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Scripsi


Scripsi Ruyton Literary Publication

Volume 13: 2019

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Cover image

by Grace Nguyen (Year 9)


Contents ' Year

Author

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Lucy Alexander

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Elise Curry

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Ella Haddy

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Scarlett Norton-Illesca

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Jess Price

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Sunday Williams-Starkie

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Mia Andrewes

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Mia Andrewes

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Juliet Bland

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Ella Janes

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Juliet Lipchin

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Juliet Lipchin

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Laura Rosenthal

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Talia Giannarelli

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Esther Juebner

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Sarah Lardner

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Maya Marek

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Zara McGillivray

9

Stephanie Samouris

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Minduli Weeraman

Title My Family Time Humanly Different The Special Thing Alienated Untitled Fragments From A Table Untitled Speech Beneath The Apple Tree Untitled Speech Untitled Speech The Last Ones Untitled Speech The Baby Salem Witch Trials The Other Side Of Liberty Circles Cannot End Tuesday Of Last Week Another Appointment A Lonely Seoul An Intricate Spectrum

Page 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 17 20 22 25 27 30 33 35 37 39 42 46


Contents ‘ Year

Author

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Rosin Brennan

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Asha Jassal

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Elizabeth Kanterakis

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Ivy Luo

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Simone Lin

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Maddy Truong

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Maya Wilmshurst

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Jacqueline Du

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Jacqueline Du

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Angelyn Neoh

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Emma Sutherland

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Alice Wallis

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Alice Wallis

Title Coloured Black And White Bar Fight The Bald Eagle Peeling The Moments Off My Battered Wall Creative Response to Kate Grenville’s The Secret River A White Ghost Home Creative Response to Rear Window The Promotion Untitled Speech The Shifting Subject Matter of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Creative Response to Rear Window Beyond The Tree Line

Page 49 51 53 56

60 63 67 70 77 82 85 88 91


This year’s edition of Scripsi brings to the written page the imagination and empathy of students who are full of compassion, dynamism, and a powerful sense of justice. Their works have been written with a consideration of the power of language, and with a keen sense of the importance of telling stories, both for the sake of others and for the sake of expressing oneself. In a time when storytelling and the literary canon is challenged and re-imagined by a generation who have come to question its validity, Year 9 students this year learnt about the work and ideas of Chimanda Ngozie Adichie, who explained to her audience that ‘stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.’ Many of our students took this idea deeply to heart, and wrote powerful and empowering stories of the lives of those they imagined, and of their own lives, in ways that brought their experiences powerfully into the imaginations of others. This is perhaps the most remarkable thing about the works collated in this collection; that they capture so poignantly and so evocatively the capacity of young Ruyton students to share their lives, and also to enter into the imagined lives of other people. This edition of Scripsi sees students write delicately playful poems that imagine vivid memories of their own childhood, moving and powerful explorations of personal suffering and hardship, and stinging excoriations of the injustices they see in the world, some of them delivered memorably onstage in a recent Ruyton Assembly. These stories and these words are an inspiring reminder to those of us who teach these girls, who know these girls, and who only know them through their writing; that Ruyton girls are a force to be reckoned with, and that they have much to say. We can only hope they continue to say it so movingly, and powerfully as they have here. ‘

Editorial Joanna Boer Learning Leader, English

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My home is where I belong, I love everything there. I love tasting Mum’s cooking, Every room’s full of care. I love home, I always will, But family’s supreme, My mum, my dad, my siblings, Together we’re a team.

My Family Lucy Alexander

In my ups, downs, bends and turns, They make sure I don’t burst, They all keep me in one piece, Together we face the worst. Family is the clothing, And our house is the seam, Our home keeps us together, Together we’re a team.

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When a tragedy strikes us, And we all fall apart, We will all come back again, Cause home captures the heart. Together like an army, Together we believe, Together we’re family, Together we’re a team. ‘


‘The time-rich and the time-poor; which one are you?’ This seemed to appear everywhere, In the newspapers, in School, in everyday conversations. Girl didn’t know what either of those words meant, And she didn’t understand the fuss. ‘Adults’, she thought dismissively. But still... she wondered. Everywhere, people were reminded of something that Girl did not know. Something big, something bad. But the curious change in people was not what worried Girl, It was the timekeeper. He was growing old and slowly dying, And as it seemed, dragging the entire world along with him. But good things were happening too, People were slowing down. With the looming skyscrapers and constant buzz, this was a rare occurrence. If at all. People were beginning to see what Girl saw, hear what Girl heard, feel what Girl felt. Maybe this was nothing, maybe Girl was only hoping. But still... The steps leading towards the library were long and tiresome, but worth the while. Girl read, and read, and read, and then she understood. Maybe there was room for change, maybe there was still time. ‘

Time Elise Curry Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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The sky is grey, an empty soul That place in my heart is now a hole. The wind cries as it tumbles through me. I realise why we had to flee, I look down on the crumbling city Memories and stories forever with me Dry streets, cold winters Daytime fighting, massive splinters Rough weather against my skin The next part of my journey begins

Humanly Different Ella Haddy Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Runner-Up

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I woke up this morning, not a care in the world I skimmed over my texts then I smiled and twirled But something inside me was clearly not right Because when I carefully read this is I suddenly turned white I take this all for granted This safe land that I live in, it’s very enchanted My problems in life are really not bad Just like finding a charger or yelling at Dad I just need to take that time To be grateful for what is mine. ‘


Left alone in darkness pressed between others like me. Yet I don’t have a friend. I try to talk but nothing comes out. As I look at those beside me they seem to be waiting. Waiting for something, maybe something special. Every now and again a light appears. It appears over one of us. Each time this light comes, each time one of us is whisked into the light we wait. Wait for them to come back. And when they do, they come back dirty bruised. Nearly dead. Each time it seems to move closer and closer to me. Soon to shine over me, Then, It happens The light appears. But I have a different feeling. A feeling that this was not the special thing. As I move into the light I am grabbed by hands, jostled about and I am thrust further. Everything is a blur. Then, a sharp pain fizzes through me. Everything goes dark. I am no longer in existence. ‘

The Special Thing Scarlett NortonIllesca

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A single autumn tree in a forest of evergreens. Falling down, Green to brown. Fail to see beauty in the orange in-between.

Alienated Jess Price Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing

The green returns, The colour burns. But I am the same, No longer different.

Competition Winner

A tiny splodge of black in an artwork rainbow. Upside down, Smile to frown. No-one to understand the power of darkness.

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The paint is green, No longer seen. But I am the same, No longer different. A single human child in a world of spite. Spiralling down, Sadness and frown. The days of happiness try to strike a balance. Friends and a meeting, Sadness is fleeting. But I am not the same. Forever Alienated.

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No one knows what it’s like to be me, Because not even in my own mind am I free, I’ve tried to open my heart, But that would be to split my image in half. My mind and heart are a chasm that I must repair myself, Without others. I swore I wouldn’t need help. Everyday I polish the idea of ‘I’m fine!’ Although if they could see inside of me they would see that it’s a lie. But still I try. Everyday. The price I have to pay Is a great one. My happiness or theirs: The difference is that of a hair’s. But everyday the mundane reality sinks in. AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, And I look back and see where I’ve been, AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN, And everyday eats away at me And still people can’t see inside of me, And still my family blames me, And still people are afraid of me,

Untitled Sunday Williams-Starkie Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Runner-Up

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They’re framing me! Everyone of them knows! They all see the path ahead! They all know the way to go! THEY’RE FREE! BUT WHAT ABOUT ME? They think they see me But they’ll never see me. I keep what I keep inside of me Because it keeps safe those around me, But the broken bottle of my body will explode, If I continue to not let them know, LOOK OUT! I’M GONNA BLOW! But maybe it’s not real.

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Untitled

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Maybe my acting is becoming a reality, The fabricated drama piling up around me, And still my mind feels foggy, Still I can’t feel like me, FREE ME! PLEASE! But how can they? Maybe it’s up to me. After all, they can’t see. No one can see all that I see. ‘


You pass a black mesh veil over your eyes, and walk inside. The room is quiet but full, men and women seated around the table solemnly gazing at polished mahogany, not daring to look up and gaze at someone. You enter and clear your throat, just enough to draw the slightest bit of attention to yourself. That’s the way you’ve always been. Even in your darkest times, you still find a way to make everything about you. God! I want to slap you, to pummel you for all you’ve done. But at the same time I want to embrace you, put my face against your soft skin and cry into your bosom, cry for things lost, and see you in the same way as I saw you once. I entered in through my usual route, that day. I took a left, then a right, then another two lefts until I had worked my way into the complex mass of alleys. I soon reached the door, and opened it without hesitation, longing to feel that scent, to feel even before I had taken, the warmth which comes from being in such a place. I sat down and had my usual order, one dose of oblivion, a way of hiding from the world which follows you into even the tiniest nooks and crannies when you try to disappear. I brought the pipe to my lips and began my ordeal. You hesitate, unsure whether you should be at such at thing. It’s too late now though, the seance has already started, and besides spirituality is the flavour of the month. And… Could it be that part of the reason that you’re here is that you’re grieving my death? That a mother might miss her son? For you, I thought that would never happen. But now I’m not so sure. Is this just part of another performance, another show to bring pity to you. Or do you feel guilt, could it be possible searching for forgiveness? Your facade is starting to crack, mother. It’s a good look on you. Everything seems simple when you are young. You just have to take one step to make everyone gush over you. The simplest things are of the utmost fascination. Even youth seems simple. You keep having birthdays until you can count them on two hands. Relationships come easily and willingly. How things change. When you threw me out, I thought you were joking like all the other times. I slept on your doorstep that night. The fact that I was being removed for trivial things; not going to church, not getting married, and most of all that you had done your job and it was time for me to become a man. It is funny what happens when your home is suddenly ripped

Fragments From A Table Mia Andrewes Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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Fragments From A Table

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away. Your most primal instinct is to find home in another place. For me that was in opium. Sure, I’d dabbled in it before, everyone had, but never like this. It is one thing to dip your foot into the ocean, and another to jump completely in. I am not going to pretend like opium is romantic. It eats into you like nothing you’ve ever felt before, it reduces you to nothing whilst making you believe you are everything. I stayed with it because I knew it. Even when you hate something, when you have no one, there is a comfort in knowing that at least it’s there. I never meant to kill myself. It just happened. It is your moment now. The medium is getting ready to ‘communicate with the spirits’, whatever the hell that means. She says she can hear my voice. Someone under the table knocks to show my presence. What a joke. You are talking now, saying things I wish you could have said to my face, things which I never knew but so desperately hoped for. The whitewashed cottage sits at the edge of the estuary, where the wide mouth of the river meets the sea. Forlorn looking, it holds something impossible. A mother, and a son, standing there. Together. Properly together. Most religions believe that when you die you go to paradise. But this is only a tale from a book. The truth is much more complex. I forgive you mother, I can hear you. But I’m afraid to be near you. Let the truth lie with the dead. It’s better that way. ‘


Dr Amjad Hamid, 57 years old. Ansi Alibava, 25 years old. Sayaad Milne, 14 years old. Mucad Ibrahim, 3 years old.

Untitled Speech Mia Andrewes

I am from New Zealand. My family all come from a tiny speck in the North Island called Opononi. New Zealand is my safe space. Some of my friends are there, my family’s there, my peace of mind is there. To me, and to many others, New Zealand is a safe haven that has been described as ‘a great place to raise a family’; a social laboratory for progress and equality. International celebrities buy properties there because it is so safe, refugees have left war-torn countries and find a peaceful and cohesive place there. So when on the 15th of March 2019 I started seeing news alerts talking about a possible mass shooting in Christchurch, I couldn’t believe it. Mohammed Imran Khan, 47, Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58, Linda Armstrong, 65. The major newspapers ran headlines: ‘The end of our innocence’. ‘New Zealand’s darkest day’. How could this happen? But as more, and more information came to light, it became more apparent: why did we choose to ignore the factors that led to this– the words, ideas, organisations and ideologies that underwrite hatred?

What Matters Writing Competition Orator Of The Year Winner

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Ashraf Ali, 61. Syed Jahandad Ali, 34. Mian Naeem Rashid, 40. In Australia, George Christensen, a senator has attended far right rallies promoting white nationalism and the harm of Muslims. Tony Abbott, our former Prime Minister said that islamophobia has never killed anyone. Peter Dutton, our Immigration Minister, called Lebanese immigration a mistake. And, of course, Fraser Anning called for the ‘final solution’ when talking about Muslim immigrants. The ‘final solution’ was a phrase used by the Nazis to call for the slaughter of Jewish people. These people saying these things are our elected officials: people who are supposed to hold the best interests at heart for the whole country, people who are supposed to represent everyone as citizens. These are the people who speak words and the entire nation listens. And they are choosing to spread a sentiment of hatred and one which divides the very heart of our society.

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Untitled Speech

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Tariq Omar, 24. Mathullah Safi, 55. Farhaj Ahsan, 30. As children we were told that ‘sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt me’. This is not true. Words can do more harm to relationships, entire towns, cities, states, and countries by planting ideas, corroding social bonds and planting seeds of doubt or hatred or simply misinformation. This can be very subtle or blatant. In the last year, the Murdoch press published 3,000 articles vilifying Muslims, 1,800 of which were cover stories. Let’s presume that all of these stories were 800 words long. That’s 2,400,000 words seeping in public conscience, changing neurological pathways word by word until a seed is planted in a mind. Until we become immune to the racism and the ideas and language becomes normalised. Until the readers of these newspapers have planted the seeds in someone else’s mind and that extremism is spread. Headlines like, ‘this means war,’ openly incite the very violence they are claiming to condemn. Kamel Darwish, 38. Shahid Suhail, 35. Abdelfattah Qasem, 60. So all of this means that words have impact. The Christchurch shooter didn’t act alone. He had been inspired by the words and actions of the Charleston shooter, the Utoya shooter, the Pittsburgh shooter, and so many others. The news reported today that he may have had connections with a right-wing extremist in Austria. When some Murdoch owned Australian media decided to broadcast the manifesto of the Christchurch killer, they contributed to the mass of hatred. When our politicians choose to vilify to minorities, they contribute to the mass of hatred. When someone makes a racist joke, they contribute to the mass of hatred. We should be better. Musa Vali Suleman Patel, 60. Ramiz Arifbhai Vora, 28. Ozair Kadir, 24. Throughout this speech I have chosen not to say the gunman’s name. He did this seeking to gain notoriety and increase hatred, and he should not be rewarded. Instead I have chosen to say the victim’s names. This matters. Words matter. Because, as Jacinda Ardern has said, not only do words carry the ability to harm, they also have the ability to carry love. ‘

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The Church was alive with joy. Brownstone walls arched to the sky, delicately carved with swirls and flowers. Light, streaming in through high windows, filling the pews with her glorious roseate rays, made dust look like fairies, floating through the air. White roses, spilling from the walls like water, echoed the dress of the woman who would soon glide down the aisle. The word woman felt strange when in comparison to her sister. Sister was an understatement, she was her world. Her sister, forever the five-year-old, jumping from the branches of their old apple tree, singing as she fell. They had spent every dawn and dusk around that tree, its branches embraced them, in winter’s frost and summer’s heat, it was always there. She remembered the first time she had seen Darcy, her little fairy. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, as she passed through the pristine corridors into a small room, her mother was on the bed. Darcy was in a cradle by the window. She remembered, as she opened the door, her jaw dropped. She was the smallest, most beautiful thing in the world and nothing else mattered. Asleep, Darcy didn’t care that the woman she would grow to rely most on was holding her for the first time, just another pair of hands, rocking her like waves on the sea. They had grown up to be inseparable. Meek, quiet, lovely Estelle and adventurous, enthusiastic, slightly extravagant, beautiful Darcy. Darcy fell, she caught, Darcy laughed, she smiled. Their mother could never really give them the attention they needed, she loved her children, out of duty, but whether she liked them was never quite clear. Father was more of a ghost than a man, he never really existed as their guardian, and on the rare occasion of a conversation (more than just head shakes and grunts), their discussions were limited to school, expectations and the continued order of ‘quiet’. So, they had each other. She was Darcy’s mother and father and sister, and the love she got back was enough to keep her going. Life progressed, and on the mountain they were climbing, a cliff edge appeared in the distance, and as Estelle followed a different path, Darcy kept skipping straight ahead. Darcy, unlike Estelle, fitted into being out of place. She was perfect at being unique, unique at acting perfect. To ‘friends’ she was quirky and different, not the beautiful, flawed girl Estelle loved. They say time changes people, but she always thought people change people. Or maybe it

Beneath The Apple Tree Juliet Bland Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Winner & Boroondara Literary Award Competition Winner

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Beneath The Apple Tree

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was just that her little fairy was growing up. Parties. Late nights. Boyfriends. Fights. Screaming. Crying. Every day, inching closer and closer to the edge. Slipping further into darkness. An invisible wall separated her from taking Darcy’s hand before the girl she had once been faded. Darcy falling, she couldn’t catch her. Falling too fast into fate. Laughing in the face of Death, forgetting he could snatch her away at any second. Falling, falling, falling. Then he came. Out of the darkness. Flying through the night like a silver star. He saved her. Grey to gold. Love. As pure as sunlight blossomed. Hardy was the light to her sky, the colour to her world. He was the only one, of those who cared, who could steer her away from the rocks. He made her smile, in joy and gloom, and loved her, even when she cried. And today, music echoed through the eaves as the door swung inwards, revealing a girl. Perfect joy lit her eyes like stars. But it wasn’t Darcy. It would never be Darcy. Because Death carried her away into the stars, not a knight in shining armour. Another girl was walking down the aisle, just another friend, another face. Maybe she had her own story. Her own pain. But she wasn’t Darcy. She wasn’t her little fairy, her sister, who had consumed her life for so long. She had let her fall, too afraid of pushing her away to pull her in. A joy ride gone wrong, a fight, something. It didn’t really matter. She was gone. Forever. She could have stopped her, held out her hand, Darcy would have fallen into her arms and have been safe. But that wasn’t Darcy, she was never one to settle for safety, when there was a mystery lurking behind a corner. Always more like thunder than a cloud. But Darcy would always be there. When the wind blew through the trees she heard her voice, in the rush of water she heard her laugh, water in sunlight would reflect her smile.


