It seems fitting that at the end of “reward august” I spoke for the Foundation of Young Australians at Unleashed to hundreds of young social change makers. It was fantastic and so was the building!
After my speech I met a really bright kind writer and journalist who pointed out the creatures in the fountain looked like dragon fish. I liked the idea of dragon fish.
Everyone feared Dragon Fish. Dragon Fish was a master of both water and fire. Fish would cower in fear and insult him in the coral city streets. Dragon Fish didn’t understand, he used his power to create spectacular floating fire shows. But no matter how hard he tried to convince other fish of his gentle nature, they always feared him. Angry, he put on the most spectacular fire show yet. He created a terrible fire monster. It terrorised the city. But in the last moment, Dragon Fish fought his own creation off. The city fish heralded him as their saviour, and no one cowers from him anymore.
Something is in the corner of her eye. It’s been there for days. She can almost smell it, it’s name is on the tip of her tongue. In its spare time it seems to enjoy setting butterflies free in her stomach and distracting her appetite. She feels it move and rubs her eye. With a squelch, it falls out onto the floor. Whatever it is, it looks like it’s having a midlife crisis.
“What are you?”
“Nerves,” it says proudly. “What can I do for you?”
“Nothing, actually sorry but could you stop playing with my appetite?”
“Appetite can’t help it that I’m irresistible,” it chuckles. “Look I’m sorry I’m here, but you’ve got an important occasion, and I don’t like to miss a big do.”
“Well, can you at least get rid of the butterflies?”
“You wouldn’t deny my pets. I move around a lot, they’ve gotta stay somewhere.”
“Look, I’m what gets you through. I’ll administer the adrenaline when you need it most and heighten your senses. Then I’ll be out of your hair.”
“What are you doing in my hair?”
“Just a bit of nervous sweat, nothing too bad.”
She had to admit Nerves did help sometimes, but it was a bit of a dick.
Inspired by the nerves that are gradually taking me over as I get ready to fly to Melbourne.
Just a few days ago I was asked to give my TEDx speech again for the Foundation for Young Australian’s festival “Unleashed“… which is on Sunday… in Melbourne. This month has been all about reward, and this is a pretty big reward- I’m very flattered. However, I can’t help but feel like I could return to the nervous wreck that I was a month ago before my TEDx speech. Last time I was speaking in my home city and the audience was only about 150ish. This time I’m told there will be over 400 people. Doing these speeches is also making me wonder… what happens after this challenge is over? The other day Michael asked me to write a story based on One Day’s new album “Mainline.” It’s a hip hop record with a lot of reflective spoken word. So today I am reflecting on my future through a bit of poetry- if someone sends in a beat I’ll rap it on another day and put it on youtube.
21 and didn’t know my place
Just knew stories were the base
Of everything I love, every single case
So I write everyday
Life on display
But am I wandering astray?
Now I’m a writer
My future’s looking brighter
But my stomach twists a little tighter
What happens at the end?
Is it just a trend?
Scared I’ll just blend
Into the wall
Without this site my writing’s just a scrawl
Messy and small
When aliens landed no one greeted them, no one even knew they were here at all. I would sit gazing at the stars wishing to meet one, never knowing I had one in my stomach at that very moment. I didn’t notice the increased tummy rumbles or think twice about my sudden cravings for custard (aliens love custard). Eventually we found the parasites sitting in our stomachs. Some people live happily with their parasite, even learning to communicate with it. Others have killed themselves in the process of trying to get rid of them. Me? Well, it turns out my alien also loves aliens. We watch sci fi together and it tells me stories about the stars.
Kate had a rumbly tummy and asked me to write a story about the monster inside her.
JK asked me to write a story about his new Mr T haircut. I could see only one connection.
Geometrical hair loss?
Did you know that shortening your name without the use of vowels can increase your risk of contracting hair gardeners?
Hair gardeners are responsible for over a quarter of all hair loss. Hair gardeners love symmetry and neatness. They are attracted to humans with short neat names especially without vowels, and people who wear too much metal. Once attracted, hair gardeners are difficult to get rid of, and mowing hair into neat hedge like patterns.
Don’t be a fool! Stay protected, love your vowels.
This has been coming for a long time I think. I don’t have many hair accessories, but I do have clips with little men on them.
They are one of my favourite things in life, I’ve even named them: Rick (on left) and Larry (on right). Today I had my fringe cut and the hairdresser started laughing really loudly- she’d just noticed them. It reminded me that they deserve a story. I decided to make up an old norse style myth.
