Submissions on Ink and Quill

 

Ink and Quill is accepting submissions.

Would you like to feature on Ink & Quill?

I’m looking for poetry, and fiction, art, music and photography that is original, quirky, dark, romantic, thought provoking, empowering…new or previously published on your site.

In particular, I would like to feature poetry, fiction, art music, or photography in honour of powerful and empowered woman.

The submissions will feature on Ink and Quill weekly and on the side bar!

Please include all work in an attachment file, including images and copyright links to photographs.

*Poems: include 1-3 poems. Include a brief bio and location.

*Fiction: 1 fiction piece per submission, 500 word limit. Include a brief bio and location.

*Photography and art: please include up to 5 pieces or photographs, and a brief bio and location and inspiration behind the art or photograph.

Please submit all submissions to inkandquill at outlook dot com dot au

Please allow one month response time.

Thanks Jen

 

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Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Adam Dixon

Todays guest writer on Ink & Quill, is Adam Dixon. Adam is the very talented and creative fiction writer at Adam Dixon Fiction. I was thrilled when Adam offered to write a short story, especially for this feature; LIVE A LITTLE.

Please follow the links and show your support to a talented new writer.

adam d
NAME: Adam Dixon

COUNTRY: England, United Kingdom

AGE: 24
Please tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in Carshalton in 1992 and gave grown into a scrawny, bespectacled nerd with a passion for history, literature and all things fantastical. I studied English and History at the University of Sussex and I currently live in Woodingdean, Brighton. It is my ambition to become an author as I have dreamed of writing stories for a living since I was a child. I write short stories in my spare time and I publish them on my blog Adam Dixon Fiction

When did you first start writing?

I first started writing when I was very young, probably around ten years old. Previously, I had had aspirations of becoming an artist, but I quickly came to realise that I preferred the creation of images through words and imagination rather than by brushes and paint.

What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?

Writing provides me with a creative outlet which makes me incredibly happy, and even more so when people respond to my work.

‘The sight of my ink-stained fingers and pages of scribbled words in front of me never fails to satisfy me.’

 

Do you write poetry, short stories and/or novels?

I currently write short stories because I am enjoying the discipline it requires. I am also working on a sci-fi novel which is very much in its early stages, but it is still very exciting! I’d like to try my hand at poetry in the future, but I find the idea extremely daunting, especially since I have discovered such talented poets on WordPress!

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I am constantly reading, (a trait inherited from my mum), and it fosters in me a desire to write my own stories as well as providing a vast source of inspiration to draw from. I also find inspiration from conversations, television programs and real-life events. Anything that can spark an idea in my mind and get the creative ball rolling.

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on a couple of short stories for my blog. One is a crime thriller and the other is a supernatural fantasy. As previously mentioned, I am also working on a sci-fi novel. I am also a student with the Writer’s Bureau and am currently enrolled in its Creative Writing Course.

Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?

I am a massive Stephen King fan and his work has inspired the darker side of my writing on several occasions. My favourite books to read are fantasy, and the works of David Gemmell, Robert Jordan, Christopher Paolini, J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name but a few, constantly inspire me.

Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?

Unfortunately I don’t have any works published yet, but I hope to in the future.

Tell us about your writing process:

In the last year I’ve become a convert to the idea that “writers just write”, and by that I mean that if I want to write something then I have to sit down and write it. I find a slot in my day where I can devote my energy to writing and I put words on to paper. I’ve found that this helps me work through any stagnant ideas I might be having difficulty with and that the spectre of “writer’s block” doesn’t really frighten me anymore.

In terms of my surroundings, I have realised that I can pretty much write anywhere as long as I actually get started. Complete silence unnerves me, so I like to have at least a little bit of background noise, be it the chatter of a café or some instrumental music on Youtube.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I used to think that all I could write was fantasy stories, but since I started my blog I have realised that I can try my hand at a few other genres as well, with some degree of success. In terms of style, I seem to gravitate towards character-driven stories with a twist at the end, more often than not a dark one.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘Keep writing; it is the best way to stay motivated and maintain your creative energy.’

