Vote Now for November 2020 (Pamela Miller Prize)

Voting is now open for the People’s Choice award for The Pamela Miller Prize. The prize is $100 for the best Flash entry for November 2020, as voted by the Ballarat Writers Committee! The people’s choice winner will receive a BW pen.

To cast your vote, please read all six entries and complete the poll at the end of this post. The poll will close on Wednesday 25th November at 6.00pm

The winners will be announced at the final online Member’s Night on Wednesday 25th November.

Find out more about Pamela Miller here.

NOVEMBER 2020 (PAMELA MILLER PRIZE) PARAMETERS
Prompt: Write to the theme of “Improvise”. You must also include this word, in any tense, within your piece.
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: 300 words.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Wednesday 18th November
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Tuesday 24th November

ENTRIES

Entry 1: Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh

“Bloody hell Snow. I just ain’t got the strength to climb, so, how am I going to get from here all the way up to the top of that friggin’ water tower?”
“Beats me cobber.”
“Well, you’re a bloody drongo then aren’t ya? Standin’ there like a bloody galah with your mouth hangin’ open like youse waitin’ for someone to stick some birdseed in it. You’re about as much use as a hat full of old farts. Call yourself me mate? Shit, with mates like you I’d be better off on me friggin’ own.”
“Sorry Bluey. You was always a better thinker than me.”
“Tell that to me shiela when she finds out what you done.”
“Weren’t just me cocko. You coulda stopped me if youda wanted to.”
“Yeah, right. You’re the one what thought it’d be smart to stick it in a slingshot an’ fly it over to me. Bloody smartarse.”
“Well, it woulda been okay if I hadn’t a put new elastic bands on the flamin’ thing. The old rubbers got too old an’ broke. The old ones woulda just lofted it to ya, nice an’ soft.”
“Lofted? flamin’ lofted! You sent the bloody thing smack bang into the old water tank. You’re a flaming dipstick! A wing-nut zombie is what you are! Jesus wept! What am I gonna do mate? Seriously, what am I gonna do?”
“You’ll hafta improvise me old cobber. Hang on, I know!”
“What?”
“Grab your kid brother. He can climb up there. An’ he can swim; not that there’ll be any water in it; there’s no roof on it. But if there is any water, he can dive in an’ grab it out for ya.”
“Yeah, right! Drop kick can do that easy! Hey Spider, git ere!”

Entry 2: Spontaneity

They told her to improvise,
to make it up as she went along,
to not have a plan.
But she always had a plan,
a plot, an idea, a strategy.
She always knew her next move,
knew how everything would end.
But she took in a breath
and blew her plan away.
She blew away her preconceived notions,
her preformed ideas,
her preplanned moves.
She breathed in spontaneity,
thinking on her feet,
and flying by the seat of her pants.
She surrounded herself with uncertainty,
with change, with new.
She followed her impulses,
her whims, her fancies.
She ran ahead
with no idea where she would end up.
She ran ahead
with no plan for the future.
She ran,
and ran, and ran, and ran.
But because she didn’t plan for the end,
she didn’t see the end until it was too late.
And in the end,
she didn’t see at all.

Entry 3: Pretending To Be Well

RoboStaff
Dept. of Human Services
Canberra.

To CRN 123 456 789H,

Personal and Confidential.

Dear Client&3#@2,**
Again our office suspects that you are playing our system. Our CCTV recordings show that you were drinking a weak latte, no sugar and laughing in [REDACTED] cafe with [REDACTED] last week.

Unfortunately for you, because of this activity, your benefits must@* be& repaid to us. The fact that, in your last letter, you claim that you need to improvise when out in public to appear ‘normal’ is quite ridiculous. Do you expect us to believe that you were acting?

You must attend our %2offices to demonstrate how you improvise in public appearances. This will include performing laughter, chatter and hand gestures. If these are convincing your benefits will stop. If they are not convincing your benefits will stop. One of our automated staff will call you. You can make an appointment with them using your keypad.

Please wear comfortable daytime attire, particularly your slim dark blue jeans with that nice linen shirt and your navy leather loafers. And please bring the receipt:?8 for those shoes as they are not from Kmart and we suspect they are actually from Country Road. How did you afford these? Sales and loyalty points are not admissible in court.

