An Australian author living in Norway

Category: Short Stories (Page 2 of 2)

What I’m Made Of

Jamie, his dad and his grandpa go on a hiking trip and stay in a remote cabin overnight. On the hike, Jamie slips and falls down a cliff, injuring his knees and face. After enduring his grandfather’s insults and abuse all day, Jamie lies awake listening to his father and grandfather argue about the best way to raise a boy. He learns things about his grandfather’s past neither he nor his father ever knew.

The inspiration for this story came from a night I spent in my partner’s family’s summer cabin close to Fredrikstad and the Swedish border. My daughter was asleep in one of the bunk-rooms and I spent the entire evening cringing every time someone’s voice would get louder than a whisper, terrified she’d wake up and give us all a terrible night’s sleep. My partner’s step-father got to talking about his life and his relationship with his father, and later I discovered he’d never really talked about it this way before. I began to wonder what it would have been like if my daughter, now almost two years old, had been a little older and had been lying awake listening to the conversation. I don’t have many memories of my grandparents talking about their lives, their experiences and their parents, and I realised that I’ve missed out on knowing about where I came from because of this.

A child often has so little knowledge of who and where they’ve come from. But much of the riddle of our own existence lies in the lives of others who came before us. I explore this theme in What I’m Made Of. The story is complete at 2000 words.


When I lived in Australia I had no immediate plans to leave, indeed I built a house in which I thought I would one day raise my children. But after I left I realised how much of a foreigner I had always felt myself there. Defect is an exploration of my ambivalent feelings for my home country, and how distant I always was from all things Australian.

I wrote this piece intending to build it into a work of fiction, but the subject matter was far too close to me and I couldn’t separate myself from it. It is a raw, honest piece that was quite unsettling to write. It is never a pleasant sensation to realise you are so disconnected from everything and everyone you’ve come from, but in writing it, I was able to put more of a finger on exactly where the disconnect lies.

Defect is complete at 1500 words.

Rocks In His Socks

Reginald Bobich doesn’t mean to be a jerk. If he could just get rid of the tiny stones trapped in his socks long enough to think clearly, he’d be able to get through his day without hurting anyone. But they’re so damn irritating! He just can’t concentrate on anything else, not even a bank robbery, his wife’s panic or his office building burning to the ground.

The inspiration behind this story is to do with Norwegian sandpits: my daughter spends quite a large proportion of the day in the sandpit at kindergarten, and as such, brings a lot of it home in her shoes and clothes. What Norwegians call sand and what I call sand are two very different things. To me, sand is whitish-yellow, fine, soft and very slightly gritty if you get it in your eyes or mouth. To a Norwegian, sand is something more like very fine gravel; a substance once trapped in your socks seems never to come out again. I have spent many days at the office with this “sand” caught in my socks or stockings, being slowly driven mad. And when you have something so seemingly insignificant nagging at you all day long, you tend to lose all perspective. Rocks In His Socks is all about how we let tiny irritations blind us to what’s going on around us, sometimes at great personal cost.

The story is complete at 1500 words.

Saltines and Cat Poo

Finding out you’re pregnant doesn’t always make a woman jump for joy: for some women it’s a terrifying, unexpected and even unwanted discovery. Saltines and Cat Poo is about one such woman. She’s married to a man who has never been interested in procreation and she believes this one little accident could even end their marriage. Throughout her pregnancy she’s plagued with doubt and fear both for the life of the child she’s not sure she wants and for the relationship that has to withstand something it perhaps wasn’t built for.

This story was inspired by my own experiences and those of friends who had fears about what a new life would do to change their existing one. For a generation of women brought up to believe in nurturing their own lives first, this taboo subject is often only whispered about. There is something fundamentally wrong with that, in my opinion. Through this story, I’ve sought to unearth some of the feelings and experiences many women go through during their pregnancies, so that perhaps they won’t feel so alone, and may realise that these feelings are normal and don’t make them terrible mothers. In fact, I believe they make you a better mother: a bad mother wouldn’t worry so much.

Saltines and Cat Poo is complete at 3500 words.

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