19.4 C
Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Winner of Echo story comp: week 6

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Father and son win first sailing race

Sixteen boats competed in the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s race day earlier this month in a 10-12 knot breeze...

Secret footage from Manus detention centre to be screened in Lismore

A thirteen-minute award-winning documentary based on footage secretly filmed inside Australia’s former detention centre on Manus Island is to be screened in Lismore Thursday night.

A confusion of letters in Ocean Shores

Apparently, there is another Ocean Shores in another part of the world, and they have deer…

Ageism alive and well

Margaret Boshier, St Ives I have been spending time in the ocean since before I could walk; I grew up...

How full is that glass?

Cr Alan Hunter, Byron Shire Council Council Staff recommend opposing the proposed changes in the Exempt Development provisions to be considered...

‘Seven and a bit’ stone

Stone & Wood are thrilled to announce the return of Festival of the Stone to their Byron-based Brewery, Saturday...

Mandy Nolan

Thanks so much to all the writers who submitted stories over the last six weeks. It’s been an absolute pleasure to see them come in on my email every week. I’ve enjoyed making myself a cup of tea and poring over the creativity on offer in our shire!

Keep Writing!

This week’s winner is Margot Duell for her story Alphabet Soup.

Sabine toyed with the noodle letters in her chicken soup. Lining the letters up on the side of the bowl, she spelled out ‘k-a-t-z-e.’ She fished around in the cold broth for new letters until her father thumped the table.

‘I didn’t work my arse off all day to have you play with your soup! Eat the damned food that I put on the table for you!’

Each day at school she nodded off because she couldn’t understand a word the teacher said.

Sabine’s family were newly arrived post war German immigrants. Her father sat nightly in the dim light of the kerosene lamp, squinting at the English newspapers after a hard day of labouring; but her mother didn’t have the will to try.

The kids at school mocked her strange clothes, her wurst and pickle sandwiches and called her ‘Nazi’ and ‘peasant,’ and even though she didn’t comprehend what was being said, she felt the cruel intent.

But over time, by a kind of strange osmosis, the language seeped into her and she began to understand and to speak.

By then she was fascinated by the sound and shape of the language. Her parents spoke to her in German but she answered in English.

She read books under the covers by torchlight, long after the bedtime lights were out.

She sampled the shapes of big words that she didn’t know how to pronounce. She started using these in conversations with her new friends, who accused her of ‘having swallowed a dictionary.’

A teacher wrote on her English report: ‘Sabine is an excellent student who is drunk on words.’

When she slept over at her best friend Annie’s place, her mother said, ‘Gawd, you’ve got the gift of the gab haven’t you!’

Realising that people thought she was ‘up herself’, she started to dumb-down her vocabulary to fit in.

But she kept reading and storing up a private cache of word treasures in a notebook. Wonderful words like: ’supercilious’ phantasmagorical’ and juicy ones that sounded like what they were describing: slime, sludge, cackle, howl.

The more she was ridiculed, the more time she spent in her diary, It was puzzling, but wasn’t it true that someone wise had once said that, ‘In the beginning was the Word?

Sabine loved sleepovers at Annie’s house. The family were third generation Australians who told stories and jokes and teased each other in a way that was both kind and funny. They ate roast lamb with peas and potatoes and there was always trifle or jam sponge cake for dessert. The mayhem of the house was comforting for an only child and the family readily accepted her. Sometimes new people showed up for dinner at Annie’s house; distant relatives or friends of the other children. And one day, cousin Gavin showed up.

Gavin was almost sixteen, two years older than Sabine and he didn’t go to a regular school. He laughed in slow motion, and although his speech sounded distorted and laboured, he was bright and confident.

He had smooth dark skin and floppy brown hair and Sabine though he was the most beautiful boy that she had ever seen. He asked her in his drawn out way what she wanted to do after she left school, and she mumbled her reply.

‘You have to look straight at him, so he can read your lips.’ Annie moved her hands about in rapid, precise configurations and Gavin nodded, his fingers dancing out a response. Sabine was entranced. She had never seen anything like this before. There was no sound but there was communication and comprehension. It was pure magic.

‘He says he wants to be a writer too.’ Sabine felt her face redden as he grinned at her and Annie’s father elbowed her in the ribs.

‘Now that’s a turn around. Not much to say now, eh?’

Gavin became her first love. He taught her sign language and instead of becoming a writer, she trained as a signing interpreter, her face and hands moving with speed and nuance as she stood on stages throughout the country.

Sabine recalled when she couldn’t understand a word of English and the school blackboard was filled with mysterious symbols. And later, when the language finally caught fire in her, she had thought that all she would ever want to do was to write and read books.

But perhaps it was as her mother had often said, ‘Somewhere before you are born, the book of your life is already written.’

Winner of Echo story comp: week 6

Mandy Nolan Thanks so much to all the writers who submitted stories over the last six weeks. It’s been an absolute pleasure to see them come in on my email every week. I’ve enjoyed making myself a cup of tea...


Winner of Echo story comp: week 5

Mandy Nolan When we thought of having a regular short story competition we didn’t even dream that there would be so many budding writers sending in offerings each week. To be honest I expected about three stories a week, if...


Winner of Echo story comp: week 4

This week’s winner has written a hard hitting piece that takes you inside the mind of a woman who has an eating disorder. It’s disturbing and powerful, and a reminder how obsession with weight is not just part of the dominant narrative, for many it's an illness.


Winner of Echo story comp: week 3

It’s been so great to hear what stories you have to tell each week! We’re up to our third week so keep those stories coming.


Winner of Echo story comp: week 2

Echonetdaily had another bunch of awesome entries in our weekly story comp! What incredible storytellers we have in this region!


Winner of Echo story comp: week 1

Echonetdaily was just blown away by the amazing entries in our weekly story comp! The idea was to break out of this oppressive narrative of COVID-19 and tell stories to each other! And that’s exactly what happened.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.