Tall And True Short Reads

A Free Spirit

Episode 43 (12 January 2022)

Nadine lies on her mattress on the floor of the attic. She stares up at the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling and the moth circling it. Wind gusts through cracks under the doors and windows, whistling down hallways and upstairs, carrying with it the storm-muffled moans of Paul and the new housemate.


A Free Spirit

Show Notes

Season Two: Episode 43 (12 January 2022)

A Free Spirit is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Read the story: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/a-free-spirit

Support the podcast: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

I wrote A Free Spirit for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s short story writing competition Furious Fiction in September 2021. My 500-word story had to include:

  • Either an ATTIC or a BASEMENT
  • Some kind of INSECT
  • The words EARTH, WIND, FIRE and WATER.

I immediately thought of the 1970s band “Earth, Wind & Fire” and reacquainted myself with their music. I imagined chilling out in a basement, playing their LPs and drinking glasses of vodka and tonic water, while cockroaches scurry about the floor.

Tada, I’d ticked off all the criteria. But I didn’t have a story!

And so I moved the setting to the attic in a share house, with my protagonist, Nadine, lying on a mattress, staring up at a moth circling a light bulb. It became a metaphor for a “fatal attraction” and the plot of my story.

A raging storm sends WIND whistling through the house, carrying with it sounds from other rooms. I borrowed from the zodiac signs for Paul’s explanation to Nadine of the “chemical reaction” between him and a new housemate. (Google FIRE and WATER, and you’ll find opinions divided on whether they attract or repel each other!) And I had Nadine so ashamed of her early days on the streets she’d “wished the EARTH would open up and swallow her”.

Like the moth’s senseless circling and smashing into the light bulb, it seemed I was writing a bleak story. But I trusted the reader would find Nadine’s “free spirit” ending uplifting.

I hope you enjoyed listening to A Free Spirit. You can read all my short stories, blog posts, and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections from the Amazon Kindle and Kobo online bookstores.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will appear in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, don’t forget to check on your favourite app or the podcast website, for earlier episodes from Seasons One and Two.

And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it on your app. Doing so helps me share my writing with other listeners.

And finally, please support this podcast by telling your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.

Podcast Theme and Sound Effects

Royalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.

Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:

Production Notes

Tall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.

Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.

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