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WORDLY The third edition for this year will be themed ‘Wild’, so write or draw something suitable and send it our way. Submissions due: Tuesday 14th July Submit your writing and/or artwork to email@example.com For information regarding word length, article ideas and artwork specifications head to our facebook page: www.facebook.com/WORDLYmagazine
Become a member of Deakin Writers... If you like to read other people’s words If you want people to read your words If you want to workshop those words If you want to talk to other people that also like words If you want to get word-ly. Sign up at the DUSA office on your campus. Any questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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WORDLY is funded by DUSA.
editors Andrew Roberts Ashby Hepworth Blair Duncan Bonnee Crawford Cassie Axton Claudia Sensi Contugi Jack Kirne Jessica Harvie Katherine Back Luke Peverelle Natalie Corrigan Sos xx Theertha Muralidhar design/layout
City People: Go Wild!
A Hairy Tale
Of Taxes and Tampons
Flash Fiction: Animals
The Last Wolf
Black Water Wilds
Retro Review: Wild Things
Dan Watts cover art Kirsty Ventura
ÂŠ 2015 Deakin University Student Association 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.
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CLAUDIA SENSI CONTUGI
welcome to wordly
Attending campus at Deakin University gives us a prime opportunity to observe the many subspecies of students in their natural habitat. The commencement of the new Trimester has brought us a whole new group of specimens to add to the ever-changing collections and communities. This edition, the WORDLY team has received a number of submissions from both old and new voices in tune with—or in some cases, tactfully berating—the ‘Wild’ theme. In this edition, we read of explorations to the Black Water Wilds in New Zealand and find out how City People: Go Wild during unexpected mountain hikes. We’ll interrogate the relationships Of Taxes and Tampons and tell you A Hairytale or two. Journey with us to the Invisible Islands of the Torres Strait communities and think about what it might be like if you were The Last Wolf. Take a look at a Retro Review of Wild Things (1998) and check out the wild poetry and flash fiction we’re featuring too! Welcome to the ‘Wild’ edition. Read wildly. Read WORDLY. - Bonnee, on behalf of the WORDLY team.
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Wild? As the theme? Ground breaking. by tom quinlivan
Dear WORDLY, The word wild means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To my mother, it means one too many glasses of wine on a ‘cheeky’ night out with the gals. To my dad, it means rowdy pre-teens where vodka and lemonade have the same bounce-off-the-wall effect. To me, the word represents heartbreak, a loss of innocence and a harsh introduction to a series of embarrassing moments that have built my socially awkward yet lovable exterior. At least, my grandma seems to think so after three gin and tonics. And so, my lovely WORDLY editors let me take this time to write to you and discuss my general discomfort for such a theme; let me take you back to the beginning. Leslie Sanders. . She’s a lovely girl, but I feel like I would perhaps be a little more happier and I don’t know, be a decent human being who contributions to society are bigger than scrolling through tumblr at 3am in nothing but underwear and a bag of Doritos ready to go, if she hadn’t have broken up with me in such an awkward and soul crushing way. I’m an emotionally balanced individual. Leslie Sanders was like the coolest girl in year six; we bonded over My Little Pony and the Power Rangers. She also had a Gameboy advance and would sometimes let me play with it. Our love was grand and passionate. Our three-week relationship was filled with almost-sort-of-maybe holding hands and giving each other crayons we had stolen from our other classmates. Alas, like all good things, they have to come to an end. 10:30am; we were in the line to get our photos taken and I could sense her avoiding me. Maybe it was when she told me to leave her alone, but my ego told me there was no real way of telling. Leslie whispered to her best friend Sarah. She awkwardly glanced back at me and went to speak. It was coming. She was going to do it. She was going to say it.
‘Tom, Sarah has something to tell you.’
Now I’m not sure if you have been broken up with before but let me tell you it is something else to be broken up through a third party. Sarah played bad cop and told it to me straight.
‘Look. Leslie just needs someone wild in her life right now. And you’re just not wild enough, y’know?’
‘I’m not wild enough?’
‘Leslie’s a free spirit Tom. She’s like a lioness, she can’t be tamed. Let her go Tom, let her be free.’
Leslie would then go on to take the VCE English literature exam at the age of 15 and write a series of romantic novels about independent women. Part of me wanted to clap because like: what the fuck, this girl has either been copying lines from Bold and the beautiful or she has been round this break up round about before. Well the jokes on you Leslie! I’m gay. I like men. Not women. I don’t like you. I’m so alone. So I write this letter as a formal complaint to the Deakin WORDLY publication. The theme wild is heartless, unpredictable and cold. It has the letter ‘w’ in it. Nobody likes the letter w. It’s a word that allows old people to feel relevant and down with the ‘youths’. It’s a word people use to lie about what a great time they’re having at that party you organised (and yes, your best friend did make out with your ex-boyfriend too). And of course, wild is the word that broke my fragile and confused childhood heart. So thanks for the great theme, it totally didn’t bring up any repressed memories.
Yours (in) sincerely, Someone who solves conflict in a very public and unnecessary way.