We believe your &3#claim to have PTSD, Anxiety and Depression is nonsense. Get over it! And please stop taking those medications. We know you are happy and do not need them.

If you are seen with again [REDACTED] having merriment and mirth we must force you to isolate at home and wear a tracking device if you continue to insist you are unwell.

Have a nice day,
RoboStaff
‘Creating Jobs For Computers
Dept. of Human Services.’
*Classified information is redacted.
**Do not reply. This is an automated service.

Entry 4: The Last Room (For Dad)

The width of your life has narrowed to an arrow’s point
shot into this room
where I wait for your body to sort and shift,
for your stratum to marshal together and go.

There’s no script or autocue, no app, no mnemonic
for this time,
and adjourned from my life’s flotsam and jetsam,
I shuffle and deal stories, hoping they will sift into you.

I lay out the pillars of your life:
your small Buddha on the bedside table;
its jade belly touching the frame of a photograph of us—
you, still with strength and reach in your body, your mind soaring,
and me, a wee white-haired girl, eating meat pie from a foil shell.
I throw the rug, patterned in the colours of your clan, on your tired feet,
and place your watch down, ready, as if you will wear it for leaving
this room I have fashioned,
your last home.

I was in a netted bassinette last time we shared a room
and now at the end of your life,
troubled by sharp pebbles of memory,
I improvise sleep on a narrow mat
in penance, in abstention.

I stay in the sac of your room—too cautious to leave
while your breath climbs a steeper mountain, resting more often,
the void lengthening and the anticipation of the next breath crippling
as I poise to jump into the pool of your passing,
recognising it will be final.

Entry 5: Dad’s Old Tricks

We’ve been travelling hours before eventually seeing the sign “last stop for 300 km”
Pulling into the service centre, we join the throng of RV’s, grey nomads, cattle trains, 4WD’s and hippie vans.
Thirty minutes later we’re back on the road, relieved, revived, rehydrated.
It’s thirty minutes later that I first notice the temperature gauge rise. I ease back on the acceleration hoping this will allow the temperature to get back within normal range. But thirty minutes later the temperature’s still rising, and I know we have an issue and help will be hard to find.
Pulling over, I hop out and see steam starting to rise from the front of the vehicle.
Cautiously raising the bonnet I’m met with a face full of steam and bubbling.
“What’s the matter Dad?”
“Looks like we’ve got a problem with the radiator”
“Should I ring for help?”
“No, I’ve got this”
Once the steam dissipates, I grab an old rag and slowly twist the cap.
The radiator was barely half full I observe as I gradually fill it with water from the jerrycan. But as quickly as I fill it, the water begins spraying out through a hole near the base of the radiator.
“Now, should I call for help?”
“No, now we improvise” I said “Grab me the esky”
Waiting for the remaining water to drain out, I begin separating eggs.
With the dozen egg whites safely in a jug I slowly begin pouring them into the
radiator
“Dad, are you crazy!!!”
“Just watch and learn”
“Man, that’s awesome”
“Your old dads still got a few tricks left up his sleeve”
“But I’m sorry that we won’t be having scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast”
“That’s fine Dad“ the boys laugh “we don’t really like your scrambled eggs anyway”

Entry 6: Double Act

Orange red streaks flare across the western horizon as the day fades into the ephemeral green marking the onset of night. Distant low hills mark the edge of pale salt bush scrub and twisted clumps of Mallee gums. Small mobs of white corellas fly across, calling to each other, and mosquitoes rise in clouds filling the still hot air with high pitched whining.
Two people sit together outside the sprawling hotel, elbows leaning on the scarred outdoor table. Behind the lighted fly screens the bar is already full of the sound of drinkers, the red dust staining the Utes parked outside. There is a burst of laughter and someone whistles mockingly. Outside, a
phone screen glows blue as the woman looks at her phone, her face lit for a minute.
They should be here.
The man sitting opposite her glances down the single wide street that dissects the shamble of buildings that make up the township-post office, grocery store, bank. The footpaths are empty at this hour, the only movement the flickering light of a single street lamp over the bus stop.
In the fading light, a pair of harsh stars as headlights appear, the slow kerb crawl of an approaching car, expensive engine purring as tyres whisper across the tarmac. Even at this distance the woman feels like she can smell the familiar tang of aftershave from the interior.
You know what to do. The man gets up and walks into the shadows.
She reaches under the table and pulls out a large brown envelope. Her whole life is an improvised double act with him, she thinks, short notice, if any, for every scenario. Soon they will have enough money to get out of here, but first, the show must go on. She lights a cigarette, exhales and waits.