The stars, her eyes. And even if Estelle had never been there for Darcy, Darcy would always be there for Estelle. Around every corner. And once she had done everything Darcy would never get to do, grow up, fall in love, travel the world, enjoy the wisdom of old age, smile back at their childhood together, she would be with her again. And just like the first time she had gazed at her clear face, she knew that that feeling of joy she had found in her love for this girl, would never leave her. Her little fairy beneath the apple tree. Her joy. ‘

Beneath The Apple Tree

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Untitled Speech Ella Janes What Matters Writing Competition

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Who are the most loving, the most caring, and the oldest people in your life. The people who do things with you, they cook the best things for you and they tell you the best stories. Good morning Year 8s and teachers. Today, I will be talking to you about grandparents. You have to agree with me that grandparents are one of the best things in life. Specifically, why are they the best, why should we listen to their stories and the things they tell us, and why should we treasure them? My goal today, is to open your eyes, and open your heart even more to your grandparents. I’d like to start by saying thank you to someone. With only a couple of sentences, he changed my ways. He said to spend time with your grandparents, to go on walks with them and to listen to them. This person made me realise that grandparents are not like the rest of the family. They are special in a way that you aren’t going to live your whole life with them. Walter Zavattiero, you opened my eyes. You made me realise that life is short, and even shorter for grandparents. Jay Kesler, the current President Emeritus of Taylor University in Indiana once said, ‘Young people need something stable to hang on to – a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.’ I like this quote because it shows us that grandparents are like the building blocks to every child. They connect you to your ancestors, they help you learn and grow, and they love you, like we love them. My Nanna always tells me stories at least a hundred times over and over. If she ever asks me if she’s told me a certain story before I always say ‘no, you haven’t’ even though she had, it brings us both joy every time she tells another one of her stories. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a weekend with my grandparents and spent an hour talking with my Nanna on the swing in the backyard. I enjoyed every minute of it. I’d heard the many stories that she tells at the dinner table or when we’re cleaning up, but that day, I learnt more things about her past that I didn’t know before. I learnt that my Nanna and Papa had tea with the Governor. I never would have known that and all the other things, new things, if I didn’t spend that time sitting on the swing with her. If you don’t listen to your grandparents tell their stories, you miss out on a lot. So, if you don’t already, start now. It’s not too late. You never know how long grandparents will be around. My Papa


has recently been showing signs of dementia. On some days you can have a nice conversation with him, but on others, he can’t remember where to put the milk. He was a really smart man. He was a physicist and taught physics at university. So it’s really hard for my family and I to watch him get more forgetful. My regret is that I didn’t spend a huge amount of time talking with him. We played chess together, but I’m not sure I can do that anymore. So I’ve learnt that the important thing is to enjoy every moment with them, listen to them, do things with them, and most importantly, treasure them. Treasure them because they are special, because they are your elders and because you love them. Lexie Saige once said, ‘sometimes our grandmas and grandpas are like grand-angels.’ I agree with this completely. See your grandparents as grand-angels, and treasure them with all your love. Trust me, it will feel awesome. To conclude, grandparents are one of the greatest things in life. You never know how long they will be around so it is really important to understand why they are the best, why you should listen to all the wonderful stories of their past, and why we should treasure them with all your love. Thank you for listening and I hope I opened your eyes and your heart more towards your grandparents. ‘

Untitled Speech

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Untitled Speech Juliet Lipchin What Matters Writing Competition

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We Should Fear The Evolution Of AI

Would you put your life in the hands of a total stranger? Well, we do it every day. When we drive a car, we trust that people will follow the rules on the road. When we fly in an aeroplane, we trust the pilot not to crash. When we eat at a restaurant, we trust the chef not to poison us. We trust all these people not because we know the drivers in the car, or the pilot in the plane, but because we live in a society where human behaviour is governed by rules and conventions. Now let’s replace the car driver with a self-driving program, an AI program. If that self-driving car crashes, who do we hold accountable? Who, or rather what, do we trust then? If we can trust these people, can we trust a robot, or specifically, Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the same way? We should fear the perverse and unintended consequences of AI evolution. Firstly, AI is another industrial revolution, and by comparing it to past industrial revolutions we can observe how disastrous it will be for everyday life. Secondly, AI has the ability to evolve beyond the goals of humanity, posing a serious existential threat to us. Finally, I will ask you all, what separates man from machine?... how love and empathy form the basis for our lives, relationships, work and play. Machines do not, cannot possess this human power and so we should fear, mistrust and seriously reconsider our investment in the development of AI. AI is a new industrial revolution. And on the one hand, some people might argue that society is improved by industrial revolutions. I mean, from this point of view, we should presumably embrace AI technology. However, let’s take a step back and look at the real implications of so called progress across history. What is the cost? Who suffers? We do. Everyday people. Time and time again. The fear is justified. The mistrust is justified. Let me unpack this for you. Steam and water power brought in the first industrial revolution, increased trade, people movement and migration while threatening the safety, the health and conditions of workers. And then the invention of electricity in the second industrial revolution made

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mass production possible, but also saw an expansion of slavery, worker exploitation and gross inequity between the rich and poor. The third wave saw the development of IT systems and electronic technology, characterising our increasingly globalised modern world. And yet, we see thousands of children and women essentially enslaved in sweatshops working for pennies right now. All three revolutions threatened everyday workers while only creating more efficient production processes for big business owners and wealthy, arrogant elites. Time and time again, we suffer. Regular people. Regular workers. Families like mine and yours. And now, right now, we have a serious concern when it comes to job security. Data entry jobs can be done in seconds, undermining an important system of practice and training we have established. Even more advanced jobs like paralegals, doctors, accountants and bankers are, right now, being replaced by AI technology that makes assessments and judgment on the lives of all of us. Sure, we will see a significant jump in productivity. However, at What Cost? It’s not just jobs. We must also consider the theoretical sentience AI will inevitably develop. Sure, we must remember that we control and program AI software right now. But soon, this might no longer be the case. On a theoretical level, the rise of AI is a rise of AI competence. The question, here is, what happens when highly intelligent AI software, that has replaced our lawyers, replaced our doctors, controls our cars… and schools … and hospital, begins to develop goals that are misaligned with humanity’s? This is where I ask an important question to all of you.

Untitled Speech

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What differentiates machine from man? It’s Love. It’s Empathy. Fundamentally, a society is driven by love and emotions, permeating throughout our relationships, work, and governance. And this difference is important. A human can see the beauty in imperfection. AI that has never experienced and lived in the real world, felt the thrill of a new friendship, the stress of a new job, or the pain of losing a loved one cannot be allowed to euthanise a patient, sentence a supposed criminal or teach a class. We should fear the development of AI because we cannot lose our humanity. We cannot lose what binds us together. Love,

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Untitled Speech

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empathy and our ability to empathise with even a stranger binds a leader to their country and a daughter to her family. We should fear AI technology. Reconsider artificial intelligence. Remember what makes us who we are. ‘


Maya opened her eyes. It was black. Pitch black and silent. She tried to move her fingers and toes but they were frozen in place. She tried to scream but her mouth was shut tightly. Dry and parched.

The Last Ones Juliet Lipchin Isobelle Carmody Award

What’s happening? I’m soaked. I’m floating in water.

For Creative Writing Competition

Maya felt trapped between the bodies of a hundred other desperate refugees, lying together like sardines in a jar, pickling in the salty ocean water that was beginning to slowly creep up the hull of the boat. Suddenly she was blinded by a bright white flash. Then a longer flash lighting up the whole ocean. A booming roar of thunder echoed from above. Screaming voices jumbled together creating a hurricane almost as deafening as the storm above her. Every splash of icy cold water felt like the ocean was firing arrows straight at her. Her head was pounding so hard. Every beat getting faster and faster and faster. Flashes of white tipped the mountainous waves as though they were reaching for the moon’s light only to fall back down again to the depths and despairs of the ocean floor. They reminded her of the mountains back home. Maya knew they couldn’t have come all this way just to die now. The boat was tossed from side to side by the tempestuous wind. Every wave threatened to overturn it plunging them deep underwater. Maya prayed that she would survive. Maya’s mind was blank. Empty and deserted. She felt like she was the only person alive, staring into a never ending sea of bodies. Into a never ending cold and black ocean. Maya looked around. She searched for her mother and brother but everyone looked the same. She tried to scan the sea of bodies but it was too chaotic. She couldn’t see anything. The waves were like barriers. Everytime she thought she saw something she was pushed away and thrown underwater by a wave or a piece of floating debris. Someone floated by her. ‘Mum?’ Maya counted down from three as she turned the limp and lifeless body over and revealed its face. She hoped and prayed that she wouldn’t see her mum’s face. Her flawless skin and big brown eyes staring at her. Frozen open forever. Maya turned the body over. It wasn’t her mother. She let go and it floated away. ‘Maya!’ A scream. Maya couldn’t tell where it was coming from. She heard it again. She knew that voice. She turned toward the sky and screamed, ‘Eli!’ Her eyes fought icy rain and beating wind to look for him. ‘Follow my voice I’m coming!’ Maya was trying to be

Honourable Mention

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The Last Ones

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brave. She was trying to sound strong for Eli but she knew he could hear the fear in her voice. The way it trembled ever so slightly. Where was he? ‘Maya help me–’ Maya knew her brother couldn’t swim. She saw his flailing arms trying to hold onto a small piece of debris that had snapped off the side of the boat. ‘Maya help him!’ Mother. Maya’s eyes lit up. Her mother meant everything to her. Ever since her father died for disagreeing with the Taliban, Maya has just had her mother. She couldn’t lose her too. She looked over to her, balanced precariously upon the edge of a wooden plank that must have broken off the boat. Her feet being pushed further off it with every wave. ‘Mother wait!’, ‘Do what I say Maya’, Her sentence was cut short as she disappeared off the edge. Like a cliff face, she was flung off. Maya watched her mother in her last seconds, battling the rough pull of the waves, counting the time between each time she was pulled under and appeared again until her head disappeared under the waves forever. ‘Mum! No. Please come back. I need you’. She was yelling at nothing. She was gone. ‘Maya help me!’ Eli’s voice pulled Maya back to reality. ‘I’m coming Eli!’ She flung herself with all her might into the water. Maya lifted up her brother and they clung with all their strength to the floating debris. She turned her head to look at Eli. His lips were dry and cracked and his hair strewn across his face, his eyes red from crying. Maya and Eli floated for what felt like hours but was probably only moments. The storm began to give way to a warm glow. The air around her thickened as the sun’s rays warmed the ocean. She could feel her skin beginning to blister and there was a trickling sensation in the small of her back as beads of sweat began to gather. Thump. Maya looked up. ‘Eli the life raft!’ She pushed Eli into the boat, following him up into the minimal safety the craft offered. Maya felt her heart rate slow. They sat together for a while before Eli said the one thing Maya had been dreading. ‘Maya, where is mum?’ Maya had to hold her tears back. ‘Don’t worry. We’ll see her again Eli.’ Tears streamed down her face as she embraced her brother and they cried together as the sun rose above them. ‘


Every minute 24 people are forced to flee their homes, that’s 34,000 people a day. There are 65 million refugees in the world today. I will be talking today about the global refugee crisis. Described by M. Francois Hollande (former president of the French Republic) as the most serious crisis the United Nations has encountered since it was created.’ Australia, as well as the rest of the world, is not doing enough to help refugees and asylum seekers. As defined by the Care organisation, ‘A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.’ Similarly, an asylum seeker is somebody who is seeking international protection. When they apply for asylum, they apply for the right to be called a refugee and get legal protection in another country. They aren’t just the things you see in the news. They are real people. They are real families, who want protection. They are real girls like you and me, who would not in their own country have the rights we all do in this room. Who don’t have that security of having a safe place to call home, that we all take heavily for granted. Australia’s response has historically been extremely disappointing having only resettled 170,000 refugees in the last decade which is less than 0.5 percent of people in need of protection. Thats half of one percent. In 2012 Australia began enforcing offshore processing for refugees and asylum seekers at either Manus or Nauru Islands. Overall 3,500 refugees have been processed by these centres, and there have been significant concerns raised about abuse of the inmates and breaching basic human rights. It costs our government about one billion dollars yearly to keep these centres open. By using these offshore detention centres it completely neglects the situation and reflects the laziness of the Australian government, that it would rather pay excessive amounts of money, than host refugees. The purpose of these camps is to keep the refugees there until they can find other countries to put the refugees into, and Australia has made costly deals with other countries that have seen only a limited number of refugees resettled. In fact, our government paid 40 million dollars to the Cambodian Government for as it turned out, only seven refugees. This is our tax money. This is what could’ve been spent on schools, military aid and other important things.

Untitled Speech Laura Rosenthal What Matters Writing Competition Orator Of The Year Runner-Up

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Untitled Speech

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By contrast, there has been some improvement in the way refugees already in Australia have been processed, with a focus on getting children out of detention centres and into community detention. As of December 2018 only four children remain in detention centres, which is a marked improvement from over 2000 in 2014. This change has been brought about mainly by community awareness and public opposition. But Australia still needs to shoulder more of the global responsibility for this crisis. Over 85 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. For refugees it is easier and quicker to flee to neighbouring countries which in the case of Syria are Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt and in the case of Myanmar is Bangladesh. Only 2 percent of refugees have been offered resettlement in countries other than those above. In fact currently in Lebanon, one in every five people living there is a Syrian refugee. These developing countries cannot cope with the increase in their population. Two thirds of these refugees are living below the poverty line and without basic sanitation and adequate housing. This has put enormous amounts of pressure onto these developing countries which already have their own issues and has caused tension among their population. Outside of the region, Germany and Sweden have taken the bulk of displaced people, whilst other countries have tightened their border controls. Physical fences have been put up around the borders of Hungary and the Czech Republic designed to keep refugees out. This leads people to attempt the dangerous sea crossings to other countries in illegal boats and each year more than 2,500 people die attempting these journeys. We must even out the burden across all countries, not just for financial aid, but for homes and safe communities for these displaced people. The majority of the refugees are coming from just five countries. If we, as a world can act together to force these governments to improve the safety of their own residents, we can reduce the number of displaced people dramatically. We cannot let our government use fear as a tool to try and divide our community and we need to share and utilise our ‘boundless plains’ with the most vulnerable of people. The refugee crisis is a global problem on a massive scale. We need to do more than just offer financial aid to countries absorbing


most of the refugees by offering more resettlement. In the long run even this won’t be enough until we get to the root of the problem. As a global community we need to find solutions within the affected countries and stand together, as global citizens to ensure that change happens. ‘

Untitled Speech

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The Baby Salem Witch Trails Talia Giannarelli Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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Lucy unlocks the front door and steps inside the house. I tentatively follow. It feels so empty without all the furniture; so quiet and cold. ‘It’s so strange’, I start, ‘that you are leaving this place, and never coming back’. We climb the stairs and get to a large open space, decorated only by two large windows. She gasps and snatches up my wrist. ‘The gaming room! remember all the games we played?’ ‘You mean, the games the boys played whilst we watched’. ‘Remember when you asked to play? And Ethan called you a sorcerer or something?’ A pause. ‘He called me a witch, Lucy…’ ‘Oh, yeah,’ she laughs, we started chanting. ‘That was hilarious. You were so weird’. I swallow. ‘Yeah…I guess I was’. ‘

That chant happened when I was about nine or ten years old; and with me being an unpopular yet friendly young girl, who didn’t know the difference between jokes and facts, made me too easy a target for humiliation. When you don’t already have any friends, the last thing you want to hear is the sound of your older brother’s sniggering blending with the deafening shouting of his partner-incrime. Especially when you were only at their house to play in your respective rooms: the boys in the main gaming room; and the girls in the sister’s bedroom, consumed within the blissful naivety of their endless youthful imagination. Or that’s where we would have been if I hadn’t decided to ask for a turn. ‘Can I have a turn?’ My request travels from the couch to their ears, yet is promptly clouded by their thunderous laughter. I ask again. ‘Hey, can I have a turn?’ And that was when the stake was hoisted for my trial. They look over their shoulders to face the unexpected request. ‘Please?’ I add. ‘You what?’ That blatant response slaps me across the face and leaves me with a dumbfounded look. ‘I… want to play’.


