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TurlTimes

Volume III, Issue 4– October 1, 2012

I pushed upon my gate and found it gone - David Jeffrey

Poetry and Prose from the students of the 2010 Oxford University Summer Creative Writing Program.

“Travel Diaries”

Contributors
Carolina Amoroso is an Argentinean teacher, writer and editor. She started learning English at the age of six, and has not been able to stop ever since. After sitting for several international English exams, she attended teacher training college at IES Lenguas Vivas, from which she graduated with honors. She then decided to continue her education abroad, and studied Creative Writing at Oxford University. She is currently doing an MA in English in hometown Buenos Aires. She works full-time as a teacher of English as a second language to kids, teenagers and adults. Early this year Miss Caro also started teaching writing. Following her experience at Oxford she undertook a collaborative writing project in the form of an electronic newsletter with her fellow classmates, for which she writes and is assistant editor. She hopes to combine her passion for writing and for English and turn them into a book, ideally a best-selling one. Stay tuned. Dipti Anand is a dreamer. An artist in training, she loves to draw and paint. She is currently halfway through finishing her BSc degree with a double concentration in Entrepreneurship and Creative and Visual Arts at Babson College, USA. Clearly this is all just a ploy to distract her friends and family from her true hopes and dreams, which are to be a Bollywood dancer. She has been writing since she was 9 years old and her first poem was called “Smile”. Dipti specializes in giving people false directions to well-known destinations and dressing as well as she possibly can, even when the weather is just absolutely unbearably awful. She also loves bubble tea. Sheila Armstrong is currently doing an M. Phil in Popular Literature in Trinity College. She has just finished an internship with New Island Books and will be staying on to do some editing work for the company. Her blog is doing well and she is incredibly busy. She is still struggling with her health, but hopes that the new year will bring a fresh start. Her blog is http://www.facebook.com/l/de316NBvi6VkKOwlDw1CX4U48Q/www.wrapitinwords.tumb lr.com Omnya Attaelmanan is currently exploring the many facets of getting an MA in Globalization & Development Studies, which include obligatory grad student broke-as-fuck-itude, unraveling the many mysteries of Dutch society (among other things, they appear to eat chocolate sprinkles on toast for breakfast and occasionally engage in mass blackface) and switching thesis topics 14 times. Her ultimate goal is to save the world, although she will also settle for the chance to rule said world. These days, she is far more likely to stumble upon the Holy Grail at a garage sale than she is to find the time to write fiction, but hopes to actually be able to hand in a full-length, predeadline submission to the Turl someday soon. She looks forward to a full Exonian reunion, tulip

season, Frank Turner’s return to the Netherlands in April, graduation, another day spent in the company of the loveliest man on Earth, the release of the Hobbit, and the moment she figures out where “home” really is – not necessarily in that order. She can be reached on Facebook, which currently owns her soul. Janet Barr is an Australian writer and filmmaker. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from The University of Melbourne, majoring in art history, while continuing to work as a critical nurse to support herself and three teenage children. After attending Oxford University’s Creative Writing Summer School at Exeter College in 2010, Janet completed the Foundations in Film and Television Course at her Alma Mater’s Victorian College of the Arts in 2011. Throughout the year she wrote, directed and produced three short films, acted and crewed for fellow students and continued to hone her first full-length screenplay through multiple rewrites. Janet is currently researching the subject of her second screenplay sustained by family, friends, landscape and music from pop to rock, dance and blues to classical compositions, especially the repertoire of her favourite ensemble, the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She also enjoys reuniting with her Exeter College colleagues online as a regular contributor of short stories and essays to their international e-journal, the Turl Times. Always a keen traveller at home and abroad, Janet hopes to return to Oxford and another inspiring summer school in the not too distant future.

summer collaborative issue of Twenty20 Journal (a popular minimalist journal). She wishes to continue contributing to the world of published literature by way of quality fiction, poetry and journalistic writings. Ruth Cupp has been a Practicing attorney since 1954, columnist for SC Lawyers Weekly, writing third book, it is non-fiction and on the subject of unmarried teenage mothers. Wafik Doss or (Fiko) Doss is 19 years old and lives on a farm in Cairo, Egypt. He is currently studying at the American University in Cairo and majoring in English and Comparative Literature. Wafik has inherited a love of literature and the fine arts from his mother’s side and his flair for business from his father’s. He dreams of traveling to Tibet, South Africa, and The Americas, and hopes of becoming a world-renowned writer. In his spare time, he fights off monkeys in Bali, incidentally, and loves swimming and traveling the world. Wafik has been writing poetry since the age of six and remembers his first ever poem, word for word, however he is too embarrassed to include it in the anthology. Lorenza Hadda is a college student from Mexico. A warm hearted, sweet young woman, Lorenza can often be found wandering through Blackwell’s, reminiscing about excellent salads she's had in the very recent past, and, unfortunately, sometimes careening headfirst into thick, dense briar patches. Her long, flowing locks have inspired much jealousy in the female population. In the future, Lorenza hopes to spend a great deal of time strolling around sunny warm beaches and reading books under gently waving palm trees. If this fails, she has her heart set on becoming an archaeologist.

Rebecca Brothers is spending another summer in delightful Walla Walla, taking Applied Statistics and History of WWII (because Panzer divisions are where it's at, yo). She has been accepted as a writing concentration student for her final year in university and will be a regular columnist at The Collegian starting in late September. She also, at Cilla Henriette was born in an Indonesian family the eleventh hour, decided to change her minor with mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. from organ to history. Her innate curiosity of cultural richness and diversity has brought her to live in Singapore, The Trisha Bhattacharya is a creative writer born in Netherlands and now India. She works for Innate India and brought up amidst varying cultures and Motion, a brand development agency that helps geographies. Travelling and reading are some companies building more meaningful brands for of her interests in addition to creative writing. people and society. She feels fortunate with the Her repertory of educational qualifications opportunity to meet people across ages and include: creative writing at Oxford University, places around the globe through her job. She is online program in short story writing and poetry intrigued with real human issues and inspired to from Stanford University. Her contribution within voice these out through her writing. Cilla came to the sphere of creative writing spans - fiction, Oxford to expand her imagination and become a poetry and selective journalistic art, literature, better writer. culture, travel features and articles for print and online. A travel feature written by her about Oxford was published in Hans India, a print daily. It also featured well received features on Durga Puja celebrations and the Sunderbans wildlife sanctuary. Though she is in love with textin-print, she also enjoys writing for online media like www.caleidoscope.in and others. Her written work has also appeared in foreign and Indian publications like: the Times of India, Hans India, the 11th Issue of 34th Parallel, two issues of Fashion and Beyond, Kolkatamirror.com, On the Grass, issues of Turl Times, the winter issue and

General Copyright Notification All contents of the Turl Times are Copyright © 2012 On The Grass, its suppliers and/or participating publications, their contributors, licensors and/or advertisers. All rights reserved. All digitally represented pages of publications accessible through the Turl Times are protected by their respective copyrights. Notwithstanding reservation of rights hereby noticed, additional specific copyright notices of individual copyright owners may be provided below. Materials obtained through this or other Turl Times publications remain the property of the copyright owners of such materials and are also protected by national and international intellectual property laws, conventions and treaties and may only be used for providing proof of insertion and/or proof of publication for advertisements ordered for placement within the publication(s) in which they appear (if any). All other uses are specifically prohibited without prior written permission from the copyright owners(s) including but not limited to republishing in print, electronically, or by any other means; distributing, whether or not for payment or other consideration; or copying, reproducing, displaying or transmitting for any other purpose. These uses are prohibited whether in whole or in part or in combination with other materials.

CONTENTS
2 4 10 14 16 25 27 29 Foreward To The Turl Times Trisha Bhattacharya “Flight Of A Sparrow” Dipti Anand “A City Of Palaces” Trisha Bhattacharya “Ballad To The Thief Of The Night” Wafik Doss (Fiko) “Stops Along The Way” Jackie Lee King “The Healer” Rhonda Klevansky “On Being Novocastrian” Amy Lovat “Election Race Wrap-up: Gentlemen And Ladies. Start Your Engines!!” Sean McIntyre “Awakening” Stefanie Sabathy “The World Forgotten By The World Forgot” Sheeba Shivangini Shah 44 BACK PAGE: THE NEXT ISSUE

Turl Times Volume III Issue 4 – October 1, 2012 ISSN#: Pending Inquiries: Turl Times On The Grass LLC Publications 508 W 6th Street Apt 1 Bloomington, IN 47404 Editor & Publisher Jackie Lee King Assistant Editors Carolina Amoroso Dipti Anand Trisha Bhattacharya Amy Lovat Images & Artwork Amy Lovat – Cover Photo Ashley McMillan – Coat of Arms Jackie Lee King James McDonough See Back Page for Image sources

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© Turl Times On The Grass LLC Pulbications All Rights Reserved 2012 The Turl times is a Private Newsletter distributed, via the Internet and print, to the students of the 2010 Oxford University Summer Creative Writing Program.

Turl Times

Forward To The Turl Times
Trisha Bhattacharya Kolkata – India

lineaments of art and literature, and the spirit of freedom and independence brewing across continents. Unraveling posh cities of the world, enclosed-yet-liberating fortunate suburbs, flourishing towns, affluent villages, resting counties, the eternal traveler has been everywhere, or wants to be, if not physically, mentally, and where the mind goes, the body follows, eventually. Sacred pilgrimages, arresting ambiences, treasured memories; acquaintances with inspiring talents and passed-onknowledge, and exceptions, simply viewed or as lessons imbibed, are all part of the thoughts streaming through the diaries of travelers.

Theme: Travel Diaries Bohemian, fleetingly-nomadic or essentiallywandering, drifting purposefully from one place to the other, either intermittently, or regularly, the gypsy-inside, pulls one out of sobriety and balance, into adventurous meanderings, investigations of the world, and into canals of explorations. With eyes not borrowed, but owned, with words, not read, but thought, with pictures and images, captured in one’s own devices, than furrowed out from sources, travelers find Madeira in ‘in-person escapades’. New cultures, lifestyles, languages, landscapes, coalesce with the traveler, in their mind and hearts, and find expression as words and passages, in diaries. Travelers, their pens, pages or other tools, acquire of the world, its existence, acquire of the cities visited and cultures encountered, their essence, and pen down in tandem and permanence, eclectic experiences, rhythms in music,
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The traveler’s persistent plans and goals, although different for each, underneath, aspire to achieve balance in conundrum, and peace in chaos. Travelling, for some, is an escape-to-victory, for some, it is entirely an experiment, for some, a craving for knowledge and wisdom, for some, it’s a grounded tryst with nature, for some, it is capturing glories-in-concrete, for some, the pursuit is one driven entirely by intelligent materialistic avocations, and for some, it is a deed of randomness, or an act doused in spirituality. The diaries of travelers are emissaries, of the traveler’s heart, passion, and the depth of their souls. In its
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pages are found, instances of revelry, moments of valor, exchanges of courtesies, excerpts from meetings-that-led-to lasting friendships, strands of precious learning, and extracts of bequeathed deep knowledge. Histories of locations and architecture, personalities of past and present dwellers, impressions and heritages left behind by erstwhile rulers, in the form of folktales, as the written word, or as paintings and souvenirs, escape no true traveler, and find a dwelling place in words, ornately and delicately inscribed in diaries. Intricate and edgy, somewhat-bare and profound, holistic and quaint, coded and compact, elaborate and beautiful, defined and sharp, unique and characteristic -- clan of words, inside pages, melt into the readers’ hearts, and infuse, the same wonder, felt by those who experienced innumerable valuable moments during travel.

Thus, intriguing stories, beauteous poems, fine-spun excerpts, and analytical essays, immured in dairies, gleaned off travelling experiences are depictive of that which was, is, and gives the reader a look into what may still be. In the following pages, are precious strings of such stories, narratives, elucidations, anecdotes, notes, paragraphs, from diaries of travelers, journeying through life in myriad capacities, and in their thoughts are expressions of chapters of lives lived, moments cherished, values inherited, acquisitions of enrapturing beliefs and most significantly, persuasive and soft-collisions with incandescent fortunes and beautiful destinies.

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Dipti Anand India – New Delhi

Like the background in a landscape painting, where heavy outlining ties the sky with its clouds and the clouds with its trees and the trees with its grass and the grass again with its sky, she wanted to glisten like the shine caught in the ridges of a jewel, a little glint of surprise that would peek out amongst such friends, and ask for your permission to show itself to you. But as a burdening after-thought, the picture she painted in her head was often always made up of the wrong colors – she’d paint herself too dark, or too heavy, or too inconspicuous that she’d fall into the hands of the sky, clouds, trees and grass, that nestled her, controlled her, and held her glitter captive. One day, as she lay entranced by the melancholic lull of her own chirping, the sparrow heard a loud “swoosh” attack her nest from above. Startled, she looked up, but all she could see was a glimmer of the sunset that escaped from the canopy above. The “swoosh” sound seemed to belong to no one. Although this comforted her for a second, she felt instantly restless. Disliking the idea that something new had taken her by surprise, the sparrow decided to resume her regular chirping, hoping the day would fall into routine. “You call that a song?” A voice called from nowhere. The little sparrow jolted upright, rocking her nest senseless. Little gasps of air froze like a solid mist around her, adding to the confusion that was already pounding in her head. “Who – who said that?” She mumbled, apparently to no one. “You did.” It called back, this time more loudly. “I – I – I did?” Silence. Slumping against the cushiest twig, the sparrow grew uneasy. She could hear the resounding echoes of the voice in her head, and as many minutes passed without any responses, the world around her grew dark. The half-eaten moon
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“Flight Of A Sparrow”

Brown, bare-chested and bloated, a little sparrow slept peacefully under her own wing, nuzzling so hard against her feathers that they sunk in from where her beak touched them. She was curled up like a little lump, a round piece of mud that was soft to its core, yet somehow looked tougher, cruder, harder in its meticulous circular shape. For those that follow patterns, as most living thoughts do, this sparrow’s thoughts were circular in every possible way – in mood, in progression, in flight. If the insensitive eye wished it, it could mistake her for what she was not, but unwilling to take that chance, the little sparrow slept in the sky, on a cloud of twigs and leaves and branches. Unsteady as her pace was, the sparrow exposed herself only to the little pieces of wind that fell out of the sky and landed in her empty nest. If curiosity prevailed over her regular senses, she would crane her short, stubby neck against the edge of her nest as high as she could, her little veins bursting onto the surface, like rivers diverging from the sea. In those moments - neck craned, beak agape, feathers ruffled - she could really taste the free air she so desperately wanted to be a part of.

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hung in the sky, and even with its lighting prowess, the sparrow couldn’t see even a trace of what had disturbed her. She took to nibbling her feathers, nibbling and biting them clean. She didn’t sing her song that night. The next morning, she awoke to the little drops of dew that fell from the canopy above. The drizzle of freshness was an awkward relief from the strangeness of the night before. There was a light breeze in the air, a familiar breeze that smelled just like she had always known it to. The new day was convincing enough that she may have just imagined or even dreamed the whole thing up. After all, conjuring voices was a common technique that the lonely used to get comfortable to being alone. She consoled her faith with this idea, and decided to think nothing more of it. The soft, short, sweet sounds of her chirping swarmed around her nest, in little twirls of delight that rose higher, and louder, and brighter. But in a moment’s hesitation, before she picked up her next verse, she heard -“That’s better than yesterday, but not as good as it can be tomorrow.” The voice was much louder now, evidently closer by. It was deep-set, burnt, and slightly hoarse as if smoke had digested its inner-physical essence. In the proximity, it was much easier to define. “Who says that?” The sparrow called. “You did, again.” “No, no, no, I – I – I didn’t.” “Then why did you change your song?” Her heart pounding more steadily, sparrow quickened her responsiveness. the

“That may have been true of before, but today it’s changed. You said it so yourself.” The voice called. “This is my song! There is nothing different about it!” “Yes, there is. From the other sparrows, yes, yes, there’s a big difference. From yourself yesterday, there’s an even greater one.” The voice replied, airily. The sparrow opened her tiny respond, but immediately snapped it shut. “Are you real?” She asked. “Real? Of course I’m real.” The voice said. “You’re – you’re not inside my head then?” “Of course not, silly sparrow.” “Then prove to me you’re not inside my head.” “First, sing me another song.” “First, prove to me you’re real.” “I will, but only once you’ve sung.” The sparrow contemplated the offer, but too tempted by her curiosity, her negotiations fell through. She started to sing. This time a ringing echo accompanied her voice, as if she were singing two songs at once, almost like she was singing the one song and hearing the other. Longer breaths supported her soprano, and she carried the melody of her song more smoothly, more clearly, more … interruptions? “I changed my song.” She whispered. “Better, better. See I told you, you told me so yourself.” beak to

“I didn’t change my song. I’ve sung this song every day from the day I first learned to sing.”

