Onion Juice- Day 168 – Laura’s Onion Overload

I met a lovely lady called Laura today at lunch, she told me she really doesn’t like when food is filled out with huge chunks of onion. I wondered why a chef would do this?

At 5 Morris broke his arm, but didn’t cry, he didn’t want the bullies to know they’d hurt him. The school nurse called him a “brave warrior”.

At 12 his father died, he still didn’t cry. This time the nurse tried to book him therapy sessions.

At 18 Morris’ girlfriend dumped him for being “clinical”.

At 20 he got a job as a kitchen hand, his first task was to cut the onions. For the first time, a tear traversed the smooth terrain of his cheeks. It felt hot and tasted salty, Morris quite enjoyed the feeling.

At 29 Morris is now a professional chef. His dishes all have onion in them, and he never lets the kitchen hand prep the onions. 


Slow – Day 167 – Walking Frustration

When the zombie apocalypse finally came Georgia didn’t mind that the “living impaired” left rotten flesh on the pavement, or that they were illiterate or that they ruined the economy because they weren’t interested in buying food. But she couldn’t stand their slow walking, it was utterly infuriating when trying to run for the bus.

Georgia May told me she hates slow walkers.

Moment – Day 166 – Georgia Below the Line

It’s a very short story today. I can usually imagine what it’s like to be a giant or a dragon or an ant, but today I tried to write a story on extreme poverty and could barely get a word down. I know nothing of this struggle.

My friend Georgia Wellington knows a little more than me. She contacted me for “Conflict in May” telling me thing she dislikes the most is that one in five people in our world live in extreme poverty – without adequate access to food, water, sanitation, healthcare, shelter, education or employment. So she is living Below the Line this may on just $2 a day, to help the 40% of East Timorese people who live in extreme poverty right now. 

While researching East Timor I found they have an endangered species of Shrew whose habitat is disappearing, it made me imagine a moment between girl and shrew…

Probing eyes meet, wary. They instantly recognize glazed haze of hunger. Their guards fall with heavy thuds, too weary to keep them up. The shrew curls up at the girls toes, and the two rest side by side.

If you’d like to help out Georgia please donate via her Below the Line page.

Slime – Day 165 – Sue’s Flu

She threw herself at the slimy strings. But it was no good, she was caught in its web. The beast oozed lethargy and hacked up gobs of misery as it lumbered toward her. Her mind was hazy, she could barely remember why she needed to struggle. She had a name, it was on the tip of her tongue, and she had girl, definitely something blonde anyway.

The beast was wrapping her up in a cocoon. Perhaps a nap would jog her memory, the web was warm. Before her heavy lids closed a flash of blonde streaked across her periphery. The beat turned, it was shrieking. The blonde streak was jabbing it.

And then she remembered, she’d taught  her daughter to eating milo straight, tell stories and tickle. The beast wasn’t shrieking it was laughing, he was being tickled. She struggled hard against her slimey bonds and finally broke free. The blonde streak had it’s sides, so she took behind the knees. That was the final straw, the beast fell down in convulsions. Now the two sit crunching on milo and listening to stories.  

My mum has the flu on mothers day which sucks! So this is my virtual card for her.

Herding – Day 164 – Edmunds Crappy Week

Edmund was kind enough to tell me about his crappy week (complete with the woes of group assignments and the struggles of money) so this one goes out to you. 

Things always ran away from Andy. It had started with Lin in year 4, nowadays it was his time, his grades, even his money seemed to hide from him. He was trapped in a constant game of chase. It felt like herding hippies, if he secured one, the others would float away. Eventually though, like hippies, they turned up in the strangest places. He found his grades on the couch with his laptop, his money had gotten lost overseas but finally found it’s way back, and even Lin turned up at a festival, it turned out she had most of his time. 

;) – Day 163 – Georgia’s Facebook Woes

Georgia sent me a list of things she doesn’t like. One of them was “Facebook saying someone has ‘seen’ my message but they haven’t replied.” Well I’ve seen this message and I’m not going to keep you hanging on any longer. I think there are a few things on facebook that would be excruciating in real life.

I spot a familiar face in amongst the bored shoppers.

“Hey Jess, nice to see you last night.”

“You too it was a big night,” she smiles.

I give her the thumbs up, I’m not sure why. 

“Actually I’m surprised you remember I was there,” she says. “I can’t believe you told Jason!”

