Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What the Pig Saw

by mattellen

Über pig.

The pig sat beside the farmer. Its beady eyes seemed to survey its surroundings.

“That’s a lean pig you’ve got there, Len,” the barman said to the farmer.

“Aye. Not sure how it got to my farm. I looked out two days ago and there it was, on my doorstep.” Len sipped at his pint. “Don’t suppose anyone’s asked about a missing pig, have they?” Continue reading

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Paradox of Sustenance

by Kit Fox

Black Cats and Witches Brooms

Nick tossed the bag into the dumpster and leaned back against the brick wall to light his cigarette. His shift was almost over, second of four for the weekend, and as he inhaled he silently cursed Jason for taking off with some tramp two months ago.  It shouldn’t be difficult to find a dishwasher, but corporate obviously felt that they could make do with a line cook doing double duty.

He was staring at the moon and pondering his options when he heard a rustling from the far side of the dumpster. He stomped around the corner of the metal bin and startled a young woman with her arm halfway in a bag of trash.

“Hey, shove off,” he snapped at her. “No diving!” Continue reading

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is What it Feels Like

by Leanne Yong

Tartan surfacing on athletics track

This is what it’s like to be ‘strong’ and ‘confident’ and ‘capable’.

I am in a runaway car hurtling down a road. The accelerator is stuck to the floor, and the brake is loose beneath my desperately pounding foot. My hands are tight around the steering wheel. It presses against my sweaty palms as I jerk it one way, then the other, praying my grip doesn’t slip and I careen into a pole, or a barrier, or heaven forbid, another car.

All I want to do is close my eyes and scream. I wish I could. But I have passengers in my car. They hold on tight, grit their teeth, and tell me what an amazing driver I am. They how glad they are that I’m behind the wheel. All I can think of is the impending crash, the high-pitched sound of tearing metal, the car and the passengers in a jumbled, screaming cacophony. Continue reading

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cycle

by Neil Fein

Hardcover book gutter and pages

How can I improve my writing? It’s a common question. There are a few things you can do:


Reading and writing is a cultural conversation. People write books to say something. Other people read those books and a few of those write books in return.

As has been pointed out many times, you should read. You want to write books and stories and contribute to the cultural conversation? That’s great! Read a variety of books in different genres, from different eras. Pay attention to what you’ve read, internalize it. This is exactly how native speakers learn the language. Continue reading

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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

by donnaleemiele

Project 50 - Day #1 (Moleskine)

Meg Wolitzer is revealing herself to be a terrifically nimble, as well as prolific author. Since 2011 she’s published The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, an acclaimed middle-grade novel, and The Uncoupling and The Interestings, both for adults, following a career that’s spanned over thirty years so far. Forthcoming in September 2014 is Belzhar, Wolitzer’s foray into the young adult world, a novel that explores the boundaries of physical and emotional reality.

Why a young adult novel following the success of The Interestings? That was my one question to the author as I stepped up to have my advance copy of Belzhar signed at Book Expo this summer. “I was inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska,” she said, not offering further explanation, obviously knowing that I would now tear into Belzhar the moment I got home and not stop reading until I discovered what, exactly, she meant. I was not disappointed to find that Belzhar delves into the difficult territory of teenaged mental illness and grief. The novel is also fueled by the budding beauty of young humans finding themselves through relationships with others. Continue reading

Friday, July 11, 2014

Moving through Melbourne

by ednatru

Yarra river by night

Written by Edna Truong.

Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia is a wonderful place for food, shopping, entertainment, arts, culture and learning. Walk the streets as buskers blare their music and mix with the other background noises characteristic to cities. Ride on the horse wagons through the streets or catch a tram, bus or taxi. Discover odd shops in nooks and crannies, or on the side of a footpath, dingy yet spunky alleyways and countless pubs, cafés and restaurants to suit any taste. Don’t forget the many fashionable stores, markets, arcades, as well as landmarks such as street art and historical buildings; the mix of old and new infrastructures adds to the city’s quirkiness and appeal.

There is such a wide cross section of represented cultures, cuisines, communities and lifestyles, you could probably find almost anything here. Believe me, I’m a local. To be more accurate, I live about 20km out from the city centre, in the south eastern suburbs. It takes about half an hour by car, or an hour of train travel from my town. Despite this rather lengthy travel time, I regularly pop into the city for work and to help boost the economy–by blowing holes in my pocket! Not that it needs my help. I just love being in the city! Continue reading

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Boys and Girls

by Sara Goas

Notepad Art

If I ever have a second baby, I hope I’ll have the patience not to find out ahead of time whether it’s a boy or a girl. Team Green, as they call it these days.

You see, when my husband and I found out two years ago that we were expecting, we were only too happy to share with friends and family that we were having a boy. What followed was a barrage of blue teddy bears, football onesies, and statements like: “No tea parties in your future” and “Boys are awesome… but your house is going to be dirty.”

One older male relative said that he couldn’t wait to teach the new baby how to kick a soccer ball. I nodded politely and added that for my part, I couldn’t wait to read a book with my son. To which Older Male Relative smiled and sadly replied, “You’re having a boy. He might not like that.” Continue reading

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reaching Out in Melbourne

by ednatru

Melbourne, Australia :: Webb Bridge

Written by Edna Truong.

There are so many communities, groups and other individuals out there to support writers, and all you really need to do is reach out and know where to look. Writing can be a lonesome task, but it doesn’t have to be. Not all the time.

Melbourne, dubbed one of the Cities of Literature by UNESCO, is where I call home. Upholding its title, the city stages many national writer events, conventions, and competitions. It’s also home to many organisations, groups and associations, as well as writers from across a range of platforms. Continue reading

Friday, July 4, 2014

Flash Fiction week VII: “On Your Doorstep”

by Neil Fein

Tidy Junk Mail

Since we have some pieces left over from the last week of flash fiction, we’ve created a theme week to use those pieces. And so we present:

Flash Fiction week VII

  • Topic: On Your Doorstep
  • When: 21–25 July
  • Word length: 500 words

As usual, contact the editor to sign up, or leave a comment here and we’ll get back to you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What’s With All the “Giver” Hate?

by Sara Goas


On my first day of school last year, the students in one of my all-boys classes asked if we would be reading The Giver.

Published in 1993, The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of my all-time favorite books as a teenager. I read it in eighth grade, and then again in high school, and then again whenever I had some downtime during my college years. I’d been delighted to learn, upon taking my first middle school job, that The Giver was part of the curriculum for my seventh grade students.

So when the boys started asking about the book, I mistook their curiosity for literary enthusiasm and broke from my first-day script to tell them yes.

They erupted in groans. “Do we have to read it? The kids who read it last year said it was really bad.” Continue reading


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