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City people: I am a city girl, born and bred. Granted, growing up in an Ecuadorian city might be different than growing up other cities around the world—the culture, the people, the food. Instead of going to Oakleigh for Greek food or to Lygon Street for Italian, I’d go to the Guayaquil CBD to get some ceviche, or to Guayacane Street when I was craving shawarma. Instead of going to a techno concert, I’d probably go to a Juan Luis Guerra concert. But at its heart, growing up in a city involves the same things. Your weekends include gathering at friends’ houses, going to the movies, eating out, bar-hopping and clubbing. If you feel like doing something quieter; you have the library, the museum, the theatre, the park. Rinse and repeat. As a city girl, I love the bustle, the sounds, the energy. But if you’ve grown up in a city, you know that city people spend most of our daily routine and time off in confined places. Places made of concrete and metal, separated (‘protected’, even) from nature. And sometimes, it is good for the mind (and the body) to get away from the city bustle, sounds and energy. Sure, a trip to the Victoria Gardens might do the trick — but there is something about being in a beautiful place where it’s only you, where it’s absolutely quiet -- not even the hint of cars or trams or city noises in the background, silence that you just can’t get in a park. No matter how many gum trees stand above you, or how many birds you can hear chirping (or in my case, how many iguanas you see slithering around), you are still in a place created to exist within a city. If you’re from a coastal city, you could argue that going to the beach counts as an outdoorsy, close-to-nature experience; feeling the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin and swimming in the cool, salty water. For me, going to the beach doesn’t really register as ‘being in nature’—mostly because ‘being in nature’ doesn’t involve sipping margaritas while listening to the top 100 tracks on Spotify and being surrounded by souvenir stores, surf shops and touristic eateries. These things create a separate experience; they are city life elements that allow you to place yourself in one space, and nature in another. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you won’t understand what I’m trying to say. And that’s fine, because a couple of years ago, I didn’t either. I’ve lived in Ecuador my whole life and I’ve never been to the Amazon jungle, never had any interest to go. Anytime someone mentioned wanting to go I could only imagine being surrounded by bugs, dirt and humidity, away from civilization, away from my laptop, and with no way to check Snapchat or Pinterest—it honestly sounded like hell. So when the question ‘Would you wanna go?’ came, I’d have my answer ready: ‘It’s not for me.’ The first time I experienced this, it wasn’t even on purpose. I had barely arrived in Australia and had a week before the semester started, when my housemates suggested we go to Tasmania. When we arrived in Hobart, we saw our hostel could take us to the top of Mount Wellington, a 1,270-metre peak overlooking Hobart. As a city person, I thought ‘Cool. We can go up in the car, walk around for a couple of minutes and get back just in time to catch some nice lunch.’ Logical, right? Just go to the top with the van, take pictures of the view, walk around for five or ten minutes, then go down, back to civilization. Because who in their right mind would walk down a mountain, willingly, when there’s a car that can do exactly the same? And that’s when I found out my friends’ concept of ‘right mind’ was very different than mine.
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Go wild! So we walked down. All 1,270 metres of it. It took us six hours, four granola bars and two peanut butter sandwiches to get to Hobart. We climbed up giants rocks, hiked up and down steep dirt paths, peed in the bushes, sat on fallen logs, and by the time we got to civilization -- covered in dirt, our muscles ached with each step. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. And you know what? It was worth it. Maybe you’ve been to places with beautiful landscapes or on a road trip where you’ve been to some amazing natural places. But there’s more to it than getting out of your car to take a picture and then move on. Each place has wonders to offer -- if you only dare to explore them. The only way to really experience a place is to walk it, explore it, and take your time. You’ll have not only a picture, but the sounds and the smells will be imprinted in your memory. They will become a part of you, and instead of carrying a picture in your smartphone, you will carry them with you for the rest of your life. I will never forget that walk down Mount Wellington. How the shrubs slowly turned into trees and the trees into rainforest palms and moss. How, during the highest section of the walk, we could only hear the wind blowing in our ears, and as the environment was changing, the wind was gone and we heard birds, chirping. How we felt the climate changing from cold and dry to humid, almost rainforest weather. I will not forget peeing in the bushes. I will not forget sitting on a branch, eating peanut butter sandwiches, and then jumping because we thought we saw a snake. I will not forget hiking through giant rocks and seeing Hobart from above—breathing it all in, how could I ever think of missing this? The truth is, I wouldn’t have known. I could have gone back to the car and waited for them from the comfort of our hostel, none the wiser. But I decided to trust them, to follow them, and it changed everything. When you are in a place where there’s no TV, no phone signal, nothing to distract you from what you are doing at that moment; you are forced to look, to listen, to pay attention to what’s going on around you. The trick is to allow yourself to enjoy it. Don’t think of the dirt, the bugs, and the sweat. Don’t think about your bed and how comfy it is and how you’d much rather be binge watching the new season of Orange is the New Black than be there. Look around you, breathe in. Let it fill you. And when you’re finally back home, tucked in your bed and tuning on to Netflix, you might even miss it.
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Wild Poem The vine covers the building. Greens, purple sometimes red We cut it down, trim it up. Control the look. We dip in the sea and kill the monsters with big teeth, Or catch the killers designed in black and white; The smooth grey mammals That are family originated. They swim the ocean and we force them into ponds So we can watch Own and control. We take our guns to them, their teeth useless in a one sided war, Their life ended To be a mantle on the wall. The orange mane or brown leather paw The ornament collection. The beautiful wildflowers dot the floor and we rip them up Layer it with concrete Nature owned. Clip the bird’s wings so it cannot fly away. Chain the elephant To make it stay. Tame the wildness Own it, Take the life in its everyday skin–away Force it to be a controlled creation. Cage, chain, shoot, cut, rip and Possess the wild. Stop this mission, this thought, this game. Please don’t take any more of the Wildness. We need it to stay.
by sos gill
by cassie axon One day you will run barefoot through an urban forest, screaming, desperat e, fleeing something you can’t name, something that isn’t real, something that lives deep in your chest, deeper than your heart and more tangible than your soul. Your feet will pound concrete and you’ll finally understand that it’s elastic, that it gives and moves under you, that you are something much bigger, much more eternal than mere cities. Or you will sit, old, alone, staring out at the ocean at the edge of the world and weeping, mourning something that is not dead, that cannot die, and that you will be returned to soon, but not soon enough. You will pause mid-sip of your latte for a wave of pain that you can’t feel to wash over you, pulling as it leaves, begging you to come with it. The great wilderness of the universe will call to you and you will not know how to answer. Not yet.
