A New Jack

A New Jack

Tall And True Short Reads

A New Jack

Episode 91 (18 April 2024)

Less than forty-eight hours after receiving her online order, Third Age Cybertronics delivered Jack to Daisy, a sprightly centenarian who purchased the Advanced Companion Droid to help her with household chores and carry her bags when travelling.

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A New Jack

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 91 (18 April 2024)

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

Read the story on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/fiction/short-stories/a-new-jack

Listen to Episode 87 of Tall And True Short Reads, The Lonely Moon: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com/the-lonely-moon/

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

A New Jack should have been my entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s January 2024 Furious Fiction challenge. The brief for the story was:

  • It had to take place on a character’s FIRST DAY OF A NEW JOB
  • Include something being stolen
  • And the words TRIP, TRIANGLE and TSUNAMI.

But I was holidaying in Perth on the weekend of the challenge in January, and I couldn’t find the time or space to polish the slightly futuristic draft I’d written about Jack’s first day on the job as an Advanced Companion Droid for Daisy, the sprightly centenarian.

When the Writers’ Centre published its showcased stories at the end of January, it inspired me to revisit and finish my story. The tweaked and polished final version is similar to the draft except for:

  • The ending—which I hadn’t written
  • Something being stolen—which I’d overlooked in the draft
  • The story title—the draft was untitled.

I flirted with having Jack steal something from Daisy’s house, perhaps a ceramic Jack Russell. But the simplicity of Jack computing that dogs had stolen Daisy’s heart was perfect for the story and gave me its sweet ending.

As for the title, I was editing a penultimate printout of the story on an evening walk when the idea of A New Jack popped into my head. And like that shiver up the spine moment when I’ve written a final sentence, I knew I had the title for my story.

January 2024 was only the second Furious Fiction I’ve missed since April 2020. I was also in Perth the first time I missed the challenge, for a family wedding in October 2023. As with A New Jack, I finished and shared the story later in the month, back home in Sydney, The Lonely Moon, Episode 87 of Tall And True Short Reads.

I hope you enjoyed the tale of Jack’s first day on the job. You can read A New Jack and my selected short stories, blog posts and other writings at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections, including the latest Tall And True Microfiction anthology from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores — links are available in the show notes.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with family and friends and help spread the word 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 is produced using Audacity. Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

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A New Jack

A Good Story

Tall And True Short Reads

A Good Story

Episode 90 (1 April 2024)

My first “published” writing was an Enid Blyton-Famous Five-style adventure story, Sand Island, in 1972. I wrote the story and illustrated it with coloured Texta markers. My aunt, the only one in our family with a typewriter, typed up the manuscript. And my father helped bind and cover the book. I was ten.

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A Good Story

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 90 (1 April 2024)

A Good Story is a blog post from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Read the post and see my illustrations on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/blog/a-good-story-sand-island

Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com

Episode 88, Finding Inspiration (also mentions Sand Island): https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com/finding-inspiration/

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

I wrote this blog post, shared as A Good Story – Sand Island on Tall And True, in February 2021, one year before the 50th anniversary of “publishing” Sand Island as a ten-year-old in 1972.

As I revealed in the post, the story was inspired by my love of Enid Blyton’s adventure stories, my ten-year-old imagination, and my love of writing. It also helped that I didn’t have the modern-day distractions of computers, gadgets, and 24-hour TV.

I quoted paragraphs and dialogue from Sand Island in the blog post, which is why the writing and narration might sound “a little bit” immature. I also shared photos of my Texta-coloured illustrations in the post, including the four children in the boat rowing to Sand Island while singing, “Row, row, row your boat”.

I’ve included links to the Tall And True blog post in the Show Notes so you can read it and look at the illustrations. Between you and me, it’s just as well I stuck to writing and didn’t pursue a career as an artist!

I also mentioned Sand Island in Episode 88 of Tall And True Short Reads, Finding Inspiration.

I hope you enjoyed A Good Story. You can read all my blog posts, selected short stories, and other writings at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy the Tall And True Microfiction anthology and my short story collections from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast, and rate and review it via your favourite app—doing so helps share my storytelling.

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with family and friends and tell them 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 is produced using Audacity. Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

Contact Us

A New Jack

Moving On

Tall And True Short Reads

Moving On

Episode 89 (14 March 2024)

Eighteen-year-old Hugo glanced up at the train station clock. It seemed time had stood still, with the minute hand barely moved since he’d last checked. He confirmed the time on his watch and then looked at the departure board, breathing a sigh of relief. His train was running on schedule.

READ SHOW NOTES

Moving On

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 89 (14 March 2024)

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

Read the story on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/fiction/short-stories/moving-on

Read A Dad and Son Road Trip: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/blog/a-dad-and-son-road-trip

Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

Moving On was my December 2023 Furious Fiction entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre‘s monthly 500-word short story writing challenge. The story had to:

  • Take place at either an AIRPORT or TRAIN STATION
  • Feature an awkward hug
  • Include the words EIGHTEEN, EGG and ELEPHANT – longer variations were permissible (did you hear them?).

The Furious Fiction challenge takes place on the first weekend of the month. The Writers’ Centre emails the brief on Friday afternoon, and the deadline is midnight Sunday. That first weekend in December was a disaster for me. 

On our Friday afternoon walk, my over-excited twelve-year-old black lab, Jet, jumped up for a treat, landed poorly, and ruptured his cruciate ligament  one week before I was due to head off a long-planned road trip with my son from Sydney to Perth to spend Xmas/New Year with our WA family.

I knew the farm stay I’d booked to mind Jet while I was away wouldn’t take him with his cruciate injury. So I spent the weekend exploring short-notice alternatives, including abandoning the road trip with my son or taking Jet with us, neither of which was preferable (or sensible!). And my mind was overloaded with what-ifs, like, “Why didn’t I stop Jet from jumping!?”

