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JOURNAL

Journal is an online space for creative non-fiction. Featuring writing from a wide variety of people, we explore what it means to be alive today. Loss, love, labour, relationships, belonging, identity and place are themes that occur and recur as readers are taken on a journey about what makes us human.

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THIS WEEK

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CITIZENS OF THE WORLD by Robert Wood

‘Covid matters, but it does not define us. Covid informed JOURNAL, but it did not define it. Covid is still here, but our city moves on just like us. Like one valence of identity, we are more than the sum of those parts.’

SOME STRANGE LIGHT PARADE by Amy Lin

‘Nowadays, the phrases ‘I miss my Mum’ and ‘I need my Mum’ are repeated across my thoughts like a wistful, urgent refrain. To think that when I was a child I just needed to cry to get to her, to think that I started my life enveloped in her body.’

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WHAT IS IN A NAME? by Kim Lateef

‘I had grimaced at the way my new teacher spoke to me slowly. It was the same way which my parents were spoken to when they were running errands even though they understood the English language.’

ARCHIVE

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LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME by Tammy Bux

‘Every single day, I witnessed a kaleidoscope of emotions bubble up inside of me. And it wasn’t just me. This was happening collectively to many people across the globe.’

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SUPPRESSED TRAUMA by Gisele Ishimwe

‘It felt like all my badly nursed wounds were laid in the open for the world to see. I felt a certain level of vulnerability and a deep craving for mercy from strangers who seemed to struggle seeing my pain as relevant.’

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DANCING WITH AKSARA by Annaliza Bakri

‘“Unprecedented times” is like a chant, a hymn of platitudes uttered to calm the soul, or a lie bleached beyond purity till we can’t tell its origins.’

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DEATH BY CHOCOLATE by Tiffany Ko

‘Gingerly, I unclasp the diary and open to the first page. It’s titled: 2nd February 2003. And underneath: Today I had death by chocolate cake.’

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CODE INDIGO by Baran Rostamian

‘In navigating and surviving dating-app-dates (D.A.D.’s for short), it is entirely vital to have some sort of escape system – although not necessarily one this elaborate…’

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GATHERER by Karen Wyld

“Writers are seekers. We seek out images, new thoughts, adventure, and tales to tell. We look for meaning in all that we see, hear and feel. Gatherers are both seekers and finders.”

Image of two hands side by side, with a piece of red string tied to each ring finger.

LETTER TO MY MOTHER by Tania De Rozario

‘If I sound cold, it is because I am. The minute I understood my trauma had currency, you stopped being my mother and started being material. This icy attitude is how I survived.’

Illustration of a man yelling at a small child as she cries into her hands

VISIBLE WITNESS by Adele Aria

‘Since we’d left, and during any this visit ‘back home’, I would hear about things like this. It painted the picture of how we needed to be grateful for where we lived now, but also so careful. We didn’t know how quickly things might turn, again.’

Illustration of a desk with a typewriter on it.

SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT by Manohar Shetty

‘…I have notebooks and diaries dating back to several years crammed with such first drafts. Often these drafts are barely legible. But they’re there, at no risk of being wiped out by a virus. The flow of ink on paper is still an unmatched sensation.’

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THE OPPOSITE OF PAIN by Kaya Ortiz

‘Shame is the unwanted legacy I am learning to leave behind. It began with my nose, the nose I inherited from my father, and his mother, and who knows how many mothers and fathers before them.’

Illustration of a pregnant woman at the doctor

STOLEN MINUTES: AM I A BAD MOTHER? by Sandi Parsons

‘Numbers can’t explain willpower or the territorial mothering instinct that ignited the moment I held my son for the first time. My urge to nurture and protect my son continued to grow, and it required an abundance of willpower to set my mothering instincts aside.’

Illustration of a Hong Kong ferry

HONG KONG/BETWEEN HOMES by Siobhan Hodge

‘I say moved, but we never really ‘left’ Hong Kong. My father still works there. My mother and brother live there as well. My sisters and I all have permanent residency. Before COVID-19, I could still safely say that I returned at least three times every year.’

Illustration of a person with black hair painting on a giant canvas

RECOLLECTIONS by Yoshika Kon

‘I painted my portrait. It didn’t look like me. Closer to the assignment’s deadline, I realised that the colour of the paint I was using for my skin wasn’t quite right. The more I worked on my self-portrait, the more unrecognisable I became.’

Illustration of trees in a forest with small mushrooms at the base.

WHAT LIES BENEATH by Bindy Pritchard

‘But lockdown has caused nature to encroach upon my ordered world. Tendrils have creeped into the cracks. I crave daily walks with the family along the Djarlgarra river and at Piney Lakes Reserve.’

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BUS #242 by Barnali Ray Shukla

‘The driver still furious, was chasing the Audi. I was still clutching onto the steel rod which had helped me unlike my fellow beings. A soundtrack of a war movie was playing in my head.’

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THE QUIETNESS OF GIVING UP WRITING by Ben Walter

‘Writing is something we’ve spent years learning and refining, something that has formed our identities and how we understand ourselves; in giving up, we’re quitting before having the kind of success we might feel is warranted.’