 

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:

I’m attaching a short story called ‘Live a Little’ to this email.
I asked Jen during our correspondence whether or not she would like me to write something brand new for this guest post, and she said that she would. The inspiration for this story came to me when I was getting into my Dad’s car we both automatically reached for our seat-belts. A mocking voice in the back of my head suggested that I “live a little” and remain unbuckled in my seat. I didn’t like the sound of this voice and I had no idea where it had come from, but I noted it down in my phone along with what would later end up serving as the final line to this story. I filed the idea away for a few months and decided to complete it for this guest post.

Live a Little

By Adam Dixon

I can still remember the night that I died; it’s seared into my mind like a cattle brand, white-hot and permanent. I can still hear the sound of my own laughter in my ears coupled with the cheers and encouragement of my friends. I can still feel the bitter wind tearing at my hair and clothes as I waved my arms above my head. I can still see the painted lines on the tarmac racing past in a blur of white. I’d never felt so alive, and I’d never been so reckless. It was all their fault.

The party had been a riot. A mutual friend had just joined us in the ranks of the over-25s and we four were still buzzing from it. Jen hadn’t wanted to leave, but Bradley had insisted. He never would back down once he’d got an idea into his head, and Jen never would resist him for long. I’d have happily gone home, myself. If only I’d said something, then maybe all this wouldn’t of happened. But I didn’t, and sometime after midnight myself, Jen and her older brother, Steve, all piled into Bradley’s car and set off down the motorway. We were laughing and joking, singing loudly and badly to whatever was on the radio and passing a bottle of vodka around. The familiar burn in my throat and the rush of alcohol to my head was as exhilarating as ever, and I soon got in the mood to find another party.

But it was then that I noticed how drunk Bradley was. He was blinking rapidly behind the wheel, grinning like an idiot and slurring his words whenever he spoke. He hadn’t seemed that bad before, but then again we hadn’t really been watching him. I’d told Jen to keep an eye on him, damn it! At one point Steve said something which made him laugh and he sent us careening across two lanes! The motorway was deserted, of course, but still…

After a while I asked Bradley to slow down. He wasn’t listening because Jen had her hand on his crotch and was whispering something to him as she caressed him through his jeans. Steve was being a nuisance; he seemed to think that because I was drunk I would be doing the same. I can still feel him nuzzling my neck as one hand clumsily pawed my breasts and the other slid up my skirt…I can still hear the ‘crack!’ as I slapped him, too. Christ, that was satisfying, and it succeeded in finally getting Bradey and Jen’s attention.
“Oi, what the hell are you playin’ at back there?” Bradley thundered, glaring at me via the rear-view mirror. Steve was stunned, rubbing his cheek and staring at the back of Jen’s seat.

“Oh, Lisa’s just bein’ a spoilsport, babe!” Jen mocked, rolling her decorated eyes and flicking her perfect hair. “Looks like she doesn’t wanna have some fun with Steve. Can’t blame her, really, he is an ugly bastard!”
“Oi!” Steve protested, still rubbing his cheek. He wasn’t that ugly, but drunk or not I didn’t appreciate him being so forward.
“C’mon, Lees!” Bradley said, annoyed. I hated it when he called me that! “What’s wrong with old Steve-O, anyway? C’mon, live a little, for fuck’s sake!”
“Shut up, Bradley,” I spat, but secretly I felt bad for hitting Steve. That was the effect that Bradley had on people: he was too bloody good at making you feel like the bad guy.

The next few minutes consisted of Bradley and Jen laughing about how uncool I was and how much of a stick-in-the-mud I could be. I angrily disagreed with them, of course, but it really got under my skin. Steve didn’t say much, he just carried on sitting there looking like a kicked puppy. Maybe it was the drink, but I was suddenly determined to prove them wrong.

“I’m not boring, I can do anything you twats can!” I said after downing another mouthful of liquid fire.
“That so?” Bradley asked, still laughing. “I don’t believe you, Lees. Look, you’ve still got your bleedin’ seat-belt on for a start! Why can’t you live a little?”
“Fine!” I had practically ripped my seat-belt off at that remark. I immediately felt it was a bad idea, but I ignored the thought. Big mistake.
“Oooh, look at the balls on you, babe!” Jen had twisted round in her seat to flash a big, stupid grin at me. I felt like we were back in the school playground. “Betcha won’t do anything else though! Betcha wouldn’t lean out of the window while we’re movin’, would you? Nah, course not, you’re too much of a wimp!”
“Just watch me, bitch!” I said and moved towards my window. I remember clearly the struggle I had unwinding the stupid thing, and the memory comes to me in slow motion.