“Told Jason what?”

She looks at me then turns away to the shelves. 

“Told him what?” I ask again.

She continues looking at the shelves. Why isn’t she replying? She’s definitely seen me. I rack my brain. What could I have told Jason? Then Jess opens her mouth as if to speak. She mouths some indistinguishable words as if thinking of what to say, and shuts her mouth again.

Then she announces loudly to the other shoppers, “At Target: feeling embarrassed lol,” before ignoring me once more.

A thought hits me and my insides begin to constrict uncomfortably. I didn’t. I wouldn’t have told him that the giant floater in his toilet at his last party was me. Jess continues to look at the shelves so I decide to text Jason. How can I make this better? I can’t. I decide to make a joke. I’m sorry about last night. Rookie mistake: never own up to a poo. Haha.

Suddenly Jess kicks into gear again.

“You told him you’d go on a date with him! He’s really into you,” Jess winks. 

UpDate – Day 162 – Lucy’s Jetlag

Lucy answered my ‘what gets your goat?’ post with two simple words: ‘Jet lag’.

I didn’t bring anything back from overseas except the time zone. What was the point? I had no one to give presents to anyway. My world is lagging like Windows 95. The people rushing for the train are a blur. My vision freezes on a pretty girl and I can’t seem to look away.

Close close close! Vision has stopped responding. End now?  

It’s too late, she’s seen me. I watch her lips move but the sound is out of sync.

Refresh! Refresh!

Her puzzled expression tells me she’s asked a question, but my brain is still buffering. Finally it loads in frustratingly small installments.

“Where’ve you…

been? I’ve missed…

seeing you and your…

weird geek t shirts on the train.”

Windows needs to update. Reboot? 

My brain shuts down and I’m left stammering.

“L-l-loads of places. Me and my geek shirt could tell you about it over coffee if you’d like?”

Windows has updated successfully. 


Eclipse – Day 161 – Kate’s Solar Crushing Experience

I got this from Kate:

“So, I missed the lunar eclipse but i was so happy because there was a solar eclipse the following week – but then I got so excited that I looked directly at it and my eyes burned so bright that it blocked all the world out and then the sun disappeared behind the mountain before I had a chance to regain my full sightedness. I lost. I lost both times.”

Hopefully this story makes your feel a little better about it all Kate…

Painting fueled the fire that lit up her eyes. The sun made them burn the brightest. She must have painted it thousands of times, but she never quite captured the movement or the energy. It had started in her house but eventually sunrays spilled out into the street and burned their way through the streets.

She’d start painting during the day and continue through the night, the image of the sun seared into her retinas even in the dark. One night she closed her eyes and painted by feel, looking at the negative of the sun projected onto the insides of her eyelids. Finished, she opened her eyes, but nothing changed. All was dark. She never saw again.

The painting now hangs in the city centre and is known as her best work. People ‘oh’ and ‘ahh’ wondering if the paint is moving or if the canvas really is glowing. Some sit in front of it for days and have to be shooed away by security, but she will never set eyes on her masterpiece.Some say once she captured her subject there was nothing left to fuel the fire in her eyes, others say don’t look into the sun.

Once a Gremlin – Day 160 – Michael’s Bank Card

I got this facebook comment from Michael yesterday: Lost my wallet the other day… that was pretty annoying. Then it turned up in my room after I cancelled my bank card.” It made me think of a sequel to yesterday.

I hadn’t been making my targets for a long time. In the end I was sleeping through my morning shifts and living off the company honey. I always wanted to be a luck fairy, orchestrating good coincidences for people, but there isn’t much social mobility in the Gremlin world. Fairies look down on us and my parents were always telling me about their fight for Gremlin rights. In secret I applied for as many local luck fairy positions as I could. Only one would take me. I turned up for my trial shift, all I had to do was find a man’s lost wallet and return it to him without being seen. I was so nervous about being seen, that I dropped the wallet several times on the way to his house. I placed it on his bed and waited anxiously. I couldn’t believe I’d done it, perhaps this was the day everything would change. I should have known then, once a gremlin, always a gremlin. While I had been nervously fumbling with his wallet, he had cancelled his bank card. 


