Cher Chidzey, interviewed by Daniel Young

Daniel Young interviewed Issue Four contributor Cher Chidzey to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Ken’s Quest (Threekookaburras).

This interview can be found in Issue Eighteen of the journal alongside a chapter from Ken’s Quest. Please consider buying a copy or subscribing to help support our work.

DY: Thanks for being part of our interview series and congratulations on the publication of your latest novel Ken’s Quest. Could you start by telling us a bit about your background and how you came to writing?

CC: I am the youngest of nineteen children, twelve girls and seven boys. My father Huat was born at the end of the Qing dynasty in Shantou, a fishing village.

Father and his three wives, four sons and eight daughters migrated to Singapore when the Japanese invaded China. I was born in a household of over thirty people, in a house built on stilts. Father relocated shortly after with my mother and her two sons and six daughters to a simpler dwelling in Serangoon Gardens, the stomping grounds of Australian and British military personnel.

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Venus, by Grace Jarvis

Grace Jarvis is a second year university student in the throes of an arts degree based existential crisis. She was the recipient of the Queensland Theatre Company’s Young Playwright’s Award in 2015 and feels she needs to mention it constantly as it’s the most impressive thing she’s ever done. You can find her on Twitter @grace4jarvis.

This poem first appeared in Issue Seventeen of Tincture Journal. Please support our work by buying a copy or subscribing.

There is a very beautiful girl sitting opposite me on the train. I am openly staring at her and she looks uncomfortable. I don’t mind. Locks of purple hair fall unrestrained onto her forehead as her eyes restlessly sprint around the carriage, looking for something to land on besides my beady gaze. I am almost pleased when she chooses the chipped remnants of black polish encrusting her jagged nails. Her lipstick is bleeding. There is a thick layer of grime coating her cuticles and her nervous fiddling continues to distress an already significant hole in her tacky fishnet stockings. I picture my mother scolding me for wearing laddered tights under my godforsaken school kilt and I picture this girl’s mother: dead somewhere, a gutter. My attention, much to her chagrin, returns to the girl after the train’s sudden stop nudges my briefcase against the scuffed toe of her dilapidated Doc Marten. I scowl at the girl and she tucks her violet hair behind her punctured ear and seeks refuge behind a battered copy of The Bell Jar.

I wonder if she knows she is a cliché.

I wonder if she has a boyfriend.

I wonder if she looks this terrified when she fucks.

I get off the train.

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Michelle Cahill, interviewed by Daniel Young

Daniel Young interviewed Michelle Cahill for Issue Sixteen of the journal. Michelle’s short story collection Letter to Pessoa was recently published by Giramondo and includes ‘A Miko Coda’, an earlier version of which appeared in Issue Seven of Tincture.

Michelle Cahill

DY: Thanks for being a part of our interview series and congratulations on the recent publication of your short story collection, Letter to Pessoa. Could you start by telling us a bit about your background and how you came to writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to pursue, or something you came upon at a later point in your life?

MC: Thank you Daniel!

I remember when I was in primary school escaping into other worlds, aware of a ‘narrating’ voice that was not quite myself, though it was an intimate aspect of my experience. Growing up through cultural transitions, class and race anxieties, over the years, through books, across countries and interruptions, I guess that voice became writing. I wrote stories and poems in my adolescence but started writing seriously much later in life. At one point, I had wanted to become a musician; now I realise that writing is also an instrument.

DY: You’re a published poet. Have you always written short stories as well, or has this been an evolution from one creative form to another? Indeed, your prose is highly poetic, in terms of both rhythm and imagery. Does this come naturally as you write or is it layered into the prose through editing and re-drafting?

MC: I have been a prose writer for many years, experimenting in forms. Poetry and fiction are distinct processes. When I sit down to write I know whether I am about to write a poem or if it is going to be fiction, but I suppose my language is poetic; that is my natural style. The editing is not really layering but more about correcting the flow (as well as attending to plot and character and focalisation; the many technical aspects of fiction). The composition, the rhythm and auditory texture can allow variations, semantic liberties for the writer as well as malleability for the text. Of course, there is a place for stark, uncluttered sentences and there are passages like that in the book, for instance in its opening paragraph.

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Carnival Flesh, by Elisabeth Murray

Elisabeth Murray is a writer from Sydney who is interested in all things feminist, queer, and mental health-related. Her work has been published in Verity La, Fields Magazine, Tincture Journal (Issue Seven), Contrapasso, Voiceworks, dotdotdash magazine, and several University of Sydney anthologies. Her novella, The Loud Earth, was published by Hologram in 2014.