They look at each other, blank-faced, searching for the best punishment for my outlandish crime. A sort-of telekinetic conversation happens before my lowering height and self-esteem; and then they look back at me, the devil’s grin plastered across both of their faces. ‘Sure’, my brother says inquisitively, ‘come and sit here’. He stands up and gestures to the bean bag he rose from. I trot over, slightly unsure yet pleased with the answer they gave me. I sit down and face the huge TV, which towers over me. My eyes scan the colours and text across the screen, trying to make sense of it all. My head aches from the overload of visuals, yet I convince myself to trust and follow their lead. I don’t hear them whispering and fiddling behind me, yet their last snicker snaps me from my thinking. I look over my shoulder. ‘How do I play?’ My brother’s friend snaps the controller shut and shoves his hand into his pocket. He smiles, but it doesn’t seem friendly. I ignore it. ‘Take this.’ He throws the controller into my arms and I only just manage to catch it within my fumbling hands. By the time I am able to steady both myself and the controller, the boys have moved from the couch to either side. ‘Are you ready to play?’ they say, in unison. ‘N-no… I don’t know what to press’, I stammer, growing uncomfortable. ‘Press the ‘X’ to start’, is the only response I get. I follow their instructions blindly, and wait for the screen to change. It doesn’t. ‘Why didn’t it do anything?’ I ask. The boys turn to face me, their mouths wide open, and rising to seem ever so slightly taller. ‘What did you do?’ my brother yells in one ear. ‘Did you break it?’ his friend shouts in the other. What is happening?, thoughts frantically jump around my mind. I did what they told me to do, yet I’m being blamed? What did I have to do with it? ‘I didn’t do anything!’ is all I manage to force out. The controller is yanked out of my shaking hands as I am thrown

The Baby Salem Witch Trails

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The Baby Salem Witch Trails

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backwards into the beanbag, the boys jumping up to a standing position. I face the ceiling, unable to move out of fear. The friend opens up the back of the controller, gasps, and shoves the controller towards my face, showing me the empty battery slots. ‘Look what you did!’, the controller dances in front of my eyes, out of focus. ‘You stole the batteries to make us look stupid!’ Words struggle to form in my mouth, so I am left aggressively shaking my head. My brother pushes me. ‘What do you mean “no?” Did you use magic to make the batteries disappear?’ His friend’s eyes light up. ‘That’s what she is!’ He stares me down with the most smug grin I’ve ever seen. ‘She’s a witch!’ He chucks the controller onto the couch and raises his hand above his head, pumping his fist as he stomps on the carpet. ‘She’s a witch! She’s a witch!’ My brother joins in: matching actions, tone of voice, and smirk. I enter a state of panic, yet receive one reasonable thought that convinces me to get up onto my unstable feet. If I can get to Lucy’s room, I can play with her – and everything will be alright. That single hopeful mantra gets my body up and moving towards my asylum. I walk the few steps, which seems so much longer, to the door – yet as I go to open it, the handle moves by itself and the door opens up to a young girl: pumping her fist, stomping her feet, and chanting that dreaded phrase, straight to my face. The girl I thought was my friend had caught on to this untrue declaration of my inhumanity, led by her older brother – her seemingly positive role mode. She knew that I was innocent and kind – we were close friends – yet still succumbed to the pressure of the older boys? What happened to our friendship? ‘Lucy?’ I whisper, growing more terrified by the second. She doesn’t hear me. I stumble back, now deafened by the sound of their chanting, and practically fall down the staircase, to the only refuge I had left. I run into the tiny bathroom, slam, and lock the door shut, with hands shaking so badly I could power a house with the energy I am producing. My body collapses to the floor, sobbing, tired and small. Why can’t I be normal like them? ‘


The day Abba closed the store, grey clouds rumbled and Lord Indra cried, sending down thunderous rains. I sat on a cardboard box packed with cardamon pods and watched as the flashing LED lights that read ‘open’ switched off, never to turn on again. I snuck a packet of jalebi into my pocket and looked outside to the street where the occasional car would whizz past and a truck would honk its horn, carving through the wall of rain. Abba cleared the register of any final coins, pulled out an envelope and slid the change in. He then took a pen from the counter and wrote ‘Akshay and Chitra Sharma, Flat 12/1008 Chandra Block, Hyderabad.’ Turning over the envelope, he wrote our address in Goulburn, New South Wales. Just from the look on his face, I could tell he would be writing to my grandparents, he was stone faced and his brows furrowed. He sealed the envelope and stared at the line of Ganesha statues that ran the length of the counter, each priced at one dollar fifty, not a single sold. I reached into the packet of jalebis and took a bite of the last one, letting its rosy taste whisk me away for a minute. A second. The rain eased outside, and like snails coming out of their shells, people began to walk the streets again. A young couple stopped out front of the store and peered inside the fingerprinted glass. I could hear their hushed tones as they spoke between themselves. ‘This place was never gonna make it, what can I do with garam masala?’ ‘Goulburn’s no place for an Indian grocer.’ The woman smirked, shaking her head, the man looked blankly at the store. I’m not sure if they couldn’t see Abba and I inside or if they were just ignoring us. Abba’s head was turned towards the store window. He had heard them too. He fiddled with the faded invoices on the counter and put out the incense that had been burning. His hands shook. I could see the tears in his tired eyes, only thinly veiled by his steely resolve. ‘What can you do with garam masala’, he mumbled under his breath. I did a final check of the aisles, running my hands over the empty shelves, letting them bump along the metal ridges. Abba took over telling me to check the counter. ‘Abba, the Ganesha statues are still here.’

The Other Side Of Liberty Esther Juebner Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Winner

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The Other side of Liberty

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He wandered over, ‘Mishka, put them into a smaller box near my bag, they will be perfect for Christmas gifts.’ ‘What do we care about Christmas?’ ‘Mishka, please.’ I complied, sensing his frailty. I placed the box of Ganeshas next to Abba’s bag and proceeded to move boxes of produce into the car. Within an hour the store was bare and the car packed with its contents. I sat in the front, Abba’s bag on my lap and feet up on a box full of coriander seeds. Abba got into the driver’s seat, touched the photo of our Guruji on the dashboard before starting the engine. We drove in silence, bathed in the smells of aromatic spices and incense, from the carpark to the street front. Here Abba got out of the car, taking the key off his key ring and slid the key under the door, ready for the landlord to collect the next morning. He then gazed at our sign, ‘Sharma Trading and Co.’ and to the words he had written on the door, ‘All goods newly imported from India!’ Imports, I thought to myself. That’s what this whole car was full of, myself included. The whole way home he stared solemnly at the road before us. I gazed at the mala which hypnotically swung from the rear view mirror. One street from home, we passed the carpark of a large supermarket. People, like ants to nectar, moving in and out of the complex, arms buckled with bags. Abba’s eyes met the scene and his breath disappeared. I replayed the words of the lady passing our shop in my head, ‘Goulburn’s no place for an Indian grocer’. I quickly turned on the CD player to a Mukesh Foji song, interrupting his tearing thoughts. As the lights turned green, we pulled into the driveway where we now lived and the car came to a halt. We both sat in silence. My father, a strong man and one I looked up to, seemed beaten, damaged, hurt. He reached for his wallet, pulled out the store’s business card and slid it into the ashtray. Tears ran down his cheeks. I reached for his hand and squeezed it. The following week, Abba walked into his first shift at ‘White and Bright Laundry and Linen Service’, Goulburn. ‘


‘3.1415’, the teacher began as she directed our eyes to the board. I never understood the point of learning this. I never understood maths and I hated it. I have always liked circles. Or maybe hated them. I could never tell. They are endless. No way of determining a start or endpoint, they simply just are. I think I like that. People also say there is a number that describes a circle, this number is endless, always another possible digit. It’s somehow infinite, yet how is something infinite if it can expand? I think I hate that. Maybe this is why I love night so much, because of the moon. The moon is so rough, littered with craters and uneven surfaces. Yet from Earth it is a perfect circle. Seen so beautiful and effortless by everybody. People hate darkness. Black. ‘Maya!’ The girl who is next to me exclaimed as her eyebrows went to her forehead. She signalled at me to the teacher, and I was brought back to the sharp reality of eighth grade. ‘Well,’ The teacher declared ‘do you have the answer?’ ‘I– I don’t know miss’, and returned my head to the textbook, shoulders collapsed. ‘Maybe if weren’t dreaming as much you would know; pay attention Maya.’ She proposed as her eyes turned back to meet the screen. The bell rang the usual song and as per routine, my feet carried me into the bathrooms. A face I didn’t recognize glared at me in the mirror. Her eyes were harsh and her skin black. She didn’t have long blond hair or even a hint of auburn, the pupils in her eyes were not the colour of the sea or sky, but instead, they were empty. She was not worthy of possessing such beautiful traits. My head returned to the familiar clasp of my hand and my body was submitted to the surrounding comfort of cubicle four. It’s not that I don’t want to go outside. I can’t. Other students had never been mean to me, never called me names or hit me, but rather it was the absence of things. Never has someone hastily run to save me a seat beside them, never asked if I could sleepover at their house, never run up to me after the weekend ready to tell me the unhoused secrets they had uncovered from their dreamy neighbour. Some people are even

Circles Cannot End Sarah Lardner Boroondara Literary Award Competition Winner

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Circles Cannot End

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nicer to me because I am different. Pity. The saying hello to me in the corridor not because they want to be friends, but they want to feel better about themselves. Being the white saviour who helps and understands the other, slowly becoming the mould for a perfect school captain with perfect ribbons and perfect inspiration speeches. I ponder this thought of fear for a while, hold it in my hands like boiling water, teeth grinding away the pain until I can no longer bear it. I sit up. Stare into the cubicle door and the engraved Max and Tegan 4ever which has been a stamp of this unchanging school. To fix the small engravement completely, you would have to remove the entire door, even though the rest of the polished wood remains faultless. For me, there is only one thing I would change. My skin. One engraved fault. I let this revelation ponder beside fear and my hand impulsively twists open the two-bar lock. In an oblivious haze, my own two feet carry me to the nearest flock of identical high-ponytailed schoolgirls. They sit in a circle. Time is held at a standstill for a moment as I stand to overshadow the girls. In joint proximity, the girls blink and make a space for me on the ground. I have broken this perfect circle. The never-ending shape has been expanded. For a few moments, the conversations once relaxed tone begins to sharpen and the topic has clearly been changed to comply with their new guest. Two girls from different sides of the circle talk with their eyes and another nudge the girl next to her. I speak and they laugh, unsettled at first. Then organic laughter: the type of noise that is made after someone has made a joke, and for the first time in my life people were laughing with me, not at me. This simple motion left us at ease at our shared humanity, a reminder of our jointure. What I have now learnt, is that people are scared of what they don’t understand. They hate the dark because they do not know what anything is. They are blind. But when you turn on a light they will realize that there was really nothing to be ever scared of. ‘


Since Tuesday of last week, everyone has looked at me differently. When I walk into court, all conversation cuts short, and suddenly my heart beat is the loudest sound in the room. I struggle to still my quaking thighs as I stumble towards the desk. Indiscreet coughs of ‘whore’ follow me to my seat, and I feel what must be a hundred sets of eyes searing the word deep into the skin on my back, branding it on my forehead. Sitting down, I feel naked, exposed, and I wonder for the tenth time today if it was really worth filing the complaint That complaint. Sometimes I think it changed me more than the actual act did. But then I remember Tuesday of last week. ‘

It’s the end of another long, mediocre day at the office, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a report for my boss. Outside it’s dark, but in here fluorescent lights illuminate the computer screen in front of me with an intensity that has conjured a ruthless pounding in my left temple for the better part of the day. I’m surprised when a door swings shut in the building, I thought I was alone. Thinking nothing of it, I listen to the lock click into place before turning back towards the report, but jump when a shadow is reflected in the glossy screen. I turn slowly in my chair to find my manager staring down at me with an oddly off-putting intent in his eyes. ‘Hello sir, I thought you’d packed up for the day’. ‘Not quite yet’, he said. I notice the way his eyes never hold mine for long, always venturing lower down, but I don’t say anything. He is my boss, after all. ‘I’ve been watching you Jordana.’ He uses my full name, even though he knows I prefer Jordi. ‘Are you glad I gave you that promotion?’ ‘Yes sir, thank you’, I reply earnestly. ‘Hmm, yes. I wonder, are you really grateful?’ ‘Of course I am sir.’ ‘I don’t know, that was a big thing I did for you, don’t you think you ought to return the favour?’ He wets his lips as his words slide under my shirt, crawling down my back, and I shiver involuntarily. ‘Sir?’ His hand cups my face, fingers trail down my cheek. ‘You are a pretty thing, aren’t you? Wouldn’t now, when no one’s

Tuesday Of Last Week Maya Marek

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Tuesday Of Last Week

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around, be a good time to show me some gratitude?’ I turn away, I want to be respectful yet my body screams to get as far away from him as possible. The hammering in my head has reduced to a dull throb now, but a hazy fog has replaced its presence. Suddenly he grabs my chin, yanking my head back around to face him. ‘I asked you a question!’ he roars. ‘When I ask a question, you answer it, understand?’ I nod weakly, tears flowing freely now down my face. ‘Good. Now, how about you show your appreciation for me?’ He grasps my shoulder possessively, travelling down, down, down. And suddenly I can’t breathe anymore, and I’m sobbing and begging, pleading, ‘No, no, please no’. But he doesn’t listen. After, I am in a state of pure numbness. I pick up my things and touch up the report before sending it to my boss for evaluation. As I leave, the door swings shut behind me. I hear the click of a lock, and I swear to myself, ‘Never again’. ‘

But, ‘never again’ has come with a price, and here I am now, paying that price in a courtroom full of people who hate me, being yelled at by a man in a tie, asking me everything I don’t want to answer. He makes me feel ashamed, he degrades me. He tells me I’m lying, that I’m desperate for attention and am I happy now that I’ve got it? Really all I’m desperate is for the world to forget I ever existed in the first place. In a private room full of people, the man in a tie dehumanises me, tearing strips of my story from my soul. And I am left with an emptiness not dissimilar to the one I had felt on Tuesday of last week. That harrowing knowledge that I am nothing and he is everything and I will never be anything better than ‘Other.’ And so that is what I am now. I am ‘that other girl who never talks and I heard she filed a rape complaint once’. I am also ‘but it wasn’t true she must just be desperate for attention I hope she’s learnt her lesson.’ I am Tuesday of last week. ‘


‘Another appointment?’ Stacy asked. I nodded my head, trying not to give away the lie. Technically it was true, I was going to see a doctor, just not the one I’ve been telling Stacy. I haven’t managed to tell my best friend anything, afraid that she would reject me as to what I was. I’ve been telling her that I’ve been seeing my local GP, for an update on my vaccines, but actually I’ve been seeing my cardiologist. Dr Davids is a great doctor, for he told me what I had, before any doctor even realised. He saved me from a lot of blood tests, and needles. I hate needles, always have, always will, and I don’t mean sewing needles, I mean injection needles, the ones you can feel go through your skin, sending shivers down your spine, and release whatever concoction of liquid into your bloodstream. As I’m heading out of school, for the third time this week, I try not to think of this as I head towards the car, failing to do so. My mum greets me, and touches my arm, I flinch, hard. One thing about me, when I’m thinking about needles, do not touch me. I will flinch, it is a natural reaction to me, at least that’s what I like to think. My mum’s brow creases, and we sit in silence as we drive towards the private hospital. The elevator doors open to a long corridor, full of doors leading to offices. ‘Just the usual?’ the front assistant asks, ‘Yes, just the usual’. The normal procedure, blood pressure test, with the strap on your arm that tightens every second, until you feel your fingers turn blue. I don’t mind that bit, sure it’s annoying, but it’s the least of what I’m afraid of. Then comes the regular echo, similar to an ultrasound, putting the weird gel stuff on my chest, and the magic wand that traces over your skin, looking at everything that is inside. ‘You’ll have to have another heart monitor’ says Dr Davids. Everything in my body tenses up. ‘Not another one?’ I say. ‘I’m afraid so, 48 hours.’ The last time I had a heart monitor, it was just 24 hours, which felt like an eternity. I managed to persuade my mum back then to get school off, but this time, she wasn’t as forgiving. My heart monitor is like a small iPad, with about 20 thick wires attached to the base. The ends of these wires are connected to me, all 20, with large stickers and strong glue, so they don’t come off. I despise these cords, as they don’t allow me to do much. I can’t do any sporting activity, I can’t walk too fast, otherwise they’ll rub and cause a rash, I can’t bath, and I can’t change clothes easily, because I

