Other Writing

When I started out writing short stories a few years ago, I remember coming across a story called ‘Popular Mechanics’ by the great Raymond Carver. With heavy use of very short sentences, this remarkable piece of writing grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until the amazing last line. It’s not a long piece, but man, it’s good. There was something in this story and his style that really sparked something in me. Hopefully it’s rubbed off a little in some of these …

Short Story – Down South

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Down South was shortlisted in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition for 2006, receiving a ‘Highly Commended Story’ award. It was subsequently recorded by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association in London (featuring the voice of Australian actor Matt Dyktynski), played on radio stations across the Commonwealth in 2007 and has been published in a collection of short stories by Oxford University Press.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. Visit the Commonwealth Short Story Prize website for more information.

Short Story – 7 Days

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I have travelled to Indonesia on surf trips innumerable times over the last thirty years and have only ever had one incident at the airport – which was largely my fault. That experience, which was not quite as threatening as I make out in this story, got me thinking how things can go wrong quickly when you’re overseas.

Short Story – Summer

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This was a lot of fun to write because it’s written from a female perspective and for a short piece, manages to span several decades. I based the story in the town of Apollo Bay. Some of the early dialogue originates from a conversation my kids had one afternoon with one of the local boys who was fishing off the pier. That kind of planted the seed and it went from there.

Short Story – Alice

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When I was at Uni, I was lucky to have lived for a few years as a boarder with Pat O’Shane (Australia’s first Aboriginal Barrister) and her two daughters. That experience provided me with a strong perspective on the latent racism that exists in our country. This dark story steps into a world that most Australians know very little about (including me) – the Town Camps of Alice Springs – and attempts to explore the complexity of being an indigenous person in modern Australia.

Short Story – The Big Sheep

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This rather ridiculous story parodies the local legend of The Black Panther in the Otway district of Victoria, but obviously substitutes the mysterious Black Panther for a mysterious giant sheep. Yes, it’s farcical. But hopefully a bit of fun.

Short Story – Fletcher

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I worked with a guy called Fletch once (this story isn’t about you mate – don’t worry). Advertising can have an ugly side – particularly in big agency land where there’s a lot at stake. Jealousy. Power plays. People getting trodden on. I guess this story takes a pot shot at the industry I’m in – probably a little unfairly!

Short Story – I We She

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This is one of my favourites. Not sure why, after all – it’s based deep in the mind of a demented psychopath (is that a tautology?) so god only knows what that says about me. But it was quite fun to write and also breaks a bunch of conventions – like doing away with punctuation (demented people have no time for commas and full stops).

Short Story – Malley

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I wanted to write a surfing story with a twist. The setting is a small coastal town in the deep south of Victoria. But it could just as easily be in South Australia or WA I guess. I’m proud of the surfing scenes. They feel right to me and tapped into deep-seated feelings I have about the ocean and its inhabitants.

Short Story – The Somme Stare

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In 1916, my Great Uncle Jack and his older brother Harry (my Grandfather) were holed up on the Western Front. Tragically, my Great Uncle was killed and my Grandfather was apparently charged with the responsibility of identifying the body. The photograph in this story is an empty table setting for a homecoming dinner for my Grandfather after the war. It looks like a happy scene, but I’m sure it wasn’t. I never met my Grandpa and I can’t imagine what it was like to see your brother lying there with half his head blown off, let alone what it must have been like coming home without him. I thought it would be interesting to write this piece from the point of view of the dead man – the younger brother.

Short Story – Trivial Pursuit

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This was written on the back of a napkin at Don Camillo’s cafe (an institution in Melbourne run by multiple World Muay Thai Champ Sam Greco) in about ten minutes. Sometimes stories happen fast. It’s a short piece which explores the idea of how a bit of road rage and testosterone can escalate out of control. The title is almost my favourite part of the story.

Magazine features

The following magazine article features some shots I took of a professional surf photographer – Jon Frank – having a surf in the Mentawai Islands and some words accompanying those shots. He’s pretty handy as a photographer and as a surfer.

Double The Tank – Surfing World 2012

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