I’M OBSESSED WITH MERMAID SYMBOLISM.

I’ll do anything I can to incorporate the image of a mermaid into a piece of writing. So, here’s a piece of micro-fiction I wrote, doing just that:

I found you deep beneath the rising tides, buried in the folds of pebbly sand. Your eyes were closed, your arms were limber; you were still breathing air. How peculiar, I thought, a creature with these legs still alive, in a world such as mine. Starkly naked, I decided you needed some garments. I fashioned you an outfit, made from the finest seaweed and shells. No one was to know you were different, because I decided to keep you forever. He doesn’t have to be like me, I promised myself. Until the day that your lids struck wide and you placed them upon my scales. Erupted with disgust, you slid through the weeds and the water, deserting your selfish lover on the ocean floor.

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YEN SHORT STORY COMP.

Here’s the short story I submitted for this years Yen Magazine short story competition, the theme was ‘ripple’. Enjoy.

Bartholomew, what is the square root of 2,658? I know you know it.
He made his way out of the tangles of seaweed, forehead pressed up against the glass and blinked at me. His orange face looked indifferent. He didn’t know the answer to my maths homework; he never did. I could never understand the problems my teacher set for me, and if my fish couldn’t either, then I just didn’t know where to look next.

As I was contemplating life’s most difficult mathematical question, I heard thumping down the hallway. Black Nike Air Force 1’s were hitting the floor and making their way towards my bedroom.
“Tammy!” I heard my brother yell. I didn’t respond. He continued to make his way towards my room and suddenly appeared in the doorway, holding a knife, a fork and a spoon.

“What’s your favourite utensil?” he asked me.
Seriously, Dan, I don’t have time for this bullshit.
“I don’t know. A fork, I guess?”
“That’s a stupid answer.”
“Well, what’s your favourite utensil then?”
“I’m trying to figure that out”
Guess we’ve ruled fork out of the equation then.
Equations… I need to answer this bloody maths question.

I beckoned my brother to come in, just motioning with my hand that I wanted him to enter the room, with as minimal speaking as possible. He sat down on the edge of my bed, waiting for an explanation as to why he was in such small, pink confinements. He looked at me, and then back to the utensils again, clearly struggling with an internal battle. Which utensil was his favourite and then, why does she need me in here?

Not wanting to ask him for help, I stared back at Bartholomew in the hopes that he learnt the answer in the past five minutes. Dan made his way over to the side of my desk, crouching down and placing his nose inches from Bart’s. His gaze became strong and then curious. Lifting his right hand that held the dull butter knife, he placed it inside of the fish bowl and began to stir. I thought the motion would pick up pace, I thought maybe he was trying to create a whirlpool. I was waiting for this moment to occur, so that I had a reason to be angry. But the stirring stayed steady, until it suddenly stopped. Dan slowly raised the knife out of the bowl and I thought, “Cool, he’s done with that now”. Then the rounded edge of the blade slowly made its way back through the surface, creating a ripple that expanded from the knife to the brim of the bowl.

Dan kept doing this. He lifted the knife slowly in and out of the water. It was with this motion that he decided to pick up his pace.
“Dan,” I said, “Don’t.” He said nothing.
“I mean it. You’re going to give him heart attack.”
“Since when can fishes have heart attacks?” he scoffed at me.
“I don’t know? Since forever? I’m pretty sure they can. Just stop what you’re doing.”
I was thinking of yelling for Mum, but I didn’t want him to mock me. Besides, Mum would join the circle around the fish bowl, instructing Dan to do exactly what I said—“stop”—and he still wouldn’t. I could call for Dad on the other hand, but then we’d all be in trouble. If Dad yelled at all of us, I would end up in tears—too much of an emotional wreck to complete any math problem or further homework I had set for this evening. This was something I had to handle on my own.
I poked Dan in the arm that remained by his side. He turned his head in my direction; eyes burning into me, as his greasy, mousey hair flew the opposite way. He held my gaze for a moment longer and, with gritted teeth, I told him to stop one more time. He released the hold on my eyes and continued to lever the knife up and down.
Bartholomew was dodging the knife, burying himself behind blades of seaweed in hopes of avoiding potential disaster.
This excited Dan. He began inserting the knife into the bowl at an unreasonably fast pace. Water was pouring over the sides and, like Bartholomew, I began to panic.
“Stop it!” I screamed, “You’re going to kill him!”
Dan didn’t look at me this time, he just kept moving his hand up and down, the knife breaking through the water in the same direction every time, but always landing at a different spot on the bottom.
“Dan, I mean it!”
I reached for his hair and pulled it. I scratched at his arms and let out a shrill gasp simultaneously to the sound of a bursting balloon. The bowl that sat on my desk slowly turned into a dark shade of crimson. There was no more movement. Through the thick layers of colour that began to dye the clear substance, I saw an orange fin flutter through the seaweed, making its way down to the purple pebbles.
How the fuck am I going to solve my maths problem now.

