Skip to main content

Forthcoming fiction

The weird thing about writing for print as well as the web is the lag time. With the web you hit 'Publish Post' and it's out in the world. With print it disappears into a big machine and becomes a publication that's almost unrecognisable. In a good way.

I've got a short story coming out in the Big Issue fiction edition. An editor told me they were looking at how to illustrate the piece which stretched my brain in the visual direction. The trigger for the story was seeing a Vietnamese kid doing his homework in the window of his parent's cafe. It was one of those "What's his life like?" moments that takes you off on a fictional tangent. It was a fairly mundane mental snapshot but that was where my brain went. But as an illustration it really wouldn't stand up.

As a reader it can be tough to see your favourite book adapted into a film and seeing how a director has represented a key scene or miscast your favourite character. It's best to just go with it and see the film as something different, another interpretation. So I'm thinking the same will happen with this piece. I wrote an article a while back about ethical footwear (image not re-produced here - but I'm pretty sure it was by Michael Weldon) for the Big Issue and it was published with this fantastic image of two guys with sneakers for heads just chatting. Best of all, it gave the piece a hipness and humour that my writing didn't have.

Either way, the whole visual representation wil be solved when the Fiction edition hits the streets on 14th of July. Also this week I answered a question for the Herald Sun's Travel section about how to get to Australia without taking a plane. I've got no idea what it will look like so I'll be standing outside the newsagency waiting for a glance at it. Maybe illustrations are one of those things that 'need to be read with newsprint on your hands'.


  1. Shaun Tan! Shaun Tan! Shaun Tan! would so be the obvious choice to illustrated your piece... Haven't you interviewed him at some point?

  2. I did indeed interview Shaun Tan:
    He's kinda busy though. I'd be happy with another Mick Weldon, but all will be revealed soon...

  3. Oh, I missed the piece on ethical footwear. Are you able republish it here anytime soon?

  4. @katie_cardigan - unfortunately the article is only here: which doesn't include the excellent illustration.

  5. How to get to Australia without cramming myself into a plane...

    I've got to read it! I'll be scanning it in reverse - how to leave Australia without having to go by plane.

    I used to love plane travel until I realised I have problems with blood clotting, and now I spend my time dreaming of a trip that doesn't involve low-pressure plane cabins.

    I'll be reading it!

  6. @parlance, 'travelling without moving' shoudl almost be a separate blog shouldn't it?
    The Big Ish hits the streets 14th of July so I can't wait to see what becomes of it.

  7. I have often caught those scenes of Vietnamese or Chinese kids doing their homework behind the counter of their parents shop, or at a table of a cafe or restaurant. My problem is that it never occurs to me to do anything with them! *kicking myself hard*

    Then again, I saw that a lot growing up in Southeast Asia, so perhaps that's why I don't dwell too much on those scenes.

    Time to pay more attention to the little video camera in my head taking mental pictures rather than letting it whir away on auto.

  8. @Mark, don't be kicking too hard. I never have a notebook handy for half the moments I see and if I do making the next step and creating fiction from it is tough. If only the video camera in our heads downloaded diretly to the computer...
    In another way I wondered if I was 'allowed' to dip into someone else's world, but I think imagination almost requires it. Hopefully it doesn't sound too 'off' from the truth.

  9. I can't believe I never read your sneaker article! With Jos in it and everything ... what a great piece. Will have to show F; he's been learning about how bad Nike are but then asked me 'where do I buy sneakers that are okay?' I had no answer. Damn.

  10. @Ariel, there are a few places opening up with ethical footwear. Try No Sweat:
    though their sneakers are now sold through Etiko:
    Otherwise Friends of the Earth. I bought a pair from Missing Link record store a while ago, but I think Friends of teh Earth are also stockists.


Post a Comment