The Birthday | a short story on Vision Australia Radio

Standard

“Next to the milk carton is the cake he bought last night from Patrick’s Patisserie. He went in last thing, twenty minutes before closing. The cakes are cheaper at the end of the day. The man that works there, who he’s always imagined may well be Patrick himself, was reading the newspaper, a crinkled morning edition that he was probably only just getting an opportunity to peruse. The man watched him from over the paper as decisions were made at the cake cabinet.”

My short story The Birthday will be broadcast on Cover To Cover on Vision Australia Radio this week. The program can be heard on analogue and digital radio in Australia, or streamed live online from any device anywhere in the world via the VAR website.

Broadcast times vary depending on how and where you’re listening. In Melbourne, tune your wireless to 1179 AM at 8 o’clock Friday evening (tomorrow), or catch the repeat on Sunday afternoon at 1.30, or hear the live stream at those times from the ‘Listen live in Melbourne‘ link on the website. You don’t have to be in Melbourne if you have an Internet connection!

A podcast will be available from the middle of next week (details to follow).

Cover To Cover is produced and presented weekly by Tim McQueen for Vision Australia Radio.

Advertisements

Lit on a Winter Afternoon

Gallery

From the Elwood Writers website comes a write-up of our recent winter literary soiree at St Kilda Library, an hour and a half of stories, Bach, and gourmet cheeses.

Elwood Writers

At the end of August, Elwood Writers held a literary soiree in the community room at St Kilda Library in Melbourne. The event provided an opportunity for us to present a curated program of short readings from our own work, and included fiction, memoir, and poetry.

Duo con Brio, with Monica Edwards on cello and Elwood Writers’ Jennifer Bryce on oboe, punctuated the proceedings with musical pieces by Bach.

We’ll provide more information on the work presented at the event over the next few blog posts. For now, wherever you are, happy reading and writing.

2018_08_25-ElwoodWriters_064 The writers.

All images HarrietClaire Photography

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we tell our stories, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

View original post

Barry’s Adelaide reflections

Standard

Trawling the Elwood Writers archives, I came across a blog post I’d forgotten I’d written around 2016’s Adelaide Festival. Much has changed since: Ubud came and went; the manuscript was completed; Australia finally implemented marriage equality, but not without a struggle that was damaging to LGBTIQ communities.
And now Adelaide 2019 is calling.

Elwood Writers

coffee-adelaideThe festival experience in Adelaide becomes richer with each visit. This year, I felt an initial restlessness during the events. I wanted to be away from the authors talking about their work, and to get in front of my own writing. To put my hands inside my manuscript and pull the guts out of it. To lay it all out, examine it closely, and put it back together again. This reaction, far from a complaint, is rather desirable. I’m travelling to Ubud next week to work on my manuscript, and I can be confident the trip will be one of industry and production.

A highlight of Writers’ Week: The Crow on Wednesday morning at the west stage. Max Porter, author of Grief Is The Thing With Feathers, converses with Jonathan Bate about the life and work of Ted Hughes. In the soothing dapples of soft early sunlight we listen, rapt…

View original post 217 more words

Maskers

Standard

‘How old are you?’ he asked.

‘How old do you think I am?’ she said.

She too was wearing a mask, so he had only clothing choices, posture, eyes, mouth, and voice to go on. She was tall. Her hair was thick and dark, though he wasn’t sure what that told him. ‘I’m no good at this,’ he said.

‘No good at what?’ Her voice clear, low, unhurried.

‘At ages. Guessing.’

‘You don’t have to answer,’ she said. ‘Keep it to yourself. However old you think I am, that’s how old I am.’

Later, still masked, on a couch in a different room, they drank bitter clear liqueur from tiny glasses. ‘Have you noticed,’ she said, ‘how I haven’t asked you about your age?’ She licked her lips. Her tongue was deliberate, and pinkly vibrant.

He said nothing, and nothing was expected, then after a while, ‘No, I hadn’t noticed,’ he said, ‘but I’m aware now.’ He thought some more then said, ‘I did notice that you didn’t query the relevance of my question.’

‘Which question?’ she said.

‘The one about your age.’ He thought he’d only asked her the one.

‘Didn’t I?’ she said, and perhaps she smiled. He detected for the first time a delicate perfume, hers, a hint of white flowers, and something else, something suggesting softness and marshmallow, and then it was gone, absorbed in the incense burning from another part of the building.

Later still, when he was alone with the realisation that they wouldn’t meet again, with the knowledge that she’d been accurate in calling their encounter a one-off, he was puzzled by an inability to recall the details of the mask she’d been wearing, other than its having definitely been a mask. Its shape, colour, texture and material, how it had been secured, all was lost and absent. All seemed important, particularly as he’d never once sighted her full face. This vagueness bothered him, and the bother would thrive and sometimes visit, surprising, as the years peeled away.

THE FINDING

Standard

… closed his eyes, slipped into a place. Into an easy unfettered place where a meadow slopes gradually down to a river. A narrow stretch of river through a town, old town, a university town. It’s summer, it’s evening. The air pale and yellow, viscous, an end of day light, settling. Trees, old buildings around. Medieval? He’s no expert. There’s a chapel. Means nothing, beyond its architectural beauty, compelling lines against the sky. The whole is more a sensation, a relief, but sometimes these call to be described and this is how it could be described. There’s not much more to say. An elusive episode. Something else. A word came to mind: infused. The yellow, perhaps, suggested the word. As if the air were infused with a gentle dye. Suffused might be more accurate, he’s not sure, but that wasn’t the word that came. What else? That’s it, really. Nothing more to remark on. The experience, call it that, though he never left his seat, didn’t last long. Barely enough time for him to register it. It’s as if it were trying to avoid capture or precise definition. But despite its brevity, he knows now that such a place exists and is accessible. He’s reassured by the possibility that it might find him again. He’ll wait.