Entry 7: Esivorpmi

Would I have started the year by making myself deliberately homeless if I knew what would happen during 2020? Breathing in bushfire smoke every day was an interesting way to start the year. But that wasn’t the plan. The original plan was travelling overseas. Exhaustion threw a spanner in those
plans. Though it’s a bit unfair to only blame the exhaustion. If the characters in that love story dealt with the exhaustion better, maybe that trip could still have happened.

Breathing in bushfire smoke multiple days in a row gradually takes it toll. Now on a foggy morning, my brain debates if it’s fog or smoke until my nose tells my brain to shut up. With the library shut as the council staff helped elsewhere, I was thankful for the hospitality of friends as I sheltered inside
away from the smoke for a few hours on the worst day.

When I booked myself in for a few weeks of rehab I thought the year ahead was going to be my best year yet. Discovering the nurse was more interested in me than my rehab, I checked out as quickly as I’d checked in. What to do when your plans change again? Call friends until you find one
you can crash with while rescheduling travel plans.

All this before the world shut down. How different my year could have been if locked down away from home. It’s still been a year of improvising. Living without refrigeration or heating has made 2020 an interesting year. Using three power leads to run the laptop while accessing free wifi to write
saw a few people joking about adapting. Yet 2020 will always be treasured as I made friends unafraid to hug their fellow man, who kept their homes as open as their hearts.

Entries open for November 2020 (Pamela Miller Prize)

Entries are now open for November 2020! This month Ballarat Flash is also the annual Pamela Miller Prize!

The timeline is short but the rewards are big so get writing!

The winners will be announced at the final online Member’s Night on Wednesday 25th November, and online as well.

Find out more about Pamela Miller here.

NOVEMBER 2020 (PAMELA MILLER PRIZE) PARAMETERS
Prompt: Write to the theme of “Improvise”. You must also include this word, in any tense, within your piece.
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: 300 words.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Wednesday 18th November
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Tuesday 24th November

HOW TO ENTER
This competition is open to current paid members of Ballarat Writers Inc. only.

Please ensure your membership is current and check the parameters carefully to avoid your entry being disqualified.

You can join online https://www.ballaratwriters.com/membership/

Send your work as a pdf file attachment to an email to ballaratwriterscompetitions @ gmail.com by midnight on Wednesday 18th November.

In the body of the email include your name and the title of your entry. See the entry conditions for more information.

JUDGING
Entries will be put online in the morning on Thursday 19th November. Ballarat Writers committee members will read the blind entries and choose a winner.

People’s Choice Award winner will be the entry with the most votes.

PRIZES
The Winner will receive $100 cash prize. People’s Choice winner will receive a BW pen.

HOW TO VOTE
Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online in the morning of Thursday 19th November.

October 2020 Winner


The winner for this month’s Ballarat Flash was Karen Abramovich with her entry “Battleground”.

Congratulations once again Karen, you must be getting a nice little pen collection by now!

Stay tuned for November’s parameters. We are always open to your theme, prompts or word limit suggestions. Please feel free to email Megan at ballaratwriterscompetitions @ gmail.com or message via our facebook page.

October 2020 Entries – Read & Vote Now

Voting is now open and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 2 November. To vote, simply use the poll at the bottom of this blog post.

Prompt: A funny thing happened at the Little Bridge St Bus Exchange
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Why not surprise us and give us a book report, a public address, or some song lyrics? Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: 55 words.

Entry 1: The Funny Little Bridge
At the ‘Street Bus Exchange’ there are two bridges; one is bigger than the
other. The little one said to the big one, “Watcha doing?” the big one replied,
“Just arching my back. Why?”
The little one responded, “I just wondered; I’m flat out here.”
The big one retorted, “I suppose you think you’re funny!”