THROUGH MOUNTAINS WITH LOVE.

A piece of micro-fiction I wrote, enjoy!

Vanquishing the land that mother earth had given him, the young boy threw shovels of dirt behind him. Surely she will understand that I am ruining her gift for the sake of my happiness, he thought. Towering far above his cranium was the peak of a mountain—too high to climb, he thought. Best go through it, he thought. The horse that stood behind him continuously interrupted his progress. Brown, tall and chivalrous, he reminded the young boy of the difficult task that lay ahead. “Sure,” the boy said to the horse, “it might not be easy, but I’ll see her on the other side, waiting for me, and she will have to love me.”

A BOUQUET OF WEEDS; part deux

Here’s a little section from my Esther Greenwood part of the collection;

June 28th, 1953

How do you even begin to talk about something like this? The way I’m feeling is completely indescribable. But it is certainly real. It is a consuming emptiness that no one can fill. No man, no girlfriend, no mother nor father can melt the cold. I’m allowed to control my emotions, everyone tells me that, but this is something that I don’t want to control because I think it could be my escape.

The words, the paper, the ink, it all comes together to create a big long story which I vomit my soul upon. I feel like someone is going to capture this diary when I’m gone and spread it into the world in a fit of furious laughter. Their scorn.

Besides that point, my mother is unbearable to me.
“Why won’t you smile Esther? Your smile is so pretty.”
Why don’t you leave me alone, Mother? Your absence is so thrilling.

She doesn’t understand the world or me. My first published story said it all, A Reasonable Life in a Mad World.

Not everyone is happy and some people like it that way. The world is a mesmerising place, yes of course, but we don’t all have to be mesmerising people.

I know that I am not. My writing is mediocre. I’d won that fashion magazine contest. Seventeen published my work and then Harper’s and even Mademoiselle. Congratulations Esther, here’s to the time of your life! But, I do not want to go. Don’t make me, don’t make me do this. Please.

July 3rd, 1953

New York City is a place where only certain amounts of light can shine so bright through the constant darkness. Central Park has become my solitude. My stay at the Park Central Hotel does not begin for another week and Central Park helps me distance the future from the present. I went for a walk through there this morning, right around near the boathouse. Probably the most beautiful place in all of New York City, in all of Central Park and I could only understand why every single woman wanted to get married there. I stopped only to gaze at an unusual person, always on their own, in the distance, wondering why, perhaps, they chose to come here of all places on this particular morning.

I stepped past a man who sat on the grass, legs crossed, quite unusual for a man of his age, 45 odd, I’d gathered, and the hem on his grey, pinstriped pants was hoisted far above his ankles. He sat on the grass eating an ice cream cone, his tongue swirling around the glossy blob, eyes closed, savouring the taste, like a small child. I looked past the top of his salt and pepper hair, peering at the ice-cream stand in the distance. I made a start for it.

I asked the man behind the stall for a small chocolate cone and then went and sat, similarly to the man, on the other side of the park. The blob glided across my tongue, offering me a part of itself so willingly every single time. I got up, left the park, walked back past the duck pond to my temporary home and crawled into bed. I wrote some poetry later, not really about anything in particular. My writing doesn’t seem to have an ongoing theme, which I suppose could be considered a good thing, an artistic thing. But, the writing really does make me feel better. It’s like writing in this journal, in a way. Using words as an attempt to penetrate my indecision into something coherent. Aside from that, I had some toast with a little bit of peanut butter and turned the radio on.

Once I get you up here, I’ll be holding you so near,
You may hear all the angels cheer ‘cause we’re together…
let’s fly, let’s fly away…

With the soothing voice and taunting lyrics of Sinatra, my frenemy, I crawled back into bed, closed my eyes, and allowed the darkness to overwhelm my conscious.

A BOUQUET OF WEEDS; part uno

When I was in year 12 (2012) I completed Extension 2 English for my HSC (Higher School Certificate). For this subject, you were required to undertake a a major project; generally something creative like a short film, short stories, performance poetry etc. or a literary analysis.

I did a collection of short stories, and instead of creating my own characters, I embodied three of my favourite and most complicated fictional characters. They all had things in common; their location, their time, and their overall consuming feelings of isolation. You had to choose an overriding theme and that was mine; isolation.

