WORDLY Magazine 'Ethereal' Edition 2017

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Letter From The Editor In 2017, WORDLY has taken you on a tour of the senses. We began with the sound of Harmony, continued to the feel of Contact, glanced an Illusion and finally we have come to the final stop: the sixth sense. So the magazine’s pretty and all, but what does the word ethereal really mean?

If something is ethereal, there is nothing practical about it. It may bring a strange feeling of peace, or a sense of meaning. It may not even be from this plane of existence. It could float weightlessly in your thoughts, and although it may feel close, it will never be tangible.

The work you are about to read will bring you through the mourning of loved ones long gone, the spiritual beliefs of some of our readers, the peace of sailing the seas in the search of land and the pure beauty of a well-cooked burger. Relax, open your mind and savour the experience. Tara Komaromy Editor-in-Chief

PS A Smell edition would have been weird.


Tara Komaromy • Katelin Farnsworth

Editors: Eliz Bilal • Katelin Farnsworth • Bonnee Crawford • Alicia Cooper • Mel O’Connor • Aiden Finlayson Molly Farquharson • Julie Dickson • Ari Moore • Justine Stella • Molly Farquharson • Tyler McPherson Tara Komaromy

Contributors: Anastasia Fountain • Anna Hayman-Arif • Ari Moore • Ashita Gandhi • Bel Ellison • Bonnee Crawford • Brianna Bullen • Elisabeth Gail • Eliz Bilal • John Coomans • Justine Stella • Laura Clark Mark Russell • Matt Emmett • Mel O’Connor • Patrick Banfield • Suzie Eisfelder • A.E Grant • Sarah Dennis • Hania Arif • Laura Toole • Lucy Rollason Design by Ashleigh Radnell

Cover Art by Mark Russell

© 2017 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 unsplash.com and Adobe Creative Cloud Assets. and Adobe Creative Cloud Assets. Want to advertise? Contact wordlymagazine@gmail.com for more information.

WORDLY Magazine - November 2017

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WORDLY Magazine

CONTENTS 03. 05. 06. 07. 09. 10. 11. 13. 15. 17. 18. 19. 21. 23. 24. 25. 27. 29. 31. 32. 33. 34.

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Catch the Wind Chasing the Sun Dusk Why Do People Believe in Ghosts? The Glass Boy Binary Confusion My Religion Blessing Bags Interview Coincidence? - Content Warning Hereafter - Content Warning Ghost Dusted Got Beef? A Burger Review Stolen from the Sky The Girl and the Owl Interviewing Anxiety - Content Warning It’s Cartoon Time! Gloria Paralysis To the Sky Thirteen Hour Difference From the Team

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Catch the Wind Written by A.E. Grant

A lone boat sails across the sky. The weathered wood creaks as it rides the clouds onward. Its sails are made of mismatching materials—cuts of blankets, used parachutes, old clothes—that bulge and flap as they catch the wind. On the pulpit, a single green lamp hangs from a sculpture of a siren.

Sitting at the back steering the dormant motor’s rudder is the boat’s lone traveller Finch, wrapped in patched clothes with pilot’s goggles fixed over their eyes. Down below is nothing, a nothing that gradually dissolves into deep blue sky only interrupted by a few stray clouds. Finch leaves the rudder and stands up. Small hands protected by fingerless gloves, Finch grasps one of the many ropes and tugs. The boom swings over their head as the wind propels the boat forward. The boat approaches a floating town, held up by large hot air balloons and thick clouds. The young traveller pulls into port where some sailors assist in securing the boat in place.

Surrounded by a circle of metal-framed wooden buildings, Finch wanders into a small market in the middle of town. Young children laugh and run as they play. All the merchants are dressed in dirty patched clothes. The young traveller walks up to a stall. The merchant, a plump lady with a kind face, greets them. Finch politely orders some bread and cheese, then takes a handful of screws from a small pouch and places them on the table.

The merchant pulls out a generous amount of food. Finch’s eyes go wide. They try to refuse such a large portion. The merchant waves their protests off. ‘Where are you travelling to, tiny one?’ the merchant asks.

‘To the Great Land,’ Finch replies. ‘I hear there are lakes there, bigger than any ship and full of fish.’ The merchant looks upon the traveller with pity. ‘Oh, my dear. No one has ever found the Great Land. Maybe you should look for a small island instead.’ Finch says nothing. They take their bread and cheese and return to the port. They sleep in their boat, wrapped in threadbare blankets. In the morning they set off. * * *

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Edited by Mel O’Connor

A heavy fog permeates the sky as the boat chugs along. Finch leans against the folded down mast, one hand on the tiller. They wipe the condensation from their goggles before pushing them up onto the top of their head. The glow of the lamp highlights the mist ahead with a vibrant green.

A silhouette gradually emerges from the fog. Finch perks up, steering the ship. The boat drifts up to a tiny island of dead willows with a few old buildings established on it; a bar, a weapon shop, and a mechanic’s workshop. Finch secures their boat and enters the bar. Stares follow Finch as they walk in and climb up onto the tall bar stool. The patrons hunch over their mugs, murmurs droning in the background. One elbows their swaying friend.

‘What’s a kid doin’ in ‘ere?’ they mumble.

The bartender—a man with a bushy beard and a leather apron—raises his eyebrows, but doesn’t comment. Finch orders a glass of water and a bottle of rum, acutely aware of curious eyes watching their back. ‘Where ya headed, youn’un?’ the bartender inquires. ‘To the Great Land,’ Finch mutters. ‘Really?’

‘I hear there are acres of green forest filled with birds and grass.’ ‘Whassah forest?’ a drunkard slurs. ‘A bunch of trees,’ another burps.

The bartender meets the young traveller’s eyes. ‘Sorry to break it to ya, kid, but there ain’t no Great Land. It’s only a fable.’

Finch says nothing. They drink their glass of water and accept their bottle of rum. The bartender lets them sleep in a booth that night. When the sun rises, Finch leaves some screws on the counter and returns to their boat. * * *

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The air tastes like soot. Ash snows down in a gentle shower and coats the boat in a layer of grey. It seems to swallow the daylight. A tension weighs heavily on the atmosphere; the only sound is the sails whipping in the angered gale.

Water trickles down Finch’s face in steady streams, then drips down to flood the bottom of the boat. The lamp swings violently as the boat is blown around like a leaf.

Finch freezes as pirates jump aboard and hurl the young traveller onto their ship. The captain, in all orange with a red bandana tied over her hair, stomps over to the pirates holding Finch still. She scowls upon examining Finch and their vessel.

A gale grabs the sails, making the seams quiver. Finch unlatches the clasp and heaves, their muscles straining as they fight the wind to pull the mast down.

Everything is so monotonous that Finch doesn’t spot the large ship creeping up from behind. A tethered bolt startles them as it shoots through wood and pulls the boat in.

‘It’s just a kid!’ she exclaims. ‘Christ, McGuffin, ya made it sound like it was a merchant boat!’ One pirate resolutely stares down at his duct-taped boots. ‘Dammit, ya r’on janitor duty next!’ The captain turns back to the young traveller. ‘Whatcha doin’ sailin’ out here?’

Finch stays silent until the grip on their wrists tightens. ‘I-I’m heading t-to the Great Land.’ ‘The Great Land, ya say?’ Finch nods, shaking.

The pirate’s head swings back as she lets out a booming laugh. ‘Listen ta this pipsqueak! They say they’re headin’ to th’ Great Land! Listen, kiddo. I’ve been sailin’ the sky for o’er three decades now and there be nuthin’ out there but storms n soot.’

