Screened

I’ve been incredibly absent lately, but I’m sure you all understand. Life grabs you by the hand and you ain’t got much choice but to follow where it leads. And it’s lead to some pretty amazing things, but it’s left me with very little time to update this blog. I guess there are two major updates in my life: I’m now dating an incredible girl, and I’m going to China for two weeks in December (and my uni is paying for most of it) to work with Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou in an English-language creative writing programme over there. Has anyone else got any exciting news? Any life updates in general (exciting or not)?

I have been doing a little bit of writing as part of my course, so I’ll leave you with one of my ‘microfictions’ (which can also be found on deviantART). I’d love to hear what you have to think!

Screened

I park parallel to the gutter, turn the car off, and sit a moment. The engine ticks slowly cool and I watch a couple of cars pass by me and find spaces further down the street. My car is comfortable and quiet and I have forty-five minutes to kill before I should head to class. I pull the lever on the side of my seat so I can lounge back as though I am in Dad’s armchair at home.

It is overcast and the sun has only been out for maybe two hours. Everything looks greyer.

From my new vantage point, I can see a construction site about thirty metres in front of me. I wonder what they’re building—it looks very square, and as though it will be tall. Maybe a block of flats, but who am I to know? Flats would make sense. It’s uni students living here, mainly. House sharing and renting from folks who make money off the fact that people will pay more to be able to wake up later and get home earlier. Flats will mean more people in the same amount of space, which equals more money. Flats would make sense.

Movement on the second floor catches my eye. A portly man is waving his arms about. He looks like Dad. He pauses, takes off his hardhat and wipes his brow. He looks angry. Scaffolding stretches up past him, blocking the view of whatever is around him. He is framed, as though in a television screen. He is too far away for me to hear anything. The grey light makes me feel as though I am looking at something almost black and white. Mildly bemused, I feel like Dad in his armchair watching one of his old films. All I need is a beer slick with condensation.

The man has replaced his hardhat and is now gesticulating at someone I can’t see. I could probably crane my neck to see around the scaffolding, but I like it like this. More mysterious. The man takes off his hardhat again so he can rub his sleeve against his forehead, but does not replace it. This worries me slightly, but I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. He looks like he’s in charge. Maybe he’s going off at one of his workers. Probably an apprentice.

Or a son.

Maybe the other workers are pretending not to notice, hoping the worker can leave with his humility at least partially intact. Though, if it’s the angry man’s son, there’s no chance of that. He can’t escape the man’s disapproval at home if this is how he’s treated at work.

He should go to uni or TAFE, move into a different field of expertise, one his father knows little to nothing about, one he can talk about at family dos without fear of being interrupted by a man who thinks he knows everything, who can’t bear being smaller than anyone else, a man who thinks it’s his God-given right to belittle everyone else, to ignore everyone else, a man who is such an arrogant prick that he thinks his son wants to be like him, when in fact it’s the exact opposite…

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Time to go. Killing time at the coffee shop near my classroom is suddenly much more appealing.

Yet Another Reading ‘Slump’

So, I’ve only read one book this year, which is pretty atrocious considering it’s now April. Though I’m forty pages away from finishing three of my uni books, so hopefully I’ll get through those soon(ish).

BUT, to make up for the lack of reviews and general bloggy stuff, here’s a pantoum I attempted to write. Let me know what you think!

ANXIETY

You close your laptop, hungry for
discs of cabanossi and cheddar shavings,
and aching in the throes of indecision.
Yet here you are, shut up completely.

Discs of cabanossi and cheddar shavings
flow in abundance at parties like these
yet here you are, shut up, completely
lost in daydreams and nightmares, which

flow in abundance at parties like these—
well, you should know, except you don’t:
lost in daydreams and nightmares, which
more or less, for better or worse…

well, you should know. Except you don’t.
You close your laptop, hungry for
more or less, for better or worse
and aching in the throes of indecision.

Other than that, I’ve been pretty busy with uni and work (i.e. tutoring kids), but I’ve got a few musicals lined up over the next couple of weeks (Oklahoma!Chicago, and my absolute favourite musical of all time in its Sydney premiere: Next to Normal. So excited!) and plays in the coming months (not least of which is Alan Bennet’s The History Boys.) So much to see, so much to read, so much to DO!

How are you all doing?

Christmas Wishes

With two and a half hours of Christmas left, I thought I’d better jump in and say, “Merry Christmas!” But, I mean, it’s probably in the early hours of Christmas morning everywhere else. Gosh, you guys are slow.

