Week # 6 Story # 4

June 17th, 2015 by Ash

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So I missed a couple of weeks. I do have the ideas for the stories but I haven’t finished them and I’ve been sick and my cats really cute and distracting and we just got Netflix…..

Those are my excuses for missing two weeks worth of stories, I’m happy with them, mostly.

Here’s my latest. I’m not sure I’m completely happy with it, which is also why it’s a bit late, but I made a promise (that I’m already having trouble keeping) so here it is.

Snow Storm

I was jet lagged and still slightly drunk from not coping with my fear of flying and standing in Nan’s hospital room with my other family members. Uncle Darren, Jo my sister and my two cousins were there. Darren was saying something about how long it took them to get there because they passed through a snow storm. Mum knelt next to Nan. I stood there and hoped no one would come to close to smell me.

I was about to tell Uncle Darren to stop swearing in front of Nan when she opened her eyes wide and stared up at the ceiling, her whole body went tense.
“What is it mum? What can we do?” Mum said. Nan turned her head and stared into her as she tried to speak. Mum leaned in close as our circle closed in around the bed. Mum then turned to us, “Her crucifix. Where’s her crucifix?”
We all moved around on the spot acting like we could do something as Mum hunted in the bedside drawer until she pulled out Nan’s small wooden crucifix.
I remember so clearly, Nan’s hand reaching out into the air, all the knuckles bent with tension as mum tenderly took her hand and placed the crucifix in it.
Nan gripped it tight and drew it close to her chest as she stared up at the ceiling. Her body relaxed and she started muttering a prayer. Every now and then, she would lift the crucifix up into her eye line, check it was still there and then bring it back to her chest. After a while she closed her eyes and her face softened. The room went very quiet as we listened to the sound of her breathing.

Sometime near midnight I was looking out of Nan’s window down onto the empty hospital car park and I saw the sleet turn to snow beneath the street lamp. The snow storm had arrived.

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Week #3 Story #3

May 24th, 2015 by Ash

Favim.com-all-time-low-bands-bear-bed-bedroom-274806

 

I went to Christchurch last weekend to visit my Dad.  He’s a writer and we sometimes talk about our different approaches on the craft.  Sometimes I think it’s one of the hardest things to do and other times it feels the easiest.  This story, the 3rd in my short short story collection, was written in bed in Dad’s spare bedroom, just before I went to sleep.  I had this intense feeling about my life, hard to describe, I felt I had to create something so I could get some sleep – otherwise I think I would’ve been up for sometime with my thoughts rattling around.

 

Just before bed

“Is he sleeping with her?” She said to me as I stood in their bedroom door way.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“I just need to know,” she said as she propped herself up in bed.

She had been reading before she stopped me and the book sat open on her lap.  The bed side lamp was on and she was surrounded by their familiar walls, lined with band posters, family portraits and wedding photos.  One of their two dogs, Milly, was on the bed with her.

“I know.  I would tell you if I knew,” I said.

She looked at me closely.  I was moved by her vulnerability, her expression looking out at me from such a domestic scene.  She tucked her fringe behind her ear and it promptly fell back over her eye.  How could anyone leave her at night, I thought, that sweet face of homeliness, wrapped up in warm pyjamas.

“It’s not right though is it?” she said.

Another silence.  I sighed and leaned against the doorway.

“No.  If I had to make a call about it, no it’s not right.”

“Thank you,” she said.

If I was brave, I would’ve crossed the invisible line of their bedroom, that I felt was somehow sacred and gone to her, to console her.  Something about her expression was breaking my heart and making me yearn to connect with someone, to know someone and be known.  I stood there, for too long.  Everything that needed to be said, had been.  But I still stood there.

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Week #2 – Short story #2

May 17th, 2015 by Ash

I’m writing and publishing one short short story per week for a year.  I’m not %100 what the aim is, but it came about while talking shit in the pub and I like the idea of committing to things while under the influence of a beer or two (that was how I gave up smoking 12 years ago).

This story came about when I briefly overheard the first line of the story being said by a business type guy into his cell phone.  My wife and I were in the car park of the Kenilworth Castle in the U.K – it was an odd scene and what he said was so provocative that I wished to know what came next, so I made it up in my head.

Anyway, not sure if this one works but here’s the next story:

 

The true story of Bill

“I’ve made up my mind.  Put her on the phone.”  Bill said.  He waited, then Karen answered.

“Yes.  I’m here,”  she said.

“Hi, it’s me.  Mum’s gotta go to the home.  I’m sick of this shit.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.  I’m sure.  We knew this day would come.”

“Yes.  We did.”

“Well.  It’s fucking here now so let’s just do this.”

That day Bill had already bumped into his ex wife, found out about his mum and been told he had an inner ear infection.  After his doctor’s appointment he had been in meetings all day at the local café and had consumed five coffees.  He pushed the heavy glass door to his local and stepped inside.  He was about to order a pint to calm his nerves when his phone rang.

“Hello.”

“Bill.  It’s your uncle, God here.”

“Oh shit.”

“Yes.  What are you doing Bill?”

“It’s been a shitty day.”

“Yes.  I know.”

“Right.  Of course.  Look I don’t want to talk right now can you call back?”

“Bill.  Stressing out to earn money so you can pay people to look after your life is dumb.”

“What do you know about it? Shit.”

“Alright.  I’ll put it a different way.  Put my sister in a home and you’re fucked.”

“Bring it on dick.”

“Fine.”

The phone went dead.  Bill ordered his pint and from that moment until his death, which was still a while off, Bill looked at everything with fear.