Finch keeps quiet. They stay quiet until the pirates chuck them back onto their boat. They use some scrap and the last of their screws to patch up the hole. * * *

Static prickles Finch’s hair. It crackles in their ear, collects in their fingertips, and jumps to metal with a zap. Trepidation has been building into a shudder through their body since they first spotted the border of dark clouds looming, growing, all-consuming on the horizon. This anticipation doesn’t prepare them for the drenching rain, the vicious gales, the blinding cracks of lightning that stalk the young traveller and their boat through the shadows.

The motor coughs and the whole boat shudders. Finch twists around to check one of its dials: the needle sits at E. The lid swings back and rain pours inside as they grab the bottle of rum. They unscrew the fuel cap and pour the rum in. The motor spits out black smoke in complaint, however chugs on.

Their fingers tremble, stiff from the aching cold, as they tie the sails down. Their hands barely cooperate enough to begin scooping out the water. The wind roars louder. The rain pelts heavier.

The thunder cracks closer.

Finch can barely see as tears filled their goggles. They have to keep going. They’re almost there. A flash blinds them. A bolt explodes the motor. The wood beneath lurks, snaps, splinters. Finch’s silhouette leaves the boat and they’re falling.



* * *

Finch’s eyes flutter open.

They squint against the morning light.

The swish of water lapping at a bank, a gentle trill of a bird, breaks through the ring in their ears.

Around them, the wreck of the boat is scattered across dirt and grass. The green lamp sits by their head—no longer glowing.

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Chasing the Sun

Written by Mark Russell Edited by Mel O’Connor

When we were very young we played out by the tide, To watch the sand-dunes crumble into the ocean wide. We set our dreams to sail upon time’s ebb and flow, Out past the distant line into the sunset’s glow.

How swift we were to launch out from our castles’ sand, That seemed so quaint and tiny—that seemed so bold and grand.

We watched the winds sweep through and bear the sand away, We’d pause to let the nights pass by and scarcely missed our days, As they unwound upon the coil’s passing months and years, And up we built the castle spires—the pillars, salt and tears.

Before we launched to disparate seas to stretch the glow of day, I named you once my dearest friend, before our words could flay. Yet the tides keep turning faster that once had seemed so slow, Your mast that bloomed upon the dunes, a sight lost long ago. The years unwind so fast now—yet there’s still so far to go, And if I’ll ever greet the sun, I fear I’ll never know.

For there’s one more night that’s coming like a thousand more before, And I’ve launched a ship to chase the sun, out from this crumbling shore. But this day is long before I yet must rest my weary tongue. My final dream, reflect on this, when we were very young.


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D usk

By Sarah Dennis

Pho to g ra phy by Sarah D e n n i s

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Written by John Coomans Edited by Mel O’Connor

Ancient cultures around the world had different interpretations of the same fundamental idea: of the spirits of the dead—how they might behave, what might be done to ward off evil ones and welcome kind ones. Now, debating whether or not ghosts really exist is neither particularly productive, nor very interesting in many cases. For every piece of supposed evidence put forward to prove they exist, there are plenty of counter-arguments, and ultimately nobody gets anywhere. What is useful, however, is to examine why people choose to believe in them. It seems easy to dismiss the belief in ghosts as childish nonsense—as baseless as believing in unicorns, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. But while it seems clear that believing in unicorns brings no real benefit and has no real function, a belief in spirits seems less cut and dried. After all, we return to this idea again and again as a species. While the modern Hollywood version of the haunting spectre is what’s most prominent in our culture currently, even that idea—a Dickensian figure draped in chains—dates back to Ancient Rome, at the earliest we know of. What causes this idea of the restless dead to creep into our culture and our collective consciousness time and time again? And are there any tangible benefits to believing in the intangible? When we talk about “ghosts”, everybody has their own ideas about what these could be. In our western culture, we might imagine a number of things: maybe a poltergeist in the house, or a pale spirit floating through the halls of an asylum, or just simply a presence—a vague sensation of another being nearby. Often with these presences, people might “imagine” or “perceive” a presence as a relative or loved one. It’s not hard to find examples of people turning to the supernatural as a way of finding some kind of closure, and frequently ending up at the mercy of people who can, supposedly, provide the answer. Believing in ghosts or spirits is one thing, and is ultimately neither good nor bad. Exploiting that belief, and grief, to make yourself money is quite another.

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When Harry Houdini dedicated himself to debunking seances and spiritual gatherings, it wasn’t because he found the very idea of it dangerous or evil, but because he was disgusted at the way supposed “spiritualists” and “mediums” preyed on people’s suffering. It is, however, no terrible thing to imagine to yourself that your mother, or grandfather, or anyone you may have loved and who loved you, is with you in your daily life. This idea of ancestral guidance is present in many cultures and has been represented multiple times in popular culture. We are drawn to this idea; it would be an enormous comfort to know that, even into the next life, we still have a connection with the people we have loved. We even believe we might still be able to seek guidance and comfort from them, that there may be people who we love so dearly, and who loved us as dearly in return, that even death is not a permanent separation, and that we might still be able to seek guidance and solace from them.

The “personal spirit” provides a significant amount of comfort to those who believe in it, and comfort in this day and age is a valuable commodity. When life seems difficult and the stress becomes too much, the idea that our loved ones are here for us, even beyond the grave, can sooth the soul. Sometimes that reassurance, even if it isn’t based on anything real or tangible, makes a difference in someone’s life. What then of the non-personal ghosts, the spectres that haunt Hollywood films and bad reality television shows, the tortured souls that are trapped in some terrible place? Why bother believing in them? There are two reasons: the first is that it’s exciting. People watch these reality shows because they can experience the “haunting” vicariously through the hosts, and they want to be scared. We like being scared in ways we can control. When you see a horror film, you would be disappointed if you had left the theatre not been scared. Going on actual ghost tours are similar, they are scary in a way that can still be controlled.

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But there’s more to it than just the fear factor. Even a person who doesn’t believe in spirits or energies or auras or anything of that kind may use those terms to describe a physical place. We can again draw a comparison between this and older cultures in the form of “sacred sites”, spiritual places that demanded respect in the culture. The pain and suffering that took place in these “haunted houses” is something that, according to people who believe in spirits, should be acknowledged and respected. It is expected that people acknowledge the continued presence and suffering of the people who genuinely suffered there. Ghost stories in these places are never about people who died in pleasant circumstances. Fundamentally, we are curious and inquisitive as a species. We are imaginative. To this day there is a question we have been unable to answer: what happens when we die? This may seem straightforward, but for a group of primates who have managed to put a man on the moon using nothing more than our capacity to ask questions and answer them, unanswerable questions simply are not acceptable.

So we imagine the answers. We fill in the blanks as best we can—it’s what we’ve always done for as long as we can remember. For every question we ask, we fill in the blank. And then, as we are able to find out more, the answer changes. In our modern age, an age of science and technology, we have a tendency then to simply say that questions without answers aren’t worth asking; that we can prove what’s real, and nothing beyond that matters. But that doesn’t make the question go away. For some, an answer is still required, and for a fundamental question like this, ‘nobody knows’ is too unsatisfactory. Filling in the blank in this way may offer some guidance and support. It could also give a window into empathy in times of stress or places of pain and suffering. Perhaps not as pointless as believing in unicorns.

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The Glass Boy

Written by Elisabeth Gail

Edited by Katelin Farnsworth

His chest is like a fish tank, inches thick he hides behind its tinted glass his fragility is almost otherworldly But. Boys. Don’t. Break he is reinforced, he is strong, he is lying

The glass boy sits in the dark mending the cracks in his skin he is more glue than man now each day brings new chips, new scratches he is barely holding together Even though he is full of holes he struggles to let air out he can’t live like this much longer his delicate walls are close to toppling

The cracks in his skin grow deeper his layers of sealant don’t cut it anymore though vulnerability is a terror, loneliness hurts more so he lets the fractures show He paints his skin like a church window you can almost see St Paul on the back of his neck his decoupage skin makes the lines less noticeable they are part of him now.