Rick and Larry were the happiest couple in the city. Everyone adored them and wished for their own Rick or Larry. But the goddess Freya was terribly lonely, so she rode into the mortal city and stole the the couple hoping they could share some of their happiness. The lovers awoke separately in a blonde desert of sand dunes. Divided by a large expanse of fringe the two men were stuck, entangled in the long strands of Freya’s hair. It is said they only see each other at night when Freya finally takes them out of her hair to sleep. The people in their home city believe the warmth of their kiss each night is what keeps the nights so cozy.
This morning I was trying to put my hair in a bun. I explained to my dad that my hair says to me “No I don’t want to be a conformist” as I try to tie it up. He laughed and told me that stories were taking over my life- seeping into my speech- I couldn’t help but make them up. I was chuffed with this observation. Which gave me an idea for a story obviously…
The stories fell out of her
Most would writhe around on the carpet
Gasping then slumping
Piling up on top of one another
Occasionally one would stand up
She’d watch it nimbly stepping over the others
Watch it walk out the door
Perhaps it would even make it into the wild
I went rock climbing today and ended up rolling around on the training mattress area underneath the upside down climbs. There was a sign up saying 13yrs and over, as me and my friend rolled around like 5 year olds. This reminded me what a reward it is to be able to be silly sometimes.
WORLD’S YOUNGEST MILLIONAIRE
At the age of 7 Jane wasn’t selling homemade lemonade at her stand, she was selling youth. This young entrepreneur would charge 2 dollars to be silly with her. She would make adults pull faces, make animal noises and dance.
The stall quickly became a hit in the high street of her inner city suburb, so with the help of her mum they made it into franchise and an app. Jane now employs hundreds of children across the world, as well as adults with blue cards to ensure their safety. Each child is a certified “silly coach” and each child adds their own flavour to their classes, including Jarryd known for wearing a homemade raccoon outfit and Mika who holds cake throwing classes.
The franchises are particularly popular before and after work in inner city business areas. When asked for an interview Jane simply sent us a soundbite of her pulling a raspberry.
I listen, dance, watch
But never open my mouth
Unable to speak
I sit here listening to my man Matt, and his friend Jess prepare to sing at a wedding. It’s a real treat, watching them work out chords makes me realise there is an entire language I can understand, but not speak.
Someone did finally try to follow my treasure hunt in the library- Nerida! Unfortunately it was taken down so the didn’t find anything. However Nerida did see my Lizard story from the other day and decided to send me on another hunt. Such a good reward! She commented: “Tree lizard has friends… a koala and a wombat are lurking nearby.”
So I set off today in the rain looking for Koala and Wombat. It took me about 20 mins of walking around the wet campus until I found them:
Other animals see Lizard
They love Lizard
They love Tree
Befriend other Trees
It becomes an honour for an animal
To be buried in a tree
The spirit will never be lonely
Encased in breathing branch
Or tangled in writhing roots
I can barely type this!
Staring blankly at site wondering what to write about.
Notice weird shape on header of my site.
Looks like a dinosaur. I must be tired.
THERE IS A FUCKING DINOSAUR ON MY WEBSITE AND I DID NOT PUT IT THERE.
So many questions!
Who did this?
Is my website safe?
What is dinosaur’s name?
Google “trolls put a dinosaur on my website”
Now I am putting this mystery to you. Where did this come from? I need to know. I am freaking out. This is probably the most exciting thing that has happened to anyone ever.
Here is my story (I’ve done a story on Dara a dinosaur before so I decided to make the sequel):
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.
But Dara doesn’t stop there. A small daggy boy with a debilitating love for Dara the Dinosaur dabbled in web design. The boy would take over derelict websites, and devilishly dissect newspages directly inserting pictures of Dara. The trend spread like disease, soon all trolls were doing it. The boy never divulged his secret, he felt he had done his duty. Dara continued to dazzle and dinosaurs were not dead.
Dougal the dog would howl at the moon. But the moon never applauded. The three stray cats who lived near him would laugh at him, but he knew he had a talent. So one day he snuck into the Globe after one of the theatre productions and howled for the audience. They adored him. He became so popular that his ‘singing dog’ routine overtook the main plays. Unfortunately Dougal was killed by a crazed playwright who was seen patting the three cats just a day before. After that Macbeth was the most popular play at the Globe.
Today my reward is letting my subconscious write my story. I had a dream about seeing a singing dog in the Globe theatre.
Found this Wooden Lizard on a tree at uni, must have just been put up. Nice surprise.
