The Cook's Toolkit

The Cook's Toolkit
The Cook's Toolkit by Clever Pumpkin.


The romance is over: Edward & Bella twenty years on. My short story Daylight is now available as a free download.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

EJ Brady Short Story Competition 2014-15

My story, Myxo, has been privileged to be selected from among its undoubtedly wonderful colleagues as the winner of the Mallacoota Prize in the EJ Brady Short Story Competition 2014-15.  This welcome news has sentimental significance for me, as one of the judges was Bruce Pascoe.  Though he won’t remember me, many years ago, Bruce owned and edited the journal, Australian Short Stories, to which I was an aspiring contributor.  I once received a rejection from him criticising my lack of focus and discipline – both fair criticisms – but which also held two words of encouragement that meant so much to me I have never forgotten them: keep writing.

Some two decades later, I still recall undiminished the emotion that those two words – keep writing – evoked.  They gave me such heart.   It was as though I had been given permission to proceed, to try, as though someone had said, yes, I understand what this means to you; it’s okay, you’re allowed to write.

Often as writers we are told (or tell ourselves) that there are ‘born’ writers; creatures who sail into the world with a filigree Mont Blanc in their mouths, animals so precocious they win their first Vogel at the age of two then travel a charmed road of uninterrupted publication and glittering prizes thereafter.  They are the real writers, the worthy ones.  While such golden creatures might exist, the road for many of us is signposted, Keep Writing. It is a road just as worthy of travel, and one we’re entitled to explore for ourselves.

So, if after more than two decades, one of my stories has been judged to be of merit by an editor who once rejected story after story of mine, I hope the moral of this story is clear: it takes more than twenty years to please some bloody people. 

Many thanks to Jim Sakkas, Sue Hines, Lyn Harwood, Bruce Pascoe, Mick Bartholomew, Callista Cooper, Peter Giddings and all at the Mallacoota Arts Council who have given so generously  of their time and effort in support of my new earrings writers.

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