Entry 2: Unsolicited Advisor

“I bet a lot of women are glad they aren’t you…”  I begin, and she looks up from under her hat. Why do they always give me that look? I’m only telling her what I think – what I know – to be true. 
“… busing it around the city with two little kids, in this heat…”

Entry 3: Battleground
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re in for a cracker today.
In Bus Shelter 1 there’s accusatory glances, posturing and preening.
In Bus Shelter 2 there’s finger pointing, pacing and ranting.
The fuse is lit, any moment it will explode.
Only one thing can defuse this.
And here it arrives now, the 12:05 Ballarat – Sebastopol bus.

Entry 4: A Day Working At Little Bridge Street

Working security normally just meant a lot of walking. Occasionally I’d need to call the police or ambulance, but normally my presence was enough of a deterrent. After one shift I reviewed the video footage to re-listen to a conversation I overheard. I could still hear the two voices but could
only see one person.

Entries open for October 2020

Entries are now open for October 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.

OCTOBER 2020 PARAMETERS
Prompt: A funny thing happened at the Little Bridge St Bus Exchange
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Why not surprise us and give us a book report, a public address, or some song lyrics? Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: 55 words.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 26th October
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 2nd November

HOW TO ENTER
This competition is open to current paid members of Ballarat Writers Inc. only.

Please ensure your membership is current and check the parameters carefully to avoid your entry being disqualified.

You can join online https://www.ballaratwriters.com/membership/

NOTE THE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!
Send your work as a pdf file attachment to an email to ballaratwriterscompetitions @ gmail.com by midnight on Monday 26th October.

In the body of the email include your name and the title of your entry. See the entry conditions for more information.

HOW TO VOTE
Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online on or near Tuesday 3rd November.

September 2020 Winner


The winner for this month’s Ballarat Flash was Richenda Rudman with her poetic entry “Sky”.

Congratulations once again Richenda, a BW pen is on it’s way to you!

October’s parameters are already live, but as always, we are open to your theme, prompts or word limit suggestions. Please feel free to email Megan at ballaratwriterscompetitions @ gmail.com or message via our facebook page.

September 2020 Entries – Read & Vote Now

Voting is now open and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 5 October. This voting window has been extending due to email issues which prevented us getting the entries on time. To vote, simply use the poll at the bottom of this blog post.

Prompt: Start your piece with the line “The reason I’m late…”
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Why not surprise us and give us a book report, a public address, or some song lyrics? Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: More than 200 words but less than 375 words. This does not include the title.

Entry 1: Attempted Latecomer

The reason I’m late is a determination to be neither early nor “too late”; just plain late, a healthy level of unpunctuality in between. Given we knew the couple alone and none of their family or relatives, we needed to arrive at the sweet spot between awkwardly prompt and rudely tardy. This we judged to be fifteen minutes after the scheduled start time of 7:30pm.
Departing home at 7:25pm, a twenty-minute drive lay between us and the venue. Plus, we needed to pick up Alison on the way.
“You sure we’re leaving enough time to be late?” asked Nicole, riding shotgun.
“For sure,” I said from behind the wheel. “There are at least five sets of lights between us and Ally.”
“Bring on the reds. Who’s this ringing me?” Nicole said, reaching into her handbag for the vibrating phone within. “Bugger, rung out. It was Ally. I’ll text her we’re coming.”
“Tell her we’re about ten away,” I said.
But the planned delays and constant stop-starts were not to be, the usual despised red light taking the night off.
“That’s four greens in a row now!” I said. “I can’t believe it.”
With one set of lights remaining I pulled back on the accelerator to a nice 45km/h in the 60km/h zone. It still wasn’t to be, the slow speed allowing sufficient time for two red cycles before turning green within metres of our approach. “Damn these lights!”
A couple of unnecessary laps of the block killed two minutes.
“Do you need to fuel up? Fuelling up would kill five,” suggested Nicole.
“Nah,” I said looking at the fuel dial. “It’s on full. Fuelled up last night.”
“We’re never going to be late,” said Nicole shaking her head.
The vibration sounded again from her bag.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“Ally again,” she said.
“Jesus, tell her to keep her shirt on,” I said.
Five minutes later we pulled into Ally’s street. There she stood in her drive hurrying us over.
“What’s the rush?” I said.
“Did you read my message?” she said jumping in the backseat. “It isn’t an engagement party! It’s a secret wedding, the ceremony started ten minutes ago!”
“Shit!”
Screeching down the road we hit our first red light. “Bloody lights!”

