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Tall And True Short Reads

Tall And True Short Reads

Author: Robert Fairhead

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Tall And True Short Reads is an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by your host, Robert Fairhead.

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26 Episodes
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Phil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in October 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, ‘We need to hear both sides of the story.’Both Sides of the Story is also a collection of short stories written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. Written initially for a UK writing competition in 1994, the collection contains four self-contained vignettes and a fifth piece that ties together and resolves the threads from all five stories. Robert shared Both Sides of the Story on the Tall And True writers’ website in 2019 and published the ebook collection in 2020. The podcast version is presented in six instalments, an introduction, followed by the five vignettes. At the end of each vignette episode, Robert provides insight into why and how he wrote the short story.The show notes include links to Both Sides of the Story on Amazon and Kobo and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Copyright notice: Both Sides of the Story song written by Phil Collins from the album Both Sides (1993). Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight for Both Sides of the StoryPhil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in October 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, ‘We need to hear both sides of the story.’In February 1994, I started working on a short story for the Ian St James Awards. It was my third submission to the then annual awards, at the time, the UK’s biggest fiction prize for unpublished writers.The idea for the story came to me while working out in a gym. The news at the time was full of items about people for whom the public (including me) had little sympathy. I watched Collins’ Both Sides music video on MTV in the gym, and it set me thinking: Could I show both sides of the news in a short story? In November 2019, I re-read the yellowed printout of the short story and still felt proud of it. The protagonists in the four vignettes remained unsympathetic, as the news would have portrayed them in 1994. And the fifth piece linked and resolved the story as I had planned, as well as paying homage to Collins’ song.So, twenty-five-plus years after I wrote it, I decided to share and showcase Both Sides of the Story on the Tall And True writers’ website as a five-part series. Westminster, Bosnia, A Council Flat, and The Gym are the vignettes. And Bad News is the fifth and final part.Having shared Both Sides of the Story as a series, I decided to publish it as an eBook and make it available online. One of the joys of publishing the final piece, Bad News, was reading all five parts of the short story on Tall And True. I hoped the reader would enjoy a similar experience with the eBook collection.Thanks for listening to this episode of Tall And True Short Reads. You can read all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode and first vignette from Both Sides of the Story, Westminster, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for other short stories. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And finally, please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. The ebook version of Both Sides of the Story is available from Amazon Kindle and Kobo.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Clock Ticking: https://freesound.org/people/gecop/sounds/522119/Dot Matrix Printer: https://freesound.org/people/azumarill/sounds/345054/ Pub and Glasses Chink: https://freesound.org/people/16FPanskaSoldat_Martin/sounds/505330/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.The podcast is recorded in Sydney, Australia, on Eora Country.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
At primary school in Perth, Western Australia, in the 1970s, I had a teacher who was also a lay preacher on the weekends. Before schoolwork, he started the day at our (supposedly) secular state school with the Lord's Prayer and gospel readings. And his favourite scripture topic was Signs of the Second Coming.Signs of the Second Coming is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides insight into why and how he wrote the story.The show notes include links to Signs of the Second Coming on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight for Signs of the Second ComingA Facebook post from 2011 popped up in my timeline memories in March 2021. The post was titled “Signs?” and was the brief tale of one of my primary school teachers, a lay preacher, who started each day at our secular state school with gospel readings. And how he greeted the class excitedly the morning after any news of disasters because these were “Signs of the Second Coming”. As I related in the post, his daily gospel readings and tales of the “second coming” spooked the eleven-year-old me. And my fear only abated when I moved schools and headed into my teens and had other things on my mind. I don’t know why I wrote the “Signs?” post in 2011. But reading it in 2021 brought back memories of the panic I had felt as a boy, seeing a falling star in the dark Perth skies. And as Graham Greene said, “Writing is a form of therapy”, which is why I wrote this short story.The writer, John Banville, also observed, “Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don’t think we remember the past, we imagine it.” Some parts of Signs of the Second Coming are from my memories (or imagination, as Banville would describe it). And other parts are my writer’s imagination and licence. I leave it to the listener to separate fact from fiction in this short story. And to decide if the memories of an eleven-year-old boy are pure imagination.I hope you enjoyed Signs of the Second Coming. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for earlier episodes. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Signs of the Second Coming at tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/signs-of-the-second-coming.