One day the isolation of being a collection of atoms with a mind will end, and the star stuff you are made of will return to the great abyss of existence, and you will not run, you will not weep, you will not feel pain. You will be free.
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by sos gill I haven’t shaved my underarms since I turned twenty-one, which was last December. I had a party, and I thought I’d do myself up, make myself special. I pampered and plucked and preened until I was perfect. I thought that removing that winter underarm and leg hair would make me feel beautiful, I thought taking it all away would make me feel fresh and clean, would make my underarms sing with glee (I’m glad they didn’t do this, that would be terrifying). But it just made me look bare. It might sound strange, but I became quite attached to the bushel in my armpit. I felt like in its simple act of being a defiance of normal beauty standards, it held a lot of my identity: my queerness, my feministness, and in all honesty, a little bit of my laziness. The first time I saw a girl’s underarm hair, I was ten. My friend lifted her arms and I was alarmed to find she had a sprout of black hair. I knew, of course, that girls grew underarm hair. I had two older sisters that shaved, my mum shaved, I’d seen ads on TV of beautiful, bald-from-the-neck-down women running razors over deserts of skin. I knew that they were getting rid of something. I’d just never seen the something they were getting rid of. I thought that razors were just super effective. There was nothing, no sign of this mysterious hair anywhere. There were no diagrams in my sex ed class with hair on them. Armpits and legs all around me had about as much hair as a bowling ball. Hair on women is a touchy subject, and in high school there was a mostly unspoken rule: three days was the maximum acceptable time to go without shaving. Girls were horrified when they had the smallest sprouts of hair, embarrassed cries of ‘Oh, I’m soo gross!’ could be heard across the basketball courts, but little did they know what horrors lay beneath my knee-high socks and hand-me-down uniform. In high school, I would go without shaving for a month. I just didn’t get it, this urge to shave. I understood the social stigma but didn’t know what made it come about, what enforced it, what drove it? I hated shaving, but I did it (albeit, less than others). For me, there didn’t seem to be another option. It was just something that every woman did. Certainly something that every woman I knew did. Funnily enough for something so ingrained in culture, shaving body hair is—at least in the western world—a relatively new habit. Underarm shaving became popular in the early 1900s with the introduction of more ‘risqué’ fashion that showed armpits. Since then, it has for the most part been the norm. The most popular argument against women not shaving is that it’s unhygienic. But if that were true, men would face the same pressure to shave their body hair. There’s just no real reason why women must remove underarm and leg hair. I’m often told by friends that do shave regularly that they just like how it looks and feels, and personally don’t like having hairy pits and calves. Honestly, I have a problem with this. Yes, I believe that women should be able to choose what they do with the hair on their legs—I don’t care if they want to grow it longer than Rapunzel or shave it to knit a sweater—but I wonder if the right to choose this has been partially taken away. There’s so much pressure to be shaved and women who don’t shave are largely invisible. Photoshop can remove their hair and Instagram, historically, has removed images that show pubic hair peeping from bathers. Women are openly shamed online and offline. Even in post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows the women always manage to look freshly shaven while fighting alongside gritty, bearded men. When we’re served up the same standard of beauty again and again, how can we embrace diverse femininity without bias? Can we really make up our minds when for so long, all we’ve seen and heard is from one side? I’ve stopped shaving, because I don’t like how I look shaved. I got used to the hair. I started searching for women with body hair and I found that I liked how it looked. So if you believe that you shave only because you want to and for no other reason, that’s fine. But spend some time looking at women who don’t shave. Get yourself used to it. Think positive thoughts about it. See if you change your mind.