My three characters were;
Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Esther Greenwood, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Holly Gollightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

These stories were written in the form of the character’s diary entries, all complete with a letter. They were spinoffs from the original texts, using gathered information to create my own fictional scenarios involving these characters meeting one another, ultimately having an overall influence on each other’s lives.
I’m pretty fond of the stories I created, however I do think they need a lot of editing. They’re something I’ve always wanted to return to and with some serious dirty work, maybe even consider some form of publication (dream big). I just want to post some little snippets of these stories here on the odd occasion, just as a reminder that they exist.
Here’s a little something from Holden’s diary;

July 19, 1946

I’m not really sure why I’m writing all of this down. Or whether I even need to be. I’m not gonna do that whole “dear diary” phony crap, because I’m not that sort of guy, you know? I don’t really know what kind of guy I am, but I’m definitely not that guy. So, my brother, right? My brother, he is dead. Allie is dead as of yesterday. And I don’t know what to do. I feel like I should go and speak with Phoebe, but she can’t be handling this any better than me. My parents don’t want to speak to me any more than they usually do, which isn’t very often. I’m not gonna say that it all sounds crazy, because it is crazy, that is something I am sure of.

Last night I slammed my fist into the walls of the garage again and again. They bruised up, nice and purple. I did it for Allie, hoping he could hear the pain. He didn’t say nothing. Death is a real funny thing. Not in a ha-ha way, although I do feel like if I had a good laugh right now, this might all disappear. Anyways, it’s real funny. Strange it is. Allie was here a few days ago and now he is gone. He was sick as a dog, could barely speak, but his presence was enough for me to not completely resent my healthy existence. Now that you’re gone, Al, I hate myself. Why the crap am I still here? Your baseball mitt lies next to me, all covered in that bloody green ink and I am so unsure of what to do. Should I read those poems that you always adored and I ignored? Because it seems really hypocritical for me to try and enjoy these scrawlings now. I can’t become one of those people, Al. I know you know it too. Those people that make a hero out of the dead. You were great, you were real nice, I’m not lying to you, but I never did read those poems, not that you ever really asked me to in the first place. Maybe I’ll bring myself around to it though, give me something to do, like it did for you when no one was up to bat.

WHEN CUPID QUITS.

It was dark and it was draft, but rather exquisite in the way that it fit their needs so perfectly and unintentionally. A soft bass played in the background, high above their heads, with the lyrics loud and looming nearby. She pressed her rear on the edge of a high, wooden stool and used her feet to boost herself up properly; holding a tight grasp on the edge of the table, organising her body into position.

His face was distracted, pointed towards far corners of the room as if he had seen something possibly recognisable, but gone too quickly to trig his memory. As his mind raided itself, flicking back and forth, he slowly made his way over to her. Placing the wallet in his left hand on the table, and his right on her knee. His thumb slowly circled in one spot on her delicate skin and she silently thanked herself for remembering to moisturise.

His eyes slowly stopped flicking and he managed to focus his attention to her face. Bronzed, smooth and with a subtle gleam. Her eyes stayed clear, an image of sea glass in colour. Cheeks flushed, her tongue ran over her bottom lip, slowly spreading the small amount of lipstick that remained from hours earlier. He fought the urge to press his lips upon hers and taste the crimson red for himself. Instead, he lifted the hand from her leg to her face. His fingers cupping from her jaw to her temple with his thumb continuing to stroke her skin. She blinked; lasting a second longer than the times before, managing a jagged exhale as she did so, but slowly returning to a face of composure. Eyes locked, he licked his lips, wanting so badly to take the lunge, until the heat of her face stopped his heart cold and the immediate whim overwhelmed him completely; forcing him to drop his hand from her cheek. Her eyes fluttered to her fingertips in response, focusing intently on the chipping white nail polish.

I sat perched on the ceiling beam, my legs hanging freely; invisible to the others, though unsure that I wanted to be. It was at this moment that my assistance was most required, before the boil would reduce to a simmer. I’d been completing these tasks for longer than I cared to remember; piercing hearts together, mostly to coexist in harmony until cause of death. It was unlikely that the bond I offered didn’t last, but it seemed to be more common these days.

I watched the boy slurp down the remainder of his beer, slamming the glass on the table as he finished. His head slowly turned to the girl, and he inhaled the look on her face like he wouldn’t see those eyes, those lips, ever again. Pointing to her drink, he told her to finish it and they would go home. She obligingly nodded her head, resting her lips on the rim of the glass and forcing the thick fluid down her throat. It tasted bitter, like a soap; it didn’t seem to bother her however, just a mere reminder that it would cleanse her insides in a way that other things couldn’t.

My arrow was pulled taught against the string of my bow; the feathers on my wings fluffed in preparation for a swift flight. Their eyes locked once more. I wanted so badly to help, to fulfil the duties required of me, but self pity is consuming and it came over me like a heat I had never known. It filled my lungs, my throat and it burned down to my stomach; skipping over the emptiness of my chest that separates me from all the rest.

I lowered my bow, releasing the tension, turning it in an angle I had never before. My arms positioned awkwardly, a sharpness resting across my abdomen. An inhale, an exhale, and a release of the string. Pierced in the stomach by my own whimsical misery, I would no longer be the jewel maker of hearts.