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B i n ar y C o n f u s io n

Written by Anna Hayman-Arif Edited by Julie Dickson

(tousles hair roughly) ‘You look like a strong little man!’ Get your hands off her. is what I want to say. I feel a small part of her curl up in defeat and a larger part of me dies.

Lips pulled back over teeth is a sign of aggression, or a smile, under pleasant circumstances. I do not smile.

The façade must end as more small parts of my daughter slump dejectedly.

Actually, she’s a girl. Eyebrows do their clichéd thing and apologies are forthcoming. Too late for her parts that have curled their toes, shrivelled and died.

Her bright eyes kill more of me as she accepts the confusion as just a part of living on a surface that looks no further than the length of hair. Deep down in her cool depths I know she’s swimming happily with her lack of pink and hair. I want to reach her but that is a private place of joy and abandonment.

I settle. Pulling her fragile frame in tight I cannot let go for fear she may break apart. A decade’s worth of tough— there are no cracks as little arms encircle. Small parts are withered but the whole is smiling up at me.

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Written by Hania Arif

Being one of three Abrahamic religions, Islam draws upon the lives and experiences of various prophets, from Adam to Noah, Abraham to Jacob, Moses to David, and from Jesus to Muhammad (Peace be upon them all). It is claimed that the word Islam derives from the ancient Arabic verb aslama, meaning ‘to submit to the will of God’, and which is also the root word of salaam, meaning peace. It is only when one submits to God and His ‘Divine Law’ that they attain true peace of mind and surety of heart. Muslims do not consider the core Islamic belief of the ‘Uniqueness of one and only God’ to be a new teaching, but rather a reaffirmation of the ancient, yet living truth that exists at the heart of all religions. Contrary to the commonly repeated misconception, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not the founder of Islam but only the final prophet. There are six major beliefs that are vital and inherent to being a Muslim: • Belief in the absolute ‘Oneness of God’ • Belief in all His angels • Belief in all His holy books/scriptures that had been revealed – including Torah, Gospel, Psalms, and Scrolls • Belief in all His prophets and Messengers • Belief in the ‘Day of Judgement’ • Belief in Fate

One thing I enjoy and am passionate about is the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood: ‘Mankind is naught but a single nation’ (Quran 10:19). I love being a part of such a diverse family. There are over 1.8 billion people across the world and Islam preaches unconditional love and care for one another regardless of any racial, ethnic, cultural, lingual, class or socioeconomic difference. The bonds of faith triumph over the bonds of blood.

Progressive Judaism

Written by Suzie Eisfelder

I don’t hide my religion but not many people know I’m Jewish. I attend religious services at my synagogue because I live for community and love the music, not because I’m religious. I have contributed so much over the 30 years since I joined. I spent four years editing the monthly magazine, four years working in the office and another five years on the Board of Management as the Minutes Secretary. I’ve been the Vice President, on welcome duty for services, I’ve helped with moving our services to the town hall as our building isn’t big enough for our New Year and Day of Atonement services, and I’ve been the secretary of the playgroup. I try to attend funerals for every member I know. My current role is that of historian, interviewing people and bringing their stories together into a book to be sold as a fundraiser. I can step into many of the little jobs needed during the service at a moment’s notice. I can even read from our holy book, the Torah scroll, but this needs practice as the handwritten parchment has no vowels nor punctuation. I live for community. My religious community is another part of this. Just a few things that being a Progressive Jew means to me: • being educated about our religion, knowing what we do and why we do it; • males and females being able to sit together; • having equal part, as a female, in the service; • being counted.

My Religion Edited by Katelin Farnsworth and Ari Moore

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Written by Ashita Gandhi

Jainism is one of the oldest religions in India and it is tough to preach and practice. The Jains are the people who believe in Ahimsa (non-violence), anekantavada (non-absolutism) and aparigraha (non-attachment). It is the reason we are vegetarians and don’t harm any animals. We believe that every living thing has its life span decided by the superior power and we are no-one to take it. The motive behind Jainism is to purify our soul and work towards being a better person. At some point in life we will realise that everything around us is temporary and there has to be an end to it. Therefore, a few points from the perspective of a Jain are: • Don’t spend on things that you don’t need; • Always help the needy; • Greediness and ego are two enemies of mankind and without these, you can attain salvation; • Be kind-hearted and believe in spreading joy and money amongst the needy. • Follow the trail of Gurus (a teacher/guide); • Give and never take.


Written by Eliz Bilal

At the age of 21 I embarked upon a journey that led me to discover Wicca. Although I am quite new to the faith, I feel in harmony with its peaceful worldview. Wicca is a religion that focuses on being in balance with nature. Humans are not viewed as superior; instead, Wiccans work alongside the world around us. This is done by casting spells that connect to the four elements: earth, wind, fire and water. With the caster as the spirit, these spells are used to elevate one’s surroundings. Spells are also used to honour the seasonal changes of the earth’s cycle and celebrate the holidays following the ‘Wheel of the Year’. Wiccans call upon different Gods and Goddesses for help in spell work, as well as to provide guidance and protection. The key creed of Wicca is ‘do what thou wilt and harm none’: in essence, it directs Wiccans to embrace their individuality, and act as they wish so long as no negativity is inflicted upon the world. Otherwise, karma makes its way back to the instigator threefold. There is so much about Wicca that brings out the best of my spirit and allows me to give back to others.

We also have a holy period during which we don’t eat so that we can be stronger and better when we have to face any hardship. Lastly, we come to this world alone and we leave it alone so make it worthwhile.

My experience as a Jain is exciting as it helps me boost my capabilities. When I came to Australia, a lot of vegetarians had turned into non-vegetarians as it’s difficult to get vegetarian food. At one point, I thought to survive here I would have to eat meat. But I couldn’t do it. My religion didn’t force me to be vegetarian, however, it was my choice to accept this as a challenge and not to turn into something that I could never be. Today, here in Australia, I am happy to be a Jain as I cook my vegetarian meals.

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s g a B g n i Bless

An interview with Laura Toole, by Bonnee Crawford

Laura Toole is a third year International Development student. She is passionate about community involvement and educating people on the poverty that exists in both developing and developed countries. Blessing Bags began in 2015 and is run by a committed group of young people within the Greater Melbourne area. Blessing Bags strives to provide basic essentials to those in need throughout the community, including people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence victims, refugees, and anyone else doing it tough. A blessing bag is a bag of toiletries that includes travelsize personal hygiene items, a muesli bar, tissues, and sanitary items for women. The bags also contain an encouraging note of positivity and are distributed to people living on the streets, families who may be struggling, and through other organisations working to provide for anyone in need.

BONNEE CRAWFORD: You founded Blessing Bags two years ago. What gave you the idea? LAURA TOOLE: Yes, Blessing Bags was officially formed in June 2015. The idea came from previous travels I had taken overseas. From my trips to Kenya and Cambodia, I knew the value of basic essentials and hygiene items in making people feel dignified and respected. I had also heard of the concept of a blessing bag from charities in America. When I started going to university in the city, I was faced with the reality of seeing people experiencing homelessness on the street, and this touched me immensely. I wrestled with the idea of doing something for around three months before I finally decided to start making blessing bags myself. The initial idea was for it to be a small project that I ran on my own, but the idea grew through people wanting to get involved and the community embracing the concept.