Entry 2: Reality Check

“The reason I’m late is inexcusable, and I hope you’ll understand” I begin
hurriedly as I enter the room, aware people are already present and
waiting.
“Just bear with me a moment” I continue as I set my things aside and
gather my equipment.
“You would not believe the morning I’ve had”
“I awoke, not to the sound of my alarm but rather the sound of running
water”
“I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say, I’d sprung a rather
large leak”
Taking a breathe and trying to settle the nerves that prickle at my senses
every time I’m in this situation, I continue the rambling apology “Any
hoo, $350 later, plumber is gone, leak fixed and I’m right to head in”
“But, getting outside I see the car’s flat tyre”. “I really didn’t have time
for this, I mean I knew you’d all be waiting”
“So instead of changing the tyre, I leg it to the closest train station to
hear the “All Services Cancelled” announcement”
I stop at this point, looking around the room. For what, sympathy, some
acceptance of my plight.
Stepping into my suit and putting on my gloves, I laugh, “I mean to say
could my day get any worse”
Dressed and ready to commence I take in my audience, all quiet and
patiently waiting, “So that’s my excuses made, but I’m here now, and
somehow I think you’ve all had a rougher time of it than me”
Stepping over to the first trolley in centre stage, I pull down the roof mic
and reading the toe tag, I begin for the tape
“Here we have Mr. Charles Sinclair, Caucasian male, 6 ft 5 inches, 90kg –
DOA”
“Cause of death yet to be determined”
“So, let’s find out what happened Charles” I say bringing the scalpel to
his exposed chest and starting the Y shaped incision.

Entry 3: Extracting Eggs

“The reason I’m late … well, er, where do I start? I was planning to bake a cake to bring today. I had all the ingredients out on the bench, and I realised I had run out of eggs. Damn! I’ll pop next door and borrow a few.”

Julie’s front gate squeaked. “Hiya, wanna cuppa? Kettle’s just boiled.” Julie was hunkered down in her favourite seat on the verandah, smoking, out of the wind and catching the watery, winter sunshine. 

“Kylie popped in the other day, as I was sitting here. She needed to use the loo and suggested we should go shopping. She’s after one of those new earbuds; the ones with the pink and grey stripes. Nichole got a pair last week. Apparently, they deliver great sound, and you can imagine those colours against her new green cardigan!”

“Talking of being caught short, I was in the kitchen, baking, and I ran out of self-raising flour. I mixed two tablespoons of baking powder into the plain flour. It worked a treat, and with the lime marmalade, they will be great for morning tea. Jason will be home shortly.”

I had my seque, but I had to jump fast. “Can I borrow a few eggs?”

“No worries. I’ll get em.” Julie stood up, but turned. “I was talking to Melissa last week, and she has found this amazing recipe for a Gugelhupf cake. Ya know that lovely Austrian cake – hollow in the middle. The secret ingredient is the raisins and slivered almonds, and you need to …”

“The eggs”, I proffered as I made a move towards the kitchen door, hoping to lure Julie back onto the task at hand. It took me another fifteen minutes to extract the eggs and get back to my baking. 

“So, well, … my planned schedule was thrown out the window, but the cake was going to happen, it did and hence my rather tardy arrival. Entschuldigen sie!”  