It’s torture to recall it, to remember how I gripped the cold roof of the car with one arm as I leaned my torso out into the night. I even lifted my leg and rested my thigh on the thin glass so that I was more out of the car than inside. The wind buffeted me and tore a gasp from my lungs as I steadied myself. I remember squealing like a giddy child as I raised first one arm, then both into the air as my soul rejoiced at my freedom.

“You see me now, you arseholes!” I screeched at them, laughing deliriously. “I can fucking do anything!” They were laughing too and even Steve was cheering. It was fantastic. It was fatal. Leaning out of a car travelling at ninety miles per hour driven by an intoxicated monkey in a shirt has consequences. Nobody saw how close to the edge of the railings Bradley had gotten until it was far, far too late.
Now I’m trapped in a lonely existence on this barren stretch of asphalt, doomed to watch speeding cars and fester with impotent rage.
Live a little, they had said….
They all wear their seat-belts now.

Henry Gordon

 

fence

The day started just like any other day.

On a humid morning, the unrelenting sun burns down on the back porch and filters through the window, everything is still in the sweltering heat, the lights dance throughout the bedroom, casting shadows on the teenage girl getting ready for school. Her bus would be here shortly and missing it was not an option, whether she was ready or not she would have to catch the bus. It was too far for her to walk to school.

Outside she walks with pace down the never-ending drive, her long legs move with strained exertion, her breath fast and laboured. She is surrounded by kilometres of endless sweeping dirt plains and barren land breathtaking to the inexperienced eye however lost on the young girl with dreams of white sand beaches, aqua seas lapping at her feet, and cool crisp air gently touching her face.

She thinks of her name ‘Henry Gordon’, a strong name her father told her early one morning as they rode side by side in the winter sun, the horse’s shoes click-clacking on the dust terrain. She had thought then just as she thinks now how the name inhibits her making her sound like a boy and it doesn’t help she somewhat resembles a boy with a wide nose, large ears, imposing brown eyes and wild fuzz of black curls.

The bus noisily churns into the school parking lot, her peers make a dash for the exit, the bus driver a middle aged man with a long nose and weary eyes reminds them irritably not shove, they ignore his instruction and push and prod to get out the stinking hot bus with no air conditioner. Henry peers out the window, unmoving, watching the weatherboard sheds loom ominously guaranteeing to provide a day of heated dread for apprehensive students.

The first glimpse is freckles, light yet vast dotting the face of the fair-haired girl, her skirt riding up and revealing. She laughs with the ‘cool kids’ and their eyes do not break from her, not even when Henry walks past. No one turns to looks, no one teases today.

The morning is spent in the school church singing catholic hymns, followed by a lengthy Religion lesson given by an elderly Mrs Robinson on the sanctuary of marriage between man and wife. Mrs Robinson married for forty years to a man who spends his days at the local pub.

It’s not until lunch time when they remember Henry.

Miss O’Brien the playground teacher is missing from action, as is so often the case. All the students know where she is, in Mr Jenkins office, testing his faith with alluring sexuality and provoking him to leave his wife. Miss O’Brien arrived from Sydney and speculation was rife about why a pretty young woman would move to their outback community alone. Henry is almost certain the cause is a broken heart, a love affair with a married man, or a passionate fling with an uncommitted lover who left her vulnerable and exposed.

They crowd around her and they mock her unruly hair, and her skinny little chicken legs.

“You really need to get a brush Henry.” Sally initiates, grabbing Henry’s hair vehemently. Henry lets out a yelp.

“Most likely she has nits in that mess of hair.” A perfectly groomed Cassandra taunts.

“Let’s cut it off.” Maria provokes, reaching for her bag she pulls out a pair of scissors from her pencil case.

“Hold her down.” Maria bosses as the girl’s crowd around and force Henry to the ground.

Henry feels her hair torn from her head as the scissors clip-clip-clip into her scalp.

When it is over she lies motionless in the dust bowl watching the sky, hoping it would open up and swallow her whole. When it doesn’t she dashes to the bathroom where she finds the reflection excruciating. The person looking back at her looks like Henry the boy, not Henry the girl. Her black hair is cut short, choppy and blood soaked, she scrubs the blood out in the sink. Taking a hair-tie out of her bag she manages to tie some of it up.

