E D I T I O N O N E 2 0 1 9
C O L O U R 1
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TEAM Tara Komaromy - Editor-inChief
Lori Franklin - Managing Editor
Bel Ellison - Communications Manager
Jack McMahon - Art Director
Bel studies Masters when she isn’t working on WORDLY. The three things she loves most in life are her rabbit, Jiu Jitsu and jam donuts.
Jack always spent too much time wearing different shades of black and grey ... But that was until he developed a penchant for flamboyant patterned shirts that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Cuban crime drama.
Mathew Sharp - Financial Manager
Jessica Wartski - Social Media Officer & Sub-Editor
Venetia Slarke - Designer
Jess Ali - Editor
Tara finds herself collecting small, cute black things in her spare time. She currently sports a black Nissan Micra (affectionately known as 'buggie') and a somewhat defective black cat.
Mathew likes traffic lights - but not when they are red He has always had a green heart; the bush and camouflage are some of his favourite things. Except peas, never. He accepts $100 bills though.
Venetia is strongly influenced by colour in the art she creates, finding it a strong way to depict emotion. You are very unlikely to catch her wearing colour, more than half her wardrobe is black.
Julie Dickson - Editor
Julie loves not so subtly stealing paint cards from Bunnings to add to her growing paint card collection. She loves the creative names and the range of colours.
Lori has been amassing a rainbow collection of nail polish for about a decade now. She likes bright red lipstick, burgundy scarves, and her black and white cat.
A few years ago Jess bought ten different coloured versions of the same cardigan because she didn’t want to limit her wardrobe. She only wears the dark blue one.
Jess is obsessed with the colour green in all its variations. She spends a weird amount of time investigating different species of grass and their properties. Her favourite kind is Zoysia Tenuifolia.
Justine Stella - Editor
Justine is decorating her rental with rainbow coloured fairy lights. Her favourites are the cascading waterfalls of pinks, purples and blues that soothe her rascal kittens.
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Surya Matondkar - SubEditor
Surya has spent most of her time scrubbing turmeric stains off every imaginable surface (including her hands). She is certain Chris Martin was referring to her life when he sang, ‘and it was all yellow.’
Mark Russell - Sub-Editor
Mark is wearing a blue shirt and sitting in a brown chair in a white house in a green yard under a blue sky in the empty black void of the universe.
Tim Same - Sub-Editor
Tim's childhood was defined by Colin McRae driving/ crashing deep blue Subarus, and his sheer natural talent in being sideways AND fast made a young Tim gobsmacked in awe, and a car/rallying fan to this day.
Ruby Roberts - Sub-Editor
Ruby spends far too much time trying to become the first person to finally find a rhyme for orange. Oh my gorange it's tricky! In the meantime, she likes prodding orange starfish and watching the sunset.
Sini Salatas - Sub-Editor
Sini’s life is dotted with the colour red. Her birthstone is the ruby, her very first pair of earrings were red, you can often find her wearing red lipstick, and one day she would like to live in a house with a red door.
Kellie Seaye - Sub-Editor
Kellie’s favourite colour is green. She has worked in a book store for about five and a half years, specialising in young adult reading. Her current favourite book is The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty.
Jason Winn - Sub-Editor
Jason is a self-confessed night owl and as a result his favourite colour is midnight blue. As a proud Ravenclaw he finds himself excelling at Trivial Pursuit, his default colour wedge is usually green or yellow.
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EDITORIAL Hello and welcome to 2019! Deakin University’s student magazine WORDLY is back again for another year, and you better believe we’re opening with a bang. ‘Colour’ is here and hopefully you can find the perfect shade for you. We’re going to explore a rainbow of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more throughout this edition, so prepare yourself for a range of content. We have a fiery ballet dancer, a king with a particularly green thumb, a colourful interview, and so much more along the spectrum. Let’s not forget art! The team is so proud of all the art that is being published in this edition. We want to give a special shout-out to Deakin Visual Art Society for their ongoing support. Start searching for your childhood kaleidoscope and let’s get started. Tara Komaromy Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-Chief: Tara Komaromy
Managing Editor: Lori Franklin
Communications Manager: Bel Ellison Art Director: Jack McMahon Financial Manager: Mathew Sharp Social Media Officer: Jessica Wartski Designer: Venetia Slarke
Front Cover Artist: Tran Dac Nghia Editors:
Jessica Ali Julie Dickson Justine Stella Sub-Editors: Surya Matondkar Ruby Roberts Mark Russell Sini Salatas Tim Same Kellie Seaye Jessica Wartski Jason Winn Contributors: Vanessa Agar Hassaan Ahmed Liam Ball Melissa Bandara Bridget Beswick Brianna Bullen Melina Bunting Bel Carroll A. J. Charles Becky Croy Lori Franklin Elizabeth Gail Molly Herd Jessica Hinschen Kell Kitsch Tara Komaromy Tran Dac Nghia Ben Quigley Duyen Tran Anders Ross Venetia Slarke Justine Stella
© 2019 Deakin University Student Association Inc Reg. No. A0040625Y All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. Opinions expressed in this publication belong to their respective authors, and it may not be the opinions of WORDLY or DUSA. Unattributed images sourced from Google Images and Adobe Creative Cloud Assets. Want to advertise? Contact email@example.com for more information
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The Colours of the Rainbow (but with better names) - Melina Bunting
Hoopla - Kell Kitsch
Behind the Belts: A Martial Arts Journey - Bel Carroll
The Green Man - Brianna Bullen
Green Form - Duyen Tran
Carnelian Dreams - Elizabeth Gail
My Autumn Cover - Jessica Hinschen
Homesickness - Anders Ross
Crimson Stings - Anonymous
Red Ascension - Molly Herd
Not in Kansas Anymore - Liam Ball
Television - Melissa Bandara
Blanc - Ben Quigley
A Mothâ€™s Touch - Justine Stella
The Blinding of Isaac - A. J. Charles
The Colour Test - Becky Croy
Tap, Wallet and Salt & Pepper - Tran Dac Nghia
The Medieval Blue - Bridget Beswick
Copper & Rust - Lori Franklin
Silence of Sight - Hassaan Ahmed
The Wanderings of a Lost Soul - Venetia Slarke
Thatâ€™s a Bit Queer: Being Among the Rainbow at Deakin
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The Colours of the Rainbow (but with better names) Melina Bunting Carmine A rich, deep red with purple tones, inherently sumptuous Atomic Tangerine The name of a Crayola crayon the shade of a dark apricot. It looks like it could be fluorescent, but it isn’t Maize Named for the colour of what is commonly referred to as ‘corn’. It is not a fixed shade, as the colour of corn changes over time Viridescent A pale green with the promise of deepening. I keep imagining it as a richer shade. The ‘v’ makes me think of ‘vivid’ Cerulean A deep blue that looks like there are some green tones to it, like certain pockets of the sea Indigo Indigo is not a real colour, it’s just the space between blue and purple Violet This one can stay, because of the finality of the ‘t’ sound at the end
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Hoopla - Kell Kitsch @kellkitsch
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ehind the Belts: a Martial Arts Journey Bel Carroll
I gave up my black belt earlier this year. After eight years of training Taekwondo, I really needed a change in my life. So I began googling Jiu-Jitsu clubs in my local area and summoned up the courage to walk into one. As I stood there waiting for my first class to begin with a crisp, white belt tied around my waist, no one there had any idea that I was a former member of the national team for Taekwondo, that I had been to the world championships and had even fought against the then world champion. It was a humbling beginning to a new chapter in my life. In order to understand how I felt that day, it is important to grasp how the belts work in martial arts. A beltâ€™s colour is an indicator of someoneâ€™s mastery measured by their club's standards. Most schools conduct gradings where students are assessed on a series of techniques before they can proceed to a higher belt. These belt levels and gradings can be determined either by a governing body of the particular martial art or instructors who can vary the gradings criteria depending on what they think is important to assess. Whilst
