We leave the club for M’s place. All I know is his name, where he works and that he’s a good kisser. I learn which city he’s from in the lift up to his apartment. Once inside, he says, ‘We don’t need to do anything you don’t want to.’ ‘Okay.’ I haven’t felt this attracted to someone for a long time. I trust him. I ask for a glass of water and wait on the couch as M tidies his room. I scan the DVDs left scattered by the TV and watch headlights along a distant highway as they puncture […]
This Christmas hols, as that word suggests, I’ve been rereading mid-century children’s classics. Ones in which the characters go to another world. Actually, I’ve been listening to them. Neither of my kids are the kind of reader I was—too well-adjusted I hope, certainly too busy outdoors whilst we were weather-bound inside on the other side of the world. By the time they read like I did, if they do, they may well be too old for the stories that formed writer-me. So I’ve turned to audiobooks, and that nothingless stretch of freeway on the long drive from town to the […]
The last six months have been remarkable. At this point, I can simply text the name of a powerful man to a friend, and they know—another has been accused, outed, exposed. The context is so present in our minds, partly because it always has been, but largely because the public conversation that’s erupted has been so thorough and—for the most part— wonderfully persistent in both condemning predatory behaviour and upholding the testimony of victims. New precedents are being established. Where we would once discuss these crimes with beleaguered resignation about the consequences, we can now be quietly confident that we’re […]
Up here I am a bird. The wind blows through my feathers when I spread my wings and I am alive. The treetops tip and bow, beckoning me to launch into the wildness, to freedom. But I am only a fledgling; the thought of flight makes me quiver. I nestle into my sheltered perch, the scent of eucalypt swooning me into stillness. Up here in my tree I can do anything. She can’t stop me. She can’t even see me. Until the autumn of my fourth year of school I had an average life. My dad mostly off driving […]
During my time at university, all I could write were my parents’ boat stories. The magnitude of what they had been through overwhelmed me. I compared my experiences as a second-generation Vietnamese-Australian to theirs, and mine felt less worthy of articulating. Some days I’d imagine myself as part of the 5T drug-dealing gangs in Cabramatta during the 90s. Others, I’d imagine that I had fought in the Vietnam War, piecing together fragments of anecdotes my parents told me about being conscripted, rationing food, or dodging bullets and bombs. As a Vietnamese-Australian, I just did not think that my experiences could […]
According to recent reports in the press, my father was not only an alcoholic (a remarkably functional one given his output) but he also suffered from bi-polar, or manic depression, to use its twentieth century name. Diagnosed when he was in his early twenties, he managed to conceal it from my mother until after they were married and went on to conceal it from me until I was a teenager. My mother let go of the secret one night over the kitchen table after he’d woken us up by dancing on the hen house. She told me the story of […]
My local library is a tiny outpost in the inner-north of Melbourne. It is a utilitarian and slightly shabby 1980s building with weeds growing up outside of it, perched on the slope of a noisy intersection between a pharmacy and a disappointing florist. The opening hours are brief. Inside it is dark and cramped. It has modest stock on the shelves: new release fiction, battered paperbacks, cookbooks, DIY, and children’s picture books. Despite its lack of promise, the library is a portal to a world of reading because I can request books from the wider network of which it is […]
At Meanjin we are privileged to publish essays by some of Australia’s finest thinkers. Narrowing them down to this few finest has been a challenge. 2017 was an exceptional time for prophetic writing…
In its long history Meanjin has had the honour of bringing some of Australia’s finest voices to readers—and what form could be so involving, so transportive, so seductive, as the short story?
Meanjin has published some fine short memoir pieces in 2017. Memoir can be an act of reportage, resistance or confession. The late and much loved John Clarke writes tenderly of the commonplace…
The poetry that appeared in Meanjin in 2017 included poems by newcomers to our pages—Shastra Deo, Jodie Hollander, and Ross Gillett—alongside poems by veterans such as Anthony Lawrence, Andrew Sant, and John Kinsella.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything from my personal reading list. So long, in fact, that I have suddenly found myself without one. In all honesty, I have never been the kind of person with a reading list, per say. Not so deep down, I balk at the prospect of a reading list; it evokes the regimentation and planning that I read to avoid, that I have in abundance in my other pastimes. Read: I may or may not over-organize. Nevertheless, four years ago, I signed up for an English Major in an Arts Degree and was […]