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“But – but – I said that just now.” “Ah, it was only a matter of time.” “I – you – I – I want to know. I – I – sang. Now you, prove yourself.” “Now that can take a very long time.” “I – I – don’t have any sparrow friends.” “Show me you’re of my reality, and not an escaped thought in my head.” Just as she said this, two beady eyes broke out from above the canopy, but accustomed to not seeing much, the little sparrow couldn’t recognize them. “Well?” She called impatiently. “And you never found your way back?” “Here I am.” The sparrow was quiet for a moment. A large brown head burst through the green leaves, poking its head out slowly, then its enormous, wide shoulders on which rested the largest, most splendid wings the little sparrow had ever seen. She gasped. “Are you – are you going to eat me?” The sparrow stammered stupidly. “If your song doesn’t get any better, I might have to.” He called. “What are you?” “Why, I’m an eagle. See my wings? They are strong and unstoppable even in the fiercest of winds. I have seen many storms as I’ve been on flight ever since I first learned how to fly.” “Why are you here? In my tree?” “Silly sparrow, this tree does not belong to you. Not even your little nest belongs to you. Now your song, that can be only yours.” “It – it can? You mean it isn’t right now?”
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“Till yesterday, you sang like the shadow of your sparrow friends, the kind that nestle in buildings and chirp to the traffic of other people’s indifference and incessant preoccupation with themselves.”

“Tell me silly sparrow, why did you come here?” “I- I’m not sure. I flew towards the sun one day, as far and as high as my little wings could carry me, but I – I got lost.”

“I – I never tried.” “Hah, I thought so. You are a silly little sparrow, yet you managed to build yourself this nest proper in such a beautiful tree. Tell me, silly sparrow, do you miss your sparrow friends?” “I don’t think of them often… It’s because I don’t remember them now.” “Perhaps you do. Your melancholy was touching, I heard it – two days ago – when the wind carried it to my ears. It brought me to you. That’s why I’m in this tree.” “My tree.” “No, not your tree.” The unexpected company had tired her out, but the sparrow found her head buzzing with questions. “You have questions. I have one. Tell me silly sparrow, do you really think
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you’ve been singing the same song all your life?” Having finally formed some sense of the eagle’s purposeful, yet callous talking style, the sparrow decided to think a little longer before responding this time. “I – I – think so. But I think you are going to inform me differently.” “Very good, sparrow. Come, now, let’s think. Today, your first song was different from yesterday and your second song today was different from the first. Do you agree? You did tell me you changed your song.” “That’s – that’s quite right, I did tell you that.” “So, do you really think you’ve been singing the same song all your life?” “Not since yesterday, no, no, but before that, maybe. Maybe, but I’m not sure. I don’t know. I don’t know!” “Tell you what, sparrow, what you’re doing right now is, you’re thinking. And you know what you haven’t done in a long, long time? That’s think.” Slightly offended at this comment, the sparrow retorted, “Well, I think about a lot of things. Like the sky, and how I wish to fly through the real clouds some day.” “But you’ve never flown that high?” “Of course I’ve flown,” she snapped, “but oh, you mean that high. No, no, I don’t think so…I couldn’t…I haven’t…” “Tell me, sparrow, why have you never flown that high?”

“Because I can’t. I’m too little. My wings aren’t as strong as yours – they can’t carry me to far off places or help me survive through storms. I’m – I’m safe here.” “Oh, silly sparrow, you have wings do you not? Then you can fly! You think my wings are large… well then you’ve obviously never met a female eagle before. My sister, see, her stance is wider, more upright; her wings, they are so large that she could wrap them around her body one whole time!” The sparrow’s eyes grew wider, as if to entirely take in the majestic image the eagle was describing. She still had a lot of questions to ask but whether it was because she wanted to filter her thoughts in front of the grand eagle or because she simply wanted to explore them on her own - she directed the first question to herself. Why have I never flown back to my sparrow friends? You never tried, that’s why. Yes, but I mean, why didn’t I try? Maybe you didn’t want to go back. Did you like it there? No, no, I didn’t. It was too crowded. We were all so unimportant. I didn’t, I couldn’t live there anymore. So that’s why you didn’t go back. Sure. But why do I stay here? I mean, do I like it here? Well, perhaps you do. But, you have been here for a long time now. Where are you going? I don’t know. Obviously, nowhere, since I’m still here.

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Yes, but what about the sky? Don’t you want to fly through real clouds? I do, I really, really do. Why haven’t you? You flew so far away to gain freedom, to earn importance, yet you’ve confined yourself to this little nest. What’s stopping you? My wings - but no, no - maybe something else. You’ve kept yourself here.

I- I make up the words as I go along, and the melody always – always fits. But do the words match the melody or the melody matches the words? “We know you don’t sing the same song everyday, so how do you make it different?” He pressed. “Why, I change the melody and the words!” She exclaimed. “So in the moment before you sing…”

Have I? I have. “I think – I think I’ve been keeping myself here.” She said finally. “Yes, sparrow, I think so too.” He said. “I never guessed that before.” “Well you didn’t think about it before, that’s why you never knew it.” “But how do you know? So much, I mean.” “Well, sparrow, you know how your song is only yours? My knowledge is only mine. Why? Because all that flying, and seeing, and experiencing – I thought about what I was doing every second of every day and I made those thoughts my own.” “But if you were thinking the whole time, how were you doing anything else? I mean how can you think about flying and fly at the same time?” “Sparrow, when you sing, how do your words match up with the melody?” Words match the melody? “Words match the repeated, but to herself.
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I don’t know what the words and the melody are going to be. “I don’t know what the words and the melody are going to be!” “That’s right. In each moment while you’re singing…” “I’m thinking about singing singing at the same time!” finished, pleased. “Yes, very good, sparrow.” “I didn’t even realize I could do that!” She said. “Well, you never thought about it before, now did you?” “When I fly,” he began, “I am thinking about flying too. That’s how I know how wide to spread my wings, how hard to flap them, and in which angle to turn. I’m thinking about flying, not about anything else. Remember that, sparrow. In the moment in which I am flying and I think about flying, I am actually living it.” “I – I – I’ve never thought this way before, oh eagle! You’ve given me
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and She

melody?”

She

something that is truly yours – your knowledge! I’d like to give you something too.” She said. The sparrow’s little chest puffed up two sizes larger than its normal size, as she took in a large gulp of cool breeze. Like a little tornado swimming around its center, she suppressed the air inside her lungs as it swiveled up and down in her chest. She thought about the air in her lungs. She could hear a beautiful melody floating in her thoughts and she quickly tied them all together, like a bunch of twigs that would help carry the weight of the words she wanted to sing. And then, she sang. It was as if the little sparrow had burst into a song, and there was nothing that could be seen, heard, touched or felt of her except for her song. Her words were soft and haunting, surrounded by a warm glow that burned almost like a halo, making the canopy above shine brighter than it normally would. The eagle’s beady eyes were bewitched, as he stared intently at the song that had taken shape as the sparrow. In his stillness, not even the wind could lift a feather off his wing. He thought only about hearing her song, as he heard her song.

At one point, the sparrow touched such a high note that she felt as if she were racing amongst the clouds in the sky. In that moment, when she felt a part of the clouds, she felt a part of the sky too; and then the trees and the grass and the flowers and the eagle and herself and the rest of it. She let the exhilaration settle on her like cool beads of sweat as she exhaled the last piece of her song. That-that was incredible! I’ve- I’ve never sung like that before. What was I doing? Was I really flying amongst the clouds? Oh, it felt like it, it really did. I could smell the clouds, like the freshness of wet mud, oh but white, a beautiful spectacular white. And- and those words! I never knew I had such feelings. I – I… “Beautiful sparrow, you see what you have achieved.” The eagle said, a sense of calmness holding his face back in a small grin. “I wish to thank you, but I don’t know what exactly you have done to help me so.” She wondered out loud, as her little happy drops off sweat were starting to dry off.
“I believe sometimes we all need live echoes, who will say things to us before we have said them ourselves. You’ve lived alone too long, little sparrow, you only needed another little friend.”

“Oh eagle, does that mean you are going to stay?” She cried. “Of course not, silly sparrow, I am on my way forward and to stop now would only impede that plan. But don’t you worry, the louder your song gets, the further the winds will carry it to me.” “Oh but then how shall I remember you?” “I’ve already given you something that is all mine, remember?”
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Trisha Bhattacharya Kolkata – India

“Yes, yes, I’m so grateful. And what you’ve given me – what’s yours – can I make it mine?” “I have no doubt that you will. You told me so yourself.” “…I did.” Connected by each other’s stares, the eagle and the sparrow looked at each other long after they had stopped conversing in words. But with a great “swoosh” of his wings, the eagle flapped rapidly and launched himself off the branch, and then the canopy and then into the sky. The sparrow continued to stare after him, till he had disappeared into the clouds. She could have sworn, that for a second, the eagle’s feathers caught a sliver of escaped sunlight and twinkled, like a star, in the day sky, so bright that the sparrow quickly closed her eyes to tuck a piece of the brightness away, so that she would never forget it. Both excited and exhausted, the little sparrow slumped back down into her nest, panting slightly. She quickly craned her head over the side, her vein throbbing pleasantly against her esophagus, as she searched for a hole in the clouds, a kaleidoscopic pattern the eagle had made while flying away. Although she couldn’t recognize them with her eyes, she quickly cut up the clouds in the same pattern and planted the visual inside her head. The sky fell into view and she imagined it to be fifty different shades of blue, with tinges of green, orange, pink, yellow and red. She had never painted anything so perfectly. Tomorrow, I will make a hole in the clouds.
“A City Of Palaces”

A land of exotic destinations, India has not one, but numerous locales, to beguile and becharm any traveller; travellers who venture out of their homes, comfort zones, professional spaces, to capture the simple and composite essence of cities, countries and continents. Travelling across oceans, green and brown lands, dark forests, arctic white and bluish peaks, an avid traveller can find their dreams-come-true in this multilingual and multicultural country called India. Travelling to regions within this vibrant and wondrous land is however, somewhat of an endeavour, because it results in mystical unravelling, and intellectual empowerment. Mystical, because, this civilisation of arts and artists, the vedas and the sages, and urban ethics imbued in traditions, bring to mind a sense of wonder and definitely engender slowly, a revealingunderstanding. Intellectual, because, interpreting the undercurrents upon which this nation flows, is an art in itself, and any inspired traveller will find this process to be a fulfilling and endowing experience in the beginning, in the midst and in the end as well.

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To uncover and attain some hidden and other obvious aspects of India’s treasures, one must stir emancipation, and absorb the incredible inheritance of the country. Since the regions within India are numerous, I chose Jaipur as one of the cities in India, to review in this piece, because this capital city of the state of Rajasthan, is as enigmatic and captivating as any other part of the country. The variety of places to visit here are vast, and stamp upon one’s heart and mind, a true impression of India. A traveller cannot stop themselves from noting the ancient flavour of India, in the by lanes of this city, and in acres, and cannot restraint themselves from writing down what they see and imprinting them in diaries, or from picturing images that will perhaps, last a lifetime. Jaipur has to be one of cities on the to-visit-cities-of-India list, because its resplendence and aristocracy can only be judged when seen in real or if imagined through the notes and picture-collections of an in-love-with-the-city traveller. I took the route of real experience, and felt and explored this elegant heritage of India. A city which holds aloft tales of victories of rajas and maharajas, marvels of love and romance, and holds a simmering cauldron of myriad impressions, can be nothing but a traveller’s paradise. Its building-facades in the old and some in the new part of the city, in light shades of pink, and various forts and palaces in browns, gold and ochre, hedging the city and some in the midst, illuminating it, make Jaipur a blushing, and inviting travel destination. With narrating-tales like stoic monuments, beauteous-elegant forts and seeminglyhaunting-palaces to see, it remains a mysterious and gentle city. The stature of its might is truly reflected in its fortresses and palaces, which surround the city in its fading-yet-glorious-loyal opulence. Most of them seem secluded from a distance, however, they are not. Their beauty is of a different kind; picturesque, arid and varied, sprinkled and sometimes inundated with the sights of visitors from all parts of the world walking through castle-alleys and climbing stairs that were once used by the royalty of Jaipur. Cold-winter months are the perfect months in which to visit Jaipur, because in the summers, sweltering heat in the deserts of Rajasthan and even within the city can be harsh for travellers, who may not be used to extreme Indian summers. A stunning city of architectural excellence, jewels and gems, Jaipur, was a city established by its erstwhile
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royalty, whose lingering essence is still found in the meandering palace-alleys, staircases and remnantmahals, of its quondam kingdom. This majestic flavor flows through to the residents and gives them too, an aura of beatific simplicity, shrouded in mystery. This simplistic mystery in its effervescent halo and imploring enigma-to-be-revealed continues to draw art and culture aficionados from all parts of the world to Jaipur, and make it, an impeccable holiday destination. The city is also known for museums immured within palatial grounds, which hold together the city’s heritage, including its art (handicrafts and puppetry etc), history and culture, in books, and several other souvenirs.