white and black belts tend to have a universal meaning across different martial arts schools, the coloured belts in between vary extensively. For example, at my Taekwondo School the belts went in ascending order of white, yellow, green, blue, red and black, whereas at my Jiu-Jitsu school the belts go in order of white, blue, purple, brown and black. Belts can also be awarded to students on the basis of ability and/or attendance depending on the school they train at. This is how students can have the same belt but have different ability levels â€” their schools assess the belts through differing criteria. This can happen with all belts, even with a black belt. This begs the question as to what it means to be a black belt in the first place. In some schools, a black belt can simply mean mastery of all the basic techniques and the readiness to begin learning the advanced techniques. In a general sense, the award of black belt represents someone who is ready to take on more of a leadership role in their club. Technically no one can lose the rank of black belt once they have attained it but they can certainly lose the skill level of black belt by not training consistently. What a black belt does not equate to is overall mastery of martial arts. There are
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different ranks to black belts with a first degree, being the lowest, up to a tenth degree, being the highest. A good way of thinking about it is that achieving a first degree black belt is like achieving a bachelor’s degree, a fifth degree black belt is like achieving a master’s degree and making it to a tenth degree is the equivalent of a PhD. This analogy is not intended to devalue the achievement of anyone who achieves the rank of black belt. To be awarded one shows you have been deemed an expert in your martial art and black belt gradings can be some of the most difficult tests anyone can go through. My black belt grading lasted close to seven hours and I cried when I found out I had passed. This brings me back to becoming a white belt again. A white belt indicates you are a beginner and your knowledge is limited on the subject. It is reminiscent of the Latin phrase tabula rasa which translates to ‘blank slate’, whereby the student's mind is yet to be filled with wisdom on the subject. This state can only be altered by the student's decision to learn and their willingness to continue learning. Whilst this definition is quite positive at its core, there is a known stigma for being a white belt within martial arts schools—that white belts are inexperienced, they don’t know anything and they are not yet good enough to advance in their martial arts journey. Since becoming a white belt again, I’ve had to interrogate my personal beliefs regarding the belt system in martial arts. This is what I have learned ...
of mind that you are an expert, you can develop an ego which inhibits your ability to take advantage of new learning opportunities. This is where the beauty of being a white belt lies. A great white belt is always eager to learn, they do not get overconfident in their abilities and they are open to trying new things. One of the most important things my Jiu-Jitsu teacher has taught me is that the best black belts maintain the mentality of a white belt so they can continue to improve and refine their knowledge on the subject. A great example of this comes from Helio Gracie who is considered the main founder of Jiu-Jitsu. Even though at the time of his death he was a tenth degree black belt, he would sometimes still wear a white belt in his classes to indicate that even he, the grand master himself, was still learning. It took me six years to become a black belt in Taekwondo. At a reputable Jiu-Jitsu school, it takes on average ten years to reach the rank of black belt. One day I will be able to grade in Jiu-Jitsu and place my white belt next to my other belts from Taekwondo in my room. But I should never forget what I have learned from shedding my black belt. No matter where you are in martial arts it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to not know the answer and it’s okay to start again. After all, a black belt is just a white belt who never gave up.
When we assume we are an expert in a topic, what can happen is we believe we do not need to learn any more about that topic. By living in the state
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The Green Man Brianna Bullen
Inspired by Angela Carter’s ‘The Erl-King’ from her collection of works The Bloody Chamber.
The Green Man got lost in history taking a wrong turn somewhere between the tracks of the sixth and eleventh century, meaning and origin disappearing as he crafted a twisted bridge between Paganism and Christianity, iconography tattoo-carved into the sides of churches; their later Gothic tramp stamps. Angela Carter introduced us, retrieving him from obscurity, me a suitably green university student, he an earthy being undergoing revision, vegetarian sexual potency Purveying the piece, fully phallic. He trapped me with his flute As he did the protagonist before me—irresistibly European Stockholm syndrome sprouting from seeds, every full stop. The Erl King more Earl of the forest than king, subordinate to Nature itself. Caged in wood, akin to his victims. Intertextuality weaves his villainy along with his irrevocable hands. It is easy to get lost in the woods. Easy as dreams. We singing birds held in self-illusions, broken out only by Carter’s pronoun switch. His leafy brows—leaf-made, leaf-framed—haunt my sleep still occupying that liminal space between fantasy and wakefulness, death and life, mysterious spectre rooted in its very physical foliage. Perhaps nature made man, perhaps agricultural God dissolving and fragmented across cross-cultural iterations. Regenerating anew, sapling scattered across time, timeless.
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Green Form - Duyen Tran
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Carnelian Dreams Elizabeth Gail
Air It was summer in the forest. I had wandered far from my car without notice—or maybe I did notice. The air was thick and warm, sticking to my throat as I breathed. My surroundings were familiar, dense and green with speckles of movement—maybe something living, maybe just the wind.
It was a small truck stop with dirt plastered to the outside walls. The cashier was young, she looked about seventeen, but she must have been older— they sold liquor there. I made a beeline for the drink fridge—the lining of my throat was almost tight enough to split. The water was cold and soothing, but at the same time felt unwelcome.
The leaves fluttered and flew, all standing at horizontals, as though pointing me onwards. I followed—I followed the wind, and it brought me to a man. He was asleep at the base of a hoop pine, his skin as pale as ice. He breathed—I could hear it—he breathed, and the trees shook.
‘You have to pay for that ... mister, you have to pay for that.’ I kept drinking. The girl stepped out from her box and tried to stop me taking another bottle. She tried to push me towards the door. ‘I’m sorry, but you have to leave.’ My arms felt numb and stiff, like they didn’t belong to me. I barely noticed as my fingers coiled around her neck.
He pulled me close to him. I could smell his teeth— rotted spinach and wet dirt. ‘Ne Kuuluvat,’ he whispered. His breath was warm. ‘Sinä kuulut.’ He held his cold hand to my chest. ‘Tulipalo. Tulipalo.’
‘Tulla. Tulipalo.’ My tongue was not my own, but I felt the words flow through my body. ‘Tuokaa heidät kuninkaalle.’ I didn’t mean to speak, I didn’t mean for any of it.
Each of his fingers became a hundred—tiny darts with soft edges pressed into me, reaching. His breath swallowed me, its warmth swaddled me then stood me upright.