Busy morning – Day 159 – Socks

I look at my watch, 6:00am, I’m running late. I lug my bucket through the crack in the wall and quickly locate the kitchen. The sound of you stumbling around trying to pull on your jeans tells me I just have time. In front of the fridge I pour a subtle spot of water and honey (for extra stick). Then I grab a handful of sand and dirt and scatter it along the path you’d take to the toaster. I hear the door to your room open and rush back to the crack. I didn’t even get time to hide one of your new matching socks, or pull out the stretch the elastic around the top. I suppose I’ll just have to make up for it at the next house, a sock gremlin’s work is never done.

Body – Day 158 – Car

This car was in front of me today and makes me and my friends irrationally angry but then I thought about its plight; the conflict of being a four wheel drive poorly disguised as an inner city sports car. 



Roaring rural heart

in metropolitan skin

bound to city streets 

Donation – Day 157 – Charity

Yesterday arvo I was stopped outside the chemist by some charity people. I find charity mugging to be a very elaborate and polite conflict where you have to fight to actually get out of them what they want from you. In the end I didn’t sign up but they did give me an idea.

“Hi you look like friendly how’s your day been?”

“Yeah alright”

“Sorry what’s your name?”


“Wow that’s a beautiful name. Tell me Minu are you single at the moment?”

“Er, no.”

“Alright! Nice one, that’s perfect. Today we’re signing couples up for free.”

“For what?”

“We’re all about love, it’s the most important thing in life wouldn’t you say Minu?”

“I guess.”

“So Minu, you fall into our great couples package, it’s just an easy payment of 4 dates per month. That’s only one a week or you can allocate to be part of our flirt sessions which works out to just one compliment per day. Do you think that’s something you and your partner would be interested in?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Love Bird is a charity dedicated to capturing love and giving it to those who need it most. We’re at the cutting edge of love science and technology and we’re currently working on capturing it in chemical form, which is pretty amazing wouldn’t you agree Minu?”

“Um amazing and somewhat disturbing.”

“I know science and love is something people don’t usually put together but we are dedicated to providing for the lonely, and what’s better than helping those in need by giving us a bit of your excess love?”

“Hang on, giving? We can’t give you excess love?”

“Most happy couples find they have love to spare. Break ups do occur but we nearly always get letters from those couples thanking us for helping them realise their relationship wasn’t strong enough. So we just need your name and number, the first month is reduced to only 1 date which will ease you guys in.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to sign up. I gotta go.”

“No worries thanks for the chat Minu, take a flier in case you change your mind. Can I have a one off cuddle donation before you go?” 

Childish – Day 156 – Ben

I do agree Ben, in fact, there is one childish act that runs in my family which I really dislike. So I thought up this story.

Once there were two brothers. They took it in turns to look after their little sister Cari. The first brother would set up nest eggs in Cari’s name and park her in front his oversized TV. The second taught her to skip everywhere, just like he did, and bought chocolate milks that would sticky their fingers. One day when the second brother dropped Cari off covered in paint with tangled frizzy hair, the first brother lost it.

“You’re late again. Look at her!”

“I know, she looks so cute. We had a coloured water bomb fight.”

“The state of her hair.”

“I was the last one to the car last night, so she was allowed to pick our outfits today. She calls it witchy-chic.”

“She’ll never grow up with you around. You’re so childish! I’m taking her for two weeks this time.”


The brothers argued in unison, “She likes it better at my place!”

The second brother grinned at Cari, “Jinx! Can’t say it back!”

The first brother grabbed Cari’s hand and walked silently inside, as the second called out.

“C’mon we’re brothers I don’t want to fight. It’s Cari’s life, shouldn’t she have a say?”

But the door closed and remained that way every time he came back to talk. The second brother left phone messages, letters, flowers, and even an expensive digital watch that he thought his brother would like. But there was no reply.

Inside the house, the first brother had made a pile of these letters and was trying to stuff them into the bin. Cari watched.

“You’re being childish,” she said.

“He’s the one… he was hogging yo-”

He stopped on hearing himself, “what should I do Cari?”

And so she devised a plan which involved screaming into pillows, painting their emotions, and drinking chocolate milk. When they had finished they went to the second brother’s house, covered in paint with sticky chocolate fingers.

“Cari says we should shake hands and say sorry.”

The second brother smiled and extended his hand.

“Ew sticky fingers! Seriously though, who’s hiding the chocolate milk?”

