Tall And True Short Reads

The People Were Happy

Episode 46 (18 February 2022)

A long time ago, poverty, floods, droughts, famines and war blighted a pale-blue planet. But the people endured the hardships and were happy. They believed life in the Here and Now and Ever After was predetermined and fixed like the stars in the sky. And the people found solace and solidarity in their faith.


The People Were Happy

Show Notes

Season Two: Episode 46 (18 February 2022)

The People Were Happy 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/the-people-were-happy

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

Buy Robert’s short story collections online:

Story Insight

In December 2021, the Australian Writers’ Centre announced that Furious Fiction was shifting from a monthly to a quarterly short story writing competition in 2022. The change was understandable, as Furious Fiction had grown in popularity and become a massive administrative task. However, like many long term fans, I felt bereft.

To help writers cope and keep their “creative muscles twitching”, the Writers’ Centre launched First Friday Fix emails for the off-quarter months, with 50-word mini-story challenges. And I was honoured to be profiled as a Furious Fiction fan in their first Fix email in January 2022.

I enjoyed crafting my 50-word stories for First Friday Fix. But I still missed the writing routine and adrenaline rush of Furious Fiction. So I decided to attempt an informal and unofficial version. (And the Writers’ Centre kindly permitted me to promote it on Twitter.)

I drew a brief at random from the Writers’ Centre’s 2018 Furious Fiction archive and used the same competition rules to write my 500-word short story in 55 hours, from 5 PM on Friday to midnight on Sunday.

The selected brief from May 2018 specified the story had to:

  • Begin with the phrase “A long time ago”
  • Include the words “STAR”, “WAR” and “FORCE” (or plurals)
  • And feature something that FLIES.

I deliberately avoided reading the winner or shortlisted entries for May 2018 because I didnt want them to influence my short story. (Although I enjoyed reading the stories afterwards.)

But the brief and its accompanying image, a fisheye lens photo of someone standing staring up at the broad expanse of the Milky Way, had me thinking of a plot and setting that may or may not be far, far away!

It might seem fanciful that the people endured poverty, floods, droughts, famines and war and were happy. And yet, as COVID-19 has proved, there’s something to be said for certainty, like fixed stars and Furious Fiction.

I hope this episode has made you happy. You can read The People Were Happy and 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 be in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, don’t forget to check your feed or the podcast website, for earlier episodes from Seasons One and Two.

And follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite app — doing so helps me share my writing and spread the happiness with other listeners.

Please remember, you can support this podcast by making a regular or one-off donation via the Acast Supporter Page.

And finally, please tell 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 recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.

Acast Podcast Supporter Page

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

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