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Classroom: https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/480708/Church Bells: https://freesound.org/people/Audeption/sounds/425172/Lords Prayer: https://freesound.org/people/BeeProductive/sounds/380359/Earthquake: https://freesound.org/people/zatar/sounds/514381/Heavy Rain: https://freesound.org/people/jmbphilmes/sounds/200272/Fire: https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/483311/Flies: https://freesound.org/people/Natty23/sounds/442839/Mortar Fire: https://freesound.org/people/greenbastardd/sounds/240567/Playground: https://freesound.org/people/mshahen/sounds/503841/News Jingle: https://freesound.org/people/mansardian/sounds/61322/Crickets: https://freesound.org/people/Woodmoodman/sounds/543450/Clock Ticking: https://freesound.org/people/gecop/sounds/522119/Church Choir: https://freesound.org/people/kirmm/sounds/503504/Hellfires: https://freesound.org/people/Leady/sounds/26727/Girl Laughing: https://freesound.org/people/squashy555/sounds/240324/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.The podcast is recorded in Sydney, Australia, on Eora Country.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The sky-blue swell pounded the breakwater at Borthel on Sea in a steady rhythm. John gazed out at the mountains across the broad bay and drew a deep calming breath. The anxiety that had built up and wracked him in recent months and on his spontaneous long drive from the city eased its intensity.Memories and Marshmallows is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides his insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in March 2021.The show notes include links to Memories and Marshmallows on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight for Memories and MarshmallowsI wrote Memories and Marshmallows in March 2021 for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly 500-word short story competition, Furious Fiction. The brief was:• The story must include the setting in a photo provided by the Writers’ Center.• Being March, it must also have the MAR words MARKET, MARBLE, MARVELLOUS and MARSHMALLOW.• And the final sentence must contain dialogue — i.e. someone speaking.The photo provided with the brief was of a broad bay, possibly on the coast. There was a concrete and stone breakwater with boat ramps and mountains in the distance. And in the foreground of a pebbly beach sat an old red public telephone box. I gazed at the photo and reflected on my summer holidays. Of the favourite rundown places, I've visited over the years. And the quaint fishing villages of southwest England. I thought about how the hurly-burly of work can take over our lives and distance us from happy memories and places. And how we may not realise this is happening until it's too late!In the story, John revisits Borthel on Sea, the scene of his happy childhood family holidays. It’s rundown now but always was unfashionable. However, John and his family had loved the quiet seaside village with its breakwater, fish market and chilly swims, and the pebbly beach where they had built bonfires and toasted marshmallows.One afternoon on the breakwater, John’s father told his son he wanted to retire to Borthel on Sea. But his father dies of a stress-related heart attack before the next summer, and there are no more family holidays on the coast.The adult John has followed in his father’s footsteps in the city, working long hours and climbing the corporate ladder. But he’s also feeling anxious and stressed and, like his father, is drawn back to Borthel on Sea. I hope you enjoyed this seaside short story — perhaps it’s inspired you to toast marshmallows. Did you catch the MAR words (one's a tasty giveaway!). And the red telephone box for the final dialogue?You can read Memories and Marshmallows and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for earlier episodes. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Memories and Marshmallows at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/memories-and-marshmallowsPodcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Sea and wind: https://freesound.org/people/Globofonia/sounds/547011/Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Fire: https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/483311/Laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Evil_Ear_Recordings/sounds/524775/Car horns: https://freesound.org/people/allanh15/sounds/353180/Walking on pebbles: https://freesound.org/people/775noise/sounds/494571/Phone ringing: https://freesound.org/people/aldenb4610/sounds/348584/Phone pickup: https://freesound.org/people/MootMcnoodles/sounds/444399/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The headmaster sighed and shut out the old memory. He leaned forward on his desk. “Edwards, your marks and behaviour this year have been poor enough to earn expulsion several times over.” Hamilton watched the boy's chin drop. He shook his head and sighed again.Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast’s theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to SchoolIn earlier chapters, I explained how I wrote the original version of Back to School when I lived in England in 1992. In the handwritten draft, the working title for the story was A Second Chance. But when I typed it up on my old Amstrad PC, I changed the title to Another Chance. Like Charlie in the story, I left school when I was sixteen and worked for a while in the building trade. For many years in my early adulthood, I dreamed of being sixteen again and back at school, imagining different alternatives had I sat my final exams. One day in 1992, I decided to exorcise those dreams and give myself “another chance” by writing this short story.When I shared the story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it Back to School. By now, I was a father with a fifteen-year-old son about to enter his final years of high school. And around this time, my dreams of being back at school returned. Only now, I dreamed of being my middle-aged self, sitting in a classroom with my son, studying for our exams. And this prompted me to rename the short story, Back to School.I’ve been fascinated with exploring the cross over between dreams and reality for many years in my writing. Perhaps I was inspired by Franz Kafka. Or by the tale of the 3rd century BC Chinese philosopher Chuang Chou, who dreamed he was a butterfly. Afterwards, Chou was left confused. Was he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man?In Back to School, I leave it to you to decide if the sixteen-year-old Charlie dreamed of his future as an unemployed father or whether the adult Charlie dreamed of a past visit to his old headmaster’s office. Maybe there’s a third option, and the two Charlies exist in separate realities? Truthfully, I’m not sure of the answer— and I wrote the short story!Thanks for listening to the podcast. I hope you enjoyed Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for earlier chapters of Back to School and other self-contained short story episodes. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And finally, please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Clock Ticking: https://freesound.org/people/FlashTrauma/sounds/398275/Footsteps inside: https://freesound.org/people/Anthousai/sounds/398782/Creaky Door: https://freesound.org/people/deleted_user_7146007/sounds/383816/Footsteps outside: https://freesound.org/people/Yuval/sounds/205817/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Hamilton leaned back, tapping the tips of his fingers together in contemplation. “An interesting dream, Edwards. What do you make of it?” Charlie shifted nervously from leg to leg. “Well, sir, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought since last night, and I think it was a premonition.” Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast’s theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to School and Chapter FiveIf you’ve listened to my insights in the earlier chapters of Back to School, you’ll know I wrote the first draft of the short story in 1992, based on a dream I’d had about my school days. Initially titled A Second Chance, the story became Another Chance in subsequent drafts. And when I shared it on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it again to Back to School.    In Chapter Five, Charlie is sixteen again and still attempting to convince his headmaster, Heavy Handed Hamilton, that the dream of his adult self, and his house and family, and his being unemployed again was a premonition.“It was a warning of how my life will be if I don't finish high school and sit my exams next year.”Hamilton has school reports to sign and a pile of paperwork but indulges the boy. “If it was a premonition, as you say, Edwards, do you believe you can alter your future, your destiny?” Because the headmaster had a dream or premonition back in his army days. And acting on it saved the lives of his patrol and his own.Unlike Charlie and Hamilton, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a dream that’s come true, a premonition. But I’ve had vivid dreams and experienced déjà vu many times.Thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed Chapter Five of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. The final instalment, Chapter Six, Another Chance, will be released shortly. In the meantime, check your podcast feed for earlier chapters and other self-contained short story episodes from Tall And True Short Reads. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Creaky chair: https://freesound.org/people/gmarchisio/sounds/167878/Gunfire: https://freesound.org/people/C-V/sounds/523404/Helicopter: https://freesound.org/people/metrostock99/sounds/345084/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Hamilton held up a hand. “You mean to tell me, Edwards, you dreamed about the house where you live with your parents?” The boy shook his head. “No, sir, I’ve never seen this house before, but in my dream, I knew it was mine. And I’m not married, sir, and I don’t have any kids.”Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to School and Chapter FourAs explained in earlier chapters, I wrote the first draft of Back to School in 1992. The story was initially titled A Second Chance but then became Another Chance. And when I shared the short story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it again to Back to School.    In Chapter Four, Charlie explains to his headmaster, Heavy-Handed Hamilton, how the strange house in his dream belonged to the “adult him”. And how he recognised “his family” in it, his wife and daughters and two sons, the oldest of whom is the same age as Charlie, sixteen. Charlie then goes on to describe his birthday party in the dream. And his realisation of why his sixteen-year-old son glares at him with loathing, because Charlie won’t let him leave school. And the source of the dread Charlie feels: he’s lost his job and is unemployed again.At his daughter’s urging, Charlie makes a wish when he cuts his birthday cake, something perhaps we’ve all wished once or twice in our adult lives: “I wish I’d known what I know now, as an unemployed husband and father. Back when I was the same age as my son. When I was still at school, and life wasn’t a bad dream.”Charlie opens his eyes after making the wish and finds he’s sixteen again. Thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed Chapter Four of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. Chapter Five, Sixteen Again, will be released shortly. In the meantime, check your podcast feed for earlier chapters and other self-contained short story episodes of Tall And True Short Reads. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Creaky chair: https://freesound.org/people/gmarchisio/sounds/167878/TV sitcom laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Kinoton/sounds/383207/Girls babble: https://freesound.org/people/senshi.sun/sounds/428072/Plates stacking: https://freesound.org/people/MilanKovanda/sounds/377044/Giggles: https://freesound.org/people/Reitanna/sounds/343984/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Charlie took another deep breath to calm himself. “Well, Mr Hamilton, it was the weirdest dream I've ever had. It was more like watching TV than a dream. Only, it was me on the TV.” Scenes started replaying through Charlie's head as he recounted his dream to the headmaster.Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to School and Chapter ThreeAs explained in earlier chapters, I wrote the original version of Back to School in 1992 when I lived in England. The title of the handwritten draft was A Second Chance. But when I typed it up, it became Another Chance. And finally, when I shared the short story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it Back to School.    