winged seeds - fairytale & myth

Issue One, Summer 2011

Upload: winged-seeds

Post on 24-Jan-2016




0 download


The inaugural, Summer 2011 issue of Winged Seeds. The Life & Death of Fairytale and Myth.


Page 1: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Issue One, Summer 2011

Page 2: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Persimmon Press

proudly presents

the inaugural edition of

Winged Seeds

for the summer of


conceived, birthed and edited by

Anthony Fennell

Bronwyn James

Alex O‟Brien

though, in truth, we are all entirely indebted to

Kay Rozynski

Kevin Brophy

not only for their guidance, but creating a subject that required this of us.

if you crave contact, details or magazine related information, please email

[email protected]

or visit

the cover was designed by

Alex O‟Brien

the views expressed in Winged Seeds, no matter how brilliant, inspiring or

troubling they might be, are entirely those of the contributors, and in no way

reflect the views of the editors.

all non-attributed images are used fairly and gratefully under the terms of

creative commons practice.

copyright belongs to the individual contributors, and no part of their work can be

re-produced, re-published – in whole or part – without the particular contributor’s

express written consent.

Page 3: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Contents Hans Ammitzboll North by South 6 Sarah Wreford Of Skin and Insects 15 Natasha Jansz The Other Side 23 Georgia Mill In Salt Water 29 Matt Lacorcia Of Stones and Feathers 38

Page 4: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


Page 5: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

5 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 6: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth




words and music by

Hans Ammitzboll interviewed by

Anthony Fennell












Page 7: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Song Number One – 52 bpm

7 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 8: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

AF: Which work of other artist/s in

Winged Seeds did you decide to col-

laborate with and why?

HA: I live near and work within the

bushland of the Mornington Peninsula

National Park, which also includes

coastal environments like Cape

Schanck, Bushrangers Bay, Flinders,

and Gunnamatta. It‟s strange and

maybe mythic territory: a ship-wreck

coast of sorts, and home to colonial

violence and conflict between Settlers

and the Boonwurrung people of the

Kulin nation. Yet today the land and its

frontier stories are covered over with

the sprawl of suburbia, its shopping

centres, wineries, restaurants, and their

consumerist narratives (which is why, I

suppose, the Peninsula boasts the label

of „Melbourne‟s playground‟).

It‟s a strange and alienating feeling

to live in and amongst the supposed

domestic lifestyle which has literally

and figuratively come to cover a his-

tory of violence in such a short space

of time. It almost seems like everybody

is playing a big trick and that the earth

is in on it too, and that maybe one day

the facade will slip and the streets will

fracture and swallow everybody up.

I guess that it‟s this mystery beneath

the surface (made more peculiar be-

cause of the simplicity of the surface)

that appealed to me in Sarah Wreford‟s

short story „Of Skin and Insects‟. For

me, the character of the mother repre-

sented the slipping suburban facade

and the tumult beneath calm appear-

ance – much like the seaside where she

takes her children – being both an ide-

alized safe haven for family fun and a

dangerous place of depth, mystery and

of course death.

AF: In which order would you recom-

mend that our readers take the scores

and the corresponding songs on CD

and where would be the best reading

and listening location?

HA: I wrote the first two scores and

therefore the first two songs on the CD

for Sarah‟s short story. They can be lis-

tened to in reverse order (if the reader

wishes), and I would suggest that as

© N

. J


sz 2



North By South 8

Page 9: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Song Number Two – 54 bpm

9 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 10: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

obvious as it sounds, the seaside – pref-

erably on a windy, rough, and lonely

day – is a great listening location. I

spent time at a beach in Westernport

Bay to get in amongst Sarah‟s short

story and its mood. The salty breeze,

the smell of seaweed, the squawking

seagulls and the sea stretching to the

horizon definitely fed into the overall

sound of the songs. Just don‟t get sand

or water in your instruments if you

choose to learn the scores at the beach!

The last score (written over two

pages), and therefore the third song on

the CD, seems a little dissociated from

the spirit of Sarah‟s short story. It

seems to possess an upbeat sense of ad-

venture, so perhaps it could be listened

to on the walk to the seaside to preface

the unsettling, slow, and pensive

sounds of the first two songs.

AF: Should our readers stick rigidly to

the scores and the specific instruments

as written, or would you recommend


HA: I kept the scores simple so that

there could be some experimentation.

The recorded songs on CD are inter-

pretations of these scores, because as

you can hear there isn‟t any piano and

there is a simple drum line in the sec-

ond song. I like the idea of using found

objects (that have acoustic qualities) as

non-traditional instruments. For exam-

ple, I have access to corrugated iron,

slate, wood, glass jars and gravel, all of

which can be struck, scraped, or sifted

to make interesting sounds. I‟ve been

in the process of moving house and

most of my instruments are packed

away, but I have a lot of cardboard

boxes lying around, one of which I

used as a makeshift drum in the second

song. So by all means experiment and

use the songs as a springboard to create

other soundscapes or even paintings,

photographs, short stories or poems.

AF: Were there other winds of influ-

ence, within the world of myth and

fairytale, which gave spirit to these



lo S


ll P






d f








., p



ed c

. 18



North By South 10

Page 11: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

songs aside from the work which they

collaborate with and accompany?

HA: I suppose there were other writ-

ings or certain images that fed into the

first and second songs which I‟d ex-

perienced around the time of writing

and recording. One is an excerpt from

the manuscript journals of Alexander

Henry, an early English explorer of

North Dakota (taken from Larry Woi-

wode‟s Beyond the Bedroom Wall):

„Jan. 14, 1801. At daybreak I was

awakened by the bellowing of buf-

faloes ... The Plains were black,

and appeared as if in motion, S. to

N. ... I had seen almost incredible

numbers of buffalo in the fall, but

nothing in comparison to what I

now beheld. The ground was cov-

ered at every point of the compass,

as far as the eye could reach, and

every animal was in motion.‟

„April 1, Wednesday. The river was

clear of ice, but the drowned buf-

falo continue to drift down by

herds ... It really is astonishing

what vast quantities must have per-

ished, as they formed one continual

line in the middle of the river for

two days and two nights.‟

These passages and accompanying pic-

tures suggested to me the bittersweet

nature of so many myths that take rise

and reside in contemporary Western

societies. That is, the great swathes of

buffalo that wound a ribbon around the

prairies and plains of America were

hunted to the edge of extinction at the

hands of human violence and hyper-

consumerism, and it is this approxi-

mate obliteration which has, to my

mind, most assuredly made them


So for me it seems as if the creation of

the mythic (or at least that which some

societies have deemed worthy to ele-

vate in remembrance or mourning) has,

to a large degree, destruction at its core






’ by







e (18




4), p



in 1



11 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 12: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


Song Number Three – 90 bpm

North By South 12

Page 13: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

13 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 14: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

or as its springboard. Perhaps it is then that „mythmaking‟ is somewhat gro-

tesque: buffaloes often only remembered because of the violence that beset

them and deemed worthy of admiration after the fact of their near or complete

obliteration. It‟s troublesome that it takes the threat of their disappearance to

ensure their appreciation and survival. It‟s a very find line to tread and is one

which humankind constantly straddles, often without success.

However, having mythic narratives of animals (written in the „active‟

voice) within society may also be necessary to help restore mere memory to

reality, if not literally – in the case of the buffalo, bred back into existence –

then at least as a moral tale or omen to ward off inequitable, hyper-

consumerist human behaviours which so often bring about the annihilation of

other species.

The audio of Hans’s can be found exclusively online, free of charge, at Ws

North By South 14

Page 15: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


interviewed by Bronwyn James


ge so

urce: S


ire Pro




Page 16: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

I tried to ignore the smell of overripe fruit lacing my nostrils, tried to avoid look-

ing at their small, tender bodies waiting to be peeled and ripped open. But I could do

nothing about the noise. It felt as if the delicate skin of my eardrums had perforated.

A muffled scratching scratching was all the tiny shells in my middle ear

could do to make sense of the waves coming in. The ticking rhythm scrambled eve-

rything and I felt that I was being eaten alive, from the inside out, by insects click

click clicking their pincers through flesh.

The withered man beside me in the queue nudged his elbow gently into my arm.

Beautiful colour. He indicated my strawberries with a gnarled finger, smiling so

the pearly white of his teeth shocked me, and for a minute everything was quiet

again. My ears returned to themselves, noises and insects sucked back into a great

dark void. I peered, blurry eyed, at the pile of fruit and nodded, returned my atten-

tion to the concrete floor.

When I got home I held the keys carefully to the door, wanting everything to be

quiet, hoping there would be no metal scraping into the barrels deep within the lock.

There was one click. I shrugged the door away, placed the keys down on the bureau

and slipped off my shoes. I was hot underneath my jumper so I pulled it over my

head and it fell away from me like a petal. I wanted water. The shells in my ears be-

gan to echo.

I heard a knock at the door, the scrape of another key.

Kate? We’re home! The nanny found me in the kitchen, Henry in her arms.

They’ll sleep well tonight. Annie and Jack toddled in after her. I heard them mov-

ing, breathing, sighing through a dream, all static and shimmering. So I smiled at her

and took the envelope from the windowsill above the sink, exchanging it for Henry.

Of Stones and Feathers 16

Page 17: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


She left with a promise that she‟d return in two days.

I turned to my children. Would you like to see the ocean? Shall we go to the


Annie and Jack chortled in agreement and Henry looked up at me with eyes as

big as moons.

unbuckled the children and they hopped out of the car, humming in its shadow,

waiting for me to release Henry from the strapping of his seat. Go on. I sung the

magic words and they came alive, skipped towards the grass of the foreshore to hunt

for sticks, rocks, feathers, charcoal. My little natives. I watched as their fair curls,

stung by the wind, shifted around their cheeks. Grit lodged itself underneath their

fingernails and burrs latched onto their clothes. Henry watched them too, between

his eyelashes, mimicking their coos with little gasping sounds and a wriggle in my


Let’s go to the water.

We fought against the onshore breeze, over the

scratchy, grassy dune to the beach. Wind seared the skin of

my face, pressed itself into my nostrils and down to my lungs. I let it sit there for a

second, as I had done every visit for years, and wondered if this angry, potent place

was something like another world.

Descending from the crest, Annie and Jack clung to my side again. They felt the

invisible string just as I did. I stopped near the bottom and we waited, taking in the

ribbon of horizon and the foamy lip of water that kissed the sand again again

again. I peeked down at their faces; they stood hand in hand, pious and as lovely as

angels. I touched their arms, one after the other. They understood and bobbed away

to trawl through the sand for more treasures.

I spied a rock jutting out from the dune and moved across to sit down, making

sure Henry‟s blanket exposed no part of his body to the breeze. He lay quietly on my

lap and we watched the twins against the smoky water like two gold medallions,

their soft, secret whispers floating back to us on the wind. My eyes burned. I felt a

twinge in my temple and gripped Henry‟s tiny wrist, rubbed my thumb over the

17 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 18: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


inside where the skin is translucent-blue. The children gripped shells in both hands

and stood ankle-deep together at the edge. I blinked and an insect pinched again be-

hind my eye. They shuffled around in the water and moved out to where it licked

their knees. I got up from the rock and padded my way towards them, Henry curled

into my chest. Jack swiveled as I approached, holding both the shells and his pants

out of the water. The hems were soaked.

Doesn’t matter.

He released them, exhilarated. I waded out, listening to the clicking and the

sloshing of the waves. I could feel water landing on my legs and arms and I could

see the nest reflected in the marble-coloured sky. I reached up to press my temples,

squeeze the bridge of my nose. I was waist high in water. The breeze whipped past

me, wailing wailing.

loorboards creaked. A shuffle. Blankets were tucked around me, pressed into my

sides, swaddling me. I could tell the hours had strung me along like a rag doll. My

insides were clotted, swelling with their own heat. My thoughts were soupy, es-

tranged from my body, free to somersault where they would, weaving in and around

the pincers. I lay back and listened to the soft clicking, deep down, reverberating

from the base of my skull in waves and waves. I tasted sea water.

Eyes still closed, I sensed a figure cut through the air, move away; the whirl left

behind smelled of tuberose.

Jilly, Jilly.

Yes, my darling, how do you feel?

Shadows flickered across my eyelids as she lowered her face to mine. Even her

breath was sweet.

You look a bit queer, Katherine. You came to me all wet and sandy. Did you for-

get your swimming trunks?

My tongue was sticky in my mouth and she pressed a glass into my hand. I

opened my eyes just a little and looked at her through the gaps, brought the rim to

my lips. Water swelled to my cheeks. I swallowed. And again. I was in Jilly‟s lounge

room, on a thick day-bed with a carved, wooden back. She sat on a stool watching

me over her glasses.

Are you hungry? Shall I make us tea?

Of Stones and Feathers 18

Page 19: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

I nodded carefully. She snapped into life, a sail suddenly caught in the breeze. I

followed her with my eyes as she left for the kitchen, waiting for the clink of china

against china and for the dull thud of her feet on the floorboards. I heard her pick up

the telephone receiver in the next room, heard the low hum of her urgent voice

through the walls. She appeared a minute later with a tray and pink cheeks, resumed

her spot on the stool and began to place the saucers on the coffee table, then a plate

of sugar biscuits, a scorching teapot. I winced as every item touched the surface,

feeling like Jilly had brought her hand down hard onto the glass in a gesture of de-

struction. The sound was splinters and fragments inside my head.

Jilly handed me a cup, rippling and heady with tea. I sniffed it and sipped, liking

the heat on my palate that sent shocks of warmth into my belly. She passed me a bis-

cuit and I nibbled at the edge.

These are delicious, and the tea. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit chilly. Is it loose


Yes, from the shop on Main Street.

Nodding, I dipped the last corner into the cup and watched as a piece crumbled

away and dissolved into nothing. I swished the flecks of tea around and around, a

spiral, a figure-eight, making my own tides, the waves lapping against porcelain


I remember this blanket, Jilly. It’s heavy with memories.

Her eyebrows raised just a fraction, sliding above the frame of her glasses. I had

said something wrong. She put a hand on the woolly fabric, but I kept myself as still

as possible. The scratching intensified, picking at the fibres of my thoughts. I

watched her with a dark, thick gaze.

She tried again.

How have you been? It’s been – what – twelve months, is that right? Such a long

time ...

Yes, Jilly, a very long time.

Darling, is everything as it normally is? You seem cold ...

A great beast dug a talon deep into the soft parts of my head and wrenched it out

again. I spasmed and her face swam languidly before my eyes, but I squeezed a

smile to my lips.

Jilly, Jilly, stop being silly.

I breathed the rhyme of my childhood, while underneath something was leaking,

something precious, from the mesh of my battered insides. Salt still lingered in my

mouth, tingled on my lips. My skin was flushed. I felt strangely victorious.

19 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 20: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

The blanket slipped away and I felt myself float towards the window. Clouds hung

low over the trees and a deep blush had begun to stain their low, pregnant bellies.

The evening chill seeped through the window pane. I could see the water, whipped

and churning, from where I stood. Goose pimples wrapped themselves around me,

screaming the hundreds of spindly legs into action, urging the soft-shelled bodies

and snapping pincers forward.

The front door opened and closed. Jilly stiffened. The room shifted as soon as he

entered and I ignored him, hoping he would leave with little fuss. He didn‟t. I no-

ticed a thick pulse in my neck drumming against the fine white skin, beat beat

beating its way to my ears. I forced the stale air of the living room down my throat

and back up again in broad, square breaths. When I closed my eyes I thought I could

feel the brushing of a veil over the tops of my feet.

Then there was a pressure on my arm, squeezing into muscle like a vice. I looked

up at him.

Where are the children, Kate? Jilly’s already told me you were at the beach. You

should all be at home, like we planned ...

He couldn’t finish, but his voice stirred the loose

ends inside me, so I concentrated on holding eve-

rything taut. Jilly was up off the stool, flanking his left. He released my

arms and pressed his fingers into my face, holding my cheeks between his palms.

Ribbons of white pain sliced their way from the back of my eyes, tracing the curve

of my skull past the crown, down to the neck, to the delicate beginning of self near

the column of vertebrae. I pressed my eyes left into their sockets, avoiding his face,

looking over towards Jilly‟s dancing figurines in a row on her bookshelf. Lovely, I

thought. They had a cold strength in their fine wrists and ankles and, for a minute, I

was envious.

Why would you ask me that? My body was electric now, standing on edge like an

animal excited by bloodshed. It was a tale of bravery and beauty and I knew the end-

ing. The pincers applauded. My mouth twitched. I brought my giddy attention back

to the room, back to my husband.

We had such a wonderful time. I watched the whites of his eyes grow thick and

creamy around his irises.

Did you take them home again, call the babysitter back? Is someone looking af-

Of Stones and Feathers 20

Page 21: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

ter them?

I didn‟t reply.

He had never hit me; he wouldn‟t now. Slowly, Jilly latched on to his arm and

withdrew him, backwards, carving them both through the truth towards the door.

Let’s go down to the beach, Katherine. James will drive us. She manoeuvred him

into the hall like a man blinded.

After driving a little way, we pulled into the side of the road next to brush as

thick and as grasping as claws. My Volkswagen was parked in front of us, the only

other vehicle along the foreshore. Both of them burst from the car. When I didn‟t

move Jilly opened my door and unclicked my seatbelt, tugging me free.

The wind had picked up as we made our way down to the water. We came to the

same crest of sand, the same breeze sprinkled with rain, and surged onwards towards

the blurry divide between the land and sea. Jilly‟s mouth opened and closed in

James‟s direction but I heard nothing except for the hiss of the wind and the hum of

nervous insects. He stood with his shoulders low, hands dangling at his sides and I

saw, through my hazy vision, his head bobbing, drooping like there was nothing left

to support it. I was repulsed.

Finally, they twisted themselves to face me, upwind, and mouthed questions I

couldn‟t hear. I knew what they asked. I motioned to the water, imagined stroking it,

running my fingers along its surface for a streak of hair, a graze of white-perfect

skin. My own hair was blowing around my face, into my eyes, but I was determined

to watch them as they stumbled forwards to the foamy mess, their shirts and pants

slicked close to their skin and begin to comb along through the weed, looking for the

beautiful, sandy mer-bodies tumbling beneath the surface.

© H

. Am


oll 2



21 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 22: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

BJ: Would you rather feathered hands

or scaled feet?

SW: Feathered hands! How lovely. I‟d

accept anything which would increase

the chances of being able to fly. Feet

are unattractive in their natural state

(although while I think of it, mermaid

feet would be pretty) but all I can think

of are bird feet … gnarled feet … over-

sized feet … with talons and claws. I‟d

rather look at hands, or hair – feet are

less expressive, somehow muted. Feet

are practical. They help you to balance.

And provide the ideal subject for shoes.

BJ: As a child, which story were you

particularly drawn to?

SW: When I was quite young, it was

The Eleventh Hour; the perfect mix of

illustration and text. Then – of course –

it was Harry Potter. The first literary

novel I fell in love with was The Great

Gatsby; Fitzgerald‟s beautiful prose in-

spires my own. A favourite image is the

scene in which the green light lingers at

the end of the pier, when he is so aware

that there is something he wants but re-

alizes he cannot have. BJ: Life is much better with/when …

SW: You don‟t have to think about

money, and can do the things that you

naturally love. If I was in this position I

would write. Everything connects back

to writing for me, and not just the act

of writing.

I am constantly aware of it; being

drawn to words, following images, pur-

suing suggestions of narrative. That

hour after sending yourself to bed and

actually reaching sleep is when this

process happens in overdrive for me.

I have taught myself to be strict, in the

sense that I now force myself to get out

of bed to write down the thoughts

while they last.

BJ: Tom Thumb was no bigger than

his father’s thumb. Who would you

want to carry around on the palm of

your hand?

SW: Anyone I love, I suppose? I think

I‟d rather be the one being held. There

is that sense of someone else‟s vulner-

ability in carrying them that frightens

me. I‟m not sure I would want to be in

that position, to have that responsibil-

ity. I would much prefer to trust some-

one else than trust myself with being

trusted … psychoanalyze that! Ws

Of Stones and Feathers 22

Page 23: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

the other side


ge so

urce: stea









NATASHA JANSZ interviewed by Alex O’Brien

Page 24: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

AO: Has a photograph ever captured what you saw?

NJ: I don‟t think that I‟ve ever actually wanted to capture what I‟ve seen. Whenever

I‟ve taken a photograph, I‟ve tried to see what I hope to capture. But most of my

photos turn out to be so far from what I saw and expected.

AO: Can you retire as an artist?

NJ: Not if you just stop creating, but if you lose your drive and desire, then yes I

think so.

© N. Jansz 2010

The Other Side 24

Page 25: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

© N. Jansz 2009

25 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 26: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

AO: Is the fear to create internal or


NJ: Internal I guess. It‟s not so much

that I‟m scared of creating; I just don‟t

want to feel like I‟m not good enough.

I can‟t separate what I create from my-

self. If what I create isn‟t good enough,

then I’m not good enough. And I don't

know if I can necessarily handle that.

I create when I know that what I‟m

doing is both exciting and valid. I don‟t

know who decides what constitutes

„good‟ though – that part of it sure isn‟t


AO: ‘In the eighteenth century the

word ‘art’ meant predominantly

‘skill’. Cabinet-makers, criminals, and

painters were each in their way con-

sidered artful’. –

Clifford James

NJ: I tend think of art as passion.

However, I don‟t know if I would con-

sider someone „artful‟ if they weren‟t at

the same time also skilled.

AO: Why do you think that people live

‘Goldilocks lives’?

© N. Jansz 2009

The Other Side 26

Page 27: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

NJ: As much as I like to think and say

otherwise, I‟m as boring and uncom-

fortably comfortable as any of them

you‟ll ever meet. But most are oblivi-

ous to it and are happy living like that.

I‟m not.

AO: If you were to create a hybrid

animal, what would it be?

[Allow me to briefly preface Nata-

sha’s answer by saying that she is

deathly terrified of moths].

NJ: Okay, I think my hybrid animal

would be a fish-moth. This fish-moth

would prosper so productively under-

water that all the land moths would see

them and think, „you know what? That

is the type of life I want to provide for

my thousands of moth children. The

type of life that I never had.

And then they would breed with fish,

and lots more fish-moths would be

born. Soon, there would be no more

moths on the land, and I would live

happily ever after, although I may

never swim again.

AO: What would you do if you got to

heaven to find it was fluorescent? I

mean, it gives you headaches, makes

you entirely uncomfortable ...

NJ: There is no heaven. I don‟t think

about heaven or have any expectations

of heaven. I think sleep gives us a

glimpse at the practical experience of

death. We decay, and that is all. Al-

though, when I turn to religion to re-

solve my midlife crisis, I‟m sure I will

say otherwise. Ws

© N. Jansz 2009

27 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 28: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

© N

. Jan

sz 201


The Other Side 28

Page 29: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth
Page 30: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

J ette has her jeans rolled to her knees and arms folded across her chest to keep the

cold air out, but also to show her contempt. Sophie stands slightly deeper in the wa-

ter, wearing a bathing suit. Jette can see the stretch marks on her sister‟s legs.

Sophie‟s arms are straight by her side, pulled down by a giant magnet beneath the

sand. In her right hand she grips a small, bronze urn, its weight barely registering

within her. She imagines the small, black body of her mother curled up at the base of

the urn. Slowly she wades out into the water. The surface is green and bruised where

bloodied clumps of seaweed rise. The two sisters stand partnered in a small bay on

an empty stretch of sand.

It has been raining and the sand is seasoned with dints. Overhead, the sky is grey,

sagging with heavy clouds that form an arc around them. Low scrub frames the

beach and behind is the main road, its cars muted by the breathy exaltations of the

sea. Over the road is a milk bar and caravan park, followed by loosely dotted houses,

climbing feebly into the hills behind.

Jette watches Sophie as she makes heavy steps, full of self-designated responsi-

bility. As she gets deeper, her arms become outstretched like a scarecrow. Jette is im-

patient, cold, and angry at the urn that has been rolling around her boot for the past

two weeks. She thinks of all the people, like her mother, having never shown any

interest in the beach, making their family drive five hours to scatter their ashes.

Somehow it would have been more appropriate to scatter them in the backyard, in

the lake across the road, or in her mother‟s dark room. It all seems like a trick.

At the funeral everyone approached Sophie and exclaimed how old she looked

and how she resembled her mother. Jette had stood by her side, waiting to be ac-

knowledged, to be told that her mother often talked about her too. But she was met

In Salt Water 30

Page 31: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

by awkward smiles, the kind that signify retreat. Her dark hair and deep set eyes

bore no resemblance to her tall, fair sister.

The four year gap between them did not make Jette feel wiser, instead she felt

like warm milk trapped beneath its own skin.

Sophie removes the lid from the urn and held it away from her body. The wind is

moving on shore and she positions herself so none of the ashes will blow her way.

She turns to Jette who has tucked her chin upon her chest. Sophie looks back to the

urn and tilts it carefully, as if she were measuring it into a mixture. Before she re-

leases it into the water, Sophie pushes the lid back on the urn and exhales. She walks

quickly through the heavy water, back to Jette who says nothing as she dries herself.

„Not yet,‟ she explains.

„When? We can‟t keep coming down here!‟

„I thought I was ready.‟

„Ready? Soph it‟s got nothing to do with you. It‟s a pile of ash. All you have to

do is tip it in.‟


„Well I don‟t see why not. She doesn‟t care, she can‟t see us.‟ Jette spits. „She‟s

not living in that thing.‟

Sophie storms off through the low scrub. By the time Jette makes her way back

to the car Sophie is sitting on the bonnet, trying to soak up the faint warmth of the

cooling engine.

„I need to stay here for a while,‟ she pleads.

Jette is looking off into the distance. She moves towards the bonnet and exam-

ines Sophie, as if she were a strange bug with its legs flailing in the air. Sophie sees

Jette as a huge gourd, an unavoidable presence of thickness and curiosity. She is

about to say something when suddenly Jette is in the driver‟s seat, starting the en-


„No, wait!‟ Sophie jumps from the bonnet as Jette begins to back out.

„We can‟t go,‟ she chases after the car, which is moving away from her.

„Wait!‟ She screams, opening the door and launching herself into the passenger

seat. Jette says nothing, but spins the car out from the sandy car park. Sophie is sob-

bing. Jette launches the car over the main road and brakes suddenly, landing them

outside the office of the caravan park. Sophie looks up.

„Go and get a key.‟

31 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 32: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


line is woken by the sound of her daughter‟s howling. She flies down the hall

and into the room, switching on the light. Jette is lying on her back, her body con-

vulsing, releasing massive tears. Sophie is sitting up. At the sight of her sister she

begins to wail. There had been a man in the room, he had come in through the win-

dow and lay down in bed with Jette. He was hairy and his body was warm and

heavy, trapping Jette beneath a mammoth arm. For hours she had been lying stiff

while he slept, his body, so hot, almost burning her. Eline looks at the tiny window

above Jette‟s bed and smiles. She tells Jette that sometimes dreams can smell and

feel so real, but they are just puppet shows to keep our brain entertained while we

are asleep. Eline moves forward to embrace her daughter but she is met by flying

arms and screams. Jette‟s outstretched finger catches a feather of skin beneath its

nail and drags it along Eline‟s cheek. She stops, registering the contact of their bod-

ies. She clutches her face and retreats to the bathroom. She ducks her cheek into the

small sink, wedging it underneath the tap and lets the cool water run down the side

of her face. Eline stands up, she can still hear Jette‟s loud, melodramatic sobs. She

takes a face washer from the shelf, wets it and walks back through the girls‟ room.

Jette‟s sobbing becomes louder as she enters. Eline throws the face washer at her

daughter, the wet fabric slapping hard against her face. Jette is shocked and lies si-

lent while the water runs down her neck.

Later, sweeping the hair from the corner of her eye Eline rummages through the

darkness of the room until she locates her daughters‟ sleeping bodies. One of them is

soft, not just in touch, but in company. Eline‟s breathing slows at the sight of blonde

hair and luminous white skin. The other, is porous. She is often so quiet Eline is

barely aware of her being there and it is this ‘halfness’ of atten-

dance that is so uncomfortable. Looking into her eyes, Eline

knows there is a memory bank full of all the harsh comments she has ever said to

her. Her eyes are so dark that they could go on and on. Sometimes Eline does not

even realise her daughter has spoken until she wakes up in the night as the words

bubble to the surface of her mind. Eline touches her cheek where the scratch is.

Through the dark room there is a parting sound, like a fish breaking the surface of

the water. Jette can see her mother standing in the doorway. Eline turns sharply clos-

ing the door.

In Salt Water 32

Page 33: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth



In the morning, at school, Jette takes Sophie onto the embankment. They sit in

her den, a hole she has dug out of the side of the hill, no more than a disc just deep

enough to fit their bottoms. She takes their drink bottles and empties them onto the

slope in front. The water leaks like oil over the dusty ground, barely soaking in.

Sophie shrieks in amazement then takes one of the bottles and helps her sister wet

the slope before their den. Jette explains that this will help keep them safe from the

enemy. With arms flying and lungs bursting with laughter and excitement, Jette and

the older children launch at each other with sticks and other deadly weapons. Sophie

is the treasure and she is often stolen by the other children who lead her gently to an-

other hole in the dirt, where she waits for Jette.

voiding eye contact Jette sits in the car. Looking out of the windscreen, she can

feel Sophie‟s gaze from the caravan park reception. If she turned around Jette would

be met by Sophie‟s brow, pushing down onto her wet eyes, pursed lips and a long

deflated body. Jette grips the steering wheel harder and muscles twitch along her

arms. She cannot remember the smell of her sister‟s skin.

‟m not scared of it though,‟ Eline avoided looking into her daughters‟ eyes. Jette

could not resist. „Mum.‟


„How long have you known?‟

„Long enough to get used to the idea.‟

„Mum, you don‟t get used to it, it‟s not something you get “used to”, it‟s not a

fucking wart Mum. It‟s not like it‟s going away. Christ. Is that what we‟re supposed

to do? Get used to it?‟

„Jette I told y –„

„No, no you didn‟t, you‟re telling us now, now that you‟ve cleaned the house out.

We can‟t help you.‟

„I don‟t want you to.‟

Sophie runs to her mother, looking to her for support. Jette wants to crush their

33 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 34: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


embrace with the weight of her sorrow, but instead sits separate, lifeless. She will be

the dull thud of bass underneath a wailing melody.

ophie sits on the door step of the caravan in the fading light. Jette can hear the

telephone conversation through the antiquated door. She pictures the receiver‟s ear

withering with the recollections of their day. Her lungs tighten as Sophie pulls draw

strings through them. She looks down into the large pot of boiling water resting

above an eager flame. The curtains are drawn, but the sun still teases its way through

the fabric leaving the small interior swollen in an orange hue. Moving her face fur-

ther above the water, the steam forces her eyes closed and from there she lifts one

arm. Innocuously, she lowers it down into the pot, her index finger outstretched. The

tip greets the water. Jette waits while her body tells her lies. First, that the water is

painfully cold. Then that the water is hot, too hot for her.The water is bigger and

stronger than her, it is capable of taking over all the senses in her body and making

them scream in retreat. Jette breathes deeply and plucks her finger from the water. It

throbs in the highest pitch, but she can still hear Sophie through the door.