Consequently, I couldn’t focus on the TV on Friday night, let alone the Furious Fiction brief. Or so I thought because to relieve the stress, I sat at my laptop with a glass (or two!) of wine and wrote Moving On in one sitting. 

Yes, there were a few edits, especially after much-appreciated suggestions by fellow Furious Fiction writers Richard Gibney and Gav Harris, with whom I shared my early drafts. But the story I wrote on that stress-filled Friday evening is essentially the one I submitted on Sunday.  

Perhaps, like my young protagonist, writing the story was like jumping on a train and leaving behind my woes! 

I hope you enjoyed Hugo’s “moving on” tale. You can read this and my selected short stories, blog posts and other writings at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections, including the latest Tall And True Microfiction anthology from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores — links are available in the show notes.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with family and friends and tell them about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.

PS. I found a dog-loving family to look after Jet while I was away on the road trip with my son. We all had a good time in WA, which helped prepare for the operation and rehab to repair Jet’s knee when I returned home in January. I also wrote a Tall And True blog post about our adventures crossing the continent, A Dad and Son Road Trip.

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 is produced using Audacity. Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

Contact Us

A New Jack

Finding Inspiration

Tall And True Short Reads

Finding Inspiration

Episode 88 (29 February 2024)

While sorting through storage boxes at home, I found an old notebook belonging to my son. It wasn’t a school exercise book but something he’d jotted and doodled in as a twelve-year-old. Among its random pages was a short story he’d written in 2014 about a father who doesn’t have “great ideas”.

READ SHOW NOTES

Finding Inspiration

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 88 (29 February 2024)

Finding Inspiration is a blog post from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Trigger warning: This blog post and podcast episode mention teenage self-harm and death. Lifeline Australia: https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Read the post on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/blog/finding-inspiration

Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

I wrote the Finding Inspiration blog post in February 2022, eight years after my son wrote his short story about a father who doesn’t have great ideas. Once again, I stress his story is entirely fictional because I had great ideas as a father in 2014 and still do today. And I’ve never made a diaper-changing machine, though that is an idea worth pursuing!

I’ve kept many mementos and journals from my son’s childhood and before I became a father. Some of these have inspired my writings on Tall And True and podcast episodes on Tall And True Short Reads. For instance, uncovering old theatre programs led to episode 78, Taking a Bow, and my travel journals inspired episodes 60, Kurd Friends in the Mountains, and 69 and 70, Two Visits to the Berlin Wall.

I hope you enjoyed this inspiring episode. You can read my blog posts, including Finding Inspiration, selected short stories, and other writings at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy the Tall And True Microfiction anthology and my short story collections from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores — links are available in the show notes.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released soon. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with your family and friends and tell them 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 is produced using Audacity. Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

Contact Us

A New Jack

The Lonely Moon

Tall And True Short Reads

The Lonely Moon

Episode 87 (15 February 2024)

If you ask me, the Moon is the best object in the night sky. And you don’t need an expensive telescope to observe it. A pair of binoculars does the trick. I’m looking at the Moon now, leaning against a wall to steady my hands, and it’s a beautiful sight. No wonder it inspires poets and lovers.

READ SHOW NOTES

The Lonely Moon

Show Notes

Season Four: Episode 87 (15 February 2024)

The Lonely Moon is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.

Read the story on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/fiction/short-stories/the-lonely-moon

Podcast website: https://www.tallandtrueshortreads.com

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

Furious Fiction is a short story writing challenge run by the Australian Writers’ Centre on the first weekend of the month. I have submitted an entry to every Furious Fiction since my first in April 2020 (A Song on the Radio). Except for the October 2023 challenge, when I was in Perth on a whirlwind trip for a family wedding.

To satisfy my Furious Fiction fix, I decided to write an unofficial short story, as I did in 2022 when the challenge briefly moved from monthly to quarterly, using October’s brief and respecting the 55-hour deadline.

However, the following weekend, I was involved in the Voice to Parliament Referendum in Australia and the next, while still in shock from the result, I narrated and released a podcast episode, the last of a three-part story inspired by the Voice campaign, Some Things Change, Episodes 79, 80 and 81 of Tall And True Short Reads.

The first chance I had to write my short story was on the last weekend of October. The Writers’ Centre’s brief was:

  • The story had to feature someone looking through a TELESCOPE or BINOCULARS.
  • It had to include a five-digit number, e.g. “90210”, “10,000”, etc.
  • And the words BLIND, WIND, FIND and MIND (did you hear them in my story?).

The Writers’ Centre also publishes its Furious Fiction showcase on the last weekend of the month. I had planned to include a telescope in my story. But I read the showcased entries and some featured telescopes, and they were good, so I changed tack on my astronomical equipment. And, as astronomers like our narrator will tell you, binoculars are perfect for observing our nearest celestial neighbour in the night sky, the Moon.

As often happens with my Furious Fictions, after labouring on the opening paragraph, The Lonely Moon “wrote itself”. I let my first-person narrator’s conversational words and emotions flow, adding appropriate callbacks, confident I’d know when I’d written the last sentence.

I may sound big-headed, but four years of official and unofficial Furious Fictions have given me confidence in my writing process. That’s why I highly recommend the Writers’ Centre’s monthly challenge to aspiring writers or those like me who crave monthly fixes!

I hope you enjoyed my lunar tale. You can read The Lonely Moon and all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections, including the latest Tall And True Microfiction anthology, from the Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo online bookstores — links are available in the show notes.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be in your podcast feed soon. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

You can support the podcast financially by making a small one-off or regular donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

Finally, please share this episode with your family and friends and tell them 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.

Podcast episodes are recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the traditional lands of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

Support this show: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads.

Contact Us