Was delighted to hear that my short story “Karikurla” received a Highly Commended in this Award. With over 230 entries being received, I am proud to be among the top twenty-seven entries. The criteria for this competition was that it contained an Australian theme. As such, my imaginary meeting between Paddy Hannan, the gold prospector and a young Aboriginal boy seemed a logical entry. Karikurla? The Aboriginal name for a bush with edible fruit which grows in the area and one of the suggested origins of the name Kalgoorlie, where Paddy made his famous strike.
This month’s short story is very different. Titled “Path to Redemption”, I wrote it as a soliloquy and from a man’s perspective. I have deliberately left it unedited and rough. I would be interested in comments on it as a change from my usual more light-hearted stories.
It came about when I was thinking of the phrase ‘Path to Redemption”. Do we all hope for redemption or are there those of us who don’t care. And these people – does the thought of imminent death really frighten them into seeking salvation?
My short story for this month is entitled ‘Glory Days’ and blends two of my delights, writing and belly dancing, in the story of an old veil, resurrected by the youth she thought was gone forever.
Belly dancing is to my body as writing is to my soul. To interpret the music as a form of dance gives me great pleasure and yes, being a woman, I am enthralled by the costumes. The troupe I am in changes their costumes regularly but I hope this year’s veil (a rainbow of colours) will not sneer at my very first veil, which I still have. All colours are wonderful, filled with light and promise. How sad to be envious of another’s attributes. For shame, Turquoise!
The short story this month has its roots in my past in East Africa. I grew up in Kenya and my father often drove us down the escarpment of the Rift Valley to the small town of Naivasha, passing the little Italian church. Sometimes we stopped and visited the cool interior, the solid walls keeping out the equatorial heat. I have a photo of a younger self, sitting on the stone steps clutching my teddybear.
Many Italian prisoners of war remained in East Africa after World War II and settled on the land. I would like to think that the fictitious Captain Malatesta was one of those and that Emilio got to climb Mt Kenya with Peter.
Just been reading the reviews of my short story of that name which will be published in Write Around Queensland’s anthology for 2014. People have been very kind. The story is about two young girls who depart on an odyssey around Europe to find their origins. Some of it I took from real life situations when I visited Spain. Although my ancestors are 100% Scottish, the Spaniards were convinced I was a local. In supermarkets, the check out chicks would chatter away to me whilst dredging up their limited English for my travel companions. Old Nonnas would take my arm to see them across the road, muttering about the evils of tourism as they glared at my companions. Perhaps some Spanish sailor from the wrecks of the Armada got cast ashore on a Hebridean islandand founded my family dynasty?
Growing up in Africa introduced me to another culture and its beliefs. The Nandi Bear was a fearsome creature reputed to only eat the brain of its victim. Never seen, mention of its name was greeted with rolling eyes and the sign to avert witchcraft.
This is a true story. I heard the Nandi Bear that night and his claws are still deep inside me, waiting for a quiet moment in the middle of the night to drag me screaming into a nightmare.
Here’s this month’s short story for your enjoyment. A love story which starts on a faraway shore.
Living on an island makes me more aware of shorelines and the sea. A shoreline is constantly changing as the tide comes in and bestows its offerings on the beach. Sometimes they are beautiful – a piece of driftwood shaped like a seahorse or a tiny glistening shell. Other deposits make me shake my head as I pick up plastic bottles, broken glass and lengths of fishing line.
So too do our lives change and I try to always find time to sweep my own personal “beach”. There’s a lot of rubbish there but sometimes I find a pearl.