An energy travelled through me. Up from my ribs, through my shoulders, through my arms. Like a breath but stronger. It travelled through her body next, burning her flesh from the inside. Her eyes were red and pleading. She couldn’t scream, but she cried—then she was gone. Not even ash was left behind, just the smell of dead cigarettes.
Everything became nothing—just a sunset. It burnt the colour of autumn only hotter. Then I was alone in the darkness. Fire His fingertips spark with dancing embers. The deep orange of cinnabar burns through his veins—a sunset at the brink of dawn, surging. I awoke with only a vague concept of who I was and where I’d been. The back of my head was aching as it pressed against the wet dirt. My vision spun as I rose and each of the trees became its own forest, dancing a Humppa. There was a tin roof poking through the gaps in the trees, and I somehow knew it, and that it had something for me. The sweet smell of wet earth curdled in my stomach as I stumbled forward. My body lacked the energy to move with any grace.
His fingers dance with the orange fire. I am calm, and I feel certain. Earth She is living but no longer a person. I am bright— the sun is growing into day, and I am finally awake. I left my shoes at the truck stop. My feet felt calmer sinking into the damp soil. There were living things below me—I could feel them move under my soles. They tickled through my skin, the worms and the pill bugs. Everything looked different from higher up and I almost collided with branches and leaves. Tulipalo, tulipalo—the wind is speaking in circles.
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I stared at the trees, and everything looked different. I think I was walking west. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew it was where I was meant to be. Something led me, something deep and alive. Tulipalo. Tulipalo. Light rustles became restless, leaves throwing into each other and sparring with an untamed energy. Water began to move. I approached a river, and it made me uncertain, but I could see people. A man and a boy stood on the largest rock by the bank and held fishing rods over the water. The little boy screamed as water splashed up onto his face, and so did I. Did I? I called out from the dirt, and the man whispered to his son. I smiled, and he left the boy and came to me. Tou hänet. Tulipalo. Tulipalo. The man’s brow was low as he waded through the rocks and the agitated waves. ‘Are you okay, sir?’ He looked down at my feet. ‘Are you lost? Where have you come from?’ I didn’t need to speak, the words flowed out of me. ‘Tulipalo.’ ‘Sorry, sir, where?’
I try to speak, to comfort him. I try to walk, to move towards the boy, towards the water. My instructions provide no action—I am no longer body, only mind. I beat against my cage and scream until my empty voice is broken. I try to lift my feet and move. Anger swells and I try to move, but there is only fire. Sinäkuulut. Tulipalo. Tulipalo. I close my eyes and breathe, and I move towards the water. My toes burn as the waves stroke my skin. Then my feet burn, then my ankles. The boy has run away because my body is screaming. The pain feels necessary, so I wade deeper. I drop to my knees. Everything is in conflict—my mind, my body, the water—nothing seems to belong. Jatkamme Elämäämme. Tulipalo. Everything becomes silent as my head is submerged. Everything becomes nothing. I am alone with the fire. The burning orange stares back at me. It approaches with ease and I can’t back away. We are in a void. There are no walls, but something is restricting me. I can’t move, and it comes closer. Embers tickle my skin, and my fingers begin to melt. I try to shield myself, but it continues to walk, enveloping my very being. He is no longer, only fire, fire, tulipalo.
‘Tulipalo. Hän odottaa.’ ‘You don’t look so good. Maybe I can get you to a doctor?’ The man looked back at his son, as if to say something with his eyes. He pulled out his phone, and my head cocked back. My feet were firm on the ground, but I could no longer feel the dirt. I began to live by three spirits, and a fourth who didn’t belong to the earth. The man was a dog whistle as my hand pressed into his shoulder, falling deep into his skin. He smelt like plastic curling up beside a flame. Then, just like the girl, he was gone. The boy screamed. I could see orange veins painting themselves into my palms. They were living in the crinkles of my skin. I am sunlight, I am breath, olen tulipalo. Water The boy is crying, and I wish I could feel his tears. Ei. Olemme tulipalo.
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My Autmn Cover - Jessica Hinschen
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Homesickness Anders Ross
O’er briar where burrowers doth roam, so dreamily now
Beneath a canopy of wild red rose that hereabouts hath grown. Out with no sullen promontory, no place blither than one’s home, From deepest chambers of the heart, One’s spirit becomes the cock robin, and Runs cheery ribbons ‘round the Sun. Be this my breastplate, my silver pauldron To take arms against my gloomy little room. For the city takes our dreams; foolish or childlike. But who’ll bear the pall? Lie all a-fallow with sword resting a-hand? ‘I,’ said rufous Sparrow, ‘I will bear the pall. But only in the city.’ Earnest scent of the earth in worn zinc barrows, Wheeled quite so happily in the Sun’s going down. To windless steam from kettles, From engines that roar and trundle; Trundle and soaring against the arcing light: what scumbles The sideways bending. What utters those delicious words: It was my agonies that lined the clear stream. But I, In Youth’s incautious days, Made this golden antidote, all to take, For when pale skies ne'er seem to open, now that I am far away.
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CRIMSON STINGS Anonymous
Musician’s fingers slide up my thigh; Crimson stings and other dirty things, All play in my mind. Gentle kisses, a warm embrace, Blacks, blues, and other hues Litter my languid shape. Pixels have kept intimate, Any feelings or secrets, Until my eyesight blurs. My heartrate increases, My pupils magnify, Why won’t you leave my mind? A sharp suit, a tiny dress, All we’re missing is one caress.
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2019 BOOK GOALS
Fill in the spines of the books below with your 2019 reading goals!
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RED ASCENSION Molly Herd
I feel every single bone in my foot bend as I move onto the ball. I transfer all my weight onto this one foot, my metatarsals pressing into the floor. I will my foot to hold me up, putting all my trust in these bones, in myself.
Every muscle in my body is working to hold me up. Soon my leg will start to falter, I will lose energy, or perhaps my will. My leg muscles seize like a tourniquet. It becomes tighter and tighter until my stomach lurches with pain. But I hold.
I hold the position. Ten seconds first, I can do that easy. Now twenty. Soon one minute. Moving up from my foot, my ankle stretches and relaxes, it’s really the calf doing the work. My calf muscles start to protrude and cramp under the pressure. I will not move. I will just breathe. Breathe until I forget the pain. The accident was a year ago, it can’t hold me forever. I stretch higher towards the roof, creating space in my calf, giving back. The other leg, that thing, just hovers above the ground, taunting me, fuelling me.