I quit high school at the same age and in similar circumstances to Charlie. And for many years, I dreamed of being sixteen again and back at school. This short story was an attempt to exorcise those dreams.In Chapter Three, Charlie recounts to Heavy-Handed Hamilton the “weird” dream that prompted his visit to the headmaster’s office. The scene of Charlie driving a “beat-up old van loaded with tools, ladders and building equipment” is taken from my experience as an electrician in my early twenties. If I close my eyes, I can still hear them “crashing about in the back” of the van whenever I hit a pothole.As for Charlie’s dread in walking to the house, reading and listening to those lines now remind me of Franz Kafka’s The Castle: “The path to the front door seemed long. It felt like Charlie was heading in the wrong direction on a moving walkway. Or perhaps he didn't want to reach the house? Charlie sensed a looming dread but didn't know why.”I read Kafka’s books around this time. Perhaps I was trying to emulate his dreamlike sequences? And the confusion we sometimes feel between reality and dreams? Thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed Chapter Three of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. Chapter Four, The Birthday, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed for earlier chapters and other short story episodes of Tall And True Short Reads. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Van engine: https://freesound.org/people/soundjoao/sounds/325808/Metal clanking: https://freesound.org/people/simone_ds/sounds/366084/Squeaky car door: https://freesound.org/people/coltures/sounds/262325/Footsteps on pavement: https://freesound.org/people/Yuval/sounds/205817/Unlock/open door: https://freesound.org/people/sgcardinal/sounds/395753/Footsteps in hall: https://freesound.org/people/Anthousai/sounds/398782/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The headmaster tapped his pen on the punishment column in the discipline file. "I'm waiting, Edwards. Why do you want to come back to school next year?" Charlie's mouth still felt dry. "Because I want to sit my exams, sir." "Yes, but why?"  "Um, err—" Charlie struggled to find the words.Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to School and Chapter TwoAs I explained in Chapter One, I wrote the first version of Back to School when I lived in England in 1992. The working title for the original handwritten draft was A Second Chance. But when I typed it up on my old Amstrad PC, I changed it to Another Chance. And finally, when I shared the short story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it Back to School.    I was the same age as Charlie in the story when I quit school at sixteen. For many years in early adulthood, I dreamed of being sixteen again and back at school. One day in 1992, I decided to exorcise those dreams by writing this short story.In Chapter Two, Charlie reveals to his headmaster, Heavy Handed Hamilton, what prompted his visit to the office and change of heart about school next year. It was a dream or *premonition* of what would happen to him if he didn't finish high school and sit his exams. My dreams weren’t exactly like Charlie’s. But I did imagine different alternatives had I finished my final year of school.Thanks for listening to the podcast. I hope you enjoyed Chapter Two of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. Chapter Three, The House, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed for Chapter One (earlier chapters) and other Tall And True Short Reads episodes. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Tapping: https://freesound.org/people/mealwyrm/sounds/495814/Heartbeat: https://freesound.org/people/loudernoises/sounds/332806/Pen drop: https://freesound.org/people/krb21/sounds/118618/Chair scrape: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/35033/Cane whip: https://freesound.org/people/UnderlinedDesigns/sounds/191766/Kids chatter: https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/480708/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The wooden bench in the hallway outside the headmaster's office was hard. It made you squirm. But once you'd sat on it, you daren't wriggle to relieve the creeping pins and needles. Because if you did, old Heavy-Handed Hamilton would look up through his glass office door and note your fidgeting.Back to School is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. The podcast version of the story is presented in six instalments, one per chapter. At the end of each episode, Robert provides insight into the writing of the story and chapter.The show notes include links to Back to School on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Back to School and Chapter OneI wrote a version of Back to School when I lived in England in 1992. In the original handwritten draft, the working title for the story was A Second Chance. But when I typed it up on my old Amstrad PC, I changed the title to Another Chance. And finally, when I shared the short story on Tall And True in 2017, I renamed it Back to School.    I left high school at sixteen, the same age as Charlie in the story. For many years, I dreamed of being sixteen again, back at school, and studying for my final exams. And one day in 1992, I decided to exorcise those dreams by writing this short story.Chapter One - The Office draws on visits I made to the headmaster’s office during my turbulent school years. Like Charlie’s headmaster, Heavy-Handed Hamilton, mine was a disciplinarian and a stickler for the school uniform. He threatened me with the cane and expressed his firm belief during one visit to the office that I wouldn’t be returning for my final year of high school.I wonder what my headmaster would have said if, like Charlie, I’d asked to come back to school and sit my exams? I hope you enjoyed Chapter One of Back to School. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.Chapter Two, A Dream, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for other short story episodes of Tall And True Short Reads. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app.And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Back to School at tallandtrue.com.au/young-adult/back-to-school. Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Page-turning: https://freesound.org/people/Kodack/sounds/256475/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Performance

