Handcuffed in the police car, I wished the lamp hadn't been magical. "That, sir, is a genuine antique," the stallholder had asserted when I'd stopped and inspected it at the secondhand market. The oil lamp looked like a prop from Disney's Aladin. And I thought it would polish up and earn me a tidy profit.
When I launched Tall And True in August 2017, I realised a dream to provide an online forum for writers, including myself, to share and showcase our writing. In 2020, I updated the design, labelling it as a "new chapter" for the website. And two years on, I've given Tall And True a fresh look and focus.
Inspired by the lists and favourites posted on the ABC Book Club Facebook group, I checked my bookshelf, Kindle and Audible library for the titles I've read and listened to in 2022. The results were interesting: I read six paper-based books and seven ebooks last year and listened to thirty-one audiobooks.
Eighty is the new fifty, or so I'm told. But my back wasn't this dodgy when I was fifty, and my knees lasted longer than a circuit of the park with the dog before seizing up. And I wasn't caught short so often that I needed to memorise the location of the nearest public toilet for emergency pit stops!
"Are we there yet?" Milly whines from the back seat. "I'm bored," adds Tyler. "Oh, for goodness sake!" I snap, eyeballing the pair in the rear vision mirror. "It's only been two hours." Kids nowadays! The drive has been smooth and fast compared to the narrow, windy roads of my childhood family holidays.
Kristel Thornell's novel, The Sirens Sing (HarperCollins 2022), is divided into two parts. The first part is set in the NSW Blue Mountains in the mid-1990s and features a lovestruck teenager. And the second part relocates the reader to Sydney's Inner West in the mid-1970s and is his mother's love story.
I stare at the blank screen. The words aren't flowing onto the keyboard. Should I enter a working title? Or perhaps outline my plot and characters? Writer's block. Help! I tweet the writing community. "Take a break," is the first response. "We've all been there," reassures a published writer.
The writer John Banville observed, "Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don't think we remember the past, we imagine it." I have vivid memories of my early childhood (I believe they're memories, not imagination), which is why the #5YearOldSelfie challenge on social media caught my eye.
I've kept daily diaries and travel journals since my backpacking mid-twenties. When the smoke from the New Year fireworks cleared on the TV this year, I put away my 2018 diary and opened a new one for 2019, my 33rd year of diaries. It got me wondering where and how I'd spent the New Year since 1987.
Dahab sits on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, 80 km northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh on the bottom tip, 148 km south of Israel and Jordan, and across the Gulf of Aqaba from Saudi Arabia whose desert hills are visible from the beachfront on sunrise and sunset.
Over the summer holidays, I caught an ABC Science Show podcast, The Year in Tech. Science reporter, Ariel Bogle, discussed with her editor, Jonathan Webb, tech stories which had caught her eye in 2017. She opened with an audio clip from the Ex Machina movie that instantly spiked my interest.