As I grip onto the bar, I gaze out the six-pane, crusted-white window, and begin to picture myself dancing as the Black Swan. No, I find the Black Swan too cliché. I’d much prefer to be the Red Queen. A burning idol of passion, dedication, pure perfection. I’m posing in front of my audience. I’m ready. My music starts, and I begin my dance. I feel my hardened core driving my movements. Every bone, every muscle, each a piece of coal in this steaming train, headed towards a glorious finale. I can see myself clad head to toe in bright red. Red tutu, red pointé shoes, red tights, and a tiara headpiece, emblazoned with a ruby at its centre. As I dance, I stare viciously at my fans. I want to murder them, I want to fuck them, I want to impress them. I begin to spin in my pirouettes. I spin, and I spin, and I spin until I’m spinning so fast my head unscrews and flies into the audience. They claw at my face, eating my hair and stretching my skin until I am no longer recognisable. My headless body is still spinning, and it begins to hover above the stage in a horrific, beautiful fashion. Suddenly I explode, and the crowd gives a standing ovation. They throw red roses onto the stage next to my scattered body parts, treating the Queen to luxuries, even in the afterlife. I lower back down and plié to relieve the pressure in my calf. The stage is gone, and my reflection is staring back at me in the white-framed window. There are all types in here, in this room. People like me, some a little worse off, some better. None with my passion. I want to be the Red Queen, and I know that can’t be taken away from me. *** In ... Out ... In ... Out ... In. Hazy, loud, confused. Help me, confused. Out. ... In. White. Out.
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In. Can you hear me? Hello. Out. ... In ... Out ... In ... Out *** ‘Ms Findlay, can you hear me?’ I remember that his voice woke me. I remember having to force my crusted eyes open. My pulse stuttered at having a stranger in my room— but this wasn’t my room. The greyish blinds, the white walls, the distant beeping of a machine designed to keep me looking human, feeding me colourless liquids. ‘Ye ... ah ...’ Their painkillers had numbed my brain and slurred my speech. ‘Okay, great. Can you tell me the last thing you remember?’ I didn’t even have time to adjust before remembering ...
*** We had decided to get a drink before our performance season started. A small treat to break up our rehearsals. We knew that drinking wasn’t the best idea before our performance season, but we knew we had a whole weekend to recover before our first show. We had spent all winter working on our revised version of Sleeping Beauty, where she awakes with the help of her fairy guardians, not the prince. We all expected we’d soon be labelled The Royal Feminist Ballet. I was not yet recognised as the dancer I was, so I played the menial role of Flower Fairy #3—no surprise there. The bar was nouveau riche. The walls were a clean, white colour and the bar was a light brown, polished timber setup. This was what I expected now, especially for Melbourne. The bartender was fiddling around on his phone, deciding which robotic, repetitive rave beat he was going to blast next. ‘Miranda, are you going to drink?’
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It was Jasmine, one of the few (or two) people I liked at the company. She wasn’t particularly fascinating, I assume this is why I liked her. There was nothing for me to be interested in, nothing for me to feel threatened by. She was just there, as plain as her dancing. She was Flower Fairy #4, so we had spent all our rehearsals dancing next to each other, complaining about our mediocre roles. I found this ironic because I thought that Flower Fairy #4 was the perfect role for her level of technique and grace. ‘Yeah, get us a raspberry and vodka.’ *** ‘Ms Findlay, unfortunately your injuries were very severe and we had to do emergency surgery to amputate at your right vastus lateralis. Your vastus medialis was crushed between the driver door and the steering wheel, which is rare in a car accident, but from the state of your car after the crash it’s no surprise. You suffered third degree burns from an engine fire, making amputation our safest medical response to avoid infection, or even death.’ My chest felt like it had concaved, like my childhood ballet teacher was once again crushing my ribs together. I looked away from him. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t even cry. ‘Rest assured, Ms Findlay, you will receive a prosthetic leg and after you have recovered you will begin rehabilitation. We also encourage you to attend our complimentary counselling sessions. Losing a limb can be a difficult struggle for ...’ Shock chilled my blood and his voice melted into the ambience of the hospital.I wanted him gone. All I wanted was my stage. Then I was there, spinning, the red colouring starting to wash out of my tutu, my shoes, my crown, until all that red trickled like a pool of blood onto the stage. I came to a jarring holt, suspended in mid-air. My audience is confused, I’m confused. As I fall to the ground I realise I can no longer trust these bones of mine.
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NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE : A HISTORY OF COLOUR IN FILM Liam Ball
Ah, film. It’s a wonderful thing. This relatively new (in terms of how long humanity has existed), storytelling medium changed the landscape of art, culture, and society forever when it was first created. Thanks to the invention of the camera in the late 19th century, the ability to record life in the form of photos was birthed. It didn’t take long for the concept of moving pictures to come along, in all of its grainy, tiny aspect ratio, and black and white glory. And it was here that the interesting timeline of colour in film began: 1906 — One of the first attempts at adding colour to film came in the form of colouring in the film by hand, which is as time-consuming as it sounds. A famous example of this was in the films of Georges Méliès (A Trip to the Moon). Most of us are familiar with the concept of the sepia-tone. It was the technique that required dyeing the entire frame in a specific colour known as sepia. Other colours were used depending on the tone the director was aiming for. 1909 — Additive colour (mixing shades of red, green, and blue together) sytems became commercially available, and they were terribly impractical. The process required recording several reels of film for each colour, anspecial projecting equipment. This meant that usually only two colours were used in the filmmaking process. 1920s — The introduction of subtractive colour (mixing tints of cyan, magenta, and yellow together) systems prove to be a decent game changer as they did
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not require special projection equipment. By recording a film onto coloured sets of a film reel and then overlapping them, a natural colour image could be produced when all the reels aligned. It’s similar to the process of how a printer works. 1932 — The full range of colours finally became producible and films were no longer restricted to the combinations of only two colours. One of the most famous colour camera companies of this period was Technicolor, who held a monopoly over the film industry in Hollywood at the time. However, over in Europe, there were quite a few colour film companies. Sovcolor was based in Russia, Gasparcolor belonged to Belgium and Britain, and Germany had Agfacolor. 1935 — The first-full length feature Technicolor film Becky Sharp was released, paving the way for colour in films. 1939 — The film The Wizard of Oz was released, and everyone seemingly forgets Becky Sharp in the process. 1930s — While it quickly became the most popular and prevalent camera brand in Hollywood, Technicolor proved itself to be overly cumbersome. The company also became notorious for its frequent meddling in productions, going so far as to alter the looks of several films. Not helping, were the lighting conditions required on set for the cameras to work. A famous example of the terrible conditions associated with filming in Technicolour occurred during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, in which the set was reported as having reached up to
38°C due to the lighting. 1950s — Technicolor’s glory days soon came to an end with developments such as Eastman Colour’s ‘monopack’ colour film, which was capable of filming in colour with the use of only one strip of celluloid. It went without saying that this was far better than the massive box which Technicolor insisted on calling a camera. Other companies including DeLuxe Color and Trucolor quickly grew within the space. The long and winding history of colour in films has left quite the mark on how we make films to this very day. Many of the early constraints of colour led to how we express ideas and tones within film. We still absolutely tint scenes to evoke certain feelings, but now we’ve just gotten a bit better at doing it, such as using more colours than just sepia. And with the advent of digital cameras, we don’t even have to worry about physical film anymore, unless you’re a traditionalist like Christopher Nolan and continue to use celluloid. The future of colour in film is an interesting one, as it really could go in any direction. It is possible that in the future, with the onset of higher quality digital cameras and larger TV resolutions, that film will become more colourful in an effort to enhance spectacle. Or we could see a rise in nostalgia for the past manifest itself in ways such as the academy award-winning, black and white film, The Artist. However, the likely path for colour as a tool in film will reflect the tastes and politics of the audiences and creators of tomorrow. And seeing as the ’90s are coming back into style, I dread we may soon revisit the dark age of fluoro!
