12+ My first attempt at the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly Furious Fiction competition fell on my first weekend of COVID lockdown in April 2020. Some feared the prospect of social isolation, working from home, and long hours spent lost in their thoughts. But for me, it was a perfect storm — uninterrupted time to write!
The brief for April's Furious Fiction was the story had to begin at the side of the road. And include the words Apron, Pigment, Ribbon, Icon and Lemon (APRIL), and a splash.
I stared at the brief on my computer, and like a Rorschach test, my writer's eye began to discern a story in the random pattern. And so I wrote and submitted A Song on the Radio, *tied* around the Yellow Ribbon song from my boyhood.
I didn't win in April, nor make the short or long lists. But the experience proved I could write a 500-word short story in the 55-hour weekend deadline, and I looked forward to the next month's competition.
Fast forward, and in December 2020, I submitted my ninth Furious Fiction entry. I've still not basked in the winner's spotlight. But I've enjoyed the monthly writing challenges. And I've shared my short stories on the Tall and True writers' website and recently branched out and narrated them for the Tall And True Short Reads audio-fiction podcast.
Tall And True is an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers.
So thanks, Furious Fiction. You’ve helped me stay sane during the COVID lockdown.
And inspired me to share my short stories and launch a podcast.
© 2020 Robert Fairhead
N.B. You can find all my short stories on Tall And True. You might also like these Furious Fiction-COVID themed blog posts, #FuriousFiction - Writers' Centre Competition (May 2020) and COVID-19 and Writing (August 2020).
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert Fairhead is an editor and writer at Tall And True, and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com.
His favourite pastimes include reading and writing, walking his dog, and watching Aussie Rules Football with his son. He is also a part-time dog trainer and runs classes at his local dog training club and through Robert's Responsible Dog Training.
Robert has worked as an electrician, a computer programmer, and a sales and marketing consultant, and he is the principal copywriter at Rocher Communications.
His book reviews and writing on dogs have appeared in newspapers and online. And in 2020, he published a collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story.
Robert has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.