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FACE FORWARD by Emily Paull

‘When we spend too much time looking at ourselves in the mirror, women are labelled vain, conceited, self-obsessed, and yet so many of us, if asked, I am sure would say that we don’t like what we see.’

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SQUARE PEG, ROUND HOLE by Daley Rangi

‘I spent a lot of my childhood in my own head, desperately protecting my squareness with aggression and confusion, ensuring depression as the world demanded more from me with each passing year.’

Illustration of tents in outback Australia

UNDER KIMBERLEY SKIES by Nandi Chinna

‘As we have been taught to do by our Nyoongar friends, we pick up a handful of sand and introduce ourselves to the original owners and their ancestors and thank them for having us on the country.’

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PLAYING WITH BULLETS by Randa Khamis

‘I grew up hearing what we endured. Stories of a time that now seems oddly familiar with its parallels. Like being confined to your home, fear of the outside world, a threat lurking in the streets.’

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I RAN (DRUNK, AT NIGHT) by Andrew Roff

‘I’m in a nice, safe part of town, and anyway I’m a young man and my prefrontal cortex hasn’t quite finished developing, and I’m fast, so I have absolutely no fear of being assaulted.’

Illustration of a person with grey hair hugging a person with long black hair

SHARE, HOLD, KNOW by Kirli Saunders

‘I’ll share the Dreaming, as it was told to me, so that our babies can be true to Mother, themselves and Community, so that their hearts can be full.’

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CANDY, AN EXCERPT by Esther Vincent Xueming

‘After moving out, I experienced a sensation of fragmentation that I never felt before. An unreal sense of existing in two separate places, of belonging and not belonging wholly to each space.’

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LANGUAGE BARRIER by Raf Gonzalez

‘Being raised bilingual, language was one of the main ways I expressed my comedic self; but as I lost my fluency in Spanish, my vibrancy regressed and I became isolated.’

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THE NESTING DOLLS by Luisa Mitchell

‘The stories were passed down from one woman to another, and through them, you could still feel the embrace of someone who came before you; from here, from within yourself, the Mother said.’

Graphic illustration of a person sitting with their back to a mirror

FRACTURE by Alexander Te Pohe

‘in the sleepless hours i look out my window, wishing on a star nestled between tree branches. i ask the star to heal me. in reply, it blinks out.’

graphic illustration of a person holding a CV

QORBAN’S STORY by Phil Sparrow

‘They had some skills, but mostly they had a good attitude: learners, not experts. Poor rural people do not want city boofheads coming to tell them how to fix their lives up.’

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SHIFT by Alyssa Shapland

‘It was always jarring to come back; the hand-drawn ‘I Can Do It’ poster on the ceiling above the bed betraying the anxieties of the insecure teenage girl that I was claiming not to be anymore.’

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RADICAL LOCAL by Karen Lee

‘Of course there were hills and valleys, I think I knew, but as I go slower, go over old ground, unexpected views emerge around corners in un-walked lanes, as I ascend slopes barely noticed before.’

Graphic Illustration of some flowers in a vase

THAT DAY by Sarabjeet Garcha

‘But her passing was so sudden that she couldn’t glimpse her ‘flag of sky’ one last time. When eyes close without warning, who can tell what moment of beauty they freeze on?’

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SOUND TRAVELS by Franchesca Walker

‘The problem came at night, usually after I’d spent hours watching or reading the news. In that space – after dark but before bed – silence became a vacuum that worries rushed to fill.’

Graphic illustration of three people sitting around many giant books

HOPE AND MOTIVATION WHILE WRITING by Jasmin McGaughey

‘I want to write my own love letter to my heritage, to show that First Nations girls, Torres Strait Islander girls and African Australian girls, can be in fiction and have adventures and be very important to Australian literature on a whole.’

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DEAR BARCELONA by Emily Siggs

‘I learnt how to be lonely again, and how to be good company to myself; how to notice, how to try and enjoy every moment of solitude and bustling city noise.’

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THE WORKSHOP by Boey Kim Cheng

‘How to invite the moment into the span of the sentence, let the light of memory wash over the paper and the elliptical light print its shadow words on the page.’

Graphic illustration of a person driving a car with a large dog in the backseat

SISTERS by Jay Anderson

‘And every time I saw her, her arms parted for an embrace and the corners of her mouth stretched to call me sister.’

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MYTHS, DEMONS AND HEALING by Inez Tan

‘I think becoming a writer means asking yourself again and again why you write, how to keep coming up with new ideas, how to trust yourself more, and how to keep falling in love with writing.’

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1.8KM FROM TARGET by Frances An

‘My Vietnamese-speaking capacities recalibrate after a few lines but if she hears my messed-up accent, she’ll assume I’m a whitewashed Asian who doesn’t care about our culture.’

Graphic illustration of two people who look exactly the same doing tug-of-war with a piece of rope

WRITING IN BLACK by Jannali Jones

‘I set about writing what I thought people wanted to read about; a certain ‘Aboriginal’ experience that was expected from an Indigenous author.’

THE UNANTICIPATED LIFE by Tinashe Jakwa

‘Looking forward to the future can be a worthwhile endeavour. But, I have found that it can turn into an all-consuming practice that can have a debilitating impact.’

Journal is made possible with funding from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Copyright Agency, and our Founders Circle.

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