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.
At primary school in Perth, Western Australia, in the 1970s, I had a teacher who was also a lay preacher on the weekends. Before schoolwork, he started the day at our (supposedly) secular state school with the Lord's Prayer and gospel readings. And his favourite scripture topic was Signs of the Second Coming.
The Australian Writers' Centre ran a 29 Word Story Challenge in August 2019. The rules were: The story must contain exactly 29 words, begin and end with the same word, and include the names of at least two countries. With a lucky hyphenation, my repurposed We Need to Talk was spot on 29 words.
The golden sand squeaks in protest as Megan presses her body more firmly into the beach towel. A gentle breeze carries a salty scent and chills the sweat glistening on her sun-toasted skin, as gulls crawk and waves break in a relaxing rhythm. Megan licks her lips and sighs. And then a phone rings.
A faded photo of my dad from the 1970s inspired this short piece of microfiction. He had a faraway look in his eyes and a Mona Lisa smile on his much younger face. As art lovers have done for centuries with Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa, I wondered what my dad was thinking in the photo?
To celebrate the introduction of 280-character Tweets by Twitter, Meanjin Quarterly ran a microfiction competition. The rules were simple: tweet a 280-character story and include the hashtag #meanjin280! The top ten stories to be published on the Meanjin Blog, and the authors paid $1 a word.
It's a warm, sunny day and I'm strolling along Brighton Promenade during my lunch break. Seagulls are circling and squawking, and sunlight shimmers on the blue-green English Channel. I look away from the bright horizon, and see her walking towards me. Twenty metres and twenty years separate us.
I had borne guilt and despair about the fate of our over-populated and polluted planet for many years. Then in a waking moment, I saw how I, a lowly middle-aged nobody, could save the Earth, her people and all her precious life.
It's the grand final, and the siren is due any moment. My team kick the ball, and it tumbles towards our goals. Our supporters cheer and roar, willing the ball to be straight and true, though some, like me, hold our breaths. A goal will win the game for our team. And we will be the champions.