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“Hi, I’m Glenda Guest. I’m going to read to you from my novel Siddon Rock.
Macha Connor arrived home from war as naked as the day she was born, except for well-worn boots and a dusty slouch hat, and the .303 rifle she held across her waist.
Alistair Meakins watched her from the shadows of his shop doorway.
Alistair saw the world as intersecting lines and spaces. His window display often had a background of ribbon lattice in suitable seasonal colours but he rarely used summer colours, saying to his customers, Summer is a blast from hell without red blaring into the street, to make us feel worse.
As Macha marched into town with the rifle held stiffly in front of her he saw angles: broad shoulders that tapered to the waist, and the straight long lines of her legs. Pale patches of freckles emphasised the planes of her cheekbones and made them look high and dangerous. In the half-light of dusk Macha’s nakedness glowed like white camellias, but her still features were hidden by the slouch hat.
Alistair looked along the street to see who else was watching. He went into the shop and locked the door behind him.
In the fitting room Alistair stood looking at the poster of a woman draped elegantly against a railing. Behind her the Eiffel Tower appeared to lean towards her in wonder at her beauty. But it was the image of the dress that he caressed, running his hand down the flowing skirt. No ordinary dress this one, it flowed in long folds from a tightly belted bodice into a skirt that swirled around slender legs. Grey, he thought, definitely silver-grey. And that little white Peter Pan collar. And the hat, black with black net veil. Just perfect. Alistair put his hand over the one word on the poster – Dior – and to his admiring eye the model’s delicate features looked amazingly like those of Macha Connor.
Alistair turned from the French perfection and looked into the mirror. His plump softness overflowed the glass and made him sigh. From the region of his heart came a green glow that made him look taller, straighter and more angular, and his reddish complexion faded to white petals touched with brown freckles of frost.
That night, when Alistair completed his ledger entries for the day, he wrote neatly at the bottom of the credit column: Macha Connor came home. And at the corresponding debit: This is unbalanced.”
ABOUT GLENDA GUEST:
Glenda lives in the gorgeous Blue Mountains in NSW. She won the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2010 for the best first book for her novel Siddon Rock, and is currently working on her second book. Glenda has worked as an arts magazine sub-editor, literary editor, and feature writer, and as a reviewer of literature and theatre. She teaches creative writing at various universities on a casual contract basis.
“I wrote the first draft of Siddon Rock at Varuna, with financial assistance from artsACT. I’m a regular occupier of a room.” Glenda Guest
Siddon Rock, Vintage, 2009
Refereed publication of conference paper “Finding the language” in Antipodas (XVI): Journal of Hispanic Studies for New Zealand and Australia, La Trobe University.
Chapter from manuscript of Siddon Rock in Spiny Babbler Anthology and in Coastlines Cultural Magazine No. 3
Refereed article. (With Inez Baranay) “Stripping the Muse“ in Text, the on-line Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs.
“A Day in Brisbane”, Short radio play broadcast. Queensland Arts Council, da Arts project, ABC radio.
“CJ and Me”, in A Meeting of Muses, Ginninderra Press, Canberra.
“The Order of Things” in Imago, University of Queensland Press, Vol. 11. No. 2. and [refereed] in Text, the on-line Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs.
“The Ballad of Halley Magee”, Runner-up for The Marjorie Graber-McInnes Short Story award, Canberra Writers Centre.
“The Visit” in Original Sin, ed. Robyn Sheahan. University of Queensland Press, 1996, Brisbane. An anthology for young adult readers.
“7 30am” in From Paradise to Paranoia, eds. Nigel Krauth and Robyn Sheahan. University of Queensland Press, 1995.
“Tarragon Cafe” in Imago, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane: UQP. Vol. 7 No.1.
“I recognize him”, in Blast magazine, Canberra.
“Requiem”, in the anthology Moving Out, Moving On.
www.glendaguest.com or phone 0408 696912.
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