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“Hi, my name’s Laurie Steed and I’ll be reading from my story “Family” which is from my interlinked collection You Don’t Belong Here.
When I was a little girl, my mother would make us things: cakes, biscuits, slices. I’d watch her from behind the kitchen door, holding my nose if I needed to sneeze. She’d wear a blue cotton apron, dusting flour off her hands and onto its sides. Her hair tied back; pale white legs that stretched out of her dress and down to her slippers.
When I was a girl, my mother would sing songs. They’d echo out into the hallway. I’d open my door ever so slightly in the hope that they’d vibrate through the gap. I knew these were notes to be cherished; that Mum’s soul, dusted in flour and warmed by Dad’s doughy embrace, was singing out.
When I was a girl, my mother and father had a “meeting” in the living room. We were told to watch TV, and though the show wasn’t much chop (some guff about a talking horse), my brother Trent and I shared a laugh to avoid sharing tears. When the meeting was over, my mother was crying. Dad looked as if he’d been crying, too. He kissed us once on our foreheads, sniffed up a sob and went to pack his things.
He left that night. It was as if a song was being sung, not in the hallway, but out the front door and down through the streets, up over hills and on to the outskirts of town before fading away. I stayed up all night. I pulled the covers up and counted Mississippi’s ‘til the world was just a spinning globe of Mississippi, turning and turning. I thought of Dad. I wanted so much just to hear the floorboards creak, and his heavy stomp from room to room.”
ABOUT LAURIE STEED:
Laurie Steed is a writer, editor, and reviewer from Perth, Western Australia. His writing has appeared in The Age, The Courier Mail, Meanjin, Sleepers Almanac, The Big Issue and elsewhere. He is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia and in 2011 was selected for Rosebank and Varuna writing fellowships. He is the 2012 Emerging Writer in Residence for the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Western Australia), an Australian books and writing columnist for Kill Your Darlings, and a proud member of the Emerging Writers Festival Program Advsiory Committee (PAC).
“I was selected for a Varuna Retreat Fellowship in 2011 and took up residency in March 2012.
I immensely enjoyed my time at Varuna and would unreservedly recommend it to any writer, poet, or playwright who is passionate about their craft.
I would like to thank all at Varuna, and particularly Helen Barnes-Bulley and Lis Bastian, equally passionate people inspired by books, writing and creativity, and Sheila Atkinson and Joan Okey, who filled my belly, heart and soul.
Such support and encouragement guided me to an invigorating, at times challenging, but always productive fortnight spent writing, revising, and shaping my manuscript.” Laurie Steed
Laurie has contributed stories and articles to a number of journals, newspapers, magazines, and other print and online publications. See http://www.lauriesteedonline.com/ for further information.
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