Just the sight of the city, can fill one with an invigorating energy and the traveller makes their way to the city within, across places, in a span of a few days. I was just as blessed. One of the first palaces I visited here was Amber Palace (pronounced as Amer Palace), which was once, the affluent abode of the ruling Maharajas. Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas are names given to separate sections within Amber Palace. They are excellent examples of combinations of Mughal and Rajput architecture. The former was meant for the maharaja’s audience with the public, and the latter, for his meetings with envoys and royalty. A significant portion of the palace I was asked to definitely notice, was Ganesh Pole; an entrance gateway to the halls within, where numerous queens of the ruling king lived. This entrance had breathtaking and intricate patterns marked on its ceilings. Several other such patterns were present on other ceilings within the palace. Even though these designs were several hundred years old, they seemed fresh, spellbinding and exquisite. Another beautiful and popular area within the palace grounds
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was Sheesh Mahal, also known as the glass palace; mahal meaning palace, a palace replete with a thousand tiny mirrors. Its uniqueness was thus, reflected in the mirror-work done across the expanse of its ceilings and walls. Breathtaking, and beautiful, sheesh mahal definitely, left traces in the memories of all those who visited this portion of the palace.

and this fabric was made out of entwined and interwoven threads of enlightenment, learning and exploration. This fabric could be woven, not once, but many times over. So, I decided to also extend my visit to the famous Chokhi dhani, the Jantar Mantar, the Hawa Mahal, and Jal Mahal while I was in Jaipur, and see and understand more of this city of palaces and forts. Every place worth visiting in Jaipur is unlikely to disappoint you, and true to its fame, Chokhi dhani turned out to be a revelation as well. It was a resort, a kind of an assemblage of a typical Rajasthani village, with camel rides available for travellers, pure Rajasthani food on offer for everyone who wanted to taste the typical cuisine of the state, and Rajasthani art and dances on display for tourists to enjoy. Puppetry depicting folklore through the medium of iridescent and matted clothed dolls, was entrancing, and drew audiences in droves. Traditional music playing in the background, breaking through the monotony of the night, pulled me back in time. Puppets dancing about in front of our eyes, pulled up by strings, kindled faith in the unreal, because it seemed more real than real. Especially in the evening, sitting on a hemp-stretched wooden cot, watching a Rajasthani folk dance brought me face-to-face with an extremely traditional and elaborate custom of the country. After Chokhi Dhani, the rest of my time in Jaipur was devoted to savouring the sight of another architectural masterpiece situated in the city. An astronomer’s and a traveller’s delight, the Jantar Mantar, one of five more such observatories across India, which contain various colossal astronomical devices, built by King Jai Singh II, was truly enchanting. Devices like the sundial for example, or the samrat yantra, which is still used to tell time, standing at 27 meters, and one of the world’s largest sundials, was part of the assortment of other encased large instruments inside Jantar Mantar. These are all made from local stone and marble. One needs time, to study each and every device in detail and understand the workings behind each. The observatory, attracts travelers from suburbs, cities across the world, and reveals to one, a passage to India, through Jaipur, and peels layers that give one a peek into the intellectual authority of the nation. These devices are a source of learning and usage for astronomers and for astronomy students. I

Amber palace was a labyrinth of corridors and elegant craftsmanship, and not far removed from it, was Jaigarh fort, the second stop in my itinerary. Housing two temples that were about 800 years old, this fort reflected through these temples, its own religious stance, and the devoutness of the once rulers and kings of the city. This golden glaze of stones, also housed Jaivana, the world’s largest cannon. There are several stories surrounding Jaivana, one of which is that it was fired only once in its lifetime. The foundry, where some of the cannons for protecting the city were built, is also part of the fort, in addition to museums, which house collections of pictures of royalty, real armoury, gold and silver coins and wine storage vessels. There are many folktales linked with some of the smaller edifices around the fort, which give a traveller a true sense of India’s variegated heritage. Some of the tales I heard were pleasant, but some were eerie, and spooky, and sprang to mind various images of the strange things that may have happened to those who lived here several hundred years back. The palace and the fort, in their goliath presence, found themselves miniature, in my travel dairy after my excursions to the two. Every step forward, every journey toward revealing the remnants of history, was to me, the base fabric of this particular adventure,
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Turl Times – October 1, 2012

found myself quite intrigued by the devices at large, all complex, and intricate and ‘telling’ at the same time. Tracking mahals yet again, I forgot devices once out of Jantar Mantar, and found myself standing in front of another prized possession of the city, the Hawa Mahal. Also known as the palace of winds or the palace of breeze, this palace, was earlier used by the queens to view the streets of Jaipur from a beautiful and hidden vantage point. It gave them the chance to be in Purdah, concealed, and look at the life of the commoners in the city. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh built this piece of beautiful red and pink sandstone structure, in the heart of Jaipur. Forming part of the city palace, it extends out to the chambers meant for women and looks beautiful as sunlight falls on it in the daytime, brightening the city-surroundings in its pink hue. It has around 953 windows, and is imbued with exquisite latticework, and the entire structure sometimes looks like a frame-worked honeycomb, and looks a bit-out-of place, yet very much a part of the city that was, and is.

thus, find acclaim throughout the country and the world, because of the rarity of concepts upon which they are based and what they still portray to the inquisitive traveler. These herculean structures still live on to narrate silently to us episodes from the lives of important, royal people, subjects and civilizations which once were and built what we now have. Every piece of artefact and architecture of Jaipur submerses or hides under its folds, various untold stories, layers of the city’s history and its fascinating culture. On the contrary, as they hide, they also graciously reveal, alongside. The city has so many precious jewels for a traveller, that one visit seems insufficient. Nahargarh fort, another beautiful piece of exquisiteness in Jaipur turned out to be another exclusive experience for me, one late evening. Staring up at the stars, in the night sky, and looking down below at the city lights, all of Jaipur, bathed in glimmering bulbs, seemed to entice anyone into wanting to return to Jaipur, and relive the moments when the scintillating palaces and the city stands transiently mute, yet in strength seems to have in grasp, momentarily, a traveller’s heart. Not just the palaces or monuments, but the sights and sounds caught during travel, are unforgettable. What you aren’t expecting, might spring up, albeit in a positive fashion, hence, enriching the whole experience furthermore. Even when travelling within the city to any of the Mahals or museums during the day, I looked at terraces, jungles and trees on the sides, to catch a glimpse of the royal peacock, found here. Variant colours, palettes, imageries, visits, found a place as scribbling in my dairy, and from those notes, springs this feature, and brings to light some of the sparks which light up the pink city, or this city of vibrant hues. Seeing Jaipur is almost like seeing an ethereal and original part of India, which in its pink and hued ambience, draws upon a culture, so strong, that it forces one to realise the true spirit of India, based upon which a summary of thoughts finds progress in a traveller’s travel diaries, as it did in mine.

After the palace of winds, almost inundating the city in its pink reflected light, another significant mahal, caressing water, not land, or almost seeming to be floating on water, came up next on my journey through Jaipur. This palace is known as the Jal Mahal, Jal meaning water. One-third of Jal Mahal, built in red sandstone is submerged, under water, that is, upon Man Sagar Lake. Jal Mahal is another co-mingling of the Rajputana and Mughal style of architecture. It is also said, that like a five-storied building, the top floor of the building, or the palace can be seen above water while the rest remains under water. Originally, this particular lake, upon which the mahal rests, was visited by myriad species of birds, but once the restoration work on the surroundings and on the withering palace itself began, the numbers dwindled. Now, though, some other birds like the white-browed wagtail, blue-tailed bee-eaters and grey heron can be seen here. These palaces of Jaipur,
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Wafik Doss (Fiko): Egypt – Cairo

Ask me! Myself! I all too greet This fellow of the damned This damned fellow of the world! With his grip of stone And heart of ice. His lack of bias In men naughty or nice! With a flick of his thumb And a rattle of his dice Down falls the man That Time marked Demise. The Thief of the Night Without sound, without sight. Brings all men’s hours, Despite most men’s plight, To an end. To a halt. To respite.

“Ballad to the Thief of the Night”

Welcome one, Welcome all! To a man of the world In the world of a man Where the light of his touch, and The gait of his strut Is enough, Quite enough! To bring all men down, Underground. It matters not the length Of seasons. The character of the day. The hours, the seconds, the ions Are naught! Where he travels Where he lands An end shall be brought. Be in breath Be in mind Be in heart Be it of any kind, He is a man Of many and none Will to meet.
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In the ocean of sand Where bones lay to rest. Where winds wail Solemnly to attest To the strength of the man Of the creature that so strides Across what was once Alive. Where the grass Was once green And the sea sky blue Where eyes fell to meet With simple gestures but true, Of “hellos” and “good days” and other Such good dues. With a rattle and a shake A crack in the ground, An hour’s risk at stake! Came the halloo came the howl Of the thief of the night. The creature without Mercy, without sound Without sight. All “hellos”, “good days”, and good dues Were brought to a syllable Of adieus.
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

The Thief of the Night Without sound without sight. Brings all men’s hours, Despite most men’s plight, To an end. To a halt. To respite.

I wait for the man I wait for his touch. But alas and lo! I have seen him too much! When he pricked an arm And I lost my hands. When he shot a leg And I lost my stance. First an eye Then another, An ear, a lung, A mind, And heart. All crumbled to bits Pieces less than a part. But still he does not come. I wait.

Without sound, without sight. Who brings all men’s hours, Despite most men’s plight, To an end. To a halt. To respite. With his grip of stone And heart of ice. His lack of bias In men naughty or nice! With a flick of his thumb And a rattle of his dice Down falls the man That Time marked Demise. Though still I wait, For my hour, for my mark, For my Thief of the Night! For Dark.

The fathers I knew Have vanished as well. The mothers too That raised my young limbs Have gone astride and left with him. The brothers, the sisters, The daughters, the wives, The sons! The idols! Even the pets that I strived To maintain, to keep Forever alive; have left me For the Inevitable. All is gone of them But their bodies. That are mine to keep To save, In the memories, In the graves Of my mind. This is the story Of the traveller and his tale. Of The Thief of the Night
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Jackie Lee King: U.S.A. – Bloomington, IN

should really try it, got the best egg rolls, two for a dollar, but you gotta buy four, and they got this beef dish, from what I hear, I can’t have spicy, does things to my constitution, if you know what I mean, but they got this beef dish, that whoa, let me tell you, they got to have some of them Mexican spices or I don’t know what, but I hear tell that it’ll cure ya or kill ya, told me what it means … and well, he’s Mexican, well maybe from the new part.” “Mexico?” “Nah … just joshin’ expanded for a while now.” “Well Josh—” “—It’s Tvrdy … of the one stop?” Nodding to the station marquee. “It says here on my GPS that this is a Phillips station.” “Still is, kept the name, but I own it now. This place kinda fell off the map you know, with everybody leavin', but still some folk stick around, and they have to have a place where they can get gas and groceries, well maybe they can get it up at the Wal-Mart, they’re open till midnight, they stay open a little later than I do for the second shift at the factory, they make them ski jets, course, there’s no third shift, so that folks can get their stuff on the way home, well the ones that are still around, we don’t get too many people travlin’ though here, but I like to think of myself as a diplomat as such, you know, givin’ the tourists a thrill, well as much as we can get around here, mostly there’s German people, and some Czech, but the cattle make up for most of the population, but we’re about as American as you can get … kinda my company logo for the station.” “That’s a motto, not a logo.” “Motto, logo, same difference.” No, it’s really not. “Should I filler’ up?” What, they still do that kind of thing?
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

ya.

Mexico

hasn’t

“Stops Along The Way”

[Author’s Note: For my father and my sister, whose secrets that I keep.] “Where in God’s name am I? My GPS lost signal a few miles back.” “You’re in Valpo. Actually, Valparaiso, but we just call it Valpo for short.” “Yeah, I get that. I was born in Valpo.” “Don’t think I remember you from around here.” “I’m not. I was born in Indiana. There are other Valparaiso’s.” “Good to know, but hey, did you know that Valpo means valley of paradise in Mexican?” “There is no such language as Mexican.” “Possible… Possible, but you know, one of the guys at the Chinese place, just down the way, oh you
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“What, you still do that kind of thing?” “Not really … I was out here changing the sign. Nice vehicle you got there, Galaxie 500? That a seventy-three or a seventy-four?” “Seventy-four, and it’s my daddy’s.” “Actually both years are the same car, and then they dropped the name after that, think the next year they called ‘em LTD, but last of its kind, that one.” “So is my daddy.” “Does he know you have his car?” “I didn’t ask.” “Well, where are you going?” “None of your business.” “Sorry, jus’ tryn’ to be obligatory.” “Thanks, but I’m just making a quick stop.” “Well if you’re hungry, that Chinese place is still open, well for the next few minutes anyway, you know, they make that beef dish to go, just take it with you, but I don’t recommend eatin’ while you’re drivin’, roads run straight though here, well except if you’re going up by the Spade Ranch, steer on the roads, get it, but a road crew coming though here next fall to put up a McDonalds, and it would be nice not to have to drive over to the airport in Seward to get one of them rib sandwiches, damn I love them, but don’t tell no one I eat ‘em, I usually get a dozen to go and keep ‘em in my cooler in the store just in case I get a hankerin’ for one, I got a few of them if you want one, unless you are going through Seward, then you can get one for yourself, but if I can save you the trouble, I got one, if you want one. Come on in and see when you’re done pumping your gas and I’ll hook you up with something to eat and drink. Did you know that kool-aid was invented in Nebraska?” ***

“Yes, I can do this.” I’m speaking into my wireless earpiece. The office is just so quiet; I really could just use a speakerphone. Ironically, I need a vacation, but if I leave, who will run things around here? I could probably do all of this from the road, but there’s always a chance that I wouldn’t be able to get signal for the laptop and cell phone. I wish I was booking more travel vacations, but coordinating shipments like these helps pay the bills. I blame the Internet … well … just all of those travel sites. All I get now are high maintenance retirees that don’t have a personal assistant to take care of the details. Maybe I need one to take care of my needs. Maybe a tall Greek man, yep … that would do it. “Yes…yes…I know…I know…there is and isn’t a time rush on this. Of course, there is no direct flight on this…um…yes…yes…there are a few transfers and we’ll have to book insurance and special handling. It’s not like someone’s life depends upon a timely delivery. Yes…yes…my mistake, my mistake…didn’t think about that. No…No…it’s all included. It will just take a few minutes to finalize all of this. Yes, I know…that’s not funny. So, how long have you been with Research For Life? Yes, yes I see. The final, I mean, the current itinerary starts in Valparaiso…yes, Valparaiso Indiana, made sure of that…Yes, I know there are a few towns with the same name…going to Chicago, then Detroit, Bolder Colorado, and finally to your place in Phoenix. Yes…I have the correct address…yes…I’m writing this down. Wouldn’t want this to get lost…no…no…that’s not funny as well…my name…it’s Victoria…Victoria Sweet. Yes…my name does come up on caller ID as Sweet Victoria…it’s also the name of my travel agency…no…I don’t see the irony…how did I become your vendor…well…I booked a vacation for your office coordinator…yes…yes your predecessor…and no…I didn’t know that was your aunt…guess nepotism isn’t…yes…yes…I hope she had a good time…she passed away…no…no…I didn’t know that…do you know if she had a good time?” ***

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MANIFEST SENDER: Victoria Sweet Vacations & Shipping Center RECIEVER: Research For Life TRACKING INFORMATION: VSVSC46360-H4 LOCATION: Boulder Colorado – Fourth Transfer SPECIAL HANDLING: Fragile, handle with care. Keep upright and away from produce. DOT AUTHORIZATION: Hazard level 4. PreInspected and sealed at source. Do not open or x-ray. WEIGHT: 208 LBS. I fucking hate my life. Why do I have to be called in to train someone? It’s not my fuckin’ shift and I was going to catch up on some sleep today. “Come in early,” my supervisor says. “We have to train a new gal in receiving, and you have the most experience.” Of course I have the most experience, ‘cause I know how to do my fucking job and I don’t need management to tell me otherwise. This is why I like working overnight shifts because people leave me the fuck alone. It’s just me, and the packages, so I can fuckin’ do whatever I want. Now I gotta train this college girl, who will only be here for the season, on how to scan a box, enter it into the ‘puter, and then drive it out to the tarmac. Damn government contracts, forcing my boss to hire a woman. Bet she can’t even haul twenty pounds around or will complain about breaking a nail. Some people just aren’t cut out for this type of work, and that’s fine by me. Boss say’s I’m sexist, but you know what, when it comes to crunch time, you gottta get your work done. I don’t want to be waiting on some wet behind the ears co-ed who wants to make a little extra money because her daddy arranges a job for her at the airport. It shouldn’t be my fucking problem, but somehow it is. We don’t need a new person. Fired a perfectly good dumbass because dumbass got caught going through people’s luggage and security had to escort him off the premises. I told him, “Wait ‘til it goes into the lost and found, and then you can get what you want,” but no, they don’t listen to me, no one ever listens to me.