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Of Taxes and Tampons by bonnee crawford
It all started on Facebook, as many of my life-changing and eye-opening discoveries do. As I scrolled through my newsfeed a few weeks ago, I came across a post that had been shared about a Q&A interview with Australian Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, in which a university student from Sydney, Subeta Vimalarajah, asked: ‘Mr Hockey, do you think that sanitary products are an essential health good for half the population?’ A few months ago, Vimalarajah started a petition to exempt feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons from the ten per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) and her reasoning is to the point and irrefutable: they are an essential product for almost every vagina-owning person, not only in Australia but around the world. As I read-up about the Q&A interview and what others had to say about it online, I discovered that while the price tag on pads and tampons includes GST, products including condoms, lubricants, sunscreen, nicotine patches and incontinence pads are tax exempt, and I was both confused and angry. How do period pads and tampons not fit on the same metaphoric boat as condoms, nicotine patches and sunscreen? They are just as essential as those items which are already GST exempt. The truth of the matter is, almost every female in the world is going to bleed for a week every month from the day she hits puberty to the day menopause takes over. With GST included in the price we pay for these products, they can be very expensive. When you’re buying enough to last approximately a week every month, the numbers start to add up. I come from a household of three women: myself, my mother, and my sister. Once my sister and I both hit puberty, my mother was paying for three women’s worth of period supplies every month, and when I moved out of home and began buying these items myself on my measly student budget, I felt the impact too. I can’t imagine how much harder it must be for women living below the poverty line in Australia. Periods are messy, they can come unexpectedly, they can last longer than they’re generally meant to, and overall they’re a serious inconvenience for a lot of women. I have a problem with the fact that the government considers these sanitary products a luxury. Those other items that are GST exempt made the list because they help to prevent illness, which is great, and I am in no way suggesting that they should be taxed. What I am saying is that I call bullshit on the idea that pads and tampons are a luxury item. There is nothing luxurious about your underwear resembling a gory murder scene for a week every month, no matter how much the sanitary items cost. Furthermore, they do prevent illness just like condoms, nicotine patches and sunscreen. Bleeding all over the place is not sanitary and I’m sure that if every woman in Australia did not have access to pads and tampons and still went about their daily lives, there would be consequences on their health and that of the people around them. But this issue got me thinking about what it’s like for women in other parts of the world to deal with these natural bodily processes. That’s when Facebook once again presented me with something interesting on the topic. A video came up in my newsfeed: an ad for a new type of underwear designed to be leak and stain resistant and moisture absorbent for women on their periods. It was also trying to help give women in third world countries the resources to deal with their cycles. In the video, the creators of these underwear recounted how on a trip to Africa, they’d met a young girl on a weekday and asked her why she wasn’t at school. Her reason? It was her ‘week of shame’. This meant that she had her period, but nothing to contain or conceal it properly because there were no feminine hygiene products available for her at an affordable price. Instead, this girl, along with many other girls and women in underdeveloped countries and especially in rural areas, resort to using things like sticks, mud and dirty rags in an attempt to keep this natural bodily phenomenon under control—and it is so ineffective that this girl and many others are forced to miss out on about a week of school once a month. Without access to feminine hygiene products, these women have to worry about soiling and staining their clothes and experience more general discomfort than women who do have access to sanitary
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products. Furthermore, in some of these places, like in rural Uganda, women going through their menstrual cycle are met with a society where such a thing is taboo. If it can’t be concealed, they are shamed and bullied by others. No wonder so many young girls in undeveloped countries miss out on so much school because of their periods, and many drop out because they fall too far behind. The societal attitude towards women on their periods only makes it harder. Here in Australia, conversations surrounding periods can still be a bit awkward, and it’s always embarrassing when you’re caught off-guard and suddenly have to go and change your pants, but the taboo is not so strong. There are ads everywhere for feminine hygiene products, Subeta Vimalarajah and Joe Hockey spoke openly about tampons on national TV, and the menstrual cycle is taught about in schools. Although there’s still work to be done, the societal acceptance of periods in Australia is far ahead that of countries who shame women for going through a natural cycle. While pads and tampons still have a GST attached to them, they are widely and readily available and comparatively more affordable than in underdeveloped countries, and women are less likely to be ashamed. However, I would love to see the day when these products not only drop the GST, but remove the price tag for something so essential altogether—along with the price tag on condoms, sunscreen and nicotine. For Joe Hockey’s part, he responded to Vimalarajah’s question with a promise to bring it up in the next meeting with the state treasurers, as he agreed that sanitary products are an essential health good for the ten million women living in Australia, and the GST attached to them should indeed be removed. However, Prime Minister Tony Abbott quickly moved to shut down the stir of political support Mr Hockey created for making pads and tampons GST-free. According to Vimalarajah’s petition on CommunityRun.org, the tax on sanitary items rake in around $25 million per annum. Perhaps that is why Abbott has assured the media that removing the GST from these essential sanitary products is ‘certainly not something that this Government has a plan to do’. We’re very fortunate here in Australia to have such easy access to the feminine hygiene products we need, but I think it says something really terrible about our Prime Minister when money means more to him than the health and hygiene of ten million Australians.
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‘I give you fucking chips and this is how you repay me?!’ The seagull blinked at the shouting man. His face as red as a beet, his hair now dripping with unspeakable. ‘Alright, that’s it.’ With surprising speed and accuracy, the man reached out and grabbed the seagull’s neck. It squeaked in surprise. Or cawed. Or tweeted. Or whatever sound it is that a seagull makes. The man pulled down his trousers and squatted over the distressed bird. ‘That’s right motherfucker, it’s coming.’
Bastards. Tricksy, clever humans. They finally discovered my weakness: Lettuce. Some rabbits enjoyed carrots more but not I. Mine was a hunger that only lettuce could satisfy. I sniffed the leaf suspiciously, toying with the idea of leaving it alone as I had so many other temptations. It was no good. But the lettuce was. Good enough to be worth my being lured back into the ridiculous petty enclosure. I munched the green goodness grudgingly, not even pausing to nip at the hand of the young human that fed me.
The world isn’t fair, but the salmon’s fate is certain. I’m a bear, I’m hungry and nearby: it’s time for the fish to die. People don’t get it, but it’s a universal truth, that the stronger one wins. Just like Shannon Noel. This is true in case of his defeat by Guy Sebastian in the first season of Australian Idol. I hate Australian Idol, but then again, I’m a bear, so what would I know? Being a bear isn’t easy you know. Try applying for a tax file number when the lady behind the counter is screaming, asking after her God. Perhaps she’s dyslexic and was actually calling for her dog. Look, I know I’m lucky. I could, after all, been a potato; a pointless starch ball–but well, at least they’re popular.
• ZACH JACKSON
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The viscous texture of the crap was apparent as it began to encrust and coagulate between the already bleached roots of my hair. I didn’t want this in my life, I didn’t ask for some divine gift from the aerial demons. I simply chose a quiet bench between the green canopies of long-standing palm trees keeping an ancient vigil over the schoolyard. My friends are mocking me, laughing in hysterics. I’m not a matter to laugh about. Stop laughing. Stop it! Oh this crap is revolting, I must wash it out. I don’t want to touch it—it’s promoting me to gag. I just want to cry; I have been humiliated by the defecation of a mere pigeon—a monster the size of a shoe. The bird is probably mocking me, its coos are probably cackles of victory.