Tangled – Day 155 – Frustration

Thoughts tangled

Mangled words hissed in my ear 

I fear we’re too entwined

Blind frustration

The foundation for our relation is weak

Meek and flimsy like you

Too much of our bond is a song

It’s wrong and the melody crackles

You tackle the problem by breaking up

I’m waking up finally finding the root

Using brute force I tug the cord

Awed by the sudden music that floods my hearing

You’re endearing once more

I adore you, we are smitten again

The pain of tangled headphones forgotten


The first of ‘Conflict’ May and I’ve started us off on a silly one. Tangled earphones is something that makes me irrationally angry. 

Roots – Day 154 – New Farm Park

Today I am coming to you from a tree in New Farm park as suggested by a lovely producer at ABC radio earlier this month.


I can tell you now writing on a laptop a good 6m up a tree is conducive to funny looks. The place I’ve settled to write has all these nails in it, and I can’t really imagine why, or can I?


I was commissioned to work on the latest development which ventured into the forest in the centre of the town. No one had even tried to build in the forest for 100 years, though we weren’t sure why, it was prime real estate. We were asked to keep it as quiet as possible or the greenies would be out enmass. I got up before the sun did and we began marking the trees. There were only a few of us, but it only took a few spray painted crosses before I felt that we were being watched. My colleagues made fun of me.

“It’s a squirrel conspiracy!”

“Watch out they’re deadly!”

But I couldn’t shake the feeling, the trees were huge imposing figures with giant claws that dug down into the earth. I looked into one of the tangled mass of roots that propped up one of their huge arms, a pair of sunken eyes looked back at me. I stumbled back as Bob started up his chainsaw. We were sprayed with dirt. The trees were ripping up their claws from the forest floor. Roots came down on top of Bob imprisoning him. Their great arms thrashed and their roots grasped around blindly for human limbs.

I started running, I could see light up ahead, but just as I reached it I felt a yank on my ankle and was dragged back. I grabbed a nail gun from my tool belt and fired. The root recoiled giving me just enough time to scramble free.

I should think there won’t be another attempt at development in the forest, at least until people forget once more.

Waiting – Day 152 – Doctors

Okay, time to face the germ pit.

“Hi how are you?”


Why did I say that? I feel crap, that’s why I’m here.

“5pm with Dr. Maalouf? Take a seat.”

But where? Not next to coughing man. That girl looks harmless but then again… the empty row seems safest. Oh pamphlets. Funny tummy… yes… blah blah blah… bowel cancer!? 

“Hello love.”

Is nowhere safe, she’s holding a jar of pee right next to me. Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!

“Jamie? Jamie Hann?”

Phew. Finally someone to look after me. 


Written in the Doctor’s waiting room.


Dara – Day 151 – Museum

I’m sitting in the dinosaur section of the museum trying to drown out the sounds of overly excited children, so I can transport myself back a few million years.

Dara the dinosaur dwelled on distressing memories. He’d deceived the other dinosaurs too long, discreetly dancing in the dark. So he declared his desire to dazzle. Despite a delightful performance, demeaning derision of his dreams had been hurled like daggers, drawing tears like blood.

Disowned by the pack because of his differences he despaired. He kept his distance so he could defend himself, and his devotion to dance dissipated. But his dreams never depleted. Detached in his small domain he drew divine depictions of dozens of dazzled fans in the damp earth until his dying days.

Dormant for millions of years, he decomposed but his bones were durable and Dara and his destiny were not destroyed. Now Dara is displayed in all his dazzling glory, demanding the adoring gaze of hundreds day in day out.


Troll Wrestling – Day 150 – Goodwill bridge


This morning I am coming to you from the goodwill bridge over the river. I was walking along it looking for inspiration- graffiti or a funny interaction with strangers- but I didn’t see anything. So I sat down, and immediately noticed a tiny bird. Then another and another, they seemed to be living just under the platform I was sitting on. 

I’d been sent to deliver a hamper to the other side of the river. I’d never taken a job on that side of town, people rarely did, but I needed the money. I squinted at the stone bridge, it looked clear. I set off quickly, looking over my shoulder. As I suspected, a hulking troll appeared from underneath and began to climb up the side. I sped up, I’d been told trolls can be avoided if you are agile. But then, another appeared in front of me and began to charge.