“Ah, hey, Jack, this is the new gal, so be kind with her.” My boss says, walking up to me with a new recruit. She’s wearing a jumpsuit that’s two sizes too big for her, full makeup, and long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. “Yeah, yeah, Jim, ‘nother fucking forklift jockey.” I say to my boss, “You better get some work gloves and a hairnet, wouldn’t want that hair of yours to get caught in a turbine.” “Go easy on her,” he says, and hands me her paperwork and walks back to his office. “Yeah, fine!” I shout back at him and figure I should find out who my new trainee is. “So…Linda…you wanna haul packages around all hours of the night?” She nods her head and looks down at the warehouse floor. I go back to my reading and she jumps when the roar of a nearby jet engine kicks on. “That happens a lot around here, so if you don’t think you can handle it, you should leave now.” She’s thinking about it, but doesn’t move from her place. “Gonna be with us for a few months?” I ask, trying to be civil, and she nods again. “Go over to the safety station and get a hairnet and some gloves so you don’t hurt yourself.” She gives me this look of ‘right now?’ and then ‘where?’ and I point over to my desk by the warehouse door. “…and bring me my lunch…it’s right there on the desk in the lunch box.” It’s about time for my fifteen and here comes FedEx Lance, late as usual. I don’t want to deal with any of this shit. I should just make him wait, ‘cause he’s making me late. I should make the fucker wait for not doing his job. He backs his vehicle into the receiving bay, jumps out of the truck, puts on some toe caps, ‘cause the fucker is too cheap to own steel toes, pulls the pallet jack out, and proceeds to bring this big ass box out of the back of the truck with a bunch of fucking labels all over it. “Before you say anything, I’m on break, so you will have to wait,” I tell FedEx Lance. “But…” “No, it’s a union thing. I can’t receive anything from you until I finish my fifteen minutes.”
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“But…” “But nothing, look, you want me to get OSHA involved? Don’t say a word. Not one fucking word. Just sit your ass down and let me eat my sandwich. This thing’s not going anywhere ‘til the next flight anyway. We just missed the one it was supposed to be on because of you. Now I gotta do all of this transfer paperwork.” Linda comes back wearing a beard cover on her noggin, carrying my lunch box, but now has a grease smear on her forehead. I feel myself smirk and she takes this as some form of approval, but she just looks stupid. “Sit your ass down, too. I don’t need people hovering over me while I eat my sandwich.” I gesture like some fuckin’ maitre d' for her to sit on the large rectangular box that FedEx Lance has just moved into my receiving area. We sit in silence. Lance and Linda look at each other and it occurs to me that they should get a room. I don’t have time for this fuckin’ mess. Women just complicate your life, so there’s really no time for ‘em. Told that to my fuckin’ wife. Said, “You always have to have it your way. Well this isn’t Burger King hunny, so you can’t.” So what does she do? Up and leaves me. Says that she’s gonna divorce me ‘cause I abuse her. I haven’t laid one fuckin’ hand on her, but maybe I should have. She should know her place in all of this. Always trying to get me to do things, her ‘honey-due’ lists, well maybe I would do more around the house if she wasn’t always in my shit. Just a busybody, can’t leave well enough alone. Well … we’ll see what happens to her when she goes back out into the world with no job skills. See how she likes that. College doesn’t guarantee you a job like this, not a steady one. Probably blow the first boss she works for, not that she did anything like that for me. Don’t need her for that anyway. I got my right hand and left hand and they work just fine. The both of them are still sittin’ while I finish my olive loaf and pour myself a cup of coffee. It’s a pretty big box, so there’s room for a few people to sit on it, but FedEx Lance sits in my receiving chair, looking at

me. Like to wipe the smile off of his face. Wonder what he’s thinkin’? “You have a smudge on your forehead,” he says. Linda looks down at the floor and starts to shiver. Damn silly ass girl, now I bet she’s gonna start crying. “It’s okay. It makes you look tough,” he says, and her shoulders arch up as if she were holding in a chuckle. I see the top part of her lip arch and a bit of a smile comes through. Kinda looks like my wife. She’d always do that; looking all helpless. Like I gotta go off and be her knight in shining armor. Well, princess wouldn’t need saving if they just kept their noses out of other people’s business. She was always pushing me. Never understood why I like my job and figured that I would be better off somewhere else. “Job Security,” I’d say. “People are always moving around nowadays and when they do, they have to move their shit with them. Like morticians and tax collectors, those kinds of people will always be around.” “Is this your first day?” “Yes, is it that obvious?” “Well, you do look out of place, but I think that it’s great that you are getting out of your own element, and I wouldn’t worry about Jack here, he’s not going anywhere.” “Quiet. I still got a few moments left.” We sit in silence and I finish the last of my coffee and sandwich. Bits of coffee grounds rush into my mouth and it tastes bitter. I spit the sludge onto the floor next to FedEx Lance. My wife usually fixes my lunch, but I had to make my own today, since she left yesterday. Had to use a sock as a filter for the coffee because she took the damn filters and apparently there is a hole in my sock. I don’t like doing stuff for myself. “Break’s over. I can take that package off of your hands now.” “Oh, no hurry,” he says to me. He smiles at her and I get a knot in my stomach.
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Vol. III Issue 4

“Pick her up on your own time.” “I will,” he says, “How about tomorrow at eight?” “Okay.” She says awkwardly. “Don’t worry, I have a casual place in mind. Extravagant makeup isn’t necessary.” She finally lets out a chuckle and breathes a sigh of relief. “Yeah, yeah, keep it in your pants, Lance. You gonna give me the Manifest?” “Yes, yes I am.” He gives me the bill of landing, and I look over the specs and they seem really odd to me, but he has walked up to Linda and gives her his card and they exchange a look. I remember that look. “I’m just passing through.” FedEx Lance says. “But I wanted to talk to you, because there was something there, and I’ve passed up too many things.” Linda smiles and I finish the last bite of my sandwich. “Jack, I brought you some company. I don’t think he’ll be a bother. Heck, you just had lunch with him. Oh, and it’s a dead body.” I spit out the last of my sandwich as Linda bursts out laughing. She hands me the work gloves and the beard guard, and walks away. ***

MANIFEST LOCATION: Detroit – Third Transfer The Motor City. It’s nice to be in the birthplace of the Ford. I’ve always loved cars, and somehow they’ve always gotten me into trouble. I don’t know what the appeal is, but there is just something about getting into a car and driving away, somewhere, anywhere. There was this one car, that I got as a wedding present for myself, was a brand new nineteen seventy-four two-door Galaxie 500 with a 351, painted Presidential Blue. Betty was pissed that I “wasted” our honeymoon money on what she called, “that big ass boat.” I have driven a few LTD’s in my life, but it’s that one that I miss. And it wasn’t a boat — it was a tank, and it got pretty good gas mileage. That bumper stood up to anything that would get in your way. That’s what probably got me into so much trouble. I believe our daughter was conceived in the back of that car while on a road trip to see the world’s largest frying pan in North Carolina. I said, “See honey, bet you can’t pick that one up and hit me up side of the head,” but she gave me this look like, “Don’t tempt me.” *** Somewhere in Colorado “Thank you for calling Prominent Bank…my name is Kimi, may I have your account number…I’m just verifying the account…and the address…Thank you Ms. Knight and how may I assist you today? I apologize for the inconvenience…let me just take a look at your account…one moment please. Yes, it has been flagged for suspicious purchases. Your account shows that purchases have been made in Chicago, and an attempt for some purchases in Valparaiso but it shows up in two different states? The bank assumed an error because of the duplicate town…I realize that several places may have the same name. They are your purchases? And how long will you be traveling…I realize it is not my business…I will just leave your account open for the next few weeks. I apologize for the inconvenience. My name? My name is Kimi…Am I Indian? I don’t sound Indian? No, wrong Indian, I’m Native American…no this call center is not located in India, it is in the United States. Yes, I know, one
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of the last call centers here. Is there anything else that I can help you with? A direct bill pay? For a Tvrdy’s Quick Stop in Valparaiso, Nebraska? I have no listing for that business…a Phillips 66 gas station on Cedar Road in the same town? I see it…we cannot send two hundred dollars, but we can send two separate one hundred dollar payments, and there is a charge for each payment…I apologize… I will put the payments through…In the future, Prominent Bank has an app for direct bill pay…why didn’t I tell you about this? I apologize and will send you the direct link for that app. Just let me verify your PIN…thank you. I have your confirmation numbers…just email them to you? Is there anything else that I can help you with? Very good…would you like to take a survey about your customer…hello?” I don’t know which was worse, the Phillips Gas station or that telephone banker. Well at least I don’t have to talk with that guy again, now that I’ve made arrangements to pay him. It took a whole hour just to gas up and get some road food. But I guess I have to be nice to him, he did let me slide on that gas, at least temporarily. Thirteen hundred miles to go, and my bank decides that my sundry purchases have a suspicious nature about them. Really, for my own protection? I really find it annoying that I have to let my bank know when I’m going out of town. Are they paranoid that they will lose money? Hell, they charge enough fees and keep millions of people’s money, they don’t need to know my business. I’m not letting things just happen to me; I want to choose my life. If you are dead inside then you should just go off and die. But if you can make your life better, even if it only extends it for a moment, wouldn’t you want to stick around for the people that you love? Why would you choose not to do something when it’s clear that it would help? That asshole. I put my life on hold to help him through his illness and he decides not to seek treatment. Even though Medicare covers it? How selfish…how selfish. Wants to die in peace, well I don’t have to be around for that. I should give him a real piece of my mind when I catch up with him. According to the tracking app on my phone, he’s only a few miles ahead of me. ***
Vol. III Issue 4

Motel just outside of Boulder, CO, south of Highway 119 Tom, there’s a woman asleep in the lobby. What should I do? Tom, I wish you were still here. She looks so tired, so very tired. “Jasper? Jasper?” I whisper to my son who is now cleaning up the breakfast area. “Yes, Mother?” “Jasper, would you fetch me a blanket and pillow out of the laundry room? I don’t want her to catch a cold.” “Yes Mother … why is there a lady asleep in the lobby? I think we have some vacancies.” “Well, she just came in a bit a go, while you were in the kitchen, and was asking me if we had a computer. She wanted to track a package to see where it was and said that her phone charger was broke. So I went back into the office to turn it on for the day and when I came back she was asleep on the couch. Guess she’s been on the road for hours and hasn’t had a break. I think we can let her rest for a bit.” “Should I get her a room key?” “No, No, I don’t think that will be necessary. I get the feeling that she wasn’t going to stay, but since she’s taking a nap and all, I don’t want to disturb her.” “You’re the boss,” he says, while exiting the back of the laundry room. Tom, what should I do? You were always good with guests. She looks exhausted Tom, like you did, when you came back from the war. I was so worried about what happened over there, but you looked so good in your uniform that I forgot about what I wanted to ask. I saved all of the money you sent me, even made some of my own, and just waited for you to come back. When you did, you seemed so lost. I think you just needed to work it out for yourself. I know you were upset with me when I started buying up some of this property, but now look at us Tom. Look at us; the best memories of my life are here. We have
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this wonderful motel and people from miles around come here to make their own memories. I never regretted those arguments in the beginning when you asked what we were going to live on... Do you remember what I told you, Tom? I said, “Faith,” and that’s what kept me going. Thirty years is not enough time with you, not enough. You built me this lodge and few little bungalows, but I would give anything for you to be here with me. In a way, you are. Your son is now running the place and I hope to see you soon. “Here you go,” he says bringing in a warm duvet and some pillows. “You want me to—” “No, no, that’s fine. have experience with this” I’ll tuck her in, Tom. I

“Mom, you called me Tom.” “Oh, I’m sorry.” “Are you okay, do you know my name?” “Of course I do, Jasper. I’m not losing my mind.” “But you called me dad. I know I’m his age when you first met. Are you still talking to him?” “And what if I am?” “It’s not healthy. He’s passed.” “I know my husband’s dead; you don’t need to be reminding me of that, even when you’re not telling me that, you still reminding me of him.” “I’m sorry,” he says kissing me on the forehead while placing the warm items upon the desk. “Now go out to the car and fetch her bag. And look through the lost and found to see if someone’s left a phone adapter that she can use.” “Where’s her phone?” “It’s on the desk where she left her wallet, I’ve already gone through it.” I say, as he exits through the front door.

Tom, Tom I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss you and you need to be here with me. There are too many strangers out there that are lost, and you were lost once, so you know how to handle them. You were always good at building things. Making a connection with people. Remember … remember that they sent you home with the Bronze Star? ‘Cause you helped all of those war prisoners get back to their hometowns? How you found places for people when they had no place to stay? It’s like that woman asleep in the lobby. She looks so lost Tom. I guess that’s why you built this place, so that everybody can have a place to stay. I love you Tom, and hope that you have found a place for me. I am ready to join you when you have everything ready. I’m just so tired, Tom. Guess this woman has the right idea and maybe I should take a nap as well. I’ll just walk over there, place the blanket over her and maybe snuggle in for a bit. Wouldn’t hurt none? Her license says that she’s from New York, but she doesn’t look like a New Yorker. She’s a little bitty thing, probably from the Midwest somewhere. Wonder what’s so important about that package she’s looking for? But rest, that’s a good thing, just rest. “I couldn’t find a suitcase, just a backpack with a bunch of barbeque sandwiches in it.” *** MANIFEST LOCATION: Chicago – Second Transfer My daughter went to school in Chicago, but moved to New York City after her graduation. Said, “She loves New York, but the motto really should be; the city that never shuts up.” Say’s that it’s a DiFranco quote, whoever that is, but I think she just wanted to run away. I don’t think college can make you a success, but what do I know? I left school in sixth grade and did pretty well for myself. Getting by in a small town is no big thing. At thirty-five I retired, with a little help from the government— Thank you SSI. Always had a car, place to live, ham sandwich, cable TV and a good recliner; what more do you need? Chicago really doesn’t have that much appeal, or New York for that matter, but I guess O’Hare will have to do. It sure would be nice to have a visit, but I don’t know if anything can be said. There are unspoken volumes between us, and
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I hope that she finds what she’s looking for. She’s in such a hurry but I think there are a lot of things that she’s missing out on. I’ve experienced a lot of great things, but there are so many things that I miss. A conversation needs to happen between us, but I’m not sure if that’s possible. She always has to be right. Corrects everyone about everything — it’s infuriating. You can’t plan for everything; sometimes you have to just let things happen. *** Arizona State Police form SR1–Preliminary Traffic Accident Report Date: December 29th, 2011. Location: State Road 119 Description: There was a two-vehicle collision on State Road 119, three miles into the border of Arizona. I spoke with the driver of the FedEx van, Mr. Lance Moore, to get his side of the story. Mr. Moore stated that a vehicle slammed into the back of his van while he was stopped at an intersection. The other vehicle is a Presidential Blue 1974 2-door Galixie 500 with a driver by the name of Sera Knight. Ms. Knight holds a New York Drivers license, though the vehicle is registered to a Mr. Samuel Knight. According to the DMV, the last known address for Mr. Knight is in Valparaiso, Indiana. Mr. Knight’s vehicle has been impounded pending an investigation. I attempted to contact Mr. Knight at his residence, but the line is disconnected. I have reached out to the police station in Valparaiso so they may locate Mr. Knight so that he may have his vehicle returned to him. Ms. Knight was unconscious at the scene and was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. According to Ms. Knight’s cell phone record, she was in the process of looking up tracking information about a package that was being transported by Mr. Moore’s vehicle. *** Emergency Ward, St. Joseph Hospital – Phoenix, AZ “You have a nice car.” “It’s not, and I know. Where in God’s name am I?” “You’re at St. Joseph’s, in Phoenix.”
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“Where’s the car?” “It’s been impounded. And we know it’s not your car.” “Well, tell me where it is and I can take it off of your hands.” I say trying to get off the gurney. “Just lie back down, Ms. Knight. I have a few questions.” “It’s Sera, just Sera, Ms. Knight is my mother’s name.” “And is your father’s name Samuel?” “It was.” “Do you know his whereabouts?” “I’m meeting him in Phoenix. Can I go?” “Well, you’re not driving the car, it’s been impounded.” Then it hits me. This wave of emotion just wells up in me and I start to cry. The poor police officer is beside himself and doesn’t really know what to do. I start to shake violently and he ducks out and calls for the nurse, but I just can’t bring myself to leave. I am so close, so close, that it makes me want to cry harder. I’m almost there, and now I’m in some damn hospital while my father is being delivered to the body donation center. Those fuckers at the nursing home just packed him up and shipped him away before I got to say goodbye. They said that there was no immediate family around to contact so they just went by his living will. Well I guess that’s good for them, because the donation center pays for all of the prep work and gives a little honorarium to the person, or entity, that donates the body. All that they could give me was a tracking number of “the package,” and said that it was out of their hands. I just want to see him one last time and to tell him what I really think about him. How he was so selfish and that he really never loved me. I want to give him a piece of my mind. Tell him things without him interrupting me and looking at me like I’m a child. I’m a grown woman, and can do things for myself now, not that he helped in any way when I was growing up. I want to let him know that I’m fine; I really am fine. And that I haven’t needed him these
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past few years, but he sure in hell needed me. He needed me to set up all of this Medicare stuff, he needed me to make sure he had a place to stay, he needed me to arrange for all of the doctors in treating his cancer, and then the fucker decides that he doesn’t want to go though it alone? I was right there. So the fucker got his wish, I left him. The police officer returns with a nurse, and I’ve stopped crying. “Is there any reason that you are holding me here?” I ask both the officer and nurse. “Well, we would like to keep you for some observation, but you just have a few bumps and bruises. You shouldn’t drive in the next twenty-four hours,” the nurse states. “Is there a bus stop around here? I have to see my father before they start experimenting on him. I’m running out of time.” “Well, I can give you a ride to the donation center. I donated an aunt there a few years ago, and it’s on our way to the police station. We need to get your statement and then you will be free to go.” “Well then give me the forms so I can sign them and get out of here.” “It’s fine, Nurse Betty, I’ll make sure that she doesn’t get into any trouble. Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask YOU something … what’s with all of them barbeque sandwiches?” *** MANIFEST LOCATION: Valparaiso – Point of Origin I died at 6:09 am on Christmas morning. My last wish was to have my body donated to science; I just wish that I could have spoken to my daughter before I left, but I didn’t see any reason to stick around any longer. I had come to this decision many times before, about a dozen times according to my psychiatrist, but this time I was ready. You have to have something more than a
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good prognosis in your life to make it worth living and I’ve had nothing but difficulties in this life to want to exit before my eventual demise. Just in the past year, there were family arguments on who was going to get what and who was going to pay for things. I didn’t want that on my conscience, I just wanted to be at peace. I’ve never been a religious man, but dying on Jesus’ birthday seemed to be a poetic way to pass into the next life. When you realize that more of your life has passed than what is left, you begin to wonder if the rumors are true. Is there a heaven? I remember a joke about why there are so many old people in church, because they are cramming for the test, I think I finally get it. Maybe if I know enough about the Bible then God may have mercy upon my soul? Who can tell—I certainly can’t… *** Research For Life – Phoenix, AZ Officer friendly takes me to this warehouse and I see a damaged FedEx truck around the back where packages are received. I gesture to him to work the lights and to get past the gate where they are now currently unloading the package — my father. Sera, I’m no longer in pain, and I am where I want to be. I’m glad that we had this time to say goodbye, though I doubt that you will hear anything that I have to say. You were always stubborn and saw thing in this world that many are too blind to see. Keep the car, because it’s your history as well. There is a place outside of Valpo that I get my parts from, it should be an easy fix. I think there’s a business card in the glove compartment. I know that I should try to say something profound and life affirming, but I am at a loss for words. I know you will be okay, but you have a long way to go, and I will be happy to wait. There are more things in this life for you to discover, and I will be looking out for you along the way. Don’t sweat the little things, because life is all about little things. The greatness of it all is when we string them altogether and see the ties that bind us all. “Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood backwards.” That’s a Garrison Keillor quote. You should listen to Lake Woebegon, it’s a great visitation on the details of life.
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