Moving by justine stella
“All wild places have their own beauty.” – Jo Walton Boxes and bags everywhere. It was messy.
Keys and kids nowhere to be found. It was chaotic. Cups and cutlery going missing. It was awful. Screaming and swearing from everyone. It was unbearable. Furniture flying in all directions. It was wild.
These flash fictions were all written at a Deakin Writers’ writing event. Interested in coming along to an event, or getting more involved? Want to go to a write in or a magazine launch? Like WORDLY magazine on Facebook and join the Deakin Writers to stay in the know-how.
But never before have I seen such bonding. It was captivating.
Kids helping grandparents carry clothes. It was inspiring. Teenagers working together to build beds. It was fun. Aunties making sure everyone was fed and safe. It was lovely. Moving house was stressful. But together we managed okay. It was crazy and upside-down. But I learnt something. My family is beautiful. Even in the middle of a wild storm.
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by rowan girdler
I am the Last Wolf. This I know. I sleep in a cave in the side of a stone hill. From its mouth I can see over the treetops to a horizon I cannot reach. This I know, because I once tried to reach it. Since puphood I have known about the noising wall. It is many times higher than a wolf, and though it is full of gaps the wires stretching across it hold a painful sting. They buzz and buzz, never resting, and their noise invades my dreams. It has always been so. One day I decided to follow the noising wall, to see if it has an end, or goes on forever like the sky. I followed the trail of the noising wall through the woods that I call home. It was an easy trail to follow, for the wall does not seek to hide its tracks or bury its scat like other creatures do. I do not think it is alive, for all its buzzing. For days I loped alongside it, sometimes resting, sometimes stopping to scent for food and water, sometimes running so the rush of air inside my ears drowned out the wall’s noise. It always came back though, when I slowed or stopped, resuming its buzzing like an ever-flowing stream. My trail took me out of the places I knew and into other places, empty places of tree and earth and stone that were the same as my home but lacking the smell of wolf. I followed the trail over loam and rock, bark and water and fallen leaf, on a hunt for the horizon I could see from my cave lair. It was no true hunt, for the horizon is not a thing that a wolf can kill, sink its teeth into and bring down, tear off strips of flesh and bury its muzzle into a bleeding shank, and yet the thought of the hunt loped through my head even when I slept, stalking my dreams. The air grew colder the farther I travelled. The seasons are something that every wolf understands, and yet they are always muted, as if their tongue has fallen out. When snow started drifting down out of the blue-grey sky I welcomed it, forgetting my hunt for a time while I rolled in the white carpet like a pup. A day or two later I found the source of the snow, a great roaring mouth in the noising wall that spat the flakes high into the air. I stayed there for a while, trying to understand this thing, before moving on. It was then that I saw the Otherkind. There were two of them, one fully-grown and one a pup. They stared at me with wide eyes, raising their hairless paws to point. I met their eyes through the noising wall, catching their scent even through the warm interruption it created, sensing the unknown that stretched out the space between us. I left first, slipping back into the woods. I have followed the trail of memory back to that point many times since. As I lie on my bed of stone I can feel the ways of my ancestors, brushing against my spirit like the lightest touch of a pup’s soft fur, and I know that we once hunted the Otherkind just as I hunt the other beasts of the woods. I saw the same memory in the eyes of the Otherkind, an echo of ancient times when we were the reason that the darkness was to be feared, when our kinds were alike in spirit and shared in the joining of predator and prey. I wonder if the Otherkind believe that they have lost something now that I am the last one left. Perhaps that is why they put the noising wall in place, to keep my family safe. We once completed each other, but they have grown beyond us now, slain us all but for the last. They must want to be hollow. I followed the wall’s trail for several more days, until I reached a place where a second noising wall came sliding through the trees and mated with the first. Confused by this changing of the trail I began to follow the second wall, noting how little it differed from the first. As I paced on and on I realised it was simply an extension of the first wall, which had almost deceived me by changing after so much time staying the same. The moon appeared and disappeared as I continued my hunt for the horizon, discovering more places where the noising wall changed direction. In the end the trail became like a sleeping wolf, curled on itself with its tail touching its nose. I had been led back to the places that were mine, caught between the matings of the noising walls, and never found the horizon. I am the Last Wolf. There will be no matings for me. When I was younger and my heat came upon me I used to wander in search of a male to get me with pups, but the only wolf scent I ever caught was my own. The only males I have ever known were my brothers, who were weak and died as puppies, just as our mother was weak and died. Their soft milky scent is the closest thing to a male I have ever known, and it is long faded. Our mother’s scent lingered for a time longer, but now it too is gone. The night I returned from my long hunt I climbed the hill that is home to the cave where I sleep and sat beneath the stars. From there I could see the horizon in every direction, spreading out like a leaf-spray of trails, but knew I could never reach it. Beyond the lines of the noising walls, I could see the places of the Otherkind, clusters of lights and dark grey shapes that choked out the forest, and I could hear them too. Their howl was like that of the noising wall, with more textures and tones and far, far larger but ultimately the same. I howled too then, directing my spirit towards the moon, for I knew that all was lost. I am the Last Wolf. Our ancestors were with our kind once, their voices heard within ours when we raised them to the night, but they have all left me, their spirits fleeing into the stars. They call down with a thousand voices, in my instincts to stalk and hunt, to eat the beasts of the forest and find a mate so I can raise pups, but they will have no pups from me, no tiny hearts in which to live on. When I die, their voices will fall silent. I am dying. This I know.
