Other Voices by Writers from the 2013 Advanced Writers' Group - Read Online
Other Voices
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Other Voices is a collection of short stories by ten West Australian writers. The collection gives voice to a variety of life experiences, and in particular, to those who are typically unable to speak loudly and clearly for themselves.The stories convey themes of memory and loss, power and illness, morality, unease and personal tragedy. They take readers on a journey into 19th century England, post-war Europe and Iran, and other imaginary worlds, and to contemporary settings in Australia, France and Italy.Authors featured in the collection include Sue Braghieri, Rebecca Collins, Dawn Fisher, Amanda Gardiner, John Hollywood, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Wilma Mann, Rashida Murphy, Josephine Taylor, and Hannah van Didden. The introduction is by Richard Rossiter, and the afterword by Ken Spillman.
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Other Voices

a collection of short stories

by the Advanced Writers’ Group

Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc

ISBN: 978-0957-9807-6-1

Copyright © 2014 Advanced Writers’ Group

Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior explicit written permission of the individual authors who have identified themselves as the authors as covered by all relevant state, national and international copyright laws.

A Cataloguing-in-Publication entry is available from the National Library of Australia at http://www.nla.gov.au/

Ebook published in Australia, 2014 by:

Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc

Edith Cowan House, Building 20

Edith Cowan University

270 Joondalup Drive

Joondalup, Western Australia, 6027

ph: (08) 9301 2282 | e: cowan05@bigpond.com | www.pcwc.org.au

Other Voices

2013 Advanced Writers’ Group Anthology

Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc.

ISBN: 978-0957-9807-6-1

Trade paperback version published in 2013 under

ISBN: 978-0-9579807-7-8

Acknowledgments

The Advanced Writers’ Group wish to acknowledge Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc for organising workshops for the group during 2013, and their ongoing encouragement and support of West Australian writers. We thank Ffion Murphy and Susan Stevens for their role in leading this workshop series and express our sincere gratitude to the generous and knowledgeable workshop facilitators: Ffion Murphy, Amanda Curtin, Susan Midalia, Kevin Price, Richard Rossiter, Colleen Egan, Ken Spillman, Trevor Todd, David Whish-Wilson, Vivienne Glance and Terri-ann White.

Our gratitude to Richard Rossiter for acting as substantive editor for our stories, and for identifying prominent themes in his Introduction, and to Ken Spillman for his generosity in reviewing our stories and providing the Afterword. We are also grateful to guest speaker Susan Midalia for launching the anthology.

We thank artist Lisa Maree Hinton for providing the cover image from her painting, Faith. Gary De Piazzi photographed the artwork and Justin van Didden provided our cover design.

Amanda Gardiner, Rashida Murphy and Josephine Taylor acted as copy editors, Sue Braghieri and Julia Mackay-Koelen spent long hours on typesetting, and Hannah van Didden was our project planner. John Hollywood was our launch emcee, ably assisted by the talented catering and set-up team: Dawn Fisher, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Rebecca Collins and Wilma Mann.

Finally, we give special thanks to Sue Braghieri for her outstanding organisational abilities as our project and publicity coordinator.

Contacts:

Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc. – www.pcwc.org.au

Lisa Maree Hinton, artist – e: lisa@phcprojects.com.au

Gary Colombo De Piazzi, photographer and poet – http://www.redbubble.com/people/gcdepiazzi/shop

Justin van Didden, cover design – e: justin.vandidden@gmail.com

Contents

Introduction

What You See

The Line

That Hand

The Long Goodbye

Moonyoonooka

Accident

Lessons

The Gift

Ella’s Secret

The Moon Still Speaks

Afterword

Authors’ Biographies

Advanced Writers’ Course

Introduction

In this small collection of stories from Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc there is a noticeable emphasis on narratives that draw directly on life experiences—in the form of auto/biography and memoir. The degree of fictionalisation varies from one story to another, but the ‘truth telling’ conventions remain. This is very much in tune with the tenor of our times where there is a deep interest in, if not fascination with, ‘true stories’.

Only two of the stories work outside of the ‘real’: Hannah van Didden’s ‘The Gift’ and Amanda Gardiner’s ‘Lessons’.

Wilma Mann’s ‘What You See’ is a story related by Rachel, an oral historian, who is interviewing a great-grandmother—a lively, perceptive ninety-five year old who gradually reveals a life story of abuse at the hands of a violent husband. This is not, however, a story of defeat. Mary is a survivor who has certainly risen above the circumstances of her earlier experiences. ‘The Line’, by John Hollywood, is an autobiographical account of a baby being left for adoption at a Catholic convent. Hollywood explains the significance of the title:

‘The line’ was a term used to indicate where each child was to stand, so that potential parents could select a boy or girl to take home. The selection process happened every third Sunday of the month, at two o'clock in the afternoon. The line started at the front door and extended about twenty yards along the passage to the violin room.

Throughout, the tone is matter-of-fact which, I think, makes the story all the more effective.

Josephine Taylor’s ‘That Hand’ contains a contemporary narrative of a woman, Alice, and her historical counterpart, Emily, both of whom, notes Taylor, ‘may be experiencing a condition now known as vulvodynia’. In the historical narrative the role of the treating doctor and the husband, Arthur, are seen as paramount and the woman significantly disempowered in the decision-making. The power relationships have improved for the contemporary Alice—but in some ways her husband, Duncan, is less empathetic than his counterpart, Arthur.

Issues of power and illness are also at the heart of Sue Braghieri’s ‘The Long Goodbye’ which depicts the confusion and fear of Gerard as he deals with the development of dementia. His daughter Victoria is taking him with her on her annual visit to her mother’s grave—which is also a form of long ‘goodbye’. Most telling, however, is her realisation that she is farewelling the father she used to know. Dawn Fisher’s ‘Moonyoonooka’ is an account of living through a cyclone in the eponymously-named district outside Geraldton. There are glimpses of her family life, which include the everyday challenges of raising a young family living quite remotely.

In a different mode is Rebecca Collins’ ‘Accident’, which deals with the moral quandary of what to do when a couple, Virginia and Jeremy, get caught up in a hit-and-run accident in a foreign country—firstly as spectators, but then as participants. At the end it poses the question as to whether the past can ever, effectively, be ‘reshaped’ to ensure a particular version of the future.

We enter the world of the fantastic in Amanda Gardiner’s ‘Lessons’, which in ‘Expectation’, as moral fable—with its evocation of loss, separation and desire—suggests