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.
Today I walked around the city and took photos of words I found on the streets. They tell a story…
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!?
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.
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.
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.
I’m at a party and there’s a lot of candles and fairy lights- I wondered why they are called that.
“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!”
“Come on, we’re busting out of the slave lighting industry.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
Tall wooden hands reaching into the ground
Clinging onto earth
Feeling at one with nature
I decide to climb the face of the bark
But it opens an eye
And then a mouth
“Get off my face!”
Just got back from a forest, written in a tree which I climbed. Also it had a face…
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.