Zinneke

October 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm (Uncategorized)

I once lived in a medieval house.

If you’re European, you probably wouldn’t blink at that. But for an Australian like me, it was pretty damn cool.

My room had blood red floorboards that had drifted apart over the years. One night I went to sleep early and when I turned out the lights, I was astonished to see beams shoot up from the floor. I crept out of bed, knelt, and pressed my face to the gaps between the boards.

My housemate was on the couch below, reading a book. She scratched her knee, then tried to catch a peanut in her open mouth.  She didn’t look up.

I turned my head to the ceiling, and wondered if my other housemate was watching me through her floorboards.

I’m the kind of person who always, always looks up.

Thank god people walking down our narrow cobblestone street weren’t like me. They didn’t know there was a writer at the windowsill one floor above them, drinking black cherry beer and tapping her pen lid, waiting for stories to walk by.

I think they would have behaved better, had they known.

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I wrote a story about what I saw from that windowsill, Street of the Candlesticks. It was turned into a radio play by ABC Radio National, has been published in books, and came within a whisker of being produced as a play at the Sydney Opera House. It’s a personal favourite of mine, written before I dived into the fiction pool and started to, you know, make things up.

So I’m delighted that it’s just been accepted for the Third Coast Festival in Chicago, focusing on ‘celebrating the best audio stories produced worldwide.’ If you’re in that part of the world on October the 19th, go head their way – they’re some of the loveliest people I’ve worked with.

Third coast international audio festival

I have a double reason to celebrate: it’s a story honouring the city I love, Brussels, and is also my 50th story acceptance. I bought myself a bottle of champagne and a new red dress. The champagne wasn’t that flash – I’m not a fancy woman – but the dress sure is fine.

Just a few weeks ago I made it back to Brussels. I’m never 100% sure I did the right thing in leaving, so going back is always bittersweet. I walked down Street of the Candlesticks, and stood for a moment with my hand on the door of #21. I looked up at the window, and remembered the notebook I’d use, the Cowboy I’d call in Australia who had my heart, and the Jacques Brel songs I’d sing to.

Then I realised it was a touch creepy to be fondling a door in the middle of Brussels, and pulled myself together. But as I walked away, I found this little fella painted on the wall of the house opposite, hiding amongst some leaves.

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If I can’t be watching the stories walk by, I’m happy he’s taken over the job.

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    I’m sitting here drinking coffee and reading you. I’m attempting to leave a post and I’ve a feeling it’s going to work. How amazing that I got to see your Brussels with you. I love that photo of the watching man…I’ve no doubt he is keeping an eye out for you. X

    • inkymouth said,

      I wouldn’t have even seen the watching man without you pointing him out, nestled in the greenery as he was. And I am so, so happy I finally got to show you my beloved Brussels…I knew you’d see the magic that I always have x

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