At the end of March 2023, Sumitra from the Twitter #WritingCommunity announced a #30Words30Days challenge. During April, Sumitra and Writing Dani would tweet daily prompt words at 8 am and invite writers to share a 30-word story inspired by the prompt. "No prizes, just for the joy of writing together!"
As a regular swimmer, I set birthday challenges to match my age in laps from 55 in 2017 to 57 in 2019. (Let's skip 2020!) Then, after tearing both shoulders, I read 59 chapters in 2021 and 60 in 2022. But I wanted to do something different when I turned 61 on 30 March this year. So I wrote a 61-word story.
In July 2022, I tweeted a photo of my damp black lab, Jet, after we got caught in the rain on our bedtime walk. And a few days later, publisher Anne van Gessel replied to my tweet with a proposition: I'm putting together a coffee table book featuring dog pics and short stories. Jet would be a sweet addition.
An ASTOUNDING, THRILLING and AMAZING episode of ABC Radio National's The Book Show from 2019 popped up in my Facebook timeline memories in January (2023), with host Claire Nichols in conversation with Dr Alan Levinovitz from James Madison University (Virginia) about the history of book blurbs.
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.
I saw my first West End play as a newly arrived backpacker in London in 1987 and was immediately hooked on live theatre. Living in Brighton and Windsor from 1987 to 1995, I saw countless professional and amateur productions. But I didn't dream in 1987 that one day I'd be up on stage, too, taking a bow.
In May 2022, a post by Penguin Books Australia popped up in my Facebook timeline memories from 2017, challenging readers to finish this sentence: "I like reading because ..." A keen reader since childhood, I'd responded, "Because it opens my eyes and mind to other places and possibilities."
In September 2022, I published my second collection of Furious Fiction short stories, Twelve More Furious Months. As with my first collection, the stories are presented chronologically, from The Lucky Country (April 2021) to Stuck in Time (March 2022). And include writer insights and podcast episode links.
Tall And True Short Reads is a storytelling podcast featuring short stories, blog posts and other writing written and narrated by Robert Fairhead from the Tall And True writers' website. Launched in September 2020, Season Three starts in September 2022 with a "story that begins at the end", Once Upon A Time.
My first experience of Dry July was in 2012. A trainer at my gym mentioned he was going dry for the month to raise funds for a cancer charity. Both sounded worthy causes, so I donated $20 to his fundraiser. Little did I realise it was the beginning of a long-term relationship with Dry July.
Instead of a to-be-read pile, I have a bookcase of books beckoning me. I'm currently whittling down the "pile" by reading three books in three different formats — two of these won't help clear my bookcase. And all are nonfiction, which is unusual because I enjoy reading (and writing!) fiction.
The candid photo of my son and wife in Sydney's Centennial Park was taken by a friend in March 2005. I had met Marie, and her husband, Drew, a retired couple, one weekend through a mutual park and dog-lover friend. My son was two-and-a-half and had long hair. And Marie dubbed him Christopher Robin.
In 2018, I shared a blog post about My Week in Politics, handing out how-to-vote cards for Dr Kerryn Phelps, an independent candidate for Wentworth. Kerryn won that by-election but lost the seat in the 2019 Federal election. Three years later, I spent six weeks in teal helping another independent, Allegra Spender.
My parents separated in 1967 when I was five, and my younger brother and I went to live with our grandparents. Nan looked old to my young eyes, and leathery Pop ancient. But born in 1907, Nan was only sixty when we moved in, a cause for reflection when I reached my milestone sixty in March 2022.
On a recent ABC Nightlife episode, host Indira Naidoo asked, Do you judge a book by its cover? I have blogged several times about my #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage on Instagram. But the focus has always been on first sentences. And this episode had me wondering, Could I pick my favourite book covers?
Sorting through storage boxes recently, I found an old notebook belonging to my son. It wasn't a school book, but something in which he'd jotted and doodled as a twelve-year-old in 2014. And among its random pages was a short story he'd written about a father who doesn't have "great ideas".