This story first appeared in Issue 15 of Tincture Journal. If you like this story, please consider buying a copy or subscribing.

We are a crush of bodies, but the calmest kind of crowd. Smoke and sweat is everywhere. I am far from everyone I’ve known in my life but this crowd knows me more intimately than the earth does when you’re dead, without any skin to put up a barrier.

I am standing in front of the speaker but I am standing everywhere, I am the light that smashes through blue to yellow, I am the night coming through the back of the tent, through the gaps between people, so there’s no space anymore. My body takes the force of the music like the ocean when you use none of your muscles against it. There is the cold metal railing against my arms and my skin is good now, no longer a barrier, and my eyes are shut and the strength of the earth is inside me, all the time it has lived in my bones.

I open my eyes to a girl so close she seems part of my own strength. Her hair is like ochre and she is wearing a skirt the colour of the centre of the continent viewed from so high it is more like the idea of red.

She is yelling something, her mouth hardly real. But it’s all real, just a kind of real I’ve never known before. We are jumping with the rest of the crowd, and on stage everyone wears a smile like the girl, they are jumping with us, cajón, guitar, bass, flute, djembe stronger than an ocean.

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Saving Daniel, by Lucie Britsch

British born with Germanic roots (very different from Jamaican roots in the fun stakes) Lucie Britsch fears her writing career peaked too soon when she won a poopscoop slogan contest as a child. Her writing has since appeared in Barrelhouse, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, This is Pinball, The Millions and Catapult Story, and she has gained an honourable mention in Glimmer Train. She says she is working on some books but is mostly reading other people’s and realising hers is rubbish in comparison.

This story first appeared in Issue 15. Please support our work and buy a copy or subscribe today.

Image By Original works: Vegas Bleeds Neon Derivative work: FRacco [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What’s so funny?

This girl

Huh?

So I was looking at getting this make-up

You don’t need make-up

Ha ha

Anyway, so I was looking at this make-up and looking at the reviews and it went great, great, then an OK, another great, a love love love this stuff, a marvellous

Do people still say marvellous?

Apparently so

Marvellous

So then another great, one girl really really liked how it made her eyes pop and you know how I feel about the whole eye-popping thing

You like yours staying where they should be

Exactly

Who doesn’t?

This girl

Right

Anyway, so we have a lot of greats, an OK and an awesome then this girl says it should be banned

She shows him the screen

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Last Night in Tokyo, by Kali Myers

Kali is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based writer, researcher, blogger and occasional ranter. Her work concerns violence, fairy tales, power, and representations of women. Her writing has previously appeared in FeminartsyOverland online, and on a number of other blogs and scholarly journals. You can tweet to her @pickwickian36.

This story first appeared in Issue 14. Please support our work and buy a copy or subscribe today.

Last Night in Tokyo

“What’s that noise?”

“An alarm.”

“An alarm?”

“Well yes I assume so.”

“So there’ll be someone here soon then.”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“But there’s an alarm.”

“So?”

“So… people. The alarm will… raise the alarm. You know; someone breaks in, alarm sounds, cops; all that.”

“Security alarms are usually silent.”

“What are you talking about?”

“They’re usually silent. Why would you give someone you want to catch advanced warning?”

“What? Alarms are loud and noisy to scare people away. The alarm at my mum’s always brings the neighbours running.”

“Does this look like a house to you?”

“What?”

“Does this look like a house to you? It’s not—it’s a government building. Government buildings don’t make noise. They have those silent alarms that just make the buzzing noise in the security room so the guards know something’s up.”

“Umm… OK. So then Dr Professor…”

“Dr Professor?”

“Whatever.”

“What’s a Dr Professor?”

“Fuck, I don’t know. Smart arse then. Captain Fucking Brilliant. Einstein. Take your bloody pick.”

“My pick of what?”

“Gah! Of nothing. OK.”

“OK… were you asking a question?”

“Yes! Yes I was asking a question.”

“What was it?”

“About the alarm.”

“Ah yes. That. Still going. What about it?”

“Well if it’s not a damned burglar alarm and there’s no cops coming—we should totally be hiding though—then what the hell is it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Fire?”

“Fire?!”

“Yeah could be.”

“Fire? Fucking fire? There could be a fucking fire alarm going off and you’re just standing there.”

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