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New short short story writing venture

May 10th, 2015 by Ash

la trobe writing

So I was chatting with some friends and musing over the best and most effective way to get ‘stuff’ out there and seen.  After going around and around in circles and being interrupted by some guy in 60s wanting a ‘four-way’, what we eventually thought might be a cool idea, would be posting a short short story (betweenn 300-500 words) every week.  I could go into the marketing details of peoples attention spans and personalising experiences but just imagine those kinds of things being said….
So without further ramblings about my hopes and fears of publishing a short short story every week, here is my first instalment:

Loving with the top down

I was in love with her but she wasn’t in love with me.  The fact was sealed for me when she once made me wait outside her apartment for half an hour while she was on the phone to her ex.  She had a great explanation at the time which I’ve forgotten.

We used to hang out at the International airport terminal.  We would dress like we were European travelers, wearing linen and sunglasses.  We’d take turns at making up stories of all the people we observed.  She often chose the young good looking couples.

I was smoking too much at the time and I felt much older than her.  I just moved slower.  I got away with never telling her my real age, but there was a sixteen year age gap between us.

One afternoon she came upon sitting in my courtyard writing in my journal.  I saw love in her eyes, but in that moment, she only ever loved the idea of me.  I could see the whole sad thing unfold in front of me and yet I still let it play out hoping that something would change.  I was probably just in love with her energy and smooth skin.

She ended it with a phone call.  I could hear other voices in the background and she sounded drunk.  I asked her to tell me what she was wearing one last time so I could imagine the scene.  I guess as a writer, these things matter to me.  She wore her purple jeans with holes in the knees, her hand made South African sandals and her white cotton blouse with Embroidery down the front.  I thanked her and she hung up.

I bought a convertible, a second hand one.  Melbourne isn’t really the town for convertibles, Sydney is, but I was hung over and impulsive and some royalties had come through.

I was driving through the country, feeling self conscious because the top was down and it was cold, when I saw her stopped at the roadside to buying fruit.  I’m sure it was her.  She looked like she had done well for herself.

I still have dreams about her.  They’re terrible, mostly because she always looks amazing and it burns my heart.  I wake up, usually around 5am and try to write it all out of my head.  My cat sometimes joins me, to comfort me.  I smoke a few cigarettes and tell myself it was all worth it and I go back to bed, half hoping to have the dream again and half not.

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Album update

April 24th, 2015 by Ash

So I’ve just received the master copy of my next album.  It’s very exciting.  I can’t decide what to call it though, which troubles me.  Not sure whether to go with the “Ashleigh Southam live at Blah blah etc place” or something a little more poetic.  These are the big decisions that define me – I will not take them lightly…..in fact I think I need a coffee break….

I finally got around to buying the second Bon Iver album.  I need to give it some more attention but my initial thoughts are that I really dig it.

Hopefully the release partay will be end of May.

Stay tuned!!
Peace out

Ash

 

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Sometimes you gotta shake

February 3rd, 2015 by Ash

So I got married last year and had an amazing time.  But I came back to realise I didn’t have enough work on to pay the bills.  This gave me some anxiety, but then I turned to the musical genius of our times, Taylor Swift and I realised that it would be ok, that all I had to do was shake it off.

 

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Escape like trains music video

August 26th, 2014 by Ash

 

 

Escape like trains thumbnail

So I had this idea to put some moving images to one of my songs.  It was a rather simple idea that ended up taking up a lot more time than I initially thought.  But that’s usually how I start a lot of things, with a sense of naive optimism believing “this will be easy” or “this won’t take long.”

 

 

Anyway, I searched through a whole lot of archival footage on the internet and put together this music video. I’m quite proud considering I don’t have much editing skills or much of a technical background for this kind of thing.  I had some help from the good people over at My Oh My productions who were very patient and accepted my offers of treats and coffees in exchange for time on their machines.
I hope you like it:  Escape like trains music video

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Putting it out there

March 5th, 2014 by Ash

loneliest smile

So in an effort to putting my money where my mouth is, I filmed myself right after to practice to see how I looked/sounded. I teach music and I recommend to all my students that they film themselves if they are interested in performing.  It gives you good indication of what the audience is going to see and it also lets you see/hear all your flaws you might have missed in practice.

I feel like it’s rather exposing, but also necessary. It’s a good way to check how the whole song sounds rather than just practising little bits and stopping when you get it wrong. I can hear a couple of my mistakes but because it was a “performance” I had to keep going. This is good practice in itself. It’s quite confronting to watch when it’s not a live video of a gig or a music video.  Rather exposing!

So here’s the youtube video of me, in my natural environment – even wearing a t-shirt my fiancee hates! 🙂 - performing a new song of mine called “Loneliest Smile”

Thanks for listening/reading

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDfke4u6eOo

 

 

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My composition in AGT

October 30th, 2013 by Ash

I composed this piece and some very talented people put choreography to it and now it’s made it’s way on to Australia’s Got Talent! If you want to check it out go to the link, scroll down and click on the video “Ministry of Dance Master Mime”.

Such wonderful work and so pleased and humbled!

http://agt.ninemsn.com.au/video/finals

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New music video!

May 19th, 2013 by Ash

prelude in g dance shoot

The music video is completed!!

I couldn’t be happier! I’ve found the project so inspiring and rewarding. Working with the different mediums has made this film clip particularly special to me. I sometimes forget how much I love collaboration and this is a perfect outcome for me.

I feel when watching it that is really is a thing that’s beautiful in it’s honesty. It’s sort of beautiful and sad all at once. So without further flaffing on from me, please watch and enjoy:

http://vimeo.com/66250360

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