Entry 4: A Priceless Dinner

“The reason I’m late, oh Mum wait till you hear what Mark just told me.”
“Calm down Rachael.”
Rachael inhales.
“He was having dinner with his Dad at Josie’s Diner and he felt God was telling him they should pay for the old couples meal that was sitting near them. He didn’t have enough pocket money so he asked his Dad. His Dad didn’t want to do it because he had just paid for someone else’s meal the
day before and they aren’t rich. His Dad had been telling him about listening to God and doing things like that. So his Dad thought maybe he was just thinking it would be a good idea and wasn’t really God telling him. That’s what Mark said anyway. So they kept talking and his Dad really
didn’t want to do it.”
Rachael takes another breath.
“So his Dad waited and waited before calling the waiter over and asked him if they could pay for the old couples meal. But please don’t tell them who paid it, they wanted to stay anonymous. The waiter walked straight over to the old couple and told them their meal had just been paid for. When
they asked who by, he pointed right at Mark’s Dad. Mark said his Dad looked even less happy when that happened then when he’d agreed to pay for their meal.”
Rachael takes another breath.
“So as the old couple got up to leave they came up to Marks Dad and thanked him for paying for the meal. Mark’s Dad said it wasn’t him and pointed to Mark and that’s when the old lady burst into tears.”
Rachael sniffs.
“She told them that years ago a teenager had robbed her and tied her up and stolen her car and she’d never been able to trust teenagers since then.”
Rachael sniffs trying to choke back the tears as her Mum envelops her in a hug, her own tears
dropping onto her teenage daughters head.
“Sorry I was late Mum.”
“It’s ok sweetie.”

Entry 5: The Dog Ate My Homework, And Other Stories

The reason I’m late … well frankly I’ve had just one of those days. First of all, getting out of bed required almost twenty minutes of discussion with self about whether ‘twas nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of the cold bedroom floor or just to stay snuggled under the doona.

Then there was the most awful traffic between the bedroom and the bathroom … several cats, a dog and two wide-awake small children, all of whom needing feeding, and a husband who needed poking with a sharp cup of coffee. By the time I got to the shower, the hot water was almost gone, there was only a sliver of soggy soap in the dish and all the towels were in a wet heap on the floor.

And I had problems deciding what to wear for this meeting. The usual black trakky daks and sweatshirt (these days, more sweat than shirt) probably wouldn’t do, so I had to go ferreting through the wardrobe (ie ironing pile) to find something resembling the kind of office-wear I used to flaunt in
the old days, when clothes were important.

I decided against the heels, though. Can’t see me ever wearing those again. Nah. Ugg boots are fine.

Then I had to queue for my morning coffee … can‘t start my day without my cup of Coles’ finest with added glitter (where did that come from?) though there was no bread for toast and the cereal box was mysteriously on the deck, filling up with rain.

Finally, I got to the computer and had the usual tussle with the internet (so much for the NBN) and then had to look at the preview screen to make sure my lipstick was on right and not squiffed over my chin like last time.

Then of course you wouldn’t let me in – serves me right for being late. But here I am at last, Zooming across Victoria to join in the Tuesday Stitch n Bitch session. How’ve you all been?

Entry 6: Sky

The reason I’m late
is I was staring at the sky;
its clouds had black heavy bottoms,
like overworked pans.
And the birds above, though their feathers were soft,
flew fast with their sharp beaks pointed together— in military formation,
a Roman legion
threatening the clouds.
Today was not a kind sky.
It wasn’t a bowl of blue hope, waiting for the birth of a cloud,
nor did it summer shimmer or winter crisp.
Today, it was not that way.
Today, it hung over the sad and the worst and the despicable;
it did not offer succor of spirit, a warm arm of sun, or comfort for the lonely.
Today in my sky staring,
I remembered the snow clouds under which news came of my friend;
we’d juggled sunrises and laughter and cracked hearts,
and she had fallen from the sky, wrapped in a plane.
It shattered,
and so did we.
Today, there was a sky
someone could fall from;
even though it could turn blue and tranquil in a twist.
But never trust a blue sky to be good, or kind, or fair.
Be wary of it.
Today, in my staring state,
I realised this
and that is the reason I am late.

Entries open for September 2020

Entries are now open for September 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.

SEPTEMBER 2020 PARAMETERS
Prompt: Start your piece with the line “The reason I’m late…”
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Why not surprise us and give us a book report, a public address, or some song lyrics? Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: More than 200 words but less than 375 words. This does not include the title.
Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 21st September
Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 28th September

HOW TO ENTER
This competition is open to current paid members of Ballarat Writers Inc. only.

Please ensure your membership is current and check the parameters carefully to avoid your entry being disqualified.

You can join online https://www.ballaratwriters.com/membership/

Send your work as a pdf file attachment to an email to competitions @ ballaratwriters.com by midnight on Monday 21st September.

In the body of the email include your name and the title of your entry. See the entry conditions for more information.

HOW TO VOTE
Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online on or near Tuesday 29th September.