Nobody even notices her boy cut when she sits in class that afternoon, except from the sneers of the culprits behind her. Of course Miss O’Brien would be oblivious to Henry’s new haircut she has never made eye contact.  The new girl sits at the desk beside her and she finds she is drawn to her for most of the lesson.

Henry learns the girls name from the whispers of her contemporaries, Lila March she is from the city, which explains her designer skirt, Tiffany earrings and perfectly styled hair. Her father is the new town doctor and her mother is rumoured to be an exquisite model from Paris.

Miss O’Brien swivels her chair to face the blackboard blocking the students from sight, so she can read her Joan Collins novel in peace.

“Why do you have a boy’s haircut?” Lila spoke to her for the first time.

“I…I well I like it actually.” Henry stuttered.

Lila looks on thoughtfully. “Me too, I think it’s very metro.”

The bullies eavesdropping from behind gasp.

In school Lila remains the popular kid, but outside of school she becomes Henry’s friend and one day she is invited home to Lila’s place.  Henry’s mouth drops open when she enters meekly into the large two storey brick home. To Henry the house is a mansion. The walls are white, the floors are white, the roof is white, and the furniture is white. Henry remains silent when Lila’s mum emerges around the corridor gracefully, with her head held high. Wearing a long white see-through dress she shimmers under the chandeliers. She kisses her daughter on the cheek. Henry wishes she would kiss her cheek.

“Who is your friend darling?” Lila’s mother asks, with a slight French accent.

“Henry.” Lila answers loosely attempting to move on.

“Oh hello daaaarrrling.” She draws out, gazing at her daughter’s peculiar afro haired friend.

“Come on Henry. Let’s go up to my room.” Lila grasps Henry’s hand and ushers her up the white stairs.

“Your Mum is beautiful.” Henry whispers as they climb the steps.

Lila shrugs. “I suppose.”

Lila’s bedroom is baby blue, with a soft yellow doona and black bean bags lounge in front of a plasma television. Big French bay windows open up onto a balcony the size of Henry’s house.

“What’s your mum look like?” Lila asks as she strips off her uniform in full view of her newly acquired friend.

“She doesn’t look like your mum.” Henry can’t help but stare at Lila in merely her underwear. Lila throws on a summer dress.

Henry thinks about her mum, a large woman in her mid forties, with an ample bosom and soft brown hair, no wrinkles and a happy smooth face.

“Do you like anyone at school?” Henry asks as she paints Lila’s fingernails bright pink.

“No, I don’t like any of the boys.”Lila answers brazenly.

“Do you like the girls?” Henry jokes.

“Perhaps.” Lila smiles audaciously.

Henry doesn’t know how to respond, so she sits dumbfounded on the chair beside her friend, holding onto her little white hand they stare intently at one another.

“I better go before it gets dark.” Henry exclaims leaping from the chair and races home to her humble home. Like a country oil painting, a small wooden house, encircled by many shades of green, a rickety fence and a grille in the drive which makes it impossible to drive a car in unnoticed.  The paint peels from the exterior and extensive cracks etch harshly into the weatherboard from years of the beating sun and damaging winds and rain.

The next day at school Henry spots her secret friend, a friendship which is only acknowledged off school grounds for fear on Lila’s behalf. Lila is talking to Patrick Martin, one of the most popular boys in school. He touches her shoulder. Henry cringes with jealously. When they start kissing she storms off to the bathroom where she sobs.

Henry won’t look at her friend all day, and when the bell rings, she walks straight past Lila and jumps onto her bus taking her out further west, and further away from her heartbreaker.

By the end of the week Lila has had enough of being ignored and she bails Henry up in the bathroom, she pushes her into the toilet cubicle, slamming the door shut behind them.

“What’s your problem?” she demands.

The space is confined and their bodies touch. Lila’s face is too close to Henry’s. She can feel the heavy breathing of her friend.

Henry tries to move away but there is nowhere to go.

“Patrick Martin, really?” Henry cries.

“Oh that was just a bit of fun, that’s all.”

“Fun…The day before you told me you didn’t like anyone at school.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t like anyone, I said I didn’t like any boys.” Lila smirks.

“Then why were you kissing one?”