Edited by Eliz Bilal

LAURA: When I started sharing the idea with my close family and friends, they were really supportive and encouraged me to create a Facebook page. From there, people started getting involved. At first the team consisted of my boyfriend, best friend, and stepsister but slowly grew to a core team of eight people, four of which I didn’t know before Blessing Bags. The power of social media cannot be underestimated when it comes to attracting support and meeting new people with similar passions. BONNEE: The Blessing Bags website states, ‘There are more than 22,500 homeless people across Victoria.’ That’s about three quarters of my hometown. Were you surprised by that statistic?

LAURA: When I decided to actually do something personally to help the cause, I did some research into the severity of homelessness and I couldn’t believe it. We, as westerners, can sometimes feel untouchable, like all the bad stuff and poverty is happening on the other side of the world. In reality, it’s happening in Australia and in Victoria, too. I think it’s important to understand with that statistic that it’s not 22,500 people living on the streets. Homelessness can represent people who are couch surfing, living in shelters, or living in their cars.

BONNEE: What made you decide, ‘I’m going to do this’?

LAURA: I was away on a small family holiday in Queensland and was reminded of the concept of blessing bags due to the small hotel toiletries. It was then that I decided I would take the toiletries home and would stop putting off doing something to help. BONNEE: How did other people first start finding out about your project and start getting involved?

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BONNEE: What have been the biggest obstacles faced by Blessing Bags? LAURA: I think the biggest challenge we constantly face is trying to break stereotypes around homelessness and the people that we help. It’s not easy when someone has the mindset that everyone experiencing homelessness is an alcoholic or drug addict. Having the right conversations with people about the reality of the situation is so important. We also struggle to meet the need; currently we distribute 350-400 bags every two months and, honestly, the need for the bags and basic essentials is probably double that. We do what we can, but there is always more to do. BONNEE: What do you think is the most effective way of combating the supply and demand shortfall?

BONNEE: In two years, your team has distributed over 5,000 Blessing Bags across Melbourne. What do you want to achieve in the next two years?

“After one of our LAURA: I often get asked what is next and distribution days, what our goals are for the future. I would just love to continue to see the team grow and one of the young to continue to educate people around the cause. Something that we are going to start girls on the way introducing next year is panel information around homelessness: how it home said to me, sessions occurs, what policies surround it, and we can do as individuals to help. ‘I think I’d like to what These sessions will align with our vision of be a social worker,’ spreading awareness. BONNEE: That’s amazing. Education can and it was just make a world of difference. If there was amazing to hear one thing you would want everyone to know about this cause, what would it be? that she realised I would want people to know that she can make a LAURA: homelessness can happen to anyone and to challenge people to try and not judge, but difference.” to love. We also support many other causes,

LAURA: We do our best to advertise the need for the cause. This is done by speaking at schools, clubs, and universities and educating people on homelessness. We also use our social media accounts to speak to people about what we are doing. In terms of the shortfall and providing for the need, we are very aware of other incredible organisations working in a similar field. We all work together to do as much as we can to provide for as many people as possible.

including domestic violence victims, single mothers, and refugees. Something that people constantly aren’t aware of is the value of basic essentials in breaking the cycle of poverty in these areas. Something as simple as a razor can change someone’s appearance for a job interview, or oral hygiene products can save a single mum so much money in dental bills. These are basic essentials that people compromise for food and for a place to live, but they are a basic human right that we should all have access to.

LAURA: I love taking teams out on our distribution days in the CBD. It’s amazing to provide dignity and love to our friends on the streets; the smile and warmth they feel when someone stops to talk to them is priceless. I also love educating people and, when people come along and realise they can personally make an impact, it is very powerful. After one of our distribution days, one of the young girls on the way home said to me, ‘I think I’d like to be a social worker,’ and it was just amazing to hear that she realised she can make a difference and may even want to make a career out of that. Another favourite moment I’ve had is when I stopped to talk to a man and asked if he wanted anything. He was very shy and reserved when I would talk to him, but finally, after weeks, he told me his name and asked for a coffee. It was a beautiful moment of relationship.

To find out more about Blessing Bags, visit www.blessingbagsmelbourne.com or follow them on social media.

BONNEE: What is your most memorable experience involving Blessing Bags?

@blessingbagsxx @blessingbags_au blessingbagsmelbourne

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Coi n c i d en ce ? Written by Justine Stella Edited by Bonnee Crawford

As the tenth anniversary creeps closer I do my best to avoid thinking about him. I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. It took me a while to perfect it. I spent a lot of time wondering: wondering what his favourite colour was, wondering if he would have liked reading Harry Potter with me before bed.

And then words fill my head, pounding into me to the beat of the song.

Wondering means I have to face the fact that I never knew him. It means I have to accept that every image in my head is a photo; I have no memories. And I have to accept that every tidbit of information that I have about him came from someone else’s story. I have no stories of my own.

I wish my school didn’t use the radio as our bell. I wish we had the typical ding dong instead. How am I meant to go to class with this in my head?

But wondering hurts.

And I don’t like facing this.

If only my memory was better; if only I had my own memories. I mean, I was six; you’d think I would have some. But no. Not one.

You’d think I’d call him ‘Dad’ if he comes up in conversation, but his name falls off my tongue easier. I never had a dad. This is a foreign concept. So I don’t like thinking about him; I don’t like wondering. I try really hard not to wonder if he’d approve of my new tattoo, or what he’d think of my boyfriend. But sometimes I don’t have a choice.

*** Lyrics slam into me and instead of covering my ears I cover my eyes. Images of a dark grey flowered dress flash through my mind. Images of relatives crying. Images of tiny golden paper stars.

‘He will be forever missed.’ ‘Such a gentle soul.’ ‘Farewell.’

*** Stuck at a red light, I watch the rain dribble down my window. I reach out and flip the radio onto another station as the lyrics fill my car. I don’t even need to look at the radio; I’ve become adept at switching it to avoid the funeral song.

In the last three months, ever since I got my license, it’s as if the radio knows no other song. It comes on at least once a week.

And it’s not even just the song. Lately I’ve been finding tiny golden paper stars in my classroom, in the corridor by my locker. Last time this happened I closed my eyes and heard more voices. ‘We’ll think of him as a star.’ ‘He’ll always be there to guide his daughters.’ ‘He was such a light in our lives.’

*** ‘I’m going to make a website to remember him,’ Grandma says. ‘I’d like to launch it next week, on the anniversary. I’d love it if you wrote something.’ And so I do.

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It’s okay to think and wonder now; someone else has asked me to.

I write about the strangeness he left behind. I write about the importance of connecting with your family after a loss. I write about the struggles.

I add my own song to the website; I want to focus on this song rather than the funeral song. I play the song, my song, as I write, and the images and voices disappear. This song gives me a break. And a tiny piece of control where I’ve had none. *** But the other things keep happening.

It’s like I’m being haunted. Images and voices, lyrics and flashes of gold. They just won’t leave me alone. Six days to go and that old song fills my car, teasing out those memories from the funeral.

Five days to go and a friend gives me a bookmark covered in tiny gold stars. Four days to go and my sister holds my hand. It’s like déjà vu; I swear we’d been in this exact moment before.

I shy away from all of these moments; I hate being forced into thinking about him. So I turn the radio off for good, I avert my gaze from anything gold and I drop my sister’s hand. But then I realise there might be more to it.

*** Two days to go and we light a candle for him. Mum loads up her laptop and opens Windows Media Player. She plays their song and we watch the patterns swirl and dance in front of us.