The Performance

2021-03-2405:51

Three minutes into the performance, and I stifled a yawn. Crammed in the front row with a clutch of fellow bored hacks, I hoped no one had noticed. However, the acclaimed actor and playwright and recently appointed head of NATS, Barry Lazarus, turned and fixed a beady eye on me from centre stage.The Performance is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in February 2021.The show notes include links to The Performance on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The PerformanceI wrote The Performance in February 2021 for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly 500-word short story competition, Furious Fiction. The story had to:• Take place in a SCHOOL• Begin with the word THREE• And include the adjectives: MAGNETIC, UNCOUTH, SUSPICIOUS, and FLOWERY.The definition of SCHOOL was flexible. It could be an educational institution, a school of thought, or a school of fish.I toyed with the latter idea for a while, beginning a draft story with “Three fathoms down”. But then I switched to something sci-fi-ish, with “Three parsecs out”.And by a circuitous route, which I can’t explain, this led me to write the line, “Three minutes into the performance”. I had small parts in amateur plays when I lived in England. And I know there’s nothing worse than being caught yawning by a director during a rehearsal. I've also seen powerful performances on the stage that have shaken me awake.Suddenly, I had my story set at the National Arts and Theatre School. The school is rehearsing its first performance under the stewardship of the acclaimed actor and playwright Barry Lazarus. A young (caffeine-deprived) journalist draws the short straw to cover the dress rehearsal. And Lazarus spots him yawning in the front row. He invites the journalist to read a part in the play and see beyond its soporific beginning.As for the adjectives, I trust you didn't yawn and miss them in the story?I hope you enjoyed The Performance, like the student actors and hacks. You can read this and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for earlier episodes. And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. Read The Performance at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-performance.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Footsteps on stage: https://freesound.org/people/Anthousai/sounds/398782/Ridicule laughter: https://freesound.org/people/the_yura/sounds/278858/Page-turning: https://freesound.org/people/Kodack/sounds/256475/Applause: https://freesound.org/people/Breviceps/sounds/462362/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
By its definition, the key to good microfiction is brevity. There is no time for plot and character development; every word must count. The writer plunges the reader into the story and wrenches them back out, leaving it to the reader’s imagination to reflect upon what they have read.Three Minute Microfiction features three microfiction pieces from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the microfiction genre and the three pieces.The show notes include links to the pieces on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Three Minute Microfiction piecesI discovered the microfiction genre when reviewing a collection for Writing NSW, Loopholes by Susan McCreery. Wiktionary.org defines microfiction as “Fiction that has a significantly shorter than average length.” Synonyms include drabble, flash fiction, flashfic, short-short story, sudden fiction and even twitterature.By its definition, brevity is the key to good microfiction. There is no time for plot and character development; every word must count. The writer plunges the reader into the story and wrenches them back out, leaving it to the reader’s imagination to reflect upon what they have read, what lead to the situation, and how it might resolve itself.Microfiction will not be to every reader’s taste. Some may consider it a modern malaise, where our pace of life has become too fast to enjoy a leisurely read. Or Twitteresque, where US Presidential pronouncements are reduced to 280-character tweets. And yet, microfiction is not as recent a form as some might imagine. Ernest Hemingway is said to have written a famous piece in response to a challenge to write a six-word novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”I wrote these three microfiction pieces at different times in my life. There Is No Need Wake Up was written for a local radio competition in 2000. The brief was to include the tag line, “There is no need to wake up”. As luck would have it, I have occasionally dreamed my footy team has won games that, in reality, they lost.And I Didn't Even Get Convicted was also written for a local radio competition in 2014. The story had to be 200 words or less and to end with the line, “And I didn’t even get convicted”. I received a nice thank you for my entry. But I didn’t even get selected as a winner.The final short piece, We Need To Talk, was written for a competition run by Meanjin Quarterly to celebrate the introduction of 280-character Twitter in 2017. The rules were simple: tweet a 280-character story and include the hashtag #meanjin280. I didn't win the competition. But I repurposed the piece for another microfiction competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre in 2019, as We Need to Talk in 29 Words. And this was published on their blog.I hope you enjoyed this dabble with microfiction. You can read these pieces and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.Thank you for listening. The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed for earlier episodes. And subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read these microfiction pieces on the Tall And True website:• Number 1, There’s No Need To Wake Up - tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/no-need-to-wake-up• Number 2, And I didn’t even get convicted - tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/and-i-didn-t-even-get-convicted• Number 3, We Need to Talk - tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/we-need-to-talk.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Sports fans cheering: https://freesound.org/people/FlatHill/sounds/324756/Siren: https://freesound.org/people/lluiset7/sounds/367442/Children playing: https://freesound.org/people/yacou/sounds/190894/News jingle: https://freesound.org/people/Tuben/sounds/272044/Heart monitor (beeping): https://freesound.org/people/iluminati_2705/sounds/536706/Respirator: https://freesound.org/people/dansotak/sounds/137709/Phone message notification: https://freesound.org/people/katjajansen1997/sounds/538006/Production NotesTall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Choice

The Choice

2021-02-2705:07

We hit the road at sunrise. Anna complained about packing the bikes in the pre-dawn dark. But we had to make up for the kilometres we'd lost yesterday to punctures and her mishap. Our reward was a crimson landscape when the sun crested the horizon. I rode ahead, and Anna fell behind, as usual.The Choice is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in January 2021.The show notes include links to The Choice on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The ChoiceThe Choice was my new year entry for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly short story writing competition, Furious Fiction. The brief for January 2021 was that: • Each story had to BEGIN AT SUNRISE• Use the words SIGNATURE, PATIENT, and BICYCLE• And include a character who has to make a CHOICE.The plot and characters for the story came to me very fast while walking my dog, similar to my December 2020 Furious Fiction entry, The Gift. I decided on a middle-aged couple on a bike tour that goes awry. I wrote it as a two-hander, with Frank and Anna's voices and thoughts revealing a shorthand tale of the ride and their life together.The sunrise start was an easy decision. The choice at the end was more difficult, and I leave it to the reader to imagine what Anna decided to do with Frank’s life support.As for the words in the Furious fiction brief, I like playing with positioning them in my short stories. And this time, I held off using the words until the final paragraph - did you hear them?I hope you enjoyed your short ride with The Choice. You can read this and all my short stories and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed for earlier episodes.Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. Read The Choice at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-choice.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Bicycle wheel: https://freesound.org/people/Jagielka/sounds/486428/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Classroom Conservation

