Fiction put on hold. The quill hovers over the digital notepad… writing has been placed somewhere on the shelf up near my sheet music and other crusty life goals while I attempt to realise yet another project – Atheist Children’s Books.
Yes, the product of months of procrastination, an idea born of frustration, illumination and wonder, atheistchildrensbooks.org, is finally in progress. With it and through it I hope to promote authors of exceptional works of fiction and illustrated fiction, and maybe, just maybe, help to sprinkle a little reason around the world.
I want to help!
Great! At the moment the site is very much in development, however if you’d like to contribute to getting it up and running, or are an author of secular, humanist, science or atheist books for kids and would like to promote your book on atheistchildrensbooks.org, please get in touch.
Once I have the site in a reasonable state and all the associated media and assets are ready, I’ll be running a kickstarter campaign or the equivalent in order to raise funds for marketing and development. The aim is not to rule the world, but to make it a nicer place to be.
Alexa wound down the window and flicked her cigarette out into the carpark. She listened to the slow exhalation of the city, the thrumming from the factories in the east, then checked her pistol. It was loaded.
“What about him then?” she said and pointed to the shadow rummaging behind a skip at the end of the alley.
Toby’s lips smacked around his all-day-testosterone-sucker. “Whadda bout him?”
“Well, you could say I have abandonment issues… Is that what one says? Is that a good place to start?”
“Perfect. And how does that make you feel?”
“How would you describe your emotions?”
“I guess… I feel… loneliness, desolation, friendlessness… solitude, yes. There’s some depression and hope in there, probably a little anger and guilt too… Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve probably been stuck on a loop of the seven stages for a couple of decades.” Continue reading Unopened Correspondences: Confessions of a Spam Bot
When I pulled into the street, I saw him leaning against the ash-grey trunk of a eucalypt in front of the courthouse—faded collared shirt and jeans wrapped loosely around his hunched frame, a cigarette cupped in his hands.
He was following the progress of a ute in the middle of executing a reverse parallel park, calling instructions to “swing harder” and “back out”. The driver seemed not to hear him. I pressed and held the horn until he, and everyone else on the street turned to face me. Another stranger in town, they said with desiccated squints and scowls that suggested limited access to dental hygiene.
He rubbed his cigarette into the tree trunk, waited, then crossed the street, scraping his sneakers on the road as he approached the car. Continue reading Waterfall Way
When the tyre blew, there was no explosion of rubber. No extended hiss.
No sudden slump in the cab, or grinding of rim on rock. Nothing to indicate that the wheel had put up a fight. Only an unsatisfying and noiseless wobble, an deflationary apology for having left me perched perpendicular to the descending mud track, and enveloped tip to toe in mountain forest.
Today I’m going to pass on a secret that’s been in my family for at least a generation or two, and show you how to whip up a batch of Nonna’s homemade gnocchi which, aside from being the cheapest gourmet-sounding meal this side of the poverty line, is the only thing I ever learned how to cook with conviction and mild success; apart from scrambled eggs on toast, which I still fuck up on occasions.
But before we get started I want to give you a bit of background info. First of all, I swear. A lot. A gift from my father before he went the way of all alcoholic diabetics with a monumental appetite for refined sugar. I also have a birthmark on the back of my left thigh shaped like the Eiffel Tower, or an ice-cream cone; it depends on how far I bend over.
As for the recipe, it all came from my Nonna—a stringy old bird from the north of Italy who, like many folk after the war, found herself on a boatful of other white-looking immigrants bound for Australia to work their arses off and get called a bunch of ‘good-for-nothing wogs’. She was the only one in those days who’d bothered to learn any English, which made her pretty popular around the markets and hospitals and court houses and anywhere else where monolingual Italians used to turn up with any frequency.
Nonna was of the old school of cooks: she could march into any kitchen, sift through the shit on the shelves, and cook a decent family meal, or a snack for passing Nazis, and by three-thirty in the afternoon she’d have the whole house licking their lips and loosening their pants asking where the nearest couch was. And no matter who you were, she’d touch you on the cheek or on the shoulder when you spoke to her, because she knew that everyone needed something extra, something tactile, to show that other people were listening to them, and she’d leave you with some nugget of wisdom or down-to-earth advice, even if it involved the best way to take up a pair of men’s trousers.
Okay, so I’m painting a pretty rosy picture here—she might had whacked her kids around a bit too, and shot a few of the neighbours’ dogs because they pissed on her azaleas—but she was generally alright, and I have never understood how, from such a sweet lady as my Nonna, came the rancorous crab monster that is my mother. Continue reading Nonna’s Gnocchi: A Real Fucking Treat
The water drummed against the bow of the Gritty Tang as she tugged her way along the western shoals.
Captain Kona stood silently at the wheel, his calloused hands responding in twitches to the pitching and lurching of the spring swells. He glanced at the mirror, and frowned at the curtain of mist that was purling over the horizon. The rains were coming. They’d promised three fingers by evening fall. Continue reading Captain Kona