Seven stories this week, each taking the idea of ‘turning something upside down to become something else’ in a new and interesting direction.
Newcomer Jessie Maureen opened the shortlist with the surreal pespective shift of One, Two, Three
He is a prize merino, worth a mint at a big sale. A majestic creature. You don’t want to blink and lose him, but your eyes are drying. You can’t fight it anymore. You blink.
While Nick Lachmund harnessed his inner John le Carré to bring us The Mole:
Grasping the matchbook, he scrawls something inside and slides it across to me. I snatch it as greedily and he snatched the cigarette.
While Sean Crawley moved mountains with the enlightening Walk That Path:
No one even asks you your name, let alone does the karma sutra with you. For a bunch of people committed to the self is illusion dogma they seem pretty obsessed with those mirrors on the wall. The guru’s well tended robes and dreadlocks reek of patchouli and ego.
While Alicia Bruzzone made us think about things we take for granted in A Life In Captivity:
They didn’t know a thing about the recently discovered Shumars; including how to keep them alive. Not that the zoo would ever tell the public that. So it became my job, educating the public to the secrets everybody blindly overlooked.
Lydia Trethewey’s cycle of life and death, Snow, makes for beautiful reading:
Jyri stood hanging from the roof of the world, opened to the shining staircase of the waterfall and the endless depths of the mountain edge.
While Steve Ashton manages to stand out with this Monty Python-esque Bendix:
“Shrinkage is not the issue,” she scoffed. “This tank top used to be a cowl-neck jumper. I look like some hideous disco queen.” She insisted I wash my own clothes to prove the fault wasn’t a one-off.
And we also welcomed Gordon Hayes to the short list. Lost & Found takes us on a mystical journey around the traditional site of Uluru.
She grabbed a handful of hair and gave a tug. Ouch! That hurt! She cackled. I started to cry. I heard the hiss of my fat tears as they dropped on the fire. Mystery pushed her away from me. She fell over in the fire-blackened embers on the sand.
A big thanks to our judges this week, who brought a great level of insight and feedback to the table. It goes without saying that authors benefit tremendously from NiTH’s weekly feedback.
Our winner this week only joined NiTH in November, debuting with an interesting comedy of identity that played out hilariously unfortunate circumstances while simultaneously satirising our most desperate human desires.
Since then he has gone on to write several intriguing short stories in a similar vein, using humour to disarm the reader while weaving a seed of disharmony with characters that are self interested to the point of selfishness, yet likeable all the same. His story this week is a metaphor for accomplishments so far. A dry spin on a tumble of ideas.
Bendix is Steve Ashton’s second win at NiTH. Please take the time to congratulate Steve on a job well done. As well as to all our authors who compete at the pointy end of the year. With Nanowrimo, and the holiday season fast approaching, it’s not easy sticking to a writing schedule, but without these stories, NiTH couldn’t keep going the way it has.
And speaking of the holiday season, our creepy new shortlist for the Holiday Seasoning Award will be up later today.