Voiceworks is a national literary journal, featuring new fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual art and comics by Australians under the age of 25. Voiceworks is produced entirely by people yet to hit the quarter-century mark and relies on contributions from readers to make up its content. Each selected piece goes through a collaborative editing process, and individualised feedback is provided for all unsuccessful written submissions. All published contributors are paid for their work.
It is a memory, the anti-gravity of static fizzling on your skin and filling the air. You recall its odd magical quality. As a child, you felt the prickle of hot static as you pressed your fingerprints to the screen; it surrounded you like an invisible storm, rising as you jumped on the trampoline, lingering in a web of silent, undulating ribbons. The metal springs and rods zapped at your touch, causing you to recoil.
Now it sends sparks through you, jolts you alive to your core. The fleeting memory returns as you gather socks and underwear from the dryer. Once again you are electrified. A stray thread, a bristling lint cloud. In the whimsy of childhood it meant something more, but now it’s just nostalgia.
Sitting too long on the sofa, you fold socks into balls, the wool’s residual heat warming your palms. Your hair stands on end. You feel the blood drain from your legs, numb now except for the fuzzy, tingling feeling running through you. Your body is a radio station in a regional town, buzzing; a TV on an analogue station, greeting you again with its grainy particles; pins and needles in a pin cushion, repeatedly puncturing its plush stuffing to no avail.
You’ve been static in every sense of the word as of late, speckled and grey and stationary. The sound of electronic voice phenomena, infrasound, ghost hunters and alien broadcasts, UFOs half-caught on film, your tongue burnt raw or your head spinning from a cold rush.
Steve Lacy: ‘Would you feel the noise?’ You interrogate yourself as the microwave turns, whirring with a low gamma drone. Taylor Swift uploads seven seconds of silence that accidentally makes the #1 download on iTunes. And yet the microwave persists. It only takes seven seconds for the grating sound to become soothing, like white noise or heavy rainfall. In a small house on the edge of the highway, the revving of cars lulls you to sleep. The feeling weighs you down. You hear that there are some dead galaxies where the gravitational pull is so heavy, only radio light can exist.
You wake to a phone call. On the line, all you hear is static. White noise envelopes you, the sound of a seashell held against your ear. You’re not really hearing the sea, but the ambient noise of your body, a body. The silence is rendered orchestral by its vessel. Sand falls through an hourglass, siphoned through an empty shelter. You’re hearing emptiness—the ocean’s roar, the vacuum of time. You cannot escape it. Opening your mouth to speak, your voice, too, breaks into static.
~Thanks to EdCommers Seb Petroni and Helena Pantsis for the blurb~
Remember, you don’t have to stick to the theme! Our themes are a prompt more than anything else—a springboard to get the creative ideas flowing. Most of all, we just want good work.
Voiceworks accepts fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art and comics, but before you send your work our way, here are some rules:
We are only able to publish writers and artists who are under the age of 25 (that is, 24 and under) at the time of submission.
Nonfiction pitches—Sunday 27 November, 11:59PM AEST
Fiction, completed nonfiction and poetry—Sunday 4 December, 11:59PM AEST
Art, comics and comic pitches—Sunday 11 December, 11:59PM AEST
Rates of pay
$100 for written work and art
$150 for multi-page comics or suites of art
For more information, print guidelines, and to submit, visit the Voiceworks website here.