Daddy. I had this great speech prepared. I’ve been working on it for almost 2,000 miles, but all I really want to say is that I am okay. I’m no longer angry with you. I understand. A few hundred miles back, I stopped at a motel, to find out where you were on your journey, and this little old lady let me rest in her motel lobby. I woke several hours later by paramedics that were taking her away. She died next to me, and I never knew it. She spent her last few hours seeing to my care. I don’t know why she decided that it was time. Her son, Jasper, said that he wasn’t surprised. His father, her husband, had died a week earlier, and was wondering when she was going off to join him. I know you miss mom, and have been troubled by everyone wanting a piece of you. I couldn’t care less what you would leave me, I was sad that you left. Even though everyone thought that you could beat cancer, you knew it was your way out of all of this mess. I don’t know if I would have made the same decision. They say that funerals are for the living, the ones that are left behind. The dead never know that they are dead, only that something has changed. I know you have a new adventure, one that I hope to discover, but a long time from now. What I’ve come to realize is that the part of me that is missing someone to share my life with. I’ve met so many interesting characters in the past few days. They reach out and try to connect, though they aren’t always successful. I have a life in New York and work at a magazine, though I feel that the printed word is on its way out. But what gives me hope is that there are still stories out there that need to be told. I plan on writing this story when I get back. I don’t want you to be forgotten, because I think that there are a lot of wonderful anecdotes about you that people really should know. I guess I wanted more, but I understand that nothing lasts forever … not even loneliness. “You didn’t say anything … you just stood there, in silence. Is everything okay?” Says Officer friendly. “No, but it will be. I was just stopping by.”

Rhonda Klevansky: South Africa

“The Healer”

[Author’s Note: From “Travels in Patagonia”, a work in Progress.] David Sandoval, Cochrane’s Mayor told me about Maria the curandera, the healer. He said to turn right out of the municipal building, right at the corner of the square, and then left at Albarrotes Juan into “Rio Colonia”, so named after the colonists who arrived from Mapuche lands in the 1920’s. The house is easy to find, he told me, “it is the one with the flowers”. I found it half way down the block, among similar hand hewn, wood shingled houses – all of which leaned a little, this way or that. Some had small dormer windows, some didn’t. This one didn’t. I stood at the wooden gate and clapped, as one does in that part of the world. A stout woman with graying hair bunched on her head stood at the opened blue painted front door and beckoned me in. Roses, daisies, and chrysanthemums towered above the fifteen foot path to the house. They crowded the light from the windows.

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Maria learnt to cure from her mother and grandmother. Yes, she answered me; she collects plants from the surrounding hills, from “special places”. She served me tea next to a wood burning stove and insisted that I eat a “freshly made” torta frita. (This is like a square donut, but without the hole or the sugar). While we spoke, a small girl came into the room; she looked sideways at me and then leant into Maria’s skirt, pushing against her knees. “My granddaughter”, she said with an upward nod of her head, “she lives with me. We take care of each other.” Can I take your photo, I asked Maria. “Yes”, she said, “with my granddaughter, and my garden of flowers.” Oh good idea I thought, noticing the darkness of the interior. I returned to Cochrane about five months later. The municipality put me up in their guest house. Not much else was open for visitors in the winter – a winter that was so cold that when I washed my clothes they froze like planks of wood strung on the line. I was there to make photographs, and to return photographs. With that purpose in mind I headed across the square to Rio Colonia Street, an envelope of pictures tucked under my arm. The house that I was sure belonged to Maria was all boarded up. Maybe I had misremembered the place, I thought and went back up the road, right and then left to the municipality to ask. I showed a functionary in the office the photographs. Maria died, he told me, a couple of months ago. The pictures of Marie began to resonate to me as they became like a border between this world and the next.

I stood grounded to the spot, feeling deflated, sad and wondering what to do next. The secretary told me to keep the photos for the moment – that there would surely be a family member who would like them. The next day, as I walked across the square in search of lunch, a little girl ran towards me. I didn’t recognize her. Between sobs she explained that I had taken her picture with her grandmother next to the roses, and that there were no photographs for her grandmother’s gravestone. Please, she asked, could she have them? I went to get them for her and on opening the envelope she cried some more and told me that up until then, she hadn’t been able to remember what her grandmother looked like. Fifteen years later I was drinking tea with a friend’s new wife. We were in Coyhaique, a town about 7 hours drive north of Cochrane. Alejandra told me her life story. She was a baby when her mother died and after her father abandoned her she had lived with her beloved grandmother, the healer of Cochrane. But when she was 11, her grandmother had an accident which resulted in the amputation of a leg. The amputation led to septicemia and her grandmother died. Having lost her grandmother, and with no family to care for her, Alejandra spent her adolescent years in an orphanage. I asked if she remembered meeting a photographer in the square in Cochrane, but she shook her head, “I remember nothing of that time, nothing.”

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Turl Times – October 1, 2012

Amy Lovat: Australia – Newcastle

terms of adventure – I experienced the relaxation and contentment of picturesque highlands and muchneeded time quality time with my family, and also the excitement, noise and bustle of a city that is home to half of the entire population of Australia. This Turl topic should be perfect for me, right? Well, for some reason, I was feeling less than inspired to write this time. Which is unusual for me. Travel regularly inspires in me the burning desire to put pen to paper, to attempt to share my surroundings and adventures with my future self, or with a small readership if I actually end up blogging anything I write. In any case, let this be a sincere apology to Jackie, our humble and talented editor, whom I contacted sporadically, promising a contribution of some description – better late than never, right? Apologies, also, to my fellow alumni – this essay (if you can call it that) is as disjointed and incomplete as my twenty-three years of travelling to date. As the post-holiday blues settle upon my jetlagged limbs, here ensues a meditation, of sorts, on living in Newcastle – a city that is not quite a city, and not quite a small town.

“On Being Novocastrian”

Extract from the diary kept on my recent travels: “24 September, 2012. Travel is supposed to be the best time for finding inspiration. I remember previous family trips to the UK, when I’d be sitting in the back seat, staring out at the scenery, my imagination ripe with stories and ideas and lurid fantasies of honeymooning with a celebrity in whom I was showing interest. Song lyrics inspired. Images inspired. Castles inspired. I couldn’t get enough of it. Which is adolescence, I suppose. Now, I stare out the window at the highlands and feel nothing but quiet contentment. And an overwhelming appreciation for nature. I guess it’s better than the blank canvas of emotion I was harbouring in the earlier months of 2012...” I have a confession to make. I have started writing this Turl Times contribution at least three times in the last two months. As most of you know, I recently spent a month or so in Scotland and New York City. Two almost opposite ends of the travel spectrum in
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In the last few years, I have had ample opportunity to leave Newcastle. My ex-partner moved to Sydney three years ago, and instead of following suit we endured two years of unsuccessful ‘longdistance’; my closest friends are gravitating to the far corners of the Earth – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, London, Canada and, most recently, New York City. It’s hard to watch them go, one by one, like petals from a dying flower. I understand it, I’ve been there. When I finished high school and started Uni, I yearned to leave Newcastle but I stayed to finish my degree, travelling overseas and gallivanting around
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Australia during every spare moment. I always thought I’d be the first to leave, permanently. From the age of ten, my parents and teachers conspired to send me overseas for further ballet training. Recently, as most of you know, I was accepted into Masters programs in the UK. And yet here I am. Once again returned from an exciting overseas jaunt, and once again questioning what I’m doing with my life – or, more importantly, where I’m going. I never thought I was a ‘homebody’; I like to think I’m sufficiently well-travelled for someone my age and have romantic visions of traipsing unknown country sides, free of the confines of a place to call Home. Maybe I’m just not ready to leave. I have found myself attached to Newcastle, like a foetus to the womb. Newcastle inspires this kind of feeling in many people; there is a constant stream of stories of people moving back to Newcastle after a significant period of time exploring and living on other continents. The guy who recently opened a coffee shop near my house has spent the last ten years living in Barcelona. So why this twisted sense of loyalty? A new project called Renew Newcastle is helping to transform the city into a cultural hub – attracting artists, entrepreneurs and baristas by renting out decaying historical buildings in the urban centre at dirt-cheap prices. Until the business finds its feet. We are in a period of reinvention at the moment, and it’s exciting. Check out my inclusive language; I can’t help but feel that Newcastle belongs to me.

often forget that both my parents are from Sydney. I am first-generation Novocastrian. The Sydney of my childhood meant driving over the Harbour Bridge, trying to catch glimpses of the Opera House in its innocent, stark beauty. The sparkling blue water that looked prettier and yet more threatening than the ocean in Newcastle. In my mind, the Harbour harboured sharks and dead bodies and all manner of evil. I saw Sydney in my future – a place that would swallow me whole once I was old enough to have a ‘real job’. I saw myself as just another face in the crowd, gobbled by the corporate machine in my pencil skirt and pantyhose. I imagined my life turning out the way I have since learned to dread; but for some strange reason, I accepted this fate as if it had already happened. As if I had no choice. Now, I realise that I do have a choice. Sydney does not equal freedom, as it does for many of my friends. ‘Newcastle is a city with small-town charm’ is a phrase I’ve heard and read often. This is the seventh largest and second oldest city in Australia, and yet I never know whether to call my home a City or a Town. In Sydney, I party in the City. In Newcastle, we go into Town. What defines a city? More high-rises and skyscrapers than we have here? Less of the laid-back charm for which we’ve become famous? We joke about the connectedness of our population – one degree of separation. Others call it incestual, in jest. But is the divide between city and town aesthetic or emotional? To me, a city is a big place, and Newcastle doesn’t feel very big. A city is New York. A city is London. A city is Sydney. Is my lack of confidence in Newcastle as a City borne from the prevalent belief that there are bigger, better things out there in other bigger, better places? City or Town ... does it even matter? In my formative years I have ridiculed Newcastle’s small-town mentality and nodded in agreement when friends have said, ‘There’s nothing for me there; nothing ever changes; it’s boring.’ Every time I concur with the opinions of Novocastrian expatriates, I feel a pang of guilt, as if I’m betraying my identity with my lack of compassion for Newcastle’s relatively stagnant streets. Yet the thrill of change still grabs me by the throat whenever a new cafe or bar is opened in some derelict old building. I relish change, and at the same time I want to keep this city locked in
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

I’m not sure if many of you heard, but Newcastle was listed in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011 – not even Sydney made the list. I
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my memory, so that I’m safe to leave and then return with the knowledge that everything will remain the same. Newcastle in a sea-shell to hold to my ear. When I returned home from our Summer School in Oxford in 2010, I remember expecting nothing to have changed in my hometown; nothing ever did. At the same time, some part of me expected Newcastle to have been turned upside down in my absence, undergoing a transformation of identity, akin to the one I experienced overseas. On my first day back, I saw an advertisement boasting the “biggest KFC in Australia” had opened in lieu of what was once the historic Palais Theatre. My reaction was angry; I feared for the life of my city. I suddenly appreciated the urban decay I had so often scorned and overlooked.

Sean McIntyre: Australia – Melbourne

“Election Race Wrap-up: Gentlemen Ladies. Start Your Engines!!”

and

Be it Australia or the good ol’ U. S. of A., they’re the races that don’t quite stop either nation. Some may think we are referring to the upcoming U.S. elections. Or perhaps those further off in the distance like the Aussie federal election. However, at Turl Times HQ we can fully appreciate that out there among the petrol-heads, the absolute majority of you would prefer that we focus on the one that matters: the opening race of the Formula One Grand Prix season in Melbourne, Australia. Well, we can’t. March 2013 is just a little too far off. Thanks to our brand spankin’ new time travel machine - and an innocent lookin’ time capsule discovered by yours truly - we can prise open the travel diary and take a long, fond look back to a political time we thought we could forget. And look. The inscription reads: March, 2004.
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I know that I will beat these blues, and that I will once again hear the beach’s crashing waves echoing in my chest like a drum; a heartbeat. I know that I am a true Novocastrian. But I also know that I will leave one day. Maybe next week, maybe next year. In the last year or so, I have tried to step out of my local shoes and rediscover Newcastle with naked eyes; in so doing I have married a newfound appreciation for my home as well as the skewed pride of place that has permeated my life thus far. However, I am yet to discover the root of my identity without the umbilical cord tying me to Newcastle. It will always be my home, but the world beckons. So here I go.....