Another Appointment Zara McGillivray

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Another Appointment

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don’t want to expose them for everyone to see. I get back to school in the early afternoon, around 1pm, I grab my stuff and rush into class. ‘Took you long enough’ Stacy says, ‘What’s that?’ She touches my monitor pad, which makes a loud beeping noise. The class is glaring at me, ‘Is there something you would like to share Ms Corsette?’ my teacher asks. ‘No sir, sorry’. All my teachers hate me, they aren’t very good at hiding this, even though they say stuff like ‘We don’t have favourites’ and ‘We treat you all the same’, it’s all fake. I was crying, screaming, as I wrestled off the nurses. ‘Sweetie, we need to take the test, it’ll be quick!’, says the nurse. ‘NO!’ screams my six year old self. I felt attacked, the panic about to explode out my chest. She advances with the syringe, ‘STAY BACK, STOP PLEASE!’ I scream as three more nurses grab my arms and legs, pinning me down in place. I close my eyes as I feel the needle’s coldness slide into my arm. ‘Emily!’ Stacy nudges my arm as she wakes me up from my daydream. I look up, my teacher is glaring at me. ‘Sorry, can you repeat the question sir?’ Girls snigger, boys laugh, all with judging glances. PE is next, my most dreaded class at the moment. I walk down into the centre, boys and girls splitting into separate change rooms. I start changing, as does everyone else, but the only difference is, I look like a rogue science experiment as some of the wires are exposed to the light. ‘Freak’ I hear ‘Weirdo’. My monitor beeps loudly, ‘Out of charge loser?’ Says one of the bratty girls. I run into the toilet stall and start crying, begging for some release from the judgement. It is the next day when I have another checkup early in the morning. I numbly walk down the long corridor, holding on to my mother and father for support, afraid to go in. ‘Why am I anxious? I’ve been here a million times before.’ I ask myself, but somewhere down in my gut, I know that something bad will happen. Usual routine, blood pressure test, echo, and now would be the time that I would walk out, but Dr Davids stops me in the hallway. ‘Um, sorry Emily, but I need to talk with your mother and father’. His tone of voice sounded afraid, and slightly sad. ‘Ok’, I say, ‘I’ll just wait outside’. Ten minutes go by, and I’m


starting to wonder why they are taking so long. Eventually, my mum and dad come out of the office, thanking Dr Davids. ‘What were you guys talking about?’ I ask. ‘In the car’, says my Dad. ‘So, angel, Dr Davids told us something very important, there is a chance that you won’t be cured, 10 percent chance of failure, he says that this is the same with all patients that have this condition, but there is still a 90 percent chance of success’ my father says. It takes a moment for me to digest this message. ‘So you mean that there could be a chance that I’ll have to live with this forever?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘So, what now?’ I ask, my throat throbbing, close to vomiting. ‘I’m not sure’, says my mother. I wish that she hadn’t said that. I don’t know what to do either. My parents always have a solution, if I can’t find my bike shorts, they have backups, if I can’t figure out how to work the iron, they help me, but now, I feel alone, and they don’t have a solution. No one does. I wonder, what it would be to be a bird? Quite a lot actually. They can fly out of trouble, they get to feel the wind twirl in the air, they don’t have to be stuck down here like me. I often think what would happen if I tried to fly. I know it is a childish thought, but it’s possible, in my mind. I like to imagine myself as a creature of no worries, one that doesn’t have to complete an endless amount of homework, one that isn’t confined, one that is actually free, and not isolated. ‘

Another Appointment

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A Lonely Seoul Stephanie Samouris Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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Bright lights compete against each other in a fight to promote their shops, as they shine off the swarm of eager shopper’s heads below. Enticing smells wafting from resident restaurants and street vendors, mingled together with bitter, second-hand cigarette smoke. Shouts of street vendors absorbed with the plethora of voices bouncing off the surrounding shops, which formed the trendy strip of Myeong-dong. My senses were alight and I was a little overwhelmed. Okay, take that back. I was definitely not a little overwhelmed. I was terrified with a side of unwanted, and unhelpful nerves. Yesterday, I was high on the excitement of being a responsible 18 year-old who wasn’t chasing, but making her dreams happen, as I checked into Seoul Incheon International Airport at 12:35pm, after a 14 and a half-hour long flight from Melbourne. I’ve crossed the sea to tick off a long-awaited bucket list journey; studying abroad. Now, hear me out. I, Serena Ruth am not one for well thoughtout and genius plans. Semi-irrational and mostly unplanned decisions are more my forte. When I made my bucket list at the young-age of 13, I thought that going to a country where I didn’t know the language and would definitely stick out like a sore-thumb due to my fabulous Italian ethnicity and tan, would be an awesome and refreshing challenge for older me. What could go wrong? Chinese – which I’ve studied at school, was the big-sister language of Korean, so it couldn’t be too hard to learn Korean if I had to. Plus, it has an alphabet called Hangul and some words sound like their English translation! How easy is that?! I couldn’t be more wrong. All the complications I should’ve thought about before even pursuing this journey, came crashing down on me as I stood in the middle of Myeong-dong at 8.26pm on a Sunday. The hoard of unrecognisable words drifted over me, as young Korean teens shoved their way past me on the busy street. As they ran past to catch up to their friendship groups, each would look at me in wonderment, like I was a rare species in their midst. I felt suffocated and irrevocably alone. Ditching the idea to go explore Myeong-dong, I head back home to my University dorm where my Korean homework sits unfinished.


The next day I wake up 7.30 sharp, turn on the TV to watch the unintelligible News and head off to my first class, Korean Language. At the end of the day, I’m already stressed and beat-up since I’ve already been handed an assignment for my Fashion Design course (which is due in four days), along with more Korean homework. That’s how my life repeats for the next couple of weeks. I’m eternally grateful when Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday roll around since those are my off-days. On those days, I take a 56 minute bus ride to the beautiful Starfield Library in Gangnam-gu. It’s my favourite place to relax and complete any dreaded homework near one of the desks located to one of the multiple massive windows, away from people and judgemental eyes. Usually, those days go by without anything unusual happening. But, today was different. It was 2.47pm and I’d just completed a new dress design for my course, and a Korean girl a couple of tables away from me was crying. Not a couple of tears, but a full-on torrential downpour which completely streaked, and washed away her makeup. Now, a normal person probably would’ve kept to themselves, thinking, ‘Okay, she’s obviously going through a rough time, so I shouldn’t get involved.’ As stated before, I, Serena Ruth am a queen of many rushed and notso thought out decisions. So what better to do than comfort a complete stranger who’s bawling their eyes out? Especially one who I probably can’t communicate with due to our language barrier. I cautiously walk up to her table. She’s surrounded by multiple English textbooks, along with a notebook below her arms whose Korean scrawl is now ruined with tears. With my minimal Korean I ask, ‘Hey, are you okay?’ The girl looks up, her puffy red eyes looking at me with a mix of shock and surprise. ‘A-ah, not really…’ She replies in back in Korean. ‘Can I…’ I say, quickly switching to English due to my lack of Korean, hoping she can get the gist of what I’m saying, ‘…help you?’ She eyes me up and down then. Judging my intentions. That’s something I’ve gotten used to now after living in Seoul for three weeks. ‘I can’t write my English essay. There is a part I don’t know how to write.’ I nod again. I’m frozen on the spot and just looking at her. I’m not too sure what to do.

A Lonely Seoul

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A Lonely Seoul

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She quickly adds, ;You are foreigner right? I nodded again. ‘I can help you with Korean if you help with my English!’ A Korean willing to help me learn her language as I help her learn mine? Someone up there is really looking out for me. ‘Sure!’ I reply in Korean. She smiled. ‘Thank you so much! I am Choi Soyeon’, she says as she extends her hand towards me. I shake it. ‘I’m Serena Ruth, nice to meet you!’ I drag my chair away from my lonely spot next to the window, and dropped my books onto Soyeon’s table. After cleaning up the watery mess of tears Soyeon had made, we got to work helping each-other complete our menial language tasks. After hours of struggling through language barriers and translations, Soyeon and I had well and truly completed our homework. There was still something bothering me though. For the past two weeks, I’d realised that I desperately needed a job, but it was practically impossible due to me not being fluent in Korean. I thought Soyeon would be the best person to ask about it since she’s a resident South Korean. ‘Hey, do you know of any jobs I could apply for without knowing fluent Korean?’ Soyeon tilted her head in confusion. I typed out my question in Google Translate. It may not be the most reliable resource to use, but I can always rely on it to give a rough translation if I ever need help. ‘Ah, sorry!’ She exclaimed, ‘Yes, there should be jobs for you’. She typed something out in the translator. It read: You like makeup? I nodded. She started typing again: Makeup industry need westerner speaker. K-pop and K-Beauty make more tourist in Seoul, need more English speakers. She looked at me to confirm I understood the hopefully-not-soincorrect translation from Korean to English. That got me thinking. Well, there were a lot of makeup shops in Myeong-dong that I could potentially work at. Myeong-dong is only a half-hour bus ride from my University campus, so it wouldn’t be too hard to get to-and-from work each day… ‘You can work at Etude House! They are hiring English speaking staff since its brand is very popular with westerners’ Soyeon said,


breaking my train of thought. I looked at her, excitement written on both our faces. ‘Yes, that’ll be perfect!’ I say. We squeal in excitement as we jump up and down, attracting the eye of an elderly couple in the library, looking at us disapprovingly. As we calmed down from that idea, we decided to end off the day by watching Korean dramas with English subtitles till it finally struck 10pm. This signalled Starfield Library’s closing time. By now, we were officially Study and Job Search Buddies. As we headed outside of Starfield, Soyeon handed me her phone. ‘Put in your number. We are friends!’ I handed Soyeon my phone for her to do the same. ‘Thank you so much for your help today Serena, I’m really grateful. We should do something fun next week!’ I thank her back, and agree to make plans to go out the next time we were free. We hug and sadly go our separate ways. As I walk back to my campus, a sentence Soyeon said echoed in my mind. ‘Put in your number, we are friends!’ I smiled. I’d done it! I’d successfully made a friend! In that moment I was reassured that my University life in Seoul wasn’t going to be as lonely and dreadful as I’d previously thought. ‘

A Lonely Seoul

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An Intricate Spectrum Minduli Weeraman Boroondara Literary Award Competition

Grey: as of ashes; nondescript Before Olivia, life was an achromatic painting. The uniform buildings, the bleached sky, the ashen-grey faces of the umbrellabearing people. Streaks of silver and stone grey against a platinum canvas, muted tones smudged across its vastness. A colourless world clouded by gloom. Worthlessness. Emptiness. Darkness.

Winner & Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Runner-Up

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Black: as of darkness; misery My footsteps pattered across the footpath. Charcoal clouds swept across the sky, as drops of crystal-clear water appeared on my nose. The rain spat in jarring waves, producing a dark, lilting serenade. Tightening my coat around me, I hurried through the ebony gates of the Royal Academy of Art. Mother had not been pleased when she realised I wanted to pursue art when she had instructed me to become a surgeon. Even when I showed her the letter of acceptance to London’s most prestigious art school, she had looked at me as if I was a monster. She told me that painting was not a career. That I was supposed to be a proud man, and men did not waste their life slapping colours onto a canvas. Tears of rage had been running down her wrinkled face, her mascara smudged, eyes leaking onyx. ‘Are you even a man, Oliver?’ she had wailed. As I rushed out of home, I wondered the same thing. Red: as of raging fire; longing The room fell into a silence as I slunk into class. The students sat solemnly, hair swept sideways, glistening with gel. Smoothing down my tattered, crimson coat, I sat down. ‘Your first project is a self-portrait. They reveal much more than you anticipate’, the professor boomed, ‘they evoke your true self ’. I glanced across the room. A young woman in a poster stared back. I admired her auburn hair, the way her vermilion dress hugged her curves, how her scarlet lips curved into a dazzling smile. Facing the window, I watched the droplets glisten on the pane like a Monet masterpiece. In the reflection, I saw myself. Distant, lifeless, vacant. Turning back, I paused, before looking at the window again. The face was different. Colourful, with rouge on its cheeks. Long, dark hair flowed down like a waterfall. It was… feminine.

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It was… me. ‘Show who you truly are. Discover yourself. Show your identity.’ With that, the scraping of chairs filled the room as one by one, the boys left to go to the painting room, leaving me to wonder who I truly was. Yellow: as of bitter lemon; conflict A cream canvas stood in front of me, my brush poised in front of the incomplete face I had painted, filled with dim tones. Who am I? Gazing at the mirror in front of me, I saw the unremarkable Oliver Banks. His sickly, pale skin and lanky figure burned my throat. The way his lemon chiffon shirt hung off his body made me turn away. There was a burning desire to walk away from him, to leave him. How could I though? I could not walk away from myself, nor should I be thinking about it. A male was who I was. Nothing else. This unsettled me, tears threatening to spill. The desire to kill Oliver was overwhelming. Forcing myself to look into the mirror again, my eyes widened. She was back. Her mustard dress made her look alive. Gold earrings adorned her ears, an aureate chain embellished her neck. She was beautiful. ‘Olivia’, I murmured. The name flowed off the tongue, it felt right. Different, but right. Picking up my brush again, I completed the painting. Newfound energy overtook me as the canvas filled with yellow, pink and blue hues. ‘Look, Oliver’s a tranny!’ a student standing over my shoulder sneered. My hand stopped painting, my blood ran cold. Reality seeped in. Panicked, I stared at the mirror. Olivia had vanished and Oliver’s colourless self replaced her.

An Intricate Spectrum

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Blue: as of churning oceans; anguish ‘No, no, no’, I repeated to myself, running up to the mirror, ‘Olivia, come back! Don’t leave me!’ By now, a deafening silence hung over the room filled with looks of disdain. Oliver’s eyes were wide open, his mouth forming a perfect ‘o’. ‘GO AWAY!’ An overwhelming sense of rage took over me. In

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An Intricate Spectrum

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the mirror was an Oliver that I did not recognise, his eyes a dangerous navy blue. If it was not Olivia, then it did not matter. My fist made contact with the mirror, shattering into a million pieces. Students’ words were being chanted, making my ears bleed; abnormality, freak, monstrosity. I collapsed onto the sapphire carpet, panting. She was gone. She was truly gone. An emptiness washed over me. Picking up a shard of the mirror, I realised they were both gone, Oliver and Olivia. I was gone. Purple: as of violets; serenity Casting my eyes onto the canvas, I took the painting off the easel. On the left were Oliver and his achromatic world. Monochrome shades besieged his face. On the right, was Olivia’s vibrancy. Shades of violet and mauve flew off the canvas, radiant tones lighting up the room. ‘They never left’, I whispered. Olivia and Oliver together were a masterpiece, fitting together like a puzzle. Spectrum: a band of colours, as of a rainbow; harmony They both makeup who I am, and without one of them, I am incomplete. Nothing defines me. Neither Oliver nor Olivia. Just me. An intricate spectrum. ‘


The clouds were white. I remember. They were extremely white that day, as if the world was trying to warn me of what was to come. Or perhaps it was a message reinforcing my skin, reminding me of my life, of the values I had to uphold. I remember that day, to forget it is impossible. That day was like any other day, I was in the sixth hour of school and the educator stood at the front of the enclosed room, peering over his nose at the perfectly aligned rows of tables. Mounted at the far end of the room was a poster of our Leader, eyeing us ceaselessly as we worked away. Around me, students listened intently as the educator droned on about the values of our society set by our Leader – order, obedience and devotion. As my gaze drifted from student to student, I noticed the eagerness radiating off them, how they each leaned forward hungrily as if in an attempt to devour the values that we relayed each day. I did too, we all wanted and needed to represent our society as best we could. I have to admit I was happy with my life – as far as we all knew there was nothing to fear, at least that was the fundamental message our Leader never failed to tell us. We all adored our Leader; we devoted our lives to our Leader. Everything he told us we truly believed. After all, who was able to tell us otherwise? Thanks to him, ‘We were the only thriving society to exist’, he said and our naïve selves believed him. With his tall stature that towered over everyone, he triumphantly demonstrated his power to anybody who ever questioned him. Despite his harsh face and those sharp features, we felt safe knowing that he was there to protect us. We were a thriving society and that was truly comforting. As I stepped outside, the hot air hit my face with aggression. I took a breath and looked up, the clouds were white I remember and it made me aware of the other colours that I encountered every day. Of course, there was red, the colour of our country’s power and longevity. Splattered everywhere as a constant reminder of our society and everything that the government has fought for. The colour adorned the poster of the Leader, which inspected me knowingly each day. Then there was white, like the clouds and the colour of everyone. A single colour that kept a uniform demeanour. After having endured the incessant nagging of my guardian, I reluctantly undertook the mundane task of tending to the wall which had caved in due to the unstable soil. I picked up a shovel and manipulated the earth beneath the wall to create some stability.