There was nowhere to run to on the narrow bridge so I flattened myself against the barrier. As it charged, a flock of tiny birds swarmed it’s head. The troll shot straight past me and there was a crack that sounded like rock on rock. It had collided with the one behind me, and they were gripping each other tightly, I assumed this was troll wrestling. The birds had saved me, and turned the trolls against each other. But then they turned, like tiny missiles honing in on their prey. Their tiny beaks pierced my skin making thousands of nicks like paper cuts. 

Then they were gone, as was the hamper. I could see their fat nests lining the river. Full of loot from other unsuspecting folk. I shivered. I needed to get off the bridge. As I went to take a step, I felt my body being pulled backwards. One of the trolls had grabbed me. I looked up at his pockmarked face, he was covered in thousands of cuts just like me. Then, he pulled me closer, crushing my bones into his stony chest. I now know this is not troll wrestling, but troll hugging. He carried me to the end of the bridge and set me down gently. 

That was the first of many successful bridge crossings for me. We ambushed the birds one night, and now I am the town’s most sought after delivery boy. I pretend to fight the trolls (Boris and Grunt) in front of the townsfolk every few days. We make a killing from every crossing, and feast together every night under the bridge. 

Fairy – Day 149 – Garden Party


I’m at a party and there’s a lot of candles and fairy lights- I wondered why they are called that.

“I’m tired.”

“Shh, I’m trying to break the glass.”

“What do they need us for? They’ve already caught the fire spirits and put them in wax.”

“Thats it! Swing toward the candles!”


“The heat!”


“Come on, we’re busting out of the slave lighting industry.”

Swing – Day 148 – Play ground

Wrote this on a swing. Quite a challenge actually.


The wind runs its fingers through her hair as she swings, weaving it into a tangled mess. It pushes on the chains and rattles the frame. Higher and higher she goes. She watches her feet, they look as if they could kick the big round clouds like soccer balls.

So the wind takes a mighty breath and lifts her off the black rubber seat. Propelled through the sky, she scatters clouds like fluffy white pigeons. Then she falls, like a leaf, lightly back down to the play ground.

When she gets home, her parents don’t believe in her. But it takes hours to untangle her hair that afternoon, and the clouds look like grains of sand spread randomly across the sky as the sun sets.

Dough! – Day 147 – Bakery

Sitting outside the bakery on my way to work.

Boris the baker wasn’t practiced at romance. He’d tried to woo the shop front girl several times, but always chickened out. This morning he decided to leave her a message in dough on the back counter that read “You are perfect.” Unfortunately, by the time she got to it, it had expanded and now read “You are defect.”

Code of Practice – Day 146 – Dentist


From the dentist. Just had my teeth cleaned and I’m always confused by the secret code the dentist and hygienist use to speak to each other. It sounds like another language, so I started imagining this:

Hygienist: Is P 15 upper looking good? (He’s a looker)

Dentist: L 21 lower may have some troubles (garlic breath)

Patient: Sorry I was so late, just came from work. Had to deliver some puppies.

Dentist: No worries at all Mr. Bruns. Actually L 21’s not so bad (never mind about the breath)

Patient: I always think the code dentists use sounds like your playing battleships.

Dentist: Nothing on M 12 upper (not another battleships joke)

Patient: Sometimes I use vet code to talk about owners at work to my colleagues. But you guys probably have more sophisticated ways to get through the day.

Dentist: Haha ingenious, we’d never think of something like that.

Grundtal – Day 145 – Forestdale

Coming to you from forestdale in Logan. I did a quick google before I started writing and apparently the suburb is prone to bushfires and “dale” means a man who lives in the valley. That plus the awesome forest tunnel road I drove through inspired this:

Smoke pools in the valley. Grundtal sprints through the trees, trying to escape the roars and screams of the burning trees. He is a mere blur of scruffy hair and muddy feet as he jumps over logs and hops through gaps in the thick undergrowth. But he’s no match for the fire. It spills around him. Trapped, he assumes defeat, but then he sees a clearing. Grundtal streaks toward it.

As he reaches the entrance he realises its a tunnel of trees with a smooth earthy floor. Grundtal stops in his tracks, he’s lived alone with only the valley for company since he was 10 and never seen anything like this before. A loud crack reminds him of his pursuer and he speeds off into the dark tunnel.