Hang on. There’s a note with it: ‘Election races. Asylum seekers. Michael Moore. Mark Webber and his ‘not-quite-podium-finishes’. Offshore Processing Centres’. What the…? Sounds a little too familiar, doesn’t it? Let’s tune the Turl Times dial, do the time warp and for those down the back – hush up! -as we pick up the radio cackle to the intro of our race commentary team… …It's a tough call. So feeling the need for speed, your politically-charged editorial team has the handle on all the election race action. Continuing our expert coverage of the combined Formula One Grand Prix US Elections Race live from Melbourne, Australia, it's over to your commentators: John Pilger and Noam Chomsky with special comments from Oscar Winner Michael Moore. Over to you guys! JOHN PILGER Yes, thankyou ... and welcome to our special audience from the future, those wacky writers and readers at The Turl Times! Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome! To THE most anticipated elections in the free world. Noam Chomsky - you must be excited about this extraordinary event...WE...are about to witness. NOAM CHOMSKY John - I'm so excited. I'm almost having an apoplexy. Nobody knew quite how the current champion did it... JOHN PILGER (Interrupting) ...for the listeners at home...let’s just identify that driver, Noam! I take it you’re referring to the flappable and the highly verbally toxic one known as ‘GDubya Jnr’!!

NOAM CHOMSKY JP. Who else could it be? No one knew quite how he did it. In the preceding Formula One Grand Prix US Race Elections, young GDubya squeezed every last drop he could out of what most commentators considered to be a very poor performing political team. But to everyone's surprise... JOHN PILGER (Interrupting again) Including himself! Let’s not forget that Noam! NOAM CHOMSKY ...yes, JP, a huge surprise. Even to his dear old Dad, Gdubya Snr. GDubya Jnr roared into the final chicane in Florida all over Al Gore's mirror's like a WMD-seeking missile. Pulling. Off. One of THE Great political manoeuvrers of the century. Awesome display. Awesome talent. We all said: ‘this is a man to watch’!! JOHN PILGER And how right we were Noam - we've been watching ever since. And it hasn't been pretty! Michael Moore is down trackside. Michael - you have some special race fans down there. Tell us who ya got Big Fella! MICHAEL MOORE John. Noam. Great to be here. I’m excited. Excited, I tells ya. But as we get underway, the excitement I am feeling today is nothing, I repeat, nothing compared to that of my special guests shipped in all the way from Woomera and Christmas Island... JOHN PILGER One for the listeners at home, Big Fella.

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Turl Times – October 1, 2012

Tell’em why they won’t be finding a Lonely Planet 5star review for these unheard of destinations? MICHAEL MOORE JP. That’s easy. Unless I’m mistaken. They’re racking up strong reputations as Australia's premiere on and off-shore detention centres... NOAM CHOMSKY Michael, don't tell me...! MICHAEL MOORE It's true, Noam! The Australian Government - in an overwhelming act of generosity - has graciously brought in...Every. Single. Asylum. Seeker... from Woomera! AND! Christmas Island! to witness -- the --- great --- race --first hand! JOHN PILGER Someone pulled a few strings, eh, Michael? MICHAEL MOORE You betchadoody JP! Instead of wasting away on taxpayer money for an indeterminable amount of time, the Australian Government has plucked the lucky Asylum Seekers out of political obscurity and placed them right next to the Qantas Airlines logo at the top of the main straight. NOAM CHOMSKY Is that the best view Michael? MICHAEL MOORE Noam - it's actually part of a new sponsorship deal. Australian Prime Minister John Howard felt that the Asylum Seekers were getting so much media attention that it was best they become 'The "Qantas" Asylum Seekers'. Apparently the Qantas people thought that they could open a new niche market with it... Retaining that old Peter Allan standard, the famous
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ad has been reworked from 'I Still Call Australia Home' to 'I Still Call Anyplace BUT Australia Home'. JOHN PILGER That's bound to send out a strong message to anyone planning six months in a leaky boat to Australia, Michael!! MICHAEL MOORE You betchadoody JP! Back to you... JOHN PILGER Well Noam, that's just awesome. Instead of watching their life flash before their very eyes from behind government-issue barbed wire, those lucky Qantas Asylum Seekers can have a few precious hours leisurely watching the Australian Formula One Grand Prix action speed by -- from behind the safety of every barrier to entry to Australia! NOAM CHOMSKY Indeed JP! But as we begin the countdown and await the entrance of the drivers to the starting grid -- special mention must be made to those that make this race happen every four years. Without them... JOHN PILGER (Interrupting) Without them nothing would be impossible. Like a free world, eh Noam?! NOAM CHOMSKY No JP. I was going to say: ‘without them. The corporate boxes would be empty’. JOHN PILGER And what a tragedy that would be Noam. Where would all those former Iraqi officials serve those long cold beers on a hot desert day? NOAM CHOMSKY It’s hard to say JP. Until we refill all the swamps drained in the south of Iraq.
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(Both laugh) JOHN PILGER ol’ Saddam! Who’da thunk it? Masquerading as a resort developer – did he really think...that crazy guy... (Both laugh again) NOAM CHOMSKY No JP, seriously. This year we have a special contingent trackside. It’s made up of all the American companies who have won special contracts to rebuild Iraq. JOHN PILGER Is that so Noam? Wait a minute. Word coming through on my headset is that Michael Moore is ....breaking wind trackside, he’s... (pause) It’s wha...? Oh. My bad. Excuse me. Breaking news trackside is Michael Moore. Who ya got with ya Big Fella! Is Corporate America still running from ya? MICHAEL MOORE Ohhhh JP you betchyadoody! I'm trying to get inside the corporate box where US Special Envoy Paul Bremner is currently procrastinating dutifully. Word has it that Bremner has suspended all meaningful work on handing back control of Iraq to the Iraqi people JOHN PILGER Indefinitely. Eh, Michael? MICHAEL MOORE No, JP. Just until Gdubya's got this race in the bag. NOAM CHOMSKY Eight months of stalling Michael. He wouldn't get far around the track with that kind of engine performance!
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MICHAEL MOORE Noam. There’s few targets safe from your laser-like insight! The way I see it... I doubt Paul Bremner is planning to wear his official Gap-Safari-Desert-Storm-racingsuit anywhere but within the confines of the immediate area around the bar. Back to you! JOHN PILGER Nice one Michael. Noam. I see preparations down below are now underway for the special pre-race entertainment. Who do you see as the main threat to the freedom loving people of this world enjoying this Once-In-AFour-Year Entertainment BLOCKBUSTER EXTRAVAGANZA! Saddam Hussein? Osama bin Laden? NOAM CHOMSKY No JP. Janet Jackson. JOHN PILGER Janet Jackson! Of course! Word around the traps was that Paul Horowitz and his merry band of neohawks were looking to link Jackson to Bin Laden. NOAM CHOMSKY ...and there is every chance that may yet happen JP. I wouldn't like... JOHN PILGER (Interrupting) Wouldn't like to be in Horowitz's shoes, eh Noamsky! Me neither! NOAM CHOMSKY I was gonna say, JP, I wouldn't like to be the wardrobe attendant to Miss Janet Jackson. JOHN PILGER Too much silverware, eh Noam? My mistake. It's time for our final cross to our man trackside. What's happenin' down there trackside Big Fella?!
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

(Pause...) NOAM CHOMSKY Hello Michael Moore...? (Static and Silence..) JOHN PILGER Come on Big Fella! JOHN PILGER I'm just getting word through ... Word through we have lost Michael Moore?... We have lost Michael Moore? We have LOST Michael Moore!! NOAM CHOMSKY Hold the ‘phone... If I'm not mistaken JP. I think that's him down there! JOHN PILGER Noam you're right. Ladies and Gentleman. I can plainly see a naked Michael Moore being led away by Special Security Forces from Australia and Poland. NOAM CHOMSKY JP I think I see the problem. Yes. The word from Moore's camera crew is that he was detained while in pit lane... JOHN PILGER (interrupting - for the last time) Noamsky - apparently Moore made good on his threat to move from pit crew to pit crew trying to present team bosses with free autographed copies of his book "Stupid White Men"! NOAM CHOMSKY (Floors Pilger with a solid backhander) And on that note it's time for a word from our sponsors. Back to you in the studio... Enlightening? Maybe not...
Vol. III Issue 4

Maybe there’s more to the info buried in this ol’ time capsule? Maybe it’s not just about Webber et al straining at the leash to get through the colour and commentary to the winner’s podium. Maybe it’s suggesting that the Moore things change the Moore they stay the same... No. Surely Not. But... Otherwise, why would Julia Gillard have unwound the political clock last week to revert back to the days of John Howard and re-open those nasty ol’ detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru? So...why did we bother booting out Howard back then? To get Rudd. Who ‘gave’ us Gillard. For Julia just to give us back the policies we had under Little Johnny Howard? Oh, it’s all too confusing... Something to ponder for now I guess...so, from all of us here at Turl Times HQ...‘til next time...see you on the starting grid. But which grid – and under whose orders - we can’t be sure. It’s anyone’s guess.

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Stefanie Sabathy: Austria – Vienna

him draw her close for a passionate kiss. He was not even aware that the Louis Vuitton handbag that he had given to Laura last week slid off her arm and onto the floor. When she picked it up he could not help but notice how short her skirt was. Tom was now eager to get to their room and nudged Laura gently but quickly towards the lift. Upstairs he was pleased to see that his wishes had been taken into account – their room’s view of the mountains and the lake was truly exceptional. Their bed was king size and looked inviting but Tom saw that Laura stood on the little terrace and leaned over the balcony. ‘There are cows, darling’, she shouted and beckoned him to join her. He tried to hide his laughter, reminding himself that she was after all a real city girl, born and raised in London. Although he had taken her to Austria’s countryside many times by now he was still amused how excited she could get when she saw some cows. He put his arm around her and smiled:

“Awakeing”

When the usher in the black suit and red tie made him pull up right in front of the entrance of the spa hotel she knew this was going to be an exclusive getaway. Tom pulled his car to a halt and the young man outside opened their doors for them and asked for the keys. The man in his late twenties informed them he would drive the car down to the underground parking lot whilst their luggage would be brought up to their room. Tom nodded and then noticed grinning how his girlfriend Laura was still standing there looking at the ostentatious hotel entrance with her mouth wide open. ‘Stop staring – let’s get inside…come on, baby…’, he said. When he looked at her he saw that she was smiling at him. He returned the smile and then took her hand as they walked into the hall of the five star hotel. They were welcomed with a sweet red drink that tasted a little bit like strawberry and a lot like vodka. Laura did not want it so he downed both of them. When they turned away from the reception desk Laura licked her lips and shot him one of these looks that always made
P. 34

‘Yep, sweetheart, may I introduce to you: Mrs. Milkshaker the First accompanied by her husband Mr. Choc Olé and their youngest offspring, Millie Milky Way and Mike Milk Chocolate…dearest cows – this is my adorable city girl, Miss Laura Frazer!’ Then he had to fend off his girlfriend as she was playfully but repeatedly punching him wherever she could hit him. He took hold of both her wrists and moved backwards into the room, eventually pulling her onto the bed with him. They stopped laughing and she began kissing him tentatively. He wondered if it was possible to be as obsessed with a girl as he was with her for a longer time or whether this would turn out to be just a phase. When he pulled her down and quickly rolled on top of her he could hear her give a sound of surprise. He paused for a moment and looked at Laura’s long hair that fell down in soft curls onto her bare shoulders. Only now he became aware that he had already pushed both the straps of her top as well as those of her bra down her arms. His eyes wandered up to her

Turl Times – October 1, 2012

eyes where he thought he could see something like disappointment. ‘Don’t you want this to be a little bit more romantic?’ she asked. He felt panic rising up and feverishly scanned his mind for something to say. ‘Uhm…sorry…you Uhm…let’s start over?’ are just so…sexy.

After the whirlpool session they decided to have some coffee at the spa bistro. The sun was still burning down and they fled into the protective shade of one of the umbrellas that lined the little tables. Shortly after them a family of four sat down. Their son was about three years old and very eager to get back to the water. His mother had to run after him a few times. The young man held the baby that was about a year and a half. Laura had the feeling it looked especially curiously at her. She told herself she was imagining things and concentrated on Tom again. ‘Aren’t their kids adorable?’ she asked him nodding in the direction of the family. ‘Yes, they are cute…’, Tom replied and lit a cigarette. After a few deep breaths he realized she was still looking at him. He cleared his throat and concentrated on his cappuccino. Even though he did not look up he could feel her staring at him. It seemed her eyes were penetrating him, right through his forehead and into his head. Why was she doing this? What the hell did she expect? She cleared her throat and he knew it was irrelevant what he would reply or even if he replied but in the end this would turn into an argument. ‘Don’t you think children are what makes a couple complete?’, she asked. He squirmed. ‘Yes…honey, look, we have been through this…I would like kids with you, I really do, but this is not the right time yet, you know…’ He wanted her to let it go. ‘But why not? This time is as good as any! I have a secure post at your firm, you are the manager of the department and thus have a well-paid job –‘ ‘A job that is killing me, mind you! And you know it!” He realised his voice was growing louder. Laura felt anger rising up her throat like red hot bubbles in a lava lamp. ‘Thomas - have you told Alison about us yet?’

But she had already pulled herself up and turned her back on him. ‘Let’s go and check out the spa area…’ Without another look at him she took her bikini out of her big suitcase and quietly closed the bathroom door behind her. He sighed and let himself fall back onto the double bed. So much for the beginning of a relaxing weekend. ***** There were four saunas with different temperatures. They worked their way up from the warmest to the hottest until Tom could feel his blood pulsating through his entire body. He was more than exhausted but of course Laura had not had enough yet. She looked at him and grinned. ‘Tom, honey, you are not giving up just yet, are you? We haven’t even been to the jacuzzi yet!’, and off she went in direction of the thermal whirlpool. Tom sighed. He wondered where she got all the energy from. Usually it was something he liked about her but lately he had found it a bit tiring. She acted as if the day had to have forty-eight hours all filled with fun and action. He on the other hand just longed for some peace and quiet. Maybe Laura and he were just too different? He forced himself to push this thought aside and decided to try not to compare her to Alison. The fact that all of the spa area was a no-clothing-zone so that Tom was seeing Laura naked all day long did not help in this regard.

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He knew it was getting serious when she was using his full first name. He sighed. ‘No. And you very well know I can’t right now, because she is going through a really tough time with losing her job and everything! I have already explained this to you, haven’t I?’ She knew he was getting angry and still was determined not to back off this time. But when she raised her head she knew she could not say it. They looked into each other’s eyes, his were questioning, hers on the verge of tears but she fought them back for what seemed like an eternity. When Tom realised she was not going to say anything he felt a surge of relief and got up. ‘I need to get some air’, he managed to say before he left her. He did not need to turn around to know that the couple and their kids were shooting them looks. He had raised his voice out of anger – again. Why did she have to bring this up now, had it not cost them a whole day of quarrelling last week? He put out his cigarette and briskly walked away acting as if they had no listeners. It was in the steam bath that Laura recollected herself. It was so hot and damp at the same time that it cost her all her energy to endure the wet heat and stay put. The tears trickling down her cheeks mingled with the vaporised water on her face. *****

They did not speak or even see each other for the rest of the day and after two hours of restless sunbathing and treating herself to a thermal spring bath Laura decided to go up to their room to get ready for dinner. There she put on the black dress with the silver ornaments on the low-cut décolleté. The dress left her back bare and had earned her many envious looks from female colleagues when she had worn it for the Christmas party at their department. Tom had given it to her for her last birthday and she hoped he would see it as a sign that she came in peace.