August 2020 Winner


The winner for month’s Ballarat Flash Karen Abramovich, with her fashion-themed piece with a nice twist ending, entitled “Heavily Reduced”.

It was admittedly a bit of an obscure theme, so it was great to see it be taken in so many different directions.

At Ballarat Flash, we love seeing those interesting forms coming through, including but not limited to fiction, poetry, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. We’ve even had some recipes of late. As long as it fits in the given parameters for the month, we’re happy!

Watch this space for next month’s parameters. Any suggestions for prompts or word limits, please feel free to email Megan at competitions @ ballaratwriters.com or via our facebook page.

August 2020 Entries – Read & Vote Now

Voting is now open and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 31 August. To vote, simply use the poll at the bottom of this blog post.

Prompt: On The Rack
Style: Write in any style you please. Including but not limited to fiction, poetry, playscript, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Why not surprise us and give us a book report, a public address, or some song lyrics? Anything goes, as long as it fits in the given parameters for the month.
Limit: 100 words. This does not include the title.

Entry 1: They Feared This Terrorist In Rough Clothing.

They feared this terrorist in rough clothing .
His rhetoric, his words of rebellion and change scared them.
The intel was that he was a Jewish spy trying to infiltrate government.
Others dismissed him as a homeless harmless individual with serious mental health issues.
He even said that he was God. Maybe biplora?
He had been before the authorities and he had been physically abused.
His cohorts sometimes supported him , sometimes doubted him.
His background suggested a simple man , who travelled around.
He was charged and executed , taken off the rack and into another’s grave.

Entry 2: Heavily Reduced

“Monique”, “Monique !!”
“Where’s the gown?”
“On the rack”
“Which rack”
“Out front”
Heart racing, I rush out front, eyes furtively scanning displays. Where is it? Is that it?
Rushing to the rack, I delicately lay the gown over my arm. Yes, it’s here, still complete, nothing missing.
I spy the price tag and laugh: “heavily reduced $1500, RRP $4000.”
Whilst this gown resembles many others, it holds a secret. Hand sewn into the bodice are 15 emerald cut diamonds surrounding a heart shaped ruby. Total insured value $3.5 million.
Someone could’ve scored the bargain of a lifetime.

Entry 3: Luscious Lamb

I salivated at the sight of my luscious lamb stretched out over the rack. The servants had been given the night off. We were alone in the Castle’s dining room. Firelight danced across her succulent body. As I stepped closer the aroma of her juices had me shivering with desire. Running my finger across her flesh I brought it to my lips. Should I devour her now or draw it out a bit longer? She looked ready. She smelt ready. But the night was so young why rush. Licking her I whisper “would you like me to eat you now?”

Entry 4: Soulmate

You are beautiful.

I have dreamed about you my entire life.

My mother always told me that I should follow my heart and live my life to the full. “Life is too short to hesitate because you never know when you may be run over by a bus!”

She may have a somewhat simple yet warped view of the world but when you find yourself standing in wonder in front of your soulmate, her advice begins to influence your every thought.

I can’t afford a rainbow coloured denim jacket today though, so I guess it stays on the rack.

Entry 5: On The Rack (Pork Belly)

I presented a beautifully crackled Pork Belly, with our homegrown broad beans, broccoli and freshly dug, roasted kipflers. There was also our apple sauce and, a spicy plum sauce.

It had taken me years to predictably get the crackling to work. Stephanie advised fridge-drying the cut for eight hours, getting the oil and salt into the scored skin without penetrating the flesh, and then, on the rack, into an extremely hot oven for 30 minutes, reducing the heat for another 30 minutes, resting and serving!

I awoke with a start – Mon Dieu, had I killed the pig before roasting it!

Entry 6: On the Rack (Since The Pandemic)

Since the Pandemic, the sons had returned home, like pigeons to roost. They brought female partners who transformed boyhood bedrooms into grown up space with pot plants, comfortable pillows and rugs. In the study the large rectangular table sports laptops and ergonomic mice as a roster of zoom meetings and lectures takes place. Through the windows, autumn turns into a winter landscape that is green and wet, and the dogs are walked by family members disguised in face masks. On the rack in the laundry the conglomeration of drying coats wait for liberation.