12+ I launched the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast in September 2020. And in June 2023, I released the 75th episode, a short story I'd written for Furious Fiction, Past Demons. And as inexcusable as missing a special friend's birthday, I forgot to celebrate the podcast milestone.
Not only did I forget the podcast's milestone 75th episode, but looking back through my blog posts, I found I'd neglected to mark the 50th and 25th episodes.
So this post is a triple celebration of milestones from three seasons of Tall And True Short Reads.
Episode 25, Season One, Signs of the Second Coming
When I launched Tall And True Short Reads in 2020, I described it as "an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from Tall And True, written and narrated by me".
The 25th episode, released on 31 May 2021, was a short story I'd written in March 2021, triggered by a Facebook post that appeared in my timeline memories from 2011, Signs of the Second Coming.
The post was titled "Signs?" and was the brief tale of one of my primary school teachers, a lay preacher, who started each day at our secular state school with gospel readings. And how he greeted the class excitedly the morning after any news of disasters because these were "Signs of the Second Coming".
As I related in the post, his daily gospel readings and tales of the "second coming" spooked the eleven-year-old me. And my fear only abated when I moved schools and headed into my teens with other things on my mind.
I don't know why I wrote the "Signs?" post in 2011. But reading it in 2021 brought back memories of the panic I had felt as a boy, seeing a falling star in the dark Perth skies. And as Graham Greene said, "Writing is a form of therapy", which is why I wrote the short story.
The writer, John Banville, also observed, "Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don't think we remember the past, we imagine it."
Some parts of Signs of the Second Coming are from my memories (or imagination, as Banville would describe it), and others are my writer's imagination and licence. I leave it to the listener to separate fact from fiction in the episode. And to decide if the memories of an eleven-year-old boy are pure imagination.
Episode 50, Season Two, Milestone Reflections
For Season Two of Tall And True Short Reads, in addition to short stories, I expanded the podcast to feature my blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
The 50th episode, released on 11 April 2022, was a blog post I'd written to mark my 60th birthday in March 2022, Milestone Reflections.
Milestone birthdays, like sixty, are times for reflection. And as my big day approached, I recalled a treasured photo of my Nan with her grandmotherly arms wrapped around my younger brother and me.
When I dug out the photo and looked at my boyhood brother and me, I realised it was from shortly after we'd moved in with our grandparents in 1967, following our parents' separation. And that meant Nan was sixty in the photo.
Grandparents (and parents) always seem old to children. But looking at the photo of Nan with my middle-aged eyes and then at myself in the mirror, I see things differently. And writing Milestone Reflections was my attempt to put things in perspective.
Is sixty really the new forty? Is age a state of mind? And did Nan act old in her conversations, reading and TV habits or taste in music? Or was my boyhood perspective of her a generational response, like my neighbour's daughter's guess about my age?
As with Signs of the Second Coming, I left this to the podcast listener to decide.
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Episode 75, Episode Three, Past Demons
After two seasons of Tall And True Short Reads, I realised it was a storytelling podcast, whether the episodes were short stories and blog posts, fiction and nonfiction, or tall and true tales. And so, with Season Three, I included other examples of my storytelling from Tall And True — on dogs, travel, memoir and other topics — and there will be more multi-part episodes.
The milestone 75th episode, Past Demons, released on 25 June 2023, was another short story I'd written for Furious Fiction in May 2023.
The Australian Writer's Centre's brief for May was:
- It must include a character who is BEING CHASED or doing the CHASING
- The words BOIL, FRINGE and JUMP (or longer as long as they retain the original spelling)
- And at least THREE CREATIVE SIMILES.
I had no problems finding places for the required words. But the creative similes proved more difficult than I'd expected. And later, after reading the showcased stories and extra similies that stood out for the Furious Fiction judges, I realised I should have been more creative with mine.
Although I was proud of this line from the episode, set in my struggling protagonist's apartment building:
"Meanwhile, the bottle shop downstairs called to him like a siren song".
Future Episodes and Milestones
In addition to celebrating future podcast milestones, I'll share new episodes of Tall And True Short Reads on the Tall And True blog. And I'll post the "back catalogue" from Seasons One, Two and Three over the coming months.
In the meantime, you can listen to the podcast episodes on the Tall And True Short Reads website. Or follow and listen to and rate and review the podcast on all popular podcasting apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.
Finally, as I say at the end of each episode, please tell your family and friends about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers' website.
© 2023 Robert Fairhead
N.B. Here's another link to my blog post, Introducing Tall And True Short Reads, in September 2020.
Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.