Coloured Rosin Brennan Boroondara Literary Award Competition Winner & Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Runner-Up

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Coloured

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The task began to bore me when the inkling that someone was close, started to disturb me. The feeling gnawed at me and the uneasiness that settled in me began to rise and transform into panic. From behind the tank (where our rations were kept) and with the help of the shadows cast by the blazing sun, a shadow formed taking the shape of a small dog-like animal. Confusion made my head dizzy and I risked taking a step closer, keeping as silent as I could. In an instant, I turned to face the shadow with the intention of knocking it unconscious to stop it from attacking me. But what I found shocked me more than a frightful dog could. I was completely dumbfounded. There was this thing. Something I had never seen before. Crouched as if trying to make its already stick like frame appear smaller; what I could only assume was a girl, appeared before me. There was no doubt, she looked like me, but at the same time, not at all. More alarming still, was her skin. She appeared covered in dirt or mud; I couldn’t quite figure it out. It coated the entirety of her, staining her head to her feet. Then I realised – it was her skin. Black skin? I had never seen anything like it. No one had black skin. There was only one colour. White. Her tattered clothes hung loosely off her, her fear-stricken face was covered by her curly strands of thick dark hair and her pleading eyes flickered with panic and sadness and hope. Those eyes. Yes, those eyes I could never forget They pierced my heart as I realised my whole life had been a lie. The darkness of them spread through me and my pity turned to hate. Hate for the Leader with his silly rules and controlling manner. Hate towards my family unit for being so blind; hate towards myself for my ignorance and inability to realise sooner. In that moment, that crumbled, disconnected girl represented far more than I could have ever imagined. It only took this black, little, torn girl to expose to me the falseness of my life and change everything. Those piercing eyes forced me to question so many aspects of my existence. Why did the Leader not want us to know of others? Why were there others? Are there more out there? I couldn’t ever understand. I don’t even remember what happened next, but she was gone. I don’t know why or how I just know that, that moment changed me and the clouds were white that day. ‘


A moment that lasted both a second and lifetime… most people thought it was finding myself in jail, but really? It was punching that man. I never even bothered to learn his name. I had wanted to get drunk, to hide from society. A mind clouded by alcohol wouldn’t see the glaring looks I received in the street or heard the snide whispers as I walked with my head down. And in the midst of the late 1950s, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The country of freedom didn’t seem too free to me and everyone else who sat in the darkest corners of bars to hide from those ‘above’ us. Those whose skin shone like the stars while ours was muted and dark, like the dirt below them. The particular dark corner I’d taken refuge in wasn’t one of the better ones I had seen. It was dusty, musty and outright disgusting, with spilt beer and what sounded like rats, about a foot away. There wasn’t a lot to do there, but drink the cheap alcohol they sold to people like me and watch as the white men sat in the spotlight. They were rowdy, too. They ordered the best quality beer, wore suits that screamed expensive and they liked to stare at me and make rude comments to each other and the bartender who kept watering down my beer. As the night progressed, it became clear that they were excessively intoxicated. The racial slurs made their way out of their mouths as they laughed at the colour of my skin. I wasn’t sure why they weren’t in a more decent bar, but I always suspected it was because no one like me would be in a nicer bar than this. I was, in their eyes, a dog. A mangy creature, below them, simply because I was African-American. All they saw was mud. My ancestors were their slaves and, in their eyes, so was I. It was late when one of them finally began to lurch towards me. I’d stopped drinking hours ago, nursing my mug and rarely sipping from it. If you try to leave a bar with men like that nearby, they’ll always follow you and corner you in an alleyway ten minutes later. Even as their leader came towards me, I kept my head down, trying to ignore the jeers of his friends. Making a fuss would only get me in trouble. ‘What do we have here boys? Somebody let their dog into the bar’, the man jeered. Maybe it was the alcohol speaking but I replied, and that was a mistake. ‘So I see. Where’s your owner?’ With the alcohol running through his veins, it took a second

Black And White Bar Fight Asha Jassal Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Runner-Up

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Black And White Bar Fight

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longer than it should’ve to process the insult. A couple of people moved closer to see what would happen. One bought a round of beer for the thugs’ friends. But for the most part? They just didn’t care. I don’t think the thug ever actually processed the insult. All he realised was that a black man spoke back to him. I probably should’ve been more aware but I didn’t realise what was coming until his fist smacked right onto my cheek. I recoiled before punching back, and, for all my years, I’ll never forget the connection of my fist with his ugly, flabby, face. That moment changed me more than any other second in my entire life. That was the best moment, empowering me throughout all the racism that followed throughout the years, even if it has gotten less over time. All the events that followed couldn’t make up for the way time froze as I hit him. Everyone in the bar, no matter how drunk, went silent as they saw what I had done. I didn’t know what to do. So I punched him again. I wasn’t particularly strong or weak, but the blows were unexpected and I followed on that advantage. Until I lost it. The businessman’s gang joined in, angry that someone like me would dare to even speak to someone like them. The blood running from their friend’s nose was exactly the same colour as mine, but I don’t think they saw it. My memory becomes foggy after the business man’s friends arrived, but in my mind’s eye, I could always see them, finishing their beer, removing sports-coats and rolling up their shirt sleeves before they took revenge on me for ever talking to their friend. I was semi-conscious by the time someone bothered to break up the fight. I think it was the bartender, angry that someone had smashed one of his beer glasses. Of course, that was somehow my fault too. He let the white men stay, gave the whole bar beer on the house, if the cheering I heard from the street was anything to go by. I was told not to return, to learn to hold my tongue and other slogans I had heard every day for as long as I’d been alive. Always from the white people, looking down their noses at me on the ground. I wasn’t drunk but when the police picked me off the street, they left me in a holding cell to ‘sober up’ and it’s pretty easy to guess what happened after that. Same as everyone else, but that punch, that moment of bliss, that changed my life. It gave me power. ‘


She hides behind her mother’s legs with no idea who I am. I freeze, lost for words. I feel numb; I want to conjure some sort of tenderness or affection for my daughter. I missed the entire two years since her birth as I was away on my fourth combat tour. Texas is a long way from Afghanistan. I am to blame; the guilt of this is beginning to consume me. She is now in a corner, curled up into foetal position. Her tear streaked face bears an uncanny resemblance to my own. She is still so innocent, so vulnerable. I fear my presence in her life will corrupt her. The house was smaller than I remember but the air is filled with the distinctive smell of my wife’s home cooked chili. Everything has changed. It seems like my family who I tried so hard to stay alive for has moved on without me. My wife Daisy looks pleased to see me. She does not, however, rush to greet me. I don’t know what she’s been told. I hope the joy and love we have for each other will soon return. It was 2009 and I had been deployed to Camp Leatherneck Marine in Helmand Province, Afghanistan with my friend, Jack. Jack and I went through basic training together and were even lucky enough to be deployed in the same unit. We were on a convoy on route to Delaram and were attacked and separated from our unit. The next thing I knew we were taken. Jack and I had been held captive by the Talibans for days on end. We were treated like animals; left to hang upside down with our feet tied together. I screeched in pain. One by one my nails were brutally ripped out of their cuticles. The pain I endured was unbearable and I constantly fell to the ground weeping, unable to move. I was repeatedly beaten. My entire body had been painted red by a river of my own blood. We were grunts we had no information to give. I thought they’d kill us. I didn’t think of my unit or my country, I just thought of Daisy and Bella. I must connect with Bella; she is my daughter. I shuffle forward with my back arched, cane in hand, nothing like the fathers her friends have. Can I create a future free from the past? I whisper ‘I love you’, but as these words leave my mouth, I know that I am just creating a facade for both us. She screams and runs away. I am an outsider; she doesn’t know who I am. If only she could understand what I have sacrificed for her to have a better life. I’ve missed her

The Bald Eagle Elizabeth Kanterakis Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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The Bald Eagle

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birth, her first word and even her first steps. I am nothing more than a stranger to her. It is my responsibility to look after my family, yet how can one do so if they barely know the meaning of family and of the love a family shares for one another. As I lie in bed that night, I begin to fall asleep. My wife asks ‘what happened?’ What can I tell her? I can’t speak the words. I am different now and maybe she’s different too. It’s not a dream. Not a nightmare. Every night I end up back there, over and over again. The gun is pointed at Jack’s skull. They circled us like vultures examining their prey. They were going to make an example; it was going to be one of us. We begged, we pleaded; it didn’t matter. It was at that moment that the trigger was pulled. The constant laughter of the Taliban and the neverending ringing of my ears caused me to become dizzy. My hands were bound; thick droplets of Jack’s blood sprayed my face and immediately caused me to vomit. I cried in fear not knowing when it would be my turn. Blood of the man that I once called my friend began to seep into the ground. It was all my fault. I’m gasping for air, sweating. It’s every night. It’s too much for Daisy; she sleeps in the other room now. That moment in Afghanistan has changed me forever. Since that moment I don’t know how to feel. Life is too fragile. Jack had been my best friend and now he is nothing more than just another soldier killed in combat. How do people love others knowing that losing them would make life unbearable? If I allowed myself to love them, I would be unable to live without them. I am undeserving of Bella and Daisy’s love. I am preventing them from enjoying their lives. I can no longer live like this. As much as I try to escape my past each day, I will never be able to forget his death. A captain’s sole responsibility is to protect the men in their team, yet I failed at this and now I am failing as a father. It should’ve been me that died in Afghanistan. I shouldn’t have been saved. I’m a fraud; a coward unworthy of being alive. My brothers are still fighting in Afghanistan. They are still dead in Afghanistan. I hope that one day Daisy understands the decision I’ve made. I try to cuddle Bella but she wiggles free. I unfortunately still feel nothing towards her, as if she is not my child. I wish I could be what she needs. I wish I could feel what she needs me to feel. But


it’s too late now. I watch them leave the house, sorry for the pain and misery I will cause them. It is a soldier’s duty to protect. That is what we lived by, each and every day. The meaning of this motto sinks in when I place the withered rope around my neck and I step off the chair. ‘

The Bald Eagle

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Peeling The Moments Off My Battered Wall Ivy Luo Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Winner

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Prologue

there’s smoke in my lungs: grey patches cower in the ruins of her fortified castle. the princess dances on fractured glass, to the rhythm of soundless melodies. the runaway slave stole her crown. I.

The clear sky hugs me like a water globe; the gaggle of toddlers balance the basketball court in a militaristic manner, but their hassles are beyond me. I concentrate on picking up a leaf from the ground and placing it in my mouth. It doesn’t taste like anything. II.

The music ignores me, as if I weren’t there. If only I tried a little harder, perhaps I’d catch the joy they’re all feeling. So I reach out with my hands, and I realise they’ve been stolen. My hands must’ve put up a fight though, because the flesh at my wrists are twisted and bloodied, roughly butchered, resembling the meat I ate last night. But not a worry – pay enough money, I’m sure they will be returned. In the meantime, I close my eyes to listen with my ears. However, the moment I give in my eyes, I lose my ears too. It is an awful joy, for now I no longer have to feel guilty for my lack of emotion towards the music they are performing. But a desirous breeze holds me tight, and I realise I have left the wind behind, to fend for itself, for I am the only one who listens. I feel a pain in my right ear, and I am reminded of my existence. Everyone’s clapping now, but the futile monster holding my hands makes me forget, everything. III.

I don’t actually know where I am. I turned off all the lights – click, click, click. I’m playing disjointed chords and the melody takes itself to the edge

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of the world and not back, it just wanders off – bye. If I’m lucky I get the impression of transcending beyond this body, while these sounds scribble a letter from nirvana. Click, click, creak. She slams the door open, carrying shopping bags and joking loudly with my brother, ruining my recording. I bash my fingers onto the keys and walk away. On the way I force my music stand to pray to the wooden floor, and bloody my knuckles against the rigid wall. Birds flutter, perhaps the songbirds cry. Click, I forgot to stop the recording. IV.

I am staring at myself in the mirror, in see-through doors, in the blank TV screen, in the camera. I want to grab a knife and do something with it, like chop all this hair off, and cut some flesh out of my profile while I’m at it.

Peeling The Moments Off My Battered Wall

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V.

The radar ringtone of my alarm sentences me as if I were a prisoner. I am cuffed, chained, and condemned to the wake of day. Can’t they see? I close my eyes and fall back into ecstasy. Oh, how the mattress relieves my worn-out joints and muscles! ‘Titi, Titi…’ She whispers harshly. I pretend I’m dead. ‘Titi.’ ‘Titi!’ ‘Meehmmm.’ ‘Get up, you should’ve slept earlier last night.’ I slept this morning. VI.

headache, the city is rumbling, why are the streets empty? hello, let’s be friends,

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Peeling The Moments Off My Battered Wall

you’re looking right into my eyes. lights, lights, be gone, and let everything be. I’m rolling up a cigarette, while the lone moon shines, and moans from the east coast trigger my senses. Everything is so blurry, this picture must’ve not been how I imagined it. The lighter hurts my fingers, and the pain sickens me to the core of my brain.

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VII.

Mum: When are you coming home darling? *love heart* Me: Soon, heading to the train station now. *smiley face* ‘What’d you do today?’ ‘Not much, ate food, watched a movie.’ ‘You must be tired.’ ‘Yeah, a bit.’ ‘You’ve been pretty wild lately.’ ‘Not really.’ VIII.

blood, did you kill me? no, why do you ask? I’m bleeding! why are you holding the knife? what knife? you can’t feel its rotten heart sucking up the warm raspberry filling of your ephemeral body? IX.

I’m laughing, and I don’t know why. Hahaha, Hahahahaha, Hahahahahahaha, Hahahahahahahahahahaaaa! No one’s laughing with me – Oh, I forgot to tell the joke! X

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The headache is back. I should walk towards the piano. I’m sorry, I didn’t get your message, I slept early. Everything’s fine! Let’s sit on the oval. I have something to tell you. Something really exciting happened yesterday. I got invited to his party. I think he likes me. I think she likes me. The headache is back. I’m sorry, I didn’t get your message, I was working. I should practise the cello. Are you okay? Let’s hang out. I’m fine. Do you want to go somewhere? I know a nice park. I just want to stay home. The sun is nice today. Where should we go? What should we do? We don’t have a plan. Let’s go out tomorrow. And do what? I don’t know, we’ll see. We should have a plan. It’s fine. I’m fine. The headache is back, but I’m looking forward to the holidays. Epilogue

in this sinking kingdom shadows sing behind blue rings of fire. the walls are creased by the rhythmless waltz of love, equilibrium abandoned. things, things, things, glamour & glory & glitter the princess still dances, shards of what I hold dear – fed to the stock market. square windows pour light into my eyes, while colourless images entertain her soulless body. a bird is flying – in reprehensible freedom. ‘

Peeling The Moments Off My Battered Wall

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Creative Response to Kate Grenville’s The Secret River Simone Lin Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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As each day began and when the bare and merciless sun had not yet the chance to impose its sweltering heat on Thornhill and the land between the four Thornhill walls, he would put on his britches and make the trip along the branch, the crunch of the dirt familiar beneath his toes. Out of the clutter of the woods, Thornhill was able to distinguish something from the intricate landscape that didn’t quite belong there naturally, like a piece of bark disrupting the steady flow of a river. His eyes settled on a familiar piece of britches like the ones on his body and a spade sitting beside an empty cloth bag. The items were frosted by a thick layer of dirt and debris, but he could still so easily recognise the objects. He scanned the line of forest with the feeling that he was not the audience this time. He was the performance and the foreign entertainment. He was trapped within his fence while the landscape moved freely around him. He thought he saw a man observing him, standing in the surroundings and just being. His eyes squinted at a gumtree bearing the resemblance to the shape and posture of a human. The dry summer wind gusted into his straining eyes as the silhouette advanced. A warped figure of awkwardly bound and dragging limbs greeted his eyes. Its face was wooden, broken. The wound was still healing and had bound itself together in lumps. For once, Thornhill was emptied of words before him. His mouth moved angrily into the shape of familiar words, but the encounter remained silent. Just like his first night at Sydney Cove, Thornhill felt insignificant, silently humiliated by Jack’s odd silence and reproachful presence. The anger was kindling, his hand was itching for the gun in his pocket and his throat was dry with the effort and struggle of keeping words down. He had rarely felt like this since his arrival. The cave of Jack’s bone and the rock of his face was even more prominent than before. His movements were synchronised with those of the landscape, the silver trees and swaying clouds. His bare feet were camouflaged by the ground beneath him as if he could have suddenly disappeared into the earth. This time there was no need for words. Thornhill took one last glance at the man in front of him. He always knew they were different, but in what way? Despite what Jack had been through before, he still had a wooden face of contentment and tranquillity. His eyes were just as deeply set as the day they met, as if the incident


years ago left no impact on his identity and sense of belonging. He wore his neat, living scars and nakedness just as boldly as if Thornhill was not there. Hesitantly, Thornhill glanced down at himself. His callused hands were a constant reminder of his times of servitude. He almost felt embarrassed in front of Jack and had an urge to clasp them behind his back. His slumped shoulders did not sit nearly as tall as Jack’s prominent and sharp ones despite the flesh having clearly fallen away. Thornhill never thought he would feel like this again, this time he was not even sitting beside Mr Middleton on the narrow bench at the Waterman’s Hall with dread in his heart and his life on the line. He suddenly felt small in his britches, cheated by his life. How could he not have a single feeling of triumph after a deal of hard work and a burst heart, from rowing. He had started on the bottom rung off the social ladder, but had he really ascended to the top? He was a member of the gentry and no longer a poor waterman, but was he as happy as he was before? The imposing figure of Jack was like an innocent child’s laugh. Jealousy tingled in his bones and this time, he could not control or suppress it. With one final look at Jack, Thornhill picked up his legs and tramped back down the track. He still felt his eyes on him, his reproach. Thornhill’s feeling of inferiority before them was foreign, unwelcome. He wished he had the will power in him to turn around and shout something sophisticated, something Jack could not understand, or threaten the spear with his gun. But he could not. As he entered the clearing and the image of Cobham Hall appeared faintly, the reflection of the flowing Hawkesbury had somehow imposed itself on Thornhill’s Wall. The coincidence of nature had made his speck of a place look almost transparent as if it wasn’t even there. He and his place were again, nothing more than a flea on the side of some enormous quiet creature. Thornhill pictured himself knee deep in the cold water of the Thames again. Everything seemed to be mocking him. The corpses of the dying poplars were in constant battle with the sun and drowning in water, wilting daffodils clinging to life, hissing river oaks and the cowardly lions on the gateposts. Why was he letting these small things get to him? He involuntarily pictured Long Jack intertwined with the landscape. Later that afternoon, Thornhill trudged outside with his axe.

