My short story The House In The Sky will be read by Tim McQueen on Cover To Cover and broadcast on Vision Australia Radio this Friday, 2 November, at 8 PM (AEST), repeated Sunday 4 November at 1.30 PM (AEST).
Cover To Cover is produced and presented by Tim McQueen, and can be heard on the radio in Australia, or streamed online from anywhere in the world.
Radio frequency and other details and an online listening link can be found here:
The program will be available as a podcast shortly after broadcast.
… 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.
A one page ad in a glossy magazine: image of a man sitting in a brightly lit theatre, looking towards an empty stage that’s framed by deep red curtains. There’s no one else around. His feet are up on the back of one of the seats in front. The man’s in casual daytime clothes. He’s wearing the fragrance that’s being advertised, thinking over the events of the afternoon. He’s been rehearsing the actors in his new play. This is Sweden, perhaps, and the theatre is in the middle of a small Swedish town. But the actors, they’re not very good. Or they’re not quite right, although they were the best from the auditions. He feels differently to yesterday. Not one of the actors has given any indication of really understanding the material, and he’s worried that its message might be getting lost. If only he’d stayed in the city where he lived before. If only he was still in Stockholm. If he were in Stockholm, there’d be a larger pool of talent to choose from. Of course he’s considered the possibility that the play itself might be at fault in some way. That perhaps it’s a little abstruse in parts. There’s nothing to be done about that; the play can’t be rewritten. There’s nothing to be done now about any of it. In either case, whether towards the play or the actors, he’s aware that he’s harbouring less than kind thoughts, and he’d hate for the actors, or anybody else, to be privy to those thoughts. He closes his eyes and kneads his brow and silently berates himself. He’s tired, he’s doubtful. He’s had enough, for today. Head down, he becomes aware of a pleasant subtle scent. His cologne, upon his clothing. The quiet personal fragrance that develops many hours after the cologne’s application. A smell you can’t rush towards. He’s rarely aware of this, his scent. He likes it whenever he catches it. Unrushed, quiet, breathing. He forgets where he is, is briefly disarmed. He reopens his eyes. Enough of this ad. On, to the next page.
I’m delighted to be part of the line-up for this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival. For event information and to book tickets, visit the link below: