Read Australian Love Stories Online

Authors: Cate Kennedy

Australian Love Stories

Cate Kennedy is a highly respected poet, short story writer and novelist. Her short story collection,
Dark Roots
, was shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, and her 2012 short story collection,
Like a House on Fire
, won the Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Literary Awards.

Inkerman & Blunt Publishers Pty Ltd

P.O. Box 310

Carlton South

Victoria 3053

Australia

www.inkermanandblunt.com

© individual copyright remains with the contributors 2014.

© Compilation and introduction copyright remains with the editor Cate Kennedy 2014

The moral rights of the authors have been asserted.

This book is copyright. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, and apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior consent of the publisher.

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry

Title: Australian Love Stories/edited by Cate Kennedy.

ISBN: 9780987540164 (paperback).

Other Authors/Contributors:

Cate Kennedy, editor.

Dewey Number: A823.085

CONTENTS

By Way of Acknowledgment
   
DONNA WARD

Introduction
   
CATE KENNEDY

THAT SENSUOUS WEIGHT

Dawn
   
BRUCE PASCOE

Meltemi
   
SUSAN PYKE

A Literary Love Story
(memoir)
   
CATHERINE BATESON

Crush
   
KATHRYN LOMER

WHY CUPID IS PAINTED BLIND

The Lesson
   
KEVIN BROPHY

Why Cupid is Painted Blind
   
LEAH SWANN

Lover like a Tree
   
J ANNE
DE
S
TAIC

Hooked
   
TOBY SIME

ADRIFT IN SHARDS AND SPLATTERED FRUIT

Gen Y Love
   
DANIELLE MCGEE

Mother Love
   
CATHERINE COLE

The Edge of the Known World
   
DEBI HAMILTON

Feed With a Flat Hand
   
CANDACE PETRIK

THERE ARE TEARS, THERE IS HUBRIS, THERE IS A DAMNATION AND REGRET

Swallow
   
JON BAUER

Hammer Orchid
   
SALLY-ANN JONES

Moses of the Freeway
   
DAVID FRANCIS

A Greek Tragedy
   
CLAIRE VARLEY

A SWEETLY ALIEN CREATURE

The Contract
   
CAROLINE PETIT

A Blast of a Poem
   
SUSAN MIDALIA

Small Expectations
   
RAFAEL SW

The Little Things
   
IRMA GOLD

It Used to be His Eyes
   
NATASHA LESTER

FIRM AS ANCHORS, WET AS FISHES

Love and Antibiotics
   
SHARON KERNOT

These Bones
   
ALLISON BROWNING

Once Around the Block
(memoir)
   
ALEXIS DREVIKOVSKY

Joe Roberts
   
TONY BIRCH

THE UNBROKEN TRAJECTORY OF FALLING

Eggshells
   
LOIS MURPHY

Need Gone Today
   
MEGG MINOS

A Mouth Full of Heart
   
LISA JACOBSON

Where the Honey Meets the Air
   
CARMEL BIRD

Biographies

BY WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Donna Ward

I have become a palimpsest of Australian love. Strings of sentences, loose phrases and itinerant words conjure lovers lilting between tall trees, a boy startled by a girl's pink nakedness in azure water, an older woman's body being caressed, a Greek man weeping after all those years, a gay man finding a cat on a freeway that makes everything okay. All these and more, layer themselves over the landscape of my soul and teach me the ways of our Australian heart.

Due to the limitations of space and the way this set of stories sing together, some of these images come from stories that did not make the final cut. We received 445 stories for consideration and, though we only had room for these twenty-nine, I am grateful for every last story submitted to this project. The writing of each of them was an act of love, acts which will inevitably impact on our world.

Australian Love Stories
would not exist except for the exquisite discernment of Cate Kennedy who spent the entirety of this project on Vanuatu while her husband fulfilled a work contract there. Every love story was coded, ordered and sent to Cate by the good graces of Terri Grote and Kezia Lubanszky. She received the stories through the hell and high water of a cyclone, and the vagaries of the Vanuatu post, she sipped gin and coconut juice on breaks between reading, and kept an intimate correspondence with me as the manuscript came into being. Thank you Cate for your dedication and delight in this project.

It is no secret, every book has a team devoted to bringing it into the world. Our assistant editor, Angela Meyer, focussed her eagle eye and courteous demeanour on every single word of the manuscript. Sandy Cull, again, lent her unending devotion to the art of book design to this volume alongside the wise and knowledgeable Sue Van Velsen at Book Production Solutions and the talented typesetter, Mike Kuszla, to create the quality publication for which Inkerman & Blunt has come to be known. Thanks to each of you for this creation.

None of our publications would be possible without the team behind the scenes: Antonella Cannizzaro who keeps our financial ducks in a row, Sonja Meyer who keeps our website beautiful, our new marketing person, Jen Toogood, and Beverley Cameron, Nella Soeterboek and the entire team at NewSouth Books who keep our books in a bookshop near you. My thanks to all of you for making Inkerman & Blunt an excellent adventure.

INTRODUCTION: WHEN IT COMES

Cate Kennedy

In love? Want to be? Falling in or out? Just curious? Eros or agape, lust or platonic? Come and sit over here with me, under this tree.

I have recently emerged from a sea of stories—445 of them, if we're counting—and I am soaked to the skin with their images, their arresting details, their flashes of yearning and often rueful insight. They were all love stories, and I spent many weeks reading and re-reading them; waking up thinking about them, wandering on beaches struck by their ideas, as if they were bits of flotsam I picked up to save in my hand, to turn over later and ponder afresh.

I read them as a tropical cyclone thrashed overhead and as sweltering humidity made their pages furry with moisture. I read them at night as the air pulsed with cicadas, and geckoes stalked the insects drawn to my light. I could only choose a few for this collection, yet every story I loved and absorbed but had to put aside for space considerations filled me with a regret akin to a failed romance. I wish—and wouldn't this be a great reward for a reading task like this one—that I could enlighten you now with some new insights and wisdom about the nature of love that I have learned from reading these hundreds of stories so intimately shared.

Alas. I'm still fumbling for the light switch, like every other human being on the planet.

Last year I listened to the singer songwriter Claire Bowditch give a valuable piece of advice: pay attention, she said, to the things you wish you'd written. That's something from your unconscious, trying to message you through the noise. I've taken that advice a
step further since, and tried to be a little more attentive to the scraps of songs and jingles and poems that run through my head at odd moments; that bit of pop music that won't leave me alone, that tantalising fragment of rhyme that seems stuck there. Why this? Why now? Is the confluence of this lyric and this moment really so odd or random?

The fragment of remembered verse which kept returning to my mind as I read all these stories was not John Lennon's ‘All You Need is Love', or anything biblical, or anything from the canon of Burt Bacharach. It was the humorous and whimsical poem by W. H. Auden, ‘O Tell me the Truth about Love', which ends:

When it comes, will it come without warning

Just as I'm picking my nose?

Will it knock on my door in the morning,

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