Creative Response to Kate Grenville’s The Secret River

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Creative Response to Kate Grenville’s The Secret River

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He took one look at their mockery and swung at the lions in a burst of fury, exhaustion and disappointment. They fell easily with one hit and cracked at the touch of the dirt. He hopes Sal would not notice they were gone as he wasn’t ready to tell her yet. After all, he still could not fully understand what led him to do it. ‘


The day was warm and clear in the late dry season. The air hung gently around the base of the gums, squirming slightly with the heat that was sure to come. Despite the stillness of the mid-morn, Long Jack breathed in the scent of tangy eucalypt and the rich, pungent colour of freshly disturbed soil – the white ghost family no doubt. Among these habitual smells, a metallic edge suggested the presence of an unknown. Long Jack sighed, a rattling heave as it usually was nowadays. The white ghosts were coming farther up the river by the season. Brushing aside the thought, Jack put his mind to the task at hand, skilfully scanning the bush, as familiar to him as a dear brother. It was something he nursed and cared for, knowing that he would receive all he deserved and indeed needed in return. Quickly, Jack spied what he was looking for and sprang into action without haste or sudden movement. His feet glided easing through the undergrowth, the crunch of the leaves and bark quickly softened by the light padding of the sole of his feet. He drew his long limbs up beside the darkened trunk of a red gum and breathed with the bush itself – effortlessly joining in on the hum of the insects and the rhythm of the gentle sway of the trees. Slowly, surely, he intricately arranged his spear, an extension of his arm, and sank back into the weight of his rippling thighs. Jack prided himself on the strength he had acquired over the years, after all, the proof was in the sprawling ridges of his chest, scars like the mountain ranges themselves, as if the land was approving his worthiness as a hunter. He sprung. The spear arced like a currawong’s swoop and plunged effortlessly into the hide of the kangaroo. It was getting on in the day and Jack observed the wink of the glaring sun in the canopy of the swayed branches above. The kangaroo was growing heavy over his back, his hands slick with sweat. But again, there it was – that sour taste to the air, strange and unnatural. It was no surprise that no more than a few paces along, he became sharply aware of the cumbersome frame fumbling with a foreign object in his hand. A white ghost. The man’s pink skin shone red and raw against the familiar backdrop of the bush – as if the land had been split open, wounded. The man was tense and rigid, and despite his gasping breath in an effort to remain still, his every minute movement sounded like a crash. Sweat poured from his brow and as the man turned, a beam

A White Ghost Maddy Truong Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Honourable Mention

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A White Ghost

of light hit his previously shaded face. At once, Jack recognised the features – this had to be the man they called Thornhill, the father of the young lad he had seen many times before. A little white worm amongst the black cousins had seemed strange at first, but Jack had found himself warming to the child – his optimism and his interest in Jack’s own way of life. Crack!

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Thornhill had leapt awkwardly from behind the tree, feverishly shaking the smelly, shiny object – a gun as they called it – at the nearby kangaroo. Jack almost laughed aloud to himself, not just in shock at the loud noise, but trying to bring supper home like that! The kangaroo was far gone by now, leaping in and out of the shrub effortlessly. The gun hung limply by Thornhill’s side, useless. Despite the stiff cloth the man shielded himself with, the strange tools and the awful arrogance he held himself with, Long Jack found himself pitying him. Thornhill was clearly slightly mad, first with blindly pulling up the daisies that were meant to last through the colder season and now attempting to hunt like this. It was time for Jack to set aside his pride and try to help the poor fellow. Jack stepped out fluidly from the undergrowth and extended a white smile in greeting. Thornhill was shouting now, jumping around madly with his head in his hands. When his eyes set on Jack, he reeled back in apparent surprise, his eyes flickering between Jack’s teeth, raised scars and spear. ‘No need to be frightened brother’, Jack smoothed. Thornhill laughed airily, smearing his hands along the strange cloth that hugged his legs. Words came next, sharp and harsh, that bounced off the trees and lay jumbled in a heap between them. ‘You haven’t got the right idea’, Jack said, his words carefully chosen, slow and clear so the man could understand. ‘This is not the way to go about, tearing up daisies and thumping around the bush. You got to give a little to take a little – see?’ Jack mimed eating. This time, Thornhill’s mouth moved again and a blur of noise expelled. Jack tried to follow, but in any language, he could see the condescending gestures, the patronising tone. ‘I’m trying to help you!’

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Disgusted, Jack went to turn away. He had no obligation to help a man who clearly could not live as part of the land, nor even attempt to learn. He and his family would die soon enough - a shame for the young-uns but they were all slightly mad in their own right. The light caught the soft, mousy hide of the kangaroo and this seemed to enrage Thornhill. Intrigued, Jack turned back to see the man yelling again, but this time holding up the dark, smelly object to Jack’s’ own chest. A gun. He pointed to the kangaroo on Jack’s shoulder and nodded to the ground. This time, Jack could distinguish a sense of panic in his voice, but defiant and authoritarian. Jack was dumbfounded. What did Thornhill think would make him drop his catch? Surrender it to the mad man? Advising him was one thing, but what on earth made Thornhill think that Jack would readily starve his family? Thornhill quivered, his mouth moving around sounds reaching a crescendo. He took a step towards Jack and Jack nearly jumped back in shock, but held his ground. The nerve of him! ‘Calm yourself now!’ Jack said evenly, trying to keep himself from sounding exasperated. ‘A fair trade’s a fair trade. You haven’t got anything for me here!’ Thornhill was growing more and more frustrated, as if something was eating him from the inside, confined by the stiff cloth that wrapped his body. Jack towered over Thornhill and yet, he got the sense Thornhill felt as though he had something over him. Thornhill shook the gun at Jack again – perhaps he wanted Jack to take it? Hardly a fair exchange. Jack could see a fat slug at the forefinger caressing to loop in the front part of the gun. Thornhill poised and planted himself. Jack wondered what on earth he was about to do when, with the shaft nearly braising Jack’s skin, Thornhill made it crack again. Although at the last minutes he flicked the gun upwards. Jack could hardly speak. His ears rang with a threat he wasn’t sure what it meant. He could smell the death that clouded the air. Without so much as a word, Jack melted back into the bush, leaving the helpless Thornhill alone with whatever was eating him. Ants perhaps. The bush resumed its usual hum and Jack’s footfalls recommenced their steady beat back to camp. ‘

A White Ghost

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Home Maya Wilmshurst Isobelle Carmody Award For Creative Writing Competition Winner

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The exterior of a small hut is visible, flanked on three sides by a forest. Trees twist up from the barren ground, a sickly white colour, with flakes of bark lying, crumbling by their roots. The hut itself seems to be a solid structure, rocks neatly arranged to form a grid pattern, contrasting against the anarchy of the surrounding nature, however there is a sense of decay and ephemerality as the roof is caving in slightly and the flap of bark covering the doorway is a faded brown. There is a sense that the forest is encroaching on the hut, trees twisting up from what appears to have been a well swept piece of land. In front of the hut, a small gardening patch is neatly marked off by a yellowing fence, a spade and an unopened packet of seeds leaning against it. A sense of emptiness is palpable as the trees are spaced much more sparsely than other areas of the Australian bush. It is a dull morning in early May, the sky a tender pink, and the sun’s rays illuminate the tops of the trees, leaving the area below in an empty blackness. The soft humming of water spilling pervades the stage, created by a river out of view. The scene is still for a long moment before the sharp crack of a gunshot breaks the silence. The monotonous pounding of footsteps moves around the audience. [A man, William Thornhill, enters from stage right, a gun gripped tightly in both hands. He walks with purpose, his dark leather shoes incongruous against the natural setting. He cradles the gun unnaturally, almost as if afraid of it, arms straining with the weight; clearly a man more used to ordering others than performing the labour himself. The clothes he’s wearing accentuate his sense of superiority and he holds himself high. However, while they are clean and neatly pressed, they are slightly ill-fitting in the arms, which are crinkled from the effort of holding the gun.] [He moves across the stage towards the hut, steps authoritative.] William: [ jovially, with a sense of feigned amiability] Oy, Jack, you here mate? I were just walking about here. I was so bleedy lost till I saw your hut, near enough. Them trees get me stumped every time. [There is only silence and the soft humming of the river.]

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William: [more forcefully] Oy, Jack. [He steps over to the hut. He carelessly grabs the flap of bark and pulls it aside authoritatively, almost ripping it in the process.]

Home

William: [arm still raised but body solid and motionless] Jack, mate, you here? [A beat of silence. Behind the hut, a figure appears amongst the trees. He is masked in the deep shadows which engulf him, but his presence is felt by the audience.] William: [to himself, with a sense of despondency, as when a friend forgets to send an expected letter] He probably got himself off to Sackville with them others. About time. [Behind him, where the figure is standing, there is the crack of a piece of bark falling. Thornhill whips himself around, face alive with fear. With effort, he hoists the gun up, body tense. After an elongated moment of tension, the figure steps into the light, face stoic. The man, Long Jack, appears to be the same height as Thornhill but holds himself lower, back bent and arms hanging limply by his sides. He wears his nakedness as one would a cloak, draped in the air around him. His face is expressionless; no pain, no fear, no joy as he drags himself towards Thornhill, his muscular left leg straining to pull the stiff right one along the ground.]

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William: [dropping his gun, relieved, returns to jovial tone] Ah, there you are Jack. You had me bloody scared there. What’s your black arse doing off in there? [ Jack regards him with blank eyes, unmoving.] William: [authoritatively] You’re gonna get yerself  killed, walking around in your state. No clothes too! Sal made you those nice pair of britches and that jacket, it’d do you good to wear them. [ Jack remains unmoving, eyes regarding the space where Thornhill is.] William: [ frustrated] Look, Jack, mate. I’d wear those if I was you, I really would, honest to God, mate. I was like you too when I was young, if you’d believe it. No one gave me any hand up, near enough, not a bleedy one of them. I’d take it Jack. I would, honest to God. [ Jack doesn’t move and there is a pause while the soft humming of the river begins to gradually crescendo.]

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Home

William: Look, let me grab them for you. [With authority, he moves back over to the hut. Swiping the flap aside and ripping part of it off the top of the doorframe, he moves inside.] William: [angrily] You haven’t even used this, Jack! [He moves out of the interior and raises his arm to point at the hut.] William: [in a didactic tone, almost patronising] Yours. [ Jack doesn’t move.]

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William: [ jabbing his arm at Jack and then at the hut, angrily] Yours! [His footsteps pound over to where Jack is standing on the edge of the swept land, the noise amplified to make it more dominant in the space. His arm is still raised, his fist clenched. When he reaches Jack, he grabs his arm forcefully. Jack remains expressionless. The rushing of water becomes louder, almost overwhelming, and the sun bathes the stage in angry light.] William: [pointing Jack’s arm at the hut, roaring] Yours! Jack : [simply, without expression, arm still pointing towards the hut in Thornhill’s grip] Yours. William: No, Jack, it’s – Jack : [ his feet feeling the soft dirt under them] Mine. [Thornhill loosens his grip, dropping his arm, the fire almost gone from his eyes. The water returns to a soft hum.] ‘

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INT. BUILDING ENTRANCE LOBBY – (NIGHT) – HANDHELD LONG SHOT

The lobby of the residential building is neither overly grand nor sparse. A medium sized space, it is functional and fairly clean. A small chandelier hangs from the centre of the ceiling, casting a soft yellowed light across the room. To the left is a set of double doors, which open out onto stairs that lead into the street. We can hear the faint sounds of traffic floating through the open doors, someone shouting indistinctly and a car horn blaring. The lobby itself is not particularly crowded, but it is busy. THE CAMERA PANS TO three businessmen in grey suits, one of them glancing down at his watch. It FOLLOWS the business men for a while, but soon PANS TO an unremarkable, short man in a navy pea jacket when he crosses their path. When two couples enter the edge of the field of vision, THE CAMERA MOVES SWIFTLY to FOLLOW the couples instead. The couples look as if they are heading out on a date, with the ladies dressed in their evening gowns and men in black dinner jackets. The couples walk out of the double doors, with both ladies laughing at something one of the men have said. THE CAMERA LINGERS on the door, even after the couples have descended the stairs, before PULLING BACK to show the entire lobby.

Creative Response To Rear Window Jacqueline Du

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We see about four or five ladies of differing ages walking or standing around the lobby, talking to their respective male counterparts and dressed in their evening finery. None are as extravagant however, as the dramatic, high-fashion gown and ivory silk gloves that LISA FREMONT is wearing as she stands in the centre of the room, directly under the chandelier and staring forlornly at the open doors. INT. BUILDING ENTRANCE LOBBY – (NIGHT) – HIGH ANGLE LONG SHOT

LISA FREMONT is standing stationary in the centre of the room, framed by the various other occupants. We see one blonde woman wearing a pink gown who seems to be backing away from a potential suitor. Her hands are held out in front of her in an effort

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Creative Response To Rear Window

to placate the older man, and she is walking backwards slowly. We watch as she stumbles slightly in her high heels, colliding with LISA FREMONT, who is looking the other way, at the door. THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN to a mid shot, and for the first time, we can make out what they are saying. M argot: Oh, I’m terribly sorry madam! I didn’t mean to–

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She looks up at LISA’s face, which does not look angry, only confused. There is a brief flare of recognition in LISA’s eyes as she makes the connection between the young woman standing in front of her and the character of ‘Miss Torso’ that JEFF had pointed out to her from across the courtyard only minutes before, but it quickly fades to puzzlement. M argot: [with a tone of surprise] Oh! Are you… Miss Fremont! Lisa: [ bewildered] Pardon me? Have we met before? LISA glances at the older man who was pursuing MARGOT. She notices that he has just reached for MARGOT’s wrist, an obviously unwarranted gesture, and her lips purse slightly with distaste. M argot: I’m Margot, Miss Fremont, Margot– Lisa: [interrupting with an airy laugh] Ah yes! Margot dear! It’s been too long since I’ve seen you! LISA draws MARGOT’s hand away from the suitor and clasps it warmly. MARGOT looks confused, but pleasantly surprised. Lisa: [towards the suitor] I was just meeting my friend here tonight, thank you for escorting her. The man’s brow furrows and he looks from LISA to MARGOT. LISA raises her well-manicured eyebrows at him and he slinks away to lurk in the darker recesses of the lobby.

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Lisa: [watching him go] Well. I do severely dislike it when they do that. M argot: [ breathing a sigh of relief ] Oh thank you ever so much Miss Fremont! I do suppose you would empathise – there must be many handsome young men knocking on your door to court a lady as lovely as yourself.

Creative Response To Rear Window

At this, LISA frowns ever so slightly, not to discourage the younger woman but as if she disagrees with the notion. MARGOT does not notice, and continues her barrage of exclamations. M argot: I recognised you from The Bazaar, you know – the spread last month about the red suede pumps was simply gorgeous… oh but how rude of me, I haven’t yet introduced myself! I’m Margot Brenner, Miss Fremont. I dance for the Ballet Academy on 23rd Street. (she realises she has been talking rather frenetically and draws a nervous breath) Goodness, you must think me completely bizarre. Lisa: [quite amused] Not at all, Miss Brenner. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Oh, and you are welcome to call me Lisa.

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At this, MARGOT beams. M argot: And yours as well, Lisa – call me Margot. Forgive me for asking, but what brings you here tonight? I live on the second floor and I’m not sure I’ve seen you around before. Lisa: [ gives a half-hearted laugh] Oh… I’m just visiting a friend. MARGOT seems to sense something in LISA’s voice and a teasing expression comes across her face. M argot: [ liltingly] A friend? Lisa: [ looks sideways at MARGOT] Yes. Jeff is a good friend of mine. A pause.

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Creative Response To Rear Window

Lisa: He’s rather stubborn, though. MARGOT smirks but says nothing. LISA hesitates as if there is something she wants to say. She finally shakes her head and it all spills out of her, a pent up wave of emotion. Lisa: Oh, I don’t know. He says he wants this when he actually wants that… he says I’m ‘perfect’ and yet he somehow makes ‘perfect’ sound like an insult! What more does he want? What more can I be?

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LISA is getting more and more distressed. Her voice rises with the inflection of anger and a hint of desperation. Lisa: I try and I try and it never seems to be enough! M argot: [soothingly] Of course. Men can be so terribly oblivious, you know. Lisa:[muttering, half to herself and half to MARGOT] ‘Let’s keep things status quo’, he says. Well, ‘status quo’ never got anyone married, and you can’t stay ‘status quo’ forever! M argot: [sympathetically] Your Jeff doesn’t realise what he’s got. It took me a while to convince my Stanley you know. LISA looks up curiously, distracted from her wallowing. She glances behind MARGOT briefly, at the shadows to which the man from earlier had retreated to. Lisa: [quizzically] Stanley? MARGOT blushes and lowers her voice. She looks behind her. M argot: I got married last fall to this wonderful man. He’s a navy man, you see, so he isn’t around often but I do love him dearly. [she is suddenly crestfallen] Still, I hardly get to see him. Lisa: [wistfully] At least he loves you.

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LISA looks almost envious of this fact. MARGOT, on the other hand, brightens considerably at this. M argot: Why yes, he does. And I suppose the separation does wonders for our marriage. They do say distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Creative Response To Rear Window

Lisa: Well, I must say I rather admire you for being so optimistic as to allow him to traverse the world without you. Don’t you insist on coming along with him? M argot: [ laughingly] Oh no! I’m no sailor’s wife– [she catches herself as she realises what she’s said] – well, I suppose I am – but what I mean to say is that I’m just not cut out for life on the seas. Besides, boats are his life – I couldn’t ask him to give that up any more than he would ask me to give up my dancing. LISA opens her mouth as if she is about to say something, then closes it. She frowns slightly. Lisa: I suppose you make a good point. But while he’s away, how do you juggle the…

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LISA indicates discreetly to the corner that the man previously disappeared to. MARGOT follows her gaze and gives a wry, humourless smile. M argot: [softly] The wolves. LISA looks at her concernedly. Overhead, the warm yellow light of the chandelier flickers, a blown bulb dimming the room by a fraction. M argot: I manage. Like you said, love doesn’t come around every day. You’ve got to make the most of it while you have it. A heavy silence follows. We hear the muffled sound of two taxis crashing in the street outside and it jolts both women out of their musings.