Tom was already downstairs and was trying to examine the buffet area without being too obvious when he saw Laura come in. She was not only elegant but of a remarkable beauty that seemed to outshine all others present. Her hair was put up and she was wearing delicate silver earrings and a simple yet refined necklace to match. But what intrigued him most about her was her smile that he knew was meant for him only. When she stood before him he offered her his arm and escorted her to the table reserved for them. He felt a little bit like on their first date but kept telling himself that this was ridiculous as that was now almost two years ago. When they were half-way through the main course their dispute was history and they were mocking a couple sitting close to them. He was so intently clicking away on his I-phone that he did not realise how his partner was flirting with another man whose date had just left to go to the ladies’ room. ‘I will never understand how people can get so hooked to their phones and miss out on reality!’, Laura snickered. It could have been a nice evening now that they had made up but Tom’s bad conscience was slowly creeping up on him. What did Alison do on her conference now? Did she miss him? Should he send her a text message? Laura seemed to be reading his thoughts because she now leaned in and whispered into his ear: ‘Don’t worry, honey, we have done enough talking for today…’, saying this she took his hand and placed it on her thigh. He felt her hot skin and could

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Turl Times – October 1, 2012

hardly resist the temptation to move his hand upwards. She took hold of his wrist and winked at him. ‘Shall we have dessert upstairs?’ ***** When Tom woke up Laura was lying next to him. She was fast asleep, her chest rising and sinking peacefully. His eyes wandered over her naked body and he felt a sting. He did not want to give her up and make space for reality to take him back into its claws. He would be destined to live a grey manager’s life – an endless rhapsody of blue and lethargic office meetings, the already almost non-existent sex life with his wife would be substituted by meaningless dinner conversations garnished with tedious housework always preceded by a fight about whose turn it was to do what. Life would resemble the melody of a broken record which would be intercepted only by the occasional reminiscence of exciting weekends like this one. He sighed and decided not to wallow in self-pity. He knew he would have to tell Laura soon. But breaking up the bliss could wait just a little longer. Carefully so as not to wake her just then he turned towards the young woman, lowered himself onto her and started kissing his way down. They skipped breakfast that day and just stayed in bed until noon. Laura ran her fingers through Tom’s hair and cherished the feeling of happiness that started deep down in her stomach and spread out like a warm fire into the rest of her body. ‘Darling…’, she whispered. Tom was not quite awake yet. ‘Hmm…?’ She drew closer to him and planted a little kiss on his forehead. ‘You know what one of my dreams is?’ ‘Tell me…’, he said.

‘I would love to take a tent and do a hike for a few days in the mountains. I would like to go right up to the top and enjoy the scenery there – with you.’ ‘Hm…sounds nice. Maybe we could do it some time’, he mumbled. Laura looked absent-mindedly in the direction of the window where rays of sun shone through at the sides of the curtains. Her mind had wandered off and a smile lay on her face. ‘We could even do it as a family one day! Friends of mine have taken their kids on such tours. I mean, of course one has to transport the child in a baby carrier for most of the way but I think this can be done…honey?’ When Laura realised Tom was snoring quietly she playfully punched him in the side. “Hey, wake up!” Tom opened his eyes and looked at her sheepishly. “Sorry, am wide awake now. What did you say?” She laughed. How could she be angry with someone who was still drowsy from staying in bed with her all day long? Laura decided this was the right moment to surprise him with the good news but she would take it step by step. ‘I saw a wonderful advertisement for an apartment last week close to where I live now. It is not that expensive and even quite spacious. There is a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and even an extra room. What do you think?’ Tom sat up abruptly. ‘What would we need an extra room for?’ His voice sounded dry. Was she too prejudiced or was there an underlying menacing tone in his question? She forced herself to keep calm. ‘Well, you know I want kids and I thought we both agreed on this? I could be pregnant by now…’
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Vol. III Issue 4

When he turned towards her his eyes were piercing and his lips were only a fine line. He was so close that she could feel his breath on her face but to her he appeared miles away. The tension that had suddenly built up between them seemed so thick it could have been cut with a knife. Tom took a deep breath and said: ‘Okay. Listen carefully and make sure you understand. I cannot have children with you, Laura, not now and not ever. Alison is my wife and as much as I enjoy being with you I will always stay with her. Don’t you tell me you didn’t know that.’ He paused and she was not sure whether it was for the effect or because he had to gather himself. ‘You cannot trick me into staying with you, Laura. If you get pregnant you know what you have to do.’ Tom had talked himself into a rage. How dare she bring him into a situation like this? Did she think about him at all? She must know how much there was at stake for him – after all he was married! And what would everyone at the firm say if they knew he had an affair with his secretary? He had thought he could trust her but he had been mistaken. He would have to take action to prevent the worst.

Laura could not move. Her thoughts started chasing each other. ‘It must be my subconsciousness...he has said something terrible. Something that would kill me. And not only me but everything inside me as well. That’s why nothing he said is getting through to me…’ Tom looked over his shoulder as he was heading for the door. Laura was sitting on the bed, her body motionless, her eyes fixed on the wall. Seeing her this way felt unreal to him. It was the complete opposite of all reactions he had expected. He was not even sure she was breathing. He suddenly became aware that he was trembling. The air around him felt used up and cold sweat was trickling down his spine. He needed to get out. ‘Laura? I still want you in my life…say something…stop it, you are creeping me out!’ His voice broke but it did not reach her. She did not move an inch. Tom hurried out the door and left Laura alone. Later she could not have said how long she had remained in that position. At some point she must have sunk back onto the bed and fallen asleep but she could not remember anything but the dream. It was one of these dreams where Laura was aware of the fact that she was dreaming but she could not wake up. She felt like a puppet whose strings were being pulled. She was at the mercy of someone whose identity she could not make out because he was standing behind her in the shadows. She could hear muffled conversations but she could not make out any words. The sounds became quieter and quieter until they were almost inaudible and finally died away. Then there was the shuffling of feet that merged into a monotonous succession of sounds as if the performers of a mouth percussion group did not know how to continue their show. Suddenly the underlying rhythm intensified, taking on a visible shape. It filled the air and expanded, stifling all sounds. The substance looked black and white to her but suddenly started dissolving into a liquid grey. She tried to touch what now looked like dirty water but when her fingers reached it the water turned red. Laura’s hand jerked back and in panic she tried to rise from
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

Laura did not know how to react. Her head was heavy and her brain empty. Her speech centre seemed temporarily out of order. It was as if all the words she knew had fallen out of her head. But even if she had been able to articulate something she would not have had the strength to say it. What she had just heard did not get through to her. Tom’s utterances were syllables without context to her, sounds without meaning. It was like on one of these mornings when you woke up and were still hovering between dream and reality. And then you could feel the apprehension and remembered not just what exactly but that something terrible had happened the night before. Usually the memory of past events came back to you at that moment and you were thrust back into reality. Laura however seemed to be stuck in the moment of bad inkling.

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the red fluid that started to cover her up. When she gasped for air she could feel the liquid fill her lungs and she sensed that something held her back down. Her scream piercing the silence was suffocated. Laura pulled together all the strength she had left and in a final effort pushed herself up. Her own movement of lifting her body woke her. Sweat was running down her neck and she was sitting in an awkward position. She forced herself to get up and mechanically walked into the bathroom. She hardly felt the ice cold water running over her limbs. Mechanically she dried herself with a towel and put on the red dress she had brought for a special occasion. When Tom later came back to their room he found her and her things gone. He inquired at the reception and was told that she had left the hotel hours ago. He was surprised that she had gone without making a scene, even without a note. He thought the turn of events was most convenient for him and decided to spend the last night at the hotel on his own before heading home. The room was already paid so why not recover from this unpleasant situation. In two days they would meet at the office anyway and could talk about what had happened. Maybe he could even convince her to let him spend the night at her place as his wife was still on that business trip. They had quarrelled before and she probably just needed time to calm down. The day Tom came into his office was sunny and warm. He had almost forgotten about their dispute and was eager to get things back to the way they had been. He had bought Laura a fine necklace. The pendant was a little heart. He was sure if he earnestly said that he was sorry she would understand that he could not leave his wife. And she would forgive him for his harshness and they would make up. And in his opinion make-up sex was the best sex anyway. When he greeted one of his colleagues he was quite cheerful. ‘Gerry, have you seen Laura already?’

Gerry looked at him in astonishment. ‘Haven’t you heard? She has handed in her resignation…two days ago.’ Tom nodded slowly. Then he said he still had some errands to run and that he would be back in about an hour. On his way to Laura’s place he called her twice but there was no answer. At her house he kept his finger on the doorbell for a long time but nobody opened. He had to give up when one of the neighbours opened her window and asked him to leave. In the following weeks Tom tried reaching Laura at her house as well as on her cell phone several times. Finally he had to accept that he would never hear from her again. When he hired a new secretary his only criterion was that she would have to be much older than Laura and unattractive. It took him a long time to realise that she was gone from his life for good. The sight of her sitting on the bed like a statue – motionless, cold and grey – had edged itself into his mind and would not let him sleep at night. ***** Around her the world started to become alive. She could hear birds and the whistling of the wind in the trees below the timber line. Behind her she could hear footsteps. It was her son. He was still a bit unsteady on his feet but she waited for him until he had finally staggered next to her. She smiled, ruffled his hair and then planted a kiss on his forehead. Holding on to his mother’s pyjama trousers with one hand the young boy looked at the scenery to his feet with eyes wide open, clutching his blanket to his chest with all the strength he could muster.

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Sheeba Shivangini Shah: Nepal – Kathmandu

Back in my room, the door securely fastened, I increase the volume on my ipod only to drown the wailings of distress coming from her room. I want her dead. I want her gone, I want this suffering to come to a final end. But then as always, I return to her, worried that she might have overdosed on her sedatives. Each time she has done that, we have called her friends and every time we do, I watch them rush in, some yelling, some comforting; all confused. But aren’t we all. We have tried and we have failed. Does any one know her at all? She is the same person. The same pretty face peering into the mirror. She stands up and holds out one shoe then a bag, then many come tumbling out, “Should I wear this or that? Maybe this? No may be that….you tell me…” excited, she asks. “This one”, I point out to the white dress. “Nahhh!!!!”, she says holding it over herself as she reflects over her image in the mirror. “Makes me look old”, she says before sitting down. “Perhaps I am…have I become old and jaded? Have I lost the capacity to feel?” I miss a heartbeat. “You know what?” she is saying, her eyes not lifted form her own image in the mirror, “I think, I will not go. People scare me” No god…no….let her leave…please make her leave. Somewhere from inside of me, I can hear my silent prayers escape. “I go out, I talk and then I regret. Each word that I utter, weighs down hard on me. It is a as though, I have committed a grave crime. My consciences tugs at me, derides for days after. It is best, I do not go out. I am at peace, here at home, alone with my self.” I want relief. I want her out. I want my own peace. Determined to my own cause, I persuade her on. Mamma, they are your friends. They mean you no harm. Just go, have a good time. “Really?” Her eyes are earnest in their query. But then to my relief she is on her feet again. “I think I will wear the black dress, makes me look slimmer”, she says powdering her face: a face that is struggling to keep a passionate smile. There is conflict in her voice. I’m sure she struggles to fight her self, the self that would want to sink yet again. I know she will go out have a drink or two, her face will flush, her eyes will sparkle, her laughs will be the loudest as she will flutter her eyes and pout her lips to the cameras of her friends. Pictures that will be posted and tagged on Facebook early
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

“The World Forgotten By The World Forgot”

She sits there glowing, smiling and at peace. What is it that she reads? One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Just the right book for you, I think as she smiles and holds out her hand. I wonder if she remembers at all. “Lovely day”, she says her eyes dreamy but shining with life. I have learned to resign to her swings. She prances around, laughing and singing, cradling the dogs, feeding them biscuits and chases them in the lawn; the storm from last night has surely ebbed away. She had woken up a mess, the cigarette in her hand, trembling to the quakes of her troubled mind. I had watched her in silence, sip one coffee after another as she let her self cry. I counted the tears, one drop after another; an incessant surge of her suffocation, I feel. What is it this time… is it the same as the last… does she cry for a reason or does she cry only to bring us in? Do I hate her?, I ask my self or do I love her in return. Then I flee, just when she begins to scream, the still walls around her reverberating to the pangs of her stifled throes.
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tomorrow. Pictures that will make many gasp only for the sake of gasping. But she does not care; tonight she is happy, so merry she will remain. Period. I hear her move about, walking up the staircase “shshsh!!”, her finger on her lips she stumbles up the stair case. A naughty wink at the driver whose arms she clings on to as he escorts her up. “There you are!” she spots me in the dark and rushes to me. We lie on my bed, her arm around me. I feel protected, I feel safe. This is how it should be, every day, every moment of my life. “You are precious to me” she says, stroking my head and fastening her grip on my hands. And here on my pillow I watch her sleep. There is calm, then a storm, then a calm again…does she dream of demons or are there flowers today, roses in red or are they yellow carnation? I am certain that she fabricates her own dreams. There will be shades of gloom, as there will be too, colors bright and beautiful and within the confines of these she will create a parallel world. A world of laughter, a world of sorrow, a world where there will be both, people good and bad. Her fingers furious at her keyboard, I will find her next morning. She will read an excerpt from the novel she is struggling to complete. [“Allow us to rule!!!” mantled in rage, she screeches piercing the silent night. Awakening with the pitch of her trauma, the jackals in the surrounding fields who are coaxed into banding with her; with their noses aimed at the moon they howl at the plight of the queen.] “What do you think… am I a genius or am I a genius!” Today will be a sunny day. Today the words are gracious, they fall down in torrents like the heavy showers of the monsoon rain She is happy when she writes, she is happy when she is alone with her words. Words that excite her and words that on some days are adamant not to appear. And it is here that she bellows, sparking me with an urge to melt into the walls. I do not believe her when she says, “I live for you and for you alone”, for I know it is her writing that keeps her alive. “If not for me you would both be a wreck” she has screamed, disgruntled at my scores. “This will only help you sell vegetables on the road, is that what you want if it is, then why go to school? Why waste my money” she hollers out loud, holding out and shaking our report cards in her
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hands. “I want you here…here.” She says her hands lifted in the air, making me wonder where? In her world of fantasy? A world that does not exist. But I have ever remained certain that it is just there, in her haven of illusions, where words are endless; ceaseless in their sprouting that she finds her peace. Arranging and rearranging She weaves her tales; tales that are but reflections of her self. A self that she was, a self that she would want to be and a self that wanders around seeking the actual self… But that I do not know, I merely understand what I see. And what I see is anger, hurt and tears. There are smiles of course, but mere fleeting moments of laughter when she glides around like an angel, smiling, encouraging and even content with her self. There is no telling of who she is, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a loner or a simply, just a loony. I have seen them all, at least I think I do. Perhaps there are more. More faces to surface from the deep labyrinths of her shuffling mind. She holds my hand and we walk into my school. She smiles at faces around her, stops to greet a few parents who she is familiar with, uneasy and inhibited in a way that only I can detect. But it is when she confronts my teachers with her concerns to my failures and my strengths that I see her as a lioness; out to protect her cub. Back home, “You make me proud” she will say ” but I know that you can do better, far better” But now she stands, spinning her dark glasses in her hands and joking around with my friends. Careless and unguarded and comfortably at ease. “ Uttiyauli gai baaagh le khai….” She teases my friends. “It is ok, to have feelings for boys. Sweet pangs in the heart, little flutters… yeah…. Yeah… I know them all… You all are young yet. There is much more out there. Wait and watch…” I feel my cheeks burn. A forceful tug at her hand, but she goes on with her tomfoolery, asking them who is dating who, they giggle, she puckers up her lips, they giggle, and then she is off. Her dark shades on, buckled on her seat, she waves her good-bye leaving them behind to say, what a cool mother you have, you lucky girl. Little would they know, little do they know, of the nights when I have heard her scream and rushed
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in to find her demented with her anger, throw things around in her frenzied state. Much less fathom my fears, my anger and my hatred for her. But then I have loved her too, seeing her helplessly crouched under a table, her hands embracing her self, she rocks her self in her desperation. I have loved her, watching her in the hospital bed, strapped to wires, her hand pierced with a huge needles, she is holding my home work and helping me revise for an exam that I sit for on the following day. I try to focus on her words as she stresses on the importance of education. “You are a privileged girl”, she says, you got a mother who is guiding you along. I see you as a career girl, making your own mistakes and learning from them. I see you ambitious, focused and determined to your cause. And it is this”, she waves my text book on my face, is what will give you the strength, the confidence to counter the upheavals of life.” I kiss her good-bye, forcing my tears back. I watch the nurses hover around her, medicating her and drugging her for the night. She will be back, I comfort myself, she is a fighter and this too--she shall overcome. She is back home, her chirpy self. People watch her, both amused and bemused. I am sure, I can sense the extremes of emotions well up around her. Some pity her, some judge her, some condemn her, some doom her and there are many who snigger behind her making up their own stories that will be passed around from mouth to mouth some of which will come back to her off which, some she will dismiss, some she will laugh at, some will anger her, some will let loose those pent up tears again. And then she will wander around, pacing up and down, fearing her fears of the worst yet to happen. She will sigh, she will fret, she will stroke her chest. “I can not breathe,” she will say. “Are their lives so mundane that they entertain themselves, poking and probing into mine?” She will ask… staring into the vacant air. The fog will thicken and into its heavy shroud she will disappear. Only to surface again, days after; vibrant with life, strong and steady and ready to face the world, ready for the sneers and the jibes, the scorns and the slanders. Prepared to face a world that has not a clue. I can hear her laugh, I can see her roll on the carpet, her hands on her stomach, talking of this and
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that. Perfect! Capture her now, cage her right there. But, just a wish, it is not possible I know. She is a rebel, she cannot be caged, she cannot be confined. She will fight and she will free her self to let her self to soar. She will rise and rise and then she will plunge. A thud. A sound… then there will be silence for long, silence and tears… and the furious sounds from her keyboard. But then she will rise again and flutter her lids, raise the music, and sway her hips with a glass of wine in her hand. This is how they will see her, laughing and merry but it is when they leave that the ghouls will reappear, haunting not only her but the rest of us left behind. “I don’t care” she says, “what the world says about me, it is you who matters and as long as you understand. I am Ok.” But do I understand or do I find myself, slowly becoming an image of her self. There are times, when I too have wanted to scream, there are times when I too have wanted to smash things all around me, there are times when I too have wanted to dull my brain into an insensate sleep. But she holds me back. She keeps me from falling. The need to protect her is immense. “You must read” she is encased in a world of books. She prizes each one, more precious than the other. Often, I have seen her arranging and rearranging her book, most passionate, most peaceful. She has her set principles when it comes to her books. She never lends them. “You want to read go and get one your self. You owe that to the writer.” And in her own strangest way, she will write her name only after she has read the last line. “Now I truly own it” she will say. “One can have countless books but until you have scoured every word, you can not own it. I know you will never go out and get a book out of your pocket money but you must read… so here take this and tell me what you think of it. I will ask you questions, so don’t think you can fool me.” She hands me one of her Kafkas. “Mamma, I’m only sixteen so…” brows tweaked, she glares down at me, “That does not exempt you from learning. If you must, then start from the best.” Then she falls. It begins with a twitch, then a quiver then with her jaws locked, her body trembles in all entirety. The shelves of books around begin to fade and in come rushing my own ghouls. I yearn
Turl Times – October 1, 2012