Tree loves Lizard
Lizard loves Tree
Trees live longer than Lizards
Lizard stays with Tree till the end
In the last moment Tree grows around Lizard
Lizard and Tree will always be together
Today is my friend Georgia’s birthday (she even contributed the ever popular prompt for the poo story!). I love her dearly, and she loves cowgirls, so this is her birthday reward:
There was lots of crime round her dusty town. Scared, she’d disappear into her dreams of being a cowgirl. But she was a sleepwalker and every night she’d walk into the yard and clamber onto her cow, Daisy. Together they rode through the cold desert. No one messed with her or “Desert Daisy”, they thought she was a spirit, sent to scare criminals.
“Cows can’t walk through desert,” they’d say, “and the girl doesn’t even need to see!”
Daisy always returned her to the yard by morning, and she was none the wiser. But she did find it strange that everyone was suddenly making offerings to the cowgirl spirit, and now the store stocked whittled figurines of “action cows.”
Today I got an unexpected reward from my dad, he gave me two new words that he’d made up walking down the stairs.
Kajorfling – to overthink walking up or down stairs so much that you trip
Kajafle – to pretend you did not trip because you overthought walking
Kevin catches a couple kissing
Quietly creeps away
Curses the creaking stairs
Kajorfles down them
Kicks a kitten which cries
The couple come running
“Kink in the carpet” he kajafles
I had my story count wrong for a while- I’d been writing “Day 156” but luckily Michael corrected me: “Freya. Mate. 256.” Then he challenged me to write about all the lost stories.
Stories get lost all the time. If they are told and nobody else absorbs them, they go the world of lost words. I learnt this when I was told to a boy who didn’t speak English and wound up here. The words here are pretty tough. The most popular unheard stories usually band together. Two of the biggest word gangs are the unconfessed love group, and the teen poetry mob.
When I first moved here it was pretty depressing. There were so many unconfessed passions and half written novels. I’d spend most nights away from the cbd (where all the boring stories no-one ever listened to hang out). My favourite place was downtown, where a lot of the weird and wonderful fantasies gather. It was amusing at first but even this made me sad, there were so many unexplored passions and grotesque fetishes.
These days I’m not so worried. I’m friends with an impromptu car song, a story told by a child to his toy and words spoken to a deaf girl. Not all stories need to be heard, some definitely shouldn’t be heard, and the others? We’re here to appreciate them if they slip through the cracks.
By the way, I’ve painstakingly counted the words in every story since I started the challenge. In 258 Days I’ve written 32 155 Words and countless lost stories. I imagine they’re all hanging out together as I type this.
Today is Ekka wednesday- holiday time. It’s so lovely to be given a bit of time off in the middle of the week. Which got me thinking how great time is.
Gen says we are poor.
“Mum works two jobs just to buy us a future.”
I never really understand. Mum goes to work and I go to school with Gen. Gen is in year 8, her final year. Soon she’ll have to go to work too. One day I win a maths competition and I’m taken to compete against the other schools. I sit next to a boy my age in a posh uniform.
“Did your mum make you come too?” he asks.
“No, I like maths. So does my sister, she’s in year 8,” I say proudly.
“I have an older sister too,” he says, “she’s in year 20.”
His mum waves from the crowd, she looks about 200. Most people only live to 40 round my part of town, I’ve never seen someone so old. I look around, many parents in the crowd look to be 50 at least.
Years later, I’m at a maths competition for year 20s. I imagine mum waving from the crowd. She worked herself into the ground to buy us a future. Sometimes I think it would be better if she’d worked less and we all spent what little time allowance we’d had from the government, with each other. As it is, I’ve won a lot of time at maths competitions and working with Gen. We donate it to our old school and other families like ours. Now they’ve opened up year 11 and most people make it to 50.
Welly told me she’d love to hear a story about how all the bees are disappearing and how this potentially threatens all life on earth.
We have always been an ‘all or nothing’ colony. If you cross us, we’ll sting you with our dying breath.
But for too long we’ve stood by and watched as humans keep us locked up and take our honey, or seen our friends caught in spiders webs. Many of us have even lost our larvae to hungry badgers.
I say we fly to the stars, if humans can do it so can we. The path will not be easy, but we have designed star suits to help us get there.Earth life needs us, they will realise it when we are gone.
There is nothing left for us here. Let us find a home where we are appreciated or sting with our dying breath.
Hide from the ringing
Away from paper armies
A moment of calm
I am writing this on my lunch break. Lunch at work always feels like a big reward.
I went out with my friends last night for drinks and saw this incredibly flamboyant man in all white and silver with long blonde hair and the side of his head shaved. One of my favourite things to do is make up things about strangers, so immediately my friend suggested this stranger for a story.
