Featured Writers

Short stories, features and poems from our writing community.

There is a space

With an absence of love.

If love is there, that space is filled.

I nod hello to the barista and settle into my usual seat. I’m about to pull out my book when I see two people signing. They are sitting two tables over. I can’t help but really look at them. Their hands are flying up and down, touching cheeks, chins, ears, elbows. They are conversing rapidly; they are exchanging smiles. 

I keep my hands under the table; they thrash about like freshly hooked fish. They can’t speak. I dig my nails into my palms to punish them. 

The Oxford definition of ‘access’ is ‘the means or opportunity to approach or enter a place’.

A definition that breeds triviality. A meaning that surpasses physicality. It is more than sizing up a space. A restricted movement from place to place. It is a negotiation. A validation of a way through. Ears that can hear and make improvement. Minds that can recognise and cause change. Hearts that will accept unconditionally. 

Access for me is a dream of weightlessness. An easy way from one place to the next.

The Oxford definition of access is ‘the means or opportunity to approach or enter a place'.

A definition that breeds triviality. A meaning that surpasses physicality. It is more than sizing up a space. A restricted movement from place to place. It is a negotiation. A validation of a way through. Ears that can hear and make improvement. Minds that can recognise and cause change. Hearts that will accept unconditionally.

Access for me is a dream of weightlessness. An easy way from one place to the next.

Ally means partner, or so I’ve heard. Someone who cares, who'll be there when the walls fall down. Ally is an action, an alliance you build, not something you identify as. Ally is meant to mean something, like a marriage, because that's how marriage started too.

Prologue: One Year Ago

 

“There are too many ghouls in the forest. We need you,” said Kolya.

The poor kid was exhausted and pale. Silvie gave him a second fruit bun, figuring there was no harm in a little petty crime.  The buns weren’t selling; besides, it was depressingly likely that she’d have to resign from the bakery before the day was over.

“I’m not due back at the barracks for another week,” she said.

“Bd hr d—” Kolya paused, swallowing his mouthful before trying again. “But you’re the best, and we need you.”

 

A seed, lovingly pressed into the earth. A child’s first experience with a deep and unconditional love. My most treasured possession.

Fur fabric worn smooth over years of clutching. Dull black glass eyes and a crooked frown. Endless needlepoint scars from patchwork, healing rips and tears from being loved so hard.

Neither children nor new parents are original or clever with names, so his name is simply Teddy.

Earlier this year, Tania Cañas, Arts Director at RISE Refugee in Melbourne, wrote an article 'Diversity is a White Word’ that subsequently exploded on social media, igniting discussion across the arts and in literary journals (Koubaroulis, 2017; Aranjuez, 2017; Iyer, 2017).

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Rajith Savanadasa

Today I meet writer Rajith Savanadasa at the Malthouse Theatre. It’s afternoon tea time, and the Malthouse café is busy with actors letting off steam and directors reading over their notes. A small school group climbs up and down the staircase, sparrows flit in and out through the open windows; the place is a hive of activity. Suddenly alighting from the staircase is Rajith, content and calm. He buys a cup of coffee and we sit in the middle of the crowd to chat.

“It devastated me,” says Sofie Laguna of Nick Broomfield’s film about American serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was convicted of killing six men and executed by lethal injection in 2002. It wasn’t, however, the obvious discomfort such a film would provoke that disturbed Laguna, instead it was the grim, desperate, dreadful childhood that Aileen endured.