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BLANC Ben Quigley
The rain beat against the window of my office harder than usual. If I knew anything about days like this, I knew that something bad was headed my way. Bad things never happen on sunny days. She was already there when I walked in the room. A barely there dress revealing more than it concealed, cigarette in hand, eyes blue enough to be used on a government form. I’ve never been good at metaphors. Her stare told me that I had something she wanted. Her words said as much. ‘Mr Dawson, you have something I want.’ ‘If it’s about the electricity bill, I can pass on the information to Mr Dawson.’
‘My apologies. I didn’t mean to offend.’ ‘No you idiot. A dick, a private eye.’ We both laughed at the misunderstanding. Because, you see, she meant dick as in the term for a private eye, rather than the offensive meaning of the word. It was an easy mistake to make, and one that I reminded myself not to make again, at least this week. At least, not in front of strangers. ‘I need someone to find my husband. He’s gone missing. I’m willing to offer 20,000 dollars to a man with skills like yours.’
‘I am not.’
It was true. I did have skills. But I’m not sure how my ability to cook 2 Minute Noodles in 1 minute 58 seconds was going to be to her benefit. She hadn’t brought any noodles. Or a microwave. I heard there was a special on microwaves on down at Dirty Dave’s Dive, Laundromat, Nightclub and Appliance Store. Plus, to top it all off, the electricity had been cut.
‘Then I’m Mr Dawson. How can I help, Miss...?’
‘You do realise I can hear everything you’re saying.’
‘Mrs, actually.’ Figures. ‘Mrs Mann. Anita Mann.’
Odd. For some reason people tell me this all the time, including Mrs Johnson down at the deli. Although she ain’t been down at the deli much lately. At least when I’m around. I wondered what Mrs Mann meant by that.
‘Are you not Thomas Dawson?’ ‘Are you not from the electric company?’
‘Slightly cliché, don’t you think?’ ‘Touché.’ The smoke from her cigarette danced behind her lips before leaving in a chaotic rush, like students at the end of a long school day. My shrink says I need to work on my metaphors. ‘It’s my husband.’ ‘What’s your husband?’ ‘A very wealthy man.’ ‘In what business?’ ‘Government bonds.’ ‘So you’re a bonds girl?’ ‘Only if I remember to put them on in the morning.’ ‘Tell me Mrs Mann, did you remember this morning?’ ‘I’ll answer that if you answer me this: why are you a dick?’
‘I mean I can hear your narration. You’re not even turning away from me when you do it. You’re looking right at me.’ She was a real odd dame. Something told me she knew what I was thinking. ‘I can still hear you. Are you going to help me or not?’ Her stare told me that I had something she wanted. Her words said as much. ‘Stuff this. I’ll go look for him myself. I was right. You are a dick.’ The door slammed behind her with a heavy thud. As she walked out the door something had dropped out of her pocket. I went to pick it up. A key. One that opens a door. But what door? And what would I find behind that door? Was this a metaphor for something? I’ve never been good at similes.
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A MOTH’S TOUCH Justine Stella FOR MUM I know their fluttering can be disconcerting at times. I know they can create unnerving shadows as they brush against your lights. But I think moths can also be kind of magical. I started high school with two goals: be a good student and make great friends. So I wasn’t a sheep and I didn’t say ‘no’. I didn’t ‘forget’ my homework because it was cool or lie to substitute teachers. I willingly swapped seats so Hailey didn’t have to sit next to the boy who smelled and I skipped netball practice to help Tanya study for our upcoming maths test. I thought I was a good friend, so I couldn’t work out why people kept dumping me. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I asked my mum once. ‘Why does no one want to be my friend?’ I’d interrupted her sorting the dirty clothes into regular and gentle piles by climbing up onto the closed lid of the washing machine. I banged my heels into the cold metal of the machine’s side, letting the hollow echo fill the laundry room while I waited for her reply.
And then it changed its path, flying away from the light. The moth flew straight to me and landed on my forearm.
Mum dropped the t-shirt she was holding and turned to face me. ‘Mum, what am I doing wrong?’ I whimpered.
I slowed my breathing gentle, not wanting to away. When the moth Looking up at Mum, I saw
She leaned against the wall, considering me. ‘You’re not doing anything wrong, sweetheart.’
‘See,’ she said, ‘even the moth knows there’s nothing wrong with you. It knows you’re filled with light.’
I scoffed at her.
After my mum said that, I paid more attention to the moths around our house. And years later when I moved out to go to uni, it was like the moths moved with me.
Mum raised her eyebrows at me. ‘People can put each other down for all sorts of reasons: jealousy, anger, feeling insecure. Sometimes they take it out on the people around them.’ She reached out and wiped away a tear I hadn’t felt trekking its way down my cheek. ‘You know,’ she continued, ‘I don’t think it’s you at all, but how they feel about themselves.’ ‘If it’s not me, then how come I’m the only one they ditch?’ I couldn’t keep the whine out of my voice. ‘Are these people really the kind of people you want to be friends with, if they’re making you question yourself?’ ‘Well, I don’t know but ...’ my words shriveled up as Mum tilted her head towards the ceiling. I followed her gaze and saw what had distracted her. There was a small grey moth circling the light above us. Its movement created an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow on the walls around us, morphing like a kaleidoscope in time to the beating of its wings. For a moment we were still, our necks bent to watch the small creature’s flight. It continued to go around the light in tight circles, but it never once touched the bulb.
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until it was soft and scare my new friend didn’t move, I smiled. that she was smiling too.
They continued their routine circling of the outside light near the front door of my new house, they continued sneaking in and seeking out the bare bulb in my bedroom. And when I needed them, when I let doubt seep into me, they were there. I threw a pile of drafts onto my bed one day after uni. Phrases from a brutally honest creative writing workshopping class bounced through my head. Unrealistic dialogue, the others said. Boring, my tutor declared. ‘Not a single good thing about this story,’ I hissed under my breath. ‘I am such a shitty writer. I’m wasting everyone’s time.’ I snatched up my latest draft but before I could crumple it into a ball, a soft grey body landed on my hand. Mum’s words crowded out the negative feedback in my head. ‘There is light after all,’ I whispered to my little friend. And then, ‘Thanks Mum.’