Life was Eurovision. So Hans embodied Eurovision. He toured the world with his wind machine. Most people made fun of him. But one stinking hot day he landed in Brisbane. Everyone crowded round him and his wind machine. He was the coolest person in town.
Me and my friend rewarded ourselves by going to the movies only to find a huge line and miss the movie. Maddy suggested I write about it.
Everyone was in line
People cooked their food
No one ever asked why
Everyone is in line
It must be important
A friend says, “walk to the front”
“Find out what it is”
But I don’t
I walk away
Never look back
No need to know
I see things
Grass rippling in the wind
Most people have forgotten
No need for a line
On Dec 4th last year Matt sent me this drawing (with credit to Laura’s hand) for my series “Giant Diary.” (You can read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of giant diary here)
I’ve been saving this drawing for a rainy day because it looked so fun. It’s not raining but it is “reward august” so I am rewarding myself with using this drawing for today’s inspiration.
Rupert and Giant have found passion. Rupert and Giant are against human cruelty. We saving all kinds of humans now. Poor humans often try to climb nearby mountain, but humans getting stuck. Rupert suggest we build slide.
So Giant pick a few trees from garden. Giant hollow them, and build safety slide. Giant and Rupert save many humans.
After slide, even more silly humans are getting stuck up mountain. Giant catches humans at end of slide and puts humans back in town, but humans keep coming back. Poor humans. Still much human rights work for Rupert and Giant.
A few days ago I made treasure maps (the treasure was my story) and hid them in the library, as requested by Lucy.
The maps which told you how to find the stories were taken down that afternoon but not the stories. So I did them again and hid them better. Unfortunately yesterday they were taken down again (but the stories still remain). I was really disappointed- but not for my blog and not because no-one got to read the story. Then it finally dawned on me: I was sad because the whoever took them down wasn’t even a little bit curious about something called a “Library Treasure Map”. I am scared of people who aren’t curious about things (especially treasure), are they robots?
He froze time. Not literally of course, but he bred out the gene that produces curiosity and now nothing ever changes. No one wonders about their potential, no one really loves because they don’t really want to know about each other, and the music sounds the same because no one ever tries new beats. One day I found myself wondering why he did it, and I realised this was the beginning. I had the curiosity gene, I wondered if I could save us.
Reward for today? Just saw a young man with a ridiculous amount of talent called Chris Tamwoy perform at uni. Here is a video of him doing ridiculously talented things with a guitar (all self taught):
So today’s story is inspired by Chris, thanks for playing!
Fingers walk along the frets, unsure of exactly where they’re headed. But then they speed gamboling along the strings and dancing. This is the sound they’ve found their home.
Lucy challenged me to incorporate a treasure map into todays story. So I wrote a three part story and a map to find the three parts:
And then I hid them in the library where I am working today.
I hope someone finds it and gets back to me. In the mean time here is the story:
It always played hard to get. She chased it all around the library and even to the vending machine. Only when the deadline pressed hard on her shoulders did concentration finally come back to her.
I’d been so worked up about public speaking that I’ve realised I had no real concept of life after that day. All I thought about was surviving that 10 mins up on stage. Now I realise how stupid I am. Life goes on, and the 365 day challenge goes on… and on. Please send in your ideas for rewarding challenges! Silly fun creative things. What have you always wanted to do? What have you always wanted to read? Today I’m doing one for Rob.
The old man lays on his death bed. He’d always been slow, never did what you wanted and pretended not to hear you most of the time. To be honest I thought he was a bit of a dick. I always made jokes about him and we only spent time together because we had to. But the thought of him not being around sparked a strange sentimentality in me. I felt like a child who refuses to play with a toy but cries when you take it off them. I run my hand over his cold hard skin.
“Hang in there.”
He doesn’t reply. Trust him to pretend not to hear me even on his death bed. I’m going to miss that him. But then something happens, a light turns on behind his eyes and he reboots. Now we’re back working together, and he’s still a miserable old sod. Only clung to life because he didn’t want me to get the day off.
We always joke the printing computer is an old man- a few days ago the old man broke.
I’m still buzzing from yesterday, and my new theme is ‘reward’ so I’m using one of my favourite words from yesterday that didn’t make it into the story:
Doralimbo – (verb) Running under a sprinkler naked with a big smile on your face.
She wanted to wash the stress off her body. Today she would allow herself to just be. You’re okay, she said to herself as she stripped in the back yard. It was time to doralimbo.