Classroom Conservation

2021-02-1505:09

My class had a lesson on "conservation" at school today. Miss said it's where people reuse old things or use new things more thoughtfully. Or do stuff differently to stop using up the Earth's resources. She said conservation is important because our planet is sick, and we need to help make it healthy again.Classroom Conservation is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides a writer’s insight into the story, which he wrote in England in 1992.The show notes include links to Classroom Conservation on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Classroom ConservationI wrote Classroom Conservation when I was living in England in 1992. Looking back at my 1992 diary, it was a productive year for me writing-wise. In addition to this short story, I wrote many other stories for magazines and writing competitions. One of these was A Moving Sculpture, which I've shared on Tall And True and narrated for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast.I also wrote a radio play and a couple of travel pieces. And I even submitted a job application to be a research writer for the Rough Guide to Singapore and Malaysia!My writer's life during this period was up and down emotionally. I experienced the highs of finishing and submitting a piece of writing and the lows of rejection letters. And at times, it was a lonely existence. I wrote about this in two Tall And True blog posts: Days of Gentle Rejections and Writing Can Be Lonely.Classroom Conservation was written for a BBC Radio 4 environmental program, Costing the Earth, which is still in production. I enjoyed writing the story and exploring a schoolchild's perspective on conservation.But it's a shame that almost 30 years on many do not heed the teacher's message: "Our planet is sick, and we need to help make it healthy again."I hope you enjoyed this story and got some ideas about conservation. You can read Classroom Conservation and all my short stories and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed for earlier episodes.Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.Read Classroom Conservation at tallandtrue.com.au/childrens/classroom-conservation.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Classroom: https://freesound.org/people/craigsmith/sounds/480708/Kids laughing: https://freesound.org/people/Ben%20Keaton/sounds/430815/Clock ticking: https://freesound.org/people/gecop/sounds/522119/School bell: https://freesound.org/people/13FPanska_Stranska_Michaela/sounds/378394/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Gift

The Gift

2021-02-0405:00

"Happy anniversary, Darl." My blank look doesn't wipe the smile from his face. "It's our double anniversary, remember?" he prompts, presenting me with a single red rose. "Nine months since the party and six months since you moved in." My nan taught me to tell the truth. "Of course I remember," I lie.The Gift is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in December 2020.The show notes include links to The Gift on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The GiftThe Gift was my December 2020 entry for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly short story competition, Furious Fiction. The 500-word story for December the had to: • Include a GIFT of some kind• Open with a first sentence containing only THREE words• And use the words PALM, MATCH and ROSE.The email with the competition brief from the Writers’ Centre arrived on the afternoon of Friday 4th. And I had 55 hours to write my short story before the midnight deadline on Sunday 6th. But as I later tweeted, I “wrote” it while walking my dog that Friday evening. By the time I got home, I had fleshed out the characters and plot and ticked off the criteria. All I had to do was get the words out of my head and into my computer. Yes, there were the usual edits and tweaks. However, The Gift was one of (if not the!) most fully-formed story I’ve ever written in such a short time frame. And I submitted it 12 hours before the deadline.I hope you enjoyed my furiously written short story. Did you hear the words PALM, MATCH and ROSE, and did you guess the GIFT? You can read this and all my short stories and other writing at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed for earlier episodes.Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. Read The Gift at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-gift.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Male laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Eneasz/sounds/119459/Female laughter: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/33658/Party background voices: https://freesound.org/people/dbspin/sounds/396684/Footsteps on wooden floor: https://freesound.org/people/Anthousai/sounds/398782/News jingle: https://freesound.org/people/Tuben/sounds/272044/Champagne cork: https://freesound.org/people/ultradust/sounds/166923/Clock ticking-alarm: https://freesound.org/people/gecop/sounds/522119/Door closing: https://freesound.org/people/sgcardinal/sounds/395753/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Al-Rabie Hotel

The Al-Rabie Hotel

2021-01-2505:23

The photograph is gloomy, and the colours are fading. But it was twenty-five years ago. I'm sitting in the high-ceilinged inner courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Old Damascus, catching up my travel journal. My wife calls out from the first floor. I stop writing, look up and wave for the camera.The Al-Rabie Hotel is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in November 2020, based on an encounter he had at the Al-Rabie in Damascus in 1995.The show notes include links to The Al-Rabie Hotel on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Al-Rabie HotelThe Al-Rabie Hotel is the short story I wrote in November 2020 for the Australian Writers' Centre's monthly Furious Fiction writing competition. For November, the 500-word story:• Had to take place at a HOTEL• Include a PHOTOGRAPH• And the words: COLLAR, GLOOMY, POLICE, RHYTHM, and SAPPHIRE.I was working on a travel piece when the brief arrived, based on ten days I spent backpacking in Syria in 1995. In addition to my travel journal from that period, I had pulled out photos to use in the piece. And one was of me sitting in the courtyard of the Al-Rabie Hotel in Damascus.My journal had an entry about meeting a well-travelled American in the hotel courtyard, whom I'd described as a "know-all". But I’d also noted we had a good conversation when I steered it towards "subjects on which he had knowledge as opposed to those where he had an opinion".There was also an entry about another traveller who had offered to write a letter for me to give a hotel manager in Amman, Jordan, to claim a book he'd left for safekeeping. I used the photo and journal entries to create a mystery short story set in the Al-Rabie Hotel. As for the words from the brief, did you hear them in the story? Here’s a tip: I used each word once.I'll leave it to your imagination what Klaus's envelope may have contained. However, it’s worth mentioning, the black market and security forces were ever-present during my time in Syria in 1995.I hope you enjoyed your sho rt stay at the Al-Rabie Hotel. You can read the short story and my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace, at TallAndTrue.com.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to listen to earlier short stories.Don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website. And please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on your favourite listening app. Read The Al-Rabie Hotel at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-al-rabie-hotel.Also, my travel piece on Syria, Syrians Love Peace: tallandtrue.com.au/travel/syrians-love-peace.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Woman’s voice: https://freesound.org/people/pyro13djt/sounds/365613/Birdsong: https://freesound.org/people/Dre83/sounds/180876/Fountain: https://freesound.org/people/Tritus/sounds/202915/Loud voices: https://freesound.org/people/PhonosUPF/sounds/488163/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Her