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Creative Response To Rear Window

Lisa: Well, I’d best be going. It has been a pleasure, Margot. M argot: Yes, of course. You are even lovelier than the magazines say, Lisa. Thank you for coming to my aid earlier tonight. Lisa: Oh, think nothing of it. It was the least I could do for a sister in need. [the two women share a knowing smile] EXT. BUILDING ENTRANCE – (NIGHT) – MID SHOT

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A sleek black Cadillac 60S pulls up to the kerb and a white-gloved chauffeur gets out to open the door for LISA. He tips his hat at MARGOT. Just before she gets in the car, LISA pauses and looks back at MARGOT thoughtfully. Lisa: I do enjoy the ballet myself from time to time; you ought to let me know when your company holds its next performance and I might just happen to drop a line in the columns that week. [she smiles to herself ] Heaven knows I’ll be back here soon enough. LISA gets into the car and it drives off, leaving MARGOT looking delightedly stunned. FADE OUT. ‘ Statement of Intent

In Rear Window, Hitchcock challenges societal perceptions of women at the time, a contrast highlighted by Lisa Fremont climbing fences and fire-escapes in a dress and essentially taking up the mantle of the hero, with Jeff incapacitated. She does similarly in this additional scene by saving Margot (Miss Torso) from being accosted by an unwarranted suitor. I wrote this additional scene for an audience familiar with the film already, to be inserted into the film right after Lisa leaves Jeff ’s apartment for the first time, distressed and vowing not to return ‘for a long time’. Consequently, her conversation with

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Margot revolves around men, especially the argument she just had with Jeff about his travel. It also questions the happiness that marriage provides, much as Rear Window does, with Margot suggesting that perhaps a happy marriage is one where the two spouses rarely see each other. I chose to write in the form of a script in order to mimic Hitchcock’s direction, using extensive camera directions to establish the tone and atmosphere through setting. The opening sequence with the handheld camera shot following various individuals as they cross the room is shot from Lisa’s perspective, just as much of Rear Window is filmed through Jeff ’s eyes. Lisa’s ‘eyes’ linger on the couples, perhaps because her own relationship with Jeff is in the forefront of her mind. I included motifs such as lighting (a chandelier bulb blowing), shadows (a man retreating into shadow) and external sound (traffic), in particular the sound of ‘two taxis crashing’, which is the metaphor Stella used for falling in love. It seems that Lisa expresses her liking for someone by using her position at the magazine to boost their reputation, as she tells Jeff that she ‘planted three good things about him in the columns this week’, so I concluded my piece by having Lisa offer to do similarly for Margot. Finally, a script also gave me the freedom to demonstrate the reactions of all characters in the scene from an omniscient perspective. ‘

Creative Response To Rear Window

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The Promotion

– a short story inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s works Jacqueline Du

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If you happen to be walking down the corridor of one of our Government buildings, the one with– well, I had better not say which one. Suffice it to say that it is of most importance (for if I describe it otherwise, the wrath of this particular department’s civil servants may fall upon me. Nowadays, every counsellor and his wife seems liable to taking offence at even the most inconsequential slight – take, for instance, Agafiya Fedoseyevna, the woman who bit the assessor’s ear off simply because he was taking too long to file her letters patent). But if you just happen to be in one of these corridors, you may find that behind the second door on your right is a large room, sparsely decorated, and in the near corner of which stands a large wooden desk – ash, that is; nothing as grand as oak or mahogany. Nevertheless, behind this ash-wood desk sits a rather thin man, whose body is as haggard as a Petersburg winter and a face that is twice as long, with a wart on the left side of his nose. But don’t let that fool you! As we all know, appearances are often nothing more than a guise, and indeed this man is of a rather peculiar sort. Oh, he is not personable by any stretch of the word, not at all! He is one of those woefully afflicted by the notion that he is of more import than he actually is, who likes to curse from hell to the high heavens and back, only doing the barest minimum required of him, and who is, in many instances, the first to leave the office at the end of the day and the last to arrive the next morning. Yet, when you undoubtedly run into him at one of the many late night parties held amongst civil servants in the nicer part of town, under the influence of some vino dobroye, his brazen manner is rather disarming. ‘God, if I have to copy the letter ‘h’ one more time’, he will bemoan, ‘I just may hurl the entire document out the window’. And as inappropriate as this comment is (for what civil servant doesn’t love his work?), you will likely find yourself chuckling. Then when you run into him in the office the next day, he will offer you his snuff with little to no preamble; simply holding the snuff box out and saying ‘hell, please take some’. Because for all his shortcomings, this man is unquestionably generous and well-meaning. Thus, however reluctant you are to acquaint yourself with him, there is something about this man that is inexplicably endearing. His name is Grigory Dimitrievich. Now, on the morning of the particular day on which our story occurs, Grigory Dimitrievich was late to work once again (he had


stumbled on a discarded pipe as he was leaving his house that morning). He walked into the office with his usual surliness, but when he heard none of the amiable greetings that he had become accustomed to, Grigory Dimitrievich looked up. There, standing by the filing cabinet below the window and surrounded by a cluster of civil servants, was Viktor Fyodorovich. You know Viktor Fyodorovich! He’s the one who kissed a boar at Ivan Ivanovich’s party last month. Anyhow, Grigory Dimitrievich edged closer to the gathered counsellors to hear what was being said. ‘Oh, congratulations Viktor Fyodorovich!’ cried one of them, with thick brows knitted so close together that it was as hard to tell where one ended and the other began as it is to try to see one’s own nose without a mirror. ‘I saw it coming months ago!’ ‘Yes, yes, do you remember when I helped you to carry those papers upstairs? And to think that your new office will be up there!’ remarked another. ‘Quite so, quite so’. ‘Well done!’ ‘Well thank you’, Viktor Fyodorovich’s oily voice positively reeked of affected modesty. ‘It’s nothing, really. I guess the Director just recognised hard work when he saw it’. At this, Grigory Dimitrievich pushed forward through the crowd. ‘Hard work?’ he sneered. ‘You? By the Devil, you wouldn’t know hard work even if it sat up and bit you on the bottom!’ The assembled civil servants gasped. Now before we go any further with this story, I must first explain something about Grigory Dimitrievich. You see, he was born into a family of serfs who were freed when their overlord choked on a piece of cornbread at a friend’s house one evening and died. He became a collegiate registrar at age seventeen, and through a combination of unwitting charm and sheer coincidence, found himself gradually ascending through the civil ranks one by one until he reached that of the titular counsellor. This, in itself, is no mean feat and if I’m being quite generous, I would even go so far as to say that Grigory Dimitrievich is to be commended on his luck and perseverance. However, as he aged, Grigory Dimitrievich became lazy and developed a fondness for the bottle (as I mentioned earlier), and thus has remained in the position to this day. So when this young upstart Fyodorovich claimed what rightfully

The Promotion

– a short story inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s works

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The Promotion

– a short story inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s works

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should have been his promotion, Grigory Dimitrievich felt more than slighted. And heaven beware a slighted Grigory Dimitrievich, oh! He is not some meek little mouse! After cursing poor Viktor Fyodorovich so foully that even the Devil himself would have blushed, Grigory Dimitrievich set off in search of the Director. The Director was to be found in his office at the very end of the corridor, sitting behind a desk of pure elm. When Grigory Dimitrievich stormed in, he did not even blink in surprise. Instead, he heaved a sigh and peered at Grigory Dimitrievich over the top of his silver wire-rimmed glasses. ‘What is it, Grigory Dimitrievich?’ ‘I’ve come to file a complaint’. ‘Well, go ahead then’. ‘Why, in the name of God and all that is holy, does that – Fyodorovich –’ ‘Ah yes’, the Director interrupted Grigory Dimitrievich rather sternly. ‘Viktor Fyodorovich works very hard’. Now, at this moment in time, what Grigory Dimitrievich did not know was that the Director was not, in fact, referring to anything work-related at all. I have it on good authority that the week prior, the Director had discovered something of an illicit affair between Viktor Fydorovich and his own daughter. What a scandal! The Director’s daughter marrying three ranks beneath her father’s station! Oh, the things that get hushed up in this city! In an effort to save face (and the bleeding-hearted Director had never been able to deny his pretty daughter any of her whims anyway), Viktor Fyodorovich had been promoted to a much more palatable station. But of course, Grigory Dimitrievich knew nothing of this. ‘I want a promotion’. ‘Don’t we all?’ Grigory Dimitrievich frowned. He took a step forward and, placing his hands on the smooth elm desk (you should really see this desk sometime, it’s quite magnificent!), leaned forward. ‘Have I not been working here longer than anybody else in this department?’ he sneered. The Director returned his glare with a steely glint in his eye. ‘Have you forgotten your rank, boy!’ Grigory Dimitrievich let go of the desk with a petulant scoff. Then the Director spoke again. ‘It is only because I have known you for a long time, Grigory Dimitrievich,


and only because I like you so much that I will consider your offer. Come back to my office next week and I will see what I can do’. So Grigory Dimitrievich left the office that day feeling rather like he had accomplished a lot. On his way home, he bought a bottle of fine vodka to celebrate (and the next day, did not arrive at work until midday, so I have heard). In fact, he was so busy celebrating his success that by the next week, if not for one of the other counsellors mentioning the blasted Viktor Fyorodovich, Grigory Dimitrievich may have forgotten to seek out the Director altogether. As it were, he walked back into the office with the elm-wood desk with expectant glee. ‘Grigory Dimitrievich! What a pleasure!’ The Director looked puzzled to see him. ‘I have come for my promotion’. ‘Oh! Well! Let me see… I seem to have misplaced your files’. The Director looked up at Grigory Dimitrievich with an apologetic expression. ‘Why don’t you come back tomorrow?’ But the next day, Grigory Dimitrievich, curse his poor memory and affinity for the bottle, did not remember to see the Director. It was not until the following week that he ran into Viktor Fyodorovich upstairs and stumbled back into the Director’s office afterwards. Upon hearing Grigory Dimitrievich’s request for a promotion, the Director’s eyebrows raised so far up his forehead that they almost disappeared into his hair. He shifted in his seat and his mouth set into a thin line. ‘Ah, maybe tomorrow. I happen to have lost the files’. ‘But you said that last week!’ ‘Well, next month then. It shall be done’. Grigory Dimitrievich growled. ‘See that it does’. But he’d already been waved away. And though he wasn’t yet aware of it (though perhaps he really should have been), when the next month came, the exact conversation would be repeated. On the same night, Grigory Dimitrievich would once again drink himself into a stupor, making a considerably valiant effort to drown his misgivings in a bottle of spicy hrenhuova vodka. And when the next morning dawned, Grigory Dimitrievich would undoubtedly have forgotten all of this and set out once again for the office. I am unsure as to whether Grigory Dimitrievich ever got his promotion after all – only that if you happen to be walking along a

The Promotion

– a short story inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s works

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The Promotion

– a short story inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s works

certain corridor in a certain government building, you may be likely to find, sitting behind an ash-wood desk, a certain civil servant wearing the patented scowl of the eternal titular counsellor. Statement of Intent

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It was my main intent to emulate the concerns that Gogol raises in his writing about the political motivations within the Imperial Russian bureaucracy. In The Overcoat, it can be argued that Akaky Akakievich is, in essence, the perfect Russian bureaucrat; he is loyal, dutiful, not too ambitious and does not let his personal life interfere with his professional – in fact, he doesn’t have much of a personal life at all. Yet he is shunned by his colleagues, and dies ‘dear to no one’. I wanted to explore the irony of this, and thus Grigory Dimitrievich is somewhat the reverse – a rather crass but wellmeaning individual, whom his colleagues are drawn to because of the human tendency to feel more at ease when they are aware of others’ imperfections. The title of my story The Promotion, was chosen to reflect Gogol’s naming of short stories such as The Overcoat, The Nose, The Carriage and The Government Inspector, and the idea of the promotion itself arose from the notion that perhaps the Table of Ranks was not quite as transparent or accessible by all as the Russian Government would have their citizens believe, as evidenced by the lack of reward that Akaky’s devotion brings him. I employed Gogol’s metanarrative voice, use of exclamations, italicisations, parentheses and tangential narrative structure, relaying the story anecdotally in an attempt to further increase the intimacy between reader and narrator. Furthermore, I included out-of-context but intriguing little details, such as Viktor Fyodorovich being ‘the one who kissed a boar’, to enhance the verisimilitude of the story, much as Gogol does. Finally, I took inspiration from the conclusion of ‘How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled With Nikiforovich’, where the two protagonists wasted away, each waiting for a court verdict that would be decided ‘tomorrow’. The status of nobility is always just beyond Grigory Dimitrievich’s reach, which is a major part of what makes his life so frustrating. ‘


No More Hiding Behind The Screens

In March this year, we witnessed a gunman kill 51 people and injure 49, shooting them down like targets in a video game. In Christchurch we saw what abhorrent violence looks like. And from the safety of our little blue screens across the globe, we watch this atrocity unfold, live-streamed in real time on Facebook. In less than 24 hours, 1.5 million versions of this attack were uploaded to Facebook alone, viewed more than 4,000 times before anyone bothered to flag its presence. So the question we should ask ourselves is: Why is content like this even available on Facebook in the first place? Days after the Christchurch Shooting, Australia moved to pass the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material Act, meant to ‘ensure that online platforms cannot be exploited and weaponised by perpetrators of violence’. But whilst the long-needed legislation is certainly a step in the right direction, it is far from complete. The legislation refers to the term ‘abhorrent violent conduct’ only in five categories: Terrorist Acts, Murder, Torture, Rape and Kidnapping, meaning the troubling ‘grey areas’ are left to Facebook and other companies to self-regulate. The fact remains that social media continues to blur the boundaries of what should be acceptable online, and we as a community need to take back control. When Facebook say that ‘people use violent language to express frustration online’ and feel ‘safe to do so’ on the site, they are essentially providing an excuse for doing nothing in the face of malice. A report by ABC News found that 7.5 million Facebook users were under the age of 13. What sort of standard is appropriate for a 13 year old? Live streaming of people attempting to self-harm? Images of physical abuse and bullying of children? A Guardian newspaper report in 2017 reveals that all of the above are acceptable on Facebook. And there are many more graphic examples which I won’t go into. It makes you shudder to think just how many of these children have already witnessed such circumstances. Leaving Facebook to determine its own community standards instead of ones bound by law means it has the power to shape our behaviour. When our children log onto a virtual playground of hate speech, violent language and graphic abuse in messages, videos and live streams that is likely what they will deem acceptable in the real world. In defence of looser regulations, some have argued there should

Untitled (Persuasive Speech) Angelyn Neoh Alan Patterson Orator Of The Year Award Winner

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Untitled (Persuasive Speech)

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be an unfettered right to ‘freedom of expression and speech’. But we must come to realise that Facebook, as a major social platform has now become a mainstream community (albeit online) and as such should not be exempted from the standards of behaviour that apply to all of us. If it is unacceptable to say, ‘I hope someone kills you’, in real life, why should this be acceptable online? Lest we forget the words of David Hurley, former Australian Chief of Defence, ‘The standard that we walk past is the standard that we accept’. When asked to more effectively police their platform, a common screen Facebook hides behind is that they don’t have sufficient resources. Yet it was reported that Facebook’s new algorithms rank all available posts on a user’s News Feed based on the likelihood of a reader having a positive reaction. So answer me this, Facebook— your algorithms can detect whether I’d be happier to see a picture of Donald Trump or Chris Hemsworth on my feed today, but you don’t have the technology to effectively take action on your own platform? As some will say, ‘what the… ZUCK Facebook!’ It is simply not feasible to say that Facebook doesn’t have the funds or capacity to do so, but more so a question of where Facebook’s priorities lie. Are they making platforms for community or platforms for money? As we all know, the art of Facebook, consists in milking its technology so as to procure the fattest cheque possible for its cash cow executives, and with the least amount of mooing! So where does all of this leave us? Our world faces many challenges today. In this digital age, our screen forms a window to society. But if our view through that window is marred, how can we see clearly the problems that face us? After the Christchurch Shootings, Jacinta Ardern reminded us in her speech at the memorial that ‘as each of us go from here… we have more work to do’. I can say we all agree. Following the G20 Summit in Japan, it is heartening to see our countries coming together to formulate and implement a set of global standards, but we as the consumer also play a critical role in shaping Facebook’s guidelines and deciding where the boundary should be drawn. We must take action to log off social media, even for just for a day. We

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will send a powerful message to all companies that if we can log off for a day, we can log off for good. The power lies with us, the user, to redefine what is deemed acceptable online to end violent and extremist content. No more hiding behind the screens. ‘

Untitled (Persuasive Speech)

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The Shifting Subject Matter Of Tennessee Williams’s