The orange light is making her drunk, her finger is

throbbing, but she has nothing cold to run it under. Clumsily she searches her sister‟s

belongings for some moisturiser or aloe vera, even her wet bathers. Her hand stops

bluntly against a cool object. Jette takes the bronze urn out of the tangle of clothes

and holds it tightly. She presses the hot tip of her finger against the cool bronze until

it doesn‟t feel cold anymore. Then she rotates it until she finds another cool section

to place her fingers. Sophie‟s clothes have been spewed from the bag and lie

clumped all over the small interior. Jette stands up and picks her way through them,

not letting go of the urn. She is gripping the urn so hard that she expects it to cave in

like an Easter egg. Her hands become hot and red and her face is sweating. The cara-

van is filling with steam from the boiling pot, and with the orange light Jette is find-

ing it hard to see. She takes the urn and walks towards the pot. The water is so noisy

that she can no longer hear Sophie‟s conversation. The steam has muted the outside

world; it is just her, inside the orange steam filled caravan with the urn.

The urn is fogging also, Jette wipes the steam from it, but instantly it returns.

Jette‟s cheeks, sear and grow tender red. Stepping towards the stove, she trips on a

In Salt Water 34

Page 35: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth



pair of Sophie‟s tightly rolled socks. She staggers and her face jolts forward towards

the stove. Carefully she stands up, her face almost grazing the side of the pot. The

steam is so thick Jette keeps gasping through it, as if it were too evasive to be tricked

into her lungs. For a moment Jette closes her eyes. They feel cool tucked beneath the

lids, but then the steam and the orange of the caravan pulse through them, as if they

have melted onto her eyeballs. Jette holds the urn over the pot, her hands growing

wet from the steam. Quickly she unscrews the lid and holds the full urn in her right


line holds a tissue in her hand as Sophie blows snot lazily out of her nose. She

wipes the snot from Sophie‟s lips and lies her back down in the cot. The hot water

pipes ring loudly in the walls as the bath is filled in the next room. Eline lays her

own head on the wooden frame and closes her eyes. She listens to Jette struggle with

her father, as he tells her to hop into the bath. His voice is unrelenting and she pic-

tures him picking her up and placing her in the bath. The splash of her body entering

the water is dull, but the screams which follow are piercing. Eline sits up and runs to

the bathroom. Jette‟s small body stands shivering in the bath, from her waist down

she is scarlet, the skin traumatised. Eline grabs Jette from the bath and runs the cold

water in the shower, placing the hot little body under it. Her husband stands, his eyes

glazed and face wet with steam.

ette‟s eyes are still closed. She can hear a soft sound like silk being pulled across

skin as she tilts her right hand and the contents of the urn slide into the water. Turn-

ing the stove off, she stands whilst the bubbles die down.

The water has a thin layer of dust on its sur-

face, the rest of the thick ash has sunk to the bot-

tom, leaving the middle clean. Jette searches the ashes for an

35 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 36: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth


eyelash, a fingernail, anything that would tie her mother to the dirty substance. Jette

becomes aware of Sophie‟s banging on the door and realises that she must have

locked it. As it is unlatched, Sophie thrusts it open. She sees Jette burnt red and wet

standing over a pot, the empty urn on the bench. Sophie inhales, about to scream,

but Jette picks up the pot and walks towards her. Sophie jumps out of the way to

avoid the boiling pot, but Jette continues past her and out the door. Jette cannot feel

the hot metal burning through her palms. Sophie trails after her, screaming.

Other campers have come out to watch the sisters, one holding a pot out-

stretched, the other reluctantly following and pleading with her to stop. They cross

the road. Sophie stops screaming and starts crying, taking in huge breaths; she is

forced to stop whilst they shudder through her. Jette walks quickly through the bush

and onto the beach where she sinks the pot into the sand and collapses next to it. She

becomes aware of the burns on her palms and the tender flesh on the sand. Through

the scrub Sophie emerges, pulling Jette to her feet draging her to the water. Being

led deeper into the waves, Jette follows Sophie who holds her wrists gently. She

watches her hands as they are dipped into the water. The salt stings, but Sophie holds

them beneath the waves until the water cools them. When the sisters emerge from

the water the pot has cooled. They sit down, the pot between them and the sea.

ette has not been watching the petrol gauge. The car engine splutters out on top of

a hill and continues to roll down slowly, coming to a stop in the dirt on the side of

the road. The sound of the gravel beneath the tyres seems to echo inside the shell of

the car. They sit in silence for a very long time until Sophie opens the door. She

places her backpack on her shoulder and begins to walk along the side of the road.

The wind outside is cool but Jette sits on the warm bonnet and waits, opening up

her palms to the wind. Many cars slow down as they pass; cars with salt encrusted

surfboards and towels strung from windows and across backseats. None of them

stop, although a few come close. But Jette, sitting on the bonnet with her eyes closed

and palms open to the sky doesn‟t notice.