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THE BLINDING OF ISAAC A. J. Charles
eyelids fluttered as the first streams of morning sunlight sliced their way through the venetian blinds of his bedroom window. He willed himself to fight back, for just five more minutes. Finally, he surrendered and threw his duvet away as if flying his white flag. He lay for a moment and enjoyed the morning rays while their warmth played against his skin. After this quiet moment of his morning, he dressed to begin his workout. Isaac inserted his earphones and queued up his favourite playlist while he rode the elevator down and left his apartment building. He set off towards the Botanical Gardens and Survivor belted ‘Eye of the Tiger’ in his ears. As he rounded the corner into the gardens, he was met with a sight that still amazed him after four years: a sea of roses which flowed from red to purple, pink, white, yellow and orange seamlessly. Lambs Ear, Hummingbird Mint and Lavender provided a green and silver base, while a vibrant green lawn curled its way throughout the gardens. As he jogged, the bouquet of smells enticed Isaac as if it were the first time he had smelled them. By the time he reached the other side of the gardens, Isaac’s ears filled with the guitar solo from Kansas’s ‘Carry on my Wayward Son’. He couldn’t hear onlookers call out to him and didn’t see the stray skateboard as it rolled across his path. For a moment Isaac felt weightless, with no idea of why. His weightlessness was suddenly ripped away from him as he was dragged to the ground by the cruel force of gravity. With a flash of blinding white light, Isaac lost consciousness. When Isaac returned to the land of the living, a paramedic stood over him. A look of relief spread across the faces of those that had gathered around as Isaac opened his eyes. The paramedic asked whether Isaac knew what the date was, where he
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C was, and if he knew who the Prime Minister was. Isaac answered his questions, joking that in Australia you couldn’t keep up with the leadership spills and any name he gave would be wrong. The paramedic remained stone-faced as he shone a torch into each of Isaac’s eyes. Even though the brightness stung his eyes, he forced himself to keep them open. The paramedic cleared him on the condition that Isaac remain at home for the day. Although he wanted to complete his workout, Isaac was in no condition to argue. Disappointed, he returned to his apartment. As he stood beneath the stream from his waterfall showerhead, Isaac soothed the aching muscles of his neck as he felt the sting of water on his grazed forehead and elbows. He felt as though he could stand below the stream forever, but he finally turned the matte black handles to stop the water and pushed the screen door open. Compared to the sea of colour in the garden earlier, his bathroom felt drained of life. When he designed the bathroom, he had loved the idea of matte black fittings, grey tiles and a dark wooden vanity. He wished now that he had chosen differently. When he caught his reflection in the mirror, he noticed grey hairs had begun to pepper their way through his beard, aging him instantly. Isaac didn’t think of himself as a vain man, but he had worked over years to maintain his fitness to fight off the signs of age. Despite this, he, like the bathroom, had become an eerie grey-scale version of his former self. As he entered the kitchen, Isaac realised that the fruit in the bowl on the bench had darkened, though he had only bought it yesterday. He bit into an apple and nearly retched when he saw that the entire inside had turned brown. Disappointed, he discarded the browned apple and picked a new one. Feeling almost paranoid, Isaac frantically cut into apple after apple, hoping to find an answer within one. Every one of the apples in the bowl had browned throughout. With his appetite ruined by spoiled fruit, he sat on the couch to watch TV. He would normally have filled his day with much more, but under the instruction of the paramedic, Isaac stayed in. With very little worth watching on TV he decided on a war film, so old that it had been shot in black and white. Although he detested the glorification of war, the film proved
itself to be worth watching and it enthralled him until the end. After the film was over, another began straight away, again in black and white. Uninterested in the new film, he drifted off to sleep. Hours later, Isaac woke with a start. He must have slept for most of the day, because it was completely dark in the living room. Isaac felt his way across the room to the light switch. However, when he flipped it, nothing happened. He thought to use the torch on his phone to find his way across to the fuse box near the front door, but when he tried to unlock his phone, the screen remained black. Unsure of how long he had been asleep, he figured that the battery must have gone flat whilst he slept. Still blinded by the darkness, he continued his mission to reach the fuse box. Once he found the hallway, he slid along it, hugging the wall so he wouldn’t lose track of it. He found the panel which housed the fuse box and opened it. He located the master switch on the far left but found that it hadn’t been tripped. Even so, he reset it. When no lights came on, he wondered if the whole city had lost power. Isaac felt his way back across the dark apartment to the window. When he looked out, he saw nothing but darkness, confirming his theory. The glass was still warm from the day’s sun, so it couldn’t have been much later than seven thirty at night. With no power and no means to cook dinner, Isaac decided to sleep (or at the very least try) and hoped that when he woke he would find that the power had returned. He began to navigate the apartment more through memory than touch while he made his way to the bedroom. Isaac fumbled around before he found the charger, connected his phone, and left it on his bedside table. Despite his sleeping throughout the day, when Isaac climbed into bed, he succumbed to sleep with ease. With the dawning of a new day and the streams of light the venetian blinds brought, Isaac was already awake. He didn’t see the rays of light though, nor his own hand before his face, or anything other than blackness.
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The Colour Test Becky Croy A man waits to get his eyes tested. A prominent green to match his prominent chin. A glimmer of a mean streak with feathery eyebrows eager to critique— His next sombre appointment. Heavy blue rain drips methodically onto metal chairs, A sterile exhibit for his soft, moss coloured lenses. Waves of hurried footsteps and squeaky floorboards— Enchanting the patient like some kind of dance. Hushed voices hiding— In the growing wild, violet lighting, A cosmic display of x-ray vision— Igniting static on the television ...
Welcome to your personalised colour test. The following questionnaire will determine the treatment best suited for you. If you are seeing this message error stop error stop error 101 not found. STOP PLEASE *Missing Information* ///101110101001error1010101001011error1101100101//1001101green110101101/// Question One On most days, do you feel: A) Blue B) Green C) Violet D) Violent Reminder: Your answers are important to us. DO NOT BE ALARMED. Remember to answer honestly. Your answers may be recorded for academic purposes. You may answer freely.
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â€˜I believe that the ability to enjoy beautiful art and visuals should be a given right to everyone. Yet, for some, a piece of that experience is carved away due to something as unavoidable as colour blindness. Inspired by the Ishihara Colour Test, these works portray the little bits of colour in life that people take for granted, and encourages viewers to find beauty in simple things that we usually fail to notice.â€™ Tap, Wallet and Salt & Pepper - Tran Dac Nghia @incompletio_ wordly colour edition_edit.indd 27
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THE MEDIEVAL BLUE
I watch the sky turn a Medieval Blue. So vivid it dulls the thornless, yellow roses. So thick in colour I feel its suffocating grasp. Thicker than water, dragging me into its infinite blue. Unfightable force, it carves my soul, destroys every sinew. Yet, I choose to stay, through burning veins and incandescent scars. But eventually I must leave, as the sky must darken to its usual navy, speckled with the dust of dying stars.
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COPPER & RUST Lori Franklin
I don’t know the colour of the night sky when you were born. There must have been a window, but the curtains were drawn, I think. I mostly remember the pain, and how it greyed out the room, how it tore at my spine. There was a crack in the hospital floor that I paced around while I waited for you, my hot swollen feet against the cold polished linoleum. When you were finally ready, the fluorescent spotlights were the stars I delivered you under. You came out in hues of red and purple, slick with white. Your tiny scrunched-up face the brightest colour in the room.
Fear lurked in the corners, hiding behind doors and pouncing on us when we least expected it. It was a sharpness, like biting your tongue by accident. My mouth tasted of copper and rust, but despite it all, you grew.
