Living in Sydney’s Kings Cross, I sometimes feel too far removed from the natural world. Sydney has its harbour and beaches; grey-headed flying foxes swarming over the Royal Botanical Gardens; and sulphur-crested cockatoos eating their way through the exterior of apartment balconies and windows. But the city, suburbs, cars and crowds overshadow all of this and—especially as winter begins—it’s very easy to get caught up in the daily grind and overlook nature altogether. Every day I trek up and down the concrete-lined wind tunnel of William Street, a grim tidal flow between home and work. Even the natural phenomena of wind and rain come with a ‘city-like’ effect: dead umbrellas, mauled and left on the side of the road, or stashed half-heartedly into the tops of bins.
So maybe that’s why, in a journal without themes, nature has taken over and commanded such a presence in this issue. Benjamin Allmon takes us to Killarney in Queensland’s Southern Downs and camps on the Condamine River not once but twice: with and without the latest mod-cons. A number of other writers investigate our relationship with animals, and the various moral quandaries that can arise. Humans are animals too, and in ‘Rim-Compactness’, Emma Rayward examines this in a refreshingly direct way.
And then there’s death. Zimbabwean writer Chido Muchemwa examines the traditions she has left behind, focusing on the kurova guva (‘striking the grave’) ceremony, and Kathryn Morgan takes us to a Torajan funeral ceremony in ‘Funeral Party’, her Sydney Writer’s Room award-winning story.
In other fiction, previous contributor Robin Reich returns with his uniquely structured story, ‘The Third Bolaño’, while Matthew Mastricova proves that second-person narration can work at length with his 7,500-word story, ‘To Rest’. As always, there’s much more besides, and I’m particularly thrilled to present the first chapter of Julie Janson’s new novel, ‘The Crocodile Hotel’, now available from Cyclops Press.
Our poetry editor Stuart Barnes has interviewed Julie Maclean and we’ve got three of her poems, plus two from regular contributor Tiggy Johnson, who we’re very happy to welcome back for Issue Ten. There’s also poetry from Chris Lynch, Lee Todd Lacks, Mary Petralia, and—since I had no idea where to start—let’s kick things off with “Where to Start?”, a poem by Yi Yu.
Issue Ten is available now on our website and in popular ebook stores like Tomely, Kobo, Google Play and Amazon Kindle.