Sophie returns hours later, in a taxi with a can of petrol and a cold parcel of

chips. She fills the tank and starts the engine. The car moves off the gravel and Jette

sits in the passenger seat eating.

„How are your hands?‟ Sophie asks, not taking her eyes off the road.

In Salt Water 36 36

Page 37: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Jette looks down to her fingers covered in tomato sauce and salt. She brings one

of them to her face and licks it clean. Sophie laughs, looking at her sister covered in

salt and sauce.

„You‟re going too slow,‟ Jette says, but Sophie doesn‟t adjust her speed. Jette

sighs and looks out the window as light rain falls, being instantly absorbed into the


© H. Ammitzboll 2010

Winged Seeds, Summer 2011 37

Page 38: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

WS: Do you relate more to the idea of

a giant or to Thumbelina, who is small

enough to sleep inside a walnut shell?

GM: I hope that I fall somewhere in

the middle. I‟m not too crazy about


WS: Have you ever considered, or at-

tempted, a translation of your text to

visual art, or conversely, visual art to


GM: Hmm ... not until now, but that is

something I might have a go at.

WS: ‘I measure my life in … ’

GM: ... Meals, laughter and holidays.

WS: How, if at all, does Natasha’s im-

age of a girl holding her own hand,

either directly speak or relate to your

short story?

GM: I love Natasha‟s image, espe-

cially the fact that it is slightly asym-

metrical. I suppose the idea of feminin-

ity and a strong bond is reflected in the

image and (I hope) in the short story.


© H. Ammitzboll 2010

38 In Salt Water

Page 39: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

Stones and

Feathers a poem by

Matt Lacorcia

Page 40: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

The game is stopped and rearranged by juvenile fish.

This is the last call from the secret land of stones and feathers.

Bees scuff the tops of pollen-heavy buds,

opened since the morning

–will close up in the rain.

This light world has its own stones. They roll with ease.

Dusty landscaped hills and

cactus pricks in your fingertips.

Tweeze them out carefully to stop the pain.

This lesson teaches strength, and gritted teeth.

Water drips along the dusty ground

in rivers, snaking, collecting

a coat of dust as it moves – leather.

Leather strapped to legs, the skin of bucks.

Where are the horns?

Antlers should be here.

I keep pebbles when I walk in the heavy world.

The feathers are striped with brown and white.

The stones take the weight and hold it sacred.

The antlers are sharp, covered in glue.

Feathers spread, lifted by silk wind to cover them,

locked away and under wraps of block and grey.

They look like birds now.

40 Winged Seeds, Summer 2011

Page 41: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

The game is stopped and rearranged by juvenile fish.

This is the last call from the secret land of stones and feathers.

Bees scuff the tops of pollen-heavy buds,

opened since the morning

–will close up in the rain.

This light world has its own stones. They roll with ease.

Dusty landscaped hills and

cactus pricks in your fingertips.

Tweeze them out carefully to stop the pain.

This lesson teaches strength, and gritted teeth.

Water drips along the dusty ground

in rivers, snaking, collecting

a coat of dust as it moves – leather.

Leather strapped to legs, the skin of bucks.

Where are the horns?

Antlers should be here.

I keep pebbles when I walk in the heavy world.

The feathers are striped with brown and white.

The stones take the weight and hold it sacred.

The antlers are sharp, covered in glue.

Feathers spread, lifted by silk wind to cover them,

locked away and under wraps of block and grey.

They look like birds now.

Of Stones and Feathers 41

WS: Do you draw on any mythical

stories to understand the world around


ML: I think Orpheus is important. You

know, don’t turn around or Eurydice

will disappear? There have been plenty

of times when I‟ve turned around, to

check something before it‟s finished,

and lost out. Patience comes in useful.

Faith and focus together; I‟m always

trying to learn how to stay focused, and

not check that she‟s still there behind


WS: The Brothers Grimm wrote a

story entitled ‘The Turnip’. What com-

mon object would you consider writing

about within a fairy tale?

ML: I rarely come into contact with

turnips. I like the idea of fairytales

about modern things, things that don‟t

seem right, like maybe some cursed

botox injections (aren‟t they all?) or

chewing gum.

WS: Do any of the three songs com-

posed by Hans capture or resonate

with the mood in your poem?

ML: Song number two – The warm

strums of the lead guitar, the feathery

scratches of the other guitar in the

background, contrasting with the heavy

thump of the low bass and drums.

WS: Do you tend to daydream/write

indoors or outdoors?

ML: I like to think outdoors, so I walk

a lot. The only problem is you need to

make sure you‟ve got something handy

to write on, preferably paper (and not

your hand, but sometimes that‟ll do, or

an old metcard). But when I‟ve got the

idea, I do tend write inside (better than

outside where wind flaps your pages

around, and Melbourne‟s constant

threat of rain scares laptops). Ws


Page 42: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

* Print out this

page to join in

the conversation.

Page 43: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

a note about the type

Winged Seeds is set in both Times New

Roman and Bodoni MT.

editors’ note

Winged Seeds proudly publishes online for free,

for your convenience, and in an effort to save

the innumerable amount of ink and trees that

might have had to die.


Page 44: Winged Seeds - Fairytale & Myth

produced in australia