As the last notes ring through the house I reach over. I double click on my song, the one from the website, the one I chose to associate with him. I want to play that for him. And Windows Media Player bursts into hundreds of tiny gold stars. I’ve never seen that before. *** One day to go and I overhear something.

‘It’s so sad,’ a woman murmurs to a man, ‘my friend lost her best friend last year and keeps hearing their favourite song on the radio. But she keeps turning it off.’ ‘I can understand that,’ the man offers. ‘It must be hard to hear.’

‘Yes,’ the woman admits, ‘but doesn’t she realise that it’s clearly her friend reaching out to her? Why else would that song play so much—especially when she’s having a bad day or it’s her birthday or something? Think it’s just a coincidence?’ *** How many times can something happen until it’s no longer a coincidence? But if it’s not a coincidence, then what is it?

*** On the anniversary I have to drive past the place where he died on my way home from school. A detour takes me on a different road and the hill is in my rearview mirror for a long time. I see that hill more than I see the road in front of me.

What are the odds that there’d be a detour today? What are the odds that the detour would take me this way?

I turn the radio on as if daring it to play the funeral song. What are the chances?

I’m waiting for those first few notes to start playing when a song does come on, it’s just not the one I thought. It’s my song.

Maybe it’s not so bad; maybe I’m not being haunted after all.

I twist the volume knob as far as it will go and I add my own rough melody to the rhythm.

I don’t believe in fate or God and I don’t know what I believe happens when we die, but I do know that in this moment I am not alone. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or something more, but if he has anything to do with this, then he’s someone I would have liked. This moment becomes my very own story.

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Written by Mel O’Connor

Edited by Bonnee Crawford

It’s not until the night after we’ve buried him that my grandfather visits me in the bathroom. His ghost pecks against the glass window. Rap, rap, rap. In a green like cellophane the light covers us in an underwater glow. Pappy’s spectre morphs through the plaster wall, an oscillation, slime left in a smear. Pappy knew me when I was digital, when my hands were fused to a come-apart keyboard. My fingerprints were made of rubber like the holsters beneath the keys. He knew me as an anaemic twelve-year-old, friendless and insulin-resistant, a slave to escapism three years from my first counselling session, five years from my first suicide attempt. I chase down the verdant burn of his memories—the shuddering vibrant ball of matter. It’s all that’s left of him. Pappy calls for me. My trembling hands grasp at his ghost, come away wet with lucent ectoplasm. His soul moves a step further into Hell. I follow like a pet— hair lifts around my shoulders my ears clog with jelly

emerald phlegm splinters into my lungs like amniotic fluid neon executioner is familiar like him I knew him first as an idol—then later as a feeble bloated emphysema patient arthritic and senile

my sisters beat on the door burst blood vessels blacken my eyes this

Mucous coats my hands like tar I am not being haunted

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A r t by A n a s t a s i a Fo u nt ai n WordlyMagazine_Ethereal.indd 18

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Dusted Written by Brianna Bullen

She came to earth caught in a comet’s tail, a string of heat and light. She added stupidity to the mix, hitching a ride on chance and improbability. Anyone looking up at the 2 am sky—through bedroom windows, or up from their cigarettes outside nightclubs, or out from their all-nighter diner booths over their sketchbooks and coffees—would have seen her running. And yet, nobody saw. She woke up alone. Unnoticed. Burnt out in a field of daisies, she looked up at the sky—a still night still life, painted in Intergalactic Medium—and saw a universe she was usually part of mirrored back to her. Hydrogen and helium, tinted by dust. Star pricked, but bleak. Infinity in a vacuum. So very empty. Her head—so unusual, to have a head, a cerebral time-bomb—panged with mortality and nerve pain, supernovas in her synapses. Anyone who saw her would have concluded: she was hungover. Consciousness came with setbacks. Already she felt finite. She finally could comprehend what it meant to feel free. It was the smell in the grass, singed beneath her. The daisies, autumn wilted. She reached across to touch one—fingers, she had fingers—but it seemed to pull back in its disintegration. Dimming her intensity, she tried again with a second flower, all the while staring sadly at the ashes of her first attempt. This one did not burn up. Its petals felt soft. A gentle entry into the tangible world. The petal pressed back softly. In its touch, she could feel her own skin, smooth and unscarred. Her fellow stars looked down upon her, but not with anger. Disapproval was not an emotion applicable to them. Emotion was absent. Their existence was absence. All light, exterior shine betraying no interior life of their own. They brought happiness and contemplation, but could feel neither. She wasn’t sure when it was that she first began to want to feel. Was there a transitionary period? She could only remember having the capacity, the lack of what

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Edited by Ari Moore

came before receding from memory like depressive fog. It was just suddenly there. It was terrifying.

The earth rustled. She could hear the worms digging through the soil, voluntarily interred. It pulsed, tectonic shifting and coursing with creatures and root growth seeping and shifting. She was so distracted by the sound in her new ears that she almost missed her first encounter with another being, but its snort alerted her to its existence. Through the grass, lines moon-kissed white against the foggy grey-black of night, she saw first the quivering nostrils in their black cushion nose. The deer had registered her presence milliseconds before she had seen him. He looked like a cut-out superimposed over the stars, antlers stretched out like twisted veins from his forehead. She could not see colour in this night vision, but its eyes looked like they swallowed colour, black emitting the faintest glimmer of light. Its eyes and head shifted, locking onto her as its skull lifted up atop its muscular neck. Nearly seventy kilograms of pentup aggression and frightened alien unknowability. She didn’t want to accidentally fry it. She also didn’t want to get gored by it. But how to communicate a desire not to do harm? They stared. It rutted at the ground. She slowly backed away, arms out front in a subconscious (useless) block and silent surrender. It huffed and started chewing at the grass. She walked away. And continued to walk. She followed roads, marked by letters on posts denoting streets and eventually avenues. The central road split off, fracturing off into branches, but she continued to follow what seemed to be the main path.

Eventually, she came across what appeared to be civilisation beneath a bridge in the form of smoke and strange substances. Men and dogs congregated around a fire, their sleeping equipment shed around them like second skins in garish greens and purples.

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‘Girl, want to see the stars?’ a man with breath reeking of rotting calcium masked by latrine cleaner stepped forward, offering her what looked like moon dust contained in a bag.

She shook her head and stepped away, wincing as her bare feet were cut—not beautiful like crystal but mortal flesh enmeshed, blooming red—by smashed beer glass. She hoped she was not being discourteous in her lack of response, but she could already see the stars. Only, she couldn’t really. Not here, in the beginnings of a township. They were concealed by light pollution and a halogen heady haze from streetlamps that thought they could compete with pure light. The yellow stains smeared the air around their glass, like a double exposed ghost.

The man was hurling abuse, running to keep up with her. Clearly, she had done something wrong. But what? She glanced over her shoulder, gaze an unasked question. The man’s anger boiled over, dissipating out. She continued unimpeded onto proper streets, arranged in columns of neon-lit buildings, roadworks, closed shop-fronts, streetlamps and hanging flowerpots. Her blood, sticky red between her toes, was no longer leaving a footprint trail.