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Without a purpose, my spirit is ending. Bereft of all that is wolf, a pack, a mate, pups, I am nothing but the Last. As I lie here on my bed of stone, I listen to the noises of the Otherkind and wonder why they will run on while my spirit will not. It does not matter. When I sleep, I will sleep forever. A final task, perhaps. For the ancestors, or for me. I rise on shaking legs. The den is cold. Night lies like snow on the sides of the hill of stone. I climb the rounded boulders on withered limbs, my thin pelt mating with the chill wind. I fear I cannot go on, that I will die here on the slope. The summit is always ahead and never beneath me. My heart is flowing, death-beat strong. I make it. From this high place I see everything. The lights of the Otherkind crowd behind the noising wall. The ancestors look down from above, smoothing my fur with silver paws. I am the Last Wolf, and I howl at the moon with a voice that contains all the wolf spirit that is and ever was. The sound is lost, devoured by the white noise. I lie down on the old, cold stone. Perhaps my spirit will join my ancestors, rushing upwards into the stars to hunt in the endless fathoms of the sky. No. I am the Last Wolf. When my spirit is gone, so will all wolf spirits be gone. They will fade into the black space, and the stars will just be stars. I close my eyes and wait. Gone.
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Black Water Wilds alannah gooden pushed herself to face her fears and do something wild. I could see in Steph’s eyes that she wanted an adventure. She wanted to take a literal leap into the unknown and do something really adventurous. We were on holiday in New Zealand after all: extreme sport capital of the world and home of journeying hobbits. ‘I don’t want to make you do something that you’re uncomfortable with,’ she said, ‘but think about this. The Black Water Rafting Co has been around for ages. They are going to make sure everyone is safe because they need everyone to be. Their business wouldn’t have gotten so far otherwise’. Steph was right. That is how I found myself in a wetsuit waiting to do a backwards jump off a two metre high waterfall into a freezing river with a rubber tube around my bum. In hindsight I’m still a little amazed that Steph was able to talk me into going black water rafting (which is like white water rafting, only it’s done in caves). I am in no way a risk taker, my most overwhelming fear is that of heights. I have such a crippling fear of upwards escalators that I always hang on with both hands and gradually crouch lower and lower. So the idea of plunging myself into the watery depths of Waitomo’s famous Ruakuri cave, complete with waterfalls, terrified me. But, deep down, I wanted an adventure too. I wanted to come back home with a story that would make people say ‘I can’t believe you did that, it sounds amazing’. First there were the formalities, which included a safety briefing, wet-suiting up, and a quick lesson in tubing. We had to do a practice backwards jump into the river at the mouth of the cave. None of this calmed my nerves. As we carefully made our way over the slippery rocks into the cave I wanted to go back out into the sunlight.
‘deep down, i wanted an adventure too. i wanted to come back home with a story that would make people say ‘i can’t believe you did that, it sounds amazing’’ Once inside I was surprised to find the caves beautiful in a rough, harsh way. As we scrambled along the rocky surface I couldn’t help but feel in awe of the way they had developed. The winding nature of the cave and the water worn patterns on the rocks all around us were a visual history of its life. It felt prehistoric. A blast of cold water shot through the arm of my wetsuit and hit my chest like a shard of ice. It reminded me to focus. One by one we were making our way into the water. There was no going back now. The next hour or so was a combination of floating through rushing water on our weird rubber tubes to scrabbling over rocks until we got to the dreaded backwards jump. In reality a two metre water fall is not very high. But in the dark, when you can see people jump off but not see them land, it’s terrifying. I had wanted Steph to go before me but somehow I found myself ahead of her in the queue. Next thing I knew I was on the edge of the waterfall looking up at the tour guide as he counted down. ‘Are you ready to jump? Three, two, one, go!’ My legs locked into place and I couldn’t move. Then a big, strong hand pushed my shoulder and I fell through the darkness. I landed with an almighty splash and icy water flew into my mouth, up my nose and through the arms of my wetsuit again. As I bobbed away, spluttering and coughing, I could not believe that I had done the jump. Admittedly I’d had help but I hadn’t backed out. I took a risk and I hadn’t hurt myself. In fact, I felt wonderful. Once everyone had finished their jumps we formed a silent, floating line. We looked up at the cave’s roof to see hundreds of starry blue glow worms winking at us through the blackness. It was bliss. In those magic moments I marvelled at the fact that I was safe and happy. Steph had been right. Perhaps it hadn’t been such a big risk, but it had felt huge. I couldn’t believe that I had overcome it and I was hungry to try more.
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IT’S TIME Yes, it’s that time of year again. Scribes Writers “Short Takes” open prose competition is open for submissions. There are two categories, both with a 1000 word maximum limit and a closing date of 30th September 2015. Category A — Fictional Short Story (for the purpose of this award, a fictional short story does not include Fan Fiction)
Category B — Memoir
(for the purpose of this award, a memoir is defined as an incident or a series of related incidents from the author’s own life. It is not a mini autobiography or an obituary.)