Your nursery was painted a soft grey, with a marching line of yellow duckies endlessly circling the walls. You were newborn and pastel clad, as though too delicate for bright colours just yet. Your toys, your clothes, even the walls, were all muted and watered down; the illusion of softness in a hard world. I was afraid to touch you at first. I held you and was terrified both of letting go and of holding on too tight. I know now that navigating these impulses is simply what it is to be a parent, choosing between one conflicting feeling or another as best you can. They chase each other in circles until you do.
You took your first steps on our brown-tinged lawn, wearing white shorts. I held my arms out a few metres away, and your pudgy feet stumbled their way to me on your bowed legs. Your breaths came in heaving gulps when you reached me. My own chest ached for you. I reached for the oxygen tank, looping the cord over your head, the cannula across your red cheeks and up to your nose. You breathed deeply, not easily.
*** At first, we spent a lot of time under the painted clouds of the hospital nursery ceiling. They were optimistically white, a cheerless yellow sun in one corner. Those fluffy fakes were like salt in our wounds, mocking us for all the time we didn’t get to spend under the real sky. I told myself you didn’t know the difference. The learning curve was a right angle. Long complicated words I never wanted to have to know, temperatures and times, doses and needles. Colour-coded, a matter of life and death, I swaddled you in a purple blanket and cried all the way home. ***
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For a whole month you silently protested against orange fruit or vegetables. No carrots, no pumpkin, sweet potato, mandarins, none of it. Something about the colour offended you. Instead, we ate greens and yellows, the occasional bright red or pink. I didn’t care as long as you were eating, breathing, living.
*** w I waited for the storm to pass, desperately clinging to the pale cream feeling of hope. Time passed, your diagnosis dipping up and down from day to day. Your green eyes faded, and I watched the rest of the colour steadily seep out of you. The storm raged on. I was with you under the fluorescent stars for the last time. *** At your funeral the ceiling was an oppressive taupe colour, meant to be soothing but somehow achieving the opposite. Hard, instead of soft. Your coffin was a deep-stained redwood, and cruelly small. I would have curled up inside it, bent and broken my limbs to fit, if it meant you’d live instead of me. The last thing I saw before they closed the lid was the shimmering baby-blue silk of your dress. My salty lips left a cloudy smudge on the varnish as I kissed you goodbye.
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SILENCE OF SIGHT Hassaan Ahmed
The day of Sally Evans’ funeral, we woke up to a colourless world. It was neither calamitous nor apocalyptic. Just, strangely cloudy. Our newfound colourless existence was peculiar. Not just because of the lack of any discernible pigmentation. Some people, mostly my husband, chose to fixate on the right label to describe this turn of events. ‘Monochrome, it’s monochrome,’ he went around whispering to everyone who visited. Old Caleb’s son, who was relegated to shooing any out-of-towners wanting to pitstop on their journeys, reported that none of the outsiders had noticed that the town looked a lot bleaker this day. In fact, they couldn’t even see the odd clouds overhead. Some even complained about the harshness of the sun. The townspeople thought that strange, but not enough to warrant distracting them from congregating outside the Evans’ place at the crack of dawn. I, however, found myself quietly thankful for the clouds and their pigment-sucking abilities. It was doing wonders for my appearance. My facial bruising wasn’t standing out as much, and the band-aids appeared faintly luminescent, like retro-futuristic tattoos. In fact, I decided, as I stared into the mirror, I looked positively un-hideous. That didn’t stop the townsfolk from staring daggers at me. There was a slow, constant procession outside our house throughout the day, murmuring incoherent platitudes to the wall while looking at
me sideways through the window. Eventually, my husband herded everyone out with an apologetic face. He had to get to his workshop and start preparing. He gave me a tender but swift kiss on my forehead, grabbed his gloves and headed off into the garage. Our town was small enough that, as a community, our collective reactions to events were unified. The next day, barely twenty-four hours later, no one was remarking on the ‘slight’ vision deficiency we were all experiencing. No hysterics, no pandemonium, just an ‘okay, so that happened’. Everyone collected outside the Evans’ house again, providing whatever measure of comfort they could to the family. A few of them spotted me peeking from my window across the road, but chose not to acknowledge. Understandably. Eventually, my reverie was broken when my husband emerged from his workshop and waved at some people standing outside the Evans’. Three broke off and followed him into the garage, returning a few moments later with a casket propped on their shoulders. My breath caught in my chest for a moment, was the casket really supposed to be this small? My brain attempted to recreate the rich brown of the wood, but the clouds chose to shift at this point. Suddenly, I was having trouble even identifying the grain of the wood. No doubt, everyone was contending similarly with the change. The stark bleakness was becoming less pronounced—muddier. Everything, instantaneously, just blended into shades of grey.
I was adjusting my hat and stepping out of the house as the casket appeared outside again, this time being carried by Old Caleb, his son, my husband, and Ben Evans himself. A momentary hush later, everyone set off, slowly, towards the graveyard. People made sure to give me a wide berth. Jean Evans uttered a single, distressed sob as she hurried past me to join the rest of the procession. Luckily for me, the graveyard wasn’t far away, we were just that small of a town. The whole town made the funeral, not that there were
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many of us. Even the paramedics, the ones who had rushed to the scene originally, were there. I stood off to the side, joined only by my husband and the drifting sounds of quiet anguish as the reality of the situation started to sink into all present. Suddenly, the casket was an angry, pulsating, accusatory red, straining to tell a story no one could hear or fathom. It faded back to obscured, muddled nothingness as the priest walked up to it, perhaps sensing futility. ‘We are gathered here today—’ The skies parted in an anaemic deluge. My mind exploded in a flash of blinding, exquisite hue as remembrance came flooding in. *** Little Sally Evans wanted to go for ice-cream, and on the way back she really really wanted to ride in the back of the pickup truck. As her favourite auntie, who was I to say no? So long as her parents didn’t find out. We could drive over to the next town and be back before they were any the wiser. So, we did just that.
I slowly reached out and shook her for any miraculous signs of life. None. My nudge caused one of her arms to slump, splashing a few drops of blood around her. I stared, transfixed, as the droplets went from bright red to a muddy brown. I got up with a start and rushed back to the truck. My impact had cracked the glass, an intricate spiderweb now extended across the entirety of the windscreen. I ran back to pick up little Sally Evans and then threw her through the screen, headfirst. Some bits of glass stuck to her, which gave her body an eerie glint from the blood that had oozed out of her wounds. The rest of the glass exploded outwards. It looked believable. I reached and buckled up the passenger side seatbelt, she was small enough to have slid through it. It looked believable. Finally, I called the small hospital nearby, told them in a broken voice of the tragic, harrowing accident that had transpired, and to come quickly. ‘Oh Lord, come quickly we have to save a little girl!’ Sally’s body cooled, quietly, in the rapidly enveloping darkness as I waited for the paramedics to arrive. Overhead, sudden thunder heralded the unexpected arrival of clouds.
She climbed up back the moment we were out of sight of the ice-cream parlour; her hair was a vermilion streak in the setting sun as we took advantage of the empty roads to really push the pickup to its limits. Sally whooped with joy as the truck went ever faster, her delight so infectious that I leaned my head out of the window and joined her; our screams rung louder than the roar of the engine. We reached the edge of town without anyone spotting or hearing us. Then it happened. Something darted onto the twilit road. I slammed on the brakes. My body smashed into the steering wheel, face slammed into the windscreen with a sickening thud. The car veered off. Sally’s silhouette flew, almost beautifully, and bounced, once, twice, before it rolled to a stop on the asphalt. A still, twisted lump caught in the headlights. I got out of the car, stumbled, and hurried to Sally as one of my eyes rapidly swelled shut from the impact with the glass. Her neck was quite broken, unfortunately, the skin around it already had a sickening purple-brown hue.
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The Wanderings of a Lost Soul - Venetia Slarke @venetia.designs
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JOIN DUSA IN 2019 TO ACCESS A RANGE OF SERVICES, PERKS AND DISCOUNTS! 32 33 REG NO. A00406257
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that’s a bit queer: being among the rainbow at deakin WORDLY’s Editor-in-Chief interviews DUSA’s 2019 Queer Officer to get an idea of Deakin University’s LGBTIQ+ community Tara Komaromy: It’s really exciting to chat with you today, Vanessa! To start off, for those who aren’t too familiar with DUSA’s structure, could you outline what your role entails? Vanessa Agar: I am the DUSA Queer Officer and a part of the student council as a board member. I’m also an advocate who plays an activist role within the university. So I’ll plan and work on campaigns and projects while advocating for certain queer issues. The Queer Officer also has a position as co-chair on an LGBTIQ+ advisory board that provides advice and informational ideas to Diversity Inclusion. Tara: Through your personal experiences and the experiences of those around you, what is it like being queer at uni? Vanessa: I’d say it’s changed, and it’s ever-changing. I started university in 2014 under a Bachelor of Primary Teaching. I was under another name and pronouns and presenting differently back then, and it was a little bit scary at the time. There was the Pride Society which I joined, but even then I didn’t really have a sense that I could really be my true self. I guess this sounds silly, but I didn’t really know if I was allowed to be myself at the time. And then by the end of 2015, I decided: ‘I don’t want to do this.’ I transferred to Creative Writing and came back as my true self the following year. It was kind of a ‘new year, new me’, but ‘new course, new me’ kind of thing. Tara: How has Deakin facilitated positive experiences for queer students while you’ve been at uni? Vanessa: I went to a hearing in Geelong in 2016 which provided marginalised communities within the university a chance have their say, and I gave some informa-
tion about my own experiences at the university. I certainly felt listened to and included—there’s a growing culture around acceptance. We had the Queer Officer role created at DUSA mid-2016 as well ... then, later on, Pride Week was created in 2017. One of the most recent and really cool changes to go through was the Transition Policy. It provides staff and students with a framework that Deakin staff use to support someone transitioning at Deakin University. It creates a network of support for the student if they want to change their pronouns and different things like that. I gave a lot of feedback because I thought this is what I wished I had back in the day. Tara: So, it almost felt like they’re working to fill in the gaps that were there when you transitioned? That’s fantastic. Vanessa: Yeah, because there was nothing like that so I was completely on my own when I was younger. I’m very optimistic because I know that I would have benefited from that, so people transitioning now will. We’ve had quite a number of students do that already—there’s even a staff member. It’s just great. Tara: What would be your advice to someone who has perhaps felt a little uneasy coming out at uni? Or even just uneasy with their own gender identity or sexual identity within the university culture? Vanessa: It really varies. Because not all people who are queer are going to require the same answer. I think the first thing I’d say to someone, is to learn to be comfortable with yourself first. Once I knew there was something different about me, it probably took me about seven years or something to really get to a point where it was like ‘yeah, this is me and that’s okay’. It can take people a
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long time. But I think once you reach that point, whatever the unique elements of your experiences are as an individual, all the different aspects of your identity — regardless of that — once you’re comfortable with yourself it’s a little bit easier to then work with other people. And you don’t need other people’s acceptance to be validated. You are valid regardless of what people think of you. Tara: And for anybody who’s not feeling so crashhot about their identity while at uni, what avenues would you recommend that they take? Vanessa: If someone’s feeling uncomfortable with their identity, I’d encourage them to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to give them some resources. I’m happy to connect them to the pride societies if they need someone to help them get to an event. As in, if someone meets with them on campus before the event and just walks in and introduces them. I’m happy to take people to the queer room as well. I guess not everyone’s going to find comfort through socialising, but we do have some pretty decent social networks. I know through personal experiences, engaging with the Pride Society and the Queer Room really helped me to accept who I was.
engaging with the local community down there as well. Tara: It seems like Deakin’s really come a long way, even just in the past few years. Moving forward, what is something that you think Deakin should focus on? Vanessa: We need to look at ways that we can better support intersex students at Deakin University. Intersex people are often marginalised by the LGBTIQ+community. So, I think we need to do better to support them. I’ll just add for those who aren’t familiar: gender isn’t binary, but neither is what we consider sex. It’s estimated that 1.7 per cent of births are of intersex babies (Human Rights 2014). So, sex isn’t binary! Spoiler alert! Tara: It’s been awesome to chat with you, thanks so much, Vanessa! Vanessa: No problem, Tara. Reference List
Australian Human Rights Commission 2014, ‘Face the Facts’, Human Rights, retrieved 20 Jan 2019, <https:// www.humanrights.gov.au/education/face-facts/ face-facts-lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-and-intersex-people>
Tara: Do you have any projects that you’re working on at the moment that you’d like to talk about? Vanessa: I guess the big project I’m working on currently is the Queer Collaborations Conference. And it’s a week-long national conference going from the 30th of June to the 7th of July. It’s really good for Deakin as well, because this is the first time Deakin University has ever hosted the conference. We’re running it at the Warrnambool campus which is really great because we’re gearing it toward rural students a little bit. They’ll have easier access to a nationwide community of queers which sort of gives them an opportunity to engage easier. We might also look into doing some touristy kind of events, so
Join the Pride Queer Club through DUSA’s Clubs and Societies https://dusa.org.au/club/deakin-pride-queer -society-dpqs/ Looking for something more Geelong-based? Join the Deakin Geelong Queer Collective https://dusa.org.au/club/deakin-gee long-queer-collective/ Like ‘Queer Collaborations 2019’ on Facebook to keep up-to-date with the Warrnambool event!
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Vanessa Agar Hassaan Ahmed Jess Ali Melissa Bandara Liam Ball Bridget Beswick Brianna Bullen Melina Bunting Bel Carroll A. J. Charles Becky Croy Tran Dac Nghia Julie Dickson Lori Franklin Elizabeth Gail Molly Herd Jessica Hinschen Kell Kitsch Tara Komaromy Surya Matondkar Jack McMahon Ben Quigley Ruby Roberts Anders Ross Mark Russell Sini Salatas Tim Same Kellie Seaye Mathew Sharp Venetia Slarke Justine Stella Duyen Tran Jessica Wartski Jason Winn
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Enjoy WORDLY's first print edition for 2019.