The town was quieter than anything she had imagined when thinking of Earth, but still louder than space which existed in the absence of sound. Newspapers danced in the gutter, flipping through news items in the wind. The history of a moment transmitted in a motion. A cat scurried in an alleyway, knocking over a bin which clanged like an industrial accident. The lights’ sound quality was bee buzzing, sputtering. Someone was retching, alone in an exposing moment. A car was driving several blocks off. Damp socks were airing out on a balcony of a hostel, little giraffes staring dumbly down at her with the benignity of created life. She could

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make out a muffled conversation from the walls, but it was not her moment to steal. Jewellery glittered like a rival in a store front—proud in Prouds—but she gave it only a passing glance. Planet 55 Cancri e was composed of diamond. She watched it from her designated airspace every day for millennia. These little granules meant nothing. And yet she paused and walked closer. Her reflection was a shadow, given shape with the morphing movement of light. A cheek. A collarbone. The diamond promised a tiny universe, a planet in minutia. It was quite charming. She continued on in her exploration of the shutdown world, startling herself when a door opened in her presence like fate. She stepped away. It closed. She stepped forward again. Such pure sorcery. This time when it automatically parted she became aware of the purest scent she had ever inhaled. The store said ‘Coffee’—perhaps that was it. The night’s cold had been biting her new nose, ears, and fingers. The scent was warm. Restorative. The room defrosted her. A man was looking at her like she could have saved him from his problems, dropping his pencil. She could hear his thoughts—‘what an angel, she must know the infinite mysteries of life, perhaps she could teach them to me, I’m sensitive enough to understand them’—and she felt a sudden human urge she delightfully fulfilled in her fingertips. She flipped him off.

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Got Beef? A Burger Review

Written by Matt Emmett Edited by Tara Komaromy

The Fish & Burger Co. is a contemporary restaurant that offers both burgers and seafood, along with onion rings and a broad selection of fries and shakes. Unlike many of its peers, it offers a sharp and polished experience and a wide-ranging menu. Indeed, The Fish & Burger Co. brings a refined restaurant experience to the burger business.

Despite the staff being quite busy, my lovely girlfriend Chloe and I were promptly greeted and shown to a table near the back of the restaurant. As regulars, we already knew what we were going to order, but we still read the menu. You never know when something new might be added to it.

The Food: I ordered the ‘Ol’ School Cheese’ which is a simple burger nestled between two soft brioche buns. This delight includes grass-fed beef, tomato, cheese, lettuce, Spanish onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. It is a well-contained burger which draws on classic ingredients to create a truly ‘Ol’ School’ flavour. The burger is a good size, packing a 150g patty—but it won’t dislocate your jaw with any bite. It is not my favourite burger on the menu (that title belongs to the ‘Hey Hombre’) but it is a strong candidate for one of the best cheeseburgers going around. Hot and crispy onion rings with garlic aioli sauce are the perfect wingmen for the ‘Ol’ School Cheese’. Like halos sent down from Heaven, they are simply divine. But don’t be too quick to coronate your tastebuds or you might get burnt.

Chloe ordered a grilled flake with a side of crispy fries. Her dish highlighted how The Fish & Burger Co. is more than simply a burger joint. The fish is delicate, the flesh almost melts in your mouth. Every bite is a fleeting experience; the flavour dances down your tongue and disappears, leaving you chasing after the next mouthful. After providing such an otherworldly experience, the fillet soon disappears from the plate. It may even have trumped the burger!

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The Drinks: I chose the chocolate milkshake to wash all my food down. It’s not as flamboyant as its supershake companions (including the Ferrero and Gaytime supershakes) but it does a good job regardless. It’s a good choice if you like things sweet without being too sweet. Chloe chose the lemonade, which is a local brew sourced from Daylesford, west of Melbourne. Contained in a glass bottle, it has a unique look and taste that leaves you feeling more cultured than you really are.

Important Nuggets

Dietary requirements: There are several vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu, including a burger called ‘Mrs Falafel’. Their cooking oil is vegan friendly.


Alcohol: The Fish & Burger Co. offer a select range of beer and cider, including their own brews and classic imports such as Corona and Peroni. Ambience: Polished and professional, dining at The Fish & Burger Co. is a slick experience. Being a hipster is not an entry requirement. Address: 1001 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East.

Parking: Your best bet is to park at the back of the restaurant off Montgomery Street because the front spaces are always taken.

Public Transport: The best way to get to The Fish & Burger Co. from the Burwood campus is by bus. The Templestowe 281 will take you to Westfield Doncaster, where you should hop off and jump on the Chelsea 902. The Last Bite As a repeat customer, I highly recommend you make the journey to this upper echelon of the burger business.


Free side of chips with any burger purchase!

What you need to do: Mention this ad Show your student ID

*This deal is only valid during December Photography credited to The Fish & Burger Co., 2017

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Stolen from the Sky Written by Patrick Banfield The hunter came into town, the sky all shifting greys with no rain. She had a rifle over her shoulder, a long canister strapped to her back, and coat pockets filled with traps and tricks. The bar was closed but the bartender was sweeping his front steps and still good for talking rumour and folklore and spirits. ‘Looking for a shapeshifter,’ the hunter said. ‘Could look like anything, but it’s got habits. Likes being incorporeal.’ ‘Being what?’ said the bartender.

‘All mist and steam and smoke. Fire’s the only way to kill shifters, so they like making that hard. Burn them and their true form comes out. Solid enough so’s I can nail them with this.’ The hunter tapped her rifle. ‘I don’t know about any true form,’ said the bartender. ‘But that sounds like our spirit up at the falls. Turns to mist whenever you try to touch it.’ The hunter asked where. The bartender’s tongue lost its eagerness.

Across the street a kid, all long limbs and filthy hair, was throwing rocks at other rocks. The hunter looked at him until he looked back. She tossed a gold coin, heavy and ridged, at him and the kid snatched it out of the air.

‘I’ll give you a stack of them if you show me the falls,’ said the hunter.

The kid peered at the coin, then peered at the hunter before scrambling out of town. The hunter followed. He led her along the river, up into the mountains. ‘My pa said the spirit’s been there since his pa was my size,’ said the kid.

‘That’s what shifters do,’ said the hunter. ‘Hang around, hear what the legends are. Then take the shape of those legends. The locals keep clear and everybody thinks the shifter’s been there forever.’ ‘What’s in the canister,’ he asked.

‘Flammable gas,’ she said. ‘Shifters turn to air, so we set the air on fire.’

Edited by Tyler McPherson The kid flinched. The hunter could hear the sound of the falls, the great rush of water impacting on water. Like rolling thunder stolen from the sky. The pool at the base of the falls was never still. The water vapour rose up and blurred the view into a haze of white. ‘Out there,’ said the kid, pointing into the pool.

The hunter dropped her coat and boots and rifle on the bank. There were shapes forming in the haze that could have been something; a familiar quarry preparing to fight or flee. Or it could have been nothing, just the natural flowing of the air. But she had a hunch the shifter was close. She started wading into the pool, opening the gas canister. Her free hand held a lighter. She told the kid to scram but didn’t look to see if he did. She waited, her breaths short, the water nearly at her shoulders, until the canister was empty. She flicked the lighter, hurled it upwards, and then she dropped beneath the surface of the pool. From underneath the water the hunter could see the flames burst and cascade outwards. She rose, knife in hand, for the final lunge at the shifter. But there was nothing solid in reach, no quarry to cut open. Just the kid crouched on the bank, fiddling with her rifle. She waded towards him. ‘I thought I told you to scram,’ she said.

When the kid spoke it was with a voice liquid and deep. A voice the hunter had heard before.

‘And I thought I told you to leave me alone.’ His eyes met hers. She saw the age in them and knew her mistake. So much for habits. The kid clicked the rifle into place. He rose, sighting easily along the barrel. The hunter tried to move faster but the water was thick against her legs. The kid fired.

Afterwards, he took the hunter’s form and went back into town. She made sure the bartender heard the job was done. Word would spread, and any who asked would think there was nothing to find. The hunter left town, the sky all shifting greys with no rain. She had a rifle over her shoulder and coat pockets filled with traps and tricks. There was a smile on her face.