Lila ignores the questions. “There is someone I like.” Lila reaches in and kisses friend on the lips. Henry marvels at the soft touch of Lila’s lips, the sweetness of her scent, her hands linger about her body, fingers, hands, lips search, and stroke and savour the moment. Twisting, spiralling out of control, uniforms unzip and buttons pop open revealing warmth, excitement and lust.

Together they embark on a secret startling journey of self discovery, feelings of love, lust, passion and secrecy intermingle.

“Why should we have to conform to society and what the majority believe is normal?” Henry asks Lila as they lay entwined on her king size bed.

“Because we are teenagers and it’s not cool to be different.” Lila sighs.

“I’m sick of hiding who I am. I love you and I want the whole world to know.” Henry declares passionately.

“I love you too, but imagine how they would treat us if they knew.” Lila reasons.

“I don’t think it’s possible for them to treat me any worse than they already do. You care because you have a certain image to uphold.”

Henry breaks free now, because her own truth is upsetting her.

“You know how they would treat me if they found out darling.” Lila pleads.

“Yeah they would treat you like they treat me, a nobody, an outsider, a freak.”

A shadow looms behind Henry, and the sound of the bathroom door closes.

Henry turns to see five girls, with arms crossed behind her. Lila is one of these girls, and she looks terrified, her eyes dart from one girl to the other and back to Henry.

One girl launches towards her, seizing her arms and wrenching them behind her back whilst the others start to punch her in the stomach, blow by blow. Henry feels the wind knocked out of her and the pain made more excruciating when she sees the face of her lover amidst the hands of her bullies lingering helpless in the background. When the pain and humiliation comes to an end, Henry weeps on the ground, finding some relief from the coldness of the tiles.

She hobbles to the bus, holding her bruised stomach. The bus driver eyes her suspiciously, “Is everything alright love?” All Henry can manage is to shake her head up and down. She does the same as she enters her home, and heads straight to the bedroom, and undresses. Her belly is covered in a mixture of purple and black contusion, stretching from her rib cage to her pelvic region. She quickly throws on a long t-shirt and climbs into bed pulling the covers over her head.

Her mum opens the door without knocking and asks if she’s okay. Henry tells her she is feeling sick in the stomach.

“You’re not pregnant are you?” her mother queries.

Henry grumbles irritably under the covers, all she wants is to be left alone with her thoughts and her broken heart.

“Pregnant?” a male voice repeats. “You better not be girl. You have to get married first.” Her father appears at her door.

“Oh dear you’re pregnant and unmarried, what will we do?” her mother waves her hands frantically.

“I’ll tell you what we will do dear we will make them get married.”

“I’m not pregnant.” Henry screeches from her bed. “I’m just feeling a little sick.”

Their faces downcast they walk out of her bedroom, Henry can’t help but feel their disappointment.

A gentle wrap on the window pane wakes her, she spots the silhouette of a woman she slowly opens the creaking window, and stares coldly, blankly at the dark shadow. The shadow begins to cry, deep mournful sobs. Henry ushers her lover into her bedroom, but continues to gaze distantly at the one she thought was her true love.

The words ‘I’m sorry’ is all that are spoken from her lover’s sweet mouth. They lie together mutely, and Lila runs her fingers across the bruises she was powerless to stop only hours before.

Henry sits alone on the wooden table in the eatery, watching as the world goes by without her. The air is stifling, as it is always out west and beads of sweat form on Henry’s forehead. She is riddled with shame in a dozen different ways. Altogether unrelated to this oppressive day, the drama lingers vehemently in the air. A light rain spits down and students move for cover. Henry remains still at the table, beyond the raindrops she sees wide open spaces, and dry dirt turning slowly into thick mud. Henry’s mind is taken back to the brilliant spectacle of Western Australia’s wildflowers, a vista of daisies and a burst of colour across the interior of desolate earth. They walk hand in hand across the soil, through the blooms. The sweet smelling perfume teases the air and wraps them in a soft embrace. A moment of peace and beauty shared between the two unlikely friends.

A red umbrella shields the rain from falling on Henrys already soaked head, her hair reminiscent to a rung-out mop. Lila stands over her unbothered by the rain now pelting down. She takes hold of Henry’s hand and kisses it tenderly. There may be people watching but neither of them cares.