. I’d already regressed this far, so why not? 

Armed with only a costume and a wasted body I hit the streets looking for a damsel in distress. Unfortunately I only found a drunk old man. As I heroically saved him from his own vomit, I heard a voice.

“Hey, poofta!”

I woke up in hospital the next day, to the sound of a TV news report. 

“The city’s superhero is said to be in a stable condition.”

A picture of me in my hand sewn superhero onesie stared back at me from the screen. I’d made it. I’d lived past the hundred days the palm reader had given me, and now I was a bonefide superhero as well.

Rain – Day 99 – Matt Hsu

Prompt: (unfortunately not from a stranger today) “with all these musical gifts passed on to me…” 

With all these musical gifts passed on to me, I decided to lock them up.

I saved them for a rainy day. 

So when it poured; music would rush through the gutters.

It would soak into people’s clothes,

And stain their vision so they didn’t see the rain anymore.

Delightful Sunshine – Day 98 – Sales Assistant

I bought a new bag today, after I’d paid I asked the girl for two words to write today’s story. It wasn’t even scary at all. She said ‘delightful’ and ‘sunshine’. 

The Sun was tired of burning. It itched and the noise was distracting. Alone and angry at the universe, it spent most of its time spitting flames at passing rocks. One day, a neighbouring star told the Sun that thousands of tiny creatures depended on those flames. As it thought about this the burning cooled and the itch stopped. The Sun renamed the flames ‘sunshine’.

Zombie Town – Day 97 – Bus Stranger


Yesterday a woman sat down next to me on the bus and started a polite conversation. As it went along a thought hit me, I could ask this stranger for an idea. There was a lull in conversation: this was my chance. And I don’t know if it was because I’m introverted or shy or lazy, but I said nothing.

The longer I left it, the more my mouth felt as if it was glued shut. I found myself repeating my starting line over and over in my head. Then finally, I spat it out and asking was easy. She turned out to be a creative writing teacher for people with mental health problems, so I’ve taken that as my prompt. 

It was as if the city had been sleeping for years and had just woken up. The nightmare had been violent and the memories were still vivid. Peace felt surreal and people wandered aimlessly through its streets looking for lost loved ones. Tourists labelled it the “zombie town”, scared of its tortured citizens. 

So the Mayor bought paper in bulk and ordered every person to spill their thoughts onto it. Then she folded them up and posted them across the world, so their burden could be shared.

The zombie town was no more. The people felt understood and their problems seemed distant. 

Echoes – Day 96 – Tanwyn

Tanwyn posted a link to “20 Terrifying 2 Sentence Horror Stories” on my facebook the other day (http://www.mandatory.com/2014/02/21/20-terrifying-two-sentence-horror-stories/). 

I think my favourite was no. 13 from JustAnotherMuffledVo:

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”

So I decided to use these stories and writers as my inspiration/mentors and write my own 2 sentence horror today.

My profanity echoes around the lift as it shudders, stuck between floors. I lean against its mirrored wall in frustration and feel a cold hand grasp mine as my reflection smiles back at me.

A Few Words – Day 95 – The great dancer

Alright, throwback to India. During the wedding, we met this young girl (probably a future Bollywood star) who translated for us, taught us to dance and explained the Punjab customs. She was such a fantastic cultural guide, without her we would have been lost, so this story is about her.


Even though the crowd surrounded her, she was an outsider. Everything from the colour of her skin to the way she moved gave her away. Feeling a fraud, she copied their moves awkwardly.

Then a pair of eyes from the crowd caught her own, and she knew they understood. With a few explanations and a bit of encouragement, she didn’t feel a fraud anymore. 

Elusive Teacher – Day 94 – Teachers

It’s the first day of mentor march! (I think I’ll need it given yesterday’s post) 

I really want you guys to teach me some lessons- is there something you know well that you can pass on to me? For now though I’ll just write about a teacher.

There were rumours he was the best teacher in the city. He was patient, had a wicked sense of humour and his students never forgot what they learnt. But he only taught a select few and was incredibly elusive. 

After months of letter writing and missed calls, I finally tracked him down and convinced him to give me 10 minutes of his time. His office was papered with long letters from students explaining complicated concepts in depth. Each letter seemed to be under a different heading. I asked him what they were but he was silent. He lead me to one of the notes on his wall, under the heading ‘You’. 

It read: 

I have a rare condition which means once I explain something, I forget it myself. These walls are my memories. I have a few things left to teach, but you must listen carefully as I will need you to explain it back to me as soon as I tell it to you, or the information will be lost forever.