for my own escape. But they corner me with their jabber. Is she dead yet? I hope she is. End of all suffering--hers and mine. Has she abandoned me for good? What will I do? What will we do? What off my sister? Will we be Ok? But of course we will be ok. If we have learned anything from her, it is the will to fight. I fight back my tear and my fear and watch her body insensate to her own spasms. Then she stiffens. I know the storm has passed. When she opens her eyes, we are all there, mere faces, eyes, noses and mouths, gaping and gawking. For the longest time, she remains insensible to her surroundings. Then it all comes back… with tears at first, tears of regret as though she has left some precious thing behind. Finally her mind registers her own condition, and with it her surrounding begin to make sense. Her brain begins to tick again, awakening her nerves, her muscles and her limbs. She blinks her eyes and lifts my hand and presses them against her face. “When one has chicken pox, even jaundice or even fever, there are sympathies in abounds she explains, People pour in with flower and well wishes… but my fever is in my brain.” She continues to talk as her hands mix my food and begin to tenderly place morsel after another into my mouth. “My fever is imperceptible to the naked eyes, no one can see, much less feel it…” Silent, I munch on my food. “No one understands. I suffer alone.” I want to shut her up. I want her to spare me. But she goes on, in her own trance. “No one understand me” she says, doleful and distant. “They abandon me, one after another. I have no control over my mind. I do, what it tells me to.” Later she dims the light, tucks me in and plants a kiss on my forehead. I hold on to her hands and watch her smile down at me… are you mad, I want to ask her… but I’m already afraid of the answer…. “No, I’m mot mad”, it is as though she has read my thoughts. “I’m just different. Not every one is the same… yes , there is a damage in me somewhere that has made me more perceptive, more conscious, more alert… more alert to my feeling , more sensitive to my pains. But, Indeed, I am more alive than the others” her words are soothing in the strangest way. This moment, I want to be proud. This moment, I want to hold her tight and tell her how much I love her. But I do not speak, something in me holds me back. Am I in awe?
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“Tick tock … tick tock,” can you hear that she says, pulling my head to her temple and I am sure, I can hear it too, a clock ticking as it were, a bomb preparing to go off. At times she sits her hair disheveled, her eyes gaping wide; staring aimlessly ahead. “I hear people talk inside my brain, a continuous chatter”. “It is your conscience talking to you?” I am sensible enough to say. “So you say…”she mumbles puling me closer and holding me tight. It is here that I want to nurse her, calm her anxious sighs and shield her from her fears, whatever they may be. She rubs her chest, “It’s heavy” she says, “like a huge rock, so heavy that it chokes me.” I nod in dearth of words. I pity her, but have there not been times, when I have wanted to choke her myself? I watch her sitting alone. A book in her hands, but her eyes are lifted, frozen they stare into the open sky. I wonder of what she thinks, when she sits aimless like this for hours, careless to the rest of world around her. Does she long for death, an absolute deliverance from her suffering. I know well that she knows as well, that her mind is crumbling and slowly falling apart. And some day, she will walk around the perfect epitome of an empty mind. Standing from where I am, I watch Alexander pope fall from her hands as they drop limp to her sides. I rush to her. She does not know. She does not care. She mutters to her self, words that I someday, hope to understand…. “how happy is the blameless vestals lot the world forgetting by the world forgot eternal sunshine of the spotless mind each prayers accepted and each wish resigned…” …

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Next Issue Theme: “To Be Determined” (2,000 – 4,000 word submissions) Deadline: December 27, 2012 Publication: January 1, 2013 Introduction: by Stefanie Sabathy Note on Submissions: Make sure you put your name and title as the first two lines of your submission in the document. Also, if you could title the document with your name and the issue, that would be peachy. Have fun traveling the globe. I bid you a fond greeting from the home office in Bloomington, IN, U.S.A. Yeehaw! Editors Final Note: Let me know if you are interested in writing an introduction to the Turl Times. You can set the theme of the issue and in addition to the Introduction you have to submit a piece for that issue as well. And as always, please send us your Bulletin Board items and updated Bio’s. Thank you all. BBBS-JLK

Photo Credits 1. Used with permission of Amy Lovat (Cover Photo) 2. http://www.rusticgirls.com/f-1-student-visa/ (p. 2) 3. http://www.farm4.static.flickr.com/ 3515/3458184491_Obe14cb4ff.jpg (Source: Baigal Byamba) (p.3) 4. http://www.nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/birds/exhibit /swampsparrow_exhibit.cfm (p. 9) 5. Used with permission of Trisha Bhattacharya (p. 11) 6. Used with permission of Trisha Bhattacharya (p. 12) 7. Used with permission of Trisha Bhattacharya (p. 13) 8. http://www.magnesiumagency.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/01/scan006.jpg (p. 15) 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/ 4369739176/sizes/l/in/photostream/ (p. 20) 10. http://www.img76.imageshack.us/ img76/5343/coyhaique100er.jpg (p. 26) 11. Used with permission of Amy Lovat (p. 27) 12. Used with permission of Amy Lovat (p. 28) 13. Used with permission of Amy Lovat (p.29) 14. http://www.adpaascu.wordpress.com/tag/election-2012/ (p. 33) 15. http://www.images.wisegeek.com/steam-bath.jpg (p. 36)

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Turl Times – October 1, 2012

Contributors (Cont.)
David Jeffrey and his wife Annie moved from Sydney, Australia to New York in 2000 when I was posted to work in the Office of Legal Affairs at the United Nations. Our two children, Royce and Ellen, work in the DC area and we have extended family in the Oz and the UK. I sing in the bass section of the Choir of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York in Greenwich Village. In Sydney, I hosted a live children’s television program during college and law school, wrote and performed comedy sketches on public radio, and appeared in TV commercials and soaps. In New York I continue to write short stories at present, am a keen cyclist, hiker and swimmer and take improv theatre classes. It has been a privilege and a joy to be part of this wonderful Summer School. Amy Lovat Ever walked down a dark alley and felt the presence of someone behind you? That’s Amy. In addition to sporadically stalking and killing strangers (or, at least writing about it), Amy loves editing. She first realized this love of spelling and grammar when she was six. She stole her best friend’s ‘writing book’ and vandalized it with a red crayon. She remembers the rush, followed by profound contentment. Amy is a self-confessed grammar and punctuation freak and one day hopes to make a career out of correcting the mistakes of others. Either that, or stay a Uni student forever. In the mean time, she takes photos of Public Spelling Mistakes at http://public-spellingmistakes.tumblr.com. Amy is currently finishing her Honours thesis in Creative Writing at University of Newcastle, Australia, and is deciding whether to finish that dreaded Law degree, or pursue a Doctorate in Creative Writing. She spends her time oscillating between writing, traveling, working in a cafe, teaching ballet and Pilates, and blogging about the awesomeness of Newcastle at http://novocastriantourist.wordpress.com. James McDonough is compiling a book of English and Swedish poetry titled Not About You under the pen name Edwin Oak which, will be available in May 2012. There is a Facebook page and website www.edwinoak.com with more details and poems. Sean McIntyre Based in Melbourne, Australia, playwright, screenwriter and character actor, Sean McIntyre has produced and written plays which have been performed in Australia, Ireland and the United States. His play ‘A Kind of Destiny’ has twice been awarded Best Actor (JUDAS) and recently featured as a finalist at Crash Test Drama, March 2012. His short play ‘The Pickup’ was selected as a top 30 finalist from over 1100 plays for Short and Sweet (Melbourne and Sydney, 2005) – the world’s largest short play festival. Sean is creative producer of ‘A Fistful of Scripts’, a script reading series, which he created and launched at Theatre Works, St Kilda in July 2010. His writing also includes personal essays, short stories and film scripts. In 2011, he presented the workshop: 'Adapting Your Own Work For Stage and Screen', at 2011 Williamstown Literary Festival. In 2010, Sean also studied Creative Writing at Oxford University.

Appearing in some 15 short films and feature films, as well as TVC’s and theatre, Sean has also handled media for a range of independent theatre productions, most recently Mark Andrew’s ‘Bomb The Base’ (2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival) and ‘Time’s Arrow’ (La Mama’s Carlton Court House). He is currently collaborating with Chilean director Marco Romero on a unique 'micro theatre' project for Melbourne audiences (Lounge Theatre, Jimmy Flinders Productions) originated by Teatro de Cerca (teatrodecerca.com) performed to sell-out audiences in Spain. Sean continues to plot an assault upon New York’s off-Broadway scene, publish an anthology of his writing and holds onto his dream to spend a minimum of 6 months experiencing life as an ex-pat overseas. Amanda Redinger was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Her primary job at Oxford this summer was writing everyone else's bios for the anthology, while almost never doing any of her own work. Camilla Mørk Røstvik is 22 summers old, divides her time between Student politics, Art and Architecture History studies at the University of Oslo, traveling and drawing princesses. Enjoys anything Alice in Wonderland, aesthetically pleasing and/or Spanish. Dislikes waiting, nonvegan food on the vegan-menu and British Boy Bastards (a rare, but terrifying breed) She is also known as Always-in-a-dress, Norwegian Ninja and Princess. Stefanie Sabathy who is also known as “Steff” has studied English and German, taught at the University of Mexico City and is now teaching kids and teenagers in her hometown of Vienna, Austria. She loves traveling which has brought her to remote places in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the USA and to many cities in Europe like Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Berlin to name but a few. She has been writing since she was little, has studied Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain and has done workshops at the Vienna School of Poetry and the Scuola Holden in Turin, Italy. In the summer of 2010 she attended the Oxford Summer School of Creative Writing and she is deeply moved that within this circle she now has the opportunity to publish her stories in “The Turl”. Calvin G.W Sandiford was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada. He obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the McGill University. He read law and was granted an Honors degree in Law from the University of Wales, UWIST. He is a member of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. He was a tutor of law at the City of London Polytechnic in England. He has written on a constitution for the Nlaka' Pamux of British Columbia. He read and received a Masters of Laws in Maritime Law from the University of London. He has sat as an Arbitration Judge. He retired as an Officer from the Canadian Forces in 2010 having served in all three branches twice serving overseas in accordance with Canada's NATO obligations. He was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration. He has attended the University of Oxford, Exeter College where he undertook a

creative writing programme As head of The Sandiford Group he is spending his time post the military representing authors and publishers, as well as reading and writing fiction and nonfiction and lecturing on constitutional law issues. He is also a member of The Independent Press. He enjoys spending time with his son in Germany as he re-entering the practice of law in the United Kingdom. David Sgarlata teaches English and humanities at Robert Morris University of Illinois. He had completed a doctorate in literature and critical theory at Northwestern University but later returned to graduate school at DePaul University for a master’s degree in creative writing. David lives with his long-time partner, Scott, and their German shepherd, Bunny, in Oak Park, outside Chicago, and at their farm in western Illinois. He is currently working on a novel and writing about Chicago architecture for an educational website. Sheeba Shah is a published writer from Nepal. I write fiction. My first, LOYALS OF THE CROWN, is a historical fiction dating back to the 1840's. My second, BEYOND THE ILLUSIONS, is a spiritual fiction that describes in detail and rather dramatically the intensity of belief in Kali worship in India. My third and the latest is called FACING MY PHANTOMS. This novel is seen from the perspective of the bewildered mind of the chaotic youth during the Maoist insurgency period in Nepal. It too is a period novel as it keeps skipping time from the 1940's to 2001 and there after. Aggie Stachuraa; misses y'all! Oxford seems like a happy dream. Publication-wise, it's been a good fall; I've had work published in Hint Fiction, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and The Sun. But four months of full-time work plus graduate school have left too little time for new writing. Now that my work hours have dropped and I'm between semesters, I'm in a much better mood. Laptop + cafe + writing time = happy gal. Danielle Williams is currently sipping wine and listening to music trying to figure out how to define myself in a hundred words. I suppose the word that defines me most honestly is: searching. I am searching for a way to connect what is inside me with the world outside me. Often times, I’m bewildered by how our world operates, and more often, I feel very alien. I’m on the outside observing and noting observations. My noting methodologies include words, drawings, videos, performances, and conversations. But these are things I do, not who I am. I suppose, most honestly, I’m still searching for who I am...

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