Her

2021-01-1005:15

It’s a warm, sunny day and I'm strolling along Brighton Promenade during my lunch break. Seagulls are circling and squawking, and sunlight shimmers on the blue-green English Channel. I look away from the bright horizon and see her walking towards me. Twenty metres and twenty years separate us.“Her” is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote in England in 1992.The show notes include links to “Her” on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into “Her”I was living in England in 1992 when I had a dream that felt so real it reminded me of the 3rd Century BC Chinese philosopher, Chuang Chou.One night, Chou dreamed he was a butterfly, “fluttering hither and thither, enjoying itself to the full of its bent”, unaware he was Chou.When Chou awoke, he was himself again. But after that, he observed, “I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”I've never dreamed of being a butterfly. But I have had vivid dreams of flying (unaided), sitting on a bus (naked), and standing dumbstruck on a stage (because I didn't learn my lines). And I've also dreamed of visits from departed family and friends, even a dear old dog. The experience always feels real and evokes real emotions.It was the same for my dream 1992. When I woke, I was confused about where I was and whether what I had dreamed had happened. Was it a dream or a memory? At the time, I was experimenting with form in my writing. And I used the dream to write “Her”. It's part reality, I lived and worked in Brighton, and part fiction. I was thirty when I wrote “Her” and any relationship from twenty years ago would have been a school ground romance. But mostly, “Her” is a surreal interpretation of my vivid dream.It's unlikely Chou was a butterfly who dreamed he was a philosopher. And I’ve never followed an old flame into the English Channel. I hope you enjoyed my short dream. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don’t forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier short stories.Read “Her” at tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/her.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Shingles: https://freesound.org/people/dickiedrummer/sounds/368390/Crowded beach: https://freesound.org/people/Sheyvan/sounds/476099/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Underwater: https://freesound.org/people/SRJA_Gaming/sounds/545205/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Escape to the Beach

Escape to the Beach

2020-12-2204:47

The golden sand squeaks in protest as Megan presses her body more firmly into the beach towel. A gentle breeze carries a salty scent and chills the sweat glistening on her sun-toasted skin, as gulls crawk and waves break in a relaxing rhythm. Megan licks her lips and sighs. And then a phone rings.Escape to the Beach is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story which he wrote in 1991.The show notes include links to Escape to the Beach on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Escape to the BeachI wrote a version of Escape to the Beach in 1991, when I lived in England, as the entry requirement for a local tutor-led writers' circle.The tutor panned my short story as "too vague". And looking back, it was vague and flowery and had an unbelievable premise. In the original version, the forsaken wife, Megan, had remotely dispatched her philandering husband, Edward, by using medieval magic, which she had studied at evening classes! Setting aside the silly storyline, almost thirty years on, I still loved the contrast between Megan's dream and her response to the phone call. And so I re-worked my short story, and with middle-aged insight, added her desire to shut out reality and escape to the beach.I hope you enjoyed Escape to the Beach. Please subscribe to the short story podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read Escape to the Beach at tallandtrue.com.au/microfiction/escape-to-the-beach.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Phone ringing: https://freesound.org/people/robotjay/sounds/275163/Switch: https://freesound.org/people/EricsSoundschmiede/sounds/457410/Phone hung-up:  https://freesound.org/people/DrNI/sounds/164035/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Cruise Ship

