Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is it the Flowers or Little Bells that are Chiming?

The sound comes up over the roof and travels towards a rear window. In the early morning the noise peals and rips the air like unexpected thunder. Already at four am, the call is heard in the street; the only street that goes from pastured lakes and kangaroos to paths that lead to untended bush land. One wakes to this lively throaty blast, as the cock crows, as a cat mewls, as anything else that is singularly painful. Interval comes. The household returns to sleep thinking about fractured rest as change, just as dawn lightens the dark. Within the hour, a new burst heralds sleeping men, drowsy women. The whole earth summons the shock, and signals the eyelids to prise open, the head heavy with anger that this noise is no different to loud Sunday bells mingled with the irritant clinking of glasses. The body shifts, turns over on a warm spot. What is left of the night opens, shines as a white moon, as white clouds enter the sky. The open air, the grass and the lakes in the distance within and around every bend are finally dawning. In the middle of the street, on the right-hand side, the second house is next to the last and before that a smaller cottage sits amongst a set of three. The awakened family lean their heads to the window, listening. Slippered feet stand beneath a cool basin, the body dresses, walks towards the noisy property where the trees are extremely dry and the grounds are bare. One hopes, like all those familiar companions that talk and agree and are accustomed to the quarrels of people, that civil communication will solve the problem of this constant early morning rooster call. As the din augments into brooding sounds, and cars pass along the main upper road, and no-one knows if it is the flowers or the little bells that are chiming, yet one can feel the crush of thorns underfoot, hear bursts of laughter. In the blazing sun, when the whole landscape is finally awake, and where the trees line a high wall, the neighbour walks with a bird under his arm. And against all the trembling of disagreement, lack of sleep, the differences of one's background, ethnic or religious proclivities, marked opinion or no, a motion is carried, an agreement is reached to keep that squawking, bawking, hen penned.

5th draft
Submitted to Overland Journal: Ben Walter, Editor
Ben writes:
For this special online fiction issue of Overland, I am calling for anti-/dis-/un-Australian stories.
I think, perhaps contentiously, that many Australian short stories suffer from a lack of ambition. They tend to be characterised by a flat, minimalistic realism. The events take place over four, maybe six hours. The relationships between people are not so good – and then they are very meaningful. And people dance on the beach in the middle of the night.
I will be looking to publish stories that embrace a distinctive style or voice, that are not terrified of adornment or a little pizzazz. Wordplay. Humour. Experimental forms, non-linear structures, fragmented sentences, abstractions. Anything, just as long as it doesn’t sound like the winner of a moderately prestigious competition.
I’d be so grateful if you could send stories like this to me.


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Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

of Arc & Shadow

of Arc & Shadow
Published by Sunline Press, WA

The Joyous Lake

Par écrit

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Helen Hagemann, MBA(Wrtg) ECowan. Her first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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