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The Girl and the Owl A r t by E m m a Lu c a s

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Interview ing Anxi Anxiety Interviewing ety

Written by Laura Clark

Edited by Molly Farquharson

It pushed her watch back into her pocket. Like her, it had been waiting. It boiled behind her ribs, like water trapped in a kettle. It was Anxiety. Time tapped away on the clock behind them, but the blows of her heart muffled this noise. She witnessed Anxiety beat against her small chest, as if an animal was trapped underneath the skin and wanted freedom.

The crawling couch fabric clawed at her skirt that was snuggled around her thighs. Anxiety tingled her backside in response. It bowed her forward, trying to catch relief. Fumes of clinical sterility glided through the room with this movement. Anxiety tinkered with the buttons of her sky-blue blouse. She was cold despite the heat of panicked sweat huddled under the arms of her snug blazer. The room was naked of windows. The beige walls were sorely bare except for an obligatory hospital staff poster hanging perfectly straight in front of her. The poster acted as a rather convenient tool for Anxiety to repeat and repeat and repeat the pre-prepared answers.

There was a wide glass door to the left and a smaller secretive wooden door to the right. The offensively lustrous artificial lighting devoted no consolation. Nothing detracted from the girl’s purpose in the room. Dread-filled thoughts were too powerful for distraction or comfort anyway.

Closing her haunted grey eyes, Anxiety flitted years of hard study behind her eyelids. It reminded her of the adoringly proud mother who’d told friends and family, and friends of friends, of their jewel of a daughter, her exceptional grades, the wit and promise she held, how she’d soon be working in one of Melbourne’s top hospitals, no doubt. She couldn’t disappoint all of those people whom she knew and whom she didn’t. She inspected her sensible working shoes, cemented onto the glossy linoleum floor. What if she didn’t fill the shoes? They’d been sponsored and pushed along by so many. A dreadful shriek was thrown from somewhere behind the walls. It bit through the mute room and bounced around like a rubber ball. Anxiety caught it. An edgy quiver teased up the girl’s sides. It reached in and stole any surviving peace in that place of illness, and of death. Anxiety nudged her hands while she shakily pinned back a few chestnut hairs that had escaped the dolloped bun atop her head. Then, twiddling the fingers, it

fretted about the inevitable handshake. They’d practiced it at home, Anxiety and her, to attain the perfect balance of pressure and height.

The door on the right opened with a prolonged groan. Even though she’d waited for unknown minutes by then, a new shot of fear trimmed her like an arrow and Anxiety propelled her to her feet. A tall woman hurried toward the girl like a lion aiming for disabled prey. But then the woman stopped and inspected the girl through wide, mellow eyes. The woman wore a skin of someone who’d worked too many hours in such a place as this one. The girl placed the woman’s age around fifty by her grey and wispy hair holding a few surviving butterscotch strands. Anxiety thought, overall, she was an official-looking woman.

A feeling of grandmotherly repose emanated from the woman. Or perhaps it was the intense fragrance of aged perfume, which wiped out the alcohol-based cleaning scent that had pervaded the room while she waited. The woman connected the edges of her blazer, the colour of midnight, the colour of their uniform, together with one hand. A plastic clipboard was nestled under her arm. Anxiety knew the clipboard was to take a record of the girl’s fate. The woman’s other hand offered out to the girl. The handshake. Addressing the girl by her first name, without giving her a chance to dry excess moisture Anxiety had brought to her hand onto her skirt, the woman introduced herself. Like a leaf in a breeze, the practiced handshake floated out of the girl’s awareness.

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‘We’ll get straight into it,’ the woman announced with an effortful smile pushing at her gaunt cheeks.

As they sat, the girl merged herself again into the engulfing couch. Anxiety fixed its posture to be as straight as the woman’s pen.

The woman wrapped one elongated leg, dressed in dark stockings, over the other. The clipboard rested casually on a knee. ‘What makes you the perfect person for this position?’ her voice was attentive, but at the same time, remote.

Nobody else existed except the three of them. The girl swallowed Anxiety for a moment, replying with a generic answer that was almost personal, but more tailored to what these interviewers were after.

An appeased nod from the woman. Her pen scratched on the clipboard. ‘Let’s get a little deeper,’ she suggested, leading on to the next question.

The girl had prepared, with both the hindrance and the impetus of companionable Anxiety, for these specific clinical questions. But Anxiety briefly touched the well thought out

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response the girl began to offer and it transformed into a rambling snowball of words that became larger and larger the more she added, and the snowball spilled out like an avalanche, and she watched the woman trying to note it all down, but Anxiety wouldn’t stop, and the pen scribbled away like a spider running from a child’s poking fingers. The woman broke a knowing grin and lifted her face to the girl’s. ‘Well, that means you’ve already answered the next two questions. So I’ll move on.’

The girl exhaled a puff of unease. She forced her focus away from the clipboard, onto the woman. But Anxiety didn’t want to engage in excess eye contact, so with nothing else to point her pupils to, it anchored them on her hands. They felt as heavy and awkward as bricks. ‘Tell me about a time where you successfully worked with a group of colleagues?’

Anxiety messily shuffled through the girl’s thoughts and helped identify that this question was related to teamwork. Classic. She relayed a memorised example. The woman’s attention remained silently secure on the girl.

Thus prompted the sizable mass to ripen in the girl’s throat. Anxiety’s dry lips authorised a stressed endeavour at adding a joke to fill the blankness. Then the girl was left to settle in a moment of uncertainty. The woman praised the girl by expelling a chuckle.

Enkindled with new courage, the girl unfastened Anxiety’s heavy hands from her shoulders.

The final question was the longest and Anxiety reattached itself, feeling hurried to please, and started to prepare a response too early. The end of the woman’s question faded, unheard, like a ship on the horizon, into a void as blank as the walls. The room was squeezed of all oxygen. Anxious lungs revolted. A swooning sensation whizzed up the girl’s neck, leaving the weight of expectations pooled in her feet. The pink from her cheeks followed in the same downward direction. And that was it. Black.

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It’s Cartoon Time! Lucy Rollason

Lucy is an up-and-coming cartoonist with a passion for comical artistry. Lucy loves music, having fun with mates, and making a difference through art: ‘It is great to make people laugh, it is great when people light up and enjoy themselves, and I share that joy too’.

To find out more, please visit: www.itscartoontime.com 27 - WORDLY Magazine

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Be part of the experience join DUSA DUSA is more than a membership, it is a community with services for all students. Become a DUSA member in 2017.

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Written by Bel Ellison

Edited by Ari Moore

Gloria, I think that you have lost yourself. Maybe it was shortly before you left for Berlin, after you ran away from everyone and everything that wore you down. You wrote to tell me that you would be gone for three months, yet as of tomorrow it has now been six. I can see you in my mind’s eye, perched high on the remains of the Berlin Wall, looking down at the ants of mankind. You see sheep in wolves’ clothing and pigs wearing lions’ manes. Berlin may be frightening but you’re above it, seeking out which building contains the city’s pulse. I write to you from the concrete prison that Melbourne has become. I wonder whether you can see the horrors that our dear mothers had to flee from, or perhaps you see their romanticised homeland that Australia could never be. My dear Gloria, was the revolution we fought for all for nothing? Even if it was just between us and our fears, did we really achieve anything? When we were younger we never always knew what we were fighting for, only that we were fighting. The world responded to terror attacks by demanding that we all homogenise. Sacrificing our freedom was the only way to stay safe. The new McCarthyism, we called it. They created their hypocritical cult, they told us to sanitise ourselves with their tainted water and said it was good for us. We called those doctrines the Gospels of Judas. We would forever be known as traitors, until we grew old; but we would still have had our freedom. But they have beaten me too many times over the years, Gloria, they took away my brothers and burnt my books. They stole your vinyl records and replaced them with state certified ones. I started acting like them out of irony, then with sincerity. I

do not understand how I can laugh all the time, yet I would not mind if I died.