So, I got mainly books, but also a beard trimmer and some clothes. I’m a happy man. Hope your Christmas finds you well, and leaves you even better.

Saying Farewell to the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations (for now…)

On my eighteenth birthday (July 2012, if you were wondering), one of my very good friends gave me the perfect gift. It was a doorway into another world, a portal into a dimension of “oh, my feelz” and “aw hell no” and “why doesn’t everyone I love watch this?” It was, if you haven’t guessed already, the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It’s been over a year, and I’ve finally finished the seven seasons of BtVS, and the five season spin-off series Angel (is it possible for a spin-off series to be better than the original?) … and man, am I sad it’s over. There were high points and low points amidst the epic journey I took with Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Anya, Tara, Dawn, Cordelia, Angel, Spike, Wesley, Fred, Gunn, Lorne and (even) Andrew (plus a helluva lot more). I came to love all of these characters — each so different, yet each perfectly written, fully realised and completely real. There are characters who merely formed the milieu of the story that I would’ve named, but the list would go on for a while (longer than it already is, I mean). These people (for that’s what they are to me; more than characters) have taken me on an adventure beyond my imaginings, and have shown me things I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

But, more importantly, they made me feel.

And the writing! Oh man, the writing is simply superb. With Joss Whedon as creator (and the writer of most of the best episodes), know that you can’t go wrong. The story-lines are gripping, emotive and make you wish that you had the genius required to come up with something so fantastical, so amazing, so right. (I’ll have you know I cried more than once during the watching of all 254 episodes that make up the Buffyverse.)

I am devastated that my time with these wonderful people in this wonderful (or not so wonderful, depending on how you view it) world is up, but I’m also grateful that I was a part of it (belatedly, I’ll admit, but hey, I can’t help when I was born). Things to look forward to now: the comic books that continue the series (canon, of course), more Joss Whedon paraphernalia (particularly Firefly, I’m told), and the hope and inspiration that I, too, may create something half as brilliant as this. If you haven’t watched this yet: why are you still reading this? Go get yourself some Buffy!

To everyone (cast, crew, creators): thank you, sincerely.

Image

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

A short, experimental piece. Let me know what you think! Can also be found here.

A trembling pair of hands, a couple of fifties, a few twenties, and a fiver. Exchanged for a packet of white powder. Angel Dust, they called it. The shaking stopped in anticipation of the next fix, and the money was shoved into a filthy pocket alongside a few soggy cigarettes, a condom wrapper and a mobile phone.

Days later, the fiver was still in there. In the grimy pocket. In the crumpled, low-riding jeans. In his bedroom, on the floor. In his musty apartment. In the dark end of Sydney, where everything seemed constantly damp and mouldy. That’s where the fiver was, days later.

Until the jeans were lifted off the floor, shaken out and put back on.

A fumbling hand deep in a pocket until the fiver is clenched between two fingers and drawn out — “Poor bastard” — and dropped into a quivering paper cup. Exchanged for a grateful grunt.

A trembling pair of hands, a collection of tens, and the fiver. Exchanged for a packet of white powder. Angel Dust, they called it…

White Flag; a story

Hi friends and followers!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for far too long, but you know how life gets. I’ve just had uni assignments and readings, and every time I sit down to relax, I remember I’ve got to be doing something else … I’m looking forward to holidays, let me tell you!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any spare time, could they read over a short story I’ve written for an assignment? I would value as much feedback as possible. You can comment here, or on this link (if you have a deviantART profile) or wherever else I’ll be able to see it.

Here’s the description I wrote on the piece to give you a little more background:

A piece I wrote for an upcoming assignment. The criteria is to combine two forms (which I have done here with prose and script), but it’s slightly too long (about 100 words over the limit) and I need to cut it down. So if you see any unnecessarily wordy parts, please tell me. Or even if you think a scene is unnecessary. I thought I was doing pretty well, because after workshopping it in class I had to shorten the whole piece by 200 words AND the teacher wanted me to put in the whole letter sequence. So that was fun.

Please tell me what you think! Are there some parts that don’t work? Any historical inaccuracies (I’m afraid my knowledge of early-1940s England leaves much to be desired) or narrative plot holes?

NOTE: Although there are script segments, I do not intend for it to be performative; they are only there (aside from meeting the assignment’s criteria) to reflect the imaginings of the mother, and contrast them against her realities.

I would be so appreciative of any help you are able to give. Thank you in advance!