The prizes in both categories are: 1st Prize $200 2nd Prize $100 Highly Commended Certificates & Commended Certificates (at the judge’s discretion)
For full competition details and conditions log on to our website’s Open Competition page at www.scribeswriters.com/prose.html and follow the links or contact South Barwon Community Centre on 03 5243 8388
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Invisible Islands by jack kirne
Communities on the Torres Strait Islands are plagued with a grim possibility: that within the century, without action, their cultures will be swallowed by the ocean. For the Islanders, rising sea levels are not a political debate: they are a happening reality. Erosion chips away at their coastlines, sacred and cultural sites are destroyed and the local ecosystems are dying. Locals on the Boigu and Saibai Islands are fighting the tides by plugging holes in their failing seawalls with discarded washing machines. It may be decades from now, but eventually they will have to relocate. As noted by an Islander in the 2008 Native Title Report, this is not a simple matter of moving, the act will amount to a cultural extinction. ‘We will lose our identity as Saibai people if we scatter,’ he states. ‘If we separate, there will be no more Saibai.’ Despite this, despite a Rudd Apology, despite the implications of a postcolonial age, little is being done. Why? Sitting only a little more than two metres above sea level, at its highest point, Saibai is especially vulnerable to the rising tides. Each year the king tides inundate the village—as reported by Hagar Cohen of the ABC in his 2012 article, ‘Sabai’s sinking feeling’, the ‘[h]ouses, the school and the supermarket are flooded. The main road is crumbling. The sewerage system manholes go under and pop open, spilling raw sewage into the sea and the fresh water lagoons. People wander around in knee-high water. The cemetery has been very badly damaged ... In the past 30 years or so they’ve lost around 200 metres of the island in front of the village’. Saibai is by no means the only one of the nineteen communities affected by the rising sea levels, but it illustrates the problems effecting the region. The widespread nature of this crisis is made clear in the 2008 Native Title Report: ‘Islanders’, it states, ‘have voiced their concerns … about the impact of climate change and the visible changes that are already occurring such as increased erosion, strong winds, land accretion, increasing storm frequency and rougher seas of a sort that the elders have never seen or heard before’. If this isn’t troubling enough, what is more concerning is when considerations are broadened to the larger ecological concerns of the region. Elders have noticed significant changes amongst the turtles nesting, the birds’ migratory patterns and the sea grass. Above the obvious danger presented to a number of endangered species, it significantly impacts on locals’ certainty of a reliable food source. Hunting of local animals has a long cultural tradition, one that may vanish with the changing conditions. It poses the troubling concern that, even should some of the communities endure by moving to higher ground (which is often not an option), the damage to the ecosystem will harm their cultures in another irredeemable way. All of these factors, amongst others, are well documented, not only by local communities but by the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Government. This is not to mention a series of sustainability studies performed by industry in the region, numerous comprehensive scientific reports by the CSIRO, as well as legal studies outlining potential action that could be taken by the Torres Strait Islanders in light of climate changes potential impact. And yet, for all this knowledge, measures to combat the crisis are slow. Even the Climate Change Strategy 2014-2018 as drawn up by the Torres Strait Regional Authority seems to mirror this sentiment: of the fifty-six points outlined in the action plan, fifty-five are yet to reach a 75% completion rate and 18 have not even been initiated.
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In fact, the only successful measure has been to ‘monitor sea level, attitudes and frequency and extent of inundation through installation of a regional network of tide gauges supplemented with tide boards in individual communities’. It’s an important measure, but doesn’t actively help communities who are already well aware of the encroaching tides. But, perhaps, nothing is more illustrative of this lack-of (or at least hopelessly slow) action than the building of the seawalls to protect the most vulnerable communities. At the time of Cohen’s 2012 article, the locals had been pleading, to no avail, for seven years to rebuild seawalls. It would not be for another two years, in early 2014 that the national and Queensland governments would commit to funding the project. It is only now, in April 2015 and after administrative delays, that construction will begin. This amounts to a decade of flooding, of uncertainty of place. This uncertainty of place is at the core of governmental response, as it evidences a discourse that has governed policy towards indigenous land ownership for centuries: it is seeded in our own history, but has resurfaced in contemporary politicians in recent years: it is a question of the Australian narrative. In 2013, Tony Abbott infamously stated that the national curriculum was in need of reform as it had a ‘lack of references to our heritage, other than an indigenous heritage’. This is a peculiar claim, made all the more so by the 2008 Native Title Report. It states that despite its strengths—these being that the Islands were amongst the first to gain recognition of native title, that there is a regional body (TSRA) that allows the islanders to manage their own lives in accordance with ailan kastom (island custom) and that they stand under an independent unified flag—that ‘many Australians would be hard pushed to locate the region on a map’. Further to this, they are often ‘overlooked in policy, research and Indigenous’ affairs discourse in Australia’. This disconnect, between Mr. Abbott’s statements and reality, reveal an insidious subtext. In effect what this measure of rhetoric calls for is a primacy of an Australian colonial narrative; a narrative of convicts and ANZACs; a narrative that defers and excludes indigenous peoples. By re-establishing a settler heritage, it ensures that Australian thinking centres around a thinking of terra nullius (nobody’s land), in which indigenous rights are secondary to Western achievement. It effectively renders indigenous peoples strangers in their own lands: an uncanny existence which is more comfortably ignored. In short, it is difficult to think of seawalls or sea turtles because to do so is an affront to our own identity as Australian. This of course, is secondary to the population of the Torres Strait Island, who are facing the very real possibility that their communities will vanish into the sea within the century. If nothing is done this is not a possibility, it is a certainty. And when it does, will we even notice?