Minutes later and with the fire still hot on his tale, Grundtal sees a glittering mass up ahead. As he approaches he realises it is a lake. With one final leap, he shatters the glassy surface. Moments later he sees animals appear from every side of the lake, each emerges from a similar tree tunnel. More splashes and the lake fills with small fury valley residents. They float along side him, watching their home burn. But Grundtal can’t help but smile, he never knew the valley was so smart, and so strong. He is convinced now, the trees can rebuild.

PS. I tried to take a picture of forest tunnel road, but my camera phone and night time roads don’t mix well.

Sculpture – Day 144 – Rock Climbing

From rocksports where I went climbing today.


My hands are dust, grated by the cliff. My arms shake like an earthquake, and my feet slip like loose gravel. I cling to its face like a long lost lover. I look down through the clouds. My ears pop, the pressure unbalancing me. But curiosity pulls me on. Precariously, I haul myself up, barely making every stretch. My body is cold as stone. My jaw is set like concrete. I’m determined to be the first to climb the tower of rock and discover its secrets. Questions settle on my brain, weighing me down like sedimentary rock.

I see the top, it juts out, forcing me upside-down. Luckily there are plenty of good holds. I grab one which looks almost like a hand. As I pull myself up I realise the hand is attached to a body. I don’t think I’m the first person to do this climb anymore. Looking around I can see the entire rim of the cliff is made of stone people, all clambering over each other. Its a sculpture of panic, a graveyard of curious souls like mine. I scream, loosing my grip. But I don’t fall. My hands feel tight and my body hardens. Then I am gone. 

Sea Side – Day 143 – Wellington Point


Coming to you from the sea side. I’m really quite scared of waves and tide, so I decided to mix things up.

The sea side

The sea sighed

The sea guides


So I confide

In the swelling tide

I ride astride waves so wide

And high I could have died

Until my body and the shore collide


The water never replied

I’m exposed with nowhere to hide

But there’s something only sea can provide

My worries subside

And now I’m ready to decide

I wear salt on my skin with pride

Ready to try the untried

Fractures – Day 128 – UN Day


Today I wrote my story at “UN Day” (my old high school’s cultural fete). I saw my old history teacher, Kristen Bell (the kindest, most passionate teacher you could hope to have), and asked her for a prompt.

She said the renowned journalist, Peter Greste, used to be a student at Indooroopilly and they’d had his mother in that morning to talk about his imprisonment in Egypt. It had made a big impact on her and she suggested he be a character and the story be about tolerance. I looked at a few news stories and saw in an interview he said he decorates his cell by pushing little bits of packets into the cracks in the walls. Looking at the colourful fete, I wrote this:

He’d always been complimented on his hunger to observe and learn. So he traveled the world recording the stories he found. Now he was imprisoned because of it. Deprived of books and pens, the days blurred into endless streams of meaningless consciousness.

But stories can’t be stopped, they seep out the cracks. He would roll up empty food packets and push them into the fractures in the walls. The light would catch the colours and spray them across the otherwise stark cell. This time, telling his own story, of vibrant characters and far off lands.

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?



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.”

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. 


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.

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.

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.


Steel Scars – Day 77 – Alex’s found photos

Another found photo from Alex. It’s an odd photo. It’s hard to make out at first. It’s almost as if taken from the perspective of the ship. I think the strings of gold are ammunition.


She used to be scared of the sea, having spent most of her life in a warehouse. Her first foray into the fleet had been violent and short. But now she returns to the sea, cutting confidently through the water. Strings of shining ammunition hang on her deck like bunting and safety signs are framed like artwork on her cabin walls. The shiny new steal on her side serves as reminder of her wounds. She could have sunk on her first mission, but she had fought her way back to shore. Now she knows she is strong enough.

Weapon – Day 74 – Matt Hsu

Today I got ‘I’m scared that I’m not scared anymore’ from Matt. Here’s what I came up with:

I think they got it into our food with a covert operation. It’s the only explanation I have. One day we ate dinner and suddenly the entire camp was relaxed. The other camps thought we’d been drinking but after a few days they were the same. We have no adrenaline anymore. I used to be frightened of shooting. I didn’t sleep. I felt so anxious that I only ate when I was so starved I couldn’t bare it any longer.

Now, I sleep through raids, I eat while I fight and I shoot without looking. But we are dying by the hundreds, taking unimaginable risks at every opportunity. I’m scared that I’m not afraid anymore. So I’ve come up with a plan. Every soldier that has a picture of family, is to tie it to their wrist. It reminds us that someone else is scared we won’t come home. It sounds sad, but I think the fear is going to help us survive this war.

