Tall And True Short Reads
The Special Tree
Episode 52 (8 May 2022)
The tree stood in front of a vacant block at the end of the street. It had thick, leafy branches and was easy to climb. It was Matty’s special place. And then, one day, he saw a sign on the tree. Matty couldn’t read the big words and went to find his sister. Jess was a school captain, so she’d know what the sign said.
The Special Tree
Season Two: Episode 52 (8 May 2022)
The Special Tree is a short story from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.
Read The Special Tree on Tall And True: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/the-special-tree
Support the podcast: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads
Buy Robert’s short story collections online:
- Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Fairhead/e/B086HZ36NM
- Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/author/robert-fairhead
The Special Tree was my entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s December 2021 Furious Fiction. The brief for the month’s 500-word short story was:
- It had to include a TREE.
- Something BEING TAPED.
- And the words DANCE, SEARCH and CHANGE (longer variations were acceptable as long as they retained the original spelling).
Like December 2020’s Furious Fiction brief, where the story had to include a GIFT of some kind, the temptation was to fashion a festive season scenario. However, as I did with last year’s entry, The Gift, I decided to write a short story that had nothing to do with Xmas or Xmas trees!
Instead, I drew on my experience as a boy for my protagonist and plot. A tract of undeveloped land surrounded my boyhood home. We called it the “bush”, and within it stood tall trees that I loved climbing. But one day, bulldozers rolled in and cleared the trees, and builders followed. The bush that had seemed so vast to me as a boy became a row of boxy suburban houses.
For my story, I condensed my boyhood bush into a vacant block with a favourite climbing tree out the front. My young primary school-aged protagonist, Matty, finds a sign on the tree and asks his big sister to help him read it.
Back home, Matty’s mother searches the council website for the development application and confirms the builder wants to remove the tree. Matty is distraught, but his family promise to contact the council and rally support to save the tree.
As a writing device, I simplified the third-person narrator’s language because I wanted the story to be from Matty’s point of view without making it first-person.
Does the “mean builder” remove the tree? I leave that for the podcast listener to decide. But I hope Matty has more luck with his tree than I had with mine in the bush all those years ago.
I also hope you enjoyed listening to The Special Tree. You can read this 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, please 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 with other listeners.
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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:
- Birds Song: https://freesound.org/people/ken788/sounds/386732/
- Computer Keyboard: https://freesound.org/people/D4XX/sounds/567266/
- Door Slammed: https://freesound.org/people/TiesWijnen/sounds/455540/
- Chainsaw: https://freesound.org/people/piwilliwillski/sounds/548411/
Tall And True Short Reads is produced using Audacity.
The Podcast is recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.
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