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Emma Sutherland

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While Brooks has kept a similar level of charged drama that Williams’ created in order to conceal characters’ carefully constructed facades, he has ultimately transformed the avant-garde concepts formulated from the 1960s play. While the play revolves around the social convention and repression individuals feel, the film moreover explores the familial tensions in replacement of the repressed sexuality Brick feels. Big Daddy seems a replacement of Skipper in Brook’s adaptation, and thus the sense of distain and lack of interaction Brick has with Maggie seems to be driven from a familial source, rather than a romantic connection. Such a shift in subject matter, can essentially be derivative from the society and culture of 1950s America during the production of Brook’s film. While society was developing and becoming more accepting of current taboo subjects such as sexuality and sexism, there was still a divide in society. Such a divide and lack of progression act as a catalyst for the changes in the Brooks interpretation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In conjunction with society’s gradual social awareness, the Hay’s Code – a set of moral guidelines applied throughout the film industry until the 1960s, put a stranglehold on the story. Thus, the code restricts the very essence of Williams’ production – repression of sexuality and female suppression. As Miller posits, the very desire that drove Williams to create ‘Cat’ was to ‘find ways for this silenced majority’ – that being the gay community and women – ‘to be allowed to speak’. Thus, by not highlighting the sexuality and sexism that encompasses the play, the films main turmoil is altered. The effect of this change results in shifting the cause of Brick’s emotional and familial turmoil. The film discards the romantic and sexual subtext between the two men, and casts Big Daddy as the catalyst for the animosity Brick feels towards Maggie. However, before considering the impact of changing Big Daddy and Skipper’s roles, we must first consider the relationship between Big Daddy and Brick in the play. Due to Brick’s relationship with Skipper not being censored, Brick and his father’s relationship is not necessary for the continuum of the play. The last time the readers see Big Daddy, he is filled with ‘fierce revulsion’ due to his realisation of his family’s mendacity. Big Daddy ‘goes out’, disgusted by the ‘lying dying liars’ he ironically is surrounded by. The ‘dimming’ of the lights that follow the patriarch’s outburst, not only indicate


the end of the second act, but also leave Brick ‘motionless’ suggest that his relationship with his father will not be further explored. Instead, their relationship will be equally stranded in the dark, much like Brick. However, since their connection is not the source of tension in the play, Williams’ work is still able to thrive and continue for another act, due to the trigger for Brick’s hostility coming from his sexual orientation, rather then his jarred relationship with his father. The changing of Big Daddy’s role furthers the transformation of the film’s main drama. Big Daddy and Brick’s brittle relationship reaches a charged crescendo in the newly created basement scene. The cusp of the scene is filled with jovial music and shrouds the tension between Brick and Big Daddy. Ironically, the non diegetic sound links itself to the play’s grounding concept. The masking of the tension Brick feels in the film – manifested by the music – makes direct parallels to the covering of Brick’s sexuality, something Williams himself condemns in his play. The entirety of the basement scene is mainly shown in mid-shots of the two men, yet the emotional distance between the two of them is apparent. The emotional separation is furthered as Big Daddy – despite being crippled with pain – is adamant when stating to Brick ‘I don’t want your hand’. The lack of human connection between the father and son reaches the climax when Brick’s sense of ‘cool detachment’ breaks, stating he doesn’t want ‘things’ but rather love and connection. These emotional relationships have been stripped away from him due to his relationship with his father, emphasising the film’s need for the basement scene as it establishes the film’s ending. Likewise, the denouement of the film itself furthers the concept of repression, as the film concludes with Maggie and Brick in a position of intimacy, something the play would not touch on due to Brick’s sexuality. In Brooks creation, now that Brick and Big Daddy’s brittle relationship – the heart of the film – is resolved, Maggie and Brick continue being romantic partners. The house is now eerie and quiet, due to the realisation that the patriarch of the family, Big Daddy is dying of cancer. The stillness that surrounds this concluding scene – despite the non diegetic music – emphasises the lack of barriers between Maggie and Brick. Throughout the film and play, the ‘no neck monsters’ could be ‘heard screaming’ and

The Shifting Subject Matter Of Tennessee Williams’s

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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The Shifting Subject Matter Of Tennessee Williams’s

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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interrupting conversations and scenes, causing a myriad of disruption and grievance to the couple. It seems that the children may represent the forces that threaten to further destroy already precarious relationships, as they always come in when people are connecting, thus breaking the momentary bond. However in the final scene the lack of interruptions are prominent, implying that there are no more forces acting against them, whether those be the children or other forces. However, the play differentiates immensely from the film. Maggie desperately proclaims ‘I do love you Brick, I do!’ The heartbreaking chaos is instrumental in this scene, with the cast of characters proffering a crescendo of comments, ‘Shut up!’, ‘That’s a lie!’, ‘You will keep quiet’ emphasising the forces still keeping Maggie and Brick apart. Brick closes the possibility of him being able to love Margaret, stating ‘wouldn’t it be funny if it were true’ – that he was deserving of love. Such a line and ending for the play, which is filled with abrasive sound – unlike the stillness of the film – encapsulates the immense difference between the two mediums of ‘Cat’, as it postulates the reality of Margaret and Brick’s marriage – it is unresolved and possibly unable to be repaired. The ending of the play confirms the emotional dissolution of their marriage, as ‘the curtain [beginning] to fall slowly’ before Maggie and Brick’s conversation ends. On a physical level, the audience has lost sight of their relationship. Yet, on a more emotional level, similar to Brick and Maggie, the audience no longer can see the future of this relationship, and questions the outcome of their marriage. Both of the texts are symbolic due to their ability to capture the struggles and internal turmoil felt by the core characters, yet differ in terms of their main source of tension. While Skipper is the personified manifestation of Brick’s repressed sexuality in the play, the film portrays Big Daddy as the embodiment of Brick’s familial and more acutely paternal struggles. The changes Brooks makes to Williams’ work seem to encapsulate the social milieu of the times. Unlike Williams’ play, which grappled with taboo concepts of repressed sexuality and social stigmas, Brooks’ transforms these concepts into a censored equivalent, ironically contributing to the repression of these concepts that Williams himself lambasts. ‘


A Monologue By Ms Lonelyhearts

That music! Where is it coming from? It’s enchanting, truly magical… almost enough to make me forget the pills I just put down. So tempting, so tempting. I think I’ve heard this song before—not like this, more like an echo of this beautiful melody, but, oh, does this song pull on my heartstrings. In its completion I see utter beauty— it’s more full, containing a much more intense sense of vitality than before. It’s a wonder no one else is looking out of their little glass cages to witness this wonderful spectacle. The man—a songwriter, I presume—plays his piano like he were on a stage, in front of the biggest window in the building, yet no one watches him. Oh, they look and spy and observe all manner of things, but they never turn their heads to the music, just like that man in the wheelchair. I see him sitting by the window day in day out with his binoculars and telephoto lens. He hides behind them…he probably thinks that no one pays attention to the one behind the camera… and he’d be right if it weren’t for the fact that a theatre is a foursided hall—the audience is just as visible to the actors as the actors to the audience. In this day and age, it’s getting harder to tell who’s who; can one be both a performer and a spectator? But, this man, he spends all day looking across the way, staring at silent windows with eagle eyes, and never—not once—have I seen him turn his head towards the music. No, we get so caught up in our little stories and fantasies that we forget that the music has a story of its own; we reduce it to background noise. I hear the pain in the melody, the longing and desire…it seems impossible to think that it’s not the main spectacle in this backward theatre. We get so taken by our own thoughts that we forget to appreciate life’s beauty. I know that better than anyone. I can’t believe I… only minutes ago… oh, I can’t even bear to think of it! To be so devoid of hope that I even took the pills in hand! I was so sure of myself in that single, awful moment. I used to always ask myself if there was any hope of me being less lonely, and day by day the answer grew more grim until… well, I mustn’t think of that now. The music has shown me kindness. Even if there’s not someone out there for me, I have the music. Always music. And the man who makes this music… yes, I must find him. It will not do anymore to hide behind the drawn blinds and listen… oh, but I lack the courage! What if he’s awful?

Creative Response To

Rear Window Alice Wallis

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Creative Response To

Rear Window

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Perhaps this is a matter for another day. It’s funny, I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I get someone to just love me? I had that disastrous date with Malcolm, well—could barely call it a date—who took advantage of me. You know what? It reminds me of the dog. That poor, innocent creature! A death sentence for trying to be friendly! Hardly seems fair… I put myself out there, I left the godforsaken apartment for once, and what did I get? Well, I certainly wasn’t rewarded! Is our world so backwards that human connection is punishable? Are we doomed to live a lonely life? And for what… fear of falling? Must we hide behind out windows like the photographer in the wheelchair and his lens… losing the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy? I know very well the appeal of the world of dreams… oh, that imaginary dinner date offered so much promise… but there comes a point, I feel, when we forget to live; when we forget that we, like everybody else, have beating hearts under those layers of fragile, impressionable skin… …What is that noise? It sounds like a party upstairs, only…more violent. The walls are paper thin there… if only I could just see! I can hear shouting, heavy footsteps—are those sirens in the distance? Oh… look! The photographer! What on earth is he doing, and why is he so panicked? Probably seen something that he shouldn’t have, about time too! What happens behind closed doors is nobody’s business, I think it’s time he learnt that. Oh, it’s getting much louder up there. I can’t help but feel a little anxious myself. Should I go up and ask if everything is okay? No… not my place—but it sounds awful! So many gruff, worried voices… ’officer?’ Are there police there? What on earth shall I do? I can’t turn back now, not now that I know the police are there… something foul is going on, what if someone’s in danger? Oh, but it’s really not my place. I wish I’d never overheard anything! Curiosity makes detectives of us all. Behind the façade, behind all of our differences of experiences and emotions, as people we’re not so dissimilar. We let our hearts rule over our heads; we let our selfishness and our hunger for knowledge, for love, for life, get the better of us and— —What’s that flashing? Looks like a photoshoot for Harper’s Bazaar or somethi—oh, that man! It’s coming from his apartment: the photographer. But why on earth would he be setting off a flashbulb at this ungodly hour? Oh… what—is that? No… there’s a


pair of eyes moving towards him, a man! Isn’t that? He looks like the man from the apartment above mine—I’ve seen him gardening. Why would he be visiting the photographer? Neighbours don’t talk to one another! They’re not talking… he’s… he’s—oh, I can’t quite believe it! I must get a closer look… oh, oh no, oh god no, he’s hanging! From the very window he took such care to hide behind! I can’t call out, what difference would it make—one voice among fifty… yes, everyone has come out to watch the great action scene unfold—Act Three of the Tale of the Caged Photographer… ticket prices at a month’s rent! But why do they come together now? Does it take a man being dangled from a second-storey window for people to emerge from behind the glass? It’s quite shameful. Why, I don’t know the names of anyone here! We live in the same complex, but we don’t know the first things about each other. How is that right? How is that natural? What happened to our origins, to the days when human beings sat around the fire telling stories, reciting epic poems, singing songs? Are those days truly over? We’ve become a reclusive people—we always manage to feel lonely in the most crowded of places. Perhaps it’s time we came out from out boxes and faced each other… …Is that? Goodness… it is! The songwriter, he’s here! Oh, I can hear the music in his smile! Is he looking at me? I think he is! Hope! I see hope in his eyes of sunshine. Pure warmth, brightness, and hope! I think I ought to go and talk to him; for all my talking I think it’s time I stepped out from behind the glass myself… or shall I wait for the whole debacle upstairs to—he’s fallen! Oh, my stars, the photographer is on the ground! But no time for that, the songwriter approaches… tonight might be the night I finally get to speak to him. If we’re all just stories in the end, a whisper on the temporal winds, then I dare say that he might be the next chapter of my tale. Well, who can say for certain. One can dream. ‘

Creative Response To

Rear Window

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Beyond The Tree Line Alice Wallis

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Surrounded. Wood, trees, rustling branches, the smell of dead pine needles. Mist, creeping, whispering, slowly closing in until the air is too thick to breathe. A small house in the middle of a forest, its weatherboard cladding rotting in the cold, damp air. Smoke is always billowing out of the chimney; I keep the fire lit to maintain what little comfort I can find in this abandoned corner of the earth. At night, something changes. The forest looms over the old house, overshadowing it with its infinite depths as the shadows crawl closer. The wind whispers ominously through the boughs of the ancient pines, commanding the agents of the night to walk the earth and wreak havoc. And I, all alone in the dark, dusty cottage, spend every night sitting in the corner of my bedroom, paralysed by fear. It is such a strong sense of dread that I dare not close my eyes until the break of day—I live like an owl, completely back to front, nocturnal not by choice, but in fear of the menacing darkness. My sister used to live here with me, but she has been missing for a long time. I woke up one morning and she was just gone… I waited an hour, but she did not return. I waited another hour, and another, and another, and another, until I had spent two years, two months, and six days waiting for her return. Today is the sixth day of that third month. Despite all this time, sometimes, when I open my eyes at the setting of the sun, I think she might be sitting by the fire drinking her morning tea as though she had never left. It is a naïve thought. Today, I must collect wood before sundown for the week’s fires. Without it, there is no light and no warmth to keep me sustained. But to search for wood means nearing the forest—the fallen branches on the perimeter are the best, for they are sheltered from the rain by the arms of the infinite trees, but not so far into the woods that I might enter and never return. With five layers of clothing to ward off the biting air and my axe over my shoulder, I cautiously approach the tree line. It is such a stark contrast to the clearing in which I reside. The wall of darkness presses up against the bounds of my safety; the sun does not shine there. Just within the realm of shadows, a storm has forged a path of destruction, leaving stray boughs upon the forest floor. A young pine stands dead in the earth, its trunk snapped down the middle,


held in suspended animation, bent, reaching for the solid earth. I cannot help but pity its broken remains. What had once lived among giants is now a lonely stump living amongst reminders of what it could have been had fate not taken its course. The sun finds its way to the little tree, its light gilding what is left of that precious life.

Beyond The Tree Line

A rustle. Something is there. The sunlight is gone; now there is only a desperate need to get out, a heavy pulsing in my ear, short breaths. A scream is let loose from my throat. Before I know it, the axe is hacking into the little stump, putting it out of its misery as the fracture along its spine travels towards the ground and its hanging limb drops. I gather the wood, whipping my head frantically this way and that, and I run… I run until the forest is safely behind the window of my house, where I can keep it within the panes of glass and watch it with my frightened eyes. My mind betrays me. Every creak of a floorboard I mistake for an approaching footstep, every gust of wind is a monster breathing down my neck, every branch scratching the weatherboard cladding is a knock at the door—oh… it really is a knock at the door. A thousand thoughts race about in my head. There are so many possibilities right now; it could be someone come to drag me into the forest, it could be a creature looking to steal the breath from my lungs. My axe is leaning against the wall. I glance at the door, then back at it. I pick it up, holding it above my head as I make my way towards the ominous knocking. Slowly, I open the door. In a moment of instantaneous panic, I almost bring down my axe upon the figure standing there, but the starry eyes stop my reflexes in their tracks. Despite her short stature, she stands tall and fearless. The evening sun lights up half of her face so that one eye is an emerald green and the other a warm brown—the same colour as her hair and that broken lone pine in the forest. ‘Was that you?’ I am too shocked to speak, but she just smiles sympathetically. She points to the line of trees behind her. ‘I heard a… a scream before, coming from the forest’.

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Beyond The Tree Line

My voice betrays me; all I can do is nod. ‘Are you okay?’ Silence. I have not been asked a question—talked to anyone—in years. In this moment, in her kind words, I am reborn. And hers is the first face I have seen, in this life, anyway. The realisation of this change brings me the courage to speak.

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‘Come inside’. As I look in the woodpile for kindling for the fire, I stumble upon the timber sourced from that lonely pine. I shake my head continue searching for better fuel. I could not bring myself to harm that poor creature once again. ‘What was the scream about?’ She asks. I shake my head. ‘Nothing’. ‘You can tell me’. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth as I try to speak, almost gluing it shut. But I fight it. ‘It was a rustle’. ‘A rustle?’ She does not laugh, though I half expect her too. I hold up a cup. ‘Tea?’ She nods. I put the kettle in the fireplace. ‘But why?’ Her eyes ask a thousand more questions than the one she puts into words. ‘It’s the forest, I—’ ‘You’re afraid of the forest’. I cannot help it. There is something about her smile. So I tell her. ‘Every time I look at it, I feel the blood freezing in my veins. I can’t begin to describe the dread I feel even thinking about what lies in that darkness. The shadows are cunning, the trees are deceptive. All my senses betray me when I look into those woods’. She nods. ‘I understand. I used to feel the same. But you needn’t be afraid. Think of the wilderness as… a journey; a wealth of things yet to be discovered. Imagine what life dwells under each stone or tree root. Just a few steps beyond the forest’s edge, the floor runs down to a little creek, where fish dart through the current and all life in the forest comes to rest in the evening light. Do you want to see it?’


She is asking me if I wanted to go into the forest; to walk right into my darkest nightmare. I do not even know her name. But I trust her.

Beyond The Tree Line

The darkness grows closer and closer, the trees looming over us at greater heights by the second. I shudder as I walk into the shadows, but she takes my hand. Each step is shaky, uncertain. But that is when I see it. I turn to her in disbelief and she smiles. This is further than I have ever gone. I take a step closer‌ ‌freedom.

‘

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Scribo, Scribere, Scripsi, Scriptus: Verb – To Write

Profile for Ruyton Girls' School

Scripsi 2019  

Scripsi is a Ruyton literary publication that acknowledges and celebrates many forms of writing. It also provides a platform for Senior Sch...

Scripsi 2019  

Scripsi is a Ruyton literary publication that acknowledges and celebrates many forms of writing. It also provides a platform for Senior Sch...