Dear 17 yr old Freya – Day 72 – Xavier/Your Friends House

I was challenged on facebook last night to write a letter to my 5-year-ago-self by Xavier Rousset. 


I’m no Frank Ocean but I’ve given it a go. This is probably the scariest ‘Fears February’ challenge I’ve got so far.


17 year old Freya,

You’re 22 now and you’ve finally realised that the faded, torn Ludo shirt you’ve had since year 9 is unacceptable to wear in public and bought yourself a new Labyrinth t-shirt. But the changes don’t stop there. You call yourself a ‘writer’ now, and sometimes people even believe you and give you money for it.

I read your diary (sorry). You don’t seem to have much self esteem and you have this idea that you are doomed to be lonely. Well I can tell you that you’ve picked up a bit of esteem since then, school turns out to be a hot box where all sorts of nasty worries and hang ups thrive. You’re also not lonely so far, though you’ve had your heart broken and repaired once already.

Despite all these changes some things are always the same. You still worship British comedy. You still have all the good friends you know now, plus a few extras you’ve picked up along the way. And, you’re still scared of spiders, bad marks, leaving formal education, and people disliking you.



P.S. Don’t run up the stairs at your formal. You will stand on your dress, rip it and flash all your teachers.

Tides – Day 68 – The Beach

Just a short confession today. One of my deep fears for your entertainment:

70% of the earth is covered in it; a whole other world. Full of mysterious under water waterfalls and unidentified creatures. It could be full of beauty and wonder but like most humans, I am terrified of what I don’t understand. The beach is a terrifying gateway and the tide a potential kidnapper.

Staring Contest – Day 67 – Spiders

Stacey admitted her fear of spiders to me over twitter yesterday. Something we share. I am so scared of spiders that daily tasks like walking through this path become terrifying ordeals with bizarre bowing rituals in order to avoid being webbed. 20140202_164404

As most good arachnophobes would know, once you see a spider- it’s particularly important you continue to stare at it. Because the only thing worse than seeing a spider, is not seeing it. So I ran with the idea and came up with this:

Quick! Don’t look away. It might move.

This is fun, a staring competition.

Okay get the traditional weapons.

Oh it’s coming closer. Bring it buddy, you’re going down. I was born to stare.

Please don’t move as I put the glass down.

What’s this crazy forcefield? 

Okay, glass bit is over. Just slide the postcard in gently. Don’t let a leg out.

Hey a gap! I can get a leg out! 

Ew! It’s escaping.

Ouch my leg!

Alright buddy, off to the garden. Where you belong.

Hey, I can’t leave now. What happens at the end of Game of Thrones?

I’m scared. I guess I don’t need this glass. Just throw the whole thing into the bush.

Wow, what a sore loser. I have 8 eyes, I was always going to win.


Failure – Day 66 – Dark Matter Zine

fear tweet dark matter

I got a tweet from @DarkMatterzine today about fear of failure. Well you and me both Dark Matter. Here’s my story:

The sky would shatter into a thousand tiny pieces. The grass would catch alight and the oceans would boil. A giant sign would pop up over my head saying ‘FAILURE’, and there would be a daily laughing ceremony with me as the main attraction. That’s how I saw it, in my head.

But when it really happened, when I inevitably failed, something much worse occurred. No-one blinked an eye. Everyone just kept going about their business, leaving me to fester in my own thoughts.

I would have to battle myself. Silence the voice that tells me it’s time to give up. The voice that tells me I am nothing. It was loud and persistent, but I practiced ignoring it every day and now it’s just white noise again.

Horse – Day 65 – Laundrette

In celebration of Chinese new year I decided to write a story with the prompt ‘horse’ ( this year is the year of the horse). I sat thinking about horses, googling them and looking at pictures. After literally 2 and a half hours I looked at my page and saw irrefutable evidence of writer’s block:

“Horse drawn carriage

Only seen at night

Ridden by a ghost

Something something


In the end I managed to painfully draw a story out of my panicking blocked up brain. I jazzed it up with a picture and some tassels in the hopes it would make up for it. I’d promised Chris White that I would release my next story in Morningside, so I drove around looking for a spot and saw a laundrette. 

