Click on the arrow above to listen (In emails: click on the title above)
Hi, I’m Melissa Bruce and this is an excerpt from a short story called The Writing Tutor, published in an anthology called ‘Re-Placement’ by Southern Cross University Press.
‘Imagine a forest,’ she said, ‘a rainforest, tropical, with pythons and fireflies and luminous green vines. Or a vast desert at night, with stars that have fallen, some of them caught on the prickles of tall cactus trees, scattered across the sand. Or a city,’ she said, ‘with buildings made of holograms and laser lights that you could walk through, fly through, dissolve into?’
No response. Just the scratchy sound of his pencil on the paper. The boy did not want to imagine.
‘Would you rather write about something you know? Something real?’ He kept scribbling.
‘Okay, what’s your favourite thing in the world? Something you really love.’
‘There must be something you love.’
He shrugged again and started on another area of the paper.
‘Are you drawing wheels?’
‘Is that a wheel?’
‘What kind of a wheel?’
‘A round one.’
‘Yes but what’s it for? A car?’
The pencil didn’t sit comfortably in his fingers. He pressed hard on the paper to make his marks.
‘Is it a bike wheel?’
‘Do you have a bike?’
‘Would you like to write about your bike?’
The tutor was often given the difficult kids. You had to find a way into them. If there was one.
‘Jackson, I can’t keep suggesting things. You’re going to have to write about something. This is a writing lesson. You may as well choose something interesting.’
The tutor took a moment to look through the Venetian blinds and into the glare of the afternoon light which had the potential to give her a headache today. There was a ghost gum in the garden of the house across the road. It was majestic and totally out of place on this suburban thoroughfare. Lonesome too. She’d come to work one day to find the developers had cut the other one beside it, equally as proud and ethereal, to the ground. The ghost of the ghost gum … nice story idea. She’d save it for a more enthusiastic student.”
ABOUT MELISSA BRUCE:
Melissa completed an MA in Creative Writing (UTS), Diploma in Directing (NIDA) & B.Ed. in Media Studies-Drama (Vic. College/Deakin). A selection of short stories, poems & articles have been published, (Australian anthologies & magazines) plus short stage & radio plays produced (STC Ed, ATYP, Short ‘n’ Sweet, 2SER…). Melissa was awarded a mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors to develop her first novel. Melissa teaches undergraduate, graduate & postgraduate writing (UTS, Notre Dame, NSWWC, Sydney Uni. CCE.) She has directed professional theatre, (STC, STCSA, Griffin…) and provides courses and private coaching for the preparation of written and verbal communications: http://www.mbperformance.com.au.
“I spent a novel-changing week at Varuna in 2009. The precious, magical focusing experience, enabled me to draw all the story elements together and complete my first novel from August 31 – September 7 2009.” Melissa Bruce
ORIGINAL SCRIPTS: WRITTEN/ADAPTED/DEVISED (& DIRECTED) 1991-2007
What It All Amounts To Is This – Live reading, ‘Parnassus Den’ 2007
I’m Happy You’re Happy “Short + Sweet” 2004
Reg Pratt & Tony Sure “Shorts in Winter” Bondi Pavilion 2003
Pacing The Cage “Short + Sweet” Newtown Theatre. 2003
The Crossing Original work devised for Australian Theatre For Young People 2002
Four Radio Plays – in association with BIGhART & Inverell Community.
Public Readings: On location/tour. Parnassus Den. 2SER Radio. 01-02
Put Up With It
Paper Tiger (with Damian Mason)
Various Comedy Sketches – Syndicated Comedy Productions. 2000
Who’d Be An Auditor? ERNST & YOUNG: Sydney Partners Retreat. 1994
Counterpoint Harold Park Hotel 1992
Into The Crucible STC Educational Program, Sydney Opera House. 1991
Script Assessor: Australia Council, STC, Playworks, Griffin, Independent.
Script Assessments & Document Editing Support: Private Clients 1991-2005
WRITING (FICTION/ARTICLES/POETRY/BIOG/REVIEW) 1990 – 2011
Published work includes:
AAWP Anthology (Short Story) 2008
UTS Anthology 2008 (Short Story)
Cardigan Press Anthology (Short Story) 2006
The Fine Print (UTS) Poem 2006
ABC Radio National : 3 x Country Viewpoints 2005
Australian Gourmet Traveller : Travel article (Greece) 1999
Voices: National Library of Australia (Short story) Autumn 1992
Sydney Jewish Museum (Biographical story “Heirlooming”) 1998
Wizbang Computer: (article) Jan 1999
FilmInk: (Various film reviews) 99/2000
Witchcraft Magazine: (Native Australian Bush Medicine article) Nov 2000
Monokrome Magazine: (Poem) 2001
International Library Of Poetry (Editor’s Choice Award + prize.) 1998
Co-Editor – 2006 UTS Writers’ Anthology
email@example.com M: 0417659846
Varuna has been funded by the Australia Council to produce a Varuna Writer-a-Day “app”. When we have recorded 365 writers the app will be made available via the iTunes store. In the meantime, if you subscribe to this free blog, you can receive a daily reading delivered to your email inbox which can also be directed to your mobile phone.
To find out more about Varuna’s programs, residencies, events and support services for writers click here.