The Cruise Ship

2020-12-1304:54

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.The Cruise Ship is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in September 2020.The show notes include links to The Cruise Ship on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Cruise ShipI wrote The Cruise Ship in September 2020 for Furious Fiction, a monthly 500-word short story competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre. September’s brief was:• The story had to be inspired by the photo of a ship deck• Begin with the letters SHO• And include the words SCORE, SLICE, SPRINKLE, STAMP and SWITCH.The ship deck photo had me thinking of cruise ships, and that led me to write another COVID inspired story, based loosely on the Ruby Princess debacle in Sydney, in March 2020. I know someone who travelled on that cruise with his wife. And while thankfully neither of them got sick, his Facebook photos of the Captain’s farewell party made it look like a germ factory, even without coronavirus! The letters SHO gave me the first word SHOULD, as in, “Should have done this years ago.” As for the other words, did you hear them in the story? Each is mentioned once and in the order, SCORE, SLICE, SPRINKLE, STAMP and SWITCH.The 55-hour submission deadline for the #FuriousFiction competition ends at midnight on the first Sunday of the month. Although I had a fair idea of what I wanted to write, thanks to the usual weekend duties and distractions, and inevitable short story edits, I submitted my September entry with only one last furious minute left on the clock!I hope you enjoyed this short journey with The Cruise Ship. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read The Cruise Ship at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-cruise-ship.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Ship horn: https://freesound.org/people/monotraum/sounds/208714/Seagulls: https://freesound.org/people/plantmonkey/sounds/377107/Bar ambience: https://freesound.org/people/lunchmoney/sounds/380200/Bottles chinking: https://freesound.org/people/LampEight/sounds/259671/Slot machine jackpot: https://freesound.org/people/JoannaLuna/sounds/448842/Dance music: https://freesound.org/people/cgoulao/sounds/431538/Waves: https://freesound.org/people/amholma/sounds/376802/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Splendid Views

Splendid Views

2020-11-3004:46

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."Splendid Views is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides an insight into the story, which he wrote for Furious Fiction in August 2020.The show notes include links to Splendid Views on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into Splendid ViewsI wrote Splendid Views in August 2020 for Furious Fiction, a monthly short story competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre. The brief for Furious Fiction August was that the 500-word story had to contain HUMOUR and include the words: DIZZY, EXOTIC, LUMPY, TINY and TWISTED. And a SANDWICH.Much of my writing contains humour, so I thought this would be the easiest part of the brief. However, I soon discovered the difference between doing something naturally, for instance, writing a humorous scene versus being forced to think about a punchline. Also, having written four previous Furious Fiction entries in and around lockdown, I wanted to set this story in a more joyous post-COVID time.Thankfully, the idea of an exotic weekend away in the mountains and "Fawlty Towers" false advertising about splendid views came to my rescue. And it offered me an alternative SANDWICH! As for the other words from the brief, did you hear them in the story?I hope you enjoyed Splendid Views. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads, The Cruise Ship, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes.Read Splendid Views at tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/splendid-views.Podcast Theme and Podcast Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Text message notification: https://freesound.org/people/katjajansen1997/sounds/538006/Driving car interior: https://freesound.org/people/devy32/sounds/439252/Keys jangling: https://freesound.org/people/anational/sounds/443956/Female laughter: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/33658/Male laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Eneasz/sounds/119459/Opening curtains: https://freesound.org/people/BiancaDrey/sounds/543570/Australian birds: https://freesound.org/people/mooncubedesign/sounds/402690/Restaurant Ambience: https://freesound.org/people/lunchmoney/sounds/380200/Bottles chinking: https://freesound.org/people/jawbutch/sounds/344401/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Dark Web

The Dark Web

2020-11-1805:02

Kevin caught the news in a chat room on the Dark Web. NASA had detected an unidentified object on a collision course with Earth. He wasn't surprised NASA had kept the news secret from the public. It was further proof of a plan by scientists and elites, backed by billionaires, to create a new world order.The Dark Web is a short story from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead. At the end of the episode, Robert provides a writer’s insight into the story, which he wrote for #FuriousFiction in October 2020.The show notes include links to The Dark Web on Tall And True and the podcast's theme music and sound effects.Support the podcast: supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-readsWriter's Insight into The Dark WebThe Dark Web was my October 2020 entry for Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly short story writing competition. The rules for October were:•  Each 500-word story had to include someone or something being CAUGHT•  It had to include the words: OBJECT, WOUND, BAND, and ELABORATE•  And the final two words had to be THE MOON.The final words, THE MOON, set me thinking of space and NASA and conspiracy theories. And this led me to write a story about a man who spends too much time in the dark alternate universes and truths of the internet and not enough time in the real world with his family. As for the other words, did you *catch* them in the story? If not, listen again and here’s a tip: each is only mentioned once and in the following order: CAUGHT, OBJECT, WOUND, BAND and ELABORATE. I didn't win October's #FuriousFiction. But once again, I enjoyed furiously working my imagination around the criteria and writing the short story in 55 hours, albeit a darker one than my previous entries.I hope you enjoyed The Dark Web. Please subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite listening app. And don't forget to tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True website.The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads, Splendid Views, will be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, check your feed to make sure you haven’t missed any of the earlier episodes, Five Meet On Zoom, A Moving Sculpture, Too Late Lenny, A Song on the Radio, The Cat in the Trunk, and A Jittery Journey.Read The Dark Web on tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-dark-web.Podcast Theme Music and Sound EffectsRoyalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 'Pastorale' – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:Glass bottle chink: https://freesound.org/people/LampEight/sounds/259671/Woman laughing: https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/33658/Quarrelling voices: https://freesound.org/people/therover/sounds/463804/Pouring liquid: https://freesound.org/people/FillSoko/sounds/257957/Sipping drink: https://freesound.org/people/Sheyvan/sounds/471078/Acast Podcast Supporter Page See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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