As this challenge is starting send me as crazy as Simon Pegg in A Fantastic Fear of Everything, I decided this was the best place for the story. So I entered the laundrette…

…and hung it up here:

Embedded image permalink

Hundreds of years ago a town was captured

One old seamstress had an idea

Red material was gathered discreetly

She found her family and

Escaped on horseback under a dragon disguise

Market – Day 64 – Shopping Centre

It’s 8:40pm and I finally just got this to a shopping centre (thank you late night shopping. Inspired by Adam Byatt’s idea of the mystical shirt of bad taste.


“There it is,” Mai squealed, pointing to a small tea house.

Inside, the tea house opened onto the hidden canal where the markets were held. It looked exactly as people had described it back home. Hundreds of tiny stone islands covered in stalls, each island connected by a wooden bridge.

There were many delicious delicacies and old treasures to find. One old man even gave us a free shirt which he claimed was mystical. Though Mai did point out on the way back through the tea shop it was the ugliest shirt she had ever laid eyes on and the smell was probably putting off paying customers.

As we walked along the river shops, I slipped on the shirt

“Ew, I can’t be seen with that!” Mai snorted with laughter. “You stay outside while I take a look in this dress shop.”

Before I could take the shirt off, a little boy speeding down the lane on a bicycle caught my eye. I watched as if in slow motion, he lost control and toppled straight into the river. I jumped in after him. I could see him caught on the bike sinking below me. I reached out in vain, then there he was, rising up through the water toward my outstretched fingers.  I grabbed him and the water seemed to lift us, taking us back to shore. When I lifted him out, we were dry.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

He nodded, before running off.

“Lee!” I could hear his parents screaming. “Get away from that strange man.”

“He fell in the riv-“ I started to explain.

“C’mon Lee, he stinks,” I heard the dad explaining as they walked away.

When Mai got back I explained what had happened. She stared at the shirt.

“Do you think the old man was telling the truth?”

I shrugged and a piece of paper fell out of the pocket.

With great power must come humility. This shirt serves as a reminder. 

Late – Day 63 – Bus Stop

Just stuck this up at the bus stop.

The stop is packed because of the rain. Everyone looks tense. It’s now 15 minutes late. We’re definitely going to be late.

“Dad! Dad! Dad?”

Charlie swings off my arm. I look down with a sigh.

“What’s V..vigra?” he asks.


I look up at the advertisement on the end of the bus stop, and see an ad for Viagra. The old man next to me sees the look of terror on my face and pipes up.

“It’s for when men are feeling down,” he says with a grin.

I can feel all eyes on us now.

“Can you get some dad?” Charlie implores.

“Why?” I ask, wishing the bus would hurry up.

“Because all the men at this bus stop always look down,” he answers.

The stop erupts in laughter, and suddenly I don’t care that we are late.


Parked – Day 62 – Car Windscreen



Dropped this onto a car today.


They parked next to each other every day. The flats were small, so the parks were squashy, but they didn’t mind. The two cars were the best of friends. He was young, a family car, shiny and comfortable. She was bright yellow, bomby and owned by students. They enjoyed swapping gossip about their humans every afternoon.

But one day the students graduated and moved out. An old lady moved in and there was no car to keep him company. He longed to be told about parties and breakdowns, and would look for her on every drive. But alas, he never saw her again.

Years later the family traded him in. His new owner would park him out on the street. Occasionally so did the neighbours who owned an old mismatched van. The van was kind, like talking to an old friend. One day she explained the bright yellow patch on her bonnet, it had come from an old student car.


Look at this!

Remember that time I put a story through a stranger’s letterbox? Well look what they sent back! (the red square is the story).

“Such a delight to get your story. Here’s us all in front of the inspirational fence! Keep on writing! From G, Bon, Mohammed and Mohammed.”G, Bon, Moh and Moh

Little by Little – Day 61 – The Library

Today’s story went into a library shoot:

photo (2)photo (3)

A few books in a room; it could hardly be called a library. When the floods came, the library wasn’t even on the local government’s list.

Every last book was ruined. There were no stories to escape to, just the foul stench of destruction. The locals assumed it would close. But it didn’t. A few weeks later it reopened. There was only one book on the shelf. It told the tale of a mighty water spirit and a brave librarian.

Little by little the locals caught on. Tales of brave butchers and valiant school children started to appear and soon the library was full once more.