I think that I have lost myself, Gloria, somewhere between the expectations of the old world and the witch hunts of my peers. I sit on the shower floor at night aching for tears that do not come. Who am I, Gloria? I once wore my leather jacket with pride, now it’s hidden in a cardboard box in my closet. I see too much of my mother in myself, her foolishness and her compliance to the regime. Yet when I push her away I become more like my father, his brain mixed with neuroticism and bent on conspiracy theories. We never had any agency, did we? I know I say it over and over again, but I have no purpose. I have no meaning. Even the ants have purpose as they scurry over their next victim. My family tells me to keep my mouth shut and accept that this is the world I live in now. I remember that you were always so frantically busy, Gloria, like a wind-up ballerina on overdrive. I never understood why you drove yourself into the ground from work until the new age began. The busier you are, the less time you have to reflect on the world and how fucked up it is. We have become the hopeless and heavy.

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I never thought that I would miss my naivety. We were once dumb, Gloria, but we were happier. If the world ended tomorrow in the blaze of meteor, what would you think about as it all ends? I would think about the song you sang at your first recital. I remember fearing you would think I was lying when I told you it was the most beautiful piece I had heard. I never forgot your kiss on New Year’s Eve that same year; even if Alzheimer’s calcifies my brain one day, I will not forget the joy and hope of that moment. Was anything else really worth it in the end, Gloria? The protests, the petitions, the boiled-over debates, the fist fights at the picket line, the law reforms and the silence that followed. Or was it when we had coffee together, finding a sanctuary in a tiny inner-city café? I should have known our time together was ethereal. The city’s pulse reverberated off the walls, we leaned on each other before pulling apart. I do not know if I believe in the good anymore, Gloria. Every time I show kindness, I see the beasts crawling out from the gutters. When my friends hug me, I can feel them smelling me to sense how tasty my bones will be. I have accepted that no one really truly likes me for who I am, but for what they can get out of me. A cheap thrill, a cheaper fuck, a well-timed joke and a well-placed punching bag. But you liked me no matter how useless I felt, Gloria, and I loved you in return for it. Now we lie in opposite corners of the world becoming victims of modern day slavery. I no longer write what my soul speaks, I write what I know

will protect me from being taken in the night. You stopped singing your own songs and chose to hire ghost writers. This world has become so wretched, there is no such thing as a safe place anymore. All our thought progress as a species gone overnight, because of callous fools. Gloria, we were going to change the world. You with your music, and me with my words. But this world was never ours to begin with, and really, we were all just terrified of the inevitable. There have been too many forgotten nights where I sat on the train and stared at my reflection in the window. A stranger always gazed back at me and I was somewhere hidden beneath their clothes. We live in the age of the death of the self and I have become its latest victim. I miss you Gloria, and I am sorry. I do not know how much longer I can wait for you to return. I will search for your song in the next world if this night is the death of me. I will light every building in this damn city on fire if it means I will uncover its true pulse once more. I promise you, I will never be a victim again. With all my love, Grace

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paralysis Written by Anastasia Fountain

Edited by Justine Stella

Dark, deft, and powerful. That’s how I always remember it.

Long after the sun sinks into the sea and the moon has risen to take its place, something edges from the shadows with a presence so strong I am immediately rendered useless. The night feels endless; my mind races but my body is still. Invisible, icy fingers slide themselves around my neck with the weight of cold stone. I hold still just like last time, and the time before that. 1…2…3…4…

I begin counting, the only thing I can think to do to keep from going insane. The inability to move my sleeping body is torturous, and I am reduced to nothing but fear and fright. It’s not real, it’s not real.

Sometimes it is just a fragile, timid creature too small and broken to inflict much fear upon me. Often it will sit silently in the corner staring through fearful, broken eyes set in a ghostly face. On a bad night like tonight, however, I am greeted by a twist and tangle of all my worst nightmares combined: a battle has begun and the odds are never in my favour. I muster the little strength I have left as the silence presses down from all sides. Scaly fingers hover lightly over my throat as a strange sensation begins to creep its way up my spine and through my chest as if all life is being drawn out of me. I keep my eyes shut tight—the only defence in my immobile state.

Eventually I sense the creature’s hands retreat and movement returns to my body. Wriggling my toes in confirmation, I count down from ten before I open my eyes, welcoming the emptiness of the room. The creature is gone.

For now.

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T o t h e Sky

Pho to g ra ph by A n as t as i a Fo untain

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Thirteen Hour Difference Written by Ari Moore

Edited by Katelin Farnsworth

A street poet with a hand-painted red heart and a ‘Hi!’ on her sign looks up into my face with a broad open smile. ‘Tell me a little about what that’s like,’ she says.

Her hands rest on her thighs and I’m nervous, as though the ten-dollar note in my hand is supposed to be exchanged for an immediate psychic understanding, and not an explanation. Faltering, I glance around the street. Neon washes the bitumen tram stops and tiled pavement between the feet of the 8 pm stragglers. ‘It—I miss him a lot. He’s far away and he won’t be coming back for a while, and I can’t afford to go and see him, and it’s morning there ...’

The poet listened with an expectant smile, hands still firmly away from the typewriter keys. Waiting for the spark in my words to form hers. ‘We met in India. He’s in Canada. And I’m here, so ...’

Here. Where things are merely ticking over. I’m counting down the days in this empty city, dutifully tying up the loose ends before I, myself, get on a plane and leave. But not yet. There will be more days when I have no reason to speak, and delivery dinners are ordered online at midnight. Constantly attached to screens, either working or zoning out with forgettable shows. Messaging, video calls, reassuring my family on the other side of the country. I’m okay. I’m almost finished. I’ll be home soon. How could the street poet understand? Finally—she indicates a concrete step for me to sit on. ‘Do you mind waiting?’

The typing is violent, hands jagged as a single finger jabs each clacking key. I sit, cash still curled in my palm. I’m not sure if it’s romantic, asking a street poet to compose something to send your distant boyfriend, or lazy. ***

I have not been able to write about feelings; they slither just outside my reach. I haven’t been able to do much since he left two months earlier; I cried sloppily in a bathroom stall at Melbourne Airport until my eyes stung from the dry, conditioned air. When you watch a body as familiar as your own disappear behind the gate, there are two possibilities: either something to be missed, or mourned. The fear that the cracks caused by distance would shatter us eventually ran deep. ***

The poet is engrossed; she has forgotten me entirely, spreading words on thick card in a voice I hope I can vaguely represent as my own. She signs the bottom with a fat curling sharpie, and I suddenly feel apprehensive about taking her work: a spontaneous commission, the only copy in existence. It’s a good poem; no, it’s a great poem. I feel like a thief, buying soul for ten bucks. ***

Later, my boyfriend chirps through the earphones. ‘Read it to me?’

‘I’ll mail it to you,’ I say, ‘But the first line is, “the oceans between us”, and the last, “for reunion”.’

This could be the entire poem. It is my present. A constant awareness of empty space, of silence, of night on the other side of the planet, where a tiny familiar dot is moving and breathing, and I see it from above as though from heaven. It is so far away. Sometimes his face is close on the screen, and I can see his hair growing longer each week, his eyes puffy in the morning and bright in the day. I am watching, the same as I watch Netflix, a flat, pixelated being show me their universe, but they will not fill a space directly in front of me, warm and smooth, crushing me with boa constrictor arms and wet with tears. Not for many more months.

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