Should have done this years ago. But don't tell Pearl I said that because she's been on at me for ages to do a cruise. I kept telling her I didn't want to be stuck on a floating hotel with a bunch of strangers. I'd rather spend our holidays towing a caravan around Australia, where I know the score.
Tall And True Short Reads is an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by me, Robert Fairhead. I launched the series with a trailer on 5 September 2020. And I published the first episode, Five Meet On Zoom, on the podcast feed five days later.
The trip app listed the hotel as an "Exotic Getaway" with "Splendid Views". After the year-long anxiety of COVID-19 and lockdowns, it looked perfect. I tapped BOOK on my phone, entered my credit card details, and texted Sally: "Pack the bags. We're off to the mountains for the weekend."
To promote their September 2020 edition, Meanjin Quarterly announced a Pandemic Fiction challenge on Twitter. A one tweet story on the COVID pandemic, using the hashtag #Meanjin280. The prize for the best 10 tweets: a 12-month magazine subscription and publication on Meanjin's blog. I tweeted three stories.
Australia wasn't alone in underestimating the threat of COVID-19. In our defence, the country was distracted by the Black Summer bushfires, which blazed from September 2019 to March 2020. However, by mid-March, with the fires extinguished, our focus shifted to the pandemic and its possible impact.
Forty-eight-year-old Corbett Thomas, a one-hit wonder of the 90s, now works as the lead sommelier at Napa Valley’s hippest restaurant. Set to become one of the few Master Sommeliers in the world, Corbett self-destructs during his final exam, ruining his last chance at recapturing the stardom of his youth.
When mum opened the passenger door, the dog, named Jessie, jumped up and straight onto Mim's lap, licking and wagging her whole body. Mim had a huge smile on her face. 'Mae, look who's here!' The little dog jumped through the car and onto the kid's lap. Mae was a bit unsure. Jessie was full-on.
In June (2020), I published a memoir piece on Tall And True about my experience of doing the 22 Pushup Challenge for PTSD in 2016. I mentioned how I had struggled to do 22 pushups at the start. Four years on, when my younger brother nominated me for the 25 Pushup Challenge, I felt even more apprehensive.
Señora Gabriela is a respected storyteller. Her exact age is unknown, but it is years more than ninety. One warm afternoon, Señorita Margarita, a fourteen-year-old girl, spies on her. The girl knows it's wrong, but she wants to learn where Señora Gabriela hides her treasure chest of untold stories.
"Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner." A quote by Neil Gaiman and a perfect description of A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories by Sean O'Beirne.
The writer John Banville observed, "Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don't think we remember the past, we imagine it." I have vivid memories of my early childhood (I believe they're memories, not imagination), which is why the #5YearOldSelfie challenge on social media caught my eye.
It was a flight of fancy, inspired by a newspaper ad: "Moscow and St. Petersburg, 7 nights with Jules Verne Travel". It sounded exotic, impossible. But this was 1993, Leningrad was St. Petersburg again, Boris Yeltsin was Russian President, Russia was opening up. Glasnost made all things seem possible.