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wilde jagd by luke peverelle
The clouds are darkening amber The air is deathly still Evening’s wake comes-a-creeping To feel the wild hunt’s will Bannermen, awake! To the skies ye take Rollicking and bloodthirsty all The hounds of glass and blood and flame Have come to answer Wodan’s call Lightning sheets its merry way Black rain and doom-hail descends The bubbling laughter of madness past Brings us to this, the end of ends Masters and mistresses of the chase Seeking the greatest game Spectral blades of fear and wither Robbing poor fools of life and name Watch them not! They whoop and holler The bawdy songs of the gone and dead Lock thy doors! The song of the hunt Reaches with skeletal fingers and dread They come in eerie flavours, from King Arthur and Gwynn ap Nudd To the devils of Catalonia, the sabbath-breakers Herodias and her witches gnashing for blood Crossing the world in a terrifying night Endlessly charging forth The howling gale, the malevolent mist The spine-shatter cold of the north Hide your face, dear mother and child But the worst is yet to come They signal a return, to plague and war Th’ final kingdom’s come So pluck out your eyes and damn thy tongue Stand not on the moor and hill Tonight’s for the sport of demons, my friend ‘Tis night of the wild hunt’s will.
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wild crossword note: not all answers are as they appear.
Across 2. Wildest colour 6. Wildest celebrity _ Watson 7. There are just so many dinosaurs in this 2015 movie. 9. The 767 Bus to _ 14. Australia’s Wildest animal 15. Worst animal to play board games with 18. 2008 Movie with Emma Roberts Wild _____ 19.Just write ‘wild’ here 20. First core unit for Biological science
Down 1. Least wild piece of punctuation (always puts an end to the party) 3. Wildest piece of punctuation (they get the party started) 4. Adverb of wild 5. Dogs or Cats? (Hint: both) 8. & 10. That online game with animals starting with n 11. What colour are bananas not? 12. Wildest Pokemon 13. Deakin’s wildest magazine 16. What building is the DUSA reception in? 17. First core unit for Creative & Professional Writing
1. Full Stop; 2. Purple; 3. Semi Colon; 4. Wildly; 5. Cags; 6.Emma; 7. Jurassic World; 8. Ampersand. 9. Southland. 10. Neopets. 11. Pink. 12. Pikachu. 13. Wordly. 14. Kangaroo. 15. Cheetah. 16. H. 17. Alw101. 18. Child. 19. Wild. 20. Sle111
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Retro Review –
Wild Things (1998)
by kyah horrocks Sure, it's pretty confronting when a film you saw when you were a wee teen squeezes into the definition of ‘retro’, but the squealing adolescent within my idea of myself couldn't help but insist I write up 1998’s Wild Things for this edition. 'Wild Things?' asked my mother, 'Isn't that that lezzo psycho drama? With that Party of Five girl?' Why yes it is Mum, and you have our thanks for giving my readers a succinct—albeit slightly homophobic—summary of the key features they can expect to enjoy from this dark and delightful romp. Welcome to Blue Bay, Florida, where things get swampy as often as they get wild. Rich women in bikinis lean from their terraces to sass you, school counsellors and parents alike are offering Valium to crying youngsters and if you're not in floral print, Doc Martens or an obtrusive gold earring, you're in blinding white cloth because pit stains aren't a thing here. The kids study sailing which seems like a ‘rich American’ thing, until you meet someone who grew up in Geelong (shout-out to our Waterfront readers). Here in Blue Bay if you need a lawyer, you get Bill Murray. If you need a cop, you get Kevin Bacon. We're easing out of the 90s properly, yes, but the shorts are still high, the soundtrack is still full of Third Eye Blind and it is still only a four minute wait until the first sighting of an undercut. Down at the high school, Matt Dillon and his vacant-Labrador stare are playing the bored and (apparently) sexy school counsellor Mr Lombardo. I'm really angling for him to get fired because he has the most atrocious blackboard handwriting I've ever seen. Mr Lombardo is a gold-digging hussy just trying to teach a room of overripe ‘high schoolers’—among whom are sassy sexpot Kelly (Denise Richards) and broody misfit Susie (Neve Campbell). Together they bring us the tale of two women and only one nudity clause. Speaking of nuding up, turns out Kevin Bacon is the producer of this film, so you just KNOW no one is going to be able to stop him from getting his wang out at some point. This is one of those films that keeps you guessing by constantly rotating its supervillain, which it does at top speed in between its primary goals of gazing at alligators and finding creative ways to get Denise Richards drenched with water. For once this is a film I'd actually recommend seeing, so I'm not going to get specific about all the twists, murders or mini mind-melt moments of ‘oh-my-god-s/ he-was-in-on-it-all-along’, but there are many. Just look at this list I made, it's ridiculous! 00.47.30 TWIST ONE 00.56.30 TWIST TWO 00.56.56 TWIST THREE 01.16.15 MURDER 01.29.16 MURDER 01.33.05 TWIST FOUR 01.33.06 BACON WANG 01.36.38 MURDER 01.37.56 MURDER 01.42.11 MURDER 01.37.36 TWIST FIVE 01.43.31 TWIST SIX 01.50.19 TWIST SEVEN You know it's been a good old viewing party when all your notes are in capital letters the next morning. I suppose this Retro Review was a bit of a delight. Just a warning though, this film does implicitly advise women to slap other women in the face if they want to make out with them afterwards. This does NOT go down well in real life. So perhaps take a walk on the mild side, lest it all end in murderous psycho drama, courtroom tears and Bacon wang. The horror! Kyah is on twitter @1rednail and Tumblr as tinkwisdom
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CONTRIBUTORS blair duncan bonnee crawford claire hardy kate stuart kyah horrocks luke peverelle mikayla flockhart ollie